Home  »  Sayings  »  XX

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


YAO said: “Hail to thee, Shun! The number that the Heavens are telling falls on thee. Keep true hold of the golden mean. Should there be stress or want within the four seas, the gift of Heaven will pass for ever.”
Shun laid the same commands on Yü.
T´ang said: “I, Thy child Li, make bold to offer this black steer, and make bold to proclaim before Thee, Almighty Lord, that I dare not forgive sin, nor hold down Thy servants. Search them, oh Lord, in Thine heart. Visit not my sins on the ten thousand hamlets: the sins of the ten thousand hamlets visit upon my head.”
Chou bestowed great gifts, and good men grew rich.
“Loving hearts are better than men that are near of kin. All the people throw the blame upon me alone.”
He attended to weights and measures, revised the laws, and restored broken officers. On all sides order reigned. He revived states that had perished, and gave back fiefs that had reverted. He called forth men from hiding. All hearts below heaven turned to him. The people’s food, burials, and worship he held to be of moment. His bounty gained the many; his truth won the people’s trust; his earnestness brought success; his justice made men glad.Tzu-chang asked Confucius: “How should men be governed?”
The Master said: “He who would govern men must honour the five graces, spurn the four vices.”
Tzu-chang said: “What are the five graces?”
The Master said: “A gentleman is kind, but not wasteful; he burdens, but does not embitter; he is covetous, not sordid; high-minded, not proud; he inspires awe, and not fear.”
Tzu-chang said: “What is meant by kindness without waste?”
The Master said: “To further what furthers the people, is not that kindness without waste? If burdens be sorted to strength, who will grumble? To covet love and win love, is that sordid? Few or many, small or great, all is one to a gentleman: he dare not slight any man. Is not this to be high-minded and not proud? A gentleman straightens his robe and settles his face. He is stern, and men look up to him with dread. Is not this to inspire awe, and not fear?”
Tzu-chang said: “What are the four vices?”
The Master said: “To leave untaught and then kill is cruelty: to ask full tale without warning is tyranny: to give careless orders, and be strict when the day comes is robbery: to be stingy in rewarding men is littleness.”The Master said: “A man who is blind to doom can be no gentleman. Without a knowledge of courtesy we must want foothold. Without a knowledge of words there is no understanding men.”