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BOOK II. * - Mencius, The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius 
The Chinese Classics: Translated into English with Preliminary Essays and Explanatory Notes by James Legge. Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius. (London: N. Trübner, 1875).
Part of: The Chinese Classics
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KUNG-SUN CH‘OW. PART I.
ChapterI.1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said, “Master, if you were to obtain the ordering of the government in Ts‘e, could you promise yourself the accomplishment of such successful results as were realized by Kwan Chung and the minister Gan?”
2. Mencius said, “You, Sir, are indeed a [true] man of Ts‘e. You know about Kwan Chung and the minister Gan, and nothing more.
3. “One asked Tsăng Se, saying, ‘To which, my [good] Sir, do you give the superiority,—to yourself or to Tsze-loo?’ Tsang Se looked uneasy, and said, ‘He was an object of veneration to my grandfather.’ ‘Then,’ pursued the man, ‘do you give the superiority to yourself, or to Kwan Chung?’ Tsăng Se flushed with anger, was displeased, and said, ‘How do you compare me to Kwan Chung? Considering how entirely he possessed [the confidence of] his ruler, how long he had the direction of the government of the State, and how low [after all] was what he accomplished, how is it that you compare me to him?’
4. “Thus,” added Mencius, “Tsăng Se would not play Kwan Chung, and is it what you desire for me, that I should do so?”
5. [Kung-sun Ch‘ow] said, “Kwan Chung raised his ruler to be the leader of all the other princes, and the minister Gan made his ruler illustrious; and do you still think that it would not be enough for you to do what they did?”
6. “To raise [the ruler of] Ts‘e to the Royal dignity would [simply] be like turning round the hand,” was the reply.
7. “So!” returned the other. “The perplexity of your disciple is hereby very much increased! And there was king Wăn, with all the virtue which belonged to him, and who did not die till he had reached a hundred years; yet his influence had not penetrated to all under heaven. It required king Woo and the duke of Chow to continue his course, before that influence greatly prevailed. And now you say that the Royal dignity may be so easily obtained:—is king Wăn then not worthy to be imitated?”
8. [Mencius] said, “How can king Wăn be matched? From T‘ang to Woo-ting there had arisen six or seven worthy and sage sovereigns; all under heaven had been long attached to Yin. The length of time made a change difficult, and Woo-ting gave audience to all the princes and possessed the whole kingdom, as if it had been a thing which he turned round in his palm. [Then] Chow was removed from Woo-ting by no great interval of time. There were still remaining some of the ancient families, and of the old manners, of the influence which had emanated [from the earlier sovereigns], and of their good government. Moreover, there were the viscount of Wei and his second son, his Royal Highness Pe-kan, the viscount of Ke, and Kaou Kih, all men of ability and virtue, who gave their joint assistance to Chow [in his government]. In consequence of these things it took him a long time to lose the kingdom. There was not a foot of ground which he did not possess; there was not one of all the people who was not his subject. So it was on his side, while king Wăn made his beginning from a territory of [only] a hundred square le, and therefore it was difficult for him [immediately to attain to the Royal dignity].
9. “The people of Ts‘e have the saying, ‘A man may have wisdom and discernment, but that is not like embracing the favourable opportunity; a man may have [good] hoes, but that is not like waiting for the [favourable] seasons.’ The present time is one in which [the Royal dignity] may be easily attained.
10. “In the flourishing periods of the sovereigns of Hëa, of Yin, and of Chow, the [Royal] territory did not exceed a thousand le and Ts‘e embraces as much. Cocks crow and dogs bark to one another all the way to its four borders, so that Ts‘e also possesses the [requisite number of] people. No change is needed for the enlargement of its territory, nor for the collecting of a population. If [its ruler] will put in practice a benevolent government, no power can prevent his attaining to the Royal sway.
11. “Moreover, never was there a time farther removed than this from the appearance of a true king; never was there a time when the sufferings of the people from oppressive government were more intense than this. The hungry are easily supplied with food, and the thirsty with drink.
12. “Confucius said, ‘The flowing progress of virtue is more rapid than the transmission of orders by stages and couriers.’
13. “At the present time, in a country of ten thousand chariots, let a benevolent government be exercised, and the people will be delighted with it, as if they were relieved from hanging by the heels. With half the merit of the ancients, double their achievement is sure to be realized. It is only at this time that such could be the case.”
II.1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow asked [Mencius], saying, “Master, if you were to be appointed a high noble and prime minister of Ts‘e, so as to carry your principles into practice, though you should thereupon [raise the ruler to] be head of all the other princes or [even] to be king, it would not be to be wondered at; but in such a position would your mind be perturbed or not?” Mencius replied, “No. At forty I attained to an unperturbed mind.”
2. [Chow] said, “Then, Master, you are far beyond Măng Pun.” “[The mere attainment of] that,” said [Mencius], “is not difficult. The scholar Kaou attained to an unperturbed mind at an earlier period of life than I did.”
3. “Is there any [proper] way to an unperturbed mind?” asked [Chow]; and the reply was, “Yes.
4. “Pih-kung Yew had this way of nourishing his valour:—His flesh did not shrink [from a wound], and his eyes did not turn aside [from any thrusts at them]. He considered that to submit to have a hair pulled out by any one was as great [a disgrace] as to be beaten in the market-place, and that what he would not receive from [a common man in his] loose garments of hair-cloth, neither should he receive from the ruler of ten thousand chariots. He viewed stabbing the ruler of ten thousand chariots just as stabbing a fellow in cloth of hair. He feared not any of the princes. A bad word addressed to him he always returned.
5. “The valour which Măng She-shay nourished spoke on this wise:—‘I look upon conquering and not conquering in the same way. To measure the enemy and then advance; to calculate the chances of victory and then engage:—this is to stand in awe of the opposing force. How can I make certain of conquering? I can only rise superior to all fear.’
6. “Măng She-shay resembled the philosopher Tsăng, and Pih-kung Yëw resembled Tsze-hëa. I do not know to the valour of which the superiority should be ascribed; but Măng She-shay attended to what was of the greater importance.
7. “Formerly, the philosopher Tsăng said to Tsze-seang, ‘Do you love valour? I heard an account of great valour from the Master, [who said that it speaks thus]:—“If on self-examination I find that I am not upright, shall I not be afraid of [a common man in his] loose garments of haircloth; if on self-examination I find that I am upright, I will go forward against thousands and tens of thousands.” ’
8. “What Măng She-shay maintained, however, was his physical energy merely, and was not equal to what the philosopher Tsăng maintained, which was [indeed] of the greater importance.”
9. [Ch‘ow] said, “May I venture to ask [the difference between] your unperturbed mind, Master, and that of the scholar Kaou?” [Mencius] answered, “Kaou says, ‘What you do not find in words, do not seek for in your mind; what you do not find in your mind, do not seek for by passion-effort.’ [This last]—not to seek by passion-effort for what you do not find in your mind—may be conceded; but not to seek in your mind for what you do not find in words ought not to be conceded. For the will is the leader of the passionnature; and the passion-nature pervades and animates the body. The will is [first and] chief, and the passion-nature is subordinate to it. Therefore [I] say, Maintain firm the will, and do no violence to the passion-nature.
10. [Ch‘ow observed], “Since you say that the will is chief and the passion-nature subordinate to it, how do you also say, Maintain firm the will, and do no violence to the passion-nature?” The reply was, “When the will is exclusively active, then it moves the passion-nature; and when the passion-nature is exclusively active, it moves the will. For instance now, the case of a man falling or running is an exertion of his passion-nature, and yet it moves his mind.”
11. “I venture to ask” [said Ch‘ow again], “wherein you, Master, have the superiority.” [Mencius] said, “I understand words. I am skilful in nourishing my vast, flowing, passion-nature.”
12. [Ch‘ow pursued,] “I venture to ask what you mean by your vast, flowing, passion-nature.” The reply was, “It is difficult to describe it.
13. “This is the passion-nature:—It is exceedingly great, and exceedingly strong. Being nourished by rectitude and sustaining no injury, it fills up all between heaven and earth.
14. “This is the passion-nature:—It is the mate and assistant of righteousness and reason. Without this [man’s nature] is in a state of starvation.
15. “It is produced by the accumulation of righteous deeds, and cannot be attained by incidental acts of righteousness. If the mind do not feel complacency in the conduct, [the nature becomes] starved. Hence it is that I say that Kaou has never understood righteousness, because he makes it something external.
16. “There must be the [constant] practice [of righteousness], but without the object [of thereby nourishing the passion-nature]. Let not the mind forget [its work], but let there be no assisting the growth. Let us not be like the man of Sung. There was a man at Sung who was grieved that his growing corn was not longer, and so he pulled it up. He then returned home, looking very stupid, and said to his people, ‘I am very tired to-day; I have been helping the corn to grow long.’ His son ran to look at it, and found the corn all withered. There are few people in the world who [do not deal with their passion-nature as if they] were thus assisting their corn to grow long. Some indeed consider it of no benefit to them, and neglect it;—they do not weed their corn. They who assist it to grow long pull out their corn. [What they do is] not only of no benefit [to the nature], but it also injures it.”
17. [Kung-sun Ch‘ow further asked,] “What do you mean by saying that you understand words?” [Mencius] replied, “When speeches are one-sided, I know how [the mind of the speaker] is clouded over; when they are extravagant, I know wherein [the mind] is snared; when they are all-depraved, I know how [the mind] has departed [from principle]; when they are evasive, I know how [the mind] is at its [wit’s] end. [These evils], growing in the mind, injure the [principles of the] government, and, displayed in the government, are hurtful to the conduct of affairs. When a sage shall again arise, he will certainly agree with [these] my words.”
18. On this Ch‘ow observed, “Tsae Wo and Tsze-kung were clever in making speeches; Jen New, the disciple Min, and Yen Yuen, while their words were good, were distinguished for their virtuous conduct. Confucius united both the qualities, [but still he] said, ‘In the matter of speeches I am not competent.’—Then, Master, have you attained to be a sage?”
19. [Mencius] replied, “Oh! what words are these? Formerly Tsze-kung asked Confucius, saying, ‘Master, are you a sage?’ and was answered, ‘To be a sage is what I cannot [claim]; but I learn without satiety, and teach without being tired.’ Tsze-kung rejoined, ‘You learn without satiety;—that shows your wisdom. You teach without being tired;—that shows your benevolence. Benevolent and wise:—Master, you are a sage.’ Now, since Confucius would not accept the position of a sage, what words were those [you spake about me]?”
20. [Ch‘ow said], “Formerly, it seems to me, I have heard that Tsze-hea, Tsze-yëw, and Tsze-chang had each one member of a sage, and that Jen New, the disciple Min, and Yen Yuen had all the members, but in small proportions. I venture to ask with which of these you are pleased to rank yourself.”
21. [Mencius] replied, “Let us drop [speaking about] these if you please.”
22. [Ch‘ow then] asked, “What do you say of Pih-e and E Yin?” “Their ways,” said [Mencius], “were different [from mine]. Not to serve a prince nor employ a people whom he did not approve; in a time of good government to take office, and in a time of disorder to retire;—this was [the way of] Pih-e. [To say], ‘Whom may I not serve as my ruler? Whom may I not employ as my people?’ In a time of good government to take office, and in a time of disorder to do the same:—this was [the way of] E Yin. When it was proper to go into office, then to go into office, and when it was proper to keep aloof from office, then to keep aloof; when it was proper to continue in it long, then to do so, and when it was proper to withdraw from it quickly, then so to withdraw:—that was [the way of] Confucius. These were all sages of antiquity, and I have not attained to do what they did; but what I wish to do is to learn to be like Confucius.”
23. [Ch‘ow] said, “Comparing Pih-e and E Yin with Confucius, are they to be placed in the same rank with him?” The reply was, “No. Since there were living men until now, there never was [another] Confucius.”
24. “Then,” said [Ch‘ow], “did they have any points of agreement [with him]?” “Yes,” said [Mencius]; “if they had been rulers over a hundred le of territory, they would all of them have brought all the feudal princes to attend at their court, and would have possessed all under the sky And none of them, to obtain that, would have committed one act of unrighteousness, or put to death one innocent person. In these points they agreed with him.”
25. [Ch‘ow] said, “I venture to ask wherein he differed from them.” [Mencius] replied, “Tsae Wo, Tsze-kung, and Yew Joh had wisdom sufficient to know the sage. [Even if we rank them] low, they would not have demeaned themselves to flatter their favourite.
26. “Tsae Wo said, ‘According to my view of the Master, he is far superior to Yaou and Shun.’
27. “Tsze-kung said, ‘By viewing the ceremonial ordinances [of a ruler] we know [the character of] his government; and by hearing his music we know [that of] his virtue. Along the distance of a hundred ages, I can arrange, [according to their merits], the line of their kings, so that not one can escape me; and from the birth of mankind downwards there has not been [another like our] Master.’
28. “Yew Joh said, ‘Is it only among men that it is so? There is the k‘e-lin among quadrupeds, the phœnix among birds, the T‘ae mountain among ant-hills, the Ho and the sea among rain-pools. [Though different in degree], they are the same in kind. And so the sages among mankind are the same in kind. But they stand out from their fellows, and rise up above the crowd; and from the birth of mankind till now there never has been one so complete as Confucius.’ ”
III.1. Mencius said, “He who, using force, makes a pretence to benevolence becomes the leader of the princes, and he must be possessed of a large State. He who, using virtue, practises benevolence becomes the king, and he need not wait till he has a large State. T‘ang did it with [only] seventy le, and king Wan with [only] a hundred le.
2. “When one by force subdues men they do not submit to him in heart, but because their strength is not adequate [to resist]. When one subdues men by virtue, in their hearts’ core they are pleased, and sincerely submit, as was the case with the seventy disciples in their submission to Confucius. What is said in the Book of Poetry,
is an illustration of this.”
IV.1. Mencius said, “Benevolence brings glory, and the opposite of it brings disgrace. For [the rulers of] the present day to hate disgrace, and yet live complacently doing what is not benevolent, is like hating moisture and yet living in a low situation.
2. “If [a ruler] hates disgrace, his best course is to esteem virtue and honour [virtuous] scholars, giving the worthiest of them places [of dignity] and the able offices [of trust]. When throughout the State there is leisure and rest [from external troubles], taking advantage of such a season, let him clearly digest the measures of his government with their penal sanctions, and even great States will stand in awe of him.
3. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,
“Confucius said, ‘Did not he who made this ode understand the way [of governing]?’ Who will dare to insult him who is able rightly to govern his State?
4. “[But] now [the rulers] take advantage of the time when throughout their States there is leisure and rest [from external troubles] to abandon themselves to pleasure and indolent indifference,—thus seeking calamities for themselves.
5. “Calamity and happiness are in all cases men’s own seeking.
6. “This is illustrated by what is said in the Book of Poetry,
and by the passage of the T‘ae-keah, ‘Calamities sent by Heaven may be avoided, but when we bring on the calamities ourselves, it is not possible to live.’ ”
V.1. Mencius said, “If [a ruler] give honour to men of talents and virtue and employ the able, so that offices shall all be filled by individuals of the highest distinction, then all the scholars of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to stand in his court.
2. “If in the market-places he levy a ground-rent on the shops but do not tax the goods, or enforce the [proper] regulations without levying a ground-rent, then all traders of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to store their goods in his market-places.
3. “If at the frontier-gates there be an inspection of the persons, but no charges levied, then all the travellers of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to be found on his roads.
4. “If the husbandmen be required to give their material aid [in cultivating the public field], and no levies be made [of the produce of their own], then all the farmers in the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to plough in his fields.
5. “If from the [occupiers of the] people’s dwellings he do not exact the cloth required from the individual [idler] or the quota for residences, then all the people in the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to be his people.
6. “If [a ruler] can truly practise these five things, then the people of neighbouring States will look up to him as a parent. From the first birth of mankind until now never has any one led children to attack their parents, and succeeded in his enterprise. Such [a ruler] will not have an enemy under the sky, and he who has no enemy under the sky is the minister of Heaven. Never has there been such a case where [the ruler] did not attain to the royal dignity.”
2. “The ancient kings had this commiserating mind, and they had likewise, as a matter of course, a commiserating government. When with a commiserating mind there was practised a commiserating government, to bring all under heaven to order was [as easy] as to make [a small thing] go round in the palm.
3. “The ground on which I say that all men have a mind which cannot bear [to see the suffering of] others is this:—Even now-a-days, when men suddenly see a child about to fall into a well, they will all experience a feeling of alarm and distress. They will feel so not that they may thereon gain the favour of the child’s parents; nor that they may seek the praise of their neighbours and friends; nor from a dislike to the reputation of [being unmoved by] such a thing.
4. “Looking at the matter from this case, [we may see that] to be without this feeling of distress is not human, and that it is not human to be without the feeling of shame and dislike, or to be without the feeling of modesty and complaisance, or to be without the feeling of approving and disapproving.
5. “That feeling of distress is the principle of benevolence; the feeling of shame and dislike is the principle of righteousness; the feeling of modesty and complaisance is the principle of propriety; and the feeling of approving and disapproving is the principle of knowledge.
6. “Men have these four principles just as they have their four limbs. When men, having these four principles, yet say of themselves that they cannot [manifest them], they play the thief with themselves; and he who says of his ruler that he cannot [manifest them], plays the thief with his ruler.
7. “Since we all have the four principles in ourselves, let us know to give them all their development and completion, and the issue will be like that of a fire which has begun to burn, or of a spring which has begun to find vent. Let them have their full development, and they will suffice to love and protect all [within] the four seas; let them be denied that development, and they will not suffice for a man to serve his parents with.”
VII.1. Mencius said, “Is the arrow-maker [naturally] more wanting in benevolence than the maker of mail? [And yet], the arrow-maker’s only fear is lest [his arrows] should not wound men, and the fear of the maker of mail is lest men should be wounded. So it is as between the priest and the coffin-maker. [The choice of] a profession therefore is a thing in which it is very necessary to be careful.
2. “Confucius said, ‘The excellence of a neighbourhood consists in its virtuous manners. If a man, in selecting a residence, do not fix on one where such prevail, how can he be wise?’ Now benevolence belongs to the most honourable nobility of Heaven, and is the quiet home where man should dwell. Since no one can hinder us from being so, if we are not benevolent, this shows our want of wisdom.
3. “He who is [thus] neither benevolent nor wise will be without propriety and righteousness, and must be the servant of [other] men. To be the servant of men and yet ashamed of such servitude is like a bow-maker’s being ashamed to make bows, or an arrow-maker’s being ashamed to make arrows.
4. “If [a man] be ashamed of being in such a case, his best course is to practise benevolence.
5. “He who [would be] benevolent is like the archer. The archer adjusts himself, and then shoots. If he shoot and do not hit, he does not murmur against those who surpass himself:—he simply turns round, and seeks the [cause of failure] in himself.”
2. “When Yu heard good words, he bowed [to the speaker].
3. “The great Shun had a [still] greater [quality]:—he regarded goodness as the common property of himself and others, giving up his own way to follow others, and delighting to copy [the example of] others,—in order to practise what was good.
4. “From the time that he ploughed and sowed, exercised the potter’s art and was a fisherman, to that when he was emperor, he was always learning from others.
5. “To take example from others to practise what is good is to help men in the same practice. Therefore there is no attribute of the superior man greater than his helping men to practise what is good.”
IX.1. Mencius said, “Pih-e would not serve a ruler whom he did not approve, nor be friendly with any one whom he did not esteem. He would not stand in the court of a bad man, nor speak with a bad man. To stand in a bad man’s court, or to speak with a bad man, would have been in his estimation the same as to stand with his court robes and court cap amid mire and charcoal. Pursuing our examination of his dislike to what was evil, [we find] that he thought it necessary, if he were standing with a villager whose cap was not rightly adjusted, to leave him with a high air as if he were going to be defiled. Hence it was, that, though some of the princes made application to him with very proper messages, he would not accept [their invitations]. That refusal to accept [their invitations] was because he counted it inconsistent with his purity to go to them.
2. “Hwuy of Lëw-hëa was not ashamed [to serve] an impure ruler, nor did he think it low to be in a small office. When called to employment, he did not keep his talents and virtue concealed, but made it a point to carry out his principles. When neglected and left out of office, he did not murmur; and when straitened by poverty, he did not grieve. Accordingly, he would say, ‘You are you, and I am I. Although you stand by my side with bare arms and breast, how can you defile me?’ In this way, self-possessed, he associated with men indifferently, and did not feel that he lost himself. If pressed to remain in office, he would remain. He would remain in office when so pressed, because he did not feel that his purity required him to go away.”
3. Mencius said, “Pih-e was narrow-minded, and Hwuy of Lëw-hëa was wanting in self-respect. The superior man will not follow either narrow-mindedness or the want of self-respect.”
KUNG-SUN CH‘OW. PART II.
ChapterI.1. Mencius said, “Opportunities of time [vouchsafed by] Heaven are not equal to advantages of situation [afforded by] the earth, and advantages of situation [afforded by] the earth are not equal to the strength [arising from the] accord of men.
2. “[There is a city], with an inner wall of three le in circumference and an outer wall of seven. [The enemy] surround and attack it, but are not able to take it. Now, to surround and attack it, there must have been vouchsafed to them by Heaven the opportunity of time, and in such case their not taking it is because opportunities of time [vouchsafed by] Heaven are not equal to advantages of situation [afforded by] the earth.
3. “[There is a city] whose walls are as high and moats as deep as could be desired, and where the arms and mail [of its defenders] are distinguished for their sharpness and strength, and the [stores of] rice and grain are abundant; yet it has to be given up and abandoned. This is because advantages of situation [afforded by] the earth are not equal to the [strength arising from the] accord of men.
4. “In accordance with these principles it is said, ‘A people is bounded in not by the limits of dykes and borders; a State is secured not by the strengths of mountains and streams; the kingdom is overawed not by the sharpness of arms [and strength] of mail.’ He who finds the proper course has many to assist him, and he who loses it has few. When this—the being assisted by few—reaches the extreme point, [a ruler’s] own relatives and connexions revolt from him. When the being assisted by many reaches its extreme point, all under heaven become obedient [to the ruler].
5. “When one to whom all under heavenare are prepared to become obedient attacks one from whom his own relatives and connexions are ready to revolt, [what must the result be?] Therefore the true ruler will [prefer] not [to] fight, but if he do fight, he is sure to overcome.”
II.1. As Mencius was about to go to court to the king, the king sent a person to him with this message:—“I was wishing to come and see you. But I have got a cold, and may not expose myself to the wind. In the morning I will hold my court. I do not know whether you will give me the opportunity of seeing you?” [Mencius] replied, “Unfortunately I am unwell, and not able to go to court.”
2. Next day he went out to pay a visit of condolence to the Tung-kwoh family, when Kung-sun Ch‘ow said to him, “Yesterday you declined [going to the court] on the ground of being unwell, and to-day you are paying a visit of condolence:—may not this be regarded as improper?” “Yesterday,” said [Mencius], “I was unwell; to-day I am better:—why should I not pay this visit?”
3. [In the mean time] the king sent a messenger to inquire about his illness, and a physician [also] came [from the court]. Măng Chung replied to them, “Yesterday, when the king’s order came, he was feeling a little unwell, and could not go to the court. To-day he was a little better and hastened to go to court. I do not know whether he can have reached it [by this time] or not.” [Having said this,] he sent several men to intercept [Mencius] on the way, and say to him that he begged him, before he returned, to be sure and go to the court.
4. [On this, Mencius] felt himself compelled to go to King Ch‘ow’s, and there stop the night. The officer King said to him, “In the family there is [the relation of] father and son; beyond it there is [that of] ruler and minister. These are the greatest relations among men. Between father and son the ruling principle is kindness; between ruler and minister the ruling principle is respect. I have seen the respect of the king to you, Sir, but I have not seen in what way you show respect to him.” The reply was, “Oh! what words are these? Among the people of Ts‘e there is no one who speaks to the king about benevolence and righteousness. Is it because they think that benevolence and righteousness are not admirable? No; but in their hearts they say, ‘This man is not fit to be spoken with about benevolence and righteousness.’ Thus they manifest a disrespect than which there can be none greater. I do not dare to set forth before the king any but the ways of Yaou and Shun. There is therefore no man of Ts‘e who respects the king so much as I do.”
5. King-tsze said, “Not so; that was not what I meant. In the Book of Rites it is said, ‘When a father calls, the son must go to him without a moment’s hesitation; when the prince’s order calls, the carriage must not be waited for.’ You were certainly going to court, but when you heard the king’s message, you did not carry the purpose out. This does seem as if your conduct were not in accordance with that rule of propriety.”
6. [Mencius] answered him, “How can you give that meaning to my conduct? The philosopher Tsăng said, ‘The wealth of Tsin and Ts‘oo cannot be equalled. Their [rulers] have their wealth, and I have my benevolence. They have their rank; and I have my righteousness. Wherein should I be dissatisfied [as inferior to them]?’ Now were these sentiments not right? Seeing that the philosopher Tsăng gave expression to them, there is in them, I apprehend, a [real] principle. Under heaven there are three things universally acknowledged to be honourable:—rank; years; and virtue. In courts, rank holds the first place of the three; in villages, years; and for helping one’s generation and presiding over the people, virtue. How can the possession of only one of them be presumed on to despise one who possesses the other two?
7. “Therefore, a prince who is to accomplish great deeds will certainly have ministers whom he does not call to go to him. When he wishes to consult with them, he goes to them. [The ruler] who does not honour the virtuous and delight in their ways of doing to this extent is not worth having to do with.
8. “Accordingly, so did T‘ang behave to E Yin:—he learned of him, and then employed him as his minister, and so without difficulty he became king. And so did duke Hwan behave to Kwan Chung:—he learned of him, and then employed him as his minister, and so without difficulty he became leader of the princes.
9. “Now throughout the kingdom [the territories of] the princes are of equal extent and in their achievements they are on a level. Not one of them is able to exceed the others. This is from no other reason but that they love to make ministers of those whom they teach, and do not love to make ministers of those by whom they might be taught.
10. “So did T‘ang behave to E Yin, and duke Hwan to Kwan Chung, that they would not venture to call them [to them]. If even Kwan Chung could not be called to him [by his ruler], how much less may he be called who would not play the part of Kwan Chung!”
III.1. Ch‘in Tsin asked [Mencius], saying, “Formerly, when you were in Ts‘e, the king sent you a present of 2,000 taels of fine silver, and you refused to accept it. When you were in Sung, 1,400 taels were sent to you, which you accepted; and when you were in Sëeh, 1,000 taels were sent, which you [likewise] accepted. If your declining the gift in the first case was right, your accepting it in the latter cases was wrong. If your accepting it in the latter cases was right, your declining it in the first case was wrong. You must accept, Master, one of these alternatives.”
2. Mencius said, “I did right in all the cases.
3. “When I was in Sung, I was about to take a long journey. Travellers must be provided with what is necessary for their expenses. The [prince’s] message was—‘A present against travelling expenses.’ Why should I not have received it?
4. “When I was in Sëeh, I was apprehensive for my safety, and wished to take measures for my protection. The message [with the gift] was—‘I have heard that you are apprehensive for your safety, and therefore I send you this to help you in procuring weapons.’ Why should I not have received it?
5. “But as to the case in Ts‘e, I had then no occasion for money. To send a man a gift, when he has no occasion for it, is to bribe him. How can one claim to be a superior man, and allow himself to be taken with a bribe?”
IV.1. Mencius, having gone to P‘ing-luh, said to the governor of it, “If [one of] your spearmen should lose his place in the ranks three times in one day, would you, Sir, put him to death or not?” “I would not wait till he had done so three times,” was the reply.
2. [Mencius] continued, “Well then, you, Sir, have lost your place in the ranks many times. In calamitous years and years of famine, the old and feeble of your people who have been found lying in ditches and water-channels, and the able-bodied who have been scattered about to the four quarters, have amounted to thousands.” “This is not a case in which I, Keu-sin, can take it upon me to act.”
3. “Here,” said [Mencius], “is a man who receives charge of the sheep and cattle of another, and undertakes to feed them for him;—of course he must seek for pasture-ground and grass for them. If, after seeking for these, he cannot find them, will he return his charge to the owner? or will he stand [by] and see them die?” “Herein,” said [the governor], “I am guilty.”
4. Another day Mencius had an audience of the king, and said to him, “Of the governors of your Majesty’s cities I am acquainted with five; but the only one who knows his fault is K‘ung Keu-sin.” He then related to the king the conversation which he had had [with that officer], and the king said, “In this matter I am the guilty one.”
V.1. Mencius said to Ch‘e Wa, “There seemed to be reason in your declining [the governorship] of Ling-k‘ëw, and requesting to be appointed chief criminal judge, because the [latter office] would afford you the opportunity of speaking your mind. But now several months have elapsed; and have you found nothing about which you might speak?”
2. [On this] Ch‘e Wa remonstrated [on some matter] with the king; and, his counsel not being taken, he resigned his office, and went away.
3. The people of Ts‘e said, “In the course which he marked out for Ch‘e Wa he did well; but as to the course which he pursues for himself, we do not know.”
4. His disciple Kung Too told him these remarks.
5. [Mencius] said, “I have heard that when he, who is in charge of an office, is prevented from performing its duties, he should take his departure, and that he on whom is the responsibility of giving his opinions, when his words are disregarded, should do the same. [But] I am in charge of no office, and on me is no responsibility to speak out my views;—may not I act freely and without restraint either in going forward or in retiring?”
VI.1. Mencius, occupying the position of a high dignitary in Ts‘e, went from it on a mission of condolence to T‘ăng, and the king sent Wang Hwan, governor of Kah, [with him] as assistant-commissioner. Wang Hwan, morning and evening, waited upon him, but, during all the way to T‘ăng and back to Ts‘e, [Mencius] never spoke to him about the affairs of the mission.
2. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said [to Mencius], “The position of a high dignitary of Ts‘e is not a small one, and the way from Ts‘e to T‘ăng is not short;—how was it that during all the way from Ts‘e to T‘ăng and back, you never spoke [to Hwan] about the affairs of the mission?” “There were the proper parties to attend to them; why should I speak [to him about them]?”
VII.1. Mencius [went] from Ts‘e to bury [his mother] in Loo. When he returned to Ts‘e, he stopped at Ying, and Ch‘ung Yu begged [to put a question to] him, saying, “Formerly, in ignorance of my incompetency, you employed me to superintend the business of making the coffin. As [you were then pressed by] the urgency [of the business], I did not venture to put any question to you; but now I wish to take the liberty to submit the matter. The wood, it appeared to me, was too good.”
2. [Mencius] replied, “Anciently, there was no rule for [the thickness of] either the inner or the outer coffin. In middle antiquity, the inner coffin was made seven inches thick, and the outer the same. This was done by all from the son of Heaven down to the common people, and not simply for the beauty of the appearance, but because they thus satisfied [the natural feelings of] the human heart.
3. “If prevented [by statutory regulations] from making their coffins thus, men cannot have the feeling of pleasure; and if they have not the money [to make them thus], they cannot have that feeling. When they were not prevented, and had the money, the ancients all used this style;—why should I alone not do so?
4. “And moreover, is this alone no satisfaction to a man’s heart—to prevent the earth from getting near to the bodies of his dead?
5. “I have heard that the superior man will not for all the world be niggardly to his parents.”
VIII.1. Shin T‘ung, on his private authority, asked [Mencius], saying, “May Yen be attacked?” Mencius said, “It may. Tsze-k‘wae had no right to give Yen to another man; and Tsze-che had no right to receive Yen from Tsze-k‘wae. [Suppose] there were an officer here, with whom you, Sir, were pleased, and that, without announcing the matter to the king, you were privately to give to him your salary and rank, and [suppose that] this officer, also without the king’s orders, were privately to receive them from you;—would [such a transaction] be allowable? And where is the difference between [the case of Yen and] this?”
2. The people of Ts‘e attacked Yen, and some one asked [Mencius] saying, “Is it true that you advised Ts‘e to attack Yen?” He replied, “No. Shin T‘ung asked me whether Yen might be attacked, and I replied that it might, on which they proceeded to attack it. If he had asked me who might attack it, I would have answered him that the minister of Heaven might do so. Suppose the case of a murderer, and that one asked me, ‘May this man be put to death?’ I would answer him, ‘He may.’ If he [further] asked me, ‘Who may put him to death?’ I would answer him, ‘The chief criminal judge.’ But now with [one] Yen to attack [another] Yen:—how should I have advised this?”
2. Ch‘in Këa said [to him], “Let not your Majesty be troubled. Whether does your Majesty consider yourself or the duke of Chow the more benevolent and wise?” The king replied, “Oh! what words are these?” [Ch‘in Kea] rejoined, “The duke of Chow employed Kwan-shuh to over-see [the heir of] Yin, but Kwan-shuh rebelled with [the people of] Yin. If, knowing [that this would happen], he yet employed him, he was not benevolent. If he employed him without knowing it, he was not wise. The duke of Chow was [thus] not perfectly benevolent and wise, and how much less can your Majesty be expected to be so! I beg to [go and] see Mencius, and relieve [your Majesty] of that [feeling].”
3. [Accordingly] he saw Mencius, and asked him, saying, “What kind of man was the duke of Chow?” “An ancient sage,” was the reply. “Is it true,” pursued [the other], “that he employed Kwan-shuh to oversee [the heir of] Yin, and that Kwan-shuh rebelled with [the people of] Yin?” “It is,” said [Mencius]. [Ch‘in Kea] asked, “Did the duke of Chow know that he would rebel, and [thereupon] employ him?” “He did not know it,” was the reply. “Then though a sage, he still fell into error.” “The duke of Chow,” said [Mencius], “was the younger brother, and Kwan-shuh the elder. Was not the error of the duke of Chow reasonable?
4. “Moreover, when the superior men of old had errors, they reformed them; but when the superior men of the present day have errors, they persist in them. The errors of the superior men of old were like the eclipses of the sun and moon. All the people witness them; and when they have resumed their usual appearance, all the people look up to them [with their former admiration]. But do superior men of the present day merely persist [in their errors]?—they go on to make excuses for them as well.”
2. The king went to see him, and said, “Formerly I wished to see you, but found no opportunity to do so. When I got that opportunity, and stood by you in the same court, I was exceedingly glad. [But] now again you are abandoning me and returning home;—I do not know if hereafter I may have another opportunity of seeing you.” “I do not venture to make any request,” was the reply, “but indeed it is what I desire.”
3. Another day, the king said to the officer She, “I wish to give Mencius a house in the centre of the kingdom, and to support his disciples with [an allowance of] 10,000 chung, so that all the great officers and people may have [such an example] to reverence and imitate. Had you not better tell him this for me?”
4. The officer She conveyed this message by means of the disciple Ch‘in, who reported his words to Mencius.
5. Mencius said, “Yes; but how should the officer She know that the thing may not be? Supposing that I wanted to be rich, having declined 100,000 chung, would my accepting 10,000 be the conduct of one desiring riches?
6. “Ke-sun said, ‘A strange man was Tsze-shuh E! Suppose that he himself was a high minister, if [his prince would] no longer employ him, he had to retire; but he would again [try to] get one of his younger relatives to be high minister. Who indeed is there of men that does not wish to be rich and noble, but he only, among the rich and noble, sought to monopolize the conspicuous mound.’
7. “In old time the market-dealers exchanged the articles which they had for others which they had not, and simply had certain officers to keep them in order. There was a mean fellow, who made it a point to look out for a conspicuous mound, and get up upon it. Thence he looked right and left to catch in his net the whole gain of the market. People all thought his conduct mean, and therefore they proceeded to lay a tax upon his wares. The taxing of traders took its rise from this mean fellow.”
2. A person who wished for the king to detain him [came and] sat down [to speak with him]. [Mencius] gave him no answer, but leant upon his stool and slept.
3. The stranger was displeased, and said, “I have fasted for two days before I would venture to speak with you, and [now], Master, you sleep and do not listen to me. Allow me to request that I may not again presume to see you.” [Mencius] said, “Sit down, and I will explain the matter clearly to you. Formerly, if duke Muh of Loo had not had persons [continually] by the side of Tsze-sze, he could not have kept Tsze-sze [in his State]; and if Sëeh Lëw and Shin Ts‘ëang had not had persons by the side of duke Muh, they would not have been able to feel at rest [in remaining in Loo].
4. “You, Sir, are concerned and plan about an old man like me, but I have not been treated as Tsze-sze was. Is it you, Sir, who cut me? Or is it I who cut you?”
XII.1. Mencius having left Ts‘e, Yin Sze spake about him to others, saying, “If he did not know that the king could not be made a T‘ang or a Woo, that showed his want of intelligence. If he knew that he could not be made such, and yet came [to Ts‘e] notwithstanding, that he was seeking for favours. He came a thousand le to wait upon the king. Because he did not find in him the ruler he wished, he took his leave. Three nights he stayed, and then passed from Chow;—how dilatory and lingering [was his departure]! I am dissatisfied on account of this.”
3. The disciple Kaou informed [Mencius] of these remarks.
4. [Mencius] said, “How should Yin Sze know me? When I came a thousand le to see the king, it was what I desired to do. When I went away, not finding in him the ruler that I wished, was that what I desired to do? I felt myself constrained to do it.
5. “When I stayed three nights before I passed from Chow, in my own mind I still considered my departure speedy. I was hoping that the king might change. If the king had changed, he would certainly have recalled me.
6. “When I passed from Chow, and the king had not sent after me, then, and only then, was my mind resolutely bent on returning [to Tsow]. But notwithstanding that, was I giving the king up? He is after all one who may be made to do what is good. If the king were to use me, would it be for the happiness of the people of Ts‘e only? It would be for the happiness of all under heaven. Would the king but change! I am daily hoping for this.
7. “Am I like one of your little-minded people? They will remonstrate with their ruler, and when their remonstrance is not accepted, they get angry, and with their passion displayed in their countenance, they take their leave, and travel with all their strength for a whole day before they will stop for the night.”
8. When Yin Sze heard this [explanation], he said, “I am indeed a small man.”
XIII.1. When Mencius left Ts‘e, Ch‘ung Yu questioned him on the way, saying, “Master, you look like one who carries an air of dissatisfaction in his countenance. [But] formerly I heard you say that the superior man does not murmur against Heaven, nor cherish a grudge against men.”
2. [Mencius] said, “That was one time, and this is another.
3. “It is a rule that a true sovereign should arise in the course of five hundred years, and that during that time there should be men illustrious in their generation.
4. “From the commencement of the Chow dynasty till now, more than seven hundred years have elapsed. Judging numerically, the date is passed. Considering the matter from the [character of the present] time, we might expect [a true king to arise].
5. “But Heaven does not yet wish that tranquillity and good order should prevail all under the sky. If it wished this, who is there besides me to bring it about? How should I be otherwise than dissatisfied?”
2. [Mencius] said, “No. When I first saw the king in Ts‘ung, it was my intention, on retiring from the interview, to go away. Because I did not wish to change this intention, I would not receive [any salary].
3. “Immediately after, orders were issued for [the collection of] troops, when it would have been improper for me to beg [permission to leave]. [But] to remain long in Ts‘e was not my purpose.”
[* ]Title of this Book. The name of Kung-sun Ch‘ow, one of Mencius’ disciples, heading the first chapter, the Book is named from him accordingly.
[Ch. I. ]While Mencius wished to see a true royal government, and could easily have realized it had he been in office, so that the king of Ts‘e would soon have become sovereign of the whole kingdom from the peculiar circumstances of the time, he would not have had recourse to any ways inconsistent with its idea.
[Par. 1. ] It appears from par. 2 that Kung-sun Ch‘ow was a native of Ts‘e. He must have been a cadet of the old ducal family. The sons of the feudal princes were styled Kung-tsze, and their sons again Kung-sun, “ducal grandsons.” Those two characters might become the surname of their descendants, who mingled with the undistinguished masses of the people. Kwan Chung,—see on Ana. III. xxii.; et al. He was the chief minister of duke Hwan, the famous leader of all the feudal princes. The minister Gan,—see on Ana. V. xvi.; et al. He was mentioned above in Book I ii. IV.
[Par. 3. ] Tsăng Se was, according to some, the son, according to others, the grandson of Tsăng Sin, one of Confucius’ most famous disciples. With Sin and with Tsze-loo the readers of the Analects must be familiar.
[Par. 6. ] Here Mencius states his thesis, according to his fashion, in the broadest and most unlimited manner;—giving him the opportunity to explain and vindicate it as he does below.
[Par. 7. ] King Wăn died at the age of 97;—Ch‘ow uses the round number 100. According to the representations of Chinese writers two-thirds of the kingdom then acknowledged his supremacy. His son king Woo continued his work, and overthrew the dynasty of Shang, while another son, the duke of Chow, regulated the constitution and all the ceremonies of the new dynasty and then the principles of Wăn received their full development.
[Par. 8. ] From T‘ang to Woo-ting there were altogether 18 sovereigns, or, according to the Bamboo Annals, 20, exclusive of themselves; and from Woo-ting to Chow there were seven. In the former period T‘ae-këah, T‘ae-mow, Ts‘oo-yih, and Pwan-kăng are specified as “worthy and sage,” in addition to T‘ang and Woo-ting. From Woo-ting to Chow there elapsed about a century and a quarter. The viscount of Wei was an elder brother of Chow, and many say by the same mother, but she was not queen, but only a member of the harem, when he was born. Some critics will have it that the next faithful adherent of Chow who is mentioned was the viscount’s brother and not his son. The viscount of Ke was a king’s son as well as Pe-kan. They were both, probably, uncles of Chow. Kaou Kih did not belong to the royal House of Shang, but was a faithful adherent of it.
[Par. 9. ] Ability and instruments are good; but there must also be the favourable opportunity.
[Ch. II. ]That Mencius had attained to an unperturbed mind; that the means by which he had done so, was his knowledge of words, and the nourishment of his passion-nature; and that Confucius was the great object of his imitation, for there never had been another man who could be regarded as his equal. The chapter is divided into four parts, the first, parr. 1—8, showing generally that there are various ways to attain an unperturbed mind: the second, parr. 9, 10, exposing the error of the way taken by the philosopher Kaou; the third, parr 11—17, unfolding Mencius’ own way., and the fourth, parr. 18—28, showing that Mencius followed Confucius, and praising that sage as the first of mortals. It is in a great measure owing to what Mencius says in this chapter about the nourishment of the passion-nature that a place has been accorded to him among the sages of China, or in immediate proximity to them. His views are substantially these.—Man’s nature is composite. He possesses moral and intellectual powers (comprehended under the terms “heart” and “mind,” interchanged with “will”), and active powers (summed up under the term k‘e, and embracing the emotions, desires, and appetites). The moral and intellectual powers should be supreme and govern, but there is a close connexion between them and the others which give effect to them. The active powers should not be stunted, for then the whole character will be feeble. But on the other hand they must not be allowed to take the lead. They must get their tone from the mind, and the way to develope them in all their completeness is to do good. Let them be vigorous, and the mind clear and pure, and we shall have the man whom nothing external to himself can perturb,—Horace’s justum et tenacem propositi virum. In brief, if we take the sanum corpus of the Roman adage as not expressing merely the physical body, but the whole physical and emotional nature, what Mencius exhibits here may be said to be “mens sana in corpore sano.”
The attentive reader will find the above thoughts dispersed through this chapter, and be able to separate them from the irrelevant matter—that especially relating to Confucius—with which they are set forth.
[Par. 1. ] The questioner here is the same who discourses with our philosopher in the preceding chapter;—see there on par. 1. The one chapter may indeed be considered as the sequel of the other. The disciple allows that the master could achieve what he had asserted, and asks whether the being placed in a position to do so would disturb his mind.
It was a maxim with the ancient Chinese that a man was in his greatest vigour at 40, and able to encounter all the difficulties of official service; see the Le Ke, I. Pt I. i. 27. Compare Confucius’ account of himself in Ana. II. iv.
[Par. 2. ] Măng Pun was a celebrated bravo, probably of Ts‘e, of whom various feats of strength and daring are recorded. The scholar Kaou is probably the same who gives name to the sixth Book of Mencius, which see.
[Par. 4. ] Pih-kung Yew belonged, probably, to the State of Wei, and was a cadet of one of the principal clans in it, sprung from the ruling House. There was, however, a clan also in Ts‘e with the surname of Pih-kung. Yew evidently was a bold and reckless fellow.
[Par. 5. ] Of Măng She-shay we know nothing but what we are told here. He was evidently a bold and fearless man.
[Par. 6. ] Pih-kung Yëw thought of others, and was determined to conquer, if he could; Măng She-shay thought only of himself, and allowed no fear to enter his mind. It is on this account that Mencius gives Măng the preference. The basis of the reference to the two disciples of Confucius was the commonly received idea of their several characters. Tsăng (see on Ana. I. iv.) was reflective, and dealt with himself, Tsze-hea was learned and ambitious, and would not be inferior to others.
[Par. 7. ] Tsze-seăng was a disciple of Tsăng. The sentiment of Confucius is the same as that of Solomon, with a characteristic difference of expression.—“The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
[Par. 8. ] Here we first meet with the character k‘e, so important in this chapter. Originally it was the same in form as another meaning “cloudy vapour.” With the addition of the character for “rice,” or that for “fire,” it should indicate “steam of rice,” or “steam” generally. The sense in which Mencius uses it is indicated in the translation and in the preliminary note That sense springs from its being used as correlate to sin, “the mind,” taken in connexion with the idea of “energy” inherent in it from its composition. Thus it signifies the lower but active portion of man’s constitution: and in this paragraph, that lower part in its lowest sense,—animal vigour or courage.
[Par. 9. ] Kaou’s principle seems to have been this,—indifference to everything external and entire passivity of mind. Modern writers are fond of saying that in his words are to be found the essence of Buddhism, and that his aim was to obtain a sort of Buddhistic nirvana; and perhaps this helps us to a glimpse at his meaning, which is far from being evident. Mencius’ concession of the second of his instructions is not to be understood as an approval of it, but simply that he did not consider it so objectionable as the other; and he goes on to show wherein he considered it to be defective.
[Par. 10. ] Ch‘ow did not understand what his master had said about the relation between the mind and the passion-nature: and as the latter was subordinate, he would have had it disregarded altogether. Hence his question; but Mencius shows that the passion-nature is really a part of our constitution, acts upon the mind, and is acted on by it, and ought not to be disregarded.
[Parr. 11—16. ] There is much vain babbling in the Chinese commentators about “the vast, flowing, passion-nature,” to show how the k‘e of heaven and earth is the k‘e also of man. Mencius, it seems to me, has before his mind the idea of a perfect man, complete in all the parts of his constitution; and it is this which gives its elevation to his language. There is much that is good and important in what he says. A course of righteous action, where the character is at all heroical, as that of Mencius was, produces a wonderful boldness and vigour of character. While a bad conscience makes men cowards, a good conscience operates as effectually in the contrary direction.
[Par. 17. ] With regard to the first ground of Mencius’ superiority over Kaou.—his “knowledge of words,” as he is briefer than on the other, so, to my mind, he is less satisfactory. Perhaps he meant to say that, however great the dignity to which he might be raised, his knowledge of words and ability to refer incorrect and injurious speeches to the mental defects from which they sprang would keep him from being deluded, and preserve his mind unperturbed. One of the scholars, Ch‘ing, uses this illustration:—“Mencius, with his knowledge of words was like a man seated in a hall, who can distinguish all the movements of the people below it, which he could not do if it were necessary for him to descend and mingle with the crowd.”
The concluding remark gives rise to the rest of the chapter, it seeming to Ch‘ow that Mencius placed himself by it on the platform of sages.
[Par. 18. ] Compare Ana. XI. ii. 2, to the enumeration in which of the excellencies of several of Confucius’ disciples there seems to be here a reference. But the point of Ch‘ow’s question lies in the remark of the sage about himself, found nowhere else, and obscure enough. He thinks that Mencius is taking more upon himself than Confucius did.
[Parr. 19—21. ] Mencius disclaims being regarded as a sage: but does he indicate that he thought himself superior to all the disciples of Confucius mentioned by Ch‘ow,—even to Yen Yuen? Hardly so much as that; but that he would not be content with them as his model.
[Parr. 22—24. ] Pih-e,—see on Ana. V. xxii. E. Yin,—see my note on the title of Book IV. Part IV. of the Shoo. Mencius discourses fully on both these ancient worthies in V. ii. I., et al. The different ways of them and of Confucius have been thus expressed:—“The principle of Pih-e was to keep himself pure; that of E Yin, to take office; and that of Confucius, to do what the time required.” But while thus differing, they would equally keep aloof from whatever was unrighteous, however they might be tempted.
[Par. 25. ] Yew Joh,—see on Ana. I. ii. With parr. 26—28 compare the eulogium of Confucius in the Doctrine of the Mean, chh. xxx.—xxxii., and also Ana. XIX. chh. xxiii.—xxv. It is in vain the western reader tries to quicken himself to any corresponding appreciation of the sage. We look for the being whom his disciples describe as vainly as we do for the fabulous k‘e-lin and phœnix, to which they compare him. The k‘e is properly the male, and the lin the female of the animal referred to,—a monster with a deer’s body, an ox’s tail, and a horse’s feet, &c., which appears to greet the birth of a sage, or the reign of a sage sovereign. So in fung-hwang, which I have rendered phœnix, the names of the male and female are put together to denote one individual of either sex. In the words “rise up above the crowd,” the image is that of stalks of grass or grain, shooting high above the level of the waving field.
[Ch. III. ]The difference between a leader of the princes and a true sovereign arises from submission constrainrd by force and that accorded to virtue and benevolence.
[Par. 1. ] T‘ang was the founder of the Shang dynasty, as king Wăn was of that of Chow. The size of their States is that of their hereditary possessions; though we know that those of the House of Chow had increased very largely before the final struggle between it and that of Shang, conducted by king Woo, the son of Wăn.
[Par. 2. ] “The seventy disciples” is a round number. See on the disciples of Confucius in the Prolegomena to vol. i. of my larger Work. The ode from which the quotation is made is the last of the first Book of the third Part of the She, celebrating the kings Wăn and Woo. The lines quoted refer specially to Woo. Tsow Haou, a statesman and scholar of the 11th century, says on this chapter:—“He who subdues men by force has the intention of subduing them, and they dare not but submit. He who subdues them by virtue has no intention to subdue them, and they cannot but submit. From antiquity downwards there have been many dissertations on the leader of the princes and the true sovereign, but none so deep, incisive, and perspicuous as this chapter.”
[Ch. IV. ]The inconsistency of a ruler’s seeking to be great and glorious by any other course but that of benevolence. Calamity and happiness are men’s own seeking.
[Par. 1. ] “Glory” here is not only the glory of reputation, but specially that of success and high position.
[Par. 2. ] Compare with this the 20th chapter of the “Doctrine of the Mean.”
[Par. 3. ] See the She, Pt I. xv. Ode II., where the duke of Chow personating a small bird addressing an owl, vindicates the vigour of his measures in suppressing rebellion. Mencius adduces the stanza, with the moral of it as expounded by Confucius, to show how a ruler should strengthen himself by vigorous and precautionary measures.
[Parr. 4—6. ] Par. 4. shows how the rulers of his time took no such measures, but pursued a thoughtless, reckless course of an opposite tendency. For the poetry quoted in par. 6. see the She, III. i. Ode I.; and for the passage from the T‘ae-këah, see the Shoo, IV. v., Pt ii. 3.
[Ch. V. ]Five points of true royal government, the practice of which would have carried any of the princes of Mencius’ time to the throne of the whole kingdom on the tide of universal popularity.
[Par. 1. ] Compare the first part of par. 2. in the previous chapter. The point described here would have brought all the scholars, or the official class, of the different States to the court of the ruler who practised it.
[Par. 2. ] describes the second point which would have attracted all the traders and men of business from the four quarters. According to Choo He, the capitals and large cities in those ancient times were laid out after the fashion of the division of the land in portions of nine equal squares as in the figure , where the central square contained the fields of the State. The central square in the cities contained the palace and buildings connected with it; that in front of it, the ancestral and other temples, the government treasuries, arsenals, &c.; that behind it was the market-place, or place of business; and the three squares on each side were occupied by the dwellings of the people. He adds that when traders became too many, a ground-rent was levied on their stances or shops; and that when they were few, it was remitted, and only a surveillance of the markets was exercised by the proper officers. That surveillance consisted in the inspection of weights and measures, regulation of prices, &c. This view seems to give us a satisfactory meaning for this paragraph. Chaou K‘e understands the second clause in it of the tithe of the produce of the ground; but it is foreign to the object of Mencius to introduce that subject in speaking of the traders in the market-place.
[Par. 3. ] See I. Pt i. VII. 18; Pt ii. V. 3. The “travellers,” I suppose, would mostly consist of men moving from State to State in the prosecution of business.
[Par. 4. ] The levying of a tax, an additional tithe, on the produce of the fields which by the theory of the division of the land were the private possession of the husbandmen, commenced in Loo in the 16th year of duke Seuen:—see in the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw and the Tso Chuen, on VII. xvi. 8. Other States, no doubt, had adopted the practice of Loo in the matter.
[Par. 5. ] It is difficult to determine the meaning of this paragraph. Anciently a fine had been levied on the idlers who neglected to plant mulberry-trees and hemp about the ground assigned to them for their huts and dwellings besides the fields which were devoted to the cultivation of grain;—being at first so much cloth, and subsequently the equivalent of that in money. Then some ground-rent was levied perhaps from all the husbandmen for the ground so assigned for their dwellings. These two taxes appear in Mencius’ time to have been levied from all occupying the three sidespaces of the cities to which I have referred in par. 2; and it is this exaction which Mencius here condemns.—Many of the residents in those spaces would be the mechanics of the States; and thus the five points recommended in this chapter would secure the good-will of the four classes into which the population was anciently divided:—scholars or the official class, husbandmen, mechanics, and traders.
[Par. 6. ] “The minister of Heaven” appears again in Pt ii. VIII. 2. On this designation one commentator observes. “An officer is one commissioned by his ruler; the officer of Heaven is he who is commissioned by Heaven. He who bears his ruler’s commission can punish men and put them to death:—he may deal so with all criminals. He who bears the commission of Heaven can execute judgment on men and smite them;—he can deal so even with all who are oppressing and misgoverning their States.”
[Ch. VI. ]That the principles of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge belong to man as naturally as his four limbs, and may as easily be exercised. This chapter is important in its connexion with the doctrine of Mencius respecting the goodness of human nature; but while the assertions of it are universally true, they are to be understood as introduced here with special reference to the oppressive ways and government of the princes of his time.
[Par. 1. ] Compare parr. 4, 5, 6 in I. Pt i. VII. Chaou K‘e and many others understand the language about “the mind that cannot bear other men,” as if it meant “the mind that cannot bear [to injure] others.” But it is not so much—cannot bear to inflict suffering, as—cannot bear to see suffering. Those paragraphs make this plain, as well as the illustration which immediately follows here in par. 3.
[Par. 3. ] The object here is to prove that the feeling of commiseration is instinctive, and does not spring up from any considerations of interest or advantage to be got by it.
[Parr. 4, 5. ] In par. 4 we have Mencius’ account of the moral constitution of human nature. “The feeling of distress, of shame,” &c., is in the original “the mind that feels distress, shame,” &c. The mind is one, but all these feelings are natural to it, and make it what it is. “Principle” in par. 5, is the right translation of the original term, meaning “the beginning,” as the end of a clue, &c. The feeling of distress is in itself benevolent, and from the primary feeling all benevolent feelings and actions may be developed. “Knowledge” is the only term with which I am not satisfied. Would “wisdom” be a better word, with the meaning it has in such passages of the Bible as “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?”
[Parr. 6, 7. ] “To play the thief with one’s self, or with one’s ruler,” is to injure and rob one’s self or one’s ruler, taking away from him that which properly belongs to him. In par. 7 Mencius must begin the application of his principles with an “if.” His analysis of human nature is admirable, but something is the matter with it of which he is not aware.
[Ch. VII. ]The principle of benevolence should dominate in all the professions of life,—in the business of government and in the arts of lower walks. The benevolent ruler will never be a servant of others, and he who is so has only himself to blame. The argument of Mencius in this chapter is more loosely put forth than in his general practice, and it is more difficult to set it forth concisely.
[Par. 1. ] The term which I have translated “priest” here occurs in the Analects, XIII. xxii., where it is translated by “wizard.” See the passage. As opposed to a “coffin-maker,” who makes provision for the death of men, it indicates one by whose prayers and other methods it is sought to procure life and prosperity for men.
[Par. 2. ] See Ana. IV. i.
[Par. 3. ] The first clause here flows from the previous par., and the next seems to show what will be the consequence of being devoid of benevolence and wisdom; and the whole will result in servitude to others. That result is natural, and he who grieves under it has only himself to blame.
[Par. 5. ] Compare Ana. III. vii. and xvi.
[Ch. VIII. ]How sages and worthies delighted in what was good. To help others to practise goodness is a great instance of virtue.
[Par. 1. ] Tsze-loo’s ardour in pursuing his self-improvement appears in Ana. V. xiii., and other places; but the particular point mentioned here is not mentioned anywhere else.
[Par. 2. ] See the Shoo, II. iii. 1.
[Par. 3. ] Shun’s distinction was that he did not think of himself as Tsze-loo did, nor of others as Yu did, but only of what was good, and was unconsciously carried to it wherever he saw it.
[Par. 4. ] It is related of Shun that in his early days he ploughed at the foot of the Leih mountain, did potter’s work on the banks of the Ho, fished in the Luy lake, made various implements on the Show mountain, and often resided at Foo-hëa. There will be occasion to consider where these places were in connexion with some of Mencius’ future references to him. On his elevation to be emperor see the first Book of the Shoo.
[Ch. IX. ]Pictures of Pih-e and Hwuy of Lew-hea; and Mencius’ judgment concerning them.
[Par. 1. ] Pih-e,—see on ch. ii. 22.
[Par. 2. ] Hwuy of Lëw-hëa,—see on Ana. XV. xiii.; XVIII. ii.; viii.
[Par. 3. ] By “the superior man,” Mencius, perhaps, tacitly referes to himself as having taken Confucius for his model. One commentator says on this paragraph;—“Elsewhere Mencius advises men to imitate E and Hwuy, but he is there speaking to the weak; when here he advises not to follow them, he is speaking for those who wish to do the right thing at the right time.”
[Ch. I. ]No advantages which a ruler can obtain for the purpose of defence, or to exalt him over others, are equal to his possessing the hearts of men. Because of this chapter Mencius has got a place in China among the writers on the art of war, which surely he would not have wished to claim for himself, his design being to supersede the recourse to arms altogether.
[Par. 1. ] Chinese commentators have much to say about ascertaining the “time of Heaven” by divination and astrology: but all this is to be set aside as foreign to the mind of Mencius in the text, though many examples of the resort to those arts can be adduced from ancient records. “The accord of men” is the loyal union of the people with their ruler.
[Par. 2. ] The city here supposed, with its double circle of fortification, is a small one, the better to illustrate the superiority of advantage of situation, just as that in the next par. is a large one, to bring out the still greater superiority of the union of men. A city of the dimensions specified here was the capital of a baronial State.
[Par. 4. ] “The proper course” intended is that style of government on the principles of benevolence and righteousness which is sure to unite the hearts of the people to their ruler. “Relatives” are relatives by blood; “connexions,” merely relatives by affinity.
[Ch. II. ]How Mencius considered that it was slighting him for the king of Ts‘e to call him by messengers to go to court to see him; and the shifts he was put to to get this understood. It must be understood that Mencius was in Ts‘e simply as an honoured guest, in his capacity of teacher or philosopher, and had not accepted any official position with the salary attached to it. It was for him to pay his respects at court, if he wished to do so; but if the king wished to show him respect and to ask his counsel, it was for him to go to him, and beg his instructions.
[Par. 1. ] The morning, as soon as it was light, was the regular time for the king and feudal princes to give audience to their ministers and officers, and arrange about the administration of affairs; and this is also the modern practice in China. The king’s saying that he had a cold was merely a pretence;—he wanted to get Mencius to come to him. Mencius’ saying that he was unwell was equally a pretence. Compare Confucius’ conduct in Ana. XVII. xx.
[Par. 2. ] Tung-kwoh was a clan name in Ts‘e, taking its rise from the quarter where the founder of it had lived. Some member of the family had died, and Mencius now went to it to pay a visit of condolence, that the king might hear of his doing so, and understand the lesson he had meant to give him the day before by saying that he was unwell. The disciple did not understand the reason of his proceeding, and our philosopher, we think, had better have told it to him plainly than go on to further prevarication.
[Par. 3. ] Măng Chung must have been a near relative of Mencius:—some say that he was a son; others, a nephew. “He was a little unwell” is in Chinese “he had anxiety about gathering firewood.” To do this was the business of the children of the common people, from which sickness alone could give them a dispensation. Used of Mencius it was an expression of humility. Neither did Măng Chung understand the conduct of his father or uncle; and having committed himself to a falsehood about it, he took the step which is related to get Mencius to go to court to make his own words good.
[Par. 4. ] Mencius was resolved that the king should know the reason of his not going to court; and as the words of Măng Chung interfered with his first plan for that purpose, he now went to another officer of Ts‘e whose acquaintance he enjoyed, and talked the matter over with him fully, that through him the whole thing might reach the king’s ears.
[Par. 5. ] The passages quoted by the officer King from the Book of Rites (I Pt I. iii. 14; XIII. iii. 2) were not fully applicable to Mencius, who did not consider himself a minister of Ts‘e. He was there as an honoured visitor, and would only take office if he saw reason to believe that the king would follow his counsels.
[Par. 8. ] We are told that it was only after T‘ang had five times solicited the presence of E Yin by special messengers that that worthy was induced to go to him. See the confidence reposed by duke Hwan in Kwan Chung in Pt I. i. 3. Kwan was taken to Ts‘e originally as a prisoner to be put to death, but the duke, knowing his ability and worth, had determined to make him his chief minister, and therefore, having first caused him to be relieved of his fetters, he drove himself out of his capital and met him with all distinction, listening to a long discourse from him on government.
[Par. 9. ] All things were ready for one prince to exceed all the others, and to be made king; but no one would follow the counsels of Mencius which would have resulted in such an issue.
[Par. 10. ] Compare Pt I. i. 4.
[Ch. III. ]By what principles Mencius was guided in receiving or declining the gifts tendered to him by the princes. The practice of receiving gifts from the princes whom he condemned was one of the weak points in Mencius’ life, and his disciples were evidently stumbled by it. He had always something to say, however, in reply to their doubts and questions;—ingenious, if not altogether satisfactory.
[Par. 1. ] Ch‘in Tsin was one of Mencius’ disciples, but this is all that is known of him. Nor can we tell to what period of our philosopher’s life this conversation should be referred. Fine silver, is, literally, “double metal;” i.e., silver (not gold) worth twice as much as that in ordinary circulation. Sung was the dukedom over which the representatives of the kings of the Shang dynasty ruled, having as its capital Shang-kew, which name remains in the district so called of the department Kwei-tih in Ho-nan. Seeh,—see on I. Pt II. xiv. 1. I suppose that though Seeh in Mencius’ time belonged to Ts‘e the descendants of its former princes were permitted to administer it, and that it was one of them who sent to him the present here mentioned.
[Parr. 3—5. ] These contain the explanation which Mencius gives of his conduct. He took gifts when he had occasion for them;—it would have been better if he had not taken them at all.
[Ch. IV. ]How Mencius brought conviction of their faults to an officer of Ts‘e and to the king. This brief chapter is a good instance of Mencius’ manner, and of the ingenuity which he displayed in bringing his counsels before those whom he wished most to influence.
[Par. 1. ] P‘ing-luh was a city—one of those called capitals, as having in them an ancestral temple of the princes of the State—in the south of Ts‘e, somewhere, probably, in the present department of Yen-chow. Its governor or commandant, presiding also over the country around it, was K‘ung Keu-sin.
[Par. 2. ] The governor’s saying that the case which Mencius described was not one in which he could act meant that the measures to provide for it, such as opening the public granaries, could only emanate from the king.
[Par. 3. ] Mencius wished the governor to understand that he ought not in such circumstances to retain his office.
[Ch. V. ]The freedom which Mencius claimed for himself in retaining his position in Ts‘e, notwithstanding objectionable measures of the king, was because he was unsalaried.
[Par. 1. ] Of Ch‘e Wa we only know what is related here. Ling-k‘ëw was a city in the borders of Ts‘e, remote from the court. Ch‘e Wa had been governor of it, but got himself appointed chief criminal judge, wishing to be near the king, with whom this office would give him the opportunity to remonstrate on measures of which he did not approve. Perhaps he found it easier to resolve to discharge that disagreeable duty, than to carry the resolution into practice.
[Parr. 2—4. ] Ch‘e Wa, stimulated by Mencius, did remonstrate and then felt it necessary to retire from office. We cannot wonder at the remarks of the people on Mencius’ conduct.
Kung-too was one of his disciples with whom we shall meet again. Mencius thought highly of him, but this is nearly all we know about him. He appears to have been descended from a prince of Ts‘oo, who held the city of Too; and hence the surname.
[Ch. VI. ]Mencius’ behaviour towards an unworthy associate.
[Par. 1. ] Mencius’ situation as a “noble” or “high dignitary” of Ts‘e appears to have been honorary only, without emolument, and the king employed him on this occasion to give weight by his character to the mission. But he associated with him Wang Hwan, an unworthy favourite. I think Mencius had better have declined the mission, and escaped from the association altogether, than behave as he did.
[Par. 2. ] Chaou K‘e understands the first part of Mencius’ reply to Ch‘ow as relating to Wang Hwan, and = “The fellow attended to them—managed them—himself;” but the interpretation followed in the version is more natural, and in harmony with the ordinary usage of the terms.
[Ch. VII. ]That one ought to do his utmost in the burial of his parents;—illustrated by the style in which Mencius buried his mother. Compare I Pt II. xvi.
[Par. 1. ] The tradition is that Mencius had had his mother with him in Ts‘e, and that on her death he carried the coffin to the family sepulchre in Tsow, which now was part of Loo. How long he remained in Loo is uncertain; perhaps the whole three years proper to the mourning for a parent. Ying was a city in the south of Ts‘e, and it is also disputed whether his stopping at it was for a night merely, or for a longer period. Ch‘ung Yu was one of Mencius’ disciples, and it has been deemed strange, if the philosopher completed the period of mourning in Loo, that Yu should have submitted his doubts to him after the lapse of so long a time. But it has been replied that this only illustrates how fond Mencius’ disciples were of applying to him for a solution of their doubts; and the instance of Ch‘in Tsin in chapter iii. is another case in point of the length of time they would keep things in mind. The different speculations on the points thus indicated are endless.
[Par. 2. ] “Middle antiquity” commences with the Chow dynasty, and Mencius has reference especially to the statutes settled by the duke of Chow for the regulation of funeral and other rites; though what he says about the equal thickness of the inner and outer coffins does not agree with what we find in the Le Ke, XXII. ii. 31. It must be borne in mind also that seven inches of the Chow dynasty were only equal to rather more than four inches of the present day.
[Ch. VIII. ]Even deserved punishment ought not to be inflicted by any but the proper authority. An offending State can only be attacked by the Minister of Heaven;—Illustrated from the case of Ts‘e and Yen. See on Book I. Pt II. x and xi. This chapter should come in perhaps, in point of time, before ch. x. there. Tsze-k‘wae was the name of the weak king of Yen who had resigned his portion to his favourite minister Tsze-che.
[Par. 1. ] Shin T‘ung must have been a minister of Ts‘e; and though he consulted Mencius, as is here related, about attacking Yen, on his own private impulse, he must have informed the king and others of the answer of the philosopher which was supposed to justify the movement of Ts‘e against the neighbouring State.
[Par. 2. ] Compare what Mencius did really say to the king of Ts‘e on the subject of his appropriating the vanquished Yen in I. Pt II. x. and xi.
[Ch. IX. ]How Mencius exposed the attempt to argue in excuse of errors and misconduct:—referring also to the case of Ts‘e and Yen. This chapter should come in after ch. xi. of I. Pt II.
[Par. 1. ] The king was naturally ashamed of himself for having misinterpreted what Mencius had said to Shin T‘ung, and neglected the advice which he had given to himself.
[Par. 2. ] Ch‘in Këa was, like Shin T‘ung, an officer of Ts‘e. The case of the duke of Chow to which Këa reterred was this:—On king Woo’s extinction of the dynasty of Shang, having spared the life of the son of the last sovereign, he farther conferred on him the small State of Yin from which the dynasty had taken one of its names, but placed him under the surveillance of two of his own brothers, Sëen and Too, one of them older and the other younger than another brother, Tan the duke of Chow, by whose advice, we must understand, the step was taken. Sëen has come down to us with the title of Kwan-shuh, Kwan being the name of the principality which he had received for himself. After Woo’s death, Seen and Too joined the heir of Yin in rebelling against the new dynasty, when the duke of Chow took action against them, put the former to death and banished the other.
[Par. 3. ] What Mencius means in the conclusion of this paragraph is, that brother ought not to be suspicious of brother, and that it is better, between brothers, to be deceived than to impute evil.
[Par. 4. ] In the phrase—“the superior men of the present day,” “the superior men” has to be taken vaguely, and merely means—those who wish to be regarded as superior men.
[Ch. X. ]Mencius, in leaving a State or remaining in it, was not influenced by pecuniary considerations, but by the opportunity denied or accorded to him of carrying his lessons into practice:—illustrated by the circumstances attending his leaving Ts‘e.
[Par. 1. ] Mencius had given the king of Ts‘e a long trial, and it was clear that nothing really great was to be accomplished with him. He therefore resigned his honorary office, and prepared to withdraw from the State or kingdom. I think I have given the true meaning of the paragraph. Chaou K‘e indeed makes the “returning” to be only to Mencius’ own house in the capital of Ts‘e; but according to that view, the “I do not venture to make any request,” in the next par.=“I do not venture to ask you to come again in person to see me;” which is surely flat and absurd.
[Par. 2. ] Mencius sees that the king, with all his complimentary expressions, is really bidding him adieu, and answers accordingly, in as complimentary a way, intimating his purpose to be gone.
[Par. 3. ] The king after all does not like the idea of Mencius’ going away, and thinks of this plan to retain him, which was in reality what Mencius calls in ch. iii. trying to take him with a bribe. She was an officer at the court of Ts‘e.
The chung was the name of a large measure of grain, equal to 64 tow or pecks, amounting to about seven hundred-weight. “The centre of the kingdom” is to be understood of the capital, as in the She, III. ii. IX.
[Par. 4. ] “The disciple Ch‘in” here is the Ch‘in Tsin of ch. iii.
[Par. 5. ] Mencius does not care to state plainly here his real reason for going,—that he was not permitted to see his principles carried into practice; and therefore contents himself with repelling the idea that he was accessible to pecuniary considerations 100,000 chung was the regular allowance for a high minister, which Mencius had declined to receive.
[Par. 6. ] Ke-sun was the clan name of the greatest of the families of Loo, but which of the Heads of that clan was here intended we do not know. Tsze-shuh was also a clan name in Loo, but of E, the member of it who is mentioned, we know nothing beyond what is here told. Mencius quotes the remarks of Ke-sun about Tsze-shuh E, to show that they would be applicable to himself, if he were to take the course suggested to him from the king of Ts‘e. Chaou K‘e makes out Ke-sun and Tsze-shuh to have been disciples of Mencius, and according to his view we should have to translate. “Ke-sun said, ‘How strange [is this course]!’ ” Tsze-shuh [also] doubted [about it]. “Suppose,” [they thought,] “he himself is no longer employed as a high minister, let him go away, but let him get his disciples into the situation,” &c. But all this is plainly inadmissible.
[Par. 7. ] Mencius here explains the expression in the end of Ke-sun’s speech about “monopolizing the conspicuous mound,”—explains it in a way to show still more pointedly his sense of the proposal of the king of Ts‘e.
[Ch. XI. ]How Mencius repelled a man, who, officiously and on his own impulse, wished to detain him in Ts‘e.
[Par. 1. ] Chow was a city on the south-western border of Ts‘e, at which Mencius had arrived in his progress to Loo. He had conducted his departure leisurely, hoping that the king would recall him ere he had left the State, and pledge himself to follow his counsels.
[Par. 2. ] Who the person that thus intruded himself into Mencius’ company was we do not know. All that is meant by “for the king” is that he knew that it would please the king if he could induce Mencius to remain. “Leant upon his stool;”—the stool was small, and could be carried in the hand. Parties leant forward, or back, on it, as they sat upon the mat, which was spread for them on the floor.
[Par. 3. ] “I fasted for two days” is literally “I fasted and passed the night;” that is, “I fasted over the night,”=“I have fasted two days.” Tsze-sze was the well-known grandson of Confucius. Shin Ts‘ëang was the son of Tsze-chang, one of Confucius’ disciples. Seeh Lew was also a native of Loo, and belonged to the Confucian school. Tsze-sze required great respect to be shown to him, and he had an attendant appointed by duke Muh always in waiting on him, to assure him of the respect with which he was cherished. The two others had not such attendants, but they knew that there were always officers by the duke’s side to admonish him not to forget them.
[Par. 4. ] The stranger’s thinking that he could retain Mencius, without any such demonstrations from the king, show how little store he set by the philosopher,—was really cutting him.
[Ch. XII. ]How Mencius explained his seeming to linger in Ts‘e after he had resigned his office and quitted the court.
[Par. 1. ] Nothing more can be said of Yin Sze than that he was a man, a scholar, of Ts‘e. What he chiefly charged against Mencius was the lingering nature of his departure.
Par. 2. The disciple Kaou appears again in VII. Pt II. xxi., from which it would appear that there was something not satisfactory about him.
[Par. 3. ] Mencius was constrained to leave Ts‘e by the conviction forced at last upon him that he would not get the king to carry his counsels into practice.
[Par. 7. ] Compare with this paragraph Confucius’ defence of Kwan Chung in Ana. XIV. xviii.
[Ch. XIII. ]Mencius’ grief at not finding the opportunity to accomplish for the kingdom the good which he was conscious he had in him the power to do.
[Par. 1. ] Ch‘ung Yu has appeared before in ch. vii. We find the saying which he here attributes to his master used by Confucius of himself in Ana. XIV. xxxvii. 2.
[Par. 3. ] “Five hundred years;”—this is speaking in round and loose numbers, even if we judge of the sentiment from the history of China prior to Mencius. “During that time” would seem to mean that, in addition to the true king, all along the centuries there would be men of distinguished ability and virtue, but Mencius is generally understood as referring to the men who should arise at the same time with the true sovereign, and assist him by their counsels.
[Par. 4. ] Nearly 800 years must have elapsed from the rise of the Chow dynasty, when Mencius thus spoke. He seems for the time to have been oblivious of Confucius; but he was merely a sage, and had not the power to carry out his principles on a grand scale. What had been wanting in his time, and was wanting still, was a true king.
[Par. 5. ] It cannot be said that Mencius had not a sufficiently high opinion of himself. Compare with this paragraph the sentiments of Confucius in Ana. IX. v.
[Ch. XIV. ]The reason of Mencius’ holding merely an honorary office in Ts‘e, without receiving salary, was because from the first he had little confidence in the king, and wished to be free in his movements.
[Par. 1. ] Hew was in the present district of T‘ăng, in the department of Yen-chow. Kung-sun Ch‘ow’s inquiry, as appears from the style in the Chinese of Mencius’ reply, was simply for information.
[Par. 2. ] Ts‘ung was the name of a city in Ts‘e, the situation of which cannot now be more exactly determined. There Mencius first met with king Seuen, and received an unfavourable impression of him.
[Par. 3. ] Perhaps “the collection of troops” was connected with Tse’s relations with Yen. See the conversation of king Seuen with Mencius in I. Pt II. xi.; at such a time Mencius could not well ask leave to quit the State. Another interpretation of the phrase has been proposed, making it refer to the proposal to retain him in Ts‘e, which is mentioned in ch. x., but this is quite unreasonable.