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


YANG HOU wished to see Confucius. Confucius did not visit him. He sent Confucius a sucking pig. Confucius chose a time when he was out, and went to thank him. They met on the road.
He said to Confucius: “Come, let us speak together. To cherish a gem and undo the kingdom, is that love?”
“It is not,” said Confucius.
“To be fond of power and let each chance of office slip, is that wisdom?”
“It is not,” said Confucius.
“The days and months glide by; the years do not tarry for us.”
“True,” said Confucius; “I must take office.”The Master said: “Men are near to each other at birth: the lives they lead sunder them.”The Master said: “Only the wisest and the stupidest of men never change.”As the Master drew near to Wu-ch´eng he heard sounds of lute and song.
“Why use an ox-knife to kill a fowl?” said the Master, with a pleased smile.
Tzu-yu answered: “Master, I have heard you say of yore: ‘A gentleman who has conned the truth will love mankind; poor folk who have conned the truth are easy to rule.’”
“My boys,” said the Master, “Yen is right. I spake before in play.”Kung-shan Fu-jao held Pi in rebellion. He summoned the Master, who fain would have gone.
Tzu-lu said in displeasure: “This cannot be. Why must ye go to Kung-shan?”
The Master said: “This lord summons me, and would that be all? Could I not make an Eastern Chou of him that employed me?”Tzu-chang asked Confucius, What is love?
“Love,” said Confucius, “is to mete out five things to all below heaven.”
“May I ask what they are?”
“Modesty and bounty,” said Confucius, “truth, earnestness, and kindness. Modesty escapes insult; bounty wins the many; truth gains men’s trust; earnestness brings success; kindness is the key to men’s work.”Pi Hsi summoned the Master, who fain would have gone.
Tzu-lu said: “Master, I have heard you say of yore: ‘When the man in touch with the soul does evil, a gentleman stands aloof.’ Pi Hsi holds Chung-mou in rebellion: how, Sir, could ye join him?”
“Yes, I said so,” answered the Master. “But is not a thing called hard that cannot be ground thin; white, if steeping will not turn it black? and am I a gourd? can I hang without eating?”The Master said: “Hast thou heard the six words, Yu, or the six they sink into?”
He answered: “No.”
“Sit down that I may tell thee. The thirst for love, without love of learning, sinks into fondness. Love of knowledge, without love of learning, sinks into presumption. Love of truth, without love of learning, sinks into cruelty. Love of uprightness, without love of learning, sinks into harshness. Love of courage, without love of learning, sinks into turbulence. Love of strength, without love of learning, sinks into oddity.”The Master said: “My boys, why do ye not study poetry? Poetry would ripen you; teach you insight, fellow-feeling, and forbearance; show you first your duty to your father, then your duty to the king; and would teach you the names of many birds and beasts, plants and trees.”The Master said to Po-yü: “Hast thou conned the Chou-nan and Shao-nan? Who has not conned the Chou-nan and Shao-nan is as a man standing with his face to the wall.”The Master said: “‘Courtesy, courtesy,’ is the cry: but are jade and silk the whole of courtesy? ‘Harmony, harmony,’ is the cry: but are bells and drums the whole of harmony?”The Master said: “A fierce outside and a weak core, is it not like a paltry fellow, like a thief who crawls through a hole in the wall?”The Master said: “The bane of all things noble is the pattern citizen.”The Master said: “To proclaim each truth, as soon as learned to the highwayside, is to lay waste the soul.”The Master said: “How can one serve the king with a sordid colleague, itching to get what he wants, trembling to lose what he has? This trembling to lose what he has? may lead him anywhere.”The Master said: “Men of old had three failings, which have, perhaps, died out to-day. Ambitious men of old were not nice: ambitious men to-day are unprincipled. Masterful men of old were rough: masterful men to-day are quarrelsome. Simple men of old were straight: simple men to-day are false. That is all.”The Master said: “Honeyed words and flattering looks seldom speak of love.”The Master said: “I hate the ousting of scarlet by purple. I hate the strains of Cheng, confounders of sweet music. I hate a sharp tongue, the ruin of kingdom and home.”The Master said: “I long for silence.”
Tzu-kung said: “If ye, Sir, were silent, what would your disciples have to tell?”
The Master said: “Does Heaven speak? The seasons four revolve, and all things multiply. Does Heaven speak?”Ju Pei wished to see Confucius. Confucius excused himself on the plea of sickness. As the messenger went out, Confucius took a lute and sang to it, so that he should hear.Tsai Wo asked about the three year’s mourning. He thought one enough.
“If for three years pomp is scouted by the gentry, will not courtesy suffer? If music stop for three years, will not music decay? The old grain vanishes, the new springs up; the round of woods for the fire drill is ended in one year.”
The Master said: “Feeding on rice, clad in brocade, couldst thou feel happy?”
“I could feel happy,” he answered.
“Then do what makes thee happy. A gentleman, when in mourning, has no taste for sweets, no ear for music; he is unhappy in his home. And so he forsakes these things. But since thou art happy in them, keep them.”
When Tsai Wo had left, the Master said: “A man without love! At the age of three a child first leaves his parents’ arms, and three years is the time for mourning everywhere below heaven. But did Yü enjoy for three years a father’s and a mother’s love?”The Master said: “Bad it is when a man eats his fill all day, and has nought to task the mind! Could he not play at chequers? Even that were better.”Tzu-lu said: “Does a gentleman honour courage?”
The Master said: “Right comes first for a gentleman. Courage, without sense of right, makes rebels of the great, and robbers of the poor.”Tzu-kung said: “Does a gentleman also hate?”
“He does,” said the Master. “He hates the sounding of evil deeds; he hates men of low estate who slander their betters; he hates courage without courtesy; he hates daring matched with blindness.”
“And Tz´u,”11 he added, “dost thou hate too?”
“I hate those who mistake spying for wisdom. I hate those who take want of deference for courage. I hate evil speaking, cloaked as honesty.”The Master said: “Only girls and servants are hard to train. Draw near to them, they grow unruly; hold them off, they pay you with spite.”The Master said: “When a man of forty is hated, it will be so to the end.”