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CHINESE MUSICAL COMPOSIT1ONS. 165
In giving this, necessarily weak, translation of the opening part of the hymn, we have endeavored to preserve the short Iambics of the Chinese version; but in the Chinese there are only eight lines to the first division, therefore four lines of the translation correspond to one of the original. After the chorus has sung as far as this, which is only an exordium, or manner of worthily prepar­ing for the following exercises, the emperor prostrates himself three times, touching his fore­head to the earth each time, and then taking the libations, offers them up to the departed: meanwhile the chorus sing the second part of the hymn, still in the name of the emperor.* In this he again alludes per chorus, to his noble descent, and thanks them for leaving their abode of bliss to visit him, and humbly prostrated, begs to ren­der homage to them, and entreats that they will accept the libations offered, as a testimonial of profound respect and perfect love.f After offer­ing these, the emperor prostrates himself nine times to the earth, and then resumes his position in front of the table, while the chorus sing the third part of the hymn. During this final division of the music, the spirits which descended at the first pan are supposed to be reascending to Heaven. In the third part the emperor (still by proxy) states how mean and pitiful he feels, after such illustrious predecessors, and tells hf*v heavy
* Amiot dea Chin, p. 180.
t The offerings are viands, libations, and perfumes, the latter being burnt as incense by the emperor.






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