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Panda, a common typing and binding worker in State Grid for 21 years. Own a bachelor degree of Chinese Language and Literature, and a certificate of teaching Chinese. She is pursuing a Master of Chinese Classical Literature in HuBei University, and studying the novels of Ming & Qing dynasties.
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摽有梅 Biao You Mei    

By Panda
4441 Views | 4 Comments | 4/7/2014 3:01:44 PM

Sandy339 has shared with us in her first blog the first poem of Book of Songs (Shi Jing) " Ode (Kwan ts’eu)”. Here I wish to add some background knowledge of Book of Songs.


Book of Songs is the earliest collection of poems and songs in China.  Three hundred and five pieces were collected over 500 years from the beginning of the West Zhou (the 11th century BC) to the middle of the Spring and Autumn period (the 6th century BC). The collection was called Poems (《诗》) or Three Hundred Poems (《诗三百》) in the pre-Qin period [usually referring to the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period (770BC to 221BC)].


In the Western Han (206BC to 25BC) they were acknowledged as Confucian classics and acquired the title Book of Songs (《诗经》). Most of the poems have four lines and are divided into three categories: feng  (风), ya (雅) and song (颂) poems. Feng poems are mostly folk songs from 15 states. Ya poems are songs sung for royal banquets and gatherings. Song poems are sung to dance music while offerings are made at the royal ancestral shrines and mostly praise the exploits of the ancestors.


There a lot of works in book of songs singing of the beautiful love and reflecting one aspect of the lives of the people in Zhou. Some love poems express adoring between men and women: forthright, bold and romantic. The one I want to share with everyone today is:


国风·召南·摽有梅 The 9th piece of Zhao Nan, Feng, Book of  Songs, Biao You Mei



Annotations :

①摽(biao4):落下,坠落。Fall. 有(you3):助词,没有实义。Anxiliary word, without meaning. 梅(mei2):梅树,果实就是梅子。Plum tree, the fruit is pulm.


③庶:众,多。Numerous. 士:指年轻的未婚男子。Bachelor.

④迨:及时。In time. 吉:吉日。Auspicious day.

⑤今:今日,现在。Today, now.

⑥顷筐:浅筐。Shallow basket. 墍 (ji):拾取。Collect.

⑦谓:以言相告。Say, tell.


Translate in modern Chinese and English:

梅子纷纷落在地,dropping are the fruits from the plum-tree;
树上剩下有七成。there are [but] seven [tenths] of them left!
追求我的小伙子,for the gentlemen who seek me,
切莫错过好时辰。this is the fortunate time!


梅子纷纷落在地,dropping are the fruits from the plum-tree;
树上剩下有三成。there are [but] three [tenths] of them left!
追求我的小伙子,for the gentlemen who seek me,
今天正是好时机。now is the time.


梅子纷纷落在地,dropt are the fruits from the plum-tree;
提着竹筐来拾取。in my shallow basket I have collected them.
追求我的小伙于,would the gentlemen who seek me
就等你说上一句。[only] speak about it!


If Sandy339 has a better version, please offer it up.


This is an intonation from a betrothed lady. With the plums, having gradually matured, falling to the ground more and more frequently day after day.  The mood of waiting for her suitor becomes more and more urgent.  At first she hopes the man will choose a good day to propose to her. Then she hopes he will propose to her today. Finally she says she can marry now. The lyrics are real and blunt and the narrative is emotional. The lady’s anxious mood comes through without disguise.


As the source of the development of Chinese literature, Book of Songs can be dated to the 11th century BC. It retains the feelings and hopes of our ancestors from which we can not only see their spirits, we can faintly see their elegant manner. While in the far ancient matriarchal society, how did humans breed and live?


In remote ages when humans were apes, each animal had its own heat; males only chased in females in heat. When the female was not rutting, the male would not try to please her. This kind of circumstance left a female who was not in heat to care for herself and to raise her offspring alone. This was obviously unfavorable for our female ancestors.


To overcome this disadvantage and to make a man invest in a woman long term, humans evolved a mechanism where women have very concealed ovulation.  Men don’t know what time a woman can become pregnant so men’s interest in women is now constant and they are always interested in chasing us and providing for future generations. How concealed is this ovulation period? Even the woman doesn’t know when it occurs.


The story tells us: If you want to deceive others, you must first to deceive yourself. If you can't deceive yourself, don't expect others to believe you. How to hide the anxiousness in your heart?  How to hide from the other party the fact that you are just looking for a provider? Do it in the way you see fit. I don't think there is really such an idea.


If want to get married, first you have to know what marriage is. Children are conceived in women and born by females. A woman's reproductive potential is much lower than a man, so:


A, Children are more important for a woman than for a man.


B, For a woman, the quality of children is more important than the quantity.


How about men? They have a huge reproductive potential. The problem is that if they are only willing to sow seeds but not to be responsible, women don't want to have relationships with them at all. So in sexual confrontations, humans developed a kind of coping mechanism -- marriage which is the commitment to long-term relationships. Monogamous marriage is the best and most consistent gaming mode that humans have sought out in ten million years.


We all know that girls in their 20’s and successful men in their 30’s and 40’s, have better options for reproductive rights. The corresponding women in their 30’s and 40’s and early 20’s young lads, in choosing a spouse, are more vulnerable. Even in the midst of legal protections and the constraints of public opinion, this status is still so.


Yes, I know you are very good and endowed with both beauty and talent. But men value age.  According to the results of a survey of more than 400 people, a girl over thirty years old has few choices in the marriage market. Her value in the eyes of the opposite sex even is less than that of the forty year old man seeking a 25 year old girl. Although this sort of thing makes feminists angry, anger is useless. Don't bow to the facts or be crushed by the facts.


Some women say that I must choose one of the best men to be husband. There are a lot of men I don’t want, It is not that men do not want me.


Maybe I need to emphasize a man’s looks, height, age, wealth, IQ, EQ and sexual ability. From the seven samples you can only choose up to five samples. You ask me why men cannot be perfect. I want to say, from a biological point of view, the characteristics of men that attract the opposite sex are similar to a peacock's tail. If the tail already can attract enough females, it doesn't need to grow up to five meters.


Even if male and female are both 22 years, the maturity cycles and reproductive cycles are different. He is a little boy just entering the age of marriage but you are a late marriage woman. If he marries after two years, people will feel it is too early; if you marry after two years that is called late child birth. He is not gossiped about even if he isn’t married by 35 years of age. If women don't marry by 28, we are censored by the media as a leftover woman.


So, we need to understand two things:


A. A 22 year old boy has the right to day dream, a 22 year old girl has none. A woman’s time is much more urgent than his time because a woman’s time is more precious than his.


B. When dawdling with a boy without marriage prospects, women can only be passive; the war is unjust from the start. We do not have any chance to grasp the initiative.


The above is the profound meaning of the poem Biao You Mei. Even the ancients understood this truth.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
(Showing 1 to 4 of 4) 1
#2014-04-09 21:03:13 by sandy339 @sandy339

Ok, thanks for futher explaination:)

More versions of translation:

卞之琳’s version:
Plop fall the plums,
Seven yet to pluck.
You who court me,
Get ready for your luck.

Plop fall the plums,
Three still on the bough
You who court me,
It is time now.

许渊冲’s version:
An old maid
The fruits from mume-tree fall,
One third oif them away,
If you love me at all,
Woo me a lucky day!
The fruits from mume-tree fall,
Two thirds of them away,
If you love me at all,
Woo me this very day!
The fruits from mume-tree fall,
Now all of them away,
If you love me at all
You need not woo but say.

Arther waley’s version:
Plop fall the plums,but there are still seven,
Let those gentleman that would court me,
Come while it is lucky,
Plop fall the plms;there are still three,
Let any gentleman that would court me,
Come before it is too late,
Plop fall the plumsl
In shallow basket we lay them,
Any gentleman who would court me
Have better speak while there is time.

#2014-04-10 13:38:41 by panda2009 @panda2009


I just know that the translations search available at your home, thanks for your sharing! I give a gift in return for the so beautiful translations:

"Don't say no no no no no just say yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah and we'll go go go go go if you're ready, like I'm ready cos it's a beautiful night we're looking for something dumb to do hey baby I think I wanna marry you!"

#2014-04-11 17:35:00 by Barry1 @Barry1


Here is another version of this famous poem.

The plum tree alone in the forest
finally starts dropping its fruit
the process is slow yet relentless
represents the maturation of hearts

the season continues as it must
tempting plums become ripened
and one plum on the ground
is fuller and sweeter than the rest

plums all dropped now are decaying
one plum in particular refuses to yield
waits patiently for caterpillar to feed
soon to turn into beautiful butterfly

#2014-04-12 08:36:46 by Barry1 @Barry1


"hey baby I think I wanna marry you!"

Your proposal for Sandy's hand in marriage is very touching, Panda.

Sandy in return no doubt feels honoured by this.

Though I suspect Sandy is probably preferring a MAN to marry, rather than a lady, even though unquestionably you're a very good catch for some lucky person.

Sorry, I was just kidding above. A little joke. I know the song lyrics you played Panda, are in fact the "Marry You" song as sung by Bruno Mars.

A very good version of this song is also performed by the Glee cast members.

I know the song well as I often play both versions of it in my capacity as a DJ at wedding receptions. I have to attend a reception tonight and will probably play the song there as well. It's a very appropriate and catchy tune to play on such occasions.

For those folk who can watch YouTube (getting around the government censorhip), both versions of the songs can be seen at:

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