1. Mencius said,
'Po-î would not allow his eyes to look on a bad sight, nor his
ears to listen to a bad sound. He would not serve a prince whom
he did not approve, nor command a people whom he did not esteem.
In a time of good government he took office, and on the
occurrence of confusion he retired. He could not bear to dwell
either in a court from which a lawless government emanated, or
among lawless people. He considered his being in the same place
with a villager, as if he were to sit amid mud and coals with
his court robes and court cap. In the time of Châu he dwelt on
the shores of the North sea, waiting the purification of the
kingdom. Therefore when men now hear the character of Po-î, the
corrupt become pure, and the weak acquire determination.
2. 'Î Yin said,
"Whom may I not serve? My serving him makes him my sovereign.
What people may I not command? My commanding them makes them my
people." In a time of good government he took office, and when
confusion prevailed, he also took office. He said, "Heaven's
plan in the production of mankind is this:-- that they who are
first informed should instruct those who are later in being
informed, and they who first apprehend principles should
instruct those who are slower in doing so. I am the one of
Heaven's people who has first apprehended;-- I will take these
principles and instruct the people in them." He thought that
among all the people of the kingdom, even the common men and
women, if there were any who did not share in the enjoyment of
such benefits as Yâo and Shun conferred, it was as if he himself
pushed them into a ditch;-- for he took upon himself the heavy
charge of the kingdom.
3. 'Hûi of
Liû-hsiâ was not ashamed to serve an impure prince, nor did he
think it low to be an inferior officer. When advanced to
employment, he did not conceal his virtue, but made it a point
to carry out his principles. When dismissed and left without
office, he did not murmur. When straitened by poverty, he did
not grieve. When thrown into the company of village people, he
was quite at ease and could not bear to leave them. He had a
saying, "You are you, and I am I. Although you stand by my side
with breast and arms bare, or with your body naked, how can you
defile me?" Therefore when men now hear the character of Hûi of
Liü-hsiâ, the mean become generous, and the niggardly become
4. 'When Confucius
was leaving Ch'î, he strained off with his hand the water in
which his rice was being rinsed, took the rice, and went away.
When he left Lû, he said, "I will set out by-and-by:"-- it was
right he should leave the country of his parents in this way.
When it was proper to go away quickly, he did so; when it was
proper to delay, he did so; when it was proper to keep in
retirement, he did so; when it was proper to go into office, he
did so:-- this was Confucius.'
said,'Po-î among the sages was the pure one; Î Yin was the one
most inclined to take office; Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was the
accommodating one; and Confucius was the timeous one.
6. 'In Confucius
we have what is called a complete concert. A complete concert is
when the large bell proclaims the commencement of the music, and
the ringing stone proclaims its close. The metal sound commences
the blended harmony of all the instruments, and the winding up
with the stone terminates that blended harmony. The commencing
that harmony is the work of wisdom. The terminating it is the
work of sageness.
7. 'As a
comparison for wisdom, we may liken it to skill, and as a
comparison for sageness, we may liken it to strength;-- as in
the case of shooting at a mark a hundred paces distant. That you
reach it is owing to your strength, but that you hit the mark is
not owing to your strength.'
1. Pêi-kung Î
asked Mencius, saying, 'What was the arrangement of dignities
and emoluments determined by the House of Châu?'
replied, 'The particulars of that arrangement cannot be learned,
for the princes, disliking them as injurious to themselves, have
all made away with the records of them. Still I have learned the
general outline of them.
3. 'The SON
OF HEAVEN constituted one
dignity; the KUNG one; the
HÂU one; the
PÂI one; and the TSZE and
the NAN each one of equal rank:--
altogether making five degrees of rank. The
RULER again constituted one
dignity; the CHIEF MINISTER one;
the GREAT OFFICERS one; the
SCHOLARS OF THE FIRST CLASS one;
THOSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS one; and
THOSE OF THE LOWEST CLASS one:--
altogether making six degrees of dignity.
4. 'To the Son of
Heaven there was allotted a territory of a thousand lî square. A
Kung and a Hâu had each a hundred lî square. A Pâi had seventy
lî, and a Tsze and a Nan had each fifty lî. The assignments
altogether were of four amounts. Where the territory did not
amount to fiftylî, the chief could not have access himself to
the Son of Heaven. His land was attached to some Hâu-ship, and
was called a FÛ-YUNG.
5. 'The Chief
ministers of the Son of Heaven received an amount of territory
equal to that of a Hâu; a Great officer received as much as a
Pâi; and a scholar of the first class as much as a Tsze or a
6. 'In a great
State, where the territory was a hundred lî square, the ruler
had ten times as much income as his Chief ministers; a Chief
minister four times as much as a Great officer; a Great officer
twice as much as a scholar of the first class; a scholar of the
first class twice as much as one of the middle; a scholar of the
middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; the scholars of
the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed
about the government offices, had for their emolument as much as
was equal to what they would have made by tilling the fields.
7. 'In a State of
the next order, where the territory was seventy lî square, the
ruler had ten times as much revenue as his Chief minister; a
Chief minister three times as much as a Great officer; a Great
officer twice as much as a scholar of the first class; a scholar
of the first class twice as much as one of the middle; a scholar
of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; the
scholars of the lowest class, and such of the common people as
were employed about the government offices, had for their
emolument as much as was equal to what they would have made by
tilling the fields.
8. 'In a small
State, where the territory was fifty lî square, the ruler had
ten times as much revenue as his Chief minister; a Chief
minister had twice as much as a Great officer; a Great officer
twice as much as a scholar of the highest class; a scholar of
the highest class twice as much as one of the middle; a scholar
of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; scholars
of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were
employed about the government offices, had the same emolument;--
as much, namely, as was equal to what they would have made by
tilling the fields.
9. 'As to those
who tilled the fields, each husbandman received a hundred mâu.
When those mâu were manured, the best husbandmen of the highest
class supported nine individuals, and those ranking next to them
supported eight. The best husbandmen of the second class
supported seven individuals, and those ranking next to them
supported six; while husbandmen of the lowest class only
supported five. The salaries of the common people who were
employed about the government offices were regulated according
to these differences.'
1. Wan Chang asked
Mencius, saying, 'I venture to ask the principles of
friendship.' Mencius replied, 'Friendship should be maintained
without any presumption on the ground of one's superior age, or
station, or the circumstances of his relatives. Friendship with
a man is friendship with his virtue, and does not admit of
assumptions of superiority.
2. 'There was Mang
Hsien, chief of a family of a hundred chariots. He had five
friends, namely, Yo-chang Chiû, Mû Chung, and three others whose
names I have forgotten. With those five men Hsien maintained a
friendship, because they thought nothing about his family. If
they had thought about his family, he would not have maintained
his friendship with them.
3. 'Not only has
the chief of a family of a hundred chariots acted thus. The same
thing was exemplified by the sovereign of a small State. The
duke Hûi of Pî said, "I treat Tsze-sze as my Teacher, and Yen
Pan as my Friend. As to Wang Shun and Ch'ang Hsî, they serve
4. 'Not only has
the sovereign of a small State acted thus. The same thing has
been exemplified by the sovereign of a large State. There was
the duke P'ing of Tsin with Hâi T'ang:-- when T'ang told him to
come into his house, he came; when he told him to be seated, he
sat; when he told him to eat, he ate. There might only be coarse
rice and soup of vegetables, but he always ate his fill, not
daring to do otherwise. Here, however, he stopped, and went no
farther. He did not call him to share any of Heaven's places, or
to govern any of Heaven's offices, or to partake of any of
Heaven's emoluments. His conduct was but a scholar's honouring
virtue and talents, not the honouring them proper to a king or a
5. 'Shun went up
to court and saw the sovereign, who lodged him as his son-in-law
in the second palace. The sovereign also enjoyed there Shun's
hospitality. Alternately he was host and guest. Here was the
sovereign maintaining friendship with a private man.
6. Respect shown
by inferiors to superiors is called giving to the noble the
observance due to rank. Respect shown by superiors to inferiors
is called giving honour to talents and virtue. The rightness in
each case is the same.'
1. Wan Chang asked
Mencius, saying, 'I venture to ask what feeling of the mind is
expressed in the presents of friendship?' Mencius replied, 'The
feeling of respect.'
2. 'How is it,'
pursued Chang, 'that the declining a present is accounted
disrespectful?' The answer was, 'When one of honourable rank
presents a gift, to say in the mind, "Was the way in which he
got this righteous or not? I must know this before I can receive
it;"-- this is deemed disrespectful, and therefore presents are
3. Wan Chang asked
again, 'When one does not take on him in so many express words
to refuse the gift, but having declined it in his heart, saying,
"It was taken by him unrighteously from the people," and then
assigns some other reason for not receiving it;-- is not this a
proper course?' Mencius said, 'When the donor offers it on a
ground of reason, and his manner of doing so is according to
propriety;-- in such a case Confucius would have received it.'
4. Wan Chang said,
'Here now is one who stops and robs people outside the gates of
the city. He offers his gift on a ground of reason, and does so
in a manner according to propriety;-- would the reception of it
so acquired by robbery be proper?' Mencius replied, 'It would
not be proper. in "The Announcement to Kang" it is said, "When
men kill others, and roll over their bodies to take their
property, being reckless and fearless of death, among all the
people there are none but detest them:"-- thus, such characters
are to be put to death, without waiting to give them warning.
Yin received this rule from Hsiâ and Châu received it from Yin.
It cannot be questioned, and to the present day is clearly
acknowledged. How can the grift of a robber be received?'
5. Chang said,
'The princes of the present day take from their people just as a
robber despoils his victim. Yet if they put a good face of
propriety on their gifts, then the superior man receives them. I
venture to ask how you explain this.' Mencius answered, 'Do you
think that, if there should arise a truly royal sovereign, he
would collect the princes of the present day, and put them all
to death? Or would he admonish them, and then, on their not
changing their ways, put them to death? Indeed, to call every
one who takes what does not properly belong to him a robber, is
pushing a point of resemblance to the utmost, and insisting on
the most refined idea of righteousness. When Confucius was in
office in Lû, the people struggled together for the game taken
in hunting, and he also did the same. If that struggling for the
captured game was proper, how much more may the gifts of the
princes be received!'
6. Chang urged,
'Then are we to suppose that when Confucius held office, it was
not with the view to carry his doctrines into practice?' 'It was
with that view,' Mencius replied, and Chang rejoined, 'If the
practice of his doctrines was his business, what had he to do
with that struggling for the captured game?' Mencius said,
'Confucius first rectified his vessels of sacrifice according to
the registers, and did not fill them so rectified with food
gathered from every quarter.' 'But why did he not go away?' He
wished to make a trial of carrying his doctrines into practice.
When that trial was sufficient to show that they could be
practised and they were still not practised, then he went away,
and thus it was that he never completed in any State a residence
of three years.
7. 'Confucius took
office when he saw that the practice of his doctrines was
likely; he took office when his reception was proper; he took
office when he was supported by the State. In the case of his
relation to Chî Hwan, he took office, seeing that the practice
of his doctrines was likely. With the duke Ling of Wei he took
office, because his reception was proper. With the duke Hsiâo of
Wei he took office, because he was maintained by the State.'