Front Page Titles (by Subject) T'ĂNG WĂN KUNG. PART II. - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius
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T‘ĂNG WĂN KUNG. PART 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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T‘ĂNG WĂN KUNG. PART II.
ChapterI.1. Ch‘in Tae said [to Mencius], “In not [going to] see any of the princes, you seem to me to be standing out on a small point. If now you were once to wait upon them, the result might be so great that you would make one of them king, or, if smaller, you might yet make one of them leader of the [other] princes. And moreover, the History says, ‘By bending only to the extent of one cubit, you make eight cubits straight.’ It appears to me like a thing which might be done.”
2. Mencius said, “Formerly, duke King of Ts‘e, [once] when he was hunting, called the forester to him by a flag. [The forester] would not come, and [the duke] was going to kill him. [With reference to this incident], Confucius said, ‘The resolute officer does not forget [that his end may be] in a ditch or stream; the brave officer does not forget that he may lose his head.’ What was it [in the forester] that Confucius thus approved? He approved his not going [to the duke], when summoned by an article that was not appropriate to him. If one go [to see the princes] without waiting to be called, what can be thought of him?
3. “Moreover, [that sentence,] ‘By bending to the extent of one cubit you make eight cubits straight,’ is spoken with reference to the gain [that may be got]. If gain be the rule, then we may seek it, I suppose, by bending to the extent of eight cubits to make one cubit straight.
4. “Formerly, the minister Chaou Keen made Wăng Lëang act as charioteer to his favourite He, and in the course of a whole day they did not get a single bird. The favourite He reported this result, saying, ‘He is the poorest charioteer in the world.’ Some one informed Wang Lëang of this, who said, ‘I beg to try again.’ By dint of pressing, he got this accorded to him, and in one morning they got ten birds. The favourite He [again] reported the result, saying, ‘He is the best charioteer in the world.’ The minister Keen said, ‘I will make him be the driver of your carriage;’ but when he informed Wang Lëang of this, he refused, saying, ‘I [drove] for him, strictly observing the rules for driving, and in the whole day he did not get one bird. I [drove] for him so as deceitfully to intercept [the birds], and in one morning he got ten. The Book of Poetry says,
I am not accustomed to drive for a mean man. I beg to decline the office.’
5. “[Thus this] charioteer even was ashamed to bend improperly to the will of [such] an archer. Though by bending to it they would have caught birds and animals enow to form a hill, he would not do it. If I were to bend my principles and follow those [princes], of what course would my conduct be? Moreover you are wrong. Never has a man who has bent himself been able to make others straight.”
II.1. King Ch‘un said [to Mencius], “Are not Kung-sun Yen and Chang E really great men? Let them once be angry, and all the princes are afraid; let them live quietly, and the flames of trouble are extinguished throughout the kingdom.”
2. Mencius said, “How can they be regarded as great men? Have you not read the Ritual [usages];—‘At the capping of a young man, his father admonishes him. At the marrying away of a daughter, her mother admonishes her, accompanying her to the door, and cautioning her in these words, “You are going to your home. You must be respectful; you must be cautious. Do not disobey your husband.” ’ [Thus,] to look upon compliance as their correct course is the rule for concubines and wives.
3. “To dwell in the wide house of the world; to stand in the correct position of the world; and to walk in the great path of the world; when he obtains his desire [for office], to practise his principles for the good of the people; and when that desire is disappointed, to practise them alone; to be above the power of riches and honours to make dissipated, of poverty and mean condition to make swerve [from principle], and of power and force to make bend:—these characteristics constitute the great man.”
III.1. Chow Sëaou asked [Mencius], saying, “Did superior men of old time take office?” Mencius said, “They did.” The Record says, “When Confucius was three months without [being employed by] some ruler, he looked disappointed and unhappy. When he passed over the boundary [of a State], he was sure to carry with him his proper gift of introduction.” Kung-ming E said, “Among the ancients, when [an officer] was three months without [being employed by] some ruler, he was condoled with.”
2. [Seaou said,] “Did not this condoling, on being three months unemployed by a ruler, show a too great urgency?”
3. “The loss of his place,” was the reply, “is to an officer like the loss of his State to a prince. It is said in the Book of Rites, ‘The prince ploughs [himself], and is afterwards assisted [by others], in order to supply the milletvessels [for sacrifice]. His wife keeps silk-worms and unwinds their cocoons, to make the robes [used in sacrificing]. If the victims be not perfect, the millet in the vessels not pure, and the robes not complete, he does not presume to sacrifice. And the scholar, who, [out of office], has no [holy] field, also does not sacrifice. The victims for slaughter, the vessels, and the robes, not being all complete, he does not presume to sacrifice, and then he does not presume to feel at ease and happy.’ Is there not in all this sufficient ground for condolence?”
4. [Sëaou again asked], “What was the meaning of [Confucius’] always carrying his proper gift of introduction with him, when he passed over the boundary [of a State]?”
5. “An officer’s being in office,” was the reply, “is like the ploughing of a husbandman. Does a husbandman part with his plough because he goes from one State to another?”
6. [Sëaou] pursued, “The kingdom of Tsin is one, as well as others, of official employments, but I have not heard of any being thus earnest about being in office in it. If there should be this urgency about being in office, why does a superior man make any difficulty about taking it?” [Mencius] replied, “When a son is born, what is desired for him is that he may have a wife; and when a daughter is born, what is desired for her is that she may have a husband. This is the feeling of the parents, and is possessed by all men. [If the young people], without waiting for the orders of the parents and the arrangements of the go-betweens, shall bore holes to steal a sight of each other, or get over the wall to be with each other, then their parents and all other people will despise them. The ancients did indeed always desire to be in office, but they also hated being so by any but the proper way. To go [to see the princes] by any but the proper way is of a class with [young people’s] boring holes.”
IV.1. P‘ăng Kăng asked [Mencius], saying, “Is it not an extravagant procedure to go from one prince to another and live upon them, followed by several tens of carriages and attended by several hundred men?” Mencius replied, “If there be not a proper ground [for taking it], a single bamboo-cup of rice should not be received from a man; if there be such a ground for it, Shun’s receiving from Yaou all under heaven is not to be considered excessive? Do you think it was excessive?”
2. [Kăng] said, “No. [But] for a scholar performing no service to receive his support notwithstanding is improper.”
3. [Mencius] answered, “If you do not have an intercommunication of the productions of labour and an interchange of [men’s] services, so that [one from his] overplus may supply the deficiency of another, then husbandmen will have a superfluity of grain, and women a superfluity of cloth. If you have such an interchange, then cabinet-makers, builders, wheel-wrights, and carriage-builders may all get their food from you. Here is a man, who, at home, is filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders; and who watches over the principles of the ancient kings to be ready for [the use of] future learners:—and yet he will not be able to get his support from you. How is it that you give honour to the cabinet-makers, and the others I have mentioned, and slight him who practises benevolence and righteousness.”
4. [P‘ăng Kăng] said, “The aim of the cabinet-maker, and others of his class, is [by their trades] to seek for a living;—is it also the aim of the superior man, in his practice of the principles [you mention], to seek for a living?” “What have you to do with his aim?” was the reply. “He renders services to you. He deserves to be supported, and you support him. And [let me ask],—do you remunerate a man for his intention? or do you remunerate him for his service?” [To this Kăng] replied, “I remunerate him for his intention.”
5. [Mencius] said, “There is a man here who breaks your tiles, and draws [unsightly] ornaments on your walls, his purpose being thereby to seek for his living; but will you indeed remunerate him?” “No,” was the reply; and [Mencius then] concluded, “Then, it is not for his purpose that you remunerate a man, but for the work done.”
V.1. Wan Chang said [to Mencius], “Sung is a small State; but [its ruler] is now setting about to practise the [true] royal government, and Ts‘e and Ts‘oo hate and attack him;—what is to be done in the case?”
2. Mencius said, “When T‘ang dwelt in Poh, he adjoined to [the State of] Koh, the earl of which was living in a dissolute state, and neglecting [his proper] sacrifices. T‘ang sent messengers to ask why he did not sacrifice, and when he said that he had no means of supplying the [necessary] victims, T‘ang caused sheep and oxen to be sent to him. The earl, however, ate them, and still continued not to sacrifice. T‘ang again sent messengers to ask him the same question as before, and when he said that he had no means of supplying the vessels of millet, T‘ang sent the people of Poh to go and till the ground for him, while the old and feeble carried their food to them. The earl led his people to intercept those who were thus charged with spirits, cooked rice, millet and paddy, and took their stores from them, killing those who refused to give them up. There was a boy with millet and flesh for the labourers, who was thus killed and robbed. What is said in the Book of History, ‘The earl of Koh behaved as an enemy to the provision-carriers,’ has reference to this.
3. “Because of his murder of this boy, [T‘ang] proceeded to punish him. All within the four seas said, ‘It is not because he desires the riches of the kingdom, but to avenge the common men and women.’
4. “When T‘ang began his work of executing justice, he commenced with Koh; and though he punished eleven [States], he had not an enemy under heaven. When he pursued his work in the east, the rude tribes in the west murmured. So did those in the north, when he pursued it in the south. Their cry was, ‘Why does he make us last?’ The people’s longing for him was like their longing for rain in a time of great drought. The frequenters of the markets stopped not; those engaged in weeding made no change [in their operations]. While he punished their rulers, he consoled the people. [His progress was] like the falling of opportune rain, and the people were delighted. It is said in the Book of History, ‘We have waited for our prince. When our prince comes, we shall escape the misery [under which we suffer].’
5. “There being some who would not become the subjects [of Chow, king Woo] proceeded to punish them on the east. He gave tranquillity to [their people, both] men and women, who [welcomed him] with baskets full of their dark and yellow silks, [saying,] ‘From henceforth [we shall serve] our king of Chow, and be made happy by him.’ So they gave in their adherence as subjects to the great State of Chow. The men of station [of Shang] took baskets full of dark and yellow silks, to meet the men of station [of Chow], and the lower classes of the one met those of the other with bamboo-cups of cooked rice and vessels of congee. [Woo] saved the people from the midst of fire and water, seizing only their oppressors, [and destroying them].
6. “It is said in ‘The Great Declaration:’—‘My military prowess is displayed, and I enter his territories, and will seize the oppressor. My execution and punishment of him shall be displayed, more glorious than the work of T‘ang.’
7. “[Sung] is not practising royal government, as you say among other things about it. If it were practising royal government, all within the four seas would be lifting up their heads, and looking for [its king], wishing to have him for their ruler. Great as Ts‘e and Ts‘oo are, what would there be to fear from them?”
VI.1. Mencius said to Tae Puh-shing, “Do you indeed, Sir, wish your king to be virtuous? Well, I will plainly tell you [how he may be made so]. Suppose that there is here a great officer of Ts‘oo, who wishes his son to learn the speech of Ts‘e, will he employ a man of Ts‘e as his tutor, or a man of Ts‘oo?” “He will employ a man of Ts‘e to teach him,” was the reply, and [Mencius] went on, “If [but] one man of Ts‘e be teaching him, and there be a multitude of men of Ts‘oo shouting out about him, although [his father] beat him every day, wishing him to learn the speech of Ts‘e, it will be impossible for him to do so. [But] in the same way, if he were to be taken and placed for several years in the Chwang [street], or the Yoh [quarter], although [his father] should beat him every day, wishing him to speak the language of Ts‘oo, it would be impossible for him to do so.
2. “You say that Sëeh Keu-chow is a scholar of virtue, and you have got him placed in attendance on the king. If all that are in attendance on the king, old and young, high and low, were Sëeh Keu-chows, whom would the king have to do evil with? [But] if those that are in attendance on the king, old and young, high and low, are all not Sëeh Keu-chows, whom will the king have to do good with? What can one Sëeh Keu-chow do alone for the king of Sung?”
VII.1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow asked [Mencius], saying, “What is the point of righteousness in your not going to see the princes?” Mencius said, “Anciently, if one had not been a minister [in the State], he did not go to see [the ruler].
2. “Twan Kan-muh leaped over a wall to avoid [the prince]; Seeh Lëw shut the door and would not admit him. These two, however, [carried their scrupulosity] to excess. When a prince is urgent, it is not improper to see him.
3. “Yang Ho wished to get Confucius to go to see him, but disliked [that he should be charged himself with] any want of propriety. [As it was the rule, therefore, that] when a great officer sends a gift to a scholar, if the latter be not at home to receive it, he must go and make his acknowledgments at the gate of the other, Yang Ho watched when Confucius was out and sent him a steamed pig. Confucius, in his turn, watched when Ho was out, and went to pay his acknowledgments to him. At that time Yang Ho had taken the initiative;—how could [Confucius] avoid going to see him?
4. “The philosopher Tsăng said, ‘Those who shrug up their shoulders and laugh in a flattering way toil harder than the summer [labourer in the] fields.’ Tsze-loo said, ‘There are those who will talk with people with whom they have no agreement. If you look at their countenances, they are full of blushes, and are not such as I [care to] know.’ By looking at the matter in the light of these remarks, [the spirit] which the superior man nourishes may be known.”
VIII.1. “Tae Ying-che said [to Mencius], “I am not able at present and immediately to do with a tithe [only], and abolish [at the same time] the duties charged at the passes and in the markets. With your leave I will lighten all [the present extraordinary exactions] until next year, and then make an end of them. What do you think of such a course?”
2. Mencius said, “Here is a man who every day appropriates the fowls of his neighbours that stray to his premises. Some one says to him, ‘Such is not the way of a good man,’ and he replies, ‘With your leave I will diminish my appropriations, and will take only one fowl a month, until next year, when I will make an end of the practice altogether.’
3. “If you know that the thing is unrighteous, then put an end to it with all despatch;—why wait till next year?”
IX.1. The disciple Kung-too said [to Mencius], “Master, people beyond [our school] all say that you are fond of disputing. I venture to ask why you are so.” Mencius replied, “How should I be fond of disputing? But I am compelled to do it.
2. “A long period has elapsed since this world [of men] received its being, and there have been [along its history] now a period of good order, and now a period of confusion.
3. “In the time of Yaou, the waters, flowing out of their channels, inundated all through the States, snakes and dragons occupied the country, and the people had no place where they could settle themselves. In the low grounds they made [as it were] nests for themselves, and in the high grounds they made caves. It is said in the Book of History, ‘The vast waters filled me with dread.’ What are called ‘the vast waters’ were those of the [above] great inundation.
4. “[Shun] employed Yu to reduce the waters to order. He dug open the ground [which impeded their flow], and led them to the sea. He drove away the snakes and dragons, and forced them into the grassy marshes. [On this] the waters pursued their course in their channels,—[the waters of] the Këang, the Hwae, the Ho, and the Han. The [natural] difficulties and obstructions being thus removed, and the birds and beasts which had injured the people having disappeared, men found the plains [available for them], and occupied them.
5. “After the death of Yaou and Shun, the principles of [those] sages fell into decay. Oppressive rulers arose one after another, who pulled down the houses [of the people] to make ponds and lakes, so that the people could nowhere rest in quiet, and threw fields out of cultivation to form gardens and parks, so that the people could not get clothes and food. [Afterwards], corrupt speakings and oppressive deeds also became rife; gardens and parks, ponds and lakes, thickets and marshes were numerous; and birds and beasts made their appearance. By the time of Chow, all under heaven was again in a state of great confusion.
6. “The duke of Chow assisted king Woo, and destroyed Chow. He attacked Yen, and in three years put its ruler to death. He drove Fei-lëen to a corner by the sea, and slew him. The States which he extinguished amounted to fifty. He drove far away the tigers, leopards, rhinoceroses, and elephants. All under heaven were greatly pleased. It is said in the Book of History, ‘How great and splendid were the plans of king Wăn! How greatly were they carried out by the energy of king Woo. They are for the help and guidance of us their descendants,—all in principle correct, and deficient in nothing.’
7. “[Again] the world fell into decay, and principles faded away. Perverse speakings and oppressive deeds again became rife. There were instances of ministers who murdered their rulers, and of sons who murdered their fathers.
8. “Confucius was afraid and made the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw. What the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw contains are matters proper to the son of Heaven. On this account Confucius said, ‘It is the Ch‘un Ts‘ew which will make men know me, and it is the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw which will make men condemn me.’
9. “[Once more] sage kings do not arise, and the princes of the States give the reins to their lusts. Unemployed scholars indulge in unreasonable discussions. The words of Yang Choo and Mih Teih fill the kingdom. [If you listen to] people’s discourses throughout it, [you will find that] if they are not the adherents of Yang, they are those of Mih. Yang’s principle is—‘Each one for himself;’ which leaves no [place for duty to] the ruler. Mih’s principle is—‘To love all equally;’ which leaves no place for [the peculiar affection due to] a father. But to acknowledge neither ruler nor father is to be in the state of a beast. Kung-ming E said, ‘In their stalls there are fat beasts, and in their stables there are fat horses, but their people have the look of hunger, and in the fields there are those who have died of famine. This is leading on beasts to devour men.’ If the principles of Yang and Mih are not stopped, and the principles of Confucius are not set forth, then those perverse speakings will delude the people, and stop up [the path of] benevolence and righteousness. When benevolence and righteousness are stopped up, beasts will be led on to devour men, and men will devour one another.
10. “I am alarmed by these things, and address myself to the defence of the principles of the former sages. I oppose Yang and Mih, and drive away their licentious expressions, so that such perverse speakers may not be able to show themselves. When [their errors] spring up in men’s minds, they are hurtful to the conduct of affairs. When they are thus seen in their affairs, they are hurtful to their government. When a sage shall again arise, he will certainly not change [these] my words.
11. “Formerly, Yu repressed the vast waters [of the inundation], and all under the sky was reduced to order. The duke of Chow’s achievements extended to the wild tribes of the east and north, and he drove away all ferocious animals, so that the people enjoyed repose. Confucius completed the Spring and Autumn, and rebellious ministers and villainous sons were struck with terror.
12. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,
These father-deniers and king-deniers would have been smitten by the duke of Chow.
13. “I also wish to rectify men’s hearts, and to put an end to [those] perverse speakings, to oppose their one-sided actions, and banish away their licentious expressions;—and thus carry on the [work of the] three sages. Do I do so because I am fond of disputing? I am constrained to do it.
14. “Whoever can by argument oppose Yang and Mih is a disciple of the sages.”
X.1. K‘wang Chang said [to Mencius], “Is not Mr Ch‘in Chung a man of true self-denying purity? He was living in Woo-ling, and for three days was without food, till he could neither hear nor see. Over a well there grew a plum tree, a fruit of which had been, more than half of it, eaten by worms. He crawled to it, and tried to eat [some of this fruit], when, after swallowing three mouthfuls, he recovered his sight and hearing.”
2. Mencius replied, “Among the scholars of Ts‘e I must regard Chung as the thumb [among the fingers]. But still, how can he be regarded as having that self-denying purity? To carry out the principles which he holds, one must become an earth-worm, for so only can it be done.
3. “Now an earth-worm eats the dry mould above, and drinks the yellow spring below. Was the house in which Mr Chung lives built by a Pih-e? or was it built by a robber like Chih? Was the grain which he eats planted by a Pih-e? or was it planted by a robber like Chih? These are things which cannot be known.”
4. “But,” said [Chang], “what does that matter? He himself weaves sandals of hemp, and his wife twists hempen threads, which they exchange [for other things].”
5. [Mencius] rejoined, “Mr Chung belongs to an ancient and noble family of Ts‘e. His elder brother Tae received from Kah a revenue of 10,000 chung, but he considered his brother’s emolument to be unrighteous, and would not dwell in the place. Avoiding his brother, and leaving his mother, he went and dwelt in Woo-ling. One day afterwards, he returned [to their house], when it happened that some one sent his brother a present of a live goose. He, knitting his brows, said, ‘What are you going to use that cackling thing for?’ By-and-by, his mother killed the goose, and gave him some of it to eat. [Just then] his brother came into the house and said, ‘It’s the flesh of that cackling thing,’ on which he went out, and vomited it.
6. “Thus what his mother gave him he would not eat, but what his wife gives him he eats. He will not dwell in his brother’s house, but he dwells in Woo-ling. How can he in such circumstances complete the style of life which he professes? With such principles as Mr Chung holds, [a man must be] an earth-worm, and then he can carry them out.”
[Ch. I. ]How Mencius defended the dignity of reserve, by which he regulated his intercourse with the princes of his time. To understand this chapter, it must be borne in mind that there were many wandering scholars in the days of Mencius,—men who went from court to court, recommending themselves to the various princes, and trying to influence the course of events by their counsels. They would stoop for place and employment. Not so with our philosopher. He required that there should be shown to himself a portion of the respect which was due to the principles of which he was the expounder. Compare chapter vii.
[Par. 1. ] Ch‘in Tae was one of Mencius’ disciples; and this is all that we know of him. “The thing that might be done” was Mencius’ going to wait upon the princes,—taking the initiative in seeking employment from them.
[Par. 2. ] The forester was an officer as old as the time of Shun, who in the Shoo, II. i. 22; appoints Yih, saying that “he could rightly superintend the birds and beasts of the fields and trees on his hills and in his forests.” In the Official Book of Chow, XVII. vi., we have an account of the office and its duties. In those days the various officers had their several tokens, which the prince’s or king’s messenger bore when he was sent to summon any one of them. The forester’s token was a fur cap, and the one in the text could not answer to a summons with a flag. We find the incident mentioned by Mencius given in the Tso Chuen under the 20th year of duke Ch‘aou;—but with variations:—“In the 12th month, the marquis of Ts‘e was hunting in P‘ei, and summoned the forester to him with a bow. The forester did not come forward, and the marquis caused him to be seized, when he explained his conduct, saying, ‘At the huntings of our former rulers, a flag was used to call a great officer, a bow to call an inferior one, and a fur cap to call a forester. Not seeing the fur cap, I did not venture to come forward.’ On this he was let go. Confucius said, ‘To keep the rule [of answering a prince’s summons] is not so good as to keep [the special rule for one’s] office. Superior men will hold this man right.’ ”
[Par. 3. ] This is the decisive paragraph in the conversation.
[Par. 4. ] Këen was the honorary or sacrificial epithet of Chaou Yang, the chief minister of Tsin, in the time of Confucius. He is constantly appearing in the Tso Chuen after the 24th year of duke Ch‘aou; and Wang Leang was his charioteer, who appears in the Tso Chuen and the narratives of the States also as Yëw Lëang, Yew Woo-seuh, Yëw Woo-ching. I have not met with any further reference to Chaou Yang’s favourite He. The ode in the Book of Poetry from which the quotation is made is II. iii. V.
[Ch. II. ]Mencius’ conception of the great man.
[Par. 1. ] King Ch‘un was a contemporary of Mencius, who occupied himself with the intrigues of the time, designed to unite the other States in opposition to Ts‘in or to induce them to submit to it. He was an admirer of Kung-sun Yen and Chang E, two principal leaders in those intrigues, and whose influence was very great on the fortunes of the time. They were both of them natives of Wei, but were generally opposed to each other in their schemes. Yen was a grandson of one of the rulers of Wei, and hence his surname of Kung-sun. He is often mentioned by the designation of Senew;—see the “Historical Records,” Book C. Chang E was perhaps the abler man of the two.
[Par. 2. ] The Ritual usages, to which Mencius here refers, is the collection known by the name of E Le. Our philosopher throws various passages together, and, according to his wont, is not careful to quote correctly. Obedience was the rule for women, and especially so for concubines or secondary wives. Mencius introduces them to show his contempt for Yen and E, who, with all their bluster, only pandered to the passions of the princes.
[Par. 3. ] “The wide house of the world” is benevolence or love, the chief and home of all the virtues; “the correct seat” is propriety; and “the great path” is righteousness.
[Ch. III. ]Office is to be eagerly desired; and yet it should not be sought by any but its proper path. It will be seen that the questioner of Mencius in this chapter wished to condemn him for the dignity of reserve which he maintained in his intercourse with the princes, and which is the subject of the 1st chapter of this Part. Mencius does not evade any of his questions, and defends himself very ingeniously.
[Par. 1. ] Chow Seaou was one of the wandering scholars of Mencius’ time. In the “Plans of the Warring States,” under the division of Wei, of which he was a native, he appears as an opponent of Kung-sun Yen of last chapter. The “Record,” from which Mencius quotes about Confucius, whatever it was, is now lost. Every person waiting on another—a superior—was supposed to pave his way by some introductory gift; and each official rank had its proper article to be used for that purpose by all belonging to it;—see the Le Ke, I. ii. III. 18. Confucius carried his gift with him, that he might not lose any opportunity of being in office again. Kung-ming E,—see on Part I. i.
[Par. 3. ] In his quotations here from the Le Ke, Mencius combines and adapts to his purpose different passages, with more than his usual freedom. Choo He, to illustrate the text, gives his own summary of the same passages thus:—“It is said in the Book of Rites that the feudal princes had their special field of a hundred acres, in which, wearing their crown, with its blue flaps turned up, they held the plough to commence the ploughing, which was afterwards completed with the help of the common people. The produce of this field was reaped and stored in the ducal granary, to supply the vessels of millet in the ancestral temple. They also cause the noble women of their harem to attend to the silkworms in the silkworm house attached to the State mulberry trees, and to bring the cocoons to them. These were then presented to their wives, who received them in their sacrificial head-dress and robe, soaked them, and thrice drew out a thread. The cocoons were then distributed among the ladies of the three palaces to prepare the threads for the ornaments of the robes to be worn in sacrificing to the former kings and dukes.”
The officer’s field is the “holy” field of Pt i. III. 16. The argument is that it was not the loss of office which was a proper subject for grief and condolence, but the consequences of it in not being able, especially, to continue the proper sacrifices;—as here set forth.
[Par. 6. ] By the “superior man” and his making a difficulty in taking office, Sëaou evidently intended Mencius himself, who, however, does not take any notice of the insinuation. The method of contracting marriages here referred to by Mencius still exists, and seems to have been the rule of the Chinese race from time immemorial.
[Ch. IV. ]The labourer is worthy of his hire: and there is no labourer so worthy as the scholar who instructs men in the principles, and guides men in the practice, of virtue.
[Par. 1. ] P‘ăng Kăng was a disciple of Mencius. Whether his own mind was really perplexed as to the character of his master’s way of life, or he simply wished to stir him up to visit the princes and go into office, we cannot tell.
[Parr. 2—5. ] We cannot but admire the ingenuity which Mencius displays here in the turn which he gives to the conversation. And he is right in saying that it is not the purpose which we remunerate, but the work which is done for us. Yet his argument, as a defence of himself and his own practice, fails to carry conviction to the mind. Men in general will give honour to him who holds the principles of benevolence and righteousness, inculcating them, moreover, and exemplifying them; but it does not follow that they are bound to support him, nor can he accept their support without some loss of character.
[Ch. V. ]The prince who will set himself to practise a benevolent government on the principles of the ancient kings has none to fear:—with reference to the case of a duke of Sung who claimed the title of king.
[Par. 1. ] Wan Chang was a disciple of Mencius, the fifth Book of whose Works is named from him. The ruler of Sung to whom reference is made was Yen, who raised himself by violence to the dukedom in bc 328, and in 317 assumed the title of king, when he gained some successes over the States of Ts‘e on the north, of Ts‘oo on the south, and of Wei on the west. He probably gave out at first that he meant to imitate the ancient kings in his government, but he was very far from doing so. In the Historical Records, Book XXXVIII., he appears as a worthless and oppressive ruler, and his ambition, which led him into collision with the great States mentioned above, precipitated the extinction of the dukedom of Sung, which took place in bc 285. Wan Chang gives a too favourable account of him to our philosopher, who, however, was not deceived by it.
[Par. 2. ] Compare I. ii. III. 1, and XI. 2. Poh, the capital of T‘ang’s principality (though there were three places of the same name), is referred to a place in the present district of Shang-k‘ew, in the department of Kwei-tih, Ho-nan; and the capital of the earldom of Koh was in the district of Ning-ling in the same department, so that Mencius might say well enough that Poh adjoined to Koh, and T‘ang might render to the earl of Koh the services which are mentioned. The passage of the Shoo referred to at the end is from IV. ii. 6.
[Par. 3. ] “To avenge the common men and women” is spoken generally, but the words have a special application to the father and mother of the murdered boy.
[Par. 4. ] Compare I. ii. XI. 2; and for the quotations from the Shoo, see IV. ii. 6, and v. Pt II. 5. The eleven punitive expeditions of T‘ang cannot all be made out. In the Shoo and the She we find only six. By a peculiar construction of the text here, Ch‘aou K‘e makes them to have been 22; others have put them down at as many as 27.
[Par. 5. ] The first half of this paragraph is substantially a quotation from the Shoo, V. iii. 7; but that Book of the Shoo is supposed to be imperfect, and to require considerable emendation.
[Par. 6. ] See the Shoo, V. i. Pt II. 6.
[Par. 7. ] Here is the conclusion of the matter. The king of Sung, having taken the sword in a different spirit from T‘ang and Woo, would perish by the sword.
[Ch. VI. ]The all-powerful influence of example and association. The importance of having virtuous men about a ruler’s person. This chapter may be considered as connected with the preceding.
[Par. 1. ] Tae Puh-shing was a minister, probably the chief minister, of Sung, a descendant from one of its dukes, who had received the posthumous epithet of Tae, which had been adopted as their clan-name by a branch of his posterity. Chwang and Yoh were two well-known quarters in the capital of Ts‘e. They are both mentioned in the Tso Chuen under par. 6 of the 28th year of duke Seang. Some will have it that Chwang was the name of a street merely, and Yoh of a neighbourhood.
[Par. 2. ] Sëeh Keu-chow was also a minister of Sung, recommended as tutor or adviser to the king by Tae Puh-shing. He was a man of virtue and acquirements,—a descendant of the lords of Sëeh, which principality dates at least from the time of Yu.
[Ch. VII. ]Mencius defends his not going to see the princes by the example and maxims of the ancients. Akin to the first and other chapters of this Book.
[Par. 1. ] In Ana. XIV. xxii. we have an example of how Confucius, not then actually in office, but having been so, went to see the marquis of Loo. He had a good reason, however, for doing so, independently of his having been in office. Mencius is never altogether satisfactory in vindicating his own conduct in the matters affecting his intercourse with the princes, which staggered the faith of his followers.
[Par. 2. ] Twan Kan-muh, or Twan-kan Muh (the surname and name are not clearly ascertained), was a native of Tsin, and a disciple of Tsze-hea. The prince whom he avoided in the way which Mencius refers to was Sze, the first marquis of Wei, known as duke Wăn, who died in bc 386. He never drove past Twan’s door, it is said, without bowing forward to the front bar of his carriage in token of respect; but Twan stood out upon his purity, and would not go to see him.
Sëeh Lew has been mentioned in II. ii. XI. 3.
[Par. 3. ] See Ana. XVII. i. In the incident which is here related few will see anything more or higher than the ingenuity of Confucius in getting out of a difficulty.
[Par. 4. ] We must understand Tsze-loo as speaking of those men who gave their counsels freely to princes and men of influence of whom they disapproved.
[Ch. VIII. ]What is wrong should be put an end to at once, without reserve, and without delay.
[Par. 1. ] Tae Ying-che was a minister of Sung;—supposed by some to have been the same with the Tae Puh-shing of chapter vi. I think it likely they were the same. We must suppose that Mencius had been talking with him on the points indicated in his remarks, and insisting on them as necessary to the benevolent government, which, it was pretended, was being instituted in Sung. See I. ii. V. 3; II. i. V. 3; and III. i. III.
[Ch. IX. ]Mencius defends himself against the charge of being fond of disputing. What led to his appearing to be so was the necessity of the time. Compare II. i. II. It would appear from that chapter and this that our philosopher believed that the mantle of Confucius had fallen upon him, and that he was in the position of a sage on whom it devolved to live and labour for the world.
[Par. 1. ] Kung-too,—see II. ii. V. 4. There was some truth, no doubt, in the common opinion about Mencius reported to him by Kung-too.
[Parr. 2, 3. ] Commentators are unanimous in understanding Mencius to be speaking here not of the material world, but of the first appearance of men; and it is remarkable that in his review of the history of mankind, he does not go beyond the time of Yaou, and that at its commencement he places a period of disorder. Compare Pt i. IV. 7. The “nests” were huts on high-raised platforms. In the Le Ke, IX. i. 8, it is said that these were the summer habitations of the earliest men, who made caves for themselves in the winter, and lived in them. For the words of the Shoo, see that work, II. iii. 14.
[Par. 4. ] “The waters pursued their course in their channels;”—or, it may be, “the waters pursued their course through the country,” that is, no more overflowed it.
[Par. 5. ] The dynasties of Hea and Shang have their history summed up here in very small compass. Yu and T‘ang, and various worthy, if not sage, sovereigns are passed over without ceremony. Does not the account thus given imply that down to the rise of the Chow dynasty the country was very thinly peopled?
[Par. 6. ] Yen was a State in the present district of K‘ëuh-fow, department Yen-chow, Shan-tung. From the specification of it here, it must have been of considerable note and influence. Fei-lëen was a favourite minister of Chow, who abetted him in his enormities. It would be vain to try to enumerate the “fifty States,” which the duke of Chow is said to have extinguished. “The tigers,” &c., spoken of here, are said to have been those kept by the tyrant Chow, and those infesting the country, as in earlier times. The text of Mencius, however, produces a different impression on my mind. He would have us think of much of the country as being, even in the time of the duke of Chow, still over-run by wild animals. See the Shoo, V. xxv. 6.
[Parr. 7, 8. ] What Mencius says here about the “Spring and Autumn” is very perplexing, and the reader will find the passages discussed at length in the first chapter of my Prolegomena to Vol. V. of my larger work. It is difficult to believe that our philosopher can be speaking of the “Spring and Autumn,” which we now have; and yet the evidence seems complete that the present classic of that name is what came from the stylus of the sage.
[Par. 9. ] From Confucius to Mencius was but a short time compared with that which intervened between Confucius and the duke of Chow, and that again between the duke of Chow and Yaou and Shun. The process of decay was going on with unexampled rapidity. Of Yang Choo, as well as of Mih Teih, and of the principles of them both, I have spoken in the Prolegomena. See the words here attributed to Kung-ming E in I. i. IV. 4.
[Par. 10. ] Compare II. i. II. 17.
[Par. 11. ] The way in which the duke of Chow’s driving away “all ferocious animals” is here mentioned seems inconsistent with the view of the expression of which I have spoken under par. 6.
[Par. 12. ] See on Pt i. IV. 16.
[Par. 13. ] Compare II. i. II. 17.
[Par. 14. ] Mencius seems here to call on all disciples of Confucius to co-operate with him in upholding the doctrines of the sage, and yet the sentence was perhaps intended to take away from the forcible assertion to which he had given utterance, and by which he claimed for himself a place in the line of sages.
[Ch. X. ]The man who will avoid all association with, and obligation to, those of whom he does not approve must needs go out of the world—Illustrated by the case of Ch‘in Chung of Ts‘e.
[Par. 1. ] K‘wang Chang and Ch‘in Chung (called also Ch‘in Tsze-chung) were both natives of Ts‘e. The former was high in the confidence and employment of the kings Wei and Seuen, and did good service to the State on more than one occasion;—see on IV. ii. xxx. The latter, as we learn from this chapter, belonged to an old and noble family of the State. His principles appear to have been those of Heu Hing, mentioned in Pt i. IV., or even more severe. We may compare him with the recluses of Confucius’ time. Woo-ling was a poor, wild place, where Chung and his wife, likeminded with himself, lived in retirement. It was somewhere in the present department of Tse-nan. Chaou K‘e thinks that it is said the plum was half-eaten, to show how Mr Chung had really all but lost his eye-sight.
[Par. 2. ] Mencius’ idea is that Ch‘in Chung’s principles were altogether impracticable.
[Par. 3. ] Pih-e,—see II. i. II. 22, et al. Chih was a famous robber chief of Confucius’ time, a younger brother of Hwuy of Lew-hea, celebrated by Mencius in II. i. IX. 2, et al. There was, however, it is said, in high antiquity in the time of Hwang-te, a noted robber so called, whose name was given to Hwuy’s brother because of the similarity of their course. “The robber Chih” had come to be used like a proper name.—As Chung withdrew from human society lest he should be defiled by it, Mencius shows that unless he were a worm, he could not be independent of other men. Even the house he lived in, and the grain he ate, might be the result of the labour of a villain like Chih, or of a worthy like Pih-e, for anything he could tell.
[Parr. 4, 5. ] K‘wang Chang says that the lodging and food of Mr Ch‘in were innocently and righteously come by; and it was not necessary to push one’s inquiries further back. Mencius does not reply to him directly, but throws ridicule on the self-denying recluse by the ridiculous story which he tells; and concludes by reiterating what he had affirmed as to the impracticability of the man and of his principles.