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The Sayings of Confucius.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.


OF Kung-yeh Ch´ang the Master said: “A girl might marry him. In him was no crime, though he has been in bonds.”
He gave him his daughter to wife.
Of Nan Jung the Master said: “When right prevails, he will not be neglected: when wrong prevails, he will escape law and punishment.”
He gave him his brother’s daughter to wife.Of Tzu-chien the Master said: “What a gentleman he is! But could he have grown to be a man like this were there no gentlemen in Lu?Tzu-kung asked: “And what of me?”
“Thou art a vessel,” said the Master.
“What kind of vessel?”
“A rich temple vessel.”“Yung,” said one, “has love, but he has not a glib tongue.”
The Master said: “What is the good of a glib tongue? Fighting men with tongue-craft breeds much bitterness. Whether love be his I do not know, but what is the good of a glib tongue?”The Master moved Ch´i-tiao K´ai to take office.
He answered: “For this I lack confidence.”
The Master was pleased.The Master said: “Truth makes no way. Let me go afloat and scour the sea! and Yu shall follow me.”
When Tzu-lu heard this he was glad.
The Master said: “Yu is more venturesome than I, but he does not know how to take things.”Meng Wu asked whether Tzu-lu had love?
The Master said: “I do not know.”
He asked again.
The Master said: “A land of a thousand chariots might give Yu charge of its levies; but whether he have love, I do not know.”
“And how about Ch´iu?”
“A town of a thousand households, a clan of an hundred chariots might make Ch´iu governor; but whether he have love, I do not know.”
“And how about Chi´ih?”
“Girt with his sash, erect in the court, Ch´ih might entertain the guests; but whether he have love, I do not know.”The Master said to Tzu-kung: “Who is abler, thou or Hui?”
He answered: “How dare I aspire to Hui? If he hear one thing, Hui understands ten; when I hear one thing, I understand two.”
The Master said: “Thou art not his peer. I grant, thou art not his peer.”Tsai Yü slept in the daytime.
The Master said: “Rotten wood cannot be carved, nor are dung walls plastered. Why chide with Yü?”
The Master said: “In my first dealings with men, I hearkened to their words, and took their deeds on trust. Now, in dealing with men, I hearken to their words, and watch their deeds. I righted this on Yü.”The Master said: “I have met no firm man.”
One answered. “Shen Ch´ang.”
The Master said: “Ch´ang is passionate: how can he be firm?”Tzu-kung said: “What I do not wish to have done unto me, I likewise wish not to do unto others.”
The Master said: “That is still beyond thee, Tz´u.”Tzu-kung said: “We may listen to the Master’s culture; but on life and the ways of Heaven his words are denied us.”Until Tzu-lu could carry out what he heard, he only dreaded to hear more.Tzu-kung asked: “Why was K´ung-wen styled cultured?”
The Master said: “He was quick and fond of learning, not ashamed to ask those beneath him. That is why he was called cultured.”Of Tzu-chan the Master said: “In four ways he was a gentleman. His own life was modest; he honoured the man whom he served; he was kind in rearing the people; he was just in his calls upon them.”The Master said: “Yen P´ing was versed in friendship. Familiarity bred courtesy.”The Master said: “Tsang Wen lodged his tortoise with hills on the pillars, reeds on the uprights. Was this his good sense?”Tzu-chang said: “Tzu-wen was thrice made minister without show of gladness, and thrice left office with unmoved face. He was careful to unfold his rule to the new minister. What do ye think of him?”
“He was faithful,” said the Master.
“But had he love?”
“I do not know,” said the Master: “how should this amount to love?”
“When T´sui slew the King of Ch´i, Ch´en Wen forsook ten teams of horses, and left the land. On coming to another kingdom, he said, ‘Like my lord Ts´ui,’ and left it. On coming to a second kingdom, he said, ‘Like my lord Ts´ui,’ and left it. What do ye think of him?”
“He was pure,” said the Master.
“But had he love?”
“I do not know,” said the Master: “how should this amount to love?”Chi Wen thought thrice before acting.
On hearing this, the Master said: “Twice, that is enough.”The Master said: “Whilst peace reigned in the land Ning Wu showed understanding: when troubles came he turned simpleton. His understanding is within our reach; such simplicity is beyond our reach.”When he was in Ch´en the Master said: “Home, I must go home! My batch of boys, ambitious and hasty, their minds cultured, their schooling ended, know not what needs fashioning!”The Master said: “As Po-yi and Shu-ch´i never recalled past wickedness the foes they made were few.”The Master said: “Who would call Wei-sheng Kao straight? A man begged him for vinegar. He begged it from a neighbour and gave it.”The Master said: “Honeyed words, flattering looks and overdone humility, Tso Ch´in-ming thought shameful, and so do I. To hide ill-will and ape friendship, Tso Ch´in-ming thought shameful, and so do I.”As Yen Yüan and Chi-lu were sitting with him, the Master said: “Why not each of you tell me his wishes?”
Tzu-lu said: “Carriages and horses I would have, and robes of fine fur to share with my friends, and would wear them out all free from care.”
Yen Yüan said: “To make no boast of talent nor show of merit, were my wish.”
Tzu-lu said: “We should like to hear your wishes, Sir.”
The Master said: “To make the old folk happy, to be true to friends, to have a heart for the young.”The Master said: “It is finished! I have met no one who can see his own faults, and arraign himself within.”The Master said: “In a hamlet of ten households there must be men faithful and true as I: why is there no one as fond of learning?”