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with a translation, critical and exegetical
notes, prolegomena, and copious indexes

by James Legge




CHAPTER I. 1. The Master said, 'Is it not pleasant to learn with
a constant perseverance and application?
2. 'Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant
3. 'Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no
discomposure though men may take no note of him?'

CHAP. II. 1. The philosopher Yu said, 'They are few who, being
filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors.
There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their
superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion.
2. 'The superior man bends his attention to what is radical.

That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial
piety and fraternal submission!-- are they not the root of all
benevolent actions?'
CHAP. III. The Master said, 'Fine words and an insinuating
appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.'
CHAP. IV. The philosopher Tsang said, 'I daily examine myself
on three points:-- whether, in transacting business for others, I may
have been not faithful;-- whether, in intercourse with friends, I
may have been not sincere;-- whether I may have not mastered
and practised the instructions of my teacher.'

CHAP. V. The Master said, To rule a country of a thousand
chariots, there must be reverent attention to business, and
sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the
employment of the people at the proper seasons.'
CHAP. VI. The Master said, 'A youth, when at home, should be
filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and
truthful. He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the
friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the
performance of these things, he should employ them in polite
CHAP. VII. Tsze-hsia said, 'If a man withdraws his mind from
the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the
virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength;

if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse
with his friends, his words are sincere:-- although men say that he
has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.'
CHAP. VIII. 1. The Master said, 'If the scholar be not grave, he
will not call forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid.
2. 'Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
3. 'Have no friends not equal to yourself.
4. 'When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.'
CHAP. IX. The philosopher Tsang said, 'Let there be a careful
attention to perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be
followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice;-- then
the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence.'

CHAP. X. 1. Tsze-ch'in asked Tsze-kung, saying, 'When our master
comes to any country, he does not fail to learn all about its
government. Does he ask his information? or is it given to him?'
2. Tsze-kung said, 'Our master is benign, upright, courteous,
temperate, and complaisant, and thus he gets his information. The
master's mode of asking information!-- is it not different from that
of other men?'
CHAP. XI. The Master said, 'While a man's father is alive, look
at the bent of his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct.
If for three years he does not alter from the way of his father, he
may be called filial.'

CHAP. XII. 1. The philosopher Yu said, 'In practising the rules of
propriety, a natural ease is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by
the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small
and great we follow them.
2. 'Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing
how such ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it
by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done.'
CHAP. XIII. The philosopher Yu said, 'When agreements are
made according to what is right, what is spoken can be made good.
When respect is shown according to what is proper, one keeps far
from shame and disgrace. When the parties upon whom a man
leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he can make them his
guides and masters.'
CHAP. XIV. The Master said, 'He who aims to be a man of
complete virtue in his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor

in his dwelling place does he seek the appliances of ease; he is
earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents
the company of men of principle that he may be rectified:-- such a
person may be said indeed to love to learn.'
CHAP. XV. 1. Tsze-kung said, 'What do you pronounce
concerning the poor man who yet does not flatter, and the rich man
who is not proud?' The Master replied, 'They will do; but they are
not equal to him, who, though poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who,
though rich, loves the rules of propriety.'
2. Tsze-kung replied, 'It is said in the Book of Poetry, "As you
cut and then file, as you carve and then polish."-- The meaning is
the same, I apprehend, as that which you have just expressed.'
3. The Master said, 'With one like Ts'ze, I can begin to talk

about the odes. I told him one point, and he knew its proper
CHAP. XVI. The Master said, 'I will not be afflicted at men's
not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men.'


CHAP. I. The Master said, 'He who exercises government by
means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which
keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.'
CHAP. II. The Master said, 'In the Book of Poetry are three
hundred pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one
sentence-- "Having no depraved thoughts."'
CHAP. III. 1. The Master said, 'If the people be led by laws,
and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will
try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame.
2. 'If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given
them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame,
and moreover will become good.'
CHAP. IV. 1. The Master said, 'At fifteen, I had my mind bent
on learning.
2. 'At thirty, I stood firm.
3. 'At forty, I had no doubts.
4. 'At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.

5. 'At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of
6. 'At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without
transgressing what was right.'
CHAP. V. 1. Mang I asked what filial piety was. The Master
said, 'It is not being disobedient.'
2. Soon after, as Fan Ch'ih was driving him, the Master told
him, saying, 'Mang-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I
answered him,-- "not being disobedient."'
3. Fan Ch'ih said, 'What did you mean?' The Master replied,
'That parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that,
when dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that
they should be sacrificed to according to propriety.'

CHAP. VI. Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. The Master
said, 'Parents are anxious lest their children should be sick.'
CHAP. VII. Tsze-yu asked what filial piety was. The Master
said, 'The filial piety of now-a-days means the support of one's
parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in
the way of support;-- without reverence, what is there to
distinguish the one support given from the other?'
CHAP. VIII. Tsze-hsia asked what filial piety was. The Master
said, 'The difficulty is with the countenance. If, when their elders
have any troublesome affairs, the young take the toil of them, and
if, when the young have wine and food, they set them before their
elders, is THIS to be considered filial piety?'

CHAP. IX. The Master said, 'I have talked with Hui for a whole
day, and he has not made any objection to anything I said;-- as if
he were stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct
when away from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings.
Hui!-- He is not stupid.'
CHAP. X. 1. The Master said, 'See what a man does.
2. 'Mark his motives.
3. 'Examine in what things he rests.
4. 'How can a man conceal his character?
5. How can a man conceal his character?'
CHAP. XI. The Master said, 'If a man keeps cherishing his old
knowledge, so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a
teacher of others.'

CHAP. XII. The Master said, 'The accomplished scholar is not a
CHAP. XIII. Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior
man. The Master said, 'He acts before he speaks, and afterwards
speaks according to his actions.'
CHAP. XIV. The Master said, 'The superior man is catholic and
no partisan. The mean man is partisan and not catholic.'
CHAP. XV. The Master said, 'Learning without thought is
labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.'
CHAP. XVI. The Master said, 'The study of strange doctrines is
injurious indeed!'

CHAP. XVII. The Master said, 'Yu, shall I teach you what
knowledge is? When you know a thing, to hold that you know it;
and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know
it;-- this is knowledge.'
CHAP. XVII. 1. Tsze-chang was learning with a view to official
2. The Master said, 'Hear much and put aside the points of
which you stand in doubt, while you speak cautiously at the same
time of the others:-- then you will afford few occasions for blame.
See much and put aside the things which seem perilous, while you
are cautious at the same time in carrying the others into practice:--
then you will have few occasions for repentance. When one gives
few occasions for blame in his words, and few occasions for
repentance in his conduct, he is in the way to get emolument.'

CHAP. XIX. The Duke Ai asked, saying, 'What should be done
in order to secure the submission of the people?' Confucius replied,
'Advance the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people
will submit. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then
the people will not submit.'
CHAP. XX. Chi K'ang asked how to cause the people to
reverence their ruler, to be faithful to him, and to go on to nerve
themselves to virtue. The Master said, 'Let him preside over them
with gravity;-- then they will reverence him. Let him be filial and
kind to all;-- then they will be faithful to him. Let him advance the
good and teach the incompetent;-- then they will eagerly seek to be
CHAP. XXI. 1. Some one addressed Confucius, saying, 'Sir, why
are you not engaged in the government?'

2. The Master said, 'What does the Shu-ching say of filial
piety?-- "You are filial, you discharge your brotherly duties. These
qualities are displayed in government." This then also constitutes
the exercise of government. Why must there be THAT-- making one
be in the government?'
CHAP. XXII. The Master said, 'I do not know how a man
without truthfulness is to get on. How can a large carriage be made
to go without the cross-bar for yoking the oxen to, or a small
carriage without the arrangement for yoking the horses?'
CHAP. XXIII. 1. Tsze-chang asked whether the affairs of ten
ages after could be known.
2. Confucius said, 'The Yin dynasty followed the regulations of
the Hsia: wherein it took from or added to them may be known. The
Chau dynasty has followed the regulations of Yin: wherein it took
from or added to them may be known. Some other may follow the
Chau, but though it should be at the distance of a hundred ages, its
affairs may be known.'

CHAP. XXIV. 1. The Master said, 'For a man to sacrifice to a
spirit which does not belong to him is flattery.
2. 'To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.'


CHAP. I. Confucius said of the head of the Chi family, who had
eight rows of pantomimes in his area, 'If he can bear to do this,
what may he not bear to do?'

CHAP. II. The three families used the YUNG ode, while the
vessels were being removed, at the conclusion of the sacrifice. The
Master said, '"Assisting are the princes;-- the son of heaven looks
profound and grave:"-- what application can these words have in
the hall of the three families?'
CHAP. III. The Master said, 'If a man be without the virtues
proper to humanity, what has he to do with the rites of propriety?
If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to
do with music?'
CHAP. IV. 1. Lin Fang asked what was the first thing to be
attended to in ceremonies.
2. The Master said, 'A great question indeed!
3. 'In festive ceremonies, it is better to be sparing than

In the ceremonies of mourning, it is better that there be deep
sorrow than a minute attention to observances.'
CHAP. V. The Master said, 'The rude tribes of the east and
north have their princes, and are not like the States of our great
land which are without them.'
CHAP. VI. The chief of the Chi family was about to sacrifice to
the T'ai mountain. The Master said to Zan Yu, 'Can you not save him
from this?' He answered, 'I cannot.' Confucius said, 'Alas! will you
say that the T'ai mountain is not so discerning as Lin Fang?'

CHAP. VII. The Master said, 'The student of virtue has no
contentions. If it be said he cannot avoid them, shall this be in
archery? But he bows complaisantly to his competitors; thus he
ascends the hall, descends, and exacts the forfeit of drinking. In his
contention, he is still the Chun-tsze.'
CHAP. VIII. 1. Tsze-hsia asked, saying, 'What is the meaning
of the passage-- "The pretty dimples of her artful smile! The well-
defined black and white of her eye! The plain ground for the
2. The Master said, 'The business of laying on the colours
follows (the preparation of) the plain ground.'
3. 'Ceremonies then are a subsequent thing?' The Master said,
'It is Shang who can bring out my meaning. Now I can begin to talk
about the odes with him.'

CHAP. IX. The Master said, 'I could describe the ceremonies of
the Hsia dynasty, but Chi cannot sufficiently attest my words. I
could describe the ceremonies of the Yin dynasty, but Sung cannot
sufficiently attest my words. (They cannot do so) because of the
insufficiency of their records and wise men. If those were
sufficient, I could adduce them in support of my words.'
CHAP. X. The Master said, 'At the great sacrifice, after the
pouring out of the libation, I have no wish to look on.'
CHAP. XI. Some one asked the meaning of the great sacrifice.
The Master said, 'I do not know. He who knew its meaning would
find it as easy to govern the kingdom as to look on this;-- pointing
to his palm.

CHAP. XII. 1. He sacrificed to the dead, as if they were
present. He sacrificed to the spirits, as if the spirits were present.
2. The Master said, 'I consider my not being present at the
sacrifice, as if I did not sacrifice.'
CHAP. XIII. 1. Wang-sun Chia asked, saying, 'What is the
meaning of the saying, "It is better to pay court to the furnace than
to the south-west corner?"'
2. The Master said, 'Not so. He who offends against Heaven
has none to whom he can pray.'

CHAP. XIV. The Master said, 'Chau had the advantage of
viewing the two past dynasties. How complete and elegant are its
regulations! I follow Chau.'
CHAP. XV. The Master, when he entered the grand temple,
asked about everything. Some one said, 'Who will say that the son
of the man of Tsau knows the rules of propriety! He has entered the
grand temple and asks about everything.' The Master heard the
remark, and said, 'This is a rule of propriety.'
CHAP. XVI. The Master said, 'In archery it is not going
through the leather which is the principal thing;-- because people's
strength is not equal. This was the old way.'

CHAP. XVII. 1. Tsze-kung wished to do away with the offering
of a sheep connected with the inauguration of the first day of each
2. The Master said, 'Ts'ze, you love the sheep; I love the
CHAP. XVII. The Master said, 'The full observance of the rules
of propriety in serving one's prince is accounted by people to be
CHAP. XIX. The Duke Ting asked how a prince should employ
his ministers, and how ministers should serve their prince.
Confucius replied, 'A prince should employ his minister according to
according to the rules of propriety; ministers should serve their
prince with faithfulness.'
CHAP. XX. The Master said, 'The Kwan Tsu is expressive of
enjoyment without being licentious, and of grief without being
hurtfully excessive.'

CHAP. XXI. 1. The Duke Ai asked Tsai Wo about the altars of
the spirits of the land. Tsai Wo replied, 'The Hsia sovereign planted
the pine tree about them; the men of the Yin planted the cypress;
and the men of the Chau planted the chestnut tree, meaning
thereby to cause the people to be in awe.'
2. When the Master heard it, he said, 'Things that are done, it
is needless to speak about; things that have had their course, it is
needless to remonstrate about; things that are past, it is needless to
CHAP. XXII. 1. The Master said, 'Small indeed was the capacity
of Kwan Chung!'
2. Some one said, 'Was Kwan Chung parsimonious?' 'Kwan,'
was the reply, 'had the San Kwei, and his officers performed no
double duties; how can he be considered parsimonious?'
3. 'Then, did Kwan Chung know the rules of propriety?' The

Master said, 'The princes of States have a screen intercepting the
view at their gates. Kwan had likewise a screen at his gate. The
princes of States on any friendly meeting between two of them, had
a stand on which to place their inverted cups. Kwan had also such a
stand. If Kwan knew the rules of propriety, who does not know
CHAP. XXXII. The Master instructing the grand music-master
of Lu said, 'How to play music may be known. At the
commencement of the piece, all the parts should sound together. As
it proceeds, they should be in harmony while severally distinct and
flowing without break, and thus on to the conclusion.'

CHAP. XXIV. The border warden at Yi requested to be
introduced to the Master, saying, 'When men of superior virtue
have come to this, I have never been denied the privilege of seeing
them.' The followers of the sage introduced him, and when he came
out from the interview, he said, 'My friends, why are you distressed
by your master's loss of office? The kingdom has long been without
the principles of truth and right; Heaven is going to use your master
as a bell with its wooden tongue.'
CHAP. XXV. The Master said of the Shao that it was perfectly
beautiful and also perfectly good. He said of the Wu that it was
perfectly beautiful but not perfectly good.
CHAP. XXVI. The Master said, 'High station filled without
indulgent generosity; ceremonies performed without reverence;
mourning conducted without sorrow;-- wherewith should I
contemplate such ways?'


CHAP. I. The Master said, 'It is virtuous manners which
constitute the excellence of a neighborhood. If a man in selecting a
residence, do not fix on one where such prevail, how can he be
CHAP. II. The Master said, 'Those who are without virtue
cannot abide long either in a condition of poverty and hardship, or
in a condition of enjoyment. The virtuous rest in virtue; the wise
desire virtue.'

CHAP. III. The Master said, 'It is only the (truly) virtuous
man, who can love, or who can hate, others.'
CHAP. IV. The Master said, 'If the will be set on virtue, there
will be no practice of wickedness.'
CHAP. V. 1. The Master said, 'Riches and honours are what
men desire. If it cannot be obtained in the proper way, they should
not be held. Poverty and meanness are what men dislike. If it
cannot be avoided in the proper way, they should not be avoided.
2. 'If a superior man abandon virtue, how can he fulfil the
requirements of that name?
3. 'The superior man does not, even for the space of a single
meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it.
In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it.'

CHAP. VI. 1. The Master said, 'I have not seen a person who
loved virtue, or one who hated what was not virtuous. He who
loved virtue, would esteem nothing above it. He who hated what is
not virtuous, would practise virtue in such a way that he would not
allow anything that is not virtuous to approach his person.
2. 'Is any one able for one day to apply his strength to virtue?
I have not seen the case in which his strength would be insufficient.
3. 'Should there possibly be any such case, I have not seen it.'
CHAP. VII. The Master said, 'The faults of men are
characteristic of the class to which they belong. By observing a
man's faults, it may be known that he is virtuous.'

CHAP. VIII. The Master said, 'If a man in the morning hear
the right way, he may die in the evening without regret.'
CHAP. IX. The Master said, 'A scholar, whose mind is set on
truth, and who is ashamed of bad clothes and bad food, is not fit to
be discoursed with.'
CHAP. X. The Master said, 'The superior man, in the world,
does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what
is right he will follow.'
CHAP. XI. The Master said, 'The superior man thinks of virtue;
the small man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the
sanctions of law; the small man thinks of favours which he may

CHAP. XII. The Master said: 'He who acts with a constant view
to his own advantage will be much murmured against.'
CHAP. XIII. The Master said, 'Is a prince is able to govern his
kingdom with the complaisance proper to the rules of propriety,
what difficulty will he have? If he cannot govern it with that
complaisance, what has he to do with the rules of propriety?'
CHAP. XIV. The Master said, 'A man should say, I am not
concerned that I have no place, I am concerned how I may fit
myself for one. I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to
be worthy to be known.'
CHAP. XV. 1. The Master said, 'Shan, my doctrine is that of an
all-pervading unity.' The disciple Tsang replied, 'Yes.'
2. The Master went out, and the other disciples asked, saying,

'What do his words mean?' Tsang said, 'The doctrine of our master
is to be true to the principles of our nature and the benevolent
exercise of them to others,-- this and nothing more.'
CHAP. XVI. The Master said, 'The mind of the superior man is
conversant with righteousness; the mind of the mean man is
conversant with gain.'
CHAP. XVII. The Master said, 'When we see men of worth, we
should think of equalling them; when we see men of a contrary
character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.'
CHAP. XVIII. The Master said, 'In serving his parents, a son
may remonstrate with them, but gently; when he sees that they do
not incline to follow his advice, he shows an increased degree of
reverence, but does not abandon his purpose; and should they
punish him, he does not allow himself to murmur.'

CHAP. XIX. The Master said, 'While his parents are alive, the
son may not go abroad to a distance. If he does go abroad, he must
have a fixed place to which he goes.'
CHAP. XX. The Master said, 'If the son for three years does not
alter from the way of his father, he may be called filial.'
CHAP. XXI. The Master said, 'The years of parents may by no
means not be kept in the memory, as an occasion at once for joy
and for fear.'
CHAP. XXII. The Master said, 'The reason why the ancients did
not readily give utterance to their words, was that they feared lest
their actions should not come up to them.'
CHAP. XXIII. The Master said, 'The cautious seldom err.'

CHAP. XXIV. The Master said, 'The superior man wishes to be
slow in his speech and earnest in his conduct.'
CHAP. XXV. The Master said, 'Virtue is not left to stand alone.
He who practises it will have neighbors.'
CHAP. XXVI. Tsze-yu said, 'In serving a prince, frequent
remonstrances lead to disgrace. Between friends, frequent reproofs
make the friendship distant.'


CHAP. I. 1. The Master said of Kung-ye Ch'ang that he might
be wived; although he was put in bonds, he had not been guilty of
any crime. Accordingly, he gave him his own daughter to wife.
2. Of Nan Yung he said that if the country were well governed

he would not be out of office, and if it were ill-governed, he would
escape punishment and disgrace. He gave him the daughter of his
own elder brother to wife.
CHAP. II. The Master said of Tsze-chien, 'Of superior virtue
indeed is such a man! If there were not virtuous men in Lu, how
could this man have acquired this character?'
CHAP. III. Tsze-kung asked, 'What do you say of me, Ts'ze?
The Master said, 'You are a utensil.' 'What utensil?' 'A gemmed
sacrificial utensil.'

CHAP. IV. 1. Some one said, 'Yung is truly virtuous, but he is
not ready with his tongue.'
2. The Master said, 'What is the good of being ready with the
tongue? They who encounter men with smartnesses of speech for
the most part procure themselves hatred. I know not whether he
be truly virtuous, but why should he show readiness of the
CHAP. V. The Master was wishing Ch'i-tiao K'ai to enter on
official employment. He replied, 'I am not yet able to rest in the
assurance of THIS.' The Master was pleased.
CHAP. VI. The Master said, 'My doctrines make no way. I will
get upon a raft, and float about on the sea. He that will accompany
me will be Yu, I dare say.' Tsze-lu hearing this was glad,

upon which the Master said, 'Yu is fonder of daring than I am. He
does not exercise his judgment upon matters.'
CHAP. VII. 1. Mang Wu asked about Tsze-lu, whether he was
perfectly virtuous. The Master said, 'I do not know.'
2. He asked again, when the Master replied, 'In a kingdom of
a thousand chariots, Yu might be employed to manage the military
levies, but I do not know whether he be perfectly virtuous.'
3. 'And what do you say of Ch'iu?' The Master replied, 'In a
city of a thousand families, or a clan of a hundred chariots, Ch'iu
might be employed as governor, but I do not know whether he is
perfectly virtuous.'
4. 'What do you say of Ch'ih?' The Master replied, 'With his
sash girt and standing in a court, Ch'ih might be employed to
converse with the visitors and guests, but I do not know whether
he is perfectly virtuous.'

CHAP. VII. 1. The Master said to Tsze-kung, 'Which do you
consider superior, yourself or Hui?'
2. Tsze-kung replied, 'How dare I compare myself with Hui?
Hui hears one point and knows all about a subject; I hear one point,
and know a second.'
3. The Master said, 'You are not equal to him. I grant you, you
are not equal to him.'
CHAP. IX. 1. Tsai Yu being asleep during the daytime, the
Master said, 'Rotten wood cannot be carved; a wall of dirty earth
will not receive the trowel. This Yu!-- what is the use of my
reproving him?'
2. The Master said, 'At first, my way with men was to hear
their words, and give them credit for their conduct. Now my way is
to hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that I
have learned to make this change.'

CHAP. X. The Master said, 'I have not seen a firm and
unbending man.' Some one replied, 'There is Shan Ch'ang.' 'Ch'ang,'
said the Master, 'is under the influence of his passions; how can he
be pronounced firm and unbending?'
CHAP. XI. Tsze-kung said, 'What I do not wish men to do to
me, I also wish not to do to men.' The Master said, 'Ts'ze, you have
not attained to that.'
CHAP. XII. Tsze-kung said, 'The Master's personal displays of
his principles and ordinary descriptions of them may be heard. His
discourses about man's nature, and the way of Heaven, cannot be

CHAP. XIII. When Tsze-lu heard anything, if he had not yet
succeeded in carrying it into practice, he was only afraid lest he
should hear something else.
CHAP. XIV. Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'On what ground did
Kung-wan get that title of Wan?' The Master said, 'He was of an
active nature and yet fond of learning, and he was not ashamed to
ask and learn of his inferiors!-- On these grounds he has been
styled Wan.'
CHAP. XV. The Master said of Tsze-ch'an that he had four of
the characteristics of a superior man:-- in his conduct of himself, he
was humble; in serving his superiors, he was respectful; in
nourishing the people, he was kind; in ordering the people, he was

CHAP. XVI. The Master said, 'Yen P'ing knew well how to
maintain friendly intercourse. The acquaintance might be long, but
he showed the same respect as at first.'
CHAP. XVII. The Master said, 'Tsang Wan kept a large tortoise
in a house, on the capitals of the pillars of which he had hills made,
and with representations of duckweed on the small pillars above
the beams supporting the rafters.-- Of what sort was his wisdom?'
CHAP. XVIII. 1. Tsze-chang asked, saying, 'The minister Tsze-
wan thrice took office, and manifested no joy in his countenance.
Thrice he retired from office, and manifested no displeasure. He
made it a point to inform the new minister of the way in which he
had conducted the government;-- what do you say of him?' The
Master replied. 'He was loyal.' 'Was he perfectly virtuous?' 'I do not
know. How can he be pronounced perfectly virtuous?'
2. Tsze-chang proceeded, 'When the officer Ch'ui killed the
prince of Ch'i, Ch'an Wan, though he was the owner of forty horses,
abandoned them and left the country. Coming to another State, he
said, "They are here like our great officer, Ch'ui," and left it. He
came to a second State, and with the same observation left it also;--
what do you say of him?' The Master replied, 'He was pure.' 'Was he
perfectly virtuous?' 'I do not know. How can he be pronounced
perfectly virtuous?'
CHAP. XIX. Chi Wan thought thrice, and then acted. When the
Master was informed of it, he said, 'Twice may do.'
CHAP. XX. The Master said, 'When good order prevailed in his
country, Ning Wu acted the part of a wise man. When his country
was in disorder, he acted the part of a stupid man. Others may
equal his wisdom, but they cannot equal his stupidity.'

CHAP. XXI. When the Master was in Ch'an, he said, 'Let me
return! Let me return! The little children of my school are
ambitious and too hasty. They are accomplished and complete so
far, but they do not know how to restrict and shape themselves.'
CHAP. XXII. The Master said, 'Po-i and Shu-ch'i did not keep
the former wickednesses of men in mind, and hence the
resentments directed towards them were few.'
CHAP. XXIII. The Master said, 'Who says of Wei-shang Kao

that he is upright? One begged some vinegar of him, and he begged
it of a neighbor and gave it to the man.'
CHAP. XXIV. The Master said, 'Fine words, an insinuating
appearance, and excessive respect;-- Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed
of them. I also am ashamed of them. To conceal resentment against
a person, and appear friendly with him;-- Tso Ch'iu-ming was
ashamed of such conduct. I also am ashamed of it.'
CHAP. XXV. 1. Yen Yuan and Chi Lu being by his side, the
Master said to them, 'Come, let each of you tell his wishes.'
2. Tsze-lu said, 'I should like, having chariots and horses, and
light fur dresses, to share them with my friends, and though they
should spoil them, I would not be displeased.'
3. Yen Yuan said, 'I should like not to boast of my excellence,
nor to make a display of my meritorious deeds.'
4. Tsze-lu then said, 'I should like, sir, to hear your wishes.'
The Master said, 'They are, in regard to the aged, to give them rest;
in regard to friends, to show them sincerity; in regard to the young,
to treat them tenderly.'
CHAP. XXVI. The Master said, 'It is all over! I have not yet
seen one who could perceive his faults, and inwardly accuse
CHAP. XXVII. The Master said, 'In a hamlet of ten families,
there may be found one honourable and sincere as I am, but not so
fond of learning.'


CHAP. I. 1. The Master said, 'There is Yung!-- He might occupy
the place of a prince.'
2. Chung-kung asked about Tsze-sang Po-tsze. The Master
said, 'He may pass. He does not mind small matters.'
3. Chung-kung said, 'If a man cherish in himself a reverential
feeling of the necessity of attention to business, though he may be
easy in small matters in his government of the people, that may be
allowed. But if he cherish in himself that easy feeling, and also
carry it out in his practice, is not such an easy mode of procedure
4. The Master said, 'Yung's words are right.'

CHAP. II. The Duke Ai asked which of the disciples loved to
learn. Confucius replied to him, 'There was Yen Hui; HE loved to
learn. He did not transfer his anger; he did not repeat a fault.
Unfortunately, his appointed time was short and he died; and now
there is not such another. I have not yet heard of any one who
loves to learn as he did.'
CHAP. III. 1. Tsze-hwa being employed on a mission to Ch'i,
the disciple Zan requested grain for his mother. The Master said,
'Give her a fu.' Yen requested more. 'Give her an yu,' said the
Master. Yen gave her five ping.
2. The Master said, 'When Ch'ih was proceeding to Ch'i, he had
fat horses to his carriage, and wore light furs. I have heard that

a superior man helps the distressed, but does not add to the wealth
of the rich.'
3. Yuan Sze being made governor of his town by the Master,
he gave him nine hundred measures of grain, but Sze declined
4. The Master said, 'Do not decline them. May you not give
them away in the neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, and villages?'
CHAP. IV. The Master, speaking of Chung-kung, said, 'If the
calf of a brindled cow be red and horned, although men may not
wish to use it, would the spirits of the mountains and rivers put it
CHAP. V. The Master said, 'Such was Hui that for three months
there would be nothing in his mind contrary to perfect virtue. The
others may attain to this on some days or in some months, but
nothing more.'

CHAP. VI. Chi K'ang asked about Chung-yu, whether he was fit
to be employed as an officer of government. The Master said, 'Yu is
a man of decision; what difficulty would he find in being an officer
of government?' K'ang asked, 'Is Ts'ze fit to be employed as an
officer of government?' and was answered, 'Ts'ze is a man of
intelligence; what difficulty would he find in being an officer of
government?' And to the same question about Ch'iu the Master
gave the same reply, saying, 'Ch'iu is a man of various ability.'
CHAP. VII. The chief of the Chi family sent to ask Min Tsze-
ch'ien to be governor of Pi. Min Tsze-ch'ien said, 'Decline the offer
for me politely. If any one come again to me with a second
invitation, I shall be obliged to go and live on the banks of the

CHAP. VIII. Po-niu being ill, the Master went to ask for him.
He took hold of his hand through the window, and said, 'It is killing
him. It is the appointment of Heaven, alas! That such a man should
have such a sickness! That such a man should have such a sickness!'
CHAP. IX. The Master said, 'Admirable indeed was the
virtue of Hui! With a single bamboo dish of rice, a single gourd dish
of drink, and living in his mean narrow lane, while others could not
have endured the distress, he did not allow his joy to be affected by
it. Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui!'
CHAP. X. Yen Ch'iu said, 'It is not that I do not delight in your
doctrines, but my strength is insufficient.' The Master said, 'Those
whose strength is insufficient give over in the middle of the way
but now you limit yourself.'

CHAP. XI. The Master said to Tsze-hsia, 'Do you be a scholar
after the style of the superior man, and not after that of the mean
CHAP. XII. Tsze-yu being governor of Wu-ch'ang, the Master
said to him, 'Have you got good men there?' He answered, 'There is
Tan-t'ai Mieh-ming, who never in walking takes a short cut, and
never comes to my office, excepting on public business.'
CHAP. XIII. The Master said, 'Mang Chih-fan does not boast of
his merit. Being in the rear on an occasion of flight, when they were
about to enter the gate, he whipped up his horse, saying, "It is not
that I dare to be last. My horse would not advance."'

CHAP. XIV. The Master said, 'Without the specious speech of
the litanist T'o and the beauty of the prince Chao of Sung, it is
difficult to escape in the present age.'
CHAP. XV. The Master said, 'Who can go out but by the door?
How is it that men will not walk according to these ways?'
CHAP. XVI. The Master said, 'Where the solid qualities are in
excess of accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the
accomplishments are in excess of the solid qualities, we have the
manners of a clerk. When the accomplishments and solid qualities
are equally blended, we then have the man of virtue.'
CHAP. XVII. The Master said, 'Man is born for uprightness. If
a man lose his uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is
the effect of mere good fortune.'

CHAP. XVIII. The Master said, 'They who know the truth are
not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to
those who delight in it.'
CHAP. XIX. The Master said, 'To those whose talents are above
mediocrity, the highest subjects may be announced. To those who
are below mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced.'
CHAP. XX. Fan Ch'ih asked what constituted wisdom. The
Master said, 'To give one's self earnestly to the duties due to men,
and, while respecting spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may
be called wisdom.' He asked about perfect virtue. The Master said,
'The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first
business, and success only a subsequent consideration;-- this may
be called perfect virtue.'

CHAP. XXI. The Master said, 'The wise find pleasure in water;
the virtuous find pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous
are tranquil. The wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived.'
CHAP. XXII. The Master said, 'Ch'i, by one change, would come
to the State of Lu. Lu, by one change, would come to a State where
true principles predominated.'
CHAP. XXIII. The Master said, 'A cornered vessel without
corners.-- A strange cornered vessel! A strange cornered vessel!'
CHAP. XXIV. Tsai Wo asked, saying, 'A benevolent man,
though it be told him,-- 'There is a man in the well' will go in after
him, I suppose.' Confucius said, 'Why should he do so?' A superior

man may be made to go to the well, but he cannot be made to go
down into it. He may be imposed upon, but he cannot be fooled.'
CHAP. XXV. The Master said, 'The superior man, extensively
studying all learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of
the rules of propriety, may thus likewise not overstep what is
CHAP. XXVI. The Master having visited Nan-tsze, Tsze-lu was
displeased, on which the Master swore, saying, 'Wherein I have
done improperly, may Heaven reject me, may Heaven reject me!'
CHAP. XXVII. The Master said, 'Perfect is the virtue which is

according to the Constant Mean! Rare for a long time has been its
practise among the people.'
CHAP. XXVIII. 1. Tsze-kung said, 'Suppose the case of a man
extensively conferring benefits on the people, and able to assist all,
what would you say of him? Might he be called perfectly virtuous?'
The Master said, 'Why speak only of virtue in connexion with him?
Must he not have the qualities of a sage? Even Yao and Shun were
still solicitous about this.
2. 'Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established
himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged
himself, he seeks also to enlarge others.
3. 'To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves;--
this may be called the art of virtue.'


CHAP. I. The Master said, 'A transmitter and not a maker,
believing in and loving the ancients, I venture to compare myself
with our old P'ang.'
CHAP. II. The Master said, 'The silent treasuring up of
knowledge; learning without satiety; and instructing others without
being wearied:-- which one of these things belongs to me?'
CHAP. III. The Master said, 'The leaving virtue without proper
cultivation; the not thoroughly discussing what is learned; not being
able to move towards righteousness of which a knowledge is
gained; and not being able to change what is not good:-- these are
the things which occasion me solicitude.'

CHAP. IV. When the Master was unoccupied with business, his
manner was easy, and he looked pleased.
CHAP. V. The Master said, 'Extreme is my decay. For a long
time, I have not dreamed, as I was wont to do, that I saw the duke
of Chau.'
CHAP. VI. 1. The Master said, 'Let the will be set on the path
of duty.
2. 'Let every attainment in what is good be firmly grasped.
3. 'Let perfect virtue be accorded with.
4. 'Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in the polite arts.'

CHAP. VII. The Master said, 'From the man bringing his
bundle of dried flesh for my teaching upwards, I have never
refused instruction to any one.'
CHAP. VIII. The Master said, 'I do not open up the truth to
one who is not eager to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is
not anxious to explain himself. When I have presented one corner
of a subject to any one, and he cannot from it learn the other three,
I do not repeat my lesson.'
CHAP. IX. 1. When the Master was eating by the side of a
mourner, he never ate to the full.
2. He did not sing on the same day in which he had been
CHAP. X. 1. The Master said to Yen Yuan, 'When called to
office, to undertake its duties; when not so called, to lie retired;-- it
is only I and you who have attained to this.'
2. Tsze-lu said, 'If you had the conduct of the armies of a
great State, whom would you have to act with you?'
3. The Master said, 'I would not have him to act with me, who
will unarmed attack a tiger, or cross a river without a boat, dying
without any regret. My associate must be the man who proceeds to
action full of solicitude, who is fond of adjusting his plans, and then
carries them into execution.'
CHAP. XI. The Master said, 'If the search for riches is sure to
be successful, though I should become a groom with whip in hand
to get them, I will do so. As the search may not be successful, I will
follow after that which I love.'
CHAP. XII. The things in reference to which the Master
exercised the greatest caution were -- fasting, war, and sickness.

CHAP. XIII. When the Master was in Ch'i, he heard the Shao,
and for three months did not know the taste of flesh. 'I did not
think'' he said, 'that music could have been made so excellent as
CHAP. XIV. 1. Yen Yu said, 'Is our Master for the ruler of
Wei?' Tsze-kung said, 'Oh! I will ask him.'
2. He went in accordingly, and said, 'What sort of men were
Po-i and Shu-ch'i?' 'They were ancient worthies,' said the Master.
'Did they have any repinings because of their course?' The Master
again replied, 'They sought to act virtuously, and they did so; what
was there for them to repine about?' On this, Tsze-kung went out
and said, 'Our Master is not for him.'

CHAP. XV. The Master said, 'With coarse rice to eat, with
water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow;-- I have still joy in
the midst of these things. Riches and honours acquired by
unrighteousness, are to me as a floating cloud.'
CHAP. XVI. The Master said, 'If some years were added to my
life, I would give fifty to the study of the Yi, and then I might come
to be without great faults.'
CHAP. XVII The Master's frequent themes of discourse were--
the Odes, the History, and the maintenance of the Rules of
Propriety. On all these he frequently discoursed.

CHAP. XVIII. 1. The Duke of Sheh asked Tsze-lu about
Confucius, and Tsze-lu did not answer him.
2. The Master said, 'Why did you not say to him,-- He is
simply a man, who in his eager pursuit (of knowledge) forgets his
food, who in the joy of its attainment forgets his sorrows, and who
does not perceive that old age is coming on?'
CHAP. XIX. The Master said, 'I am not one who was born in
the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and
earnest in seeking it there.'
CHAP. XX. The subjects on which the Master did not talk,
were-- extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and
spiritual beings.

CHAP. XXI. The Master said, 'When I walk along with two
others, they may serve me as my teachers. I will select their good
qualities and follow them, their bad qualities and avoid them.'
CHAP. XXII. The Master said, 'Heaven produced the virtue
that is in me. Hwan T'ui-- what can he do to me?'
CHAP. XXIII. The Master said, 'Do you think, my disciples, that
I have any concealments? I conceal nothing from you. There is
nothing which I do that is not shown to you, my disciples;-- that is
my way.'
CHAP. XXIV. There were four things which the Master
taught,-- letters, ethics, devotion of soul, and truthfulness.

CHAP. XXV. 1. The Master said, 'A sage it is not mine to see;
could I see a man of real talent and virtue, that would satisfy me.'
2. The Master said, 'A good man it is not mine to see; could I
see a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy me.
3. 'Having not and yet affecting to have, empty and yet
affecting to be full, straitened and yet affecting to be at ease:-- it is
difficult with such characteristics to have constancy.'
CHAP. XXVI. The Master angled,-- but did not use a net. He
shot,-- but not at birds perching.
CHAP. XXVII. The Master said, 'There may be those who act
without knowing why. I do not do so. Hearing much and selecting
what is good and following it; seeing much and keeping it in
memory:-- this is the second style of knowledge.'

CHAP. XXVIII. 1. It was difficult to talk (profitably and
reputably) with the people of Hu-hsiang, and a lad of that place
having had an interview with the Master, the disciples doubted.
2. The Master said, 'I admit people's approach to me without
committing myself as to what they may do when they have retired.
Why must one be so severe? If a man purify himself to wait upon
me, I receive him so purified, without guaranteeing his past
CHAP. XXIX. The Master said, 'Is virtue a thing remote? I wish
to be virtuous, and lo! virtue is at hand.'
CHAP. XXX. 1. The minister of crime of Ch'an asked whether
the duke Chao knew propriety, and Confucius said, 'He knew
2. Confucius having retired, the minister bowed to Wu-ma Ch'i

to come forward, and said, 'I have heard that the superior man is
not a partisan. May the superior man be a partisan also? The prince
married a daughter of the house of Wu, of the same surname with
himself, and called her,-- "The elder Tsze of Wu." If the prince
knew propriety, who does not know it?'
3. Wu-ma Ch'i reported these remarks, and the Master said, 'I
am fortunate! If I have any errors, people are sure to know them.'
CHAP. XXXI. When the Master was in company with a person
who was singing, if he sang well, he would make him repeat the
song, while he accompanied it with his own voice.
CHAP. XXXII. The Master said, 'In letters I am perhaps equal
to other men, but the character of the superior man, carrying out in
his conduct what he professes, is what I have not yet attained to.'

CHAP. XXXIII. The Master said, 'The sage and the man of
perfect virtue;-- how dare I rank myself with them? It may simply
be said of me, that I strive to become such without satiety, and
teach others without weariness.' Kung-hsi Hwa said, 'This is just
what we, the disciples, cannot imitate you in.'
CHAP. XXXIV. The Master being very sick, Tsze-lu asked leave
to pray for him. He said, 'May such a thing be done?' Tsze-lu
replied, 'It may. In the Eulogies it is said, "Prayer has been made
for thee to the spirits of the upper and lower worlds."' The Master
said, 'My praying has been for a long time.'

CHAP. XXXV. The Master said, 'Extravagance leads to
insubordination, and parsimony to meanness. It is better to be
mean than to be insubordinate.'
CHAP. XXXVI. The Master said, 'The superior man is satisfied
and composed; the mean man is always full of distress.'
CHAP. XXXVII. The Master was mild, and yet dignified;
majestic, and yet not fierce; respectful, and yet easy.


CHAP. I. The Master said, 'T'ai-po may be said to have
reached the highest point of virtuous action. Thrice he declined the
kingdom, and the people in ignorance of his motives could not
express their approbation of his conduct.'

CHAP. II. 1. The Master said, 'Respectfulness, without the
rules of propriety, becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without
the rules of propriety, becomes timidity; boldness, without the rules
of propriety, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness,
without the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness.
2. 'When those who are in high stations perform well all their
duties to their relations, the people are aroused to virtue. When old
friends are not neglected by them, the people are preserved from
CHAP. III. The philosopher Tsang being ill, he called to him
the disciples of his school, and said, 'Uncover my feet, uncover my
hands. It is said in the Book of Poetry, "We should be apprehensive
and cautious, as if on the brink of a deep gulf, as if treading on thin
ice," and so have I been. Now and hereafter, I know my escape
from all injury to my person, O ye, my little children.'

CHAP. IV. 1. The philosopher Tsang being ill, Meng Chang
went to ask how he was.
2. Tsang said to him, 'When a bird is about to die, its notes are
mournful; when a man is about to die, his words are good.
3. 'There are three principles of conduct which the man of
high rank should consider specially important:-- that in his
deportment and manner he keep from violence and heedlessness;
that in regulating his countenance he keep near to sincerity; and
that in his words and tones he keep far from lowness and
impropriety. As to such matters as attending to the sacrificial
vessels, there are the proper officers for them.'

CHAP. V. The philosopher Tsang said, 'Gifted with ability, and
yet putting questions to those who were not so; possessed of much,
and yet putting questions to those possessed of little; having, as
though he had not; full, and yet counting himself as empty;
offended against, and yet entering into no altercation; formerly I
had a friend who pursued this style of conduct.'
CHAP. VI. The philosopher Tsang said, 'Suppose that there is
an individual who can be entrusted with the charge of a young
orphan prince, and can be commissioned with authority over a state
of a hundred li, and whom no emergency however great can drive
from his principles:-- is such a man a superior man? He is a
superior man indeed.'
CHAP. VII. 1. The philosopher Tsang said, 'The officer may not
be without breadth of mind and vigorous endurance. His burden is
heavy and his course is long.

2. 'Perfect virtue is the burden which he considers it is his to
sustain;-- is it not heavy? Only with death does his course stop;-- is
it not long?
CHAP. VIII. 1. The Master said, 'It is by the Odes that the
mind is aroused.
2. 'It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is
3. 'It is from Music that the finish is received.'
CHAP. IX. The Master said, 'The people may be made to follow
a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.'
CHAP. X. The Master said, 'The man who is fond of daring and
is dissatisfied with poverty, will proceed to insubordination. So will
the man who is not virtuous, when you carry your dislike of him to
an extreme.'

CHAP. XI. The Master said, 'Though a man have abilities as
admirable as those of the Duke of Chau, yet if he be proud and
niggardly, those other things are really not worth being looked at.'
CHAP. XII. The Master said, 'It is not easy to find a man who
has learned for three years without coming to be good.'
CHAP. XIII. 1. The Master said, 'With sincere faith he unites
the love of learning; holding firm to death, he is perfecting the
excellence of his course.
2. 'Such an one will not enter a tottering State, nor dwell in a
disorganized one. When right principles of government prevail in
the kingdom, he will show himself; when they are prostrated, he
will keep concealed.
3. 'When a country is well-governed, poverty and a mean
condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill-
governed, riches and honour are things to be ashamed of.'

CHAP. XIV. The Master said, 'He who is not in any particular
office, has nothing to do with plans for the administration of its
CHAP. XV. The Master said, 'When the music master Chih first
entered on his office, the finish of the Kwan Tsu was magnificent;--
how it filled the ears!'
CHAP. XVI. The Master said, 'Ardent and yet not upright;
stupid and yet not attentive; simple and yet not sincere:-- such
persons I do not understand.'
CHAP. XVII. The Master said, 'Learn as if you could not reach
your object, and were always fearing also lest you should lose it.'
CHAP. XVIII. The Master said, 'How majestic was the manner
in which Shun and Yu held possession of the empire, as if it were
nothing to them!'

CHAP. XIX. 1. The Master said, 'Great indeed was Yao as a
sovereign! How majestic was he! It is only Heaven that is grand,
and only Yao corresponded to it. How vast was his virtue! The
people could find no name for it.
2. 'How majestic was he in the works which he accomplished!
How glorious in the elegant regulations which he instituted!'
CHAP. XX. 1. Shun had five ministers, and the empire was
2. King Wu said, 'I have ten able ministers.'
3. Confucius said, 'Is not the saying that talents are difficult to
find, true? Only when the dynasties of T'ang and Yu met, were they
more abundant than in this of Chau, yet there was a woman among
them. The able ministers were no more than nine men.

4. 'King Wan possessed two of the three parts of the empire,
and with those he served the dynasty of Yin. The virtue of the
house of Chau may be said to have reached the highest point
CHAP. XXI. The Master said, 'I can find no flaw in the
character of Yu. He used himself coarse food and drink, but
displayed the utmost filial piety towards the spirits. His ordinary
garments were poor, but he displayed the utmost elegance in his
sacrificial cap and apron. He lived in a low mean house, but
expended all his strength on the ditches and water-channels. I can
find nothing like a flaw in Yu.'


CHAP. I. The subjects of which the Master seldom spoke
were-- profitableness, and also the appointments of Heaven, and
perfect virtue.
CHAP. II. 1. A man of the village of Ta-hsiang said, 'Great
indeed is the philosopher K'ung! His learning is extensive, and yet
he does not render his name famous by any particular thing.'
2. The Master heard the observation, and said to his disciples,
'What shall I practise? Shall I practise charioteering, or shall I
practise archery? I will practise charioteering.'

CHAP. III. 1. The Master said, 'The linen cap is that prescribed
by the rules of ceremony, but now a silk one is worn. It is
economical, and I follow the common practice.
2. 'The rules of ceremony prescribe the bowing below the hall,
but now the practice is to bow only after ascending it. That is
arrogant. I continue to bow below the hall, though I oppose the
common practice.'
CHAP. IV. There were four things from which the Master was
entirely free. He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary
predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no egoism.
CHAP. V. 1. The Master was put in fear in K'wang.
2. He said, 'After the death of King Wan, was not the cause of
truth lodged here in me?

3. 'If Heaven had wished to let this cause of truth perish, then
I, a future mortal, should not have got such a relation to that cause.
While Heaven does not let the cause of truth perish, what can the
people of K'wang do to me?'
CHAP. VI. 1. A high officer asked Tsze-kung, saying, 'May we
not say that your Master is a sage? How various is his ability!'
2. Tsze-kung said, 'Certainly Heaven has endowed him
unlimitedly. He is about a sage. And, moreover, his ability is
3. The Master heard of the conversation and said, 'Does the
high officer know me? When I was young, my condition was low,
and therefore I acquired my ability in many things, but they were
mean matters. Must the superior man have such variety of ability?
He does not need variety of ability.'
4. Lao said, 'The Master said, "Having no official employment,
I acquired many arts."'

CHAP. VII. The Master said, 'Am I indeed possessed of
knowledge? I am not knowing. But if a mean person, who appears
quite empty-like, ask anything of me, I set it forth from one end to
the other, and exhaust it.'
CHAP. VIII. The Master said, 'The FANG bird does not come;
the river sends forth no map:-- it is all over with me!'
CHAP. IX. When the Master saw a person in a mourning dress,
or any one with the cap and upper and lower garments of full
dress, or a blind person, on observing them approaching, though
they were younger than himself, he would rise up, and if he had to
pass by them, he would do so hastily.

CHAP. X. 1. Yen Yuan, in admiration of the Master's doctrines,
sighed and said, 'I looked up to them, and they seemed to become
more high; I tried to penetrate them, and they seemed to become
more firm; I looked at them before me, and suddenly they seemed
to be behind.
2. 'The Master, by orderly method, skilfully leads men on. He
enlarged my mind with learning, and taught me the restraints of
3. 'When I wish to give over the study of his doctrines, I
cannot do so, and having exerted all my ability, there seems
something to stand right up before me; but though I wish to follow
and lay hold of it, I really find no way to do so.'
CHAP. XI. 1. The Master being very ill, Tsze-lu wished the
disciples to act as ministers to him.
2. During a remission of his illness, he said, 'Long has the
conduct of Yu been deceitful! By pretending to have ministers when
I have them not, whom should I impose upon? Should I impose
upon Heaven?

3. 'Moreover, than that I should die in the hands of ministers,
is it not better that I should die in the hands of you, my disciples?
And though I may not get a great burial, shall I die upon the road?'
CHAP. XII. Tsze-kung said, 'There is a beautiful gem here.
Should I lay it up in a case and keep it? or should I seek for a good
price and sell it?' The Master said, 'Sell it! Sell it! But I would wait
for one to offer the price.'
CHAP. XIII. 1. The Master was wishing to go and live among
the nine wild tribes of the east.
2. Some one said, 'They are rude. How can you do such a
thing?' The Master said, 'If a superior man dwelt among them, what
rudeness would there be?'
CHAP. XIV. The Master said, 'I returned from Wei to Lu, and
then the music was reformed, and the pieces in the Royal songs and
Praise songs all found their proper places.'

CHAP. XV. The Master said, 'Abroad, to serve the high
ministers and nobles; at home, to serve one's father and elder
brothers; in all duties to the dead, not to dare not to exert one's self;
and not to be overcome of wine:-- which one of these things do I
attain to?'
CHAP. XVI. The Master standing by a stream, said, 'It passes
on just like this, not ceasing day or night!'
CHAP. XVII. The Master said, 'I have not seen one who loves
virtue as he loves beauty.'
CHAP. XVIII. The Master said, 'The prosecution of learning
may be compared to what may happen in raising a mound. If there
want but one basket of earth to complete the work, and I stop, the

stopping is my own work. It may be compared to throwing down
the earth on the level ground. Though but one basketful is thrown
at a time, the advancing with it is my own going forward.'
CHAP. XIX. The Master said, 'Never flagging when I set forth
anything to him;-- ah! that is Hui.'
CHAP. XX. The Master said of Yen Yuan, 'Alas! I saw his
constant advance. I never saw him stop in his progress.'
CHAP. XXI. The Master said, 'There are cases in which the
blade springs, but the plant does not go on to flower! There are
cases where it flowers, but no fruit is subsequently produced!'
CHAP. XXII. The Master said, 'A youth is to be regarded with
respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our
present? If he reach the age of forty or fifty, and has not made
himself heard of, then indeed he will not be worth being regarded
with respect.'

CHAP. XXV. The Master said, 'Can men refuse to assent to the
words of strict admonition? But it is reforming the conduct because
of them which is valuable. Can men refuse to be pleased with words
of gentle advice? But it is unfolding their aim which is valuable. If a
man be pleased with these words, but does not unfold their aim,
and assents to those, but does not reform his conduct, I can really
do nothing with him.'
CHAP. XXIV. The Master said, 'Hold faithfulness and sincerity
as first principles. Have no friends not equal to yourself. When you
have faults, do not fear to abandon them.'
CHAP. XXV. The Master said, 'The commander of the forces of
a large state may be carried off, but the will of even a common man
cannot be taken from him.'

CHAP. XXVI. 1. The Master said, 'Dressed himself in a tattered
robe quilted with hemp, yet standing by the side of men dressed in
furs, and not ashamed;-- ah! it is Yu who is equal to this!
2. '"He dislikes none, he covets nothing;-- what can he do but
what is good!"'
3. Tsze-lu kept continually repeating these words of the ode,
when the Master said, 'Those things are by no means sufficient to
constitute (perfect) excellence.'
CHAP. XXVII. The Master said, 'When the year becomes cold,
then we know how the pine and the cypress are the last to lose
their leaves.'
CHAP. XXVIII. The Master said, 'The wise are free from
perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear.'
CHAP. XXIX. The Master said, 'There are some with whom we
may study in common, but we shall find them unable to go along

with us to principles. Perhaps we may go on with them to
principles, but we shall find them unable to get established in those
along with us. Or if we may get so established along with them, we
shall find them unable to weigh occurring events along with us.'
CHAP. XXX. 1. How the flowers of the aspen-plum flutter and
turn! Do I not think of you? But your house is distant.
2. The Master said, 'It is the want of thought about it. How is
it distant?'


CHAP. I. 1. Confucius, in his village, looked simple and sincere,
and as if he were not able to speak.
2. When he was in the prince's ancestorial temple, or in the
court, he spoke minutely on every point, but cautiously.
CHAP II. 1. When he was waiting at court, in speaking with
the great officers of the lower grade, he spake freely, but in a
straightforward manner; in speaking with those of the higher grade,
he did so blandly, but precisely.
2. When the ruler was present, his manner displayed
respectful uneasiness; it was grave, but self-possessed.

CHAP. III. 1. When the prince called him to employ him in the
reception of a visitor, his countenance appeared to change, and his
legs to move forward with difficulty.
2. He inclined himself to the other officers among whom he
stood, moving his left or right arm, as their position required, but
keeping the skirts of his robe before and behind evenly adjusted.
3. He hastened forward, with his arms like the wings of a
4. When the guest had retired, he would report to the prince,
'The visitor is not turning round any more.'
CHAP. IV. 1. When he entered the palace gate, he seemed to
bend his body, as if it were not sufficient to admit him.
2. When he was standing, he did not occupy the middle of the
gate-way; when he passed in or out, he did not tread upon the
3. When he was passing the vacant place of the prince, his
countenance appeared to change, and his legs to bend under him,
and his words came as if he hardly had breath to utter them.
4. He ascended the reception hall, holding up his robe with
both his hands, and his body bent; holding in his breath also, as if
he dared not breathe.
5. When he came out from the audience, as soon as he had
descended one step, he began to relax his countenance, and had a
satisfied look. When he had got to the bottom of the steps, he
advanced rapidly to his place, with his arms like wings, and on
occupying it, his manner still showed respectful uneasiness.
CHAP. V. 1. When he was carrying the scepter of his ruler, he
seemed to bend his body, as if he were not able to bear its weight.
He did not hold it higher than the position of the hands in making

a bow, nor lower than their position in giving anything to another.
His countenance seemed to change, and look apprehensive, and he
dragged his feet along as if they were held by something to the
2. In presenting the presents with which he was charged, he
wore a placid appearance.
3. At his private audience, he looked highly pleased.
CHAP. VI. 1. The superior man did not use a deep purple, or a
puce colour, in the ornaments of his dress.
2. Even in his undress, he did not wear anything of a red or
reddish colour.
3. In warm weather, he had a single garment either of coarse
or fine texture, but he wore it displayed over an inner garment.
4. Over lamb's fur he wore a garment of black; over fawn's fur
one of white; and over fox's fur one of yellow.

5. The fur robe of his undress was long, with the right sleeve
6. He required his sleeping dress to be half as long again as
his body.
7. When staying at home, he used thick furs of the fox or the
8. When he put off mourning, he wore all the appendages of
the girdle.
9. His under-garment, except when it was required to be of
the curtain shape, was made of silk cut narrow above and wide
10. He did not wear lamb's fur or a black cap, on a visit of
11. On the first day of the month he put on his court robes,
and presented himself at court.

CHAP. VII. 1. When fasting, he thought it necessary to have
his clothes brightly clean and made of linen cloth.
2. When fasting, he thought it necessary to change his food,
and also to change the place where he commonly sat in the
CHAP. VIII. 1. He did not dislike to have his rice finely
cleaned, nor to have his minced meat cut quite small.
2. He did not eat rice which had been injured by heat or damp
and turned sour, nor fish or flesh which was gone. He did not eat
what was discoloured, or what was of a bad flavour, nor anything
which was ill-cooked, or was not in season.
3. He did not eat meat which was not cut properly, nor what
was served without its proper sauce.
4. Though there might be a large quantity of meat, he would
not allow what he took to exceed the due proportion for the rice. It
was only in wine that he laid down no limit for himself, but he did
not allow himself to be confused by it.
5. He did not partake of wine and dried meat bought in the
6. He was never without ginger when he ate.
7. He did not eat much.
8. When he had been assisting at the prince's sacrifice, he did
not keep the flesh which he received overnight. The flesh of his
family sacrifice he did not keep over three days. If kept over three
days, people could not eat it.
9. When eating, he did not converse. When in bed, he did not
10. Although his food might be coarse rice and vegetable
soup, he would offer a little of it in sacrifice with a grave, respectful
CHAP. IX. If his mat was not straight, he did not sit on it.
CHAP. X. 1. When the villagers were drinking together, on
those who carried staffs going out, he went out immediately after.
2. When the villagers were going through their ceremonies to
drive away pestilential influences, he put on his court robes and
stood on the eastern steps.

CHAP. XI. 1. When he was sending complimentary inquiries to
any one in another State, he bowed twice as he escorted the
messenger away.
2. Chi K'ang having sent him a present of physic, he bowed
and received it, saying, 'I do not know it. I dare not taste it.'
CHAP. XII. The stable being burned down, when he was at
court, on his return he said, 'Has any man been hurt?' He did not
ask about the horses.
CHAP. XIII. 1. When the prince sent him a gift of cooked meat,
he would adjust his mat, first taste it, and then give it away to
others. When the prince sent him a gift of undressed meat, he
would have it cooked, and offer it to the spirits of his ancestors.
When the prince sent him a gift of a living animal, he would keep it
2. When he was in attendance on the prince and joining in the
entertainment, the prince only sacrificed. He first tasted everything.

3. When he was ill and the prince came to visit him, he had
his head to the east, made his court robes be spread over him, and
drew his girdle across them.
4. When the prince's order called him, without waiting for his
carriage to be yoked, he went at once.
CHAP. XIV. When he entered the ancestral temple of the
State, he asked about everything.
CHAP. XV. 1. When any of his friends died, if he had no
relations who could be depended on for the necessary offices, he
would say, 'I will bury him.'
2. When a friend sent him a present, though it might be a
carriage and horses, he did not bow.
3. The only present for which he bowed was that of the flesh
of sacrifice.
CHAP. XVI. 1. In bed, he did not lie like a corpse. At home, he
did not put on any formal deportment.
2. When he saw any one in a mourning dress, though it might
be an acquaintance, he would change countenance; when he saw
any one wearing the cap of full dress, or a blind person, though he
might be in his undress, he would salute them in a ceremonious
3. To any person in mourning he bowed forward to the
crossbar of his carriage; he bowed in the same way to any one
bearing the tables of population.
4. When he was at an entertainment where there was an
abundance of provisions set before him, he would change
countenance and rise up.
5. On a sudden clap of thunder, or a violent wind, he would
change countenance.
CHAP. XVII. 1. When he was about to mount his carriage, he
would stand straight, holding the cord.
2. When he was in the carriage, he did not turn his head quite
round, he did not talk hastily, he did not point with his hands.
CHAP. XVIII. 1. Seeing the countenance, it instantly rises. It
flies round, and by and by settles.
2. The Master said, 'There is the hen-pheasant on the hill
bridge. At its season! At its season!' Tsze-lu made a motion to it.
Thrice it smelt him and then rose.


CHAP. I. 1. The Master said, 'The men of former times, in the
matters of ceremonies and music were rustics, it is said, while the
men of these latter times, in ceremonies and music, are
accomplished gentlemen.
2. 'If I have occasion to use those things, I follow the men of
former times.'
CHAP. II. 1. The Master said, 'Of those who were with me in
Ch'an and Ts'ai, there are none to be found to enter my door.'
2. Distinguished for their virtuous principles and practice,
there were Yen Yuan, Min Tsze-ch'ien, Zan Po-niu, and Chung-kung;
for their ability in speech, Tsai Wo and Tsze-kung; for their

trative talents, Zan Yu and Chi Lu; for their literary acquirements,
Tsze-yu and Tsze-hsia.
CHAP. III. The Master said, 'Hui gives me no assistance. There
is nothing that I say in which he does not delight.'
CHAP. IV. The Master said, 'Filial indeed is Min Tsze-ch'ien!
Other people say nothing of him different from the report of his
parents and brothers.'
CHAP. V. Nan Yung was frequently repeating the lines about a
white scepter stone. Confucius gave him the daughter of his elder
brother to wife.

CHAP. VI. Chi K'ang asked which of the disciples loved to
learn. Confucius replied to him, 'There was Yen Hui; he loved to
learn. Unfortunately his appointed time was short, and he died.
Now there is no one who loves to learn, as he did.'
CHAP. VII. 1. When Yen Yuan died, Yen Lu begged the
carriage of the Master to sell and get an outer shell for his son's
2. The Master said, 'Every one calls his son his son, whether
he has talents or has not talents. There was Li; when he died, he
had a coffin but no outer shell. I would not walk on foot to get a
shell for him, because, having followed in the rear of the great
officers, it was not proper that I should walk on foot.'
CHAP. VIII. When Yen Yuan died, the Master said, 'Alas!
Heaven is destroying me! Heaven is destroying me!'

CHAP. IX. 1. When Yen Yuan died, the Master bewailed him
exceedingly, and the disciples who were with him said, 'Master,
your grief is excessive?'
2. 'Is it excessive?' said he.
3. 'If I am not to mourn bitterly for this man, for whom
should I mourn?'
CHAP. X. 1. When Yen Yuan died, the disciples wished to give
him a great funeral, and the Master said, 'You may not do so.'
2. The disciples did bury him in great style.
3. The Master said, 'Hui behaved towards me as his father. I
have not been able to treat him as my son. The fault is not mine; it
belongs to you, O disciples.'
CHAP. XI. Chi Lu asked about serving the spirits of the dead.
The Master said, 'While you are not able to serve men, how can you
serve their spirits?' Chi Lu added, 'I venture to ask about

death?' He was answered, 'While you do not know life, how can you
know about death?'
CHAP. XII. 1. The disciple Min was standing by his side,
looking bland and precise; Tsze-lu, looking bold and soldierly; Zan
Yu and Tsze-kung, with a free and straightforward manner. The
Master was pleased.
2. He said, 'Yu, there!-- he will not die a natural death.'
CHAP. XIII. 1. Some parties in Lu were going to take down
and rebuild the Long Treasury.
2. Min Tsze-ch'ien said, 'Suppose it were to be repaired after
its old style;-- why must it be altered and made anew?'
3. The Master said, 'This man seldom speaks; when he does,
he is sure to hit the point.'

CHAP. XIV. 1. The Master said, 'What has the lute of Yu to do
in my door?'
2. The other disciples began not to respect Tsze-lu. The
Master said, 'Yu has ascended to the hall, though he has not yet
passed into the inner apartments.'
CHAP. XV. 1. Tsze-kung asked which of the two, Shih or
Shang, was the superior. The Master said, 'Shih goes beyond the due
mean, and Shang does not come up to it.'
2. 'Then,' said Tsze-kung, 'the superiority is with Shih, I
3. The Master said, 'To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.'
CHAP. XVI. 1. The head of the Chi family was richer than the
duke of Chau had been, and yet Ch'iu collected his imposts for him,
and increased his wealth.

2. The Master said, 'He is no disciple of mine. My little
children, beat the drum and assail him.'
CHAP. XVII. 1. Ch'ai is simple.
2. Shan is dull.
3. Shih is specious.
4. Yu is coarse.
CHAP. XVIII. 1. The Master said, 'There is Hui! He has nearly
attained to perfect virtue. He is often in want.
2. 'Ts'ze does not acquiesce in the appointments of Heaven,
and his goods are increased by him. Yet his judgments are often
CHAP. XIX. Tsze-chang asked what were the characteristics of

the GOOD man. The Master said, 'He does not tread in the footsteps
of others, but moreover, he does not enter the chamber of the sage.'
CHAP. XX. The Master said, 'If, because a man's discourse
appears solid and sincere, we allow him to be a good man, is he
really a superior man? or is his gravity only in appearance?'
CHAP. XXI. Tsze-lu asked whether he should immediately
carry into practice what he heard. The Master said, 'There are your
father and elder brothers to be consulted;-- why should you act on
that principle of immediately carrying into practice what you hear?'
Zan Yu asked the same, whether he should immediately carry into
practice what he heard, and the Master answered, 'Immediately
carry into practice what you hear.' Kung-hsi Hwa said, 'Yu asked
whether he should carry immediately into practice what he heard,
and you said, "There are your father and elder brothers to be
consulted." Ch'iu asked whether he should immediately carry into
practice what he heard, and you said, "Carry it immediately into
practice." I, Ch'ih, am perplexed, and venture to ask you for an
explanation.' The Master said, 'Ch'iu is retiring and slow; therefore,

I urged him forward. Yu has more than his own share of energy;
therefore I kept him back.'
CHAP. XXII. The Master was put in fear in K'wang and Yen
Yuan fell behind. The Master, on his rejoining him, said, 'I thought
you had died.' Hui replied, 'While you were alive, how should I
presume to die?'
CHAP. XXIII. 1. Chi Tsze-zan asked whether Chung Yu and Zan
Ch'iu could be called great ministers.
2. The Master said, 'I thought you would ask about some
extraordinary individuals, and you only ask about Yu and Ch'iu!
3. 'What is called a great minister, is one who serves his
prince according to what is right, and when he finds he cannot do
so, retires.

4. 'Now, as to Yu and Ch'iu, they may be called ordinary
5. Tsze-zan said, 'Then they will always follow their chief;--
will they?'
6. The Master said, 'In an act of parricide or regicide, they
would not follow him.'
CHAP. XXIV. 1. Tsze-lu got Tsze-kao appointed governor of Pi.
2. The Master said, 'You are injuring a man's son.'
3. Tsze-lu said, 'There are (there) common people and officers;
there are the altars of the spirits of the land and grain. Why must
one read books before he can be considered to have learned?'
4. The Master said, 'It is on this account that I hate your
glib-tongued people.'
CHAP. XXV. 1. Tsze-lu, Tsang Hsi, Zan Yu, and Kung-hsi Hwa
were sitting by the Master.
2. He said to them, 'Though I am a day or so older than you,
do not think of that.

3. 'From day to day you are saying, "We are not known." If
some ruler were to know you, what would you like to do?'
4. Tsze-lu hastily and lightly replied, 'Suppose the case of a
State of ten thousand chariots; let it be straitened between other
large States; let it be suffering from invading armies; and to this let
there be added a famine in corn and in all vegetables:-- if I were
intrusted with the government of it, in three years' time I could
make the people to be bold, and to recognise the rules of righteous
conduct.' The Master smiled at him.
5. Turning to Yen Yu, he said, 'Ch'iu, what are your wishes?'
Ch'iu replied, 'Suppose a state of sixty or seventy li square, or one
of fifty or sixty, and let me have the government of it;-- in three
years' time, I could make plenty to abound among the people. As to
teaching them the principles of propriety, and music, I must wait
for the rise of a superior man to do that.'

6. 'What are your wishes, Ch'ih,' said the Master next to Kung-
hsi Hwa. Ch'ih replied, 'I do not say that my ability extends to these
things, but I should wish to learn them. At the services of the
ancestral temple, and at the audiences of the princes with the
sovereign, I should like, dressed in the dark square-made robe and
the black linen cap, to act as a small assistant.'
7. Last of all, the Master asked Tsang Hsi, 'Tien, what are your
wishes?' Tien, pausing as he was playing on his lute, while it was
yet twanging, laid the instrument aside, and rose. 'My wishes,' he
said, 'are different from the cherished purposes of these three
gentlemen.' 'What harm is there in that?' said the Master; 'do you
also, as well as they, speak out your wishes.' Tien then said, 'In this,
the last month of spring, with the dress of the season all complete,
along with five or six young men who have assumed the cap, and
six or seven boys, I would wash in the I, enjoy the breeze among
the rain altars, and return home singing.' The Master heaved a sigh
and said, 'I give my approval to Tien.'

8. The three others having gone out, Tsang Hsi remained
behind, and said, 'What do you think of the words of these three
friends?' The Master replied, 'They simply told each one his wishes.'
9. Hsi pursued, 'Master, why did you smile at Yu?'
10. He was answered, 'The management of a State demands
the rules of propriety. His words were not humble; therefore I
smiled at him.'
11. Hsi again said, 'But was it not a State which Ch'iu proposed
for himself?' The reply was, 'Yes; did you ever see a territory of
sixty or seventy li or one of fifty or sixty, which was not a State?'
12. Once more, Hsi inquired, 'And was it not a State which
Ch'ih proposed for himself?' The Master again replied, 'Yes; who but
princes have to do with ancestral temples, and with audiences but
the sovereign? If Ch'ih were to be a small assistant in these
services, who could be a great one?


CHAP. I. 1. Yen Yuan asked about perfect virtue. The Master
said, 'To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue.
If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety,
all under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is the practice
of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from others?'
2. Yen Yuan said, 'I beg to ask the steps of that process.' The
Master replied, 'Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not
to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to
propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.' Yen
Yuan then said, 'Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigour, I
will make it my business to practise this lesson.'

CHAP. II. Chung-kung asked about perfect virtue. The Master
said, 'It is, when you go abroad, to behave to every one as if you
were receiving a great guest; to employ the people as if you were
assisting at a great sacrifice; not to do to others as you would not
wish done to yourself; to have no murmuring against you in the
country, and none in the family.' Chung-kung said, 'Though I am
deficient in intelligence and vigour, I will make it my business to
practise this lesson.'
CHAP. III. 1. Sze-ma Niu asked about perfect virtue.
2. The Master said, 'The man of perfect virtue is cautious and
slow in his speech.'

3. 'Cautious and slow in his speech!' said Niu;-- 'is this what is
meant by perfect virtue?' The Master said, 'When a man feels the
difficulty of doing, can he be other than cautious and slow in
CHAP. IV. 1. Sze-ma Niu asked about the superior man. The
Master said, 'The superior man has neither anxiety nor fear.'
2. 'Being without anxiety or fear!' said Nui;-- 'does this
constitute what we call the superior man?'
3. The Master said, 'When internal examination discovers
nothing wrong, what is there to be anxious about, what is there to
CHAP. V. 1. Sze-ma Niu, full of anxiety, said, 'Other men all
have their brothers, I only have not.'
2. Tsze-hsia said to him, 'There is the following saying which I
have heard:--

3. '"Death and life have their determined appointment; riches
and honours depend upon Heaven."
4. 'Let the superior man never fail reverentially to order his
own conduct, and let him be respectful to others and observant of
propriety:-- then all within the four seas will be his brothers. What
has the superior man to do with being distressed because he has no
CHAP. VI. Tsze-chang asked what constituted intelligence. The
Master said, 'He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks
into the mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh,
are successful, may be called intelligent indeed. Yea, he with whom
neither soaking slander, nor startling statements, are successful,
may be called farseeing.'

CHAP. VII. 1. Tsze-kung asked about government. The Master
said, 'The requisites of government are that there be sufficiency of
food, sufficiency of military equipment, and the confidence of the
people in their ruler.'
2. Tsze-kung said, 'If it cannot be helped, and one of these
must be dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone
first?' 'The military equipment,' said the Master.
3. Tsze-kung again asked, 'If it cannot be helped, and one of
the remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should
be foregone?' The Master answered, 'Part with the food. From of
old, death has been the lot of all men; but if the people have no
faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the state.'
CHAP. VIII. 1. Chi Tsze-ch'ang said, 'In a superior man it is
only the substantial qualities which are wanted;-- why should we
seek for ornamental accomplishments?'

2. Tsze-kung said, 'Alas! Your words, sir, show you to be a
superior man, but four horses cannot overtake the tongue.
3. Ornament is as substance; substance is as ornament. The
hide of a tiger or a leopard stripped of its hair, is like the hide of a
dog or a goat stripped of its hair.'
CHAP. IX. 1. The Duke Ai inquired of Yu Zo, saying, 'The year
is one of scarcity, and the returns for expenditure are not
sufficient;-- what is to be done?'
2. Yu Zo replied to him, 'Why not simply tithe the people?'
3. 'With two tenths, said the duke, 'I find it not enough;-- how
could I do with that system of one tenth?'
4. Yu Zo answered, 'If the people have plenty, their prince will
not be left to want alone. If the people are in want, their prince
cannot enjoy plenty alone.'

CHAP. X. 1. Tsze-chang having asked how virtue was to be
exalted, and delusions to be discovered, the Master said, 'Hold
faithfulness and sincerity as first principles, and be moving
continually to what is right;-- this is the way to exalt one's virtue.
2. 'You love a man and wish him to live; you hate him and
wish him to die. Having wished him to live, you also wish him to
die. This is a case of delusion.
3. '"It may not be on account of her being rich, yet you come
to make a difference."'
CHAP. XI. 1. The Duke Ching, of Ch'i, asked Confucius about
2. Confucius replied, 'There is government, when the prince is
prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and
the son is son.'
3. 'Good!' said the duke; 'if, indeed; the prince be not prince,
the minister not minister, the father not father, and the son not son,
although I have my revenue, can I enjoy it?'

CHAP. XII. 1. The Master said, 'Ah! it is Yu, who could with
half a word settle litigations!'
2. Tsze-lu never slept over a promise.
CHAP. XIII. The Master said, 'In hearing litigations, I am like
any other body. What is necessary, however, is to cause the people
to have no litigations.'
CHAP. XIV. Tsze-chang asked about government. The Master
said, 'The art of governing is to keep its affairs before the mind
without weariness, and to practise them with undeviating
CHAP. XV. The Master said, 'By extensively studying all
learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of
propriety, one may thus likewise not err from what is right.'

CHAP. XVI. The Master said, 'The superior man seeks to
perfect the admirable qualities of men, and does not seek to perfect
their bad qualities. The mean man does the opposite of this.'
CHAP. XVII. Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government.
Confucius replied, 'To govern means to rectify. If you lead on the
people with correctness, who will dare not to be correct?'
CHAP. XVIII. Chi K'ang, distressed about the number of
thieves in the state, inquired of Confucius how to do away with
them. Confucius said, 'If you, sir, were not covetous, although you
should reward them to do it, they would not steal.'
CHAP. XIX. Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government,
saying, 'What do you say to killing the unprincipled for the good of
the principled?' Confucius replied, 'Sir, in carrying on your
government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced
desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The

between superiors and inferiors, is like that between the wind and
the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it.'
CHAP. XX. 1. Tsze-chang asked, 'What must the officer be, who
may be said to be distinguished?'
2. The Master said, 'What is it you call being distinguished?'
3. Tsze-chang replied, 'It is to be heard of through the State,
to be heard of throughout his clan.'
4. The Master said, 'That is notoriety, not distinction.
5. 'Now the man of distinction is solid and straightforward,
and loves righteousness. He examines people's words, and looks at
their countenances. He is anxious to humble himself to others. Such
a man will be distinguished in the country; he will be distinguished
in his clan.
6. 'As to the man of notoriety, he assumes the appearance of

virtue, but his actions are opposed to it, and he rests in this
character without any doubts about himself. Such a man will be
heard of in the country; he will be heard of in the clan.'
CHAP. XXI. 1. Fan Ch'ih rambling with the Master under the
trees about the rain altars, said, 'I venture to ask how to exalt
virtue, to correct cherished evil, and to discover delusions.'
2. The Master said, 'Truly a good question!
3. 'If doing what is to be done be made the first business, and
success a secondary consideration;-- is not this the way to exalt
virtue? To assail one's own wickedness and not assail that of
others;-- is not this the way to correct cherished evil? For a
morning's anger to disregard one's own life, and involve that of his
parents;-- is not this a case of delusion?'
CHAP. XXII. 1. Fan Ch'ih asked about benevolence. The Master
said, 'It is to love all men.' He asked about knowledge. The Master
said, 'It is to know all men.'

2. Fan Ch'ih did not immediately understand these answers.
3. The Master said, 'Employ the upright and put aside all the
crooked;-- in this way the crooked can be made to be upright.'
4. Fan Ch'ih retired, and, seeing Tsze-hsia, he said to him, 'A
Little while ago, I had an interview with our Master, and asked him
about knowledge. He said, 'Employ the upright, and put aside all the
crooked;-- in this way, the crooked will be made to be upright.'
What did he mean?'
5. Tsze-hsia said, 'Truly rich is his saying!
6. 'Shun, being in possession of the kingdom, selected from
among all the people, and employed Kao-yao, on which all who
were devoid of virtue disappeared. T'ang, being in possession of the
kingdom, selected from among all the people, and employed I Yin,
and all who were devoid of virtue disappeared.'
CHAP. XXIII. Tsze-kung asked about friendship. The Master
said, 'Faithfully admonish your friend, and skillfully lead him on. If
you find him impracticable, stop. Do not disgrace yourself.'

CHAP. XXIV. The philosopher Tsang said, 'The superior man
on grounds of culture meets with his friends, and by their
friendship helps his virtue.'


CHAP. I. 1. Tsze-lu asked about government. The Master said,
'Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their
2. He requested further instruction, and was answered, 'Be
not weary (in these things).'
CHAP. II. 1. Chung-kung, being chief minister to the Head of
the Chi family, asked about government. The Master said, 'Employ

first the services of your various officers, pardon small faults, and
raise to office men of virtue and talents.'
2. Chung-kung said, 'How shall I know the men of virtue and
talent, so that I may raise them to office?' He was answered, 'Raise
to office those whom you know. As to those whom you do not know,
will others neglect them?'
CHAP. III. 1. Tsze-lu said, 'The ruler of Wei has been waiting
for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will
you consider the first thing to be done?'
2. The Master replied, 'What is necessary is to rectify names.'
3. 'So, indeed!' said Tsze-lu. 'You are wide of the mark! Why
must there be such rectification?'
4. The Master said, 'How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior
man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.
5. 'If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with

the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth
of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
6. 'When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties
and music will not flourish. When proprieties and music do not
flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When
punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know
how to move hand or foot.
7. 'Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the
names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he
speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man
requires, is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.'
CHAP. IV. 1. Fan Ch'ih requested to be taught husbandry. The
Master said, 'I am not so good for that as an old husbandman.' He

requested also to be taught gardening, and was answered, 'I am not
so good for that as an old gardener.'
2. Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master said, 'A small man,
indeed, is Fan Hsu!
3. If a superior love propriety, the people will not dare not to
be reverent. If he love righteousness, the people will not dare not
to submit to his example. If he love good faith, the people will not
dare not to be sincere. Now, when these things obtain, the people
from all quarters will come to him, bearing their children on their
backs;-- what need has he of a knowledge of husbandry?'
CHAP. V. The Master said, 'Though a man may be able to
recite the three hundred odes, yet if, when intrusted with a
governmental charge, he knows not how to act, or if, when sent to
any quarter on a mission, he cannot give his replies unassisted,
notwithstanding the extent of his learning, of what practical use is

CHAP. VI. The Master said, 'When a prince's personal conduct
is correct, his government is effective without the issuing of orders.
If his personal conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they
will not be followed.'
CHAP. VII. The Master said, 'The governments of Lu and Wei
are brothers.'
CHAP. VIII. The Master said of Ching, a scion of the ducal
family of Wei, that he knew the economy of a family well. When he
began to have means, he said, 'Ha! here is a collection!' When they
were a little increased, he said, 'Ha! this is complete!' When he had
become rich, he said, 'Ha! this is admirable!'
CHAP. IX. 1. When the Master went to Wei, Zan Yu acted as
driver of his carriage.
2. The Master observed, 'How numerous are the people!'
3. Yu said, 'Since they are thus numerous, what more shall be
done for them?' 'Enrich them,' was the reply.

4. 'And when they have been enriched, what more shall be
done?' The Master said, 'Teach them.'
CHAP. X. The Master said, 'If there were (any of the princes)
who would employ me, in the course of twelve months, I should
have done something considerable. In three years, the government
would be perfected.'
CHAP. XI. The Master said, '"If good men were to govern a
country in succession for a hundred years, they would be able to
transform the violently bad, and dispense with capital
punishments." True indeed is this saying!'
CHAP. XII. The Master said, 'If a truly royal ruler were to
arise, it would still require a generation, and then virtue would

CHAP. XIII. The Master said, 'If a minister make his own
conduct correct, what difficulty will he have in assisting in
government? If he cannot rectify himself, what has he to do with
rectifying others?'
CHAP. XIV. The disciple Zan returning from the court, the
Master said to him, 'How are you so late?' He replied, 'We had
government business.' The Master said, 'It must have been family
affairs. If there had been government business, though I am not
now in office, I should have been consulted about it.'
CHAP. XV. 1. The Duke Ting asked whether there was a single
sentence which could make a country prosperous. Confucius replied,
'Such an effect cannot be expected from one sentence.
2. 'There is a saying, however, which people have-- "To be a
prince is difficult; to be a minister is not easy."
3. 'If a ruler knows this,-- the difficulty of being a prince,--
may there not be expected from this one sentence the prosperity of
his country?'
4. The duke then said, 'Is there a single sentence which can
ruin a country?' Confucius replied, 'Such an effect as that cannot be
expected from one sentence. There is, however, the saying which
people have-- "I have no pleasure in being a prince, but only in
that no one can offer any opposition to what I say!"
5. 'If a ruler's words be good, is it not also good that no one
oppose them? But if they are not good, and no one opposes them,
may there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin of his
CHAP. XVI. 1. The Duke of Sheh asked about government.
2. The Master said, 'Good government obtains, when those
who are near are made happy, and those who are far off are

CHAP. XVII. Tsze-hsia, being governor of Chu-fu, asked about
government. The Master said, 'Do not be desirous to have things
done quickly; do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things
done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at
small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.'
CHAP. XVIII. 1. The Duke of Sheh informed Confucius, saying,
'Among us here there are those who may be styled upright in their
conduct. If their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness
to the fact.'
2. Confucius said, 'Among us, in our part of the country, those
who are upright are different from this. The father conceals the
misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the
father. Uprightness is to be found in this.'

CHAP. XIX. Fan Ch'ih asked about perfect virtue. The Master
said, 'It is, in retirement, to be sedately grave; in the management
of business, to be reverently attentive; in intercourse with others,
to be strictly sincere. Though a man go among rude, uncultivated
tribes, these qualities may not be neglected.'
CHAP. XX. 1. Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'What qualities must a
man possess to entitle him to be called an officer? The Master said,
'He who in his conduct of himself maintains a sense of shame, and
when sent to any quarter will not disgrace his prince's commission,
deserves to be called an officer.'
3. Tsze-kung pursued, 'I venture to ask who may be placed in
the next lower rank?' And he was told, 'He whom the circle of his
relatives pronounce to be filial, whom his fellow-villagers and
neighbours pronounce to be fraternal.'
3. Again the disciple asked, 'I venture to ask about the class
still next in order.' The Master said, 'They are determined to be
sincere in what they say, and to carry out what they do. They are
obstinate little men. Yet perhaps they may make the next class.'

4. Tsze-kung finally inquired, 'Of what sort are those of the
present day, who engage in government?' The Master said 'Pooh!
they are so many pecks and hampers, not worth being taken into
CHAP. XXI. The Master said, 'Since I cannot get men pursuing
the due medium, to whom I might communicate my instructions, I
must find the ardent and the cautiously-decided. The ardent will
advance and lay hold of truth; the cautiously-decided will keep
themselves from what is wrong.'
CHAP. XXII. 1. The Master said, 'The people of the south have
a saying-- "A man without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a
doctor." Good!
2. 'Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with disgrace.'

3. The Master said, 'This arises simply from not attending to
the prognostication.'
CHAP. XXIII. The Master said, 'The superior man is affable,
but not adulatory; the mean man is adulatory, but not affable.'
CHAP. XXIV. Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'What do you say of a
man who is loved by all the people of his neighborhood?' The
Master replied, 'We may not for that accord our approval of him.'
'And what do you say of him who is hated by all the people of his
neighborhood?' The Master said, 'We may not for that conclude that
he is bad. It is better than either of these cases that the good in the
neighborhood love him, and the bad hate him.'
CHAP. XXV. The Master said, 'The superior man is easy to
serve and difficult to please. If you try to please him in any way
which is not accordant with right, he will not be pleased. But in his

employment of men, he uses them according to their capacity. The
mean man is difficult to serve, and easy to please. If you try to
please him, though it be in a way which is not accordant with right,
he may be pleased. But in his employment of men, he wishes them
to be equal to everything.'
CHAP. XXVI. The Master said, 'The superior man has a
dignified ease without pride. The mean man has pride without a
dignified ease.'
CHAP. XXVII. The Master said, 'The firm, the enduring, the
simple, and the modest are near to virtue.'
CHAP. XXVIII. Tsze-lu asked, saying, 'What qualities must a
man possess to entitle him to be called a scholar?' The Master said,
'He must be thus,-- earnest, urgent, and bland:-- among his friends,
earnest and urgent; among his brethren, bland.'

CHAP. XXIX. The Master said, 'Let a good man teach the
people seven years, and they may then likewise be employed in
CHAP. XXX. The Master said, 'To lead an uninstructed people
to war, is to throw them away.'


CHAP. I. Hsien asked what was shameful. The Master said,
'When good government prevails in a state, to be thinking only of

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