趣文共賞 Songs in Praise of an Upright Magistrate

Note: This post is part of a series where I reproduce random sources that I find interesting, with minimal annotation and commentary. Punctuation and translation (if given) are done by me unless otherwise stated. Corrections and comments are greatly appreciated.


I recently came across the collected writings of Zhang Xuan 張選 (1494-1568; jinshi 1529), native of Wuxi, who served as magistrate of Xiaoshan County 蕭山縣 (Shaoxing Prefecture, Zhejiang) during 1529-31. He is said to have been extremely able and upright, to the extent that a crowd of several tens of thousands gathered to send him off upon the conclusion of his three-year term. In addition to the usual collection of official documents, letters, and poems, Zhang’s collected writings contain an intriguing set of poems that were supposedly sung by people of Xiaoshan in praise of Zhang’s extraordinary governance. Among other accomplishments, Zhang is said to have equalized tax assessments, buried abandoned bodies, made locusts disappear, and turned tigers away.

Transcribed below are four out of the fourteen songs that appear in the appendix of Zhang’s collected writings. I do not assume that they reflect the voices of the ordinary people as claimed by preface writers, but the first poem does contain complaints that are quite specific to the Ming tax situation. Also interesting are some plain expressions that are likely not to be found in poems of more literary types (eg. 子孫了公事 睡到日頭升).

Source: Zhang Xuan 張選, Zhongjian Jingsi Zhang gong yiji 忠諫靜思張公遺集. Printed edition prefaced Kangxi 33 (1694), reproduced in Siku quanshu cunmu congshu. 9.13a-20b.


徭役均

出門見父老 滿道歡呼聲
問之何為者 父老陳其情
昔年縣官私 徭役失均平
一以阿權貴 一以私己營
說事過賄賂 馬下任公行
富者存作絕 貧者刻骨徵
邑有大鄉宦 免至二千丁
亦有小鄉官 兩丁羌弓兵
設或與辦觸 忿暴加酷刑
饑者不獲食 勞者弗獲寧
自從張侯來 立法公且平
視產計多寡 驗丁分重輕
豪富不苟免 貧乏得安生
且如權要家 舊日恣橫行
田糧動千百 戶大不分撑
輪到編役際 攀例免科徵
丁役盡蠲除 [缺一句?]
如今官執法 差撥無遺零
糧長每年定 里長十數名
銀差與力差 周遍不漏星
我等老年紀 遇此官長清
家破復可理 田荒復可耕
子孫了公事 睡到日頭升
予聞父老言 歡喜不自勝
誰能傳此語 上達天子聽
遍令九州內 法侯治蕭城

猛虎去

投牒移神驅猛獸 我侯德政感山神
南山白額一時去 共說張侯是宋均

虫蝗除

十異相傳說我侯 蕭山今日勝中牟
蝗飛出境無踪跡 百姓重歌歲有秋

瘞遺屍

先王掩骼順天時 今見張侯瘞路屍
仁澤尚能施死者 生民奚有不覃施

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