(In this 10th and final installment of this blog’s Huangling Bei 皇陵碑 translation, Zhu Yuanzhang establishes a proper cemetery for his parents and contemplates their suffering. Click here to see the previous section. Also – click on any line number to see complete annotations of each section.)
Line 91: 欲厚陵之微葬，卜者乃曰:不可，而地且臧。I desired a more lavish tomb for the modest graves, but the one who divined said that this could not happen, because the burial location was auspicious.
Line 92: 於是祀事之禮已定，每精潔乎蒸嘗。Therefore the sacrificial duties of performing rituals were established, and each spirit was kept pure through the seasonal offerings.
Line 93: 惟劬勞罔極之恩難報，勒石銘於皇堂。Thinking of my parents’ toil and suffering, I know I can never repay their limitless kindness, I can only carve into stone the inscription for this imperial hall.
Line 94: 世世承運而務德，必仿佛於殷商。If we rule with virtue, then generation after generation, this dynasty will last as long as the Yin-Shang era.
Line 95: 淚筆以述難，諭嗣以撫昌。With tears and a brush I write out my difficulties and instruct my heirs to nurture prosperity.
Line 96: 稽首再拜，願時時而來饗。I bow down, and bow down again, desiring that for time everlasting my parents will receive ritual offerings here.
Dateline: 洪武十一年，歲次戊午，七月吉日建。Erected on an auspicious day in the seventh month in the 11th year of the Hongwu Era.
To learn more about this text click on 大明皇陵之碑 The Imperial Tomb Tablet of the Great Ming.
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