There is a saying, however, which
people have -'To be a prince is difficult; to be a minister is
"If a ruler knows this,-the difficulty of being a prince,-may
there not be expected from this one sentence the prosperity of
The duke then said, "Is there a single sentence which can ruin a
country?" Confucius replied, "Such an effect as that cannot be
expected from one sentence. There is, however, the saying which
people have-'I have no pleasure in being a prince, but only in
that no one can offer any opposition to what I say!'
"If a ruler's words be good, is it not also good that no one
oppose them? But if they are not good, and no one opposes them,
may there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin of his
The Duke of Sheh asked about government.
The Master said, "Good government obtains when those who are
near are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted."
Tsze-hsia! being governor of Chu-fu, asked about government. The
Master said, "Do not be desirous to have things done quickly; do
not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly
prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small
advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished."
The Duke of Sheh informed Confucius, saying, "Among us here
there are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If
their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the
Confucius said, "Among us, in our part of the country, those who
are upright are different from this. The father conceals the
misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of
the father. Uprightness is to be found in this."
Fan Ch'ih asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "It is,
in retirement, to be sedately grave; in the management of
business, to be reverently attentive; in intercourse with
others, to be strictly sincere. Though a man go among rude,
uncultivated tribes, these qualities may not be neglected."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to
entitle him to be called an officer? The Master said, "He who in
his conduct of himself maintains a sense of shame, and when sent
to any quarter will not disgrace his prince's commission,
deserves to be called an officer."
Tsze-kung pursued, "I venture to ask who may be placed in the
next lower rank?" And he was told, "He whom the circle of his
relatives pronounce to be filial, whom his fellow villagers and
neighbors pronounce to be fraternal."
Again the disciple asked, "I venture to ask about the class
still next in order." The Master said, "They are determined to
be sincere in what they say, and to carry out what they do. They
are obstinate little men. Yet perhaps they may make the next
Tsze-kung finally inquired, "Of what sort are those of the
present day, who engage in government?" The Master said "Pooh!
they are so many pecks and hampers, not worth being taken into
The Master said, "Since I cannot get men pursuing the due
medium, to whom I might communicate my instructions, I must find
the ardent and the cautiously-decided. The ardent will advance
and lay hold of truth; the cautiously-decided will keep
themselves from what is wrong."
The Master said, "The people of the south have a saying -'A man
without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a doctor.' Good!
"Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with disgrace."
The Master said, "This arises simply from not attending to the
The Master said, "The superior man is affable, but not
adulatory; the mean man is adulatory, but not affable."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What do you say of a man who is loved
by all the people of his neighborhood?" The Master replied, "We
may not for that accord our approval of him." "And what do you
say of him who is hated by all the people of his neighborhood?"
The Master said, "We may not for that conclude that he is bad.
It is better than either of these cases that the good in the
neighborhood love him, and the bad hate him."
The Master said, "The superior man is easy to serve and
difficult to please. If you try to please him in any way which
is not accordant with right, he will not be pleased. But in his
employment of men, he uses them according to their capacity. The
mean man is difficult to serve, and easy to please. If you try
to please him, though it be in a way which is not accordant with
right, he may be pleased. But in his employment of men, he
wishes them to be equal to everything."
The Master said, "The superior man has a dignified ease without
pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease."
The Master said, "The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the
modest are near to virtue."
Tsze-lu asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to
entitle him to be called a scholar?" The Master said, "He must
be thus,-earnest, urgent, and bland:-among his friends, earnest
and urgent; among his brethren, bland."
The Master said, "Let a good man teach the people seven years,
and they may then likewise be employed in war."
The Master said, "To lead an uninstructed people to war, is to
throw them away."
Hsien asked what was shameful. The Master said, "When good
government prevails in a state, to be thinking only of salary;
and, when bad government prevails, to be thinking, in the same
way, only of salary;-this is shameful."
"When the love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and
covetousness are repressed, this may be deemed perfect virtue."
The Master said, "This may be regarded as the achievement of
what is difficult. But I do not know that it is to be deemed
The Master said, "The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort
is not fit to be deemed a scholar."
The Master said, "When good government prevails in a state,
language may be lofty and bold, and actions the same. When bad
government prevails, the actions may be lofty and bold, but the
language may be with some reserve."
The Master said, "The virtuous will be sure to speak correctly,
but those whose speech is good may not always be virtuous. Men
of principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not
always be men of principle."
Nan-kung Kwo, submitting an inquiry to Confucius, said, "I was
skillful at archery, and Ao could move a boat along upon the
land, but neither of them died a natural death. Yu and Chi
personally wrought at the toils of husbandry, and they became
possessors of the kingdom." The Master made no reply; but when
Nan-kung Kwo went out, he said, "A superior man indeed is this!
An esteemer of virtue indeed is this!"
The Master said, "Superior men, and yet not always virtuous,
there have been, alas! But there never has been a mean man, and,
at the same time, virtuous."
The Master said, "Can there be love which does not lead to
strictness with its object? Can there be loyalty which does not
lead to the instruction of its object?"
The Master said, "In preparing the governmental notifications,
P'i Shan first made the rough draft; Shi-shu examined and
discussed its contents; Tsze-yu, the manager of foreign
intercourse, then polished the style; and, finally, Tsze-ch'an
of Tung-li gave it the proper elegance and finish."
Some one asked about Tsze-ch'an. The Master said, "He was a kind
He asked about Tsze-hsi. The Master said, "That man! That man!"
He asked about Kwan Chung. "For him," said the Master, "the city
of Pien, with three hundred families, was taken from the chief
of the Po family, who did not utter a murmuring word, though, to
the end of his life, he had only coarse rice to eat."
The Master said, "To be poor without murmuring is difficult. To
be rich without being proud is easy."
The Master said, "Mang Kung-ch'o is more than fit to be chief
officer in the families of Chao and Wei, but he is not fit to be
great officer to either of the states Tang or Hsieh."