The Book of Songs: Poems that helped shape Chinese thought – A collection of ‘folk poems’ said to have been picked up from alleys and fields around China, The Book of Songs also functioned as satire, diplomacy and moral instruction, writes Martin Kern. – BBC – 5/30/18
In the same way that Homer’s epics took hold within the West, The Book of Songs played a role in spheres far beyond literature, with a lasting influence on Chinese civilisation. The collection had an impact on education, politics and communal life: in antiquity, the Songs were quoted and recited as coded communication in diplomatic exchange; invoked as proof to cap a philosophical argument; read as commentary – satirical more often than not – on historical circumstances; and taught for the purposes of moral edification. It has continued to affect Chinese society since then, both through what the Songs say and the form they take.
GUAN! GUAN! CRY THE FISH HAWKSfrom Zhounan
Guan! Guan! Cry the fish hawks
on sandbars in the river:
a mild-mannered good girl,
fine match for the gentleman.
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