King Ji, Jili
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King Ji
- Qin Shi #6
王季 1
琴史 #6 2

King Ji, whose original name was Jili, was the youngest son of Gugong Danfu (Tai Wang), and the father of 昌 Chang (Wen Wang).

The account here begins by following Shi Ji #4, substituting the phrase 祇迪厥德 ("only/spirit followed their/her virtue"?) for 皆賢婦人 ("were both worthy ladies").4

The melody Aishang zhi Ge5 (Song of Sad Affection) is mentioned in Cai Yong Qin Cao commentary on Zhou Taibo,6 the second melody of the Hejian Zage.

The final reference is to the second line in the third section (of eight) of Sovereign Might, which is poem 241 in the Shi Jing. The full third section says,7

God examined his hills.
    The oak-trees were uprooted,
    The pines and cypresses were cleared.
God made land, made a counterpart,
    Beginning with Tai-bo and Wang Ji.
Now this Wang Ji
    Was of heart accommodating and friendly,
Friendly to his elder brother,
    So that his luck was strong.
Great were the gifts that were bestowed upon him,
    Blessings he recieved and no disasters,
    Utterly he swayed the whole land.

The original biography in Qin Shi is as follows.8

Wang Ji was a son of Tai Wang. Tai Wang had an eldest son named Taibo; the next one was named 虞仲 Yuzhong. (His wife) 太姜 Taijiang gave birth to a younger son named 季歷 Jili. Jili married 太任 Tairen. (Taijiang and Tairen) only followed their virtue. (When Tairen) gave birth to Chang (Wen Wang) happy omens suggested he would be a sage. Gugong said,

In my time there should be one who succeeds (to power): will it not be Chang? Taibo and Yuzhong, knowing that Gugong wished to promote Jili in order to pass authority to Chang, both ran off to Jingman, tattooing their bodies and cutting their hair in order to yield (their seniority) to Jili. When Gugong died, (Jili) became King Ji.

(King Ji), thinking of Taibo, whom he couldn't see, wrote Song of Sad Affection, as seen in Qin Cao. Its lyrics begin,

The former kings are gone, long fallen in a foreign town.
Grief and heartache, unable to describe my inner feelings.

They also say,

Looking off towards Jing and Yue, more and more do tears flow.
Taibo! Yuzhong! How I wish you could pass by here.
Other than you two, to whom can I describe my grief?

Aiya! Taibo and Wang Ji's filial piety and brotherly love were pure to the extreme. The house of Zhou depended on them to be kings, and the results of their virtue were indeed magnificent.

As it said in the Book of Songs (see above),

God made land, made a counterpart,
    Beginning with Tai-bo and Wang Ji.

Thus is it explained.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 王季 Wang Ji (Wiki)
21295.734 王季, original name 季歷 Ji Li (or Jili). Only reference 史記,四.

King Ji's wife, 太任 Tai Ren, was also a significant personage; see Lienü Zhuan #106.

2. The 琴史 Qin Shi entry has 10 lines (Return)

4. Account in Shi Ji #4
GSR I, p.57.

5. 哀慕之歌 Aishang zhi Ge (Song of Sad Affection)
Aishang zhi Ge (3605.148 only Sad Affection) is here attributed to King Ji. The Cai Yong Qin Cao commentary on 周太伯 Zhou Taibo, the second melody of the Hejian Zage, also says King Ji wrote Aishang zhi Ge, quoting the entire lyrics. This seems to suggest that it was the same as Zhou Taibo (see next footnote.)

6. 周太伯 Zhou Taibo
Zhou Taibo (; 5965.211 太伯 double surname of Gugong Danfu's eldest son, so named because Gugong's youngest son, King Ji, called him "great uncle") is the title of the second melody of the Hejian Zage section of Cai Yong's Qin Cao. See previous footnote.

7. Shi Jing poem #241, third section (of eight)
The original text is as follows:


Translation above by Arthur Waley.

8. 王季 King Ji in Qin Shi
The original text is:











The above translation is tentative.


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