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THE CHINESE CLASSICS
with a translation, critical and exegetical
notes, prolegomena, and copious indexes
IN FIVE VOLUMES
THE GREAT LEARNING
THE DOCTRINE OF THE MEAN
BOOK I. HSIO R.
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
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
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 studies.'
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
3. The Master said, 'With one like Ts'ze, I can begin to
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
BOOK II. WEI CHANG.
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
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 truth.
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
CHAP. VI. Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. The
Master said, 'Parents are anxious lest their children should be
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
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 utensil.'
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
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 virtuous.'
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
BOOK III. PA YIH.
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 colours?"'
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
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
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 month.
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 flattery.'
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
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 blame.'
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
3. 'Then, did Kwan Chung know the rules of propriety?'
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 them?'
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
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
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?'
BOOK IV. LE JIN.
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 wise?'
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
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
3. 'Should there possibly be any such case, I have not
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 receive.'
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
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,
'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
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
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.'
BOOK V. KUNG-YE CH'ANG.
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
2. Of Nan Yung he said that if the country were well
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 tongue?'
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
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
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. VIII. 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 heard.'
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 just.'
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
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
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
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
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
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.'
BOOK VI. YUNG YEY.
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 excessive?'
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
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
4. The Master said, 'Do not decline them. May you not
give them away in the neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, and
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 aside?'
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 Wan.'
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
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 man.'
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 right.'
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
CHAP. XXVII. The Master said, 'Perfect is the virtue which
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.'
BOOK VII. SHU R.
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
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
3. 'Let perfect virtue be accorded with.
4. 'Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in the polite
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
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 this.'
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
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
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
2. The Master said, 'A good man it is not mine to see;
could I see a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy
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
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 conduct.'
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
2. Confucius having retired, the minister bowed to Wu-
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
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
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
CHAP. XXXVII. The Master was mild, and yet dignified;
majestic, and yet not fierce; respectful, and yet easy.
BOOK VIII. T'AI-PO.
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
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 meanness.'
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
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
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
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 duties.'
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
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
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 indeed.'
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.'
BOOK IX. TSZE HAN.
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
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
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 propriety.
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
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
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?'
BOOK X. HEANG TANG.
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
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
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
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
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 ground.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
10. Although his food might be coarse rice and vegetable
soup, he would offer a little of it in sacrifice with a grave,
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
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
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 alive.
2. When he was in attendance on the prince and joining
in the entertainment, the prince only sacrificed. He first tasted
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