Chinese Literature
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Ki K'ang once sent him a present of some medicine. He bowed, and received it; but remarked, "Until I am quite sure of its properties I must not venture to taste it."

Once when the stabling was destroyed by fire, he withdrew from the Court, and asked, "Is any person injured? "—without inquiring as to the horses.

Whenever the prince sent him a present of food, he was particular to set his mat in proper order, and would be the first one to taste it. If the prince's present was one of raw meat, he must needs have it cooked, and make an oblation of it. If the gift were a live animal, he would be sure to keep it and care for it.

When he was in waiting, and at a meal with the prince, the prince would make the offering,[25] and he (the Master) was the pregustator.

When unwell, and the prince came to see him, he would arrange his position so that his head inclined towards the east, would put over him his Court robes, and draw his girdle across them.

When summoned by order of the prince, he would start off without waiting for his horses to be put to.

On his entry into the Grand Temple, he inquired about everything connected with its usages.

If a friend died, and there were no near relatives to take him to, he would say, "Let him be buried from my house."

For a friend's gift—unless it consisted of meat that had been offered in sacrifice—he would not bow, even if it were a carriage and horses.

In repose he did not lie like one dead. In his home life he was not formal in his manner.

Whenever he met with a person in mourning, even though it were a familiar acquaintance, he would be certain to change his manner; and when he met with any one in full-dress cap, or with any blind person, he would also unfailingly put on a different look, even though he were himself in undress at the time.

In saluting any person wearing mourning he would bow forwards towards the front bar of his carriage; in the same manner he would also salute the bearer of a census-register.

When a sumptuous banquet was spread before him, a different expression would be sure to appear in his features, and he would rise up from his seat.

At a sudden thunder-clap, or when the wind grew furious, his look would also invariably be changed.

On getting into his car, he would never fail (first) to stand up erect, holding on by the strap. When in the car, he would never look about, nor speak hastily, nor bring one hand to the other.

"Let one but make a movement in his face, And the bird will rise and seek some safer place."

Apropos of this, he said, "Here is a hen-pheasant from Shan Liang—and in season! and in season!" After Tsz-lu had got it prepared, he smelt it thrice, and then rose up from his seat.

[Footnote 22: Because, it is said, such colors were adopted in fasting and mourning.]

[Footnote 23: Because they did not belong to the five correct colors (viz. green, yellow, carnation, white, and black), and were affected more by females.]

[Footnote 24: Since white was, as it is still, the mourning color.]

[Footnote 25: The act of "grace," before eating.]


Comparative Worth of His Disciples

"The first to make progress in the Proprieties and in Music," said the Master, "are plain countrymen; after them, the men of higher standing. If I had to employ any of them, I should stand by the former."

"Of those," said he, "who were about me when I was in the Ch'in and Ts'ai States, not one now is left to approach my door."

"As for Hwui," [26] said the Master, "he is not one to help me on: there is nothing I say but he is not well satisfied with."

"What a dutiful son was Min Tsz-k'ien!" he exclaimed. "No one finds occasion to differ from what his parents and brothers have said of him."

Nan Yung used to repeat three times over the lines in the Odes about the white sceptre. Confucius caused his own elder brother's daughter to be given in marriage to him.

When Ki K'ang inquired which of the disciples were fond of learning, Confucius answered him, "There was one Yen Hwui who was fond of it; but unfortunately his allotted time was short, and he died; and now his like is not to be found."

When Yen Yuen died, his father, Yen Lu, begged for the Master's carriage in order to get a shell for his coffin. "Ability or no ability," said the Master, "every father still speaks of 'my son.' When my own son Li died, and the coffin for him had no shell to it, I know I did not go on foot to get him one; but that was because I was, though retired, in the wake of the ministers, and could not therefore well do so."

On the death of Yen Yuen the Master exclaimed, "Ah me! Heaven is ruining me, Heaven is ruining me!"

On the same occasion, his wailing for that disciple becoming excessive, those who were about him said, "Sir, this is too much!"—"Too much?" said he; "if I am not to do so for him, then—for whom else?"

The disciples then wished for the deceased a grand funeral. The Master could not on his part consent to this. They nevertheless gave him one. Upon this he remarked, "He used to look upon me as if I were his father. I could never, however, look on him as a son. Twas not my mistake, but yours, my children."

Tsz-lu propounded a question about ministering to the spirits of the departed. The Master replied, "Where there is scarcely the ability to minister to living men, how shall there be ability to minister to the spirits?" On his venturing to put a question concerning death, he answered, "Where there is scarcely any knowledge about life, how shall there be any about death?"

The disciple Min was by his side, looking affable and bland; Tsz-lu also, looking careless and intrepid; and Yen Yu and Tsz-kung, firm and precise. The Master was cheery. "One like Tsz-lu there," said he, "does not come to a natural end."

Some persons in Lu were taking measures in regard to the Long Treasury House. Min Tsz-k'ien observed, "How if it were repaired on the old lines?" The Master upon this remarked, "This fellow is not a talker, but when he does speak he is bound to hit the mark!"

"There is Yu's harpsichord," exclaimed the Master—"what is it doing at my door?" On seeing, however, some disrespect shown to him by the other disciples, he added, "Yu has got as far as the top of the hall; only he has not yet entered the house."

Tsz-kung asked which was the worthier of the two—Tsz-chang or Tsz-hia. "The former," answered the Master, "goes beyond the mark; the latter falls short of it."

"So then Tsz-chang is the better of the two, is he?" said he.

"To go too far," he replied, "is about the same as to fall short."

The Chief of the Ki family was a wealthier man than the Duke of Chow had been, and yet Yen Yu gathered and hoarded for him, increasing his wealth more and more.

"He is no follower of mine," said the Master. "It would serve him right, my children, to sound the drum, and set upon him."

Characteristics of four disciples:—Tsz-kau was simple-minded; Tsang Si, a dullard; Tsz-chang, full of airs; Tsz-lu, rough.

"As to Hwui," said the Master, "he comes near to perfection, while frequently in great want. Tsz-kung does not submit to the appointments of Heaven; and yet his goods are increased;—he is often successful in his calculations."

Tsz-chang wanted to know some marks of the naturally Good Man.

"He does not walk in others' footprints," said the Master; "yet he does not get beyond the hall into the house."

Once the Master said, "Because we allow that a man's words have something genuine in them, are they necessarily those of a superior man? or words carrying only an outward semblance and show of gravity?"

Tsz-lu put a question about the practice of precepts one has heard. The Master's reply was, "In a case where there is a father or elder brother still left with you, how should you practise all you hear?"

When, however, the same question was put to him by Yen Yu, his reply was, "Yes; do so."

Kung-si Hwa animadverted upon this to the Master. "Tsz-lu asked you, sir," said he, "about the practice of what one has learnt, and you said, 'There may be a father or elder brother still alive'; but when Yen Yu asked the same question, you answered, 'Yes, do so.' I am at a loss to understand you, and venture to ask what you meant."

The Master replied, "Yen Yu backs out of his duties; therefore I push him on. Tsz-lu has forwardness enough for them both; therefore I hold him back."

On the occasion of that time of fear in K'wang, Yen Yuen having fallen behind, the Master said to him (afterwards), "I took it for granted you were a dead man." "How should I dare to die," said he, "while you, sir, still lived?"

On Ki Tsz-jen putting to him a question anent Tsz-lu and Yen Yu, as to whether they might be called "great ministers," the Master answered, "I had expected your question, sir, to be about something extraordinary, and lo! it is only about these two. Those whom we call 'great ministers' are such as serve their prince conscientiously, and who, when they cannot do so, retire. At present, as regards the two you ask about, they may be called 'qualified ministers.'"

"Well, are they then," he asked, "such as will follow their leader?"

"They would not follow him who should slay his father and his prince!" was the reply.

Through the intervention of Tsz-lu, Tsz-kau was being appointed governor of Pi.

"You are spoiling a good man's son," said the Master.

Tsz-lu rejoined, "But he will have the people and their superiors to gain experience from, and there will be the altars; what need to read books? He can become a student afterwards."

"Here is the reason for my hatred of glib-tongued people," said the Master.

On one occasion Tsz-lu, Tsang Sin, Yen Yu, and Kung-si Hwa were sitting near him. He said to them, "Though I may be a day older than you, do not (for the moment) regard me as such. While you are living this unoccupied life you are saying, 'We do not become known.' Now suppose some one got to know you, what then?"

Tsz-lu—first to speak—at once answered, "Give me a State of large size and armament, hemmed in and hampered by other larger States, the population augmented by armies and regiments, causing a dearth in it of food of all kinds; give me charge of that State, and in three years' time I should make a brave country of it, and let it know its place."

The Master smiled at him. "Yen," said he, "how would it be with you?"

"Give me," said Yen, "a territory of sixty or seventy li square, or of fifty or sixty square; put me in charge of that, and in three years I should make the people sufficiently prosperous. As regards their knowledge of ceremonial or music, I should wait for superior men to teach them that."

"And with you, Kung-si, how would it be?"

This disciple's reply was, "I have nothing to say about my capabilities for such matters; my wish is to learn. I should like to be a junior assistant, in dark robe and cap, at the services of the ancestral temple, and at the Grand Receptions of the Princes by the Sovereign."

"And with you, Tsang Sin?"

This disciple was strumming on his harpsichord, but now the twanging ceased, he turned from the instrument, rose to his feet, and answered thus: "Something different from the choice of these three." "What harm?" said the Master; "I want each one of you to tell me what his heart is set upon." "Well, then," said he, "give me—in the latter part of spring—dressed in full spring-tide attire—in company with five or six young fellows of twenty, [27] or six or seven lads under that age, to do the ablutions in the I stream, enjoy a breeze in the rain-dance, [28] and finish up with songs on the road home."

The Master drew in his breath, sighed, and exclaimed, "Ah, I take with you!"

The three other disciples having gone out, leaving Tsang Sin behind, the latter said, "What think you of the answers of those three?"—"Well, each told me what was uppermost in his mind," said the Master;—"simply that."

"Why did you smile at Tsz-lu, sir?"

"I smiled at him because to have the charge of a State requires due regard to the Rules of Propriety, and his words betrayed a lack of modesty."

"But Yen, then—he had a State in view, had he not?"

"I should like to be shown a territory such as he described which does not amount to a State."

"But had not Kung-si also a State in view?"

"What are ancestral temples and Grand Receptions, but for the feudal lords to take part in? If Kung-si were to become an unimportant assistant at these functions, who could become an important one?"

[Footnote 26: The men of virtuous life were Yen Yuen (Hwui), Min Tsz-k'ien, Yen Pihniu, and Chung-kung (Yen Yung); the speakers and debaters were Tsai Wo and Tsz-kung; the (capable) government servants were Yen Yu and Tsz-lu; the literary students, Tsz-yu and Tsz-hia.]

[Footnote 27: Lit., capped ones. At twenty they underwent the ceremony of capping, and were considered men.]

[Footnote 28: I.e., before the altars, where offerings were placed with prayer for rain. A religious dance.]


The Master's Answers—Philanthropy—Friendships

Yen Yuen was asking about man's proper regard for his fellow-man. The Master said to him, "Self-control, and a habit of falling back upon propriety, virtually effect it. Let these conditions be fulfilled for one day, and every one round will betake himself to the duty. Is it to begin in one's self, or think you, indeed! it is to begin in others?"

"I wanted you to be good enough," said Yen Yuen, "to give me a brief synopsis of it."

Then said the Master, "Without Propriety use not your eyes; without it use not your ears, nor your tongue, nor a limb of your body."

"I may be lacking in diligence," said Yen Yuen, "but with your favor I will endeavor to carry out this advice."

Chung-kung asked about man's proper regard for his fellows.

To him the Master replied thus: "When you go forth from your door, be as if you were meeting some guest of importance. When you are making use of the common people (for State purposes), be as if you were taking part in a great religious function. Do not set before others what you do not desire yourself. Let there be no resentful feelings against you when you are away in the country, and none when at home."

"I may lack diligence," said Chung-kung, "but with your favor I will endeavor to carry out this advice."

Sz-ma Niu asked the like question. The answer he received was this: "The words of the man who has a proper regard for his fellows are uttered with difficulty."

"'His words—uttered with difficulty?'" he echoed, in surprise. "Is that what is meant by proper regard for one's fellow-creatures?"

"Where there is difficulty in doing," the Master replied, "will there not be some difficulty in utterance?"

The same disciple put a question about the "superior man." "Superior men," he replied, "are free from trouble and apprehension."

"'Free from trouble and apprehension!'" said he. "Does that make them 'superior men'?"

The Master added, "Where there is found, upon introspection, to be no chronic disease, how shall there be any trouble? how shall there be any apprehension?"

The same disciple, being in trouble, remarked, "I am alone in having no brother, while all else have theirs—younger or elder."

Tsz-hia said to him, "I have heard this: 'Death and life have destined times; wealth and honors rest with Heaven. Let the superior man keep watch over himself without ceasing, showing deference to others, with propriety of manners—and all within the four seas will be his brethren. How should he be distressed for lack of brothers!'" [29]

Tsz-chang asked what sort of man might be termed "enlightened."

The Master replied, "That man with whom drenching slander and cutting calumny gain no currency may well be called enlightened. Ay, he with whom such things make no way may well be called enlightened in the extreme."

Tsz-kung put a question relative to government. In reply the Master mentioned three essentials:—sufficient food, sufficient armament, and the people's confidence.

"But," said the disciple, "if you cannot really have all three, and one has to be given up, which would you give up first?"

"The armament," he replied.

"And if you are obliged to give up one of the remaining two, which would it be?"

"The food," said he. "Death has been the portion of all men from of old. Without the people's trust nothing can stand."

Kih Tsz-shing once said, "Give me the inborn qualities of a gentleman, and I want no more. How are such to come from book-learning?"

Tsz-kung exclaimed, "Ah! sir, I regret to hear such words from you. A gentleman!—But 'a team of four can ne'er o'er-take the tongue!' Literary accomplishments are much the same as inborn qualities, and inborn qualities as literary accomplishments. A tiger's or leopard's skin without the hair might be a dog's or sheep's when so made bare."

Duke Ngai was consulting Yu Joh. Said he, "It is a year of dearth, and there is an insufficiency for Ways and Means—what am I to do?"

"Why not apply the Tithing Statute?" said the minister.

"But two tithings would not be enough for my purposes," said the duke; "what would be the good of applying the Statute?"

The minister replied, "So long as the people have enough left for themselves, who of them will allow their prince to be without enough? But—when the people have not enough, who will allow their prince all that he wants?"

Tsz-chang was asking how the standard of virtue was to be raised, and how to discern what was illusory or misleading. The Master's answer was, "Give a foremost place to honesty and faithfulness, and tread the path of righteousness, and you will raise the standard of virtue. As to discerning what is illusory, here is an example of an illusion:—Whom you love you wish to live; whom you hate you wish to die. To have wished the same person to live and also to be dead—there is an illusion for you."

Duke King of Ts'i consulted Confucius about government. His answer was, "Let a prince be a prince, and ministers be ministers; let fathers be fathers, and sons be sons."

"Good!" exclaimed the duke; "truly if a prince fail to be a prince, and ministers to be ministers, and if fathers be not fathers, and sons not sons, then, even though I may have my allowance of grain, should I ever be able to relish it?"

"The man to decide a cause with half a word," exclaimed the Master, "is Tsz-lu!"

Tsz-lu never let a night pass between promise and performance.

"In hearing causes, I am like other men," said the Master. "The great point is—to prevent litigation."

Tsz-chang having raised some question about government, the Master said to him, "In the settlement of its principles be unwearied; in its administration—see to that loyally."

"The man of wide research," said he, "who also restrains himself by the Rules of Propriety, is not likely to transgress."

Again, "The noble-minded man makes the most of others' good qualities, not the worst of their bad ones. Men of small mind do the reverse of this."

Ki K'ang was consulting him about the direction of public affairs. Confucius answered him, "A director should be himself correct. If you, sir, as a leader show correctness, who will dare not to be correct?"

Ki K'ang, being much troubled on account of robbers abroad, consulted Confucius on the matter. He received this reply: "If you, sir, were not covetous, neither would they steal, even were you to bribe them to do so."

Ki K'ang, when consulting Confucius about the government, said, "Suppose I were to put to death the disorderly for the better encouragement of the orderly—what say you to that?"

"Sir," replied Confucius, "in the administration of government why resort to capital punishment? Covet what is good, and the people will be good. The virtue of the noble-minded man is as the wind, and that of inferior men as grass; the grass must bend, when the wind blows upon it."

Tsz-chang asked how otherwise he would describe the learned official who might be termed influential.

"What, I wonder, do you mean by one who is influential?" said the Master.

"I mean," replied the disciple, "one who is sure to have a reputation throughout the country, as well as at home."

"That," said the Master, "is reputation, not influence. The influential man, then, if he be one who is genuinely straightforward and loves what is just and right, a discriminator of men's words, and an observer of their looks, and in honor careful to prefer others to himself—will certainly have influence, both throughout the country and at home. The man of mere reputation, on the other hand, who speciously affects philanthropy, though in his way of procedure he acts contrary to it, while yet quite evidently engrossed with that virtue—will certainly have reputation, both in the country and at home."

Fan Ch'i, strolling with him over the ground below the place of the rain-dance, said to him, "I venture to ask how to raise the standard of virtue, how to reform dissolute habits, and how to discern what is illusory?"

"Ah! a good question indeed!" he exclaimed. "Well, is not putting duty first, and success second, a way of raising the standard of virtue? And is not attacking the evil in one's self, and not the evil which is in others, a way of reforming dissolute habits? And as to illusions, is not one morning's fit of anger, causing a man to forget himself, and even involving in the consequences those who are near and dear to him—is not that an illusion?"

The same disciple asked him what was meant by "a right regard for one's fellow-creatures." He replied, "It is love to man."

Asked by him again what was meant by wisdom, he replied, "It is knowledge of man."

Fan Ch'i did not quite grasp his meaning.

The Master went on to say, "Lift up the straight, set aside the crooked, so can you make the crooked straight."

Fan Ch'i left him, and meeting with Tsz-hia he said, "I had an interview just now with the Master, and I asked him what wisdom was. In his answer he said, 'Lift up the straight, set aside the crooked, and so can you make the crooked straight.' What was his meaning?"

"Ah! words rich in meaning, those," said the other. "When Shun was emperor, and was selecting his men from among the multitude, he 'lifted up' Kau-yau; and men devoid of right feelings towards their kind went far away. And when T'ang was emperor, and chose out his men from the crowd, he 'lifted up' I-yin—with the same result."

Tsz-kung was consulting him about a friend. "Speak to him frankly, and respectfully," said the Master, "and gently lead him on. If you do not succeed, then stop; do not submit yourself to indignity."

The learned Tsang observed, "In the society of books the 'superior man' collects his friends; in the society of his friends he is furthering good-will among men."

[Footnote 29: From Confucius, it is generally thought.]


Answers on the Art of Governing—Consistency

Tsz-lu was asking about government. "Lead the way in it," said the Master, "and work hard at it."

Requested to say more, he added, "And do not tire of it."

Chung-kung, on being made first minister to the Chief of the Ki family, consulted the Master about government, and to him he said, "Let the heads of offices be heads. Excuse small faults. Promote men of sagacity and talent."

"But," he asked, "how am I to know the sagacious and talented, before promoting them?"

"Promote those whom you do know," said the Master.

"As to those of whom you are uncertain, will others omit to notice them?"

Tsz-lu said to the Master, "As the prince of Wei, sir, has been waiting for you to act for him in his government, what is it your intention to take in hand first?"

"One thing of necessity," he answered—"the rectification of terms."

"That!" exclaimed Tsz-lu. "How far away you are, sir! Why such rectification?"

"What a rustic you are, Tsz-lu!" rejoined the Master. "A gentleman would be a little reserved and reticent in matters which he does not understand. If terms be incorrect, language will be incongruous; and if language be incongruous, deeds will be imperfect. So, again, when deeds are imperfect, propriety and harmony cannot prevail, and when this is the case laws relating to crime will fail in their aim; and if these last so fail, the people will not know where to set hand or foot. Hence, a man of superior mind, certain first of his terms, is fitted to speak; and being certain of what he says can proceed upon it. In the language of such a person there is nothing heedlessly irregular—and that is the sum of the matter."

Fan Ch'i requested that he might learn something of husbandry. "For that." said the Master, "I am not equal to an old husbandman." Might he then learn something of gardening? he asked. "I am not equal to an old gardener." was the reply.

"A man of little mind, that!" said the Master, when Fan Ch'i had gone out. "Let a man who is set over the people love propriety, and they will not presume to be disrespectful. Let him be a lover of righteousness, and they will not presume to be aught but submissive. Let him love faithfulness and truth, and they will not presume not to lend him their hearty assistance. Ah, if all this only were so, the people from all sides would come to such a one, carrying their children on their backs. What need to turn his hand to husbandry?

"Though a man," said he, "could hum through the Odes—the three hundred—yet should show himself unskilled when given some administrative work to do for his country; though he might know much of that other lore, yet if, when sent on a mission to any quarter, he could answer no question personally and unaided, what after all is he good for?

"Let a leader," said he, "show rectitude in his own personal character, and even without directions from him things will go well. If he be not personally upright, his directions will not be complied with."

Once he made the remark, "The governments of Lu and of Wei are in brotherhood."

Of King, a son of the Duke of Wei, he observed that "he managed his household matters well. On his coming into possession, he thought, 'What a strange conglomeration!'—Coming to possess a little more, it was, 'Strange, such a result!' And when he became wealthy, 'Strange, such elegance!'"

The Master was on a journey to Wei, and Yen Yu was driving him. "What multitudes of people!" he exclaimed. Yen Yu asked him, "Seeing they are so numerous, what more would you do for them?"

"Enrich them," replied the Master.

"And after enriching them, what more would you do for them?"

"Instruct them."

"Were any one of our princes to employ me," he said, "after a twelvemonth I might have made some tolerable progress;"

Again, "How true is that saying, 'Let good men have the management of a country for a century, and they would be adequate to cope with evil-doers, and thus do away with capital punishments,'"

Again, "Suppose the ruler to possess true kingly qualities, then surely after one generation there would be good-will among men."

Again, "Let a ruler but see to his own rectitude, and what trouble will he then have in the work before him? If he be unable to rectify himself, how is he to rectify others?"

Once when Yen Yu was leaving the Court, the Master accosted him. "Why so late?" he asked. "Busy with legislation," Yen replied. "The details of it," suggested the Master; "had it been legislation, I should have been there to hear it, even though I am not in office."

Duke Ting asked if there were one sentence which, if acted upon, might have the effect of making a country prosperous.

Confucius answered, "A sentence could hardly be supposed to do so much as that. But there is a proverb people use which says, 'To play the prince is hard, to play the minister not easy.' Assuming that it is understood that 'to play the prince is hard,' would it not be probable that with that one sentence the country should be made to prosper?"

"Is there, then," he asked, "one sentence which, if acted upon, would have the effect of ruining a country?"

Confucius again replied, "A sentence could hardly be supposed to do so much as that. But there is a proverb men have which says, 'Not gladly would I play the prince, unless my words were ne'er withstood.' Assuming that the words were good, and that none withstood them, would not that also be good? But assuming that they were not good, and yet none withstood them, would it not be probable that with that one saying he would work his country's ruin?"

When the Duke of Sheh consulted him about government, he replied, "Where the near are gratified, the far will follow."

When Tsz-hia became governor of Kue-fu, and consulted him about government, he answered, "Do not wish for speedy results. Do not look at trivial advantages. If you wish for speedy results, they will not be far-reaching; and if you regard trivial advantages you will not successfully deal with important affairs."

The Duke of Sheh in a conversation with Confucius said, "There are some straightforward persons in my neighborhood. If a father has stolen a sheep, the son will give evidence against him."

"Straightforward people in my neighborhood are different from those," said Confucius. "The father will hold a thing secret on his son's behalf, and the son does the same for his father. They are on their way to becoming straightforward."

Fan Ch'i was asking him about duty to one's fellow-men. "Be courteous," he replied, "in your private sphere; be serious in any duty you take in hand to do; be leal-hearted in your intercourse with others. Even though you were to go amongst the wild tribes, it would not be right for you to neglect these duties."

In answer to Tsz-kung, who asked, "how he would characterize one who could fitly be called 'learned official,'" the Master said, "He may be so-called who in his private life is affected with a sense of his own unworthiness, and who, when sent on a mission to any quarter of the empire, would not disgrace his prince's commands."

"May I presume," said his questioner, "to ask what sort you would put next to such?"

"Him who is spoken of by his kinsmen as a dutiful son, and whom the folks of his neighborhood call' good brother.'"

"May I still venture to ask whom you would place next in order?"

"Such as are sure to be true to their word, and effective in their work—who are given to hammering, as it were, upon one note—of inferior calibre indeed, but fit enough, I think, to be ranked next."

"How would you describe those who are at present in the government service?"

"Ugh! mere peck and panier men!—not worth taking into the reckoning."

Once he remarked, "If I cannot get via media men to impart instruction to, then I must of course take the impetuous and undisciplined! The impetuous ones will at least go forward and lay hold on things; and the undisciplined have at least something in them which needs to be brought out."

"The Southerners," said he, "have the proverb, 'The man who sticks not to rule will never make a charm-worker or a medical man,' Good!—'Whoever is intermittent in his practise of virtue will live to be ashamed of it.' Without prognostication," he added, "that will indeed be so."

"The nobler-minded man," he remarked, "will be agreeable even when he disagrees; the small-minded man will agree and be disagreeable."

Tsz-kung was consulting him, and asked, "What say you of a person who was liked by all in his village?"

"That will scarcely do," he answered.

"What, then, if they all disliked him?"

"That, too," said he, "is scarcely enough. Better if he were liked by the good folk in the village, and disliked by the bad."

"The superior man," he once observed, "is easy to serve, but difficult to please. Try to please him by the adoption of wrong principles, and you will fail. Also, when such a one employs others, he uses them according to their capacity. The inferior man is, on the other hand, difficult to serve, but easy to please. Try to please him by the adoption of wrong principles, and you will succeed. And when he employs others he requires them to be fully prepared for everything."

Again, "The superior man can be high without being haughty. The inferior man can be haughty if not high."

"The firm, the unflinching, the plain and simple, the slow to speak," said he once, "are approximating towards their duty to their fellow-men."

Tsz-lu asked how he would characterize one who might fitly be called an educated gentleman. The master replied, "He who can properly be so-called will have in him a seriousness of purpose, a habit of controlling himself, and an agreeableness of manner: among his friends and associates the seriousness and the self-control, and among his brethren the agreeableness of manner."

"Let good and able men discipline the people for seven years," said the Master, "and after that they may do to go to war."

But, said he, "To lead an undisciplined people to war—that I call throwing them away."


Good and Bad Government—Miscellaneous Sayings

Yuen Sz asked what might be considered to bring shame on one.

"Pay," said the Master; "pay—ever looking to that, whether the country be well or badly governed."

"When imperiousness, boastfulness, resentments, and covetousness cease to prevail among the people, may it be considered that mutual good-will has been effected?" To this question the Master replied, "A hard thing overcome, it may be considered. But as to the mutual good-will—I cannot tell."

"Learned officials," said he, "who hanker after a home life, are not worthy of being esteemed as such."

Again, "In a country under good government, speak boldly, act boldly. When the land is ill-governed, though you act boldly, let your words be moderate."

Again, "Men of virtue will needs be men of words—will speak out—but men of words are not necessarily men of virtue. They who care for their fellow-men will needs be bold, but the bold may not necessarily be such as care for their fellow-men."

Nan-kung Kwoh, who was consulting Confucius, observed respecting I, the skilful archer, and Ngau, who could propel a boat on dry land, that neither of them died a natural death; while Yu and Tsih, who with their own hands had labored at husbandry, came to wield imperial sway.

The Master gave him no reply. But when the speaker had gone out he exclaimed, "A superior man, that! A man who values virtue, that!"

"There have been noble-minded men," said he, "who yet were wanting in philanthropy; but never has there been a small-minded man who had philanthropy in him."

He asked, "Can any one refuse to toil for those he loves? Can any one refuse to exhort, who is true-hearted?"

Speaking of the preparation of Government Notifications in his day he said, "P'i would draw up a rough sketch of what was to be said; the Shishuh then looked it carefully through and put it into proper shape; Tsz-yu next, who was master of the ceremonial of State intercourse, improved and adorned its phrases; and Tsz-ch'an of Tung-li added his scholarly embellishments thereto."

To some one who asked his opinion of the last-named, he said, "He was a kind-hearted man." Asked what he thought of Tsz-si, he exclaimed, "Alas for him! alas for him!"—Asked again about Kwan Chung, his answer was, "As to him, he once seized the town of P'in with its three hundred families from the Chief of the Pih clan, who, afterwards reduced to living upon coarse rice, with all his teeth gone, never uttered a word of complaint."

"It is no light thing," said he, "to endure poverty uncomplainingly; and a difficult thing to bear wealth without becoming arrogant."

Respecting Mang Kung-ch'oh, he said that, while he was fitted for something better than the post of chief officer in the Chau or Wei families, he was not competent to act as minister in small States like those of T'ang or Sieh.

Tsz-lu asked how he would describe a perfect man. He replied, "Let a man have the sagacity of Tsang Wu-chung, the freedom from covetousness of Kung-ch'oh, the boldness of Chwang of P'in, and the attainments in polite arts of Yen Yu; and gift him further with the graces taught by the 'Books of Rites' and 'Music'—then he may be considered a perfect man. But," said he, "what need of such in these days? The man that may be regarded as perfect now is the one who, seeing some advantage to himself, is mindful of righteousness; who, seeing danger, risks his life; and who, if bound by some covenant of long standing, never forgets its conditions as life goes on."

Respecting Kung-shuh Wan, the Master inquired of Kung-ming Kia, saying, "Is it true that your master never speaks, never laughs, never takes aught from others?"

"Those who told you that of him," said he, "have gone too far. My master speaks when there is occasion to do so, and men are not surfeited with his speaking. When there is occasion to be merry too, he will laugh, but men have never overmuch of his laughing. And whenever it is just and right to take things from others, he will take them, but never so as to allow men to think him burdensome." "Is that the case with him?" said the Master. "Can it be so?"

Respecting Tsang Wu-chung the Master said, "When he sought from Lu the appointment of a successor to him, and for this object held on to his possession of the fortified city of Fang—if you say he was not then using constraint towards his prince, I must refuse to believe it."

Duke Wan of Tsin he characterized as "artful but not upright"; and Duke Hwan of Ts'i as "upright but not artful."

Tsz-lu remarked, "When Duke Hwan caused his brother Kiu to be put to death, Shau Hwuh committed suicide, but Kwan Chung did not. I should say he was not a man who had much good-will in him—eh?"

The Master replied, "When Duke Hwan held a great gathering of the feudal lords, dispensing with military equipage, it was owing to Kwan Chung's energy that such an event was brought about. Match such good-will as that—match it if you can."

Tsz-kung then spoke up. "But was not Kwan Chung wanting in good-will? He could not give up his life when Duke Hwan caused his brother to be put to death. Besides, he became the duke's counsellor."

"And in acting as his counsellor put him at the head of all the feudal lords," said the Master, "and unified and reformed the whole empire; and the people, even to this day, reap benefit from what he did. Had it not been for him we should have been going about with locks unkempt and buttoning our jackets (like barbarians) on the left. Would you suppose that he should show the same sort of attachment as exists between a poor yokel and his one wife—that he would asphyxiate himself in some sewer, leaving no one the wiser?"

Kung-shuh Wan's steward, who became the high officer Sien, went up accompanied by Wan to the prince's hall of audience.

When Confucius heard of this he remarked, "He may well be esteemed a 'Wan,'"

The Master having made some reference to the lawless ways of Duke Ling of Wei, Ki K'ang said to him, "If he be like that, how is it he does not ruin his position?"

Confucius answered, "The Chung-shuh, Yu, is charged with the entertainment of visitors and strangers; the priest T'o has charge of the ancestral temple; and Wang-sun Kia has the control of the army and its divisions:—with men such as those, how should he come to ruin?"

He once remarked, "He who is unblushing in his words will with difficulty substantiate them."

Ch'in Shing had slain Duke Kien. Hearing of this, Confucius, after performing his ablutions, went to Court and announced the news to Duke Ngai, saying, "Ch'in Hang has slain his prince. May I request that you proceed against him?"

"Inform the Chiefs of the Three Families," said the duke.

Soliloquizing upon this, Confucius said, "Since he uses me to back his ministers, [30] I did not dare not to announce the matter to him; and now he says, 'Inform the Three Chiefs.'"

He went to the Three Chiefs and informed them, but nothing could be done. Whereupon again he said, "Since he uses me to back his ministers, I did not dare not to announce the matter."

Tsz-lu was questioning him as to how he should serve his prince. "Deceive him not, but reprove him," he answered.

"The minds of superior men," he observed, "trend upwards; those of inferior men trend downwards."

Again, "Students of old fixed their eyes upon themselves: now they learn with their eyes upon others."

Kue Pih-yuh despatched a man with a message to Confucius. Confucius gave him a seat, and among other inquiries he asked, "How is your master managing?" "My master," he replied, "has a great wish to be seldom at fault, and as yet he cannot manage it."

"What a messenger!" exclaimed he admiringly, when the man went out. "What a messenger!"

"When not occupying the office," was a remark of his, "devise not the policy."

The Learned Tsang used to say, "The thoughts of the 'superior man' do not wander from his own office."

"Superior men," said the Master, "are modest in their words, profuse in their deeds."

Again, "There are three attainments of the superior man which are beyond me—the being sympathetic without anxiety, wise without scepticism, brave without fear."

"Sir," said Tsz-kung, "that is what you say of yourself."

Whenever Tsz-kung drew comparisons from others, the Master would say, "Ah, how wise and great you must have become! Now I have no time to do that."

Again, "My great concern is, not that men do not know me, but that they cannot."

Again, "If a man refrain from making preparations against his being imposed upon, and from counting upon others' want of good faith towards him, while he is foremost to perceive what is passing—surely that is a wise and good man."

Wi-shang Mau accosted Confucius, saying, "Kiu, how comes it that you manage to go perching and roosting in this way? Is it not because you show yourself so smart a speaker, now?"

"I should not dare do that," said Confucius. "Tis that I am sick of men's immovableness and deafness to reason."

"In a well-bred horse," said he, "what one admires is not its speed, but its good points."

Some one asked, "What say you of the remark, 'Requite enmity with kindness'?"

"How then," he answered, "would you requite kindness? Requite enmity with straightforwardness, and kindness with kindness."

"Ah! no one knows me!" he once exclaimed.

"Sir," said Tsz-kung, "how comes it to pass that no one knows you?"

"While I murmur not against Heaven," continued the Master, "nor cavil at men; while I stoop to learn and aspire to penetrate into things that are high; yet 'tis Heaven alone knows what I am."

Liau, a kinsman of the duke, having laid a complaint against Tsz-lu before Ki K'ang, an officer came to Confucius to inform him of the fact, and he added, "My lord is certainly having his mind poisoned by his kinsman Liau, but through my influence perhaps we may yet manage to see him exposed in the marketplace or the Court."

"If right principles are to have their course, it is so destined," said the Master; "if they are not to have their course, it is so destined. What can Liau do against Destiny?"

"There are worthy men," said the Master, "fleeing from the world; some from their district; some from the sight of men's looks; some from the language they hear."

"The men who have risen from their posts and withdrawn in this manner are seven in number."

Tsz-lu, having lodged overnight in Shih-mun, was accosted by the gate-keeper in the morning. "Where from?" he asked. "From Confucius," Tsz-lu responded. "That is the man," said he, "who knows things are not up to the mark, and is making some ado about them, is it not?"

When the Master was in Wei, he was once pounding on the musical stone, when a man with a basket of straw crossed his threshold, and exclaimed, "Ah, there is a heart that feels! Aye, drub the stone!" After which he added, "How vulgar! how he hammers away on one note!—and no one knows him, and he gives up, and all is over!

Be it deep, our skirts we'll raise to the waist, —Or shallow, then up to the knee,'"

"What determination!" said the Master. "Yet it was not hard to do."

Tsz-chang once said to him, "In the 'Book of the Annals' it is stated that while Kau-tsung was in the Mourning Shed he spent the three years without speaking. What is meant by that?"

"Why must you name Kau-tsung?" said the Master. "It was so with all other ancient sovereigns: when one of them died, the heads of every department agreed between themselves that they should give ear for three years to the Prime Minister."

"When their betters love the Rules, then the folk are easy tools," was a saying of the Master.

Tsz-lu having asked what made a "superior man," he answered, "Self-culture, with a view to becoming seriously-minded."

"Nothing more than that?" said he.

"Self-culture with a view to the greater satisfaction of others," added the Master.

"That, and yet no more?"

"Self-culture with a view to the greater satisfaction of all the clans and classes," he again added. "Self-culture for the sake of all—a result that, that would almost put Yau and Shun into the shade!"

To Yuen Jang, [31] who was sitting waiting for him in a squatting (disrespectful) posture, the Master delivered himself as follows: "The man who in his youth could show no humility or subordination, who in his prime misses his opportunity, and who when old age comes upon him will not die—that man is a miscreant." And he tapped him on the shin with his staff.

Some one asked about his attendant—a youth from the village of Kiueh—whether he was one who improved. He replied, "I note that he seats himself in the places reserved for his betters, and that when he is walking he keeps abreast with his seniors. He is not one of those who care for improvement: he wants to be a man all at once."

[Footnote 30: Confucius had now retired from office, and this incident occurred only two years before his death.]

[Footnote 31: It is a habit with the Chinese, when a number are out walking together, for the eldest to go first, the others pairing off according to their age. It is a custom much older than the time of Confucius.]


Practical Wisdom—Reciprocity the Rule of Life

Duke Ling of Wei was consulting Confucius about army arrangements. His answer was, "Had you asked me about such things as temple requisites, I have learnt that business, but I have not yet studied military matters." And he followed up this reply by leaving on the following day.

After this, during his residence in the State of Ch'in, his followers, owing to a stoppage of food supply, became so weak and ill that not one of them could stand. Tsz-lu, with indignation pictured on his countenance, exclaimed, "And is a gentleman to suffer starvation?"

"A gentleman," replied the Master, "will endure it unmoved, but a common person breaks out into excesses under it."

Addressing Tsz-kung, the Master said, "You regard me as one who studies and stores up in his mind a multiplicity of things—do you not?"—"I do," he replied; "is it not so?"—"Not at all. I have one idea—one cord on which to string all."

To Tsz-lu he remarked, "They who know Virtue are rare."

"If you would know one who without effort ruled well, was not Shun such a one? What did he indeed do? He bore himself with reverent dignity and undeviatingly 'faced the south,' and that was all."

Tsz-chang was consulting him about making way in life. He answered, "Be true and honest in all you say, and seriously earnest in all you do, and then, even if your country be one inhabited by barbarians, South or North, you will make your way. If you do not show yourself thus in word and deed how should you succeed, even in your own district or neighborhood?—When you are afoot, let these two counsels be two companions preceding you, yourself viewing them from behind; when you drive, have them in view as on the yoke of your carriage. Then may you make your way."

Tsz-chang wrote them on the two ends of his cincture.

"Straight was the course of the Annalist Yu," said the Master—"aye, straight as an arrow flies; were the country well governed or ill governed, his was an arrow-like course.

"A man of masterly mind, too, is Kue Pih-yuh! When the land is being rightly governed he will serve; when it is under bad government he is apt to recoil, and brood."

"Not to speak to a man." said he, "to whom you ought to speak, is to lose your man; to speak to one to whom you ought not to speak is to lose your words. Those who are wise will not lose their man nor yet their words."

Again, "The scholar whose heart is in his work, and who is philanthropic, seeks not to gain a livelihood by any means that will do harm to his philanthropy. There have been men who have destroyed their own lives in the endeavor to bring that virtue in them to perfection."

Tsz-kung asked how to become philanthropic. The Master answered him thus: "A workman who wants to do his work well must first sharpen his tools. In whatever land you live, serve under some wise and good man among those in high office, and make friends with the more humane of its men of education."

Yen Yuen consulted him on the management of a country. He answered:—

"Go by the Hia Calendar. Have the State carriages like those of the Yin princes. Wear the Chow cap. For your music let that of Shun be used for the posturers. Put away the songs of Ch'ing, and remove far from you men of artful speech: the Ch'ing songs are immodest, and artful talkers are dangerous."

Other sayings of the Master:—

"They who care not for the morrow will the sooner have their sorrow.

"Ah, 'tis hopeless! I have not yet met with the man who loves Virtue as he loves Beauty.

"Was not Tsang Wan like one who surreptitiously came by the post he held? He knew the worth of Hwui of Liu-hia, and could not stand in his presence.

"Be generous yourself, and exact little from others; then you banish complaints.

"With one who does not come to me inquiring 'What of this?' and 'What of that?' I never can ask 'What of this?' and give him up.

"If a number of students are all day together, and in their conversation never approach the subject of righteousness, but are fond merely of giving currency to smart little sayings, they are difficult indeed to manage.

"When the 'superior man' regards righteousness as the thing material, gives operation to it according to the Rules of Propriety, lets it issue in humility, and become complete in sincerity—there indeed is your superior man!

"The trouble of the superior man will be his own want of ability: it will be no trouble to him that others do not know him.

"Such a man thinks it hard to end his days and leave a name to be no longer named.

"The superior man is exacting of himself; the common man is exacting of others.

"A superior man has self-respect, and does not strive; is sociable, yet no party man.

"He does not promote a man because of his words, or pass over the words because of the man."

Tsz-kung put to him the question, "Is there one word upon which the whole life may proceed?"

The Master replied, "Is not Reciprocity such a word?—what you do not yourself desire, do not put before others."

"So far as I have to do with others, whom do I over-censure? whom do I over-praise? If there be something in them that looks very praiseworthy, that something I put to the test. I would have the men of the present day to walk in the straight path whereby those of the Three Dynasties have walked.

"I have arrived as it were at the annalist's blank page.—Once he who had a horse would lend it to another to mount; now, alas! it is not so.

"Artful speech is the confusion of Virtue. Impatience over little things introduces confusion into great schemes.

"What is disliked by the masses needs inquiring into; so also does that which they have a preference for.

"A man may give breadth to his principles: it is not principles (in themselves) that give breadth to the man.

"Not to retract after committing an error may itself be called error.

"If I have passed the whole day without food and the whole night without sleep, occupied with my thoughts, it profits me nothing: I were better engaged in learning.

"The superior man deliberates upon how he may walk in truth, not upon what he may eat. The farmer may plough, and be on the way to want: the student learns, and is on his way to emolument. To live a right life is the concern of men of nobler minds: poverty gives them none.

"Whatsoever the intellect may attain to, unless the humanity within is powerful enough to keep guard over it, is assuredly lost, even though it be gained.

"If there be intellectual attainments, and the humanity within is powerful enough to keep guard over them, yet, unless (in a ruler) there be dignity in his rule, the people will fail to show him respect.

"Again, given the intellectual attainments, and humanity sufficient to keep watch over them, and also dignity in ruling, yet if his movements be not in accordance with the Rules of Propriety, he is not yet fully qualified.

"The superior man may not be conversant with petty details, and yet may have important matters put into his hands. The inferior man may not be charged with important matters, yet may be conversant with the petty details.

"Good-fellowship is more to men than fire and water. I have seen men stepping into fire and into water, and meeting with death thereby; I have not yet seen a man die from planting his steps in the path of good-fellowship.

"Rely upon good nature. 'Twill not allow precedence even to a teacher.

"The superior man is inflexibly upright, and takes not things upon trust.

"In serving your prince, make your service the serious concern, and let salary be a secondary matter.

"Where instruction is to be given, there must be no distinction of persons.

"Where men's methods are not identical, there can be no planning by one on behalf of another.

"In speaking, perspicuity is all that is needed."

When the blind music-master Mien paid him a visit, on his approaching the steps the Master called out "Steps," and on his coming to the mat, said "Mat." When all in the room were seated, the Master told him "So-and-so is here, so-and-so is here."

When the music-master had left, Tsz-chang said to him, "Is that the way to speak to the music-master?" "Well," he replied, "it is certainly the way to assist him."


Against Intestine Strife—Good and Bad Friendships

The Chief of the Ki family was about to make an onslaught upon the Chuen-yu domain.

Yen Yu and Tsz-lu in an interview with Confucius told him, "The Ki is about to have an affair with Chuen-yu."

"Yen," said Confucius, "does not the fault lie with you? The Chief of Chuen-yu in times past was appointed lord of the East Mung (mountain); besides, he dwells within the confines of your own State, and is an official of the State-worship; how can you think of making an onslaught upon him?"

"It is the wish of our Chief," said Yen Yu, "not the wish of either of us ministers."

Confucius said, "Yen, there is a sentence of Chau Jin which runs thus: 'Having made manifest their powers and taken their place in the official list, when they find themselves incompetent they resign; if they cannot be firm when danger threatens the government, nor lend support when it is reeling, of what use then shall they be as Assistants?'—Besides, you are wrong in what you said. When a rhinoceros or tiger breaks out of its cage—when a jewel or tortoise-shell ornament is damaged in its casket—whose fault is it?"

"But," said Yen Yu, "so far as Chuen-yu is concerned, it is now fortified, and it is close to Pi; and if he does not now take it, in another generation it will certainly be a trouble to his descendants."

"Yen!" exclaimed Confucius, "it is a painful thing to a superior man to have to desist from saying, 'My wish is so-and-so,' and to be obliged to make apologies. For my part, I have learnt this—that rulers of States and heads of Houses are not greatly concerned about their small following, but about the want of equilibrium in it—that they do not concern themselves about their becoming poor, but about the best means of living quietly and contentedly; for where equilibrium is preserved there will be no poverty, where there is harmony their following will not be small, and where there is quiet contentment there will be no decline nor fall. Now if that be the case, it follows that if men in outlying districts are not submissive, then a reform in education and morals will bring them to; and when they have been so won, then will you render them quiet and contented. At the present time you two are Assistants of your Chief; the people in the outlying districts are not submissive, and cannot be brought round. Your dominion is divided, prostrate, dispersed, cleft in pieces, and you as its guardians are powerless. And plans are being made for taking up arms against those who dwell within your own State. I am apprehensive that the sorrow of the Ki family is not to lie in Chuen-yu, but in those within their own screen."

"When the empire is well-ordered," said Confucius, "it is from the emperor that edicts regarding ceremonial, music, and expeditions to quell rebellion go forth. When it is being ill governed, such edicts emanate from the feudal lords; and when the latter is the case, it will be strange if in ten generations there is not a collapse. If they emanate merely from the high officials, it will be strange if the collapse do not come in five generations. When the State-edicts are in the hands of the subsidiary ministers, it will be strange if in three generations there is no collapse.

"When the empire is well-ordered, government is not left in the hands of high officials.

"When the empire is well-ordered, the common people will cease to discuss public matters."

"For five generations," he said, "the revenue has departed from the ducal household. Four generations ago the government fell into the hands of the high officials. Hence, alas! the straitened means of the descendants of the three Hwan families."

"There are," said he, "three kinds of friendships which are profitable, and three which are detrimental. To make friends with the upright, with the trustworthy, with the experienced, is to gain benefit; to make friends with the subtly perverse, with the artfully pliant, with the subtle in speech, is detrimental."

Again, "There are three kinds of pleasure which are profitable, and three which are detrimental. To take pleasure in going regularly through the various branches of Ceremonial and Music, in speaking of others' goodness, in having many worthy wise friends, is profitable. To take pleasure in wild bold pleasures, in idling carelessly about, in the too jovial accompaniments of feasting, is detrimental."

Again, "Three errors there be, into which they who wait upon their superior may fall:—(1) to speak before the opportunity comes to them to speak, which I call heedless haste; (2) refraining from speaking when the opportunity has come, which I call concealment; and (3) speaking, regardless of the mood he is in, which I call blindness."

Again, "Three things a superior should guard against:—(1) against the lusts of the flesh in his earlier years while the vital powers are not fully developed and fixed; (2) against the spirit of combativeness when he has come to the age of robust manhood and when the vital powers are matured and strong, and (3) against ambitiousness when old age has come on and the vital powers have become weak and decayed."

"Three things also such a man greatly reveres:—(1) the ordinances of Heaven, (2) great men, (3) words of sages. The inferior man knows not the ordinances of Heaven and therefore reveres them not, is unduly familiar in the presence of great men, and scoffs at the words of sages."

"They whose knowledge comes by birth are of all men the first in understanding; they to whom it comes by study are next; men of poor intellectual capacity, who yet study, may be added as a yet inferior class; and lowest of all are they who are poor in intellect and never learn."

"Nine things there are of which the superior man should be mindful:—to be clear in vision, quick in hearing, genial in expression, respectful in demeanor, true in word, serious in duty, inquiring in doubt, firmly self-controlled in anger, just and fair when the way to success opens out before him."

"Some have spoken of 'looking upon goodness as upon something beyond their reach,' and of 'looking upon evil as like plunging one's hands into scalding liquid';—I have seen the men, I have heard the sayings.

"Some, again, have talked of 'living in seclusion to work out their designs,' and of 'exercising themselves in righteous living in order to render their principles the more effective';—I have heard the sayings, I have not seen the men."

"Duke King of Ts'i had his thousand teams of four, yet on the day of his death the people had nothing to say of his goodness. Peh-I and Shuh-Ts'i starved at the foot of Shau-yang, and the people make mention of them to this day.

'E'en if not wealth thine object be, 'Tis all the same, thou'rt changed to me.'

"Is not this apropos in such cases?"

Tsz-k'in asked of Pih-yu, "Have you heard anything else peculiar from your father?"

"Not yet," said he. "Once, though, he was standing alone when I was hurrying past him over the vestibule, and he said, 'Are you studying the Odes?' 'Not yet,' I replied. 'If you do not learn the Odes,' said he, 'you will not have the wherewithal for conversing,' I turned away and studied the Odes. Another day, when he was again standing alone and I was hurrying past across the vestibule, he said to me, 'Are you learning the Rules of Propriety?' 'Not yet,' I replied. 'If you have not studied the Rules, you have nothing to stand upon,' said he. I turned away and studied the Rules.—These two things I have heard from him."

Tsz-k'in turned away, and in great glee exclaimed, "I asked one thing, and have got three. I have learnt something about the Odes, and about the Rules, and moreover I have learnt how the superior man will turn away his own son."

The wife of the ruler of a State is called by her husband "My helpmeet." She speaks of herself as "Your little handmaiden." The people of that State call her "The prince's helpmeet," but addressing persons of another State they speak of her as "Our little princess." When persons of another State name her they say also "Your prince's helpmeet."


The Master Induced to Take Office—Nature and Habit

Yang Ho was desirous of having an interview with Confucius, but on the latter's failing to go and see him, he sent a present of a pig to his house. Confucius went to return his acknowledgments for it at a time when he was not at home. They met, however, on the way.

He said to Confucius, "Come, I want a word with you. Can that man be said to have good-will towards his fellow-men who hugs and hides his own precious gifts and allows his country to go on in blind error?"

"He cannot," was the reply.

"And can he be said to be wise who, with a liking for taking part in the public service, is constantly letting slip his opportunities?"

"He cannot," was the reply again.

"And the days and months are passing; and the years do not wait for us."

"True," said Confucius; "I will take office."

It was a remark of the Master that while "by nature we approximate towards each other, by experience we go far asunder."

Again, "Only the supremely wise and the most deeply ignorant do not alter."

The Master once, on his arrival at Wu-shing, heard the sound of stringed instruments and singing. His face beamed with pleasure, and he said laughingly, "To kill a cock—why use an ox-knife?"

Tsz-yu, the governor, replied, "In former days, sir, I heard you say, 'Let the superior man learn right principles, and he will be loving to other men; let the ordinary person learn right principles, and he will be easily managed.'"

The Master (turning to his disciples) said, "Sirs, what he says is right: what I said just now was only in play."

Having received an invitation from Kung-shan Fuh-jau, who was in revolt against the government and was holding to his district of Pi, the Master showed an inclination to go.

Tsz-lu was averse to this, and said, "You can never go, that is certain; how should you feel you must go to that person?"

"Well," said the Master, "he who has invited me must surely not have done so without a sufficient reason! And if it should happen that my services were enlisted, I might create for him another East Chow—don't you think so?"

Tsz-chang asked Confucius about the virtue of philanthropy. His answer was, "It is the being able to put in practice five qualities, in any place under the sun."

"May I ask, please, what these are?" said the disciple.

"They are," he said, "dignity, indulgence, faithfulness, earnestness, kindness. If you show dignity you will not be mocked; if you are indulgent you will win the multitude; if faithful, men will place their trust in you; if earnest, you will do something meritorious; and if kind, you will be enabled to avail yourself amply of men's services."

Pih Hih sent the Master an invitation, and he showed an inclination to go.

Tsz-lu (seeing this) said to him, "In former days, sir, I have heard you say, 'A superior man will not enter the society of one who does not that which is good in matters concerning himself'; and this man is in revolt, with Chung-man in his possession; if you go to him, how will the case stand?"

"Yes," said the Master, "those are indeed my words; but is it not said, 'What is hard may be rubbed without being made thin,' and 'White may be stained without being made black'?—I am surely not a gourd! How am I to be strung up like that kind of thing—and live without means?"

"Tsz-lu," said the Master, "you have heard of the six words with their six obfuscations?"

"No," said he, "not so far."

"Sit down, and I will tell you them. They are these six virtues, cared for without care for any study about them:—philanthropy, wisdom, faithfulness, straightforwardness, courage, firmness. And the six obfuscations resulting from not liking to learn about them are, respectively, these:—fatuity, mental dissipation, mischievousness, perversity, insubordination, impetuosity."

"My children," said he once, "why does no one of you study the Odes?—They are adapted to rouse the mind, to assist observation, to make people sociable, to arouse virtuous indignation. They speak of duties near and far—the duty of ministering to a parent, the duty of serving one's prince; and it is from them that one becomes conversant with the names of many birds, and beasts, and plants, and trees."

To his son Pih-yu he said, "Study you the Odes of Chow and the South, and those of Shau and the South. The man who studies not these is, I should say, somewhat in the position of one who stands facing a wall!"

"'Etiquette demands it.' 'Etiquette demands it,' so people plead," said he; "but do not these hankerings after jewels and silks indeed demand it? Or it is, 'The study of Music requires it'—'Music requires it'; but do not these predilections for bells and drums require it?"

Again, "They who assume an outward appearance of severity, being inwardly weak, may be likened to low common men; nay, are they not somewhat like thieves that break through walls and steal?"

Again, "The plebeian kind of respect for piety is the very pest of virtue."

Again, "Listening on the road, and repeating in the lane—this is abandonment of virtue."

"Ah, the low-minded creatures!" he exclaimed. "How is it possible indeed to serve one's prince in their company? Before they have got what they wanted they are all anxiety to get it, and after they have got it they are all anxiety lest they should lose it; and while they are thus full of concern lest they should lose it, there is no length to which they will not go."

Again, "In olden times people had three moral infirmities; which, it may be, are now unknown. Ambitiousness in those olden days showed itself in momentary outburst; the ambitiousness of to-day runs riot. Austerity in those days had its sharp angles; in these it is irritable and perverse. Feebleness of intellect then was at least straightforward; in our day it is never aught but deceitful."

Again, "Rarely do we find mutual good feeling where there is fine speech and studied mien."

Again, "To me it is abhorrent that purple color should be made to detract from that of vermilion. Also that the Odes of Ch'ing should be allowed to introduce discord in connection with the music of the Festal Songs and Hymns. Also that sharp-whetted tongues should be permitted to subvert governments."

Once said he, "Would that I could dispense with speech!"

"Sir," said Tsz-kung, "if you were never to speak, what should your pupils have to hand down from you?"

"Does Heaven ever speak?" said the Master. "The four seasons come and go, and all creatures live and grow. Does Heaven indeed speak?"

Once Ju Pi desired an interview with Confucius, from which the latter excused himself on the score of ill-health; but while the attendant was passing out through the doorway with the message he took his lute and sang, in such a way as to let him hear him.

Tsai Wo questioned him respecting the three years' mourning, saying that one full twelve-month was a long time—that, if gentlemen were for three years to cease from observing rules of propriety, propriety must certainly suffer, and that if for three years they neglected music, music must certainly die out—and that seeing nature has taught us that when the old year's grain is finished the new has sprung up for us—seeing also that all the changes[32] in procuring fire by friction have been gone through in the four seasons—surely a twelve-month might suffice.

The Master asked him, "Would it be a satisfaction to you—that returning to better food, that putting on of fine clothes?"

"It would," said he.

"Then if you can be satisfied in so doing, do so. But to a gentleman, who is in mourning for a parent, the choicest food will not be palatable, nor will the listening to music be pleasant, nor will comforts of home make him happy in mind. Hence he does not do as you suggest. But if you are now happy in your mind, then do so."

Tsai Wo went out. And the Master went on to say, "It is want of human feeling in this man. After a child has lived three years it then breaks away from the tender nursing of its parents. And this three years' mourning is the customary mourning prevalent all over the empire. Can this man have enjoyed the three years of loving care from his parents?"

"Ah, it is difficult," said he, "to know what to make of those who are all day long cramming themselves with food and are without anything to apply their minds to! Are there no dice and chess players? Better, perhaps, join in that pursuit than do nothing at all!"

"Does a gentleman," asked Tsz-lu, "make much account of bravery?"

"Righteousness he counts higher," said the Master. "A gentleman who is brave without being just may become turbulent; while a common person who is brave and not just may end in becoming a highwayman."

Tsz-kung asked, "I suppose a gentleman will have his aversions as well as his likings?"

"Yes," replied the Master, "he will dislike those who talk much about other people's ill-deeds. He will dislike those who, when occupying inferior places, utter defamatory words against their superiors. He will dislike those who, though they may be brave, have no regard for propriety. And he will dislike those hastily decisive and venturesome spirits who are nevertheless so hampered by limited intellect."

"And you, too, Tsz-kung," he continued, "have your aversions, have you not?"

"I dislike," said he, "those plagiarists who wish to pass for wise persons. I dislike those people who wish their lack of humility to be taken for bravery. I dislike also those divulgers of secrets who think to be accounted straightforward."

"Of all others," said the Master, "women-servants and men-servants are the most difficult people to have the care of. Approach them in a familiar manner, and they take liberties; keep them at a distance, and they grumble."

Again, "When a man meets with odium at forty, he will do so to the end."

[Footnote 32: Different woods were adopted for this purpose at the various seasons.]


Good Men in Seclusion—Duke of Chow to His Son

"In the reign of the last king of the Yin dynasty," Confucius I said, "there were three men of philanthropic spirit:—the viscount of Wei, who withdrew from him; the viscount of Ki, who became his bondsman; and Pi-kan, who reproved him and suffered death."

Hwui of Liu-hia, who filled the office of Chief Criminal Judge, was thrice dismissed. A person remarked to him, "Can you not yet bear to withdraw?" He replied, "If I act in a straightforward way in serving men, whither in these days should I go, where I should not be thrice dismissed? Were I to adopt crooked ways in their service, why need I leave the land where my parents dwell?"

Duke King of Ts'i remarked respecting his attitude towards Confucius, "If he is to be treated like the Chief of the Ki family, I cannot do it. I should treat him as somewhere between the Ki and Mang Chiefs.—I am old," he added, "and not competent to avail myself of him."

Confucius, hearing of this, went away.

The Ts'i officials presented to the Court of Lu a number of female musicians. Ki Hwan accepted them, and for three days no Court was held.

Confucius went away.

Tsieh-yu, the madman [33] of Ts'u, was once passing Confucius, singing as he went along. He sang—

"Ha, the phoenix! Ha, the phoenix! How is Virtue lying prone! Vain to chide for what is o'er, Plan to meet what's yet in store. Let alone! Let alone! Risky now to serve a throne."

Confucius alighted, wishing to enter into conversation with him; but the man hurried along and left him, and he was therefore unable to get a word with him.

Ch'ang-tsue and Kieh-nih [34] were working together on some ploughed land. Confucius was passing by them, and sent Tsz-lu to ask where the ford was.

Ch'ang-tsue said, "Who is the person driving the carriage?"

"Confucius," answered Tsz-lu.

"He of Lu?" he asked.

"The same," said Tsz-lu.

"He knows then where the ford is," said he.

Tsz-lu then put his question to Kieh-nih; and the latter asked, "Who are you?"

Tsz-lu gave his name.

"You are a follower of Confucius of Lu, are you not?"

"You are right," he answered.

"Ah, as these waters rise and overflow their bounds," said he, "'tis so with all throughout the empire; and who is he that can alter the state of things? And you are a follower of a learned man who withdraws from his chief; had you not better be a follower of such as have forsaken the world?" And he went on with his harrowing, without stopping.

Tsz-lu went and informed his Master of all this. He was deeply touched, and said, "One cannot herd on equal terms with beasts and birds: if I am not to live among these human folk, then with whom else should I live? Only when the empire is well ordered shall I cease to take part in the work of reformation."

Tsz-lu was following the Master, but had dropped behind on the way, when he encountered an old man with a weed-basket slung on a staff over his shoulder. Tsz-lu inquired of him, "Have you seen my Master, sir?" Said the old man, "Who is your master?—you who never employ your four limbs in laborious work; you who do not know one from another of the five sorts of grain!" And he stuck his staff in the ground, and began his weeding.

Tsz-lu brought his hands together on his breast and stood still.

The old man kept Tsz-lu and lodged him for the night, killed a fowl and prepared some millet, entertained him, and brought his two sons out to see him.

On the morrow Tsz-lu went on his way, and told all this to the Master, who said, "He is a recluse," and sent Tsz-lu back to see him again. But by the time he got there he was gone.

Tsz-lu remarked upon this, "It is not right he should evade official duties. If he cannot allow any neglect of the terms on which elders and juniors should live together, how is it that he neglects to conform to what is proper as between prince and public servant? He wishes for himself personally a pure life, yet creates disorder in that more important relationship. When a gentleman undertakes public work, he will carry out the duties proper to it; and he knows beforehand that right principles may not win their way."

Among those who have retired from public life have been Peh-I and Shuh-Ts'i, Yu-chung, I-yih, Chu-chang, Hwui of Liuhia, and Shau-lien.

"Of these," said the Master, "Peh-I and Shuh-Ts'i may be characterized, I should say, as men who never declined from their high resolve nor soiled themselves by aught of disgrace.

"Of Hwui of Liu-hia and Shau-lien, if one may say that they did decline from high resolve, and that they did bring disgrace upon themselves, yet their words were consonant with established principles, and their action consonant with men's thoughts and wishes; and this is all that may be said of them.

"Of Yu-chung and I-yih, if it be said that when they retired into privacy they let loose their tongues, yet in their aim at personal purity of life they succeeded, and their defection was also successful in its influence.

"My own rule is different from any adopted by these: I will take no liberties, I will have no curtailing of my liberty."

The chief music-master went off to Ts'i. Kan, the conductor of the music at the second repast, went over to Ts'u. Liau, conductor at the third repast, went over to Ts'ai. And Kiueh, who conducted at the fourth, went to Ts'in.

Fang-shuh, the drummer, withdrew into the neighborhood of the Ho. Wu the tambourer went to the Han. And Yang the junior music-master, and Siang who played on the musical stone, went to the sea-coast.

Anciently the Duke of Chow, addressing his son the Duke of Lu, said, "A good man in high place is not indifferent about the members of his own family, and does not give occasion to the chief ministers to complain that they are not employed; nor without great cause will he set aside old friendships; nor does he seek for full equipment for every kind of service in any single man."

There were once eight officials during this Chow dynasty, who were four pairs of twins, all brothers—the eldest pair Tab and Kwoh, the next Tub and Hwuh, the third Ye and Hia, the youngest Sui and Kwa.

[Footnote 33: He only pretended to be mad, in order to escape being employed in the public service.]

[Footnote 34: Two worthies who had abandoned public life, owing to the state of the times.]


Teachings of Various Chief Disciples

"The learned official," said Tsz-chang, "who when he sees danger ahead will risk his very life, who when he sees a chance of success is mindful of what is just and proper, who in his religious acts is mindful of the duty of reverence, and when in mourning thinks of his loss, is indeed a fit and proper person for his place."

Again he said, "If a person hold to virtue but never advance in it, and if he have faith in right principles and do not build himself up in them, how can he be regarded either as having such, or as being without them?"

Tsz-hia's disciples asked Tsz-chang his views about intercourse with others. "What says your Master?" he rejoined. "He says," they replied, "'Associate with those who are qualified, and repel from you such as are not,'" Tsz-chang then said, "That is different from what I have learnt. A superior man esteems the worthy and wise, and bears with all. He makes much of the good and capable, and pities the incapable. Am I eminently worthy and wise?—who is there then among men whom I will not bear with? Am I not worthy and wise?—others will be minded to repel me: I have nothing to do with repelling them."

Sayings of Tsz-hia:—

"Even in inferior pursuits there must be something worthy of contemplation, but if carried to an extreme there is danger of fanaticism; hence the superior man does not engage in them.

"The student who daily recognizes how much he yet lacks, and as the months pass forgets not what he has succeeded in learning, may undoubtedly be called a lover of learning.

"Wide research and steadfast purpose, eager questioning and close reflection—all this tends to humanize a man.

"As workmen spend their time in their workshops for the perfecting of their work, so superior men apply their minds to study in order to make themselves thoroughly conversant with their subjects.

"When an inferior man does a wrong thing, he is sure to gloss it over.

"The superior man is seen in three different aspects:—look at him from a distance, he is imposing in appearance; approach him, he is gentle and warm-hearted; hear him speak, he is acute and strict.

"Let such a man have the people's confidence, and he will get much work out of them; so long, however, as he does not possess their confidence they will regard him as grinding them down.

"When confidence is reposed in him, he may then with impunity administer reproof; so long as it is not, he will be regarded as a detractor.

"Where there is no over-stepping of barriers in the practice of the higher virtues, there may be freedom to pass in and out in the practice of the lower ones."

Tsz-yu had said, "The pupils in the school of Tsz-hia are good enough at such things as sprinkling and scrubbing floors, answering calls and replying to questions from superiors, and advancing and retiring to and from such; but these things are only offshoots—as to the root of things they are nowhere. What is the use of all that?"

When this came to the ears of Tsz-hia, he said, "Ah! there he is mistaken. What does a master, in his methods of teaching, consider first in his precepts? And what does he account next, as that about which he may be indifferent? It is like as in the study of plants—classification by differentiae. How may a master play fast and loose in his methods of instruction? Would they not indeed be sages, who could take in at once the first principles and the final developments of things?"

Further observations of Tsz-hia:—

"In the public service devote what energy and time remain to study. After study devote what energy and time remain to the public service.

"As to the duties of mourning, let them cease when the grief is past.

"My friend Tsz-chang, although he has the ability to tackle hard things, has not yet the virtue of philanthropy."

The learned Tsang observed, "How loftily Tsz-chang bears himself! Difficult indeed along with him to practise philanthropy!"

Again he said, "I have heard this said by the Master, that 'though men may not exert themselves to the utmost in other duties, yet surely in the duty of mourning for their parents they will do so!'"

Again, "This also I have heard said by the Master: 'The filial piety of Mang Chwang in other respects might be equalled, but as manifested in his making no changes among his father's ministers, nor in his father's mode of government—that aspect of it could not easily be equalled.'"

Yang Fu, having been made senior Criminal Judge by the Chief of the Mang clan, consulted with the learned Tsang. The latter advised him as follows: "For a long time the Chiefs have failed in their government, and the people have become unsettled. When you arrive at the facts of their cases, do not rejoice at your success in that, but rather be sorry for them, and have pity upon them."

Tsz-kung once observed, "We speak of 'the iniquity of Chau'—but 'twas not so great as this. And so it is that the superior man is averse from settling in this sink, into which everything runs that is foul in the empire."

Again he said, "Faults in a superior man are like eclipses of the sun or moon: when he is guilty of a trespass men all see it; and when he is himself again, all look up to him."

Kung-sun Ch'an of Wei inquired of Tsz-kung how Confucius acquired his learning.

Tsz-kung replied, "The teachings of Wan and Wu have not yet fallen to the ground. They exist in men. Worthy and wise men have the more important of these stored up in their minds; and others, who are not such, store up the less important of them; and as no one is thus without the teachings of Wan and Wu, how should our Master not have learned? And moreover what permanent preceptor could he have?"

Shuh-sun Wu-shuh, addressing the high officials at the Court, remarked that Tsz-kung was a greater worthy than Confucius.

Tsz-fuh King-pih went and informed Tsz-kung of this remark.

Tsz-kung said, "Take by way of comparison the walls outside our houses. My wall is shoulder-high, and you may look over it and see what the house and its contents are worth. My Master's wall is tens of feet high, and unless you should effect an entrance by the door, you would fail to behold the beauty of the ancestral hall and the rich array of all its officers. And they who effect an entrance by the door, methinks, are few! Was it not, however, just like him—that remark of the Chief?"

Shuh-sun Wu-shuh had been casting a slur on the character of Confucius.

"No use doing that," said Tsz-kung; "he is irreproachable. The wisdom and worth of other men are little hills and mounds of earth: traversible. He is the sun, or the moon, impossible to reach and pass. And what harm, I ask, can a man do to the sun or the moon, by wishing to intercept himself from either? It all shows that he knows not how to gauge capacity."

Tsz-k'in, addressing Tsz-kung, said, "You depreciate yourself. Confucius is surely not a greater worthy than yourself."

Tsz-kung replied, "In the use of words one ought never to be incautious; because a gentleman for one single utterance of his is apt to be considered a wise man, and for a single utterance may be accounted unwise. No more might one think of attaining to the Master's perfections than think of going upstairs to Heaven! Were it ever his fortune to be at the head of the government of a country, then that which is spoken of as 'establishing the country' would be establishment indeed; he would be its guide and it would follow him, he would tranquillize it and it would render its willing homage: he would give forward impulses to it to which it would harmoniously respond. In his life he would be its glory, at his death there would be great lamentation. How indeed could such as he be equalled?"


Extracts from the Book of History

The Emperor Yau said to Shun, "Ah, upon you, upon your person, lies the Heaven-appointed order of succession! Faithfully hold to it, without any deflection; for if within the four seas necessity and want befall the people, your own revenue will forever come to an end."

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