Translation at the University of Virginia
The two reckless women of Wei, were Nan Zi and Boji of Wei.
Nan Zi was a woman of Song, and the wife of Duke Ling.
She had an affair with Zi Zhao of Song. Crown prince Kuaikui heard of this and hated them for it.
Nan Zi slandered the crown prince to Duke Ling: "The crown prince wants to kill me."
Duke Ling was very angry at Kuaikui, who fled to Song.
Duke Ling died, and the son of Kuaikui, Zi Zhe was enthroned as Duke Chu.
Boji of Wei was the elder sister of Kuaikui, the wife of Kong Wenzi and the mother of Kong Kui.
Kui was a minister to Duke Chu. When Wenzi died, [Bo] Ji had an affair with the Kong family's attendant, Hun Liangfu.
Ji sent Liangfu to Kuaikui, who said: "If you enable me to enter into the country, I will reward you by making you a dafu, and will let you escape death three times."
They swore an oath, and he accepted to make Ji Liangfu's wife.
Liangfu was happy, and announced this to Ji, who was overjoyed. Liangfu and Kuaikui then stayed at the Kong family's garden.
In the evening the two men drove, covered by clothes, into the residence of Ji.
When they had finished eating, Ji, wielding a spear, led five men in armor and helmets, forcing her son Kui out from the toilet and into an oath.
Duke Chu fled to Lu, and Zilu died for him. Kuaikui then was enthroned as Duke Zhuang.
He killed lady Nanzi, and also killed Hun Liangfu.
Duke Zhuang also escaped due to a rebellion in Rongzhou, and after four years Duke Chu returned.
When he was about to return, the dafu killed Kong Kui's mother, and welcomed the duke back.
Two women caused five generations of disorder, which did not subside until the time of Duke Dao.
The ode says: "Look at the rat, it has its skin; a man without manners --- a man without manners, why does he not die?" This applies here.
Note: from Bernhard Karlgren's translation of 相鼠 (ode 52). The full translation can be found below.
Look at the rat, it has its skin; a man without manners
a man without manners, why does he not die?
Look at the rat, it has tis teeth; a man without demeanour
a man without demeanour, why does he tarry to die?
Look at the rat, it has its limbs; a man without decorum
a man without decorum, why does he not quickly die?
The marquis of Wei, to gratify his wife Nan Zi, had invited Zhao of Song (her brother) to his court. At the meeting at Tao, Kuaikui, eldest son of the marquis, had presented [the city of] Yu to Qi; and as he was [returning] through the country of Song, the country-people sang to him,
Since you have allayed the heat of your sow,
Why not send back our old boar?
The prince was ashamed, and said to Su of Xiyang, "Follow me, when I visit the duchess; and when she sees me, and I look round, do you kill her." Su agreed to this. The prince accordingly went to the court of the marchioness, who saw him, but though he looked round thrice, Su did not advance. The marchioness observed his countenance, burst into tears and ran off, crying, "The prince is going to kill me." The marquis took her by the hand, and went with her into a tower. The prince fled to Song, and all belonging to his party were driven out of the State. It was in consequence of this that Gongmeng Kou fled to Zheng, and from Zheng to Qi.
The prince said to people that Su of Xiyang had been the occasion of his calamity, but Su told people that the prince had brought calamity on him. "Contrary to all principle," he said, "the prince wanted me to kill his mother, and said that if I did not consent he would kill me. If I had killed the marchioness, he would have thrown the blame on me. I agreed to do it therefore, but did not do it, wishing to defer my death. The common saying is that people preserve themselves by good faith. I hold that the good faith must be in regard to what is righteous."
In winter Taishu Ji of Wei fled from that State to Song. Before this, Ji had married a daughter of Zizhao, but one of her cousins was his favourite. But when Zizhao left the State, Kong Wenzi made Ji put away his wife, and marry a daughter of his own. Ji, however, made one of his attendants induce the cousin of Ji's former wife to come to him, and placed her in Li, where he built a palace for her, so that he had, as it were, two wives. Wenzi was angry, and wanted to attack him, but Confucius stopped him from ding this. However, he took his wife away. Ji having an intrigue with some lady in Waizhou, the people of that place took away from his carriage by force, and presented it [to the marquis]. Disgraced by these two things he left the State. In Wei, they appointed Yi in his place, and made him take Kong Ji (Wenzi's daughter) as his wife.
Kong Yu of Wei married an elder sister of Kuaikui, the eldest son of the marquis, by whom he had a son, Kui. His attendant, Hun Liangfu, was tall and handsome, and after the death of Wenzi (Yu) had an intrigue with his mistress. When her brother was in Qi, she sent this Liangfu to him, and the prince then said to him, "If you can bring it about that I enter the capital and get the State, you shall have the cap and the carriage of a great officer, and 3 capital offences shall be forgiven you." They covenated together, and the attendant made request for the other to Boji.
In the intercalary month, Liangfu and the prince entered the capital, and stopped in an outer orchard of the Kong family. At night, disguised as women, they were driven by a eunuch to the house. The steward Luan Ning asked who they were, and admitted them on being told that they were ladies related to the family. They then went to the apartments of Boji; and, when they had eaten, that lady went before, carrying a spear, and followed by the prince and 5 men-at-arms, and [two men carrying] a pig. They found Kong Kui in the privy, and there forced him to make a covenant with the prince, after which they violently carried him up into a tower. Luan Ning was making ready to drink; but before the meat was fully roasted, he heard of the revolution which was being made, and sent information of it to Jizi.
Shao Huo had the horses put to a carriage, sent the cup round, partook of roast meat, and then carried off Zhe, the marquis f Wei, with him to Lu for refuge. Jizi was going to enter the city, when he met Zigao about to leave it, who said to him, "The gate is shut." "But I wish to try to go there," replied Jizi. "It was not your doing," said Zigao; "you need not share in the chief's misfortunes." "I have eaten his pay," rejoined the other, "and I will not try to escape from his difficulties." Zigao then quitted the city, and Zilu entered it. When he got to the gate of the Kong family, Gongsun Gan was keeping it, and told him that he could not enter. Jizi said, "You are a grandson of a former duke. You seek what gain you can get, and shrink from encountering the difficulties of the State. I am not such an one. Having got the benefit of the pay of the State, I will try to save it in its difficulties."
Just then a messenger came out at the gate, and Zilu entered. "Of what good," said he, "is it for the prince to deal thus with Kong Kui? Though you put him to death, there will be some one to continue." He also said, "The prince has no courage. If we burn half the tower, he is sure to let Kong Shu go." When the prince heard this, he was afraid, and sent down Shi Qi and Yu Yan to resist Zilu, whom they struck with their spears, cutting also the strings of his cap. "The superior man," said he, "does not let his cap fall to the ground when he dies;" and with this he tied the strings again and died.
When Confucius heard of the disorder in Wei, he said, "Chai will come; but You will die." Kong Kui then raised duke Zhuang (Kuaikui) to the marquisate. He did what harm he could to the old ministers, and wanted to remove them all. He began by saying to Man Cheng, the minister of Instruction, "I have had long experience of distress abroad. Do you now make atrial of it." Cheng retired, and communicated this to Bi, superintendent of the market, and wished with him to attack the duke. But the scheme did not take effect.
|讒 (chan2)||to slander|
|乘軒 (cheng2 xuan1)||to ride in the carriage of a dafu, used to indicate someone being given an official post|
|免 (mian3)||to make someone avoid|
|舍 (she4)||to rest, to stop at|
|圃 (pu3)||vegetable garden|
|昏 (hun1)||evening, darkness|
|杖 (zhang4)||to wield|