Classic of Poetry

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The Classic of Poetry, also Shijing or Shih-ching, translated variously as the Book of Songs, Book of Odes, or simply known as the Odes or Poetry is the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry, comprising 305 works dating from the 11th to 7th centuries BC. It is one of the "Five Classics" traditionally said to have been compiled by Confucius, and has been studied and memorized by scholars in China and neighboring countries over two millennia. Since the Qing dynasty, its rhyme patterns have also been analysed in the study of Old Chinese phonology.


  • 關關雎鳩、在河之洲。
    • Guan-guan go the ospreys,
      On the islet in the river.
      The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady:
      For our prince a good mate she.
      • Translated by James Legge
    • Waterfowl their mates are calling,
      On the islets in the stream.
      Chaste and modest maid! fit partner,
      For our lord (thyself we deem).
      • Translated by William Jennings