Yu divided the land. Following the course of the hills, he cut down the trees. He determined the highest hills and largest rivers (in the several regions).
With respect to Ji Zhou, he did his work at Hu-kou, and took effective measures at (the mountains) Liang and Qi. Having repaired the works on Tai-Yuan, he proceeded on to the south of (mount) Yue. He was successful with his labours on Tan-huai, and went on to the cross-flowing stream of Zhang. The soil of this province was whitish and mellow. Its contribution of revenue was the highest of the highest class, with some proportion of the second. Its fields were the average of the middle class. The (waters of the) Heng and Wei were brought to their proper channels, and Da-lu was made capable of cultivation. The wild people of the islands (brought) dresses of skins (i.e. fur dresses); keeping close on the right to the rocks of Jie, they entered the He.
Between the Ji and the He was Yan Zhou. The nine branches of the He were made to keep their proper channels. Lei-xia was made a marsh, in which (the waters of) the Yong and the Ju were united. The mulberry grounds were made fit for silkworms, and then (the people) came down from the heights, and occupied the grounds (below). The soil of this province was blackish and rich; the grass in it was luxuriant, and the trees grew high. Its fields were the lowest of the middle class. Its contribution of revenue was fixed at what would just be deemed the correct amount; but it was not required from it, as from the other provinces, till after it had been cultivated for thirteen years. Its articles of tribute were varnish and silk, and, in baskets, woven ornamental fabrics. They floated along the Ji and Ta, and so reached the He.
The sea and (mount) Dai were the boundaries of Qing Zhou. (The territory of) Yu-yi was defined; and the Wei and Zi were made to keep their (old) channels. Its soil was whitish and rich. Along the shore of the sea were wide tracts of salt land. Its fields were the lowest of the first class, and its contribution of revenue the highest of the second. Its articles of tribute were salt, fine cloth of dolichos fibre, productions of the sea of various kinds; with silk, hemp, lead, pine trees, and strange stones, from the valleys of Dai. The wild people of Lai were taught tillage and pasturage, and brought in their baskets the silk from the mountain mulberry tree. They floated along the Wen, and so reached the Ji.
The sea, mount Dai, and the Huai were (the boundaries of) Xu Zhou. The Huai and the Yi (rivers) were regulated. The (hills) Meng and Yu were made fit for cultivation. (The waters of) Da-ye were confined (so as to form a marsh); and (the tract of) Dong-Yuan was successfully brought under management. The soil of this province was red, clayey, and rich. Its grass and trees grew more and more bushy. Its fields were the second of the highest class; its contribution of revenue was the average of the second. Its articles of tribute were: earth of five different colours, variegated pheasants from the valleys of mount Yu, the solitary dryandra from the south of mount Yi, and the sounding-stones that (seemed to) float on the (banks of the) Si. The wild tribes about the Huai brought oyster-pearls and fish, and their baskets full of deep azure and other silken fabrics, chequered and pure white. They floated along the Huai and the Si, and so reached the He.
The Huai and the sea formed (the boundaries of) Yang Zhou. The (lake of) Peng-li was confined to its proper limits, and the sun-birds (the wild geese) had places to settle on. The three Jiang were led to enter the sea, and it became possible to still the marsh of Zhen. The bamboos, small and large, then spread about; the grass grew thin and long, and the trees rose high; the soil was miry. The fields of this province were the lowest of the lowest class; its contribution of revenue was the highest of the lowest class, with a proportion of the class above. Its articles of tribute were gold, silver, and copper; yao and kun stones; bamboos, small and large; (elephants’) teeth, hides, feathers, hair, and timber. The wild people of the islands brought garments of grass, with silks woven in shell-patterns in their baskets. Their bundles contained small oranges and pummeloes, rendered when specially required. They followed the course of the Jiang and the sea, and so reached the Huai and the Si.
Mount) Jing and the south of (mount) Heng formed (the boundaries of) Jing Zhou. The Jiang and the Han pursued their (common) course to the sea, as if they were hastening to court. The nine Jiang were brought into complete order. The Tuo and Qian (streams) were conducted by their proper channels. The land in (the marsh of) Yun (became visible), and (the marsh of) Meng was made capable of cultivation. The soil of this province was miry. Its fields were the average of the middle class; and its contribution of revenue was the lowest of the highest class. Its articles of tribute were feathers, hair, (elephants’) teeth, and hides; gold, silver, and copper; chun trees, wood for bows, cedars, and cypresses; grindstones, whetstones, flint stones to make arrow-heads, and cinnabar; and the jun and lu bamboos, with the hu tree, (all good for making arrows) – of which the Three Regions were able to contribute the best specimens. The three-ribbed-rush was sent in bundles, put into cases. The baskets were filled with silken fabrics, azure and deep purple, and with strings of pearls that were not quite round. From the (country of the) nine Jiang, the great tortoise was presented when specially required (and found). They floated down the Jiang, the Tuo, the Qian, and the Han, and crossed (the country) to the Luo, whence they reached the most southern part of the He.
The Jing (mountain) and the He were (the boundaries of) Yu Zhou. The Yi, the Luo, the Chan, and the Jian were conducted to the He. The (marsh of) Rong-bo was confined within its proper limits. The (waters of that of) Ge were led to (the marsh of) Meng-zhu. The soil of this province was mellow; in the lower parts it was (in some places) rich, and (in others) dark and thin. Its fields were the highest of the middle class; and its contribution of revenue was the average of the highest class, with a proportion of the very highest. Its articles of tribute were varnish, hemp, fine cloth of dolichos fibre, and the boehmerea. The baskets were full of chequered silks, and of fine floss silk. Stones for polishing sounding-stones were rendered when required. They floated along the Luo, and so reached the He.
The south of (mount) Hua and the Blackwater, were (the boundaries of) Liang Zhou. The (hills) Min and Bo were made capable of cultivation. The Tuo and Qian streams were conducted by their proper channels. Sacrifices were offered to (the hills) Cai and Meng on the regulation (of the country about them). (The country of) the wild tribes about the He was successfully operated on. The soil of this province was greenish and light. Its fields were the highest of the lowest class; and its contribution of revenue was the average of the lowest class, with proportions of the rates immediately above and below. Its articles of tribute, were – the best gold, iron, silver, steel, flint stones to make arrow-heads, and sounding-stones; with the skins of bears, foxes, and jackals, and (nets) woven of their hair. From (the hill of) Xi-qing they came by the course of the Huan; floated along the Qian, and then crossed (the country) to the Mian; passed to the Wei, and (finally) ferried across the He.
The Black-water and western He were (the boundaries of) Yong Zhou. The Weak-water was conducted westwards. The Jing was led to mingle its waters with those of the Wei. The Qi and the Zhu were next led in a similar way (to the Wei), and the waters of the Feng found the same receptacle. (The mountains) Jing and Qi were sacrificed to. (Those of) Zhong-nan and Dun-we (were also regulated), and (all the way) on to Niao-shu. Successful measures could now be taken with the plains and swamps, even to (the marsh of) Zhu-ye. (The country of) San-wei was made habitable, and the (affairs of the) people of San-miao were greatly arranged. The soil of the province was yellow and mellow. Its fields were the highest of the highest class, and its contribution of revenue the lowest of the second. Its articles of tribute were the qiu jade and the lin, and (the stones called) lang-gan. Past Ji-shi they floated on to Long-men on the western He. They then met on the north of the Wei (with the tribute-bearers from other quarters) Hair-cloth and skins (were brought from) Kun-lun, Xi-zhi, and Ju-sou; the wild tribes of the West (all) coming to (submit to Yu’s) arrangements.
(Yu) surveyed and described (the hills), beginning with Qian and Qi, and proceeding to mount Jing; then, crossing the He, Hu-kou, and Lei-shou, going on to Tai-yue. (After these came) Di-zhu and Xi-cheng, from which he went on to Wang-wu; (then there were) Tai-hang and Mount Heng, from which he proceeded to the rocks of Jie, where he reached the sea.
(South of the He, he surveyed) Xi-qing, Zhu-yu, and Niao-shu, going on to Tai-hua; (then) Xiong-er, Wai-fang, and Tong-pai, from which he proceeded to Pei-wei.
He surveyed and described Bo-zhong, going on to (the other) mount Jing; and Nei-fang, from which he went on to Da-bie.
(He did the same with) the south of mount Min, and went on mount Heng. Then crossing the nine Jiang, he proceeded to the plain of Fu-qian.
He traced the Weak-water as far as the He-li (mountains), from which its superfluous waters went away among the moving sands.
He traced the Black-water as far as San-wei, from which it (went away to) enter the southern sea.
He traced the He from Ji-shi as far as Long-men; and thence, southwards, to the north of (mount) Hua; eastward then to Di-zhu; eastward (again) to the ford of Meng; eastward (still) to the junction of the Luo; and then on to Da-pi. (From this the course was) northwards, past the Jiang-water, on to Da-lu; north from which the river was divided, and became the nine He, which united again, and formed the Meeting He, when they entered the sea.
From Bo-zhong he traced the Yang, which, flowing eastwards, became the Han. Farther east it became the water of Cang-lang; and after passing the three Dykes, it went on to Da-bie, southwards from which it entered the Jiang. Eastward still, and whirling on, it formed the marsh of Peng-li; and from that its eastern flow was the northern Jiang, as which it entered the sea.
From mount Min he traced the Jiang, which, branching off to the east, formed the Tuo; eastward again, it reached the Li, passed the nine Jiang, and went on to Dong-ling; then flowing east, and winding to the north, it joined (the Han) with its eddying movements. From that its eastern flow was the middle Jiang, as which it entered the sea.
He traced the Yan water, which, flowing eastward, became the Ji, and entered the He. (Thereafter) it flowed out, and became the Ying (marsh). Eastward, it issued forth on the north of Tao-qiu, and flowed farther east to (the marsh of) Ge; then it went north-east, and united with the Wen; thence it went north, and (finally) entered the sea on the east.
He traced the Huai from the hill of Tong-bai. Flowing east, it united with the Si and the Yi, and (still) with an eastward course entered the sea.
He traced the Wei from (the hill) Niao-shu-tong-xue. Flowing eastward, it united with the Feng, and eastwards again with the Jing. Farther east still, it passed the Qi and the Ju, and entered the He.
He traced the Luo from (the hill) Xiong-er. Flowing to the north-east, it united with the Jian and the Chan, and eastwards still with the Yi. Then on the north-east it entered the He.
(Thus), throughout the nine provinces a similar order was effected:–the grounds along the waters were everywhere made habitable; the hills were cleared of their superfluous wood and sacrificed to; the sources of the rivers were cleared; the marshes were well banked; and access to the capital was secured for all within the four seas. The six magazines (of material wealth) were fully attended to; the different parts of the country were subjected to an exact comparison, so that contribution of revenue could be carefully adjusted according to their resources. (The fields) were all classified with reference to the three characters of the soil; and the revenues for the Middle Region were established. He conferred lands and surnames. (He said), ‘Let me set the example of a reverent attention to my virtue, and none will act contrary to my conduct.’
Five hundred li formed the Domain of the Sovereign. From the first hundred they brought as revenue the whole plant of the grain; from the second, the ears, with a portion of the stalk; from the third, the straw, but the people had to perform various services; from the fourth, the grain in the husk; and from the fifth, the grain cleaned.
Five hundred li (beyond) constituted the Domain of the Nobles. The first hundred li was occupied by the cities and lands of the (sovereign’s) high ministers and great officers; the second, by the principalities of the barons; and the (other) three hundred, by the various other princes.
Five hundred li (still beyond) formed the Peace-securing Domain. In the first three hundred, they cultivated the lessons of learning and moral duties; in the other two, they showed the energies of war and defence.
Five hundred li (remoter still) formed the Domain of Restraint. The (first) three hundred were occupied by the tribes of the Î; the (other) two hundred, by criminals undergoing the lesser banishment.
Five hundred li (the most remote) constituted the Wild Domain. The (first) three hundred were occupied by the tribes of the Man; the (other) two hundred, by criminals undergoing the greater banishment.
On the east, reaching to the sea; on the west, extending to the moving sands; to the utmost limits of the north and south – his fame and influence filled up (all within) the four seas. Yu presented the dark-coloured symbol of his rank, and announced the completion of his work.
History of Xia Yu
English translation: James Legge