1. Ch'an Tâi said
to Mencius, 'In not going to wait upon any of the princes, you
seem to me to be standing on a small point. If now you were once
to wait upon them, the result might be so great that you would
make one of them sovereign, or, if smaller, that you would make
one of them chief of all the other princes. Moreover, the
History says, "By bending only one cubit, you make eight cubits
straight." It appears to me like a thing which might be done.'
2. Mencius said,
'Formerly, the duke Ching of Ch'î, once when he was hunting,
called his forester to him by a flag. The forester would not
come, and the duke was going to kill him. With reference to this
incident, Confucius said, "The determined officer never forgets
that his end may be in a ditch or a stream; the brave officer
never forgets that he may lose his head." What was it in the
forester that Confucius thus approved? He approved his not going
to the duke, when summoned by the article which was not
appropriate to him. If one go to see the princes without waiting
to be invited, what can be thought of him?
3. 'Moreover, that
sentence, "By bending only one cubit, you make eight cubits
straight," is spoken with reference to the gain that may be got.
If gain be the object, then, if it can be got by bending eight
cubits to make one cubit straight, may we likewise do that?
4. 'Formerly, the
officer Châo Chien made Wang Liang act as charioteer for his
favourite Hsî, when, in the course of a whole day, they did not
get a single bird. The favourite Hsî reported this result,
saying, "He is the poorest charioteer in the world." Some one
told this to Wang Liang, who said, "I beg leave to try again."
By dint of pressing, this was accorded to him, when in one
morning they got ten birds. The favourite, reporting this
result, said, "He is the best charioteer in the world." Chien
said, "I will make him always drive your chariot for you." When
he told Wang Liang so, however, Liang refused, saying, "I drove
for him, strictly observing the proper rules for driving, and in
the whole day he did not get one bird. I drove for him so as
deceitfully to intercept the birds, and in one morning he got
ten. It is said in the Book of Poetry,
'There is no
failure in the management of their horses;
The arrows are discharged surely, like the blows of an axe.'
am not accustomed to drive for a mean man. I beg leave to
decline the office."
5. 'Thus this
charioteer even was ashamed to bend improperly to the will of
such an archer. Though, by bending to it, they would have caught
birds and animals sufficient to form a hill, he would not do so.
If I were to bend my principles and follow those princes, of
what kind would my conduct be? And you are wrong. Never has a
man who has bent himself been able to make others straight.'
2. Mencius said,
'How can such men be great men? Have you not read the Ritual
Usages?-- "At the capping of a young man, his father admonishes
him. At the marrying away of a young woman, her mother
admonishes her, accompanying her to the door on her leaving, and
cautioning her with these words, 'You are going to your home.
You must be respectful; you must be careful. Do not disobey your
husband.'" Thus, to look upon compliance as their correct course
is the rule for women.
3. 'To dwell in
the wide house of the world, to stand in the correct seat of the
world, and to walk in the great path of the world; when he
obtains his desire for office, to practise his principles for
the good of the people; and when that desire is disappointed, to
practise them alone; to be above the power of riches and honours
to make dissipated, of poverty and mean condition to make swerve
from principle, and of power and force to make bend:-- these
characteristics constitute the great man.'
1. Châu Hsiâo
asked Mencius, saying, 'Did superior men of old time take
office?' Mencius replied, 'They did. The Record says, "If
Confucius was three months without being employed by some ruler,
he looked anxious and unhappy. When he passed from the boundary
of a State, he was sure to carry with him his proper gift of
introduction." Kung-ming Î said, "Among the ancients, if an
officer was three months unemployed by a ruler, he was condoled
2. Hsiâo said,
'Did not this condoling, on being three months unemployed by a
ruler, show a too great urgency?'
answered, 'The loss of his place to an officer is like the loss
of his State to a prince. It is said in the Book of Rites, "A
prince ploughs himself, and is assisted by the people, to supply
the millet for sacrifice. His wife keeps silkworms, and unwinds
their cocoons, to make the garments for sacrifice." If the
victims be not perfect, the millet not pure, and the dress not
complete, he does not presume to sacrifice. "And the scholar
who, out of office, has no holy field, in the same way, does not
sacrifice. The victims for slaughter, the vessels, and the
garments, not being all complete, he does not presume to
sacrifice, and then neither may he dare to feel happy." Is there
not here sufficient ground also for condolence?'
4. Hsiâo again
asked, 'What was the meaning of Confucius's always carrying his
proper gift of introduction with him, when he passed over the
boundaries of the State where he had been?'
5. 'An officer's
being in office,' was the reply, 'is like the ploughing of a
husbandman. Does a husbandman part with his plough, because he
goes from one State to another?'
6. Hsiâo pursued,
'The kingdom of Tsin is one, as well as others, of official
employments, but I have not heard of anyone being thus earnest
about being in office. If there should be this urge why does a
superior man make any difficulty about taking it?' Mencius
answered, 'When a son is born, what is desired for him is that
he may have a wife; when a daughter is born, what is desired for
her is that she may have a husband. This feeling of the parents
is possessed by all men. If the young people, without waiting
for the orders of their parents, and the arrangements of the
go-betweens, shall bore holes to steal a sight of each other, or
get over the wall to be with each other, then their parents and
all other people will despise them. The ancients did indeed
always desire to be in office, but they also hated being so by
any improper way. To seek office by an improper way is of a
class with young people's boring holes.'
1. P'ang Kang
asked Mencius, saying, 'Is it not an extravagant procedure to go
from one prince to another and live upon them, followed by
several tens of carriages, and attended by several hundred men?'
Mencius replied, 'If there be not a proper ground for taking it,
a single bamboo-cup of rice may not be received from a man. If
there be such a proper ground, then Shun's receiving the kingdom
from Yâo is not to be considered excessive. Do you think it was
2. Kang said, 'No.
But for a scholar performing no service to receive his support
notwithstanding is improper.'
answered, 'If you do not have an intercommunication of the
productions of labour, and an interchange of men's services, so
that one from his overplus may supply the deficiency of another,
then husbandmen will have a superfluity of grain, and women will
have a superfluity of cloth. If you have such an interchange,
carpenters and carriage-wrights may all get their food from you.
Here now is a man, who, at home, is filial, and abroad,
respectful to his elders; who watches over the principles of the
ancient kings, awaiting the rise of future learners:-- and yet
you will refuse to support him. How is it that you give honour
to the carpenter and carriage-wright, and slight him who
practises benevolence and righteousness?'
4. P'ang Kang
said, 'The aim of the carpenter and carriagewright is by their
trades to seek for a living. Is it also the aim of the superior
man in his practice of principles thereby to seek for a living?'
'What have you to do,' returned Mencius, 'with his purpose? He
is of service to you. He deserves to be supported, and should be
supported. And let me ask,-- Do you remunerate a man's
intention, or do you remunerate his service.' To this Kang
replied, 'I remunerate his intention.'
5. Mencius said,
'There is a man here, who breaks your tiles, and draws unsightly
figures on your walls;-- his purpose may be thereby to seek for
his living, but will you indeed remunerate him?' 'No,' said
Kang; and Mencius then concluded, 'That being the case, it is
not the purpose which you remunerate, but the work done.'
1. Wan Chang asked
Mencius, saying, 'Sung is a small State. Its ruler is now
setting about to practise the true royal government, and Ch'î
and Ch'û hate and attack him. What in this case is to be done?'
replied, 'When T'ang dwelt in Po, he adjoined to the State of Ko,
the chief of which was living in a dissolute state and
neglecting his proper sacrifices. T'ang sent messengers to
inquire why he did not sacrifice. He replied, "I have no means
of supplying the necessary victims." On this, T'ang caused oxen
and sheep to be sent to him, but he ate them, and still
continued not to sacrifice. T'ang again sent messengers to ask
him the same question as before, when he replied, "I have no
means of obtaining the necessary millet." On this, T'ang sent
the mass of the people of Po to go and till the ground for him,
while the old and feeble carried their food to them. The chief
of Ko led his people to intercept those who were thus charged
with wine, cooked rice, millet, and paddy, and took their stores
from them, while they killed those who refused to give them up.
There was a boy who had some millet and flesh for the labourers,
who was thus slain and robbed. What is said in the Book of
History, "The chief of Ko behaved as an enemy to the
provision-carriers," has reference to this.
3. 'Because of his
murder of this boy, T'ang proceeded to punish him. All within
the four seas said, "It is not because he desires the riches of
the kingdom, but to avenge a common man and woman."
4. 'When T'ang
began his work of executing justice, he commenced with Ko, and
though he made eleven punitive expeditions, he had not an enemy
in the kingdom. When he pursued his work in the east, the rude
tribes in the west murmured. So did those on the north, when he
was engaged in the south. Their cry was-- "Why does he make us
last." Thus, the people's longing for him was like their longing
for rain in a time of great drought. The frequenters of the
markets stopped not. Those engaged in weeding in the fields made
no change in their operations. While he punished their rulers,
he consoled the people. His progress was like the falling of
opportune rain, and the people were delighted. It is said in the
Book of History, "We have waited for our prince. When our prince
comes, we may escape from the punishments under which we
5. 'There being
some who would not become the subjects of Châu, king Wû
proceeded to punish them on the east. He gave tranquillity to
their people, who welcomed him with baskets full of their black
and yellow silks, saying-- "From henceforth we shall serve the
sovereign of our dynasty of Châu, that we may be made happy by
him." So they joined themselves, as subjects, to the great city
of Châu. Thus, the men of station of Shang took baskets full of
black and yellow silks to meet the men of station of Châu, and
the lower classes of the one met those of the other with baskets
of rice and vessels of congee. Wû saved the people from the
midst of fire and water, seizing only their oppressors, and
6. 'In the Great
Declaration it is said, "My power shall be put forth, and,
invading the territories of Shang, I will seize the oppressor. I
will put him to death to punish him:-- so shall the greatness of
my work appear, more glorious than that of T'ang."
7. 'Sung is not,
as you say, practising true royal government, and so forth. If
it were practising royal government, all within the four seas
would be lifting up their heads, and looking for its prince,
wishing to have him for their sovereign. Great as Ch'î and Ch'û
are, what would there be to fear from them?'