Front Page Titles (by Subject) WAN CHANG. PART I. - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius
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WAN CHANG. PART I. - 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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WAN CHANG. PART I.
ChapterI.1. Wan Chang asked [Mencius], saying, “[When] Shun went into the fields, he cried out and wept towards the pitying heavens. Why did he cry out and weep?” Mencius replied, “He was dissatisfied and full of earnest desire.”
2. Wan Chang pursued, “When his parents love him, [a son] rejoices and forgets them not; and when they hate him, though they punish him, he does not allow himself to be dissatisfied. Was Shun then dissatisfied [with his parents]?” [Mencius said], “Ch‘ang Seih asked Kung-ming Kaou, saying, ‘As to Shun’s going into the fields, I have received your instructions; but I do not understand about his weeping and crying out to the pitying heavens, and to his parents.’ Kung-ming Kaou answered him, ‘You do not understand that matter.’ Now Kung-ming Kaou thought that the heart of a filial son [like Shun] could not be so free from sorrow [as Seih seemed to imagine he might have been]. [Shun would be saying,] ‘I exert my strength to cultivate the fields, but I am thereby only discharging my duty as a son. What is there [wrong] in me that my parents do not love me?’
3. “The emperor caused his own [children],—nine sons and two daughters, the various officers, oxen and sheep, storehouses and granaries, [all] to be prepared for the service of Shun amid the channeled fields. Most of the officers in the empire repaired to him. The emperor designed that he should superintend the empire along with himself, and then to transfer it to him. But because his parents were not in accord with him, he felt like a poor man who has nowhere to turn to.
4. “To be an object of complacency to the officers of the empire is what men desire; but it was not sufficient to remove the sorrow of [Shun]. The possession of beauty is what men desire,—but though [Shun] had for his wives the two daughters of the emperor, it was not sufficient to remove his sorrow. Riches are what men desire, but though the empire was the rich property [of Shun], it was not enough to remove his sorrow. Honours are what men desire, but though [Shun] had the dignity of being the son of Heaven, it was not sufficient to remove his sorrow. The reason why his being the object of men’s complacency, the possession of beauty, riches, and honours, could not remove his sorrow was because it could be removed only by his being in [entire] accord with his parents.
5. “The desire of a child is towards his father and mother. When he becomes conscious of [the attractions of] beauty, his desire is towards young and beautiful women. When he [comes to] have a wife and children, his desire is towards them. When he obtains office, his desire is towards his ruler; and if he cannot get the regard of his ruler, he burns within. [But] the man of great filial piety, all his life, has his desire towards his parents. In the great Shun I see the case of one whose desire was towards them when he was fifty years old.”
If [the rule] be indeed as thus expressed, no one ought to have illustrated it so well as Shun;—how was it that Shun’s marriage took place without his informing [his parents]?” Mencius replied, “If he had informed them, he would not have been able to marry. That male and female dwell together is the greatest of human relations. If [Shun] had informed his parents, he must have made void this greatest of human relations, and incurred thereby their resentment. It was on this account that he did not inform them.”
2. Wan Chang said, “As to Shun’s marrying without making announcement [to his parents], I have heard your instructions. [But] how was it that the emperor gave him his daughters as wives without informing [his parents]?” [Mencius] said, “The emperor also knew that, if he informed his parents, he could not have given him his daughters as wives.”
3. Wan Chang said, “His parents set Shun to repair a granary, and then removed the ladder [by which he had ascended], [after which] Koo-sow set fire to it. They sent him to dig a well, [from which he managed to] get out; but they, [not knowing this,] proceeded to cover it up. [His brother] Sëang said, ‘Of this scheme to cover up the city-forming gentleman the merit is all mine. Let my parents have his oxen and sheep; let them have his granaries and storehouses. His shield and spear shall be mine; his lute shall be mine; his carved bow shall be mine; and I will make his two wives attend for me to my bed.’ Sëang then went away and entered Shun’s house, and there was Shun upon a couch with his lute. Sëang said, ‘[I am come] simply because I was thinking anxiously about you,’ [and at the same time] he looked ashamed. Shun said to him, ‘There are all my officers; do you take the management of them for me.’ I do not know whether Shun was ignorant of Sëang’s wishing to kill him.” [Mencius] replied, “How could he be ignorant of it? But when Sëang was sorrowful, he was also sorrowful, and when Seang was joyful, he was also joyful.”
4. [Wan Chang] continued, “Then was Shun one who rejoiced hypocritically?” “No,” was the reply. “Formerly some one sent a present of a live fish to Tsze-ch‘an of Ch‘ing. Tsze-ch‘an ordered his pond-keeper to feed it in the pond; but the man cooked it, and reported the execution of his commission, saying, ‘When I first let it go, it looked embarrassed. In a little it seemed to be somewhat at ease, and then it swam away as if delighted.’ ‘It had got into its element!’ said Tsze-ch‘an. ‘It had got into its element!’ The pond-keeper went out and said, ‘Who calls Tsze-ch‘an wise? When I had cooked and eaten the fish, he said, “It has got into its element! It has got into its element!” ’ Thus a superior man may be imposed on by what seems to be as it ought to be, but it is difficult to entrap him by what is contrary to right principle. Sëang came in the way in which the love of his elder brother would have made him come, and therefore Shun truly believed him, and rejoiced at it. What hypocrisy was there?”
III.1. Wan Chang said, “Sëang made it his daily business to kill Shun;—why was it that, when [the latter] was raised to be the son of Heaven, he [only] banished him?” Mencius replied, “He invested him with a State, and some have said that it was banishing him.”
2. Wan Chang said, “Shun banished the superintendent of Works to Yëw-chow, sent away Hwan-tow to mount Ts‘ung, slew the [prince of] San-mëaou in San-wei, and imprisoned K‘wăn on mount Yu. When those four criminals [were thus dealt with], all under heaven submitted to him;—it was a cutting off of men who were destitute of benevolence. But Sëang was [of all men] the most destitute of benevolence, and [Shun] invested him with the State of Pe;—of what crime had the people of Pe been guilty? Does a benevolent man really act thus? In the case of other men, he cut them off; in the case of his brother, he invested him with a State.” [Mencius] replied, “A benevolent man does not lay up anger, nor cherish resentment, against his brother, but only regards him with affection and love. Regarding him with affection, he wishes him to enjoy honour; loving him, he wishes him to be rich. The investing him with Pe was to enrich and ennoble him. If while [Shun] himself was emperor, his brother had been a common man, could he have been said to regard him with affection and love?”
3. [Wan Chang said,] “I venture to ask what is meant by some saying that it was a banishing [of Seang].” [Mencius] replied, “Sëang could do nothing [of himself] in his State. The emperor appointed an officer to manage its government, and to pay over its revenues to him; and therefore it was said that it was a banishing of him? How [indeed] could he be allowed the means of oppressing the people there? Nevertheless, [Shun] wished to be continually seeing him, and therefore he came unceasingly to court, as is signified in that expression, ‘He did not wait for the rendering of tribute, or affairs of government, to receive [the prince of] Pe.’ ”
IV.1. Hëen-k‘ëw Mung asked Mencius, saying, “There is the old saying,—‘An officer of complete virtue cannot be employed as a minister by his ruler, nor treated as a son by his father.’ Shun stood with his face to the south, and Yaou, at the head of all the feudal princes, appeared in his court with his face to the north. Koosow also appeared at Shun’s court with his face to the north; and when Shun saw him, his countenance assumed a look of distress. Confucius said, ‘At this time the empire was in a perilous condition indeed! How unsettled was its state!’ I do not know whether what is thus said really took place.” Mencius said, “No. These are not the words of a superior man, but the sayings of an uncultivated person of the east of Ts‘e. When Yaou was old, Shun took the management of affairs for him. It is said in the Canon of Yaou, ‘After twenty-eight years, Fang-heun demised, and the people mourned for him as for a parent three years. All within the four seas, the eight instruments of music were stopped and hushed.’ Confucius said, ‘There are not two suns in the sky, nor two sovereigns over the people. [If] Shun had already been [in the position of] the son of Heaven, and had moreover led on all the feudal princes of the empire to observe the three years’ mourning for Yaou, there must in that case have been two sons of Heaven.’ ”
2. Hëen-k‘ëw Mung said, “On the point of Shun’s not employing Yaou as a minister, I have received your instructions. But it is said in the Book of Poetry,
When Shun became emperor, I venture to ask how it was that Koo-sow was not one of his servants.” [Mencius] replied, “That ode is not to be understood in that way;—[it speaks of] being laboriously engaged in the king’s business, and not being able to nourish one’s parents, [as if the subject of it] said, ‘This is all the king’s business, but I alone am supposed to have ability, and made to toil in it.’ Therefore those who explain the odes must not insist on one term so as to do violence to a sentence, nor on a sentence so as to do violence to the general scope. They must try with their thoughts to meet that scope, and then they will apprehend it. If we simply take single sentences, there is that in the ode called the ‘Yun Han,’
If it had really been as thus expressed, then not an individual of the people of Chow would have been left.
3. “Of all that a filial son can attain to, there is nothing greater than his honouring his parents. Of what can be attained to in honouring one’s parents, there is nothing greater than the nourishing them with the empire. To be the father of the son of Heaven is the height of honour. To be nourished with the empire is the height of nourishment. In this was verified the sentiment in the Book of Poetry,
4. “In the Book of History it is said, ‘With respectful service he appeared before Koo-sow, looking grave and awe-struck, till Koo-sow also was transformed by his example.’ This is the true case of [the scholar of complete virtue] not being treated as a son by his father.”
V.1. Wan Chang said, “[It is said that] Yaou gave the empire to Shun; was it so?” Mencius replied, “No; the emperor cannot give the empire to another.”
2. “Yes; but Shun possessed the empire. Who gave it to him?” “Heaven gave it to him,” was the reply.
3. “ ‘Heaven gave it to him;’ did [Heaven] confer the appointment on him with specific injunctions?”
4. [Mencius] said, “No; Heaven does not speak. It simply showed its will by his [personal] conduct, and by [his conduct of] affairs.”
5. “ ‘It showed its will by his [personal] conduct, and by [his conduct of] affairs,’ ” returned the other;—“how was this?” [Mencius] said, “The emperor can present a man to Heaven, but he cannot make Heaven give that man the empire. A feudal prince can present a man to the emperor [to take his place], but he cannot make the emperor give the princedom to that man. A great officer can present a man to his prince, but he cannot cause the prince to make that man a great officer [in his own room]. Anciently Yaou presented Shun to Heaven, and Heaven accepted him; he displayed him to the people, and the people accepted him. Therefore I say, ‘Heaven does not speak. It simply indicated its will by his [personal] conduct, and by [his conduct of] affairs.’ ”
6. [Chang] said, “I presume to ask how it was that [Yaou] presented Shun to Heaven, and Heaven accepted him, and displayed him to the people, and the people accepted him.” The reply was, “He caused him to preside over the sacrifices, and all the Spirits were well pleased with them; thus it was that Heaven accepted him. He caused him to preside over the conduct of affairs, and affairs were well administred, so that all the people reposed under him;—thus it was that the people accepted him. Heaven gave [the empire] to him, and the people gave it to him. Therefore I said, ‘The emperor cannot give the empire to another.’
7. “Shun assisted Yaou [in the government] for twenty and eight years;—this was more than man could have done, and was from Heaven. When the three years’ mourning consequent on the death of Yaou were accomplished, Shun withdrew from the son of Yaou to the south of the southern Ho. The princes of the empire, however, repairing to court, went not to the son of Yaou, but to Shun. Litigants went not to the son of Yaou, but to Shun. Singers sang not the son of Yaou, but Shun. Therefore I said that it was Heaven [that gave him the empire]. It was after this that he went to the Middle State, and occupied the seat of the son of Heaven. If he had [before these things] taken up his residence in the palace of Yaou, and applied pressure to his son, it would have been an act of usurpation, and not the gift of Heaven.
8. “This view [of Shun’s obtaining the empire] is in accordance with what is said in The Great Declaration,—‘Heaven sees as my people see, Heaven hears as my people hear.’ ”
VI.1. Wan Chang said, “People say, ‘When [the disposal of the empire] came to Yu, his virtue was inferior [to that of Yaou and Shun], and he did not transmit it to the worhiest, but to his son;’—was it so?” Mencius replied, “No; it was not so. When Heaven gave [the empire] to the worthiest, it was given to the worthiest; when Heaven gave it to the son [of the preceding emperor], it was given to that son. Formerly Shun presented Yu to Heaven for [a period of] seventeen years; and when the three years’ mourning, consequent on the death of Shun, were accomplished, Yu withdrew from the son of Yu to Yang-shing. The people of the empire followed him as, after the death of Yaou, they had not followed his son, but followed Shun. Yu presented Yih to Heaven for [a period of] seven years; and when the three years’ mourning consequent on the death of Yu were accomplished, Yih withdrew from the son of Yu to the north of Mount Ke. [The princes] repairing to court, and litigants, went not to Yih, but to K‘e, saying, ‘He is the son of our ruler.’ Singers did not sing Yih, but they sang K‘e, saying, ‘He is the son of our ruler.’
2. “That Tan-choo was not equal [to his father], and Shun’s son also not equal [to his]; that Shun assisted Yaou, and Yu assisted Shun, for a period of many years, conferring benefits on the people for a long time; that K‘e was virtuous and able, and could reverently enter into and continue the ways of Yu; that Yih assisted Yu for a period of few years, conferring benefits on the people not for a long time; that the length of time that Shun, Yu, and Yih [assisted in the government] was so different; and that the sons [of the emperors] were [one] a man of talents and virtue, and [the other two] inferior [to their fathers]:—all these things were from Heaven, and what could not be produced by man. That which is done without any one’s [seeming] to do it is from Heaven. That which comes to pass without any one’s [seeming] to bring it about is from Heaven.
3. “In the case of a private man’s obtaining the empire, there must be in him virtue equal to that of Shun and Yu, and moreover there must be the presenting him to Heaven by the [preceding] emperor. It was on this [latter] account that Chung-ne did not obtain the kingdom.
4. “When the throne descends by natural succession, he who is displaced by Heaven must be like Këeh or Chow. It was on this account that Yih, E Yin, and the duke of Chow did not obtain the kingdom.
5. “E Yin assisted T‘ang so that he became sovereign of the kingdom. After the demise of T‘ang, T‘ae-ting having died without being appointed [in his place], Waeping [reigned] two years, and Chung-jin four. T‘ae-Keah [then] was turning upside down the canons and example of T‘ang, and E Yin placed him in T‘ung for three years. [There] he repented of his errors, was contrite, and reformed himself. In T‘ung he came to dwell in benevolence and moved towards righteousness, during those three years listening to the lessons given to him by E Yin, [after which] that minister again returned [with him] to Poh.
6. “The duke of Chow’s not getting the kingdom was like that of Yih’s not getting [the throne of] Hëa, or E Yin’s [that of] Yin.
7. “Confucius said, ‘T‘ang and Yu resigned [the throne to the worthiest]; the founders of the Hëa, Yin, and Chow [dynasties] transmitted it to their sons. The principle of righteousness was the same in [all the cases].”
2. Mencius replied, “No, it was not so. E Yin was farming in the lands of the State of Sin, delighting in the principles of Yaou and Shun. In any matter contrary to the righteousness which they prescribed, or to the course which they enjoined, though he had been salaried with the empire, he would not have regarded it; though there had been yoked for him a thousand teams, he would not have looked at them. In any matter contrary to the righteousness which they prescribed, or to the course which they enjoined, he would not have given nor taken [even] a single straw.
3. “T‘ang sent persons with presents of silk to ask him to enter his service. With an air of indifference and self-satisfaction, he said, ‘What can I do with these silks with which T‘ang invites me? Is it not best for me to abide in these channeled fields, and therein delight myself with the principles of Yaou and Shun?’
4. “T‘ang thrice sent persons thus to invite him. After this, with the change of purpose displayed in his countenance, he spoke in a different style, saying, ‘Instead of abiding in the channeled fields, and therein delighting myself with the principles of Yaou and Shun, had I not better make this ruler one after the style of Yaou and Shun? had I not better make this people like the people of Yaou and Shun? had I not better in my own person see these things for myself?
5. “ ‘Heaven’s plan in the production of this people is this:—that they who are first informed, should instruct those who are later in being informed, and those who first apprehend [principles] should instruct those who are slower to do so. I am the one of Heaven’s people who have first apprehended; I will take these principles and instruct this people in them. If I do not instruct them, who will do so?’
6. “He thought that among all the people of the kingdom, even the private men and women, if there were any that did not enjoy such benefits as Yaou and Shun conferred, it was as if he himself pushed them into a ditch. He took upon himself the heavy charge of all under Heaven in this way, and therefore he went to T‘ang, and pressed upon him the duty of attacking Hëa, and saving the people.
7. “I have not heard of one who bent himself and at the same time made others straight;—how much less could one disgrace himself, and thereby rectify the whole kingdom? The actions of the sages have been different. Some have kept far away [from office], and others have drawn near to it; some have left [their offices], and others have not done so; that in which these different courses all meet, is simply the keeping of their persons pure.
8. “I have heard that E Yin sought [an introduction to] T‘ang by the principles of Yaou and Shun; I have not heard that he did so by his [knowledge of] cookery.’
9. “In the ‘Instructions of E,’ it is said, ‘Heaven, destroying [Këeh], commenced attacking him in the palace of Muh; we commenced in Poh.’ ”
VIII.1. Wan Chang asked [Mencius], saying, “Some say that Confucius in Wei lived with an ulcer-[doctor], and in Ts‘e with Tseih Hwan, the chief of the eunuchs; was it so?” Mencius said, “No, it was not so. Those are the inventions of men fond of [strange] things.
2. “In Wei he lived in the house of Yen Ch‘ow-yëw. The wife of the officer Mei and the wife of Tsze-loo were sisters. Mei-tsze spoke to Tsze-loo, saying, ‘If Confucius will lodge with me, he may get to be a high noble of Wei.’ Tsze-loo reported this to Confucius, who said, ‘That is as ordered [by Heaven].’ Confucius advanced according to propriety, and retired according to righteousness. In regard to his obtaining [office and honour] or not obtaining them, he said ‘That is as ordered.’ But if he had lodged with an ulcer-[doctor] and with Tseih Hwan, the chief of the eunuchs, that would neither have been according to righteousness, nor any ordering [of Heaven].
3. “When Confucius, being dissatisfied in Loo and Wei, [had left those States], he met with the attempt of Hwan, the master of the Horse, in Sung, to intercept and kill him, so that he had to pass through Sung in the dress of a private man. At that time, [though] he was in circumstances of distress, he lodged in the house of Ching-tsze, the minister of works, who was [then] a minister of Chow, the marquis of Ch‘in.
4. “I have heard that ministers in the service of a court may be known from those to whom they are hosts, and that ministers coming from a distance may be known from those with whom they lodge. If Confucius had lodged with an ulcer-[doctor] and with Tseih Hwan, the chief of the eunuchs, how could he have been Confucius?”
IX.1. Wan Change asked [Mencius], saying, “Some say that Pih-le He sold himself to a cattle-keeper of Ts‘in for five sheep-skins, and fed his cattle for him, to seek an introduction to duke Muh of Ts‘in; is this true?” Mencius said, “No, it was not so. This is the invention of some one fond of [strange] things.
2. “Pih-le He was a man of Yu.” The people of Ts‘in by the inducement of a peih of Ch‘uy-keih and a team of Këuh-ch‘an horses were asking liberty to march through Yu to attack Kwoh. Kung Che-k‘e remonstrated [with the duke of Yu, asking him not to grant their request], but Pih-le He did not remonstrate.
3. “When he knew that the duke of Yu was not to be remonstrated with, and went in consequence from that State to Ts‘in, he had reached the age of seventy. If by that time he did not know that it would be a disgraceful thing to seek for an introduction to duke Muh of Ts‘in by feeding cattle, could he be called wise? But not remonstrating where it was of no use to remonstrate, could he be said not to be wise? Knowing that the duke of Yu would be ruined, and leaving his State before that event, he could not be said to be not wise. As soon as he was advanced in Ts‘in, he knew that duke Muh was one with whom he could have a field for action, and became chief minister to him;—could he be said to be not wise? Acting as chief minister in Ts‘in, he made his ruler distinguished throughout the kingdom, and worthy to be handed down to future ages;—if he had not been a man of talents and virtue, could he have done this? As to selling himself in order to bring about the destruction of his ruler, even a villager who had a regard for himself, would not do such a thing;—and shall we say that a man of talents and virtue did it?”
[Ch. I. ]Shun’s great filial piety;—how it carried him into the fields to weep and deplore his inability to secure the affection and sympathy of his parents, and that he never cherished any grudge against them for their treatment of him.
[Par. 1. ] The incident about Shun here mentioned is found in the Shoo, II. ii. 21. It is given there, however, as having occurred in the early part of his life; and this, as will be seen, makes it difficult, even impossible, to reconcile what we read in the Shoo about Shun with Mencius’ statements in this chapter.
[Par. 2. ] Shun’s dissatisfaction was with himself, but this is at first kept in the background, and Wan Chang either misunderstood it, and thought that his dissatisfaction was with his parents, or chose to appear to do so. On what he says about the relations of a son with his parents, see Ana. IV. xviii. Kung-ming Kaou is believed to have been a disciple of Tsăng-tsze; and Ch‘ang Seih again was Kaou’s disciple. The latter probably means to say that he understood Shun’s going into the fields to have been that he might cultivate them in order to nourish his parents. He then quotes the words of the Shoo more fully than they are quoted in the preceding paragraph, and says he could not understand the grief which they described, his idea being the same which Wan Chang had that they must indicate that Shun was dissatisfied with his parents. “A filial son could not be so free from sorrow [as Seih seemed to imagine that Shun might have been];” that is, Seih understood that Shun did his duty in cultivating the fields for his parents, and imagined that he should then have dismissed all care from his mind as to any differences between them and him.
[Par. 3. ] “The emperor” is, of course, Yaou. See the Shoo, I. 12, where Yaou gives his two daughters in marriage to Shun. It is stated there, however, that Shun had by that time transformed his parents and his half-brother Sëang, and brought them to be in harmony with him. This is the chronological difficulty in the account of Shun’s history in the Shoo and that given by Mencius in this chapter.
[Ch. II. ]Defence of Shun against the charge of marrying without informing his parents, and of hypocrisy in his friendly bearing and conduct towards his brother. Defence also of Yaou for giving his daughters to Shun, without the approval of Shun’s parents.
[Par. 1. ] The lines from the Book of Poetry are in the She, I. viii. VI. 2. But the rule expressed in them was overruled by the higher duty to raise up posterity for one’s parents;—see IV. i. XXVI.
[Par. 2. ] As all negotiations for the marriage of children should be between the parents on both sides, Yaou should have communicated with Shun’s father; but here again the same consideration absolved Yaou from blame.
[Par. 3. ] Sëang, it is understood, was only the half-brother of Shun. On the death of Shun’s mother, Koo-sow had married again, or raised a former concubine, whose son was Seang, to the rank of his wife. The various incidents here mentioned are taken from tradition, or perhaps the Shoo was more complete in Mencius’ days than it has come down to us. Sze-ma Ts‘een tells us that Shun got through the flames by screening himself with two bamboo hats, and that he escaped from the well by a concealed passage which led from it. Seang calls him “the city-forming gentleman.” This is the most natural rendering of the terms, though it is not that of Chaou K‘e. They say that wherever Shun lived three years, the people flocked to him, so as to form a too,—a city only inferior to the capital city of a State.
[Par. 4. ] If Tsze-ch‘an had known that his pond-keeper had eaten the fish, would he not have punished him? The case is not in point to vindicate Shun’s treatment of Sëang, of whose vile designs he was well aware. His defence of his hero against the charge of hypocrisy is ingenious, and amusing. Its fault is, as in other arguments of Mencius, that he will make his point too plain.
[Ch. III. ]Vindication of Shun’s conduct in the case of his wicked brother Seang;—how he both distinguished him and kept him under restraint.
[Par. 1. ] We must introduce only, I think, to bring out Wan’s idea in what he says about Shun’s treatment of Seang.
[Par. 2. ] Wan here changes his ground, and proceeds to argue against Shun from what Mencius had said. See Hwan-tow and the other criminals, and Shun’s dealing with them, in the Shoo, II. i. 12. The old State of Pe is commonly referred to the present district of Ling-ling, department Yung chow, Ho-nan. But if Sëang had been placed there, he would have been too far away to meet the conditions of his intercourse with Shun in the next paragraph.
[Par. 3. ] We have in the conclusion a quotation by Mencius from some book that is now lost.
[Ch. IV. ]Vindication of a charge against Shun in his relations with the emperor Yaou, and with his own father Koo-sow.
[Par. 1. ] Hëen-k‘ëw Mung was a disciple of Mencius, a man of Ts‘e, but deriving his double surname from Heen-k‘ew in Loo, where, probably, his ancestors had resided. Of the first part of the saying which Mung adduces two different views are taken. That which I have followed is given by Chaou K‘e. Modern commentators generally take it as meaning—“The scholar of complete virtue cannot treat his ruler as a minister nor his father as a son;” and Julien in his translation of Mencius emphatically prefers this. I am satisfied that the older interpretation is the correct one. According to the sequel of the saying, Shun appears with his face to the south, i. e., in the place of the emperor, and Yaou, “a scholar of complete virtue,” appears before him with his face to the north, i. e., in the place of homage or of a subject. So also does Shun’s father. These are intended as instances contrary to the principles in the old saying; and then Confucius’ words are brought in to explain how such instances came to occur, and show that they were abnormal. Mencius denies entirely the truth of the statement in the saying about Yaou, and proves it from the Shoo, II. i. 13, and an inference from words that Confucius had once used.
[Parr. 2, 3, 4. ] The instance of Koo-sow’s appearing at the court of Shun could not be so easily disposed of. Mencius, however, was not without a good answer to his disciple, and turns the instance against him satisfactorily enough. For the first quotation in par. 2, see the She, II. vi. I. 2, and for the other, III. iii. IV. 3. For that in par. 3, see the She, III. i. IX. 3; and for the quotation in par. 4, see the Shoo, II. ii. 21. The appearance of Shun before Koo-sow, however, which is there described, would seem to have been before the former became emperor.
[Ch. V. ]How Shun got the empire by the gift of Heaven, and not of Yaou; and how the action of Heaven in such a matter is to be understood. Vox populi vox Dei.
[Par. 2. ] Is it not plain that here, and throughtout the chapter, by Heaven we must understand God? Many commentators, however, understand by it le, “reason,” or “the truth and fitness of things,” excepting in the expression in par. 7, “Therefore I said that it was Heaven,” where they think the term = soo, “the determination of fate.” On this, Le P‘ei-lin of the present dynasty says:—“Ts‘ae Heu-chae (of the Sung dynasty) observes that by Heaven in this one place we are to understand fate, and in all the other places reason or the fitness of things. But this is a great error. Throughout this chapter ‘Heaven’ means the government of God, within which are included both reason and fate.”
[Par. 6. ] “All the Spirits” is here explained as “the Spirits of heaven, earth, the mountains, and the rivers;” i. e., all spiritual Beings, real or supposed. The emperor was “the host of all the Spirits,” and Shun entered, as conducting the government for Yaou, into all his duties. But how the Spirits enjoyed the sacrifices thus presided over by Shun we are not told.
[Par. 7. ] “The south of the southern Ho” was, I apprehend, the ancient Yu-chow, lying south from K‘e-chow, and separated from it by the Ho. All the Ho might be called southern, from where the river after flowing from the north to the south turns to the east. “Litigants” must indicate parties whose contentions the ordinary authorities had not been able to settle, and who therefore appealed to the decision of the supreme authority.
[Par. 8. ] See the Shoo, V. i. Pt I. 7.
[Ch. VI. ]How the throne descended from Yu to his son, and not to his minister Yih; and that Yu was not to be considered on that account as inferior in virtue to Yaou and Shun. Also, the conditions under which a change of the ruling family will take place, when the principle of hereditary succession has been established, with reference to the cases of E Yin, the duke of Chow, and Confucius.
[Par. 1. ] Neither Wan Chang nor our philosopher seems to have clearly seen the thing which was to be explained in connexion with Yu,—the establishment of China as a hereditary monarchy in his family. The passing of the throne from him to his son may have taken place as Mencius says; but how did it pass again from K‘e to his son? I have spoken on this point in the Prolegomena to the Shoo. It might have been asked of Mencius why Yu presented Yih to Heaven as his successor, if his son were worthier than Yih. Yih appears in the Shoo, II. i. 22, as Shun’s forester. He assisted Yu in his labours on the waters (the Shoo, II. iv. I.), and is said to have become Yu’s principal minister after the death of Kaou Yaou. Yang-shing, we should judge, was the name of a city, or settlement in those early days. Many affirm, however, that it was the name of a mountain, and that it and mount Ke were near each other in the present department of Ho-nan, Ho-nan province.
[Par. 3. ] Confucius had the virtue, and more, according to Mencius, than the virtue of Shun and Yu, but no king of his time ever thought of presenting him to Heaven to succeed him on the throne. We do not know that any king knew of his existence.
[Par. 4. ] We have met with E Yin in Mencius before,—in II. i. II. 22, et al.; and he is spoken of more at length in the next chapter. The duke of Chow is the well-known brother of king Woo. He might have got the throne without any change of the dynasty of Chow.
[Par. 5. ] See the Shoo, IV., Books iv. and v.
[Par. 6. ] The duke of Chow’s case was hardly analogous either to that of Yih or of E Yin.
[Par. 7. ] Where and when Confucius thus spoke, we do not know. T‘ang and Yu are the dynastic designations of Yaou and Shun;—see on the titles of the first and second Parts of the Shoo.
[Ch. VII. ]Vindication of E Yin from the charge of introducing himself to the service of T‘ang by means of his skill in cooking.
[Par. 1. ] E Yin has been mentioned already in II. i. II. and ii. II. 10. The popular account of him (found also in Sze-ma Ts‘ëen) in the time of Mencius was, that he came to Poh in the train of a princess of Sin whom T‘ang was marrying, carrying with him his cooking utensils, that by his skill in “cutting and boiling,” he might recommend himself to that prince.
[Par. 2. ] Sin was probably the same territory with what was called Kwoh during the Chow dynasty,—the present Shen Chow in Ho-nan, and not far from T‘ang’s seat in Poh. I have not been able to discover what were the antecedents to his farming life in Sin, nor how it was that his merits and ability became known to T‘ang. He was evidently living the life of a recluse, at the time that Mencius brings him on the stage.
[Parr. 4, 5, 6. ] Compare II. i. II. 22, and below in Part ii. I. 2, 5. “In my own person,” in par. 5, must mean, I think, “by my own efforts.”
[Par. 7. ] The concluding sentiment about the common object of all sages is worded so as to show the grossness of the story about E Yin’s commending himself to T‘ang by his skill in cooking.
[Par. 9. ] See the Shoo, IV. iv. 2; but the text there differs considerably from that which Mencius gives. The meaning is that Keeh’s atrocities in his palace at Muh led Heaven to destroy him, while E Yiu, in accordance with the will of Heaven, advised T‘ang in Poh to take action against him.
[Ch. VIII. ]Vindication of Confucius from the charge of lodging with unsuitable persons.
[Par. 1. ] Sze-ma Ts‘een, in his history of Confucius, says that on the occasion when the sage made the observation in Aua. IX. xvii. that he “had never met with one who loved virtue as he loved beauty,” there was a Yung K‘eu in the same carriage with the marquis of Wei, and his notorious wife. That Yung K‘eu was, no doubt, the ulcer-doctor of the text, and I am inclined to think that there may be some error in the formation of the characters as we read them. If there be not, we must suppose that the marquis of Wei had a parasite so named, who had been raised to his favour from the mean position of a curer of sores and ulcers. Of the same character was Tseih Hwan a favourite of one of the marquises of Ts‘e, and his master of the eunuchs, in the time of the sage.
[Par. 2. ] Sze-ma Ts‘ëen gives Yen Chuh-tsow for Yen Ch‘ow-yëw, and says he was the elder brother (or brother-in-law) of Tsze-loo. This is contrary to what Mencius says. There were two traditions, probably, on the point. On a later occasion Confucius lodged in Wei with a worthy officer called Keu Pih-yuh. Mei Hea is mentioned in the Tso Chuen under the 6th year of duke Ting, and the 25th of duke Gae. He was a favourite with the marquis, and wished by his proposal to ingratiate himself with Confucius.
[Par. 3. ] “Hwan of Sung;”—see on Ana. VII. xxii. Hwan is the Hwan T‘uy of that chapter. After Confucius had left Wei, he was proceeding to Ch‘in, and on the way Hwan T‘uy made the attempt on his life which is here alluded to. I do not know that the sage was in circumstances of distress after his arrival at the chief city of Ch‘in. Mencius must refer to what he did immediately on reaching it. Ching-tsze, or “the officer Pure,” was the honorary or posthumous epithet of the officer who was Confucius’ host, and Chow was the name of the last marquis of Ch‘in, known as duke Min. Ching-tsze, it is said, after the extinction of Ch‘in, went to Sung, and there became minister of Works, and was afterwards known as such; hence he is so styled here by Mencius, when referring to an earlier period of his life.
[Ch. IX. ]Vindication of Pih-le He from the charge of selling himself as a step towards his advancement to the service of duke Muh of Ts‘in.
[Par. 1. ] Pih-le He was chief minister to duke Muh of Ts‘in, whose rule extended from bc 658 to 618. The incidents of his life will be found interestingly detailed in the 25th and some subsequent chapters of the “History of the various States,” though some of them are different from the statements of Mencius about him. According to Sze-ma Ts‘een, He, who had been a minister of Yu, after the subversion of that State by Tsin, followed its captive duke, and was sent by the marquis of Tsin, in the train of the eldest daughter of his house, to Tsin, where she was to become the wife of duke Muh. Disgusted at being reduced to such a position, he absconded on the road, and, fleeing to Ts‘oo, became noted there for his skill in rearing cattle. Duke Muh heard somehow of his great capacity, and sent to Ts‘oo to reclaim him as a runaway servant, offering also to pay for him five rams’ skins. He was afraid to offer anything more valuable, lest he should awaken suspicions in Ts‘oo that he wanted to get He on account of his ability; and on obtaining him, he at once made him his chief minister. In the “Plans of the Warring States,” we have an account of Pih-le He’s introduction to duke Muh, more in accordance with what Mencius said. He is there introduced as a borderer of Ts‘oo, who wished to get introduced to the service of duke Muh. With this purpose he sold himself for five rams’ skins to a gentleman of Ts‘in, whose cattle he took care of. By and by he attracted the notice of duke Muh, who perceived his merit, and raised him to the distinction where he so abundantly repaid the duke’s kindness.
[Par. 2. ] See the history of this transaction given from Kung-yang and Kuh-leang in the Prolegomena to Vol. V., pp. 62, 63. Pih-le He, indeed, is not mentioned there, because, I suppose, he held his peace at the time. Perhaps, “a team of Këuh-ch‘an horses” should be “a team of horses from Këuh.”