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


THE CHI was about to chastise Chuan-yü.
Jan Yu and Chi-lu, being received by Confucius, said to him: “The Chi is going to deal with Chuan-yü.”
Confucius said: “After all, Ch´iu, are ye not in the wrong? The kings of old made Chuan-yü lord of Tung Meng. It is within the borders of the realm, moreover, and a vassal state. Ought it to be chastised?”
Jan Yu said: “Our lord wishes it. We, his ministers, are both against it.”
Confucius said: “Ch´iu, Chou Jen was wont to say, ‘Put forth thy strength in the ranks; leave them rather than do wrong.’ Who would choose as guide one that is no prop in danger, who cannot lift him when fallen? Moreover, what thou sayest is wrong. If a tiger or a buffalo escape from the pen, if tortoiseshell or jade be broken in the case, who is to blame?”
Jan Yu said: “But Chuan-yü is strong, and close to Pi; if not seized to-day, it will bring sorrow in after times on our sons and grandsons.”
Confucius said: “To make excuses instead of saying ‘I want it’ is hateful, Ch´iu, to a gentleman. I have heard that unlikeness of lot grieves a king or a chief, not fewness of men. Unrest grieves him, not poverty. Had each his share there would be no poverty. In harmony is number: peace prevents a fall. So if far off tribes will not bend, win them by encouraging worth and learning; and when they come in, give them peace. But now, when far off tribes will not bend, ye two, helpers of your lord, cannot win them. The kingdom is rent asunder; ye are too weak to defend it. Yet spear and shield ye would call up through the land! The sorrows of Chi’s grandsons, I fear, will not rise in Chuan-yü: they will rise within the palace wall.”Confucius said: “When right prevails below heaven, courtesy, music and punitive wars flow from the Son of Heaven. When wrong prevails below heaven, courtesy, music, and punitive wars flow from the feudal princes. When they flow from the feudal princes they will rarely last for ten generations. When they flow from the princes’ ministers they will rarely last for five generations. When courtiers sway a country’s fate, they will rarely last for three generations. When right prevails below heaven power does not lie with ministers. When right prevails below heaven common men do not argue.”Confucius said: “For five generations its income has passed from the ducal house; for four generations power has lain with ministers: and humbled, therefore, are the sons and grandsons of the three Huan.”Confucius said: “There are three friends that do good, and three friends that do harm. The friends that do good are a straight friend, a sincere friend, and a friend who has heard much. The friends that do harm are a smooth friend, a fawning friend, and a friend with a glib tongue.”Confucius said: “There are three joys that do good, and three joys that do harm. The joys that do good are joy in dissecting courtesy and music, joy in speaking of the good in men, and joy in a number of worthy friends. The joys that do harm are joy in pomp, joy in roving, and joy in the joys of the feast.”Confucius said: “Men who wait upon princes fall into three mistakes. To speak before the time has come is rashness. Not to speak when the time has come is secrecy. To speak heedless of looks is blindness.”Confucius said: “A gentleman has three things to guard against. In the days of thy youth, ere thy strength is steady, beware of lust. When manhood is reached, in the fulness of strength, beware of strife. In old age, when thy strength is broken, beware of greed.”Confucius said: “A gentleman holds three things in awe. He is in awe of Heaven’s doom: he is in awe of great men: he is awed by the speech of the holy.
“The vulgar are blind to doom, and hold it not in awe. They are saucy towards the great, and of the speech of the holy they make their game.”Confucius said: “The best men are born wise. Next come those who grow wise by learning: then, learned, narrow minds. Narrow minds, without learning, are the lowest of the people.”Confucius said: “A gentleman has nine aims. To see clearly; to understand what he hears; to be warm in manner, dignified in bearing, faithful of speech, painstaking at work; to ask when in doubt; in anger to think of difficulties; in sight of gain to remember right.”Confucius said: “In sight of good to be filled with longing; to regard evil as scalding to the touch: I have met such men, I have heard such words.“To dwell apart and search the will; to unriddle truth by righteous life: I have heard these words, but met no such men.”Ching, Duke of Ch´i, had a thousand teams of horses; but the people, on his death day, found nought in him to praise. Po-yi and Shu-ch´i starved at the foot of Shou-yang, and men to-day still sound their praises.Is not this the clue to that?Ch´en K´ang asked Po-yü: “Apart from us, have ye heard aught, Sir?”
He answered: “No. Once as I sped across the hall, where my father stood alone, he said to me: ‘Dost thou study poetry?’ I answered, ‘No.’ ‘Who does not study poetry,’ he said, ‘has no hold on words.’ I withdrew and studied poetry.
“Another day as I sped across the hall, where he stood alone, he said to me: ‘Dost thou study courtesy?’ I answered, ‘No.’ ‘Who does not study courtesy,’ he said, ‘loses all foothold.’ I withdrew and studied courtesy. These two things I have heard.”
Ch´en K´ang withdrew and cried gladly: “I asked one thing and get three! I hear of poetry: I hear of courtesy: and I hear, too, that a gentleman keeps aloof from his son.”A king speaks of his wife as “my lady.” She calls herself “handmaid.” Her subjects call her “our royal lady.” Speaking to foreigners they say, “our little queen.” Foreigners also call her “the royal lady.”