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夏桀末喜

列女傳

Scanned original

末喜者,夏桀之妃也。
Mo Xi was a concubine of king Jie of the Xia dynasty.
末喜是夏朝桀皇帝的妃。

美於色,薄於德,亂孽無道,女子行丈夫心,佩劍帶冠。
She was pretty, but lacked virtue and was very wicked. (???) husband's heart, and carried a sword at her belt and wore a man's cap.

桀既棄禮義,淫於婦人,求美女,積之於後宮,
Jie discarded rites and justice, was lewd to married women, requested beautiful girls and gathered them in his harem.

收倡優侏儒狎徒能為奇偉戲者,聚之於旁,造爛漫之樂,
He summoned singers, dancers, midgets and jesters who can make strange and extraordinary performances, he gathered them at his side, and arranged for decadent enjoyment.

日夜與末喜及宮女飲酒,無有休時。
Day and night he drank with Mo Xi and the harem girls, without rest.

置末喜於膝上,聽用其言,
He put Mo Xi in his lap, and listened to her words and acted accordingly,

昏亂失道,驕奢自恣。
behaved like a tyrant, lost the way, became arrogant, wasteful, and lost control of himself.

為酒池可以運舟,一鼓而牛飲者三千人,
She created a pool of wine large enough for a ship, she beat the drum, and three thousand people drank from it like cattle.

䩭其頭而飲之於酒池,醉而溺死者,末喜笑之,以為樂。
She forced their heads down to drink from the pool, and they got drunk and drowned. Mo Xi laughed at them, and thought this was very amusing.

龍逢進諫曰:「君無道,必亡矣。」
Long Feng entered and remonstrated, saying: "my lord, without adhering to the way, you will surely perish."

桀曰:「日有亡乎?日亡而我亡。」
Jie said: "has the sun perished? When the sun perishes, I will perish."

不聽,以為妖言而殺之。
Jie did not listen, but thought Long Feng's words heretical and killed him.
桀听而不闻,以为龙逢说了妖言,所以杀了他。

造瓊室瑤臺,以臨雲雨,殫財盡幣,意尚不饜。
He constructed palaces and towers of jade, to be able to look at the clouds and rain from above, using up all valuables and money, without satisfying his desires.

召湯,囚之於夏臺,已而釋之,諸侯大叛。
Jie summoned Tang, and imprisoned him in the tower of Xia, he soon released him, and the feudal lords launched a great rebellion.

於是湯受命而伐之,戰於鳴條,桀師不戰,
Tang received the Mandate and attacked Jie. In the battle at Mingtiao, Jie's army would not fight.

湯遂放桀,與末喜嬖妾同舟,流於海,死於南巢之山。
Tang then expelled Jie, and put him with his favorite concubine Mo Xi in a boat, and let it drift into the sea. They died at Nanchao Mountain.

詩曰:「懿厥哲婦,為梟為鴟。」此之謂也。
The ode says: "Admirable may be the wise woman, But she is [no better than] an owl." This applies here.
Note: from James Legge's translation of 瞻卬 (ode 264). A larger section can be found below.

詩經

瞻卬 (parts 3 and 4)

Translation by James Legge (The Chinese Classics: The She King)

哲夫成城、哲婦傾城。
A wise man builds up the wall [of a city],
But a wise woman overthrows it.
懿厥哲婦、為梟為鴟。
Admirable may be the wise woman,
But she is [no better than] an owl.
婦有長舌、維厲之階。
A woman with a long tongue,
Is [like] a stepping-stone to disorder.
亂匪降自天、生自婦人。
[Disorder] does not come down from heaven;
It is produced by the woman.
匪教匪誨、時維婦寺。
Those from whom come no lessons, no instruction,
Are women and eunuchs.

鞫人忮忒、譖始竟背。
They beat men down, hurtful, deceitful.
Their slanders in the beginning may be falsified in the end,
豈曰不極、伊胡為慝。
But they do not say [that their words were] very wrong;
[They say], 'What evil was there in them?'
如賈三倍、君子是識。
As if in the three times cent per cent of traffic,
A superior man should have any knowledge of it;
婦無公事、休其蠶織。
So a woman who has nothing to do with public affairs,
Leaves her silk-worms and weaving.

竹書

帝癸

Translation by James Legge (The Chinese Classics: The Shoo King, prolegomena p. 126)

棄其元妃于洛曰妺喜於傾宮飾瑤臺居之
He also sent away his first wife Mo Xi to Luo, placing her in the Yao tower of the Qing palace.

Vocabulary

薄 (bo2)lacking, weak
孽 (nie4)sinister, wicked, evil
佩 (pei4)to wear at the belt
帶 (dai4)to wear at the belt
冠 (guan1)ceremonial cap (given to men at age 20)
淫 (yin2)lewd, licentious
積 (ji1)to store up, to accumulate
倡優 (chang1 you1)《古代汉语词典》:“古代歌舞杂技艺人”
("singing and dancing acrobats of ancient times")
侏儒 (zhu1 ru2)《古代汉语词典》:“身材异常矮小的人。”
("people who are exceptionally short")
狎徒 (xia2 tu2)jester
偉 (wei3)great, extraordinary
戲 (xi4)《古代汉语词典》:“歌舞、杂技等表演。”
("a performance with singing, dancing, acrobatics etc.")
聚 (ju4)to gather, to assemble
爛漫 (lan4 man4)《古代汉语词典》:“放浪”
(unrestrained, immoral, to debauch)
置 (zhi4)to place
膝 (xi1)knee
昏亂 (hun1 luan4)rash, confused, tyrannical
奢 (she1)extravagant, wasteful
恣 (zi4)to indulge oneself
運 (yun4)to transport, to carry
牛飲 (niu2 yin3) 《古代汉语词典》:“如牛俯身就池而饮”
("to drink like cattle, with one's body bent down over a pool")
䩭 (ji1)to restrain. 《古代汉语词典》 quotes this particular passage.
溺 (ni4)to drown
妖言 (yao1 yan2)heresy
瓊 (qiong2)jade, gem, 《说文解字》:“赤玉也” (red jade)
瑤 (yao2)jade, gem
瑤臺 (yao2 tai2) 《古代汉语词典》:“古代神话中神仙居住之处。比喻极其华丽的台。”
("dwelling of immortals in old ghost stories, used as a metaphor for extremely beautiful towers")
臨 (lin2)《古代汉语词典》:“站在高处看低处。”
("to stand in a high place and look down")
殫 (dan1)to exhaust
饜 (yan4)satisfied
已而 (yi3 er2)shortly
釋 (shi4)to release
叛 (pan4)rebellion
嬖 (bi4)favorite

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