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周幽褒姒

列女傳

Note: this text is included in Rouzer's textbook, and I mostly follow his interpretations.

Scanned original

褒姒者,童妾之女,周幽王之后也。
Bao Si was the daughter of a harem girl, and the queen of King You of Zhou.

初,夏之衰也,褒人之神化為二龍,
Long ago, during the decline of the Xia dynasty, the spirit of the state of Bao turned into two dragons.

同於王庭而言曰:「余,褒之二君也。」
Together they went to the king's court and said: "we are the two lords of Bao."

夏后卜殺之與去,莫吉。
The Xia ruler divined about whether to kill them, or allow them to leave, but none was auspicious.

卜請其漦藏之而吉,乃布幣焉。
The diviner requested his saliva, stored it, and there was auspiciousness. Then they wrapped it up in cloth and stored it as a treasure.

龍忽不見,而藏漦櫝中,乃置之郊,至周,莫之敢發也。
The dragons suddenly vanished, and so they stored the saliva in a cabinet which was put in the temple. Until the Zhou dynasty, nobody dared opening it.

及周厲王之末,發而觀之,漦流於庭,不可除也。
At the end of the rule of king Li of Zhou, the cabinet was opened, the saliva flowed out at the courtyard and was impossible to remove.

王使婦人裸而譟之,化為玄蚖,入後宮,
The king made the women undress and abused them, and the dragons turned into a dark lizard which entered the women's quarters of the palace.

宮之童妾未毀而遭之,既笄而孕,當宣王之時產。
A harem girl in the palace who had not taken part in the ritual encountered the lizard. When she matured, she became pregnant and at the time of King Xuan she gave birth.

無夫而乳,懼而棄之。
Without having known a man, she gave birth, which made the king afraid so that he abandoned the baby.

先是有童謠曰:「檿弧箕服,寔亡周國。」宣王聞之。
Before this, there was a children's rhyme that went: "bows and quivers of mulberry will truly bring an end to the state of Zhou." King Xuan heard of this.

後有人夫妻賣檿弧箕服之器者,王使執而戮之,
Later there were people, a husband and wife, selling these tools: bows and quivers of mulberry wood. The king ordered these to be seized and executed.

夫妻夜逃,聞童妾遭棄而夜號,哀而取之,遂竄於褒。
When the husband and wife fled during the night, they heard the abandoned baby of the harem girl who had encountered the lizard wail in the night. They took pity on her, and adopted her, then took refuge in the state of Bao.

長而美好,褒人姁有獄,獻之以贖,
The baby girl grew up into a beautiful woman. Lord Xu of Bao was in legal trouble, and offered her as compensation to the king.

幽王受而嬖之,遂釋褒姁,故號曰褒姒。
King You accepted and made her a favorite, then he released Lord Xu of Bao. Therefore she was called Bao Si.

既生子伯服,幽王乃廢后申侯之女,
After she had given birth to a son named Bo Fu, King You discarded his queen, who was the daughter of Marquis Shen.

而立褒姒為后,廢太子宜咎而立伯服為太子。
Instead he raised Bao Si to the position of queen, discarded the crown prince Yi Jiu, and promoted Bo Fu to crown prince.

幽王惑於褒姒,出入與之同乘,不卹國事,
King You was entranced by Bao Si, left and entered with her in the same carriage, never bothering about affairs of the state.

驅馳弋獵不時,以適褒姒之意。
He was always riding around hunting, to satisfy the whims of Bao Si.

飲酒流湎,倡優在前,以夜續晝。
He was constantly drunk, there was popular entertainment in front of him, continuing all night until the next day.

褒姒不笑,幽王乃欲其笑,萬端,故不笑,
Bao Si did not smile. King You then desired to see her smile, he tried a myriad of methods, but she stubbornly did not smile.

幽王為烽燧大鼓,有寇至,
King You had a watch beacon and a great drum, in case of raiders approaching.

則舉,諸侯悉至而無寇,褒姒乃大笑。
He then raised the alarm, and when the feudal lords arrived and there were no raiders, Bao Si had a good laugh.

幽王欲悅之,數為舉烽火,其後不信,諸侯不至。
King You wantedto please her, so raised the watch beacon numerous times. After this there was no trust and the feudal lords did not arrive.

忠諫者誅,唯褒姒言是從。
Loyal persons who remonstrated were executed, and he only followed the words of Bao Si.

上下相諛,百姓乖離,
Officials high and low were given to flattery, the common people were degenerate and mistrusting.

申侯乃與繒西夷犬戎共攻幽王,
The Marquis of Shen then attacked King You together with the state of Zeng, the Western Yi, and the Dog Rong tribes.

幽王舉烽燧徵兵,莫至,
King You raised the watch beacon to summon troops, but nobody appeared.

遂殺幽王於驪山之下,虜褒姒,盡取周賂而去。
Then the rebels killed King You at the foot of Mount Li, and captured Bao Si. They took all the valuables of Zhou and left.

於是諸侯乃即申侯,而共立故太子宜咎,是為平王。
Thereupon the feudal lords proceeded to the Marquis of Shen, and together crowned the old crown prince Yi Jiu, who became King Ping.

自是之後,周與諸侯無異。
After this, Zhou was no different from any of its former vassal states.

詩曰:「赫赫宗周,褒姒滅之。」此之謂也。
The ode says: "the majestic Zong Zhou, Si of Bao has destroyed it." This applies here.
Note: from Bernhard Karlgren's translation of 正月 (ode 192).

Vocabulary

漦 (li2)saliva
置 (zhi4)to put, to locate
郊 (jiao1)temple or altar for sacrifices
譟 (zao4)to abuse, to scold
毀 (hui3)to pray in order to eliminate noxious spirits
笄 (ji1)hairpin, given to a girl at the age of 15
孕 (yun4)to be pregnant
乳 (ru3)to give birth
童謠 (tong2 yao2)children's rhyme
檿 (yan3)mulberry wood
弧 (hu2)wooden bow
箕 (ji1)bamboo winnowing basket
服 (fu2)quiver
戮 (lu4)to execute
贖 (shu2)to compensate for, to redeem
惑 (huo4)to be infatuated
卹、恤 (xu4)to pay attention to
驅馳 (qu1 chi2)to go hunting for pleasure
弋 (yi4)a bow with an arrow attached by a string
適 (shi4)to satisfy, to please
流湎 (liu2 mian3)to be drunk constantly
倡 (chang1)popular entertainment
優 (you1)popular entertainment
續 (xu4)to continue
故、固 (gu4)stubbornly
烽燧 (feng1 sui4)watch beacon
寇 (kou4)bandit, raider
乖 (guai1)perverse, obstinate
徵 (zheng1)to summon
虜 (lu3)to capture
賂 (lu4)valuables