Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART II.: THE BOOKS OF YÜ. - The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King
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PART II.: THE BOOKS OF YÜ. - Misc (Confucian School), The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King 
The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King, trans. James Legge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879).
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THE BOOKS OF YÜ.
The Canon of Shun.
The Books of Yü is the name of this Part of the Shû, Yü being the dynastic designation of Shun, as Thang was that of Yâo. It does not appear so clearly, however, how it came to be so. Yü must be the name of a state, and is commonly identified with the present district of An-yî, in Kieh Kâu, Shan-hsî. Some think that Yâo, after marrying his two daughters to Shun, appointed him lord of this state; but in the first mention of him to Yâo in the last Book, he is called Shun of Yü. It is generally said that Shun’s ancestors had been lords of the principality of Yü up to the time of his father, who lost his patrimony and was reduced to the rank of a private man. But after what has been said, in the Introduction, on the Books in the first two Parts of the Shû, it will not be thought surprising that much in the accounts about Yâo and Shun should be open to suspicion. According to Mencius, IV, Part ii, ch. 1, Shun was from the country of the wild tribes on the east. Sze-mâ Khien makes him to have been descended from Hwang-Tî, in which case he and his wives, the daughters of Yâo, would have had the same ancestor. Nothing more injurious to the fame of Yâo and Shun, according to Chinese notions of propriety, could be alleged against them.
Shun is the subject of this Canon, as Yâo was of the former. As it now stands, we may divide it into six chapters:—the first, describing Shun’s virtues and gradual advancement; the second, Yâo’s satisfaction with his administration of affairs, and associating of Shun with himself on the throne; the third, the acts of Shun in that position; the fourth, the demise of Yâo, and Shun’s accession as sole monarch; the fifth, his choice of ministers and complete organization of his government; and the sixth, his death.
1. Examining into antiquity, (we find that) the Tî Shun1 was styled Khung-hwâ2 . His character was entirely conformed to (that of) the (former) Tî; he was profound, wise, accomplished, and intelligent. He was mild and courteous, and truly sincere. The report of his mysterious virtue was heard on high, and he was appointed to office.
2. (Shun) carefully set forth the beauty of the five cardinal duties, and they came to be (universally) observed. Being appointed to be General Regulator, the affairs of every (official) department were arranged in their proper seasons. (Being charged) to receive (the princes) from the four quarters of the land, they were all docilely submissive. Being sent to the great plains at the foot of the mountains, notwithstanding the tempests of wind, thunder, and rain, he did not go astray.
The Tî said, ‘Come, you Shun. I have consulted you on (all) affairs, and examined your words, and found that they can be carried into practice;—(now) for three years. Do you ascend the seat of the Tî.’ Shun wished to decline in favour of some one more virtuous, and not to consent to be (Yâo’s) successor. On the first day of the first month, (however), he received (Yâo’s) retirement (from his duties) in the temple of the Accomplished Ancestor3 .*
3. He examined the pearl-adorned turning sphere, with its transverse tube of jade, and reduced to a harmonious system (the movements of) the Seven Directors1 .
Thereafter, he sacrificed specially, but with the ordinary forms, to God; sacrificed with reverent purity to the Six Honoured Ones; offered their appropriate sacrifices to the hills and rivers; and extended his worship to the host of spirits2 .*
He called in (all) the five jade-symbols of rank; and when the month was over, he gave daily audience to (the President of) the Four Mountains, and all the Pastors3 , (finally) returning their symbols to the various princes.
In the second month of the year he made a tour of inspection eastwards, as far as Thâi-ȝung4 , where he presented a burnt-offering to Heaven, and sacrificed in order to the hills and rivers.* Thereafter he gave audience to the princes of the east. He set in accord their seasons and months, and regulated the days; he made uniform the standard-tubes, with the measures of length and of capacity, and the steel-yards; he regulated the five (classes of) ceremonies, with (the various) articles of introduction,—the five symbols of jade, the three kinds of silk, the two living (animals) and the one dead one. As to the five instruments of rank, when all was over, he returned them. In the fifth month he made a similar tour southwards, as far as the mountain of the south1 , where he observed the same ceremonies as at Thâi. In the eighth month he made a tour westwards, as far as the mountain of the west , where he did as before. In the eleventh month he made a tour northwards, as far as the mountain of the north , where he observed the same ceremonies as in the west. He (then) returned (to the capital), went to (the temple of) the Cultivated Ancestor2 , and sacrificed a single bull.*
In five years there was one tour of inspection, and there were four appearances of the princes at court. They gave a report (of their government) in words, which was clearly tested by their works. They received chariots and robes according to their merits.
He instituted the division (of the land) into twelve provinces3 , raising altars upon twelve hills in them.* He (also) deepened the rivers.
He exhibited (to the people) the statutory punishments, enacting banishment as a mitigation of the five (great) inflictions4 ; with the whip to be employed in the magistrates’ courts, the stick to be employed in schools1 , and money to be received for redeemable offences. Inadvertent offences and those which could be ascribed to misfortune were to be pardoned, but those who transgressed presumptuously and repeatedly were to be punished with death. ‘Let me be reverent! Let me be reverent!’ (he said to himself.) ‘Let compassion rule in punishment!’
He banished the Minister of Works to Yû island; confined Hwan-tâu on mount Khung; drove (the chief of) San-miâo (and his people) into San-wei, and kept them there; and held Khwăn a prisoner till death on mount Yü. These four criminals being thus dealt with, all under heaven acknowledged the justice (of Shun’s administration)2 .
4. After twenty-eight years the Tî deceased, when the people mourned for him as for a parent for three years. Within the four seas all the eight kinds of instruments of music were stopped and hushed. On the first day of the first month (of the) next year, Shun went to (the temple of) the Accomplished Ancestor.*
5. He deliberated with (the President of) the Four Mountains how to throw open the doors (of communication between himself and the) four (quarters of the land), and how he could see with the eyes, and hear with the ears of all.
He consulted with the twelve Pastors1 , and said to them, ‘The food!—it depends on observing the seasons. Be kind to the distant, and cultivate the ability of the near. Give honour to the virtuous, and your confidence to the good, while you discountenance the artful;—so shall the barbarous tribes lead on one another to make their submission.’
Shun said, ‘Ho! (President of) the Four Mountains, is there any one who can with vigorous service attend to all the affairs of the Tî, whom I may appoint to be General Regulator, to assist me in (all) affairs, managing each department according to its nature?’ All (in the court) replied, ‘There is Po-yü2 , the Minister of Works.’ The Tî said, ‘Yes. Ho! Yü, you have regulated the water and the land. In this (new office) exert yourself.’ Yü did obeisance with his head to the ground, and wished to decline in favour of the Minister of Agriculture, or Hsieh, or Kâo-yâo. The Tî said, ‘Yes, but do you go (and undertake the duties).’
The Tî said, ‘Khî3 , the black-haired people are (still) suffering from famine. Do you, O prince, as Minister of Agriculture, (continue to) sow (for them) the various kinds of grain.’
The Tî said, ‘Hsieh1 , the people are (still) wanting in affection for one another, and do not docilely observe the five orders of relationship. It is yours, as the Minister of Instruction, reverently, to set forth the lessons of duty belonging to those five orders. Do so with gentleness.’
The Tî said, ‘Kâo-yâo2 , the barbarous tribes trouble our great land. There are (also) robbers, murderers, insurgents, and traitors. It is yours, as the Minister of Crime, to use the five punishments to deal with their offences. For the infliction of these there are the three appointed places. There are the five cases in which banishment in the appropriate places is to be resorted to, to which places, though five, three localities are assigned. Perform your duties with intelligence, and you will secure a sincere (submission).’
The Tî said, ‘Who can superintend my works, as they severally require?’ All (in the court) replied, ‘Is there not Zui3 ?’ The Tî said, ‘Yes. Ho! Zui, you must be Minister of Works.’ Zui did obeisance with his head to the ground, and wished to decline in favour of Shû, Khiang, or Po-yü. The Tî said, ‘Yes, but do you go (and undertake the duties). Effect a harmony (in all the departments).’
The Tî said, ‘Who can superintend, as the nature of the charge requires, the grass and trees, with the birds and beasts on my hills and in my marshes?’ All (in the court) replied, ‘Is there not Yî1 ?’ The Tî said, ‘Yes. Ho! Yî, do you be my Forester.’ Yî did obeisance with his head to the ground, and wished to decline in favour of Kû, Hû, Hsiung, or Pî . The Tî said, ‘Yes, but do you go (and undertake the duties). You must manage them harmoniously.’
The Tî said, ‘Ho! (President of the) Four Mountains, is there any one able to direct my three (religious) ceremonies2 ?’ All (in the court) answered, ‘Is there not Po-î3 ?’ The Tî said, ‘Yes. Ho! Po, you must be the Arranger in the Ancestral Temple. Morning and night be reverent. Be upright, be pure.’ Po did obeisance with his head to the ground, and wished to decline in favour of Khwei or Lung. The Tî said, ‘Yes, but do you go (and undertake the duties). Be reverential!’*
The Tî said, ‘Khwei4 , I appoint you to be Director of Music, and to teach our sons, so that the straightforward shall yet be mild; the gentle, dignified; the strong, not tyrannical; and the impetuous, not arrogant. Poetry is the expression of earnest thought; singing is the prolonged utterance of that expression; the notes accompany that utterance, and they are harmonized themselves by the standard-tubes. (In this way) the eight different kinds of musical instruments can be adjusted so that one shall not take from or interfere with another; and spirits and men are brought into harmony.’ Khwei said, ‘I smite the (sounding-) stone, I gently strike it, and the various animals lead on one another to dance.’
The Tî said, ‘Lung1 , I abominate slanderous speakers and destroyers of the (right) ways, who agitate and alarm my people. I appoint you to be the Minister of Communication. Early and late give forth my orders and report to me, seeing that everything is true.’
The Tî said, ‘Ho! you, twenty and two men, be reverent; so shall you be helpful to the business (entrusted to me by) Heaven.’*
Every three years there was an examination of merits, and after three examinations the undeserving were degraded, and the deserving advanced. (By this arrangement) the duties of all the departments were fully discharged; the (people of) San-miâo (also) were discriminated and separated.
6. In the thirtieth year of his age, Shun was called to employment. Thirty years he was on the throne (with Yâo). Fifty years afterwards he went on high and died2 .*
The Counsels of the Great Yü.
Of the six classes of documents in the Shû, ‘Counsels’ are the second, containing the wise remarks and suggestions of high officers on the subject of government.
This Book may be divided into three chapters:—the first, containing counsels of Yü and Yî on principles and methods of government; the second, occupied with Shun’s resignation of the administration to Yü, and containing also many sage observations and maxims; and the third, describing Yü’s operations against the people of Miâo, and counsels addressed to him by Yî. The style differs from that of the Canons; being more sententious, and falling occasionally into rhyme.
1. Examining into antiquity, (we find that) the Great Yü1 was styled Wăn-ming2 . Having arranged and divided (the land), all to the four seas, in reverent response to the Tî, he said, ‘If the sovereign can realize the difficulty of his sovereignship, and the minister the difficulty of his ministry, the government will be well ordered, and the black-haired people will sedulously seek to be virtuous.’
The Tî said, ‘Yes; let this really be the case, and good words will nowhere lie hidden; no men of virtue and talents will be left neglected, away from court, and the myriad states will all enjoy repose. (But) to obtain the views of all; to give up one’s opinion and follow that of others; to keep from oppressing the helpless, and not to neglect the straitened and poor;—it was only the (former) Tî who could attain to this.’
Yî said, ‘Oh! your virtue, O Tî, is vast and incessant. It is sagely, spirit-like, awe-inspiring, and adorned with all accomplishments. Great Heaven regarded you with its favour, and bestowed on you its appointment. Suddenly you possessed all within the four seas, and became ruler of all under heaven.’*
Yü said, ‘Accordance with the right leads to good fortune; following what is opposed to it, to bad;—the shadow and the echo.’ Yî said, ‘Alas! be cautious! Admonish yourself to caution, when there seems to be no occasion for anxiety. Do not fail to observe the laws and ordinances. Do not find your enjoyment in idleness. Do not go to excess in pleasure. In your employment of men of worth, let none come between you and them. Put away evil without hesitation. Do not carry out plans, of (the wisdom of) which you have doubts. Study that all your purposes may be with the light of reason. Do not go against what is right, to get the praise of the people. Do not oppose the people’s (wishes), to follow your own desires. (Attend to these things) without idleness or omission, and the barbarous tribes all around will come and acknowledge your sovereignty.’
Yü said, ‘Oh! think (of these things), O Tî. The virtue (of the ruler) is seen in (his) good government, and that government in the nourishing of the people. There are water, fire, metal, wood, the earth, and grain,—these must be duly regulated; there are the rectification of (the people’s) virtue, (the tools and other things) that supply the conveniences of life, and the securing abundant means of sustentation,—these must be harmoniously attended to. When the nine services (thus indicated) have been orderly accomplished, that accomplishment will be hailed by (the people’s) songs. Caution them with gentle (words), correct them with the majesty (of law), stimulate them with the songs on those nine subjects,—in order that (your success) may not suffer diminution.’ The Tî said, ‘The earth has been reduced to order, and the (influences of) heaven produce their complete effect; those six magazines and three departments of (governmental) action are all truly regulated, and may be depended on for a myriad generations:—this is your merit.’
2. The Tî said, ‘Come, you Yü. I have occupied my place for thirty and three years. I am between ninety and a hundred years old, and the laborious duties weary me. Do you, eschewing all indolence, take the leading of my people.’ Yü replied, ‘My virtue is not equal (to the position), and the people will not repose in me. (But there is) Kâo-yâo with vigorous activity sowing abroad his virtue, which has descended on the black-haired people, till they cherish him in their hearts. O Tî, think of him! When I think of him, (my mind) rests on him (as the man fit for this place); when I would put him out of my thoughts, (my mind still) rests on him; when I name and speak of him, (my mind) rests on him (for this); the sincere outgoing of my thoughts about him is that he is the man. O Tî, think of his merits.’
The Tî said, ‘Kâo-yâo, that of these my ministers and all (my people) hardly one is found to offend against the regulations of the government is owing to your being Minister of Crime, and intelligent in the use of the five punishments, thereby assisting (the inculcation of) the five cardinal duties, with a view to the perfection of my government, and that through punishment there may come to be no punishments, but the people accord with (the path of) the Mean. (Continue to) be strenuous.’ Kâo-yâo replied, ‘Your virtue, O Tî, is faultless. You condescend to your ministers with a kindly ease; you preside over the multitudes with a generous forbearance. Punishments do not extend to (the criminal’s) heirs, while rewards reach to (succeeding) generations. You pardon inadvertent faults, however great, and punish purposed crimes, however small. In cases of doubtful crimes, you deal with them lightly; in cases of doubtful merit, you prefer the high estimation. Rather than put an innocent person to death, you will run the risk of irregularity and error. This life-loving virtue has penetrated the minds of the people, and this is why they do not render themselves liable to be punished by your officers.’ The Tî said, ‘That I am able to follow and obtain what I desire in my government, the people responding everywhere as if moved by the wind,—this is your excellence.’
The Tî said, ‘Come Yü. The inundating waters filled me with dread, when you accomplished truly (all that you had represented), and completed your service;—thus showing your superiority to other men. Full of toilsome earnestness in the service of the country, and sparing in your expenditure on your family, and this without being full of yourself and elated,—you (again) show your superiority to other men. You are without any prideful assumption, but no one under heaven can contest with you the palm of ability; you make no boasting, but no one under heaven can contest with you the palm of merit. I see how great is your virtue, how admirable your vast achievements. The determinate appointment of Heaven rests on your person; you must eventually ascend (the throne) of the great sovereign.* The mind of man is restless, prone (to err); its affinity to what is right is small. Be discriminating, be uniform (in the pursuit of what is right), that you may sincerely hold fast the Mean. Do not listen to unsubstantiated words; do not follow plans about which you have not sought counsel. Of all who are to be loved, is not the ruler the chief? Of all who are to be feared, are not the people the chief? If the multitude were without their sovereign Head, whom should they sustain aloft? If the sovereign had not the multitude, there would be none to guard the country for him. Be reverential! Carefully maintain the throne which you are to occupy, cultivating (the virtues) that are to be desired in you. If within the four seas there be distress and poverty, your Heaven-conferred revenues will come to a perpetual end. It is the mouth which sends forth what is good, and raises up war. I will not alter my words.’
Yü said, ‘Submit the meritorious ministers one by one to the trial of divination1 , and let the favouring indication be followed.’ The Tî replied, ‘(According to the rules for) the regulation of divination, one should first make up his mind, and afterwards refer (his judgment) to the great tortoise-shell. My mind (in this matter) was determined in the first place; I consulted and deliberated with all (my ministers and people), and they were of one accord with me. The spirits signified their assent, and the tortoise-shell and divining stalks concurred. Divination, when fortunate, should not be repeated.’* Yü did obeisance with his head to the ground, and firmly declined (the place). The Tî said, ‘You must not do so. It is you who can suitably (occupy my place).’ On the first morning of the first month, (Yü) received the appointment in the temple (dedicated by Shun) to the spirits of his ancestors1 , and took the leading of all the officers, as had been done by the Tî at the commencement (of his government).*
3. The Tî said, ‘Alas! O Yü, there is only the lord of Miâo2 who refuses obedience; do you go and correct him.’ Yü on this assembled all the princes, and made a speech to the host, saying, ‘Ye multitudes here arrayed, listen all of you to my orders. Stupid is this lord of Miâo, ignorant, erring, and disrespectful. Despiteful and insolent to others, he thinks that all ability and virtue are with himself. A rebel to the right, he destroys (all the obligations of) virtue. Superior men are kept by him in obscurity, and mean men fill (all) the offices. The people reject him and will not protect him. Heaven is sending down calamities upon him.* I therefore, along with you, my multitude of gallant men, bear the instructions (of the Tî) to punish his crimes. Do you proceed with united heart and strength, so shall our enterprize be crowned with success.’
At the end of three decades, the people of Miâo continued rebellious against the commands (issued to them), when Yî came to the help of Yü, saying, ‘It is virtue that moves Heaven; there is no distance to which it does not reach. Pride brings loss, and humility receives increase;—this is the way of Heaven.* In the early time of the Tî, when he was living by mount Lî1 , he went into the fields, and daily cried with tears to compassionate Heaven, and to his parents, taking to himself all guilt, and charging himself with (their) wickedness.* (At the same time) with respectful service he appeared before Kû-sâu, looking grave and awe-struck, till Kû also became transformed by his example. Entire sincerity moves spiritual beings,—how much more will it move this lord of Miâo!’* Yü did homage to the excellent words, and said, ‘Yes.’ (Thereupon) he led back his army, having drawn off the troops. The Tî set about diffusing on a grand scale the virtuous influences of peace;—with shields and feathers they danced between the two staircases (in his courtyard). In seventy days, the lord of Miâo came (and made his submission).
The Counsels of Kâo-yâo.
Kâo-yâo was Minister of Crime to Shun, and is still celebrated in China as the model for all administrators of justice. There are few or no reliable details of his history. Sze-mâ Khien says that Yü, on his accession to the throne, made Kâo-yâo his chief minister, with the view of his ultimately succeeding him, but that the design was frustrated by Kâo-yâo’s death. But if there had been such a tradition in the time of Mencius, he would probably have mentioned it, when defending Yü from the charge of being inferior to Yâo and Shun, who resigned the throne to the worthiest, whereas he transmitted it to his son. Kâo-yâo’s surname was Yen, but an end was made of his representatives, when the principality belonging to them was extinguished in the dynasty of Kâu by the ambitious state of Khû. There is still a family in China with the surname Kâo, claiming to be descended from this ancient worthy; but Kâo and Yâo are to be taken together in the Shû as his name.
The ‘Counsels’ in the Book do not appear as addressed directly to Shun, but are found in a conversation between Yü and Kâo-yâo, the latter being the chief speaker. The whole may be divided into four chapters:—the first, enunciating the principle that in government the great thing is for the ruler to pursue the course of his virtue, which will be seen in his knowledge and choice of men for office, thereby securing the repose of the people; the second, illustrating how men may be known; the third, treating of the repose of the people; in the fourth, the speaker asserts the reasonableness of his sentiments, and humbly expresses his own desire to be helpful to the sovereign.
1. Examining into antiquity, (we find that) Kâo-yâo said, ‘If (the sovereign) sincerely pursues the course of his virtue, the counsels (offered to him) will be intelligent, and the aids (of admonition that he receives) will be harmonious.’ Yü said, ‘Yes, but explain yourself.’ Kâo-yâo said, ‘Oh! let him be careful about his personal cultivation, with thoughts that are far-reaching, and thus he will produce a generous kindness and nice observance of distinctions among the nine branches of his kindred. All the intelligent (also) will exert themselves in his service; and in this way from what is near he will reach to what is distant.’ Yü did homage to the excellent words, and said, ‘Yes.’ Kâo-yâo continued, ‘Oh! it lies in knowing men, and giving repose to the people.’ Yü said, ‘Alas! to attain to both these things might well be a difficulty even to the Tî. When (the sovereign) knows men, he is wise, and can put every one into the office for which he is fit. When he gives repose to the people, his kindness is felt, and the black-haired race cherish him in their hearts. When he can be (thus) wise and kind, what occasion will he have for anxiety about a Hwan-tâu? what to be removing a lord of Miâo? what to fear any one of fair words, insinuating appearance, and great artfulness?’
2. Kâo-yâo said, ‘Oh! there are in all nine virtues to be discovered in conduct, and when we say that a man possesses (any) virtue, that is as much as to say he does such and such things.’ Yü asked, ‘What (are the nine virtues)?’ Kâo-yâo replied, ‘Affability combined with dignity; mildness combined with firmness; bluntness combined with respectfulness; aptness for government combined with reverent caution; docility combined with boldness; straightforwardness combined with gentleness; an easy negligence combined with discrimination; boldness combined with sincerity; and valour combined with righteousness. (When these qualities are) displayed, and that continuously, have we not the good (officer)? When there is a daily display of three (of these) virtues, their possessor could early and late regulate and brighten the clan (of which he was made chief). When there is a daily severe and reverent cultivation of six of them, their possessor could brilliantly conduct the affairs of the state (with which he was invested). When (such men) are all received and advanced, the possessors of those nine virtues will be employed in (the public) service. The men of a thousand and men of a hundred will be in their offices; the various ministers will emulate one another; all the officers will accomplish their duties at the proper times, observant of the five seasons (as the several elements predominate in them),—and thus their various duties will be fully accomplished. Let not (the Son of Heaven) set to the holders of states the example of indolence or dissoluteness. Let him be wary and fearful, (remembering that) in one day or two days there may occur ten thousand springs of things. Let him not have his various officers cumberers of their places. The work is Heaven’s; men must act for it!’*
3. ‘From Heaven are the (social) relationships with their several duties; we are charged with (the enforcement of) those five duties;—and lo! we have the five courses of honourable conduct1 . From Heaven are the (social) distinctions with their several ceremonies; from us come the observances of those five ceremonies;—and lo! they appear in regular practice1 . When (sovereign and ministers show) a common reverence and united respect for these, lo! the moral nature (of the people) is made harmonious. Heaven graciously distinguishes the virtuous;—are there not the five habiliments, five decorations of them2 ? Heaven punishes the guilty;—are there not the five punishments, to be severally used for that purpose? The business of government!—ought we not to be earnest in it? ought we not to be earnest in it?*
‘Heaven hears and sees as our people hear and see; Heaven brightly approves and displays its terrors as our people brightly approve and would awe;—such connexion is there between the upper and lower (worlds). How reverent ought the masters of territories to be!’*
4. Kâo-yâo said, ‘My words are in accordance with reason, and may be put in practice.’ Yü said, ‘Yes, your words may be put in practice, and crowned with success.’ Kâo-yâo added, ‘(As to that) I do not know, but I wish daily to be helpful. May (the government) be perfected!’
The Yî and Kî.
Yî and Kî, the names of Shun’s Forester and Minister of Agriculture, both of whom receive their appointments in Book i, occur near the commencement of this Book, and occasion is thence taken to give its title to the whole. But without good reason; for these worthies do not appear at all as interlocutors in it. Yü is the principal speaker; the Book belongs to the class of ‘Counsels.’
To Yî there is, of course, assigned an ancient and illustrious descent; what is of more importance, is that the lords of Khin, who finally superseded the kings of Kâu, traced their lineage to him. Khî was the name of Kî, the character for the latter term meaning ‘Millet,’ and Khî was so styled from his labours in teaching the people to sow and reap, so that Kî became equivalent to ‘Minister of Agriculture.’
The contents of the Book have been divided into three chapters. The first gives a conversation between Shun and Yü. Yü relates his own diligence and achievements as a model to Shun, and gives him various admonitions, while Shun insists on what his ministers should be, and wherein he wished them to help him. In the second chapter, Khwei, the Minister of Music, makes his appearance; it has no apparent connexion with the former. In the third, Shun and Kâo-yâo sing to each other on the mutual relation of the sovereign and his ministers.
1. The Tî said, ‘Come Yü, you also must have excellent words (to bring before me).’ Yü did obeisance, and said, ‘Oh! what can I say, O Tî, (after Kâo-yâo)? I can (only) think of maintaining a daily assiduity.’ Kâo-yâo said, ‘Alas! will you describe it?’ Yü replied, ‘The inundating waters seemed to assail the heavens, and in their vast extent embraced the hills and overtopped the great mounds, so that the people were bewildered and overwhelmed. I mounted my four conveyances1 , and all along the hills hewed down the trees, at the same time, along with Yî, showing the multitudes how to get flesh to eat. I (also) opened passages for the streams (throughout the) nine (provinces), and conducted them to the four seas. I deepened (moreover) the channels and canals, and conducted them to the streams, sowing (grain), at the same time, along with Kî, and showing the multitudes how to procure the food of toil, (in addition to) the flesh meat. I urged them (further) to exchange what they had for what they had not, and to dispose of their accumulated stores. (In this way) all the people got grain to eat, and the myriad regions began to come under good rule.’ Kâo-yâo said, ‘Yes, we ought to model ourselves after your excellent words.’
Yü said, ‘Oh! carefully maintain, O Tî, the throne which you occupy.’ The Tî replied, ‘Yes;’ and Yü went on, ‘Find your repose in your (proper) resting-point. Attend to the springs of things; study stability; and let your assistants be the upright:—then shall your movements be grandly responded to, (as if the people only) waited for your will. Thus you will brightly receive (the favour of) God;—will not Heaven renew its appointment of you, and give you blessing?’*
The Tî said, ‘Alas! what are ministers?—are they not (my) associates? What are associates?—are they not (my) ministers?’ Yü replied, ‘Yes;’ and the Tî went on, ‘My ministers constitute my legs and arms, my ears and eyes. I wish to help and support my people;—you give effect to my wishes. I wish to spread the influence (of my government) through the four quarters;—you act as my agents. I wish to see the emblematic figures of the ancients,—the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountain, the dragons, and the flowery fowl (= the pheasant), which are depicted (on the upper garment); the temple cups, the pondweed, the flames, the grains of rice, the hatchet, and the symbol of distinction, which are embroidered (on the lower garment),—(I wish to see all these) fully displayed in the five colours, so as to form the (ceremonial) robes;—it is yours to see them clearly (for me). I wish to hear the six pitch-tubes, the five notes (determined by them), and the eight kinds of musical instruments (regulated again by these), examining thereby the virtues and defects of government, according as (the odes that) go forth (from the court, set to music), and come in (from the people), are ordered by those five notes;—it is yours to hear them (for me). When I am doing wrong, it is yours to correct me;—do not follow me to my face, and, when you have retired, have other remarks to make. Be reverent, ye associates, who are before and behind and on each side of me! As to all the obstinately stupid and calumniating talkers, who are found not to be doing what is right, are there not—the target to exhibit (their true character)1 , the scourge to make them recollect, and the book of remembrance2 ? Do we not wish them to live along with us? There are also the masters (of music) to receive their compositions, (set them to music), and continually publish them (as corrected by themselves). If they become reformed they are to be received and employed; if they do not, let the terrors (of punishment) overtake them.’
Yü said, ‘So far good! But let your light shine, O Tî, all under heaven, even to every grassy corner of the sea-shore, and throughout the myriad regions the most worthy of the people will all (wish) to be your ministers. Then, O Tî, you may advance them to office. They will set forth, and you will receive, their reports; you will make proof of them according to their merits; you will confer chariots and robes according to their services. Who will then dare not to cultivate a humble virtue? who will dare not to respond to you with reverence? If you, O Tî, do not act thus, all (your ministers) together will daily proceed to a meritless character.’
‘Be not haughty like Kû of Tan1 , who found his pleasure only in indolence and dissipation, and pursued a proud oppressive course. Day and night without ceasing he was thus. He would make boats go where there was no water. He introduced licentious associates into his family. The consequence was that he brought the prosperity of his house to an end. I took warning from his course. When I married in Thû-shan2 , (I remained with my wife only the days) hsin, zăn, kwei, and kiâ. When (my son) Khî was wailing and weeping, I did not regard him, but kept planning with all my might my labour on the land. (Then) I assisted in completing the five Tenures3 , extending over 5000 lî4 ; (in appointing) in the provinces twelve Tutors, and in establishing in the regions beyond, reaching to the four seas, five Presidents. These all pursue the right path, and are meritorious; but there are still (the people of) Miâo, who obstinately refuse to render their service. Think of this, O Tî.’ The Tî said, ‘That my virtue is followed is the result of your meritorious services so orderly displayed. And now Kâo-yâo, entering respectfully into your arrangements, is on every hand displaying the (various) punishments, as represented, with entire intelligence.’
2. Khwei said, ‘When the sounding-stone is tapped or struck with force, and the lutes are strongly swept or gently touched, to accompany the singing, the progenitors (of the Tî) come (to the service),* the guest of Yü1 is in his place, and all the princes show their virtue in giving place to one another. (In the court) below (the hall) there are the flutes and hand-drums, which join in at the sound of the rattle, and cease at that of the stopper, when the organ and bells take their place. (This makes) birds and beasts fall moving. When the nine parts of the service, as arranged by the Tî, have all been performed, the male and female phœnix come with their measured gambolings (into the court).’
Khwei said, ‘Oh! when I smite the (sounding-) stone, or gently strike it, the various animals lead on one another to dance2 , and all the chiefs of the official departments become truly harmonious.’
3. The Tî on this made a song, saying, ‘We must deal cautiously with the favouring appointment of Heaven, at every moment and in the smallest particular.’* He then sang,
Kâo-yâo did obeisance with his head to his hands and then to the ground, and with a loud and rapid voice said, ‘Think (O Tî). It is yours to lead on and originate things. Pay careful attention to your laws (in doing so). Be reverential! and often examine what has been accomplished (by your officers). Be reverential!’ With this he continued the song,
Again he continued the song,
The Tî said, ‘Yes, go and be reverently (attentive to your duties).’
[1 ] If Shun be taken as an epithet, it will mean ‘the Benevolent and Sage.’
[2 ]Khung-hwâ, the name of Shun according to the Han scholars, may mean ‘the Glorious (Yâo) repeated.’
[3 ] The Accomplished Ancestor would be, probably, the individual in some distant time to whom Yâo traced his possession of the throne.
[1 ] Probably the seven stars of the Great Bear.
[2 ] Who the Six Honoured Ones were cannot be determined with certainty. An-kwo thought they were, ‘the seasons, cold and heat, the sun, the moon, the stars, and drought,’ that is, certain spirits, supposed to rule over these phenomena and things, and residing probably in different stars. The whole paragraph describes Shun’s exercise of the prerogative of the sovereign, so far as religious worship was concerned.
[3 ] The princes of the various states, whose official chief was the President of the Four Mountains, all ‘shepherds of men.’
[4 ] Thâi-ȝung is mount Thâi, in Shan-tung. See note on the President of the Four Mountains, p. 35.
[1 ] See note on the President of the Four Mountains, p. 35.
[2 ] Probably the same as the Accomplished Ancestor on p. 38.
[3 ] As Yü, according to Part III, i, divided the land into nine provinces, this division of it into twelve must have been subsequent to the completion of Yü’s work. See on the Tribute of Yü.
[4 ] Those five great inflictions were—branding on the forehead; cutting off the nose; cutting off the feet; castration; and death, inflicted in various ways.
[1 ] This punishment was for officers in training; not for boys at school.
[2 ] The Minister of Works, Hwan-tâu, and Khwăn are mentioned in the former Canon. Yû island, or Yû Kâu, was in the extreme north of the present district of Mî-yun, department Shun-thien, Kih-lî.
Mount Khung was in the district of Yung-ting, Lî Kâu, Hû-nan. San-miâo was the name of a territory, embracing the present departments of Wû-khang in Hû-pei, Yo-kâu in Hû-nan, and Kiû-kiang in Kiang-hsî. San-wei was a tract of country round a mountain of the same name in the present department of An-hsî, Kan-sû. Mount Yü was in the present district of Than-khăng, Shan-tung.
[1 ] These were the twelve princes holding the chief sway and superintendence in his twelve provinces.
[2 ] Po-yü is the great Yü, the founder of the Hsiâ dynasty. Po denotes, probably, his order as the eldest among his brothers.
[3 ]Khî was the name of the Minister of Agriculture, better known in the Shih and other books as Hâu-kî, the progenitor of the kings of Kâu. See the legend about him in the Shih, Part III, ii, Ode 1.
[1 ] Hsieh was honoured by the kings of the Shang dynasty as their progenitor. See the Shih, Part IV, iii, Odes 3 and 4.
[2 ] See the preliminary note to Book iii.
[3 ]Zui was not claimed by any great family as its progenitor, but he was handed down by tradition as a great artificer. See a reference to him in Part V, xxii, 2. Shû and Khiang must have been named from their skill in making halberds and axes. The Yü (quite different from the name of the great Yü) in Po-yü gives us no indication of the skill of that individual.
[1 ] For Yî, see the preliminary note to Book iv. He wishes here to decline his appointment in favour of Kû (‘The Cedar’), Hû (‘The Tiger’), Hsiung (‘The Bear’), or Pî (‘The Grisly Bear’).
[2 ] The three ceremonies were the observances in the worship of the Spirits of Heaven, the Spirits of Earth, and the Spirits of Men.
[3 ] Po-î was the progenitor of the great family of Kiang, members of which ruled in Khî and other states.
[4 ] Of Khwei we know nothing more than what is here told us. The character denotes a monstrous animal, ‘a dragon with one leg.’
[1 ] We are in ignorance of Lung, as we are of Khwei. The character denotes ‘the dragon.’
[2 ] The Chinese text is here difficult to construe. Kû Hsî says that the term ‘went on high’ is appropriate to the death of the Son of Heaven; and that the meaning is that Shun went to heaven.
[1 ] The name Yü, taken as an epithet, would mean ‘the Unconstrained.’ As an epithet after death, it has the meaning of ‘Receiving the Resignation and Perfecting the Merit;’ but this is evidently based on the commonly received history of Yü.
[2 ] Wăn-ming may be translated, ‘the Accomplished and the Issuer of Commands.’
[1 ] On Divination, see Part V, iv.
[1 ] Many contend that this was the ancestral temple of Yâo. But we learn from Confucius, in the seventeenth chapter of the Doctrine of the Mean, that Shun had established such a temple for his own ancestors, which must be that intended here.
[2 ] The lord of Miâo against whom Yü proceeded would not be the one whom Shun banished to San-wei, as related in the former Book, but some chieftain of the whole or a portion of the people, who had been left in their native seat. That Yâo, Shun, and Yü were all obliged to take active measures against the people of Miâo, shows the difficulty with which the Chinese sway was established over the country.
[1 ] Mount Lî is found in a hill near Phû Kâu, department of Phing-yang, Shan-hsî. It is difficult to reconcile what Yî says here of Shun ‘in his early life’ and his father Kû-sâu with the account of it as happening when Shun was fifty years old; see Mencius V, Part i, ch. 5. The whole is legendary, and there were, no doubt, more forms of the legend than one.
[1 ] The five duties are those belonging to the five relationships, which are the constituents of society;—those between husband and wife, father and son, ruler and subject, elder brother and younger, friend and friend.
[1 ] The five ceremonies are here those belonging to the distinctions of rank in connexion with the five constituent relations of society.
[2 ] See in next Book, ch. 1.
[1 ] See the Introduction, pp. 16, 17.
[1 ] Archery was anciently made much of in China, and supposed to be a test of character. Unworthy men would not be found hitting frequently, and observing the various rules of the exercise. Confucius more than once spoke of archery as a discipline of virtue; see Analects, III, xvi.
[2 ] In the Official Book of Kâu, the heads of districts are required to keep a register of the characters of the people. Shun’s Book of Remembrance would be a record on wood or cloth. The reference implies the use of writing.
[1 ] This was the son of Yâo. He must have been made lord of some principality, called Tan.
[2 ] Yü married the daughter of the lord of Thû-shan, a principality in the present department of Făng-yung, An-hui.
[3 ] See in the Tribute of Yü, Part II.
[4 ] The lî is what is called the Chinese mile, generally reckoned to be 360 paces.
[1 ]Kû of Tan.
[2 ] These last words of Khwei have already appeared in Book i, ch. 5. They are more in place here, though this second chapter has no apparent connexion with what precedes. ‘The stone’ is the sonorous stone formed, often in the shape of a carpenter’s square, into a musical instrument, still seen everywhere in China.