Exemplarious translation of 春秋chunqiu 1


隐公元年(722 BC)
First year of Duke Yin the Hidden of Lu

Spring and Autumn Annals 1.1:First year, spring, first month of the royal year (of Zhou).
Zuo’s Tradition 1.1:
Duke Hui the Benevolent had a primary consort named Mengzi. When Mengzi died, her rooms were inherited by Shengzi who gave birth to later duke Yin. Duke Wu the Martial of Song had a daughter named Zhongzi who held a writing in her hand when she was born. The writing said: “Make me a lady in the state of Lu.” Thus, Zhongzi came to Lu and gave birth to later Duke Huan the Effector. When Duke Hui died, duke Yin ascended the throne and showed reverence to Duke Hui.

First year, spring, first month of the royal year of Zhou. The throne accession in not recorded in the Annals because Duke Yin did only act as Prince Regent, not as ruler.

(公羊传)元年者何?君之始年也。春者何?岁之始也。王者孰谓?谓文王也。 曷为先言王而后言正月?王正月也。何言乎王正月?大一统也。公何以不言即位?成公意也。何成乎公之意?公将平国而反之桓。曷为反之桓?桓幼而贵, 隐长而卑,其为尊卑也微,国人莫知。隐长又贤,诸大夫扳隐而立之。隐于是焉而辞立,则未知桓之将必得立也。且如桓立,则恐诸大夫之不能相幼君也, 故凡隐之立为桓立也。隐长又贤,何以不宜立?立适(=嫡)以长不以贤,立子以贵不以长。桓何以贵?母贵也。母贵则子何以贵?子以母贵,母以子贵。
Gongyang’s Commentary 1.1:
What does “first year” mean? It is the first year of Duke Yin’s reign. What does “spring” mean? It is the begin of the year. Who is called “king”? King Wen of Zhou. Why do the Annals first say “king”, and then “first month”? It means, that the Annals are oriented to the Zhou calendar established by King Wen. Why is this calendar with its begin of the year being used by the Annals? The Zhou calendar is used as an instrument of the world’s unity. Why is Duke Yin’s accession to the throne not recorded? To fulfil the Duke’s wishes. What does this mean? The Duke should govern the state of Lu as Prince Regent and then hand the throne over to Duke Huan, his younger brother. Why should the throne be handed over to Huan? Huan was the younger but worthier, and Yin was the elder but of lower social status. But the common people in the state of Zhou did not know that the ranks of the two persons were slightly different. Because Duke Yin was the elder and was of capable character, the noblemen of Lu installed him as their ruler. At that time Yin refused to assume rulership, because he did not know if his younger brother would be able to follow him on the throne. But if Huan would have been selected as ruler, there would be the danger that the noblemen would not be willing to obey the minor ruler. Therefore, the throne accession of Duke Yin can be understood as throne accession in place of Duke Huan, as Prince Regent. Why was is not correct to install Yin as a regular ruler, although he was the older and more capable? The (son) of a legal wife is installed as ruler because of his age, not because of his capability. A son of a ruler in general is installed as follower because of his worthiness, not because of his age. Why was Duke Huan the worthier? Because his mother was worthy. Why is a son worthy if his mother is worthy? A son is worthy by the worthiness of his mother, and vice versa.

(谷梁传)虽无事,必举正月,谨始也。公何以不言即位?成公志也。焉成之?言君之不取为公也。君之不取为公,何也?将以让桓也。让桓正乎?曰:不正。 《春秋》成人之美,不成人之恶。隐不正而成之,何也?将以恶桓也。其恶桓, 何也?隐将让而桓弒之,则桓恶矣;桓弒而隐让,则隐善矣。善则其不正焉, 何也﹖《春秋》贵义而不贵惠,信道而不信邪。孝子扬父之美,不扬父之恶。先君之欲与桓,非正也,邪也;虽然,既胜其邪心以与隐矣。己探先君之邪志,而遂以与桓,则贵成父之恶也。兄弟,天伦也。为子受之父,为诸侯受之君。 己废天伦,而忘君父,以行小惠,曰小道也。若隐者,可谓轻千乘之国。蹈道,则未也。
Guliang’s Commentary 1.1:
Although nothing happened, the first month has to be recorded to indicate the begin of the Duke’s rule. Why then is the Duke’s accession to the throne not recorded? To fulfil the duke’s intention. What does this mean? Because he did not want to become duke and only acted as Prince Regent. Why this? He should cede the throne to Huan. Was this correct? No. The Annals want to complete the beauty of a person, not to support the faults of a person. Although Duke Yin did not behave correct, why then is he described in this formal and complete way? It is, to make clear that Duke Huan, his successor, was bad. Why was Duke Huan bad? After Duke Yin ceded the throne to Duke Huan, Duke Huan should murder him and therefore has been bad. Duke Yin was a good man because he was murdered by Duke Huan, although he had ceded the throne to him. What means, he was “good”, but not behaved correct? The Annals esteem socially correct behaviour and not simple benevolence, they believe in the well guided and not in misbehaviour. A son which behaves with filial piety spreads the beauty of his father, not the evilness of his father. That the former duke gave preference to Huan and wanted him to become duce, was not correct. But this bad-minded intention was defeated, when the throne was occupied by Duke Yin. When Duke yin followed the bad-minded intention of his predecessor and wanted to hand over the throne to his younger brother Huan, he esteemed and fulfilled the bad side of his father. The relationship and sequence among older and younger brother is a heavenly order. A son has to follow his father, a nobleman his lord. Duke Yin’s disrespect of the heavenly relationships was that he forgot the King’s enfeoffment and his father’s intention when he handed over the throne to his yonger brother, Duke Huan; it means to run upon the path of small-minded people, (not the Great univeral Way). A person like Duke Yin, you can say, does underesteem the importance of a state of a thousand chariots, like the state of Lu. We must first step on the Great Way before we can speak about other things.

Previous articleHangongqiu 汉宫秋 “Autumn in Han Palace”
Next articleExemplarious translation of 春秋chunqiu 2


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here