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The Chinese Classics by James Legge

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CHAP. I. 1. The Viscount of Wei withdrew from the court.
The Viscount of Chi became a slave to Chau. Pi-kan
remonstrated with him and died.
2. Confucius said, 'The Yin dynasty possessed these three
men of virtue.'
CHAP. II. Hui of Liu-hsia being chief criminal judge, was
thrice dismissed from his office. Some one said to him, 'Is it not
yet time for you, sir, to leave this?' He replied, 'Serving men in
an upright way, where shall I go to, and not experience such a

dismissal? If I choose to serve men in a crooked way, what
necessity is there for me to leave the country of my parents?'
CHAP. III. The duke Ching of Ch'i, with reference to the
manner in which he should treat Confucius, said, 'I cannot treat
him as I would the chief of the Chi family. I will treat him in a
manner between that accorded to the chief of the Chi, and that
given to the chief of the Mang family.' He also said, 'I am old; I
cannot use his doctrines.' Confucius took his departure.
CHAP. IV. The people of Ch'i sent to Lu a present of
female musicians, which Chi Hwan received, and for three days
no court was held. Confucius took his departure.
CHAP. V. 1. The madman of Ch'u, Chieh-yu, passed by
Confucius, singing and saying, 'O FANG! O FANG! How is your

virtue degenerated! As to the past, reproof is useless; but the
future may still be provided against. Give up your vain pursuit.
Give up your vain pursuit. Peril awaits those who now engage
in affairs of government.'
2. Confucius alighted and wished to converse with him,
but Chieh-yu hastened away, so that he could not talk with
CHAP. VI. 1. Ch'ang-tsu and Chieh-ni were at work in the
field together, when Confucius passed by them, and sent Tsze-
lu to inquire for the ford.
2. Ch'ang-tsu said, 'Who is he that holds the reins in the
carriage there?' Tsze-lu told him, 'It is K'ung Ch'iu.' 'Is it not
K'ung Ch'iu of Lu?' asked he. 'Yes,' was the reply, to which the
other rejoined, 'He knows the ford.'
3. Tsze-lu then inquired of Chieh-ni, who said to him,

are you, sir?' He answered, 'I am Chung Yu.' 'Are you not the
disciple of K'ung Ch'iu of Lu?' asked the other. 'I am,' replied
he, and then Chieh-ni said to him, 'Disorder, like a swelling
flood, spreads over the whole empire, and who is he that will
change its state for you? Than follow one who merely
withdraws from this one and that one, had you not better
follow those who have withdrawn from the world altogether?'
With this he fell to covering up the seed, and proceeded with
his work, without stopping.
4. Tsze-lu went and reported their remarks, when the
Master observed with a sigh, 'It is impossible to associate with
birds and beasts, as if they were the same with us. If I
associate not with these people,-- with mankind,-- with whom
shall I associate? If right principles prevailed through the
empire, there would be no use for me to change its state.'

CHAP. VII. 1. Tsze-lu, following the Master, happened to
fall behind, when he met an old man, carrying across his
shoulder on a staff a basket for weeds. Tsze-lu said to him,
'Have you seen my master, sir!' The old man replied, 'Your four
limbs are unaccustomed to toil; you cannot distinguish the five
kinds of grain:-- who is your master?' With this, he planted his
staff in the ground, and proceeded to weed.
2. Tsze-lu joined his hands across his breast, and stood
before him.
3. The old man kept Tsze-lu to pass the night in his
house, killed a fowl, prepared millet, and feasted him. He also
introduced to him his two sons.
4. Next day, Tsze-lu went on his way, and reported his
adventure. The Master said, 'He is a recluse,' and sent Tsze-lu
back to see him again, but when he got to the place, the old
man was gone.
5. Tsze-lu then said to the family, 'Not to take office is not

righteous. If the relations between old and young may not be
neglected, how is it that he sets aside the duties that should be
observed between sovereign and minister? Wishing to
maintain his personal purity, he allows that great relation to
come to confusion. A superior man takes office, and performs
the righteous duties belonging to it. As to the failure of right
principles to make progress, he is aware of that.'
CHAP. VIII. 1. The men who have retired to privacy from
the world have been Po-i, Shu-ch'i, Yu-chung, I-yi, Chu-chang,
Hui of Liu-hsia, and Shao-lien.
2. The Master said, 'Refusing to surrender their wills, or
to submit to any taint in their persons;-- such, I think, were
Po-i and Shu-ch'i.
3. 'It may be said of Hui of Liu-hsia, and of Shao-lien, that
they surrendered their wills, and submitted to taint in their

but their words corresponded with reason, and their actions
were such as men are anxious to see. This is all that is to be
remarked in them.
4. 'It may be said of Yu-chung and I-yi, that, while they
hid themselves in their seclusion, they gave a license to their
words; but, in their persons, they succeeded in preserving their
purity, and, in their retirement, they acted according to the
exigency of the times.
5. 'I am different from all these. I have no course for
which I am predetermined, and no course against which I am
CHAP. IX. 1. The grand music master, Chih, went to Ch'i.
2. Kan, the master of the band at the second meal, went
to Ch'u. Liao, the band master at the third meal, went to Ts'ai.
Chueh, the band master at the fourth meal, went to Ch'in.
3. Fang-shu, the drum master, withdrew to the north of
the river.

入於河。播(tao2, 上兆下鼓)武、入於漢。【五節】少師陽、擊磬襄、入於
4. Wu, the master of the hand drum, withdrew to the
5. Yang, the assistant music master, and Hsiang, master of
the musical stone, withdrew to an island in the sea.
CHAP. X. The duke of Chau addressed his son, the duke of
Lu, saying, 'The virtuous prince does not neglect his relations.
He does not cause the great ministers to repine at his not
employing them. Without some great cause, he does not dismiss
from their offices the members of old families. He does not
seek in one man talents for every employment.'
CHAP. XI. To Chau belonged the eight officers, Po-ta,
Po-kwo, Chung-tu, Chung-hwu, Shu-ya, Shu-hsia, Chi-sui, and


CHAP. I. Tsze-chang said, 'The scholar, trained for public
duty, seeing threatening danger, is prepared to sacrifice his life.
When the opportunity of gain is presented to him, he thinks of
righteousness. In sacrificing, his thoughts are reverential. In
mourning, his thoughts are about the grief which he should
feel. Such a man commands our approbation indeed.'
CHAP. II. Tsze-chang said, 'When a man holds fast to
virtue, but without seeking to enlarge it, and believes right
principles, but without firm sincerity, what account can be
made of his existence or non-existence?'

CHAP. III. The disciples of Tsze-hsia asked Tsze-chang
about the principles that should characterize mutual
intercourse. Tsze-chang asked, 'What does Tsze-hsia say on the
subject?' They replied, 'Tsze-hsia says:-- "Associate with those
who can advantage you. Put away from you those who cannot
do so."' Tsze-chang observed, 'This is different from what I
have learned. The superior man honours the talented and
virtuous, and bears with all. He praises the good, and pities the
incompetent. Am I possessed of great talents and virtue?--
who is there among men whom I will not bear with? Am I
devoid of talents and virtue?-- men will put me away from
them. What have we to do with the putting away of others?'
CHAP. IV. Tsze-hsia said, 'Even in inferior studies and
employments there is something worth being looked at; but if
it be

attempted to carry them out to what is remote, there is a
danger of their proving inapplicable. Therefore, the superior
man does not practise them.'
CHAP. V. Tsze-hsia said, 'He, who from day to day
recognises what he has not yet, and from month to month does
not forget what he has attained to, may be said indeed to love
to learn.'
CHAP. VI. Tsze-hsia said, 'There are learning extensively,
and having a firm and sincere aim; inquiring with earnestness,
and reflecting with self-application:-- virtue is in such a
CHAP. VII. Tsze-hsia said, 'Mechanics have their shops to
dwell in, in order to accomplish their works. The superior man
learns, in order to reach to the utmost of his principles.'

CHAP. VIII. Tsze-hsia said, 'The mean man is sure to gloss
his faults.'
CHAP. IX. Tsze-hsia said, 'The superior man undergoes
three changes. Looked at from a distance, he appears stern;
when approached, he is mild; when he is heard to speak, his
language is firm and decided.'
CHAP. X. Tsze-hsia said, 'The superior man, having
obtained their confidence, may then impose labours on his
people. If he have not gained their confidence, they will think
that he is oppressing them. Having obtained the confidence of
his prince, one may then remonstrate with him. If he have not
gained his confidence, the prince will think that he is vilifying
CHAP. XI. Tsze-hsia said, 'When a person does not
transgress the boundary line in the great virtues, he may pass
and repass it in the small virtues.'

CHAP. XII. 1. Tsze-yu said, 'The disciples and followers of
Tsze-hsia, in sprinkling and sweeping the ground, in answering
and replying, in advancing and receding, are sufficiently
accomplished. But these are only the branches of learning, and
they are left ignorant of what is essential.-- How can they be
acknowledged as sufficiently taught?'
2. Tsze-hsia heard of the remark and said, 'Alas! Yen Yu
is wrong. According to the way of the superior man in teaching,
what departments are there which he considers of prime
importance, and delivers? what are there which he considers of
secondary importance, and allows himself to be idle about? But
as in the case of plants, which are assorted according to their
classes, so he deals with his disciples. How can the way of a
superior man be such as to make fools of any of them? Is it not
the sage alone, who can unite in one the beginning and the
consummation of learning?'

CHAP. XIII. Tsze-hsia said, 'The officer, having discharged
all his duties, should devote his leisure to learning. The student,
having completed his learning, should apply himself to be an
CHAP. XIV. Tsze-hsia said, 'Mourning, having been carried
to the utmost degree of grief, should stop with that.'
CHAP. XV. Tsze-hsia said, 'My friend Chang can do things
which are hard to be done, but yet he is not perfectly virtuous.'
CHAP. XVI. The philosopher Tsang said, 'How imposing is
the manner of Chang! It is difficult along with him to practise
CHAP. XVII. The philosopher Tsang said, 'I heard this
from our Master:-- "Men may not have shown what is in them
to the full extent, and yet they will be found to do so, on
occasion of mourning for their parents."'

CHAP. XVIII. The philosopher Tsang said, 'I have heard
this from our Master:-- "The filial piety of Mang Chwang, in
other matters, was what other men are competent to, but, as
seen in his not changing the ministers of his father, nor his
father's mode of government, it is difficult to be attained to."'
CHAP. XIX. The chief of the Mang family having
appointed Yang Fu to be chief criminal judge, the latter
consulted the philosopher Tsang. Tsang said, 'The rulers have
failed in their duties, and the people consequently have been
disorganised, for a long time. When you have found out the
truth of any accusation, be grieved for and pity them, and do
not feel joy at your own ability.'
CHAP. XX. Tsze-kung said, 'Chau's wickedness was not so
great as that name implies. Therefore, the superior man hates
to dwell

in a low-lying situation, where all the evil of the world will
flow in upon him.'
CHAP. XXI. Tsze-kung said, 'The faults of the superior
man are like the eclipses of the sun and moon. He has his
faults, and all men see them; he changes again, and all men
look up to him.'
CHAP. XXII. 1. Kung-sun Ch'ao of Wei asked Tsze-kung,
saying, 'From whom did Chung-ni get his learning?'
2. Tsze-kung replied, 'The doctrines of Wan and Wu have
not yet fallen to the ground. They are to be found among men.
Men of talents and virtue remember the greater principles of
them, and others, not possessing such talents and virtue,
remember the smaller. Thus, all possess the doctrines of Wan
and Wu. Where could our Master go that he should not have an
opportunity of learning them? And yet what necessity was
there for his having a regular master?'

CHAP. XXIII. 1. Shu-sun Wu-shu observed to the great
officers in the court, saying, 'Tsze-kung is superior to Chung-ni.'
2. Tsze-fu Ching-po reported the observation to Tsze-
kung, who said, 'Let me use the comparison of a house and its
encompassing wall. My wall only reaches to the shoulders. One
may peep over it, and see whatever is valuable in the
3. 'The wall of my Master is several fathoms high. If one
do not find the door and enter by it, he cannot see the ancestral
temple with its beauties, nor all the officers in their rich array.
4. 'But I may assume that they are few who find the door.
Was not the observation of the chief only what might have
been expected?'

CHAP. XXIV. Shu-sun Wu-shu having spoken revilingly of
Chung-ni, Tsze-kung said, 'It is of no use doing so. Chung-ni
cannot be reviled. The talents and virtue of other men are
hillocks and mounds which may be stepped over. Chung-ni is
the sun or moon, which it is not possible to step over. Although
a man may wish to cut himself off from the sage, what harm
can he do to the sun or moon? He only shows that he does not
know his own capacity.
CHAP. XXV. 1. Ch'an Tsze-ch'in, addressing Tsze-kung,
said, 'You are too modest. How can Chung-ni be said to be
superior to you?'
2. Tsze-kung said to him, 'For one word a man is often
deemed to be wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be
foolish. We ought to be careful indeed in what we say.
3. 'Our Master cannot be attained to, just in the same way
as the heavens cannot be gone up to by the steps of a stair.

4. 'Were our Master in the position of the ruler of a State
or the chief of a Family, we should find verified the description
which has been given of a sage's rule:-- he would plant the
people, and forthwith they would be established; he would lead
them on, and forthwith they would follow him; he would make
them happy, and forthwith multitudes would resort to his
dominions; he would stimulate them, and forthwith they would
be harmonious. While he lived, he would be glorious. When he
died, he would be bitterly lamented. How is it possible for him
to be attained to?'


CHAP. I. 1. Yao said, 'Oh! you, Shun, the Heaven-
determined order of succession now rests in your person.
Sincerely hold fast the due Mean. If there shall be distress and
want within the four seas, the Heavenly revenue will come to a
perpetual end.'
2. Shun also used the same language in giving charge to
3. T'ang said, 'I the child Li, presume to use a dark-
coloured victim, and presume to announce to Thee, O most
great and sovereign God, that the sinner I dare not pardon, and
thy ministers, O God, I do not keep in obscurity. The
examination of them is by thy mind, O God. If, in my person, I
commit offences, they are not to be attributed to you, the
people of the myriad regions. If you in the myriad regions
commit offences, these offences must rest on my person.'

4. Chau conferred great gifts, and the good were enriched.
5. 'Although he has his near relatives, they are not equal
to my virtuous men. The people are throwing blame upon me,
the One man.'
6. He carefully attended to the weights and measures,
examined the body of the laws, restored the discarded officers,
and the good government of the kingdom took its course.
7. He revived States that had been extinguished, restored
families whose line of succession had been broken, and called
to office those who had retired into obscurity, so that
throughout the kingdom the hearts of the people turned
towards him.
8. What he attached chief importance to, were the food of
the people, the duties of mourning, and sacrifices.
9. By his generosity, he won all. By his sincerity, he made
the people repose trust in him. By his earnest activity, his
achievements were great. By his justice, all were delighted.

CHAP. II. 1. Tsze-chang asked Confucius, saying, 'In what
way should a person in authority act in order that he may
conduct government properly?' The Master replied, 'Let him
honour the five excellent, and banish away the four bad,
things;-- then may he conduct government properly.' Tsze-
chang said, 'What are meant by the five excellent things?' The
Master said, 'When the person in authority is beneficent
without great expenditure; when he lays tasks on the people
without their repining; when he pursues what he desires
without being covetous; when he maintains a dignified ease
without being proud; when he is majestic without being fierce.'
2. Tsze-chang said, 'What is meant by being beneficent
without great expenditure?' The Master replied, 'When the
person in authority makes more beneficial to the people the
things from which

they naturally derive benefit;-- is not this being beneficent
without great expenditure? When he chooses the labours which
are proper, and makes them labour on them, who will repine?
When his desires are set on benevolent government, and he
secures it, who will accuse him of covetousness? Whether he
has to do with many people or few, or with things great or
small, he does not dare to indicate any disrespect;-- is not this
to maintain a dignified ease without any pride? He adjusts his
clothes and cap, and throws a dignity into his looks, so that,
thus dignified, he is looked at with awe;-- is not this to be
majestic without being fierce?'
3. Tsze-chang then asked, 'What are meant by the four
bad things?' The Master said, 'To put the people to death
without having instructed them;-- this is called cruelty. To
require from them, suddenly, the full tale of work, without
having given them warning;-- this is called oppression. To issue
orders as if without urgency, at first, and, when the time
comes, to insist on them with severity;-- this is called injury.
And, generally, in the giving pay

or rewards to men, to do it in a stingy way;-- this is called
acting the part of a mere official.'
CHAP III. 1. The Master said, 'Without recognising the
ordinances of Heaven, it is impossible to be a superior man.
2. 'Without an acquaintance with the rules of Propriety, it
is impossible for the character to be established.
3. 'Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to
know men.'

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