Hsieh of Yin’s mother was Chien Ti, who was one of the daughters of Yusung and the secondary wife of Emperor Ku. She was going with her two sisters to bathe, when she saw a dark bird drop its egg. Chien Ti picked it up, and swallowed it, and thus being with child gave birth to Hsieh. When Hsieh grew up, he was succeseful in assisting Yü to control the flood, and the Emperor Shun, directing Hsieh, said: “The people are wanting in affection for one another, and do not observe the five orders of relationship. You, as Minister of Instruction, should reverently inculcate the lessons of duty belonging to those five orders, but do so with gentleness.” He held in fief the principality of Shang, and was given the surname of Tzŭ (son). Hsieh flourished in the reigns of Yao, Shun, and the great Yü. His services were manifest to the people, who were accordingly at peace.
Hsieh (documents) died, and his son Chaoming (luminous) succeeded him.
Chaoming died, and his son Hsiangt‘u (view land) succeeded him.
Hsiangt‘u died, and his son Ch‘ang Jo (bright-like) succeeded him.
Ch‘ang Jo died, and his son Ts‘ao Yü (cattle-pens) succeeded him.
Ts‘ao Yü died, and his son Ming (obscure) succeeded him.
Ming died, and his son Chên (shake) succeeded him.
Chên died, and his son Wei (diminutive) succeeded him.
Wei died, and his son Paoting (report D) succeeded him.
Paoting died, and his son Paoyi (report B) succeeded him.
Paoyi died, and his son Paoping (report C) succeeded him.
Paoping died, and his son Chujên (lord I) succeeded him.
Chujên died, and his son Chu Kuei (lord J) succeeded him.
Chu Kuei died, and his son T‘ien Yi (Heaven B) or T‘ang the Completer succeeded him. “From Hsieh to T‘ang the Completer there were eight changes of the capital. T‘ang at first dwelt in Po, choosing the residence of the first king, and the ‘Emperor’s Announcement’ was written. When T‘ang made an expedition against the princes, the chief of Ko was not offering the proper sacrifices, and T‘ang began by punishing him.” T‘ang said: ‘I observe that if a man looks at the water he sees his reflection; if he seeks to make an impression on the people, should he not know how to govern?’ Iyin said: ‘That is clear! If you say that you will listen to reason you may offer yourself as ruler of the State. Whether the people do right or not depends entirely on the king and his ministers. Rouse yourself to action!’ T‘ang said: ‘If you cannot respect my commands, I will inflict upon you the extreme penalty death. You will not obtain forgiveness.’ “The punitive expedition of T‘ang was written.”
Iyin’s name was Ahêng. Ahêng wanted to meet T‘ang, but had no opportunity of doing so; he therefore became cook to the prince of Hsin, and while bringing T‘ang dishes to taste urged him to perfect himself in the way of the ancient kings.1 Some say that when Iyin was living in retirement T‘ang sent five times to invite him to a meeting before he would obey him, and talk about matters connected with the guileless king and the nine rulers. T‘ang promoted Jên to the administration of affairs. “Iyin went from T‘ang to Hsia. Being indignant with the sovereign of Hsia, he returned to Po, and as he entered by the north gate met Juchiu and Jufang, and the ‘Juchiu’ and ‘Jufang’ were written.” T‘ang went out and saw a rustic, who was spreading nets in every direction, and vowing that every bird in the sky should go into his net. T‘ang said, ‘What! all?’ Then, taking away the nets on three sides, he vowed that those which wanted to go to the left should go left, and those which wanted to go right should go right, and that only those which were the victims of fate should be caught in the net. The princes, hearing of it, said, ‘T‘ang’s kindness is extreme, and extends even to birds and beasts.’
At this time Chieh of Hsia was oppressive, and his rule dissipated, and one of the princes K‘unwu rebelled, so T‘ang, levying an army, put himself at the head of the princes. Iyin followed T‘ang, who, grasping a halberd, marched against K‘unwu, and then attacked Chieh. “T‘ang said: Come, ye multitudes of the people, listen ye all to my words. It is not I, the little child, who dare to raise a rebellion. The ruler of Hsia has committed many crimes. I have indeed heard the words of you all, but the Hsia ruler is an offender, and, as I fear the Supreme god, I dare not but punish him. Now, as the Hsia ruler has committed many crimes, Heaven has charged me to destroy him. Now, ye multitudes, you are saying, ‘Our sovereign does not compassionate us; he disregards our husbandry, and his government is a cruel one.’ You say, ‘As to his crimes, what remedy have we?’ The king of Hsia does nothing but exhaust his people’s strength, and treat the kingdom of Hsia oppressively. His people have all become idle, and are not in harmony with him, saying, ‘When will this sun set? We shall all perish together.’ Such being the conduct of the sovereign of Hsia, I must advance. If you help me, the one man, to carry out the punishment decreed by Heaven, and I will greatly reward you. On no account disbelieve me. I will not retract my words. If you do not carry out the words of my speech, I will put you and your children to death; you shall not be pardoned.”
This being announced to the army, “the speech of T‘ang was written.” T‘ang then said, ‘I am very warlike’; and he was styled the ‘warlike king.’Chieh was defeated in the wilds of Yusung, and fled to Mingt‘iao. “The army of Hsia being entirely defeated, T‘ang smote Santsung, where he captured the precious jewels. Ipo and Ch‘ungpo wrote the ‘Statutes and Jewels.’ When T‘ang had conquered Hsia, he wished to remove the altars to the spirits of the land, but was unable to do so, and the ‘Altar of Hsia’ was written.” Iyin made a report, and the princes being satisfied, T‘ang ascended the Imperial throne, and tranquillized the country within the four seas. “When T‘ang returned he came to T‘aichüant‘ao, and Chunghui wrote his announcement. Having made an end of the sovereignty of Hsia, T‘ang returned to Po and wrote the ‘Announcement of T‘ang.'” In the third month the king came himself to the eastern suburb and made the following announcement to the princes and nobles: ‘If you do not perform meritorious service for the people and be diligent in your business, I shall inflict the extreme punishment of death. Do not murmur against me.’ He also said: ‘Formerly Yü and Kaoyao laboured long in distant regions. They performed meritorious service for the people, who dwelt in peace. On the east there was the Great river, on the north the Chi, on the west the Yellow river, and on the south the Huai. These four streams were kept within bounds, and the people dwelt in safety. Prince Millet told them how to sow and cultivate the various kinds of grain. These three chiefs all performed meritorious service for the people, and were therefore ennobled. Formerly Ch‘ihyu and his officers raised a rebellion among the people but the [Yellow] Emperor disapproved, and his crimes were exposed. The words of the former kings cannot but rouse you to action. If you are unprincipled you shall not rule in the State. ‘Do not murmur against me.’ Thus he directed the princes. “Iyin wrote the book ‘Both possessed pure Virtue,’ and Chiutau wrote the ‘Illustrious Abode.'” T‘ang altered the day of the New Year, and changed the colour of the dresses, white being uniformly worn at State functions. “After the demise of T‘ang” his eldest son, “T‘aiting (Great D), died before he could come to the throne”; and so T‘aiting’s younger brother Waiping (Outer C), that is Emperor Waiping, came to the throne.
Emperor “Waiping” reigned “three years,” and died, and his brother Chungjên (Middle I), that is Emperor Chungjên, came to the throne.
Emperor “Chungjên” reigned “four years,” and died. Iyin then set T‘aiting’s son, T‘aichia (Great A), on the throne. He was T‘ang the Completer’s eldest legitimate grandson. This was Emperor T‘aichia. 1“In the first year of Emperor T‘aichia. Iyin wrote the ‘Instructions of I,’ the ‘Declaration of the Appointment of Heaven,’ and the ‘Deceased Sovereign.’ After Emperor T‘aichia had been on the throne” three years, “he proved unintelligent” and cruel. He did not obey T‘ang’s laws, and his conduct was disorderly, so “Iyin placed him in the Dryandra” (palace). For three years Iyin administered the government, and as ruler of the State gave audience to the nobles. After the Emperor T‘aichia had dwelt in the Dryandra palace “for three years, he repented of his errors, blamed himself, and amended his ways.” Whereupon Iyin met the Emperor T‘aichia and resigned to him the reins of government. Emperor T‘aichia became virtuous, the princes all returned to the Yin capital, and the people were tranquil. Iyin praised him, and “wrote the ‘Instructions to T‘aichia’ in three books.” Commending Emperor T‘aichia, he honoured him with the title of ‘Great Master.’
‘Great Master’ died, and his son Wuting (Glossy D) came to the throne. In Emperor Wuting’s reign, Iyin died. “When they had buried Iyin at Po, Chiu Tan set forth as lessons the doings of Iyin; and the ‘Wuting’ was written.”
Wuting died, and his brother T‘aikêng (Great G), that is Emperor T‘aikêng, came to the throne.
Emperor T‘aikêng died, and his son Emperor Hsiaochia (Little A) came to the throne.
Emperor Hsiaochia died, and his brother Yungchi (Harmonious F), that is Emperor Yungchi, came to the throne. The influence of the Yin dynasty beginning to decline, the princes occasionally neglected to come to court.
Emperor Yungchi died, and his brother T‘aimou (Great E), that is Emperor T‘aimou, came to the throne. In his reign “Ichih became prime minister, when there were omens in Po, for a mulberry tree and a stalk of grain grew up together in the court.” They attained full size in one evening, and Emperor T‘aimou, being alarmed, questioned Ichih on the subject. Ichih said: ‘I, your servant, have heard that virtue is not overcome by evil omens. There may be defects in your Majesty’s government, but let your Majesty cultivate virtue.’ T‘aimou followed his advice, and the ominous mulberry withered away. “Ichih consulted with Hsien the wizard,” who governed the king’s household admirably, “and wrote the ‘Hsien-ai'” and the ‘T‘aimou.’ Emperor “T‘aimou spoke on the subject with Ichih” in court, and said he was disloyal. Ichih gave up his post, and “wrote the original commands.” Yin prospered again, and the princes gave their allegiance to the Emperor, who was called Middle Master.
Middle Master died, and his son Emperor Chungting (Middle D) came to the throne. Emperor “Chungting removed to Hsiao. Hotanchia lived in Hsiang.” Tsuyi removed to Keng.
Emperor Chungting died, and his brother Waijên (Outer I), that is Emperor Waijen, came to the throne. The omissions in the book ‘Chungting’ were not supplied.
Emperor Waijên died, and his brother Hotanchia (River Truth A), that is Emperor Hotanchia, came to the throne. In his time the influence of Yin again began to wane.
Hotanchia died, and his son Emperor Tsuyi (Ancestor B) came to the throne. In Emperor Tsuyi’s time Yin again prospered, and the wizard Hsien held office.
Tsuyi died, and his son Emperor Tsuhsin (Ancestor H) came to the throne.
Emperor Tsuhsin died, and his brother Wuchia (Glossy A), i.e. Emperor Wuchia, came to the throne.
Emperor Wuchia died, and Tsuting (Ancestor D), that is Emperor Tsuting, who was Wuchia’s elder brother, was put on the throne.
Emperor Tsuting died, and his brother Wuchia’s son, Nankêng (South G), that is Emperor Nankêng, was put on the throne.
Emperor Nankêng died, and Emperor Tsuting’s son Yangchia (Male A), that is Emperor Yangchia, was put on the throne. In his reign the power of the Yins declined. Ever since the reign of Chungting the legitimate heir had been set aside, and junior scions put on the throne instead. These used to fight and displace each other. For the last nine generations there had been anarchy, and the princes neglected to come to court.
Emperor Yangchia died, and his brother Pankêng (Plate G), that is Emperor Pankêng, came to the throne. In his reign the Yins had their capital on the north of the Yellow river, but Pankêng crossed to the south of the river, and reoccupied the old palace of T‘ang the Completer. This “made the fifth change of capital,” and, as they had no fixed place of abode, “the people of Yin murmured and repined,” for they did not like moving about. Pankêng made the following announcement to the princes and ministers: ‘Formerly our exalted sovereign T‘ang the Completer, in conjunction with your ancestors, decided what laws and regulations of the empire should be attended to or set aside, but if you do not make an effort how can you attain perfection?’ He then crossed over to the south of the river, set up his capital at Po, and having adopted T‘ang’s system of government, the people were thereby tranquillized, and the fortunes of Yin were again in the ascendant. The princes came to court, and were influenced by the virtues of T‘ang the Completer.
Emperor Pankêng died, and his brother Hsiaohsin (Little H), that is Emperor Hsiaohsin, came to the throne. In his reign the power of Yin was again on the wane. The people remembered Pankêng, and “the ‘Pankêng’ in three parts was written.”
Emperor Hsiaohsin died, and his brother Hsiaoyi (Little B), that is Emperor Hsiaoyi, came to the throne.
Emperor Hsiaoyi died, and his son Emperor Wuting (Martial D) came to the throne. When Emperor Wuting was on the throne, he pondered how the Yin dynasty could be revivified, but as he had not obtained an assistant he “did not speak” for three years, government affairs having to be conducted by the prime minister, who examined into the customs of the country. Wuting “dreamed” one night “that he had found a holy man named Yue,” and, in order that he might secure the man he had seen in his dream, he passed under review his officers and ministers of State, but not one of them was the right man. He then “made all his officers search for him in the wilds, and Yue was discovered at the crag of Fu.” At this time Yue was a clerk, not “a builder at the crag of Fu.” He had an audience of Wuting, who said, ‘That is the right man.’ Having talked with him, and finding that he really was a holy man, Wuting promoted him to be his prime minister.” The kingdom of Yin was well governed in consequence, and he was named after the crag of Fu, being called Fu Yue. “Wuting was sacrificing to T‘ang the Completer” the next day, “when a pheasant flew up, lighted on the ear of a tripod, and crowed.” Wuting was alarmed, but “Tsuchi (Ancestor F) said” the king should not be anxious; he must first rectify the administration of affairs. “Tsuchi accordingly lectured the king, saying, ‘In its superintendence over men below, Heaven pays special regard to their proper behaviour, and bestows on them accordingly length of years or the reverse. Heaven does not cut short men’s lives; they bring them to an end themselves. Some men may not have conformed to virtue, and will not acknowledge their crimes; Heaven then charges them to correct their conduct, but they say, ‘What shall we do?’ Ah! the king should continuously treat the people with respect. Are they not Heaven’s descendants? Be constant in sacrificing, and do not worship with the rites of a discarded religion.'” Wuting instituted a government reform, and practised virtue. The whole nation rejoiced, and the fortunes of Yin again flourished.
Emperor Wuting died, and his son Emperor Tsukêng (Ancestor G) came to the throne. Tsuchi commended Wuting for considering the omen of the pheasant as a ground for practising virtue, and conferred on him the posthumous title of ‘exalted ancestor,’ and the ‘Day of the Supplementary Sacrifice of Kaotsung’ and the ‘Instructions [to Kaotsung]’ were written.”
Emperor Tsukêng died, and his brother Tsuchia (Ancestor A), that is Emperor Chia, came to the throne. He was dissipated, and the fortunes of Yin again waned.
Emperor Chia died, and his son Emperor Linhsin (Granary H) sat on the throne.
Emperor Linhsin died, and his brother Kêngting (G. D), that is Emperor Kêngting, sat on the throne.
Emperor Kêngting died, and his son Emperor Wuyi (Martial B) sat on the throne. The Yins again left Po, and crossed to the north bank of the river. The Emperor Wuyi was unprincipled and made images, which he called ‘Heavenly gods.’ With these he played chess, ordering some one to make the moves for them; and when the ‘celestial gods’ did not win he abused them, and making a leather bag, filled it with blood, threw it up and shot at it. This he called shooting at Heaven. While Wuyi was hunting between the Yellow and Wei rivers, there was a clap of thunder, and Wuyi was struck dead by lightning.
His son Emperor T‘aiting (Great D) came to the throne. Emperor T‘aiting died, and his son Emperor Yi (B) sat on the throne. In his reign the fortunes of Yin declined still further. Emperor Yi’s (B) eldest son was Ch‘i, viscount of Wei. Ch‘i’s mother being of low caste, he could not be heir to the throne. His younger son was Hsin (H), whose mother was the principal consort, and so he became the heir-apparent.
Emperor Yi died, and his son Hsin sat on the throne. Emperor Hsin was called by everybody in the empire Chou (the tyrant). Emperor Chou’s discrimination was acute, his hearing and sight particularly good, his natural abilities extraordinary, and his physical strength equal to that of a wild beast. He had cunning enough to evade reproofs, and volubility enough to gloss over his faults. He boasted that he was above his ministers on the ground of ability, and that he surpassed the people of the empire on account of his reputation. He indulged in wine, women, and lusts of all sorts. His partiality for Tachi (Actress F) caused him to carry out whatever she desired, so that his ministers had to devise new forms of dissipation, the most depraved dances and extravagant music; he increased the taxation in order to fill the Stag tower with money, and to store the granary at ‘Big bridge.’ He made a collection of dogs, horses, and curiosities, with which he filled his palaces; and enlarging his parks and towers at Shach‘iu, procured numbers of wild beasts and birds and put them therein. He slighted the spirits, assembled a great number of play actors at Shach‘iu, made a pond of wine, hung the trees with meat, made men and women chase each other about quite naked, and had drinking bouts the whole night long. The people murmured, and when the nobles rebelled Chouhsin increased the severity of his punishments, instituting the punishment of roasting.He appointed Ch‘ang Chief of the West, the prince of Chiu, and the prince of Ou his three principal ministers.
The prince of Chiu had a beloved daughter who was sent in to the emperor, and when she disapproved of his debaucheries the tyrant killed her in his rage, and made mincemeat of her father. The prince of Ou objected, and vehemently remonstrated with him, whereupon he was sliced to pieces. Ch‘ang Chief of the West, hearing of all this, sighed furtively, but ‘Tiger’ the prince of Ts‘ung, being aware of it, informed the tyrant, who thereupon cast Chief of the West into prison at Yuli. His servant Hungyao and others procured a pretty girl, rare curiosities, and fine horses, which they presented to the tyrant, who thereupon pardoned Chief of the West. The latter went forth and gave the country to the west of the Lo river to the tyrant, and begged that he would abolish the punishment of roasting. The emperor agreed to this, and gave him bows, arrows, axes, and halberds, with a commission to start on a warlike expedition. He was appointed Chief of the West, and Feich‘ung was employed in the government. Feich‘ung was fond of flattery and greedy of gain, so the men of Yin were not attached to him. The tyrant also gave Alai an appointment, but Alai was fond of vilifying persons, so the princes became more and more estranged from the court. Now Chief of the West, on returning from his expedition, secretly cultivated virtue, and was charitable; many of the princes revolted from the tyrant and gave their allegiance to Chief of the West, who from this time gained in influence, while the tyrant rather lost his authority.
The monarch’s son Pikan remonstrated with his father, but he was not listened to. Shangyung praised his worth, and the people loved him, but the tyrant set him aside. Chief of the West marched against and conquered the Chi State, and the tyrant’s minister “Tsu-i” heard of it, and “blaming [the house of] Chou hurried off in alarm to report it to the tyrant.” “He said: ‘Heaven is bringing to an end the destiny of our dynasty of Yin; great men and the ancient tortoise do not venture to foretell good fortune. It is not that the former kings do not aid us men of this later time; but you, O king, by your dissoluteness and oppression are cutting yourself off. Heaven has therefore rejected us; we do not eat our meals in peace, we do not consider our heavenly nature, we do not follow and observe the statutes. Our people are now all longing for the destruction of the dynasty, saying, Why does not Heaven send down its awe-inspiring authority? Why is not its great decree manifested? What remedy is there against the present king?’ The tyrant said: ‘Is not my life secured by the decree of Heaven?’ Tsu-i returned, and said,” ‘The tyrant cannot be remonstrated with.’ Chief of the West having died, King Wu of Chou in his march eastward arrived at the ford of Mêng.
The princes revolted, and 800 princes of the house of Chou having assembled declared that the tyrant ought to be attacked. King Wu said, ‘You know nothing of Heaven’s decree,’ and retired. The tyrant abandoned himself all the more to lust and dissipation, and the viscount of Wei remonstrated with him several times, but he would not heed, so having consulted with the senior and junior tutors the viscount of Wei withdrew from court. Pikan said, ‘A minister cannot but argue to the death’; he accordingly remonstrated vehemently with the tyrant, who in a rage said, ‘I have heard that the heart of a holy man has seven apertures,’ and cut Pikan open to look at his heart. The viscount of Chi, in terror, then feigned himself mad, and “became a slave,” and the tyrant again imprisoned him. The senior and junior tutors of Yin, accordingly, taking the sacrificial and musical implements, hastened to the Chou State, and King Wu of Chou upon this marched at the head of the princes to attack the tyrant, who also sent out an army to withstand him in the plain of Mu. On the day Chia-tzŭ the tyrant’s troops were beaten, and he himself fled to the Stag tower, which he ascended, and, putting on his gorgeous robes and jewels, burnt himself to death. King Wu of Chou then cut off the tyrant’s head and exhibited it on a pole; he also slew Tachi, “released the viscount of Chi from prison, raised a tumulus over the grave of Pikan, and made a eulogy to the memory of Shangyung.” His sons, Wukêng and Lüfu, were appointed to continue the sacrifices to the Yins. He restored Pankêng’s mode of administration, and the people of Yin were greatly rejoiced. Whereupon King Wu of Chou became Son of Heaven (emperor). His descendants abolished the title of Ti (divine emperor), and called themselves kings (Wang); and the descendants of the Yins were made princes subordinate to the house of Chou.
After the death of King Wu of Chou, Wukêng, Kuanshu, and Ts‘aishu rebelled. King Ch‘eng ordered the duke of Chou to execute them, and the viscount of Wei was established in the Sung State to continue (the ancestral worship as) a descendant of the Yins.
Translation by Herbert J. Allen