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BOOK VI. * - 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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KAOU-TSZE. PART I.
ChapterI.1. Kaou-tsze said, “[Man’s] nature is like a willow tree, and righteousness is like a cup or a bowl. The fashioning benevolence and righteousness out of man’s nature is like making cups and bowls from a willow tree.”
2. Mencius replied, “Can you, in accordance with the nature of the willow tree, make cups and bowls from it? You will do violence and injury to the tree before you can make cups and bowls from it. If you will do violence and injury to the willow tree in order to make cups and bowls, will you also do violence and injury to a man, to fashion benevolence and righteousness [from him]? Your words, alas! would certainly with all men occasion calamity to benevolence and righteousness.”
II.1. Kaou-tsze said, “[Man’s] nature is like water whirling round [in a corner]. Open a passage for it on the east, and it will flow to the east; open a passage for it on the west, and it will flow to the west. Man’s nature is indifferent to good and evil, just as water is indifferent to the east and west.”
2. Mencius replied, “Water indeed will flow indifferently to the east or west, but will it flow indifferently up or down? The [tendency of] man’s nature to goodness is like the [tendency of] water to flow downwards. There are none but have [this tendency to] goodness, [just as] water flows downwards.
3. “Now by striking water, and causing it to leap up, you may make it go over your forehead; and by damming and leading it, you may make it go up a hill; but are [such movements according to] the nature of water. It is the force applied which causes them. In the case of a man’s being made to do what is not good, his nature is dealt with in this way.”
III.1. Kaou-tsze said, “[The phænomena of] life is what I call nature.”
2. Mencius replied, “Do you say that life is nature just as you say that white is white?” “Yes,” was the reply. [Mencius asked again], “Is the whiteness of a white feather like the whiteness of white snow, and the whiteness of white snow like that of white jade?” “Yes,” returned [the other].
3. Mencius retorted, “Very well. Is the nature of a dog like the nature of an ox, and the nature of an ox like the nature of a man?”
2. Mencius said, “What is the ground of your saying that benevolence is from within, and righteousness from without?” [The other] replied, “There is a man older than I, and I give honour to his age;—it is not that there is in me a principle of reverence for age. It is just as when there is a white man, and I consider him white;—according as he is so externally to me. It is on this account that I say [of righteousness] that it is from without.”
3. [Mencius] said, “There is no difference to us between the whiteness of a white horse, and the whiteness of a white man, but I do not know that there is no difference between the regard with which we acknowledge the age of an old horse, and that with which we acknowledge the age of a man older [than ourselves]? And what is it which we call righteousness? The fact of a man’s being older [than we]? or the fact of our giving honour to his age?”
4. [Kaou] said, “There is my younger brother; I love him. But the younger brother of a man of Ts‘in I do not love; that is, it is [the relationship to] myself which occasions my complacency, and therefore I say that benevolence is from within. I give the honour due to age to an old man of Ts‘oo, and to an old man of my own [kindred]; that is, it is the age which occasions the complacency, and therefore I say that righteousness is from without.”
5. [Mencius] answered him, “Our enjoyment of meat broiled by a man of Ts‘in does not differ from our enjoyment of meat broiled by [one of] our [own kindred]. Thus [what you insist on] takes place also in the case of [such] things; but is our enjoyment of broiled meat also from without?”
2. [Kung-too] replied, “It is the acting out of our feeling of respect, and therefore it is said to be from within.”
3. [The other] said, “[In the case of] a villager one year older than your elder brother, to which of them will you show the [greater] respect?” “To my brother,” was the reply. “But for which would you pour out spirits first?” [Kung-too] said, “For the villager.” [Măng Ke then argued], “Your feeling of respect rests on the one, but your reverence for age is rendered to the other; [righteousness] is certainly determined by what is without, and not by internal feeling.”
4. The disciple Kung-too was unable to reply, and reported [the conversation] to Mencius, who said, “[You should ask him], ‘Which do you respect more, your uncle, or your younger brother?’ He will reply, ‘My uncle.’ [Ask him again], ‘If your younger brother be personating a deceased ancestor, to whom will you show respect more,—[to him or to your uncle]?’ He will say, ‘To my younger brother.’ [You can go on], ‘But where is the [greater] respect due, as you said, to your uncle?’ He will say, ‘[I show it to my younger brother,] because he is in the position [of the deceased ancestor].’ And then you must say, ‘Because he is in that position;—and so ordinarily my respect is given to my elder brother, but a momentary respect is given to the villager.’ ”
5. When Ke-tsze heard this, he observed, “When respect is due to my uncle, I give it to him; and when respect is due to my younger brother, I give it to him. The thing is certainly determined by what is without us, and does not come from within.” Kung-too replied, “In winter we drink things warm, but in summer we drink things cold; but is then our eating and drinking determined by what is external to us?”
2. “Some say, ‘[Man’s] nature may be made to do good, and it may it may be made to do evil; and accordingly, under Wăn and Woo, the people loved what was good, and under Yew and Le they loved what was cruel.’
3. “Some say, ‘The nature of some is good, and the nature of others is bad. Hence it was that under such a ruler as Yaou, there yet appeared Sëang; that with such a father as Koo-sow, there yet appeared Shun; and that, with Chow for their ruler and the son of their elder brother besides, there yet appeared K‘e, the viscount of Wei, and prince Pe-kan.’
4. “And now you say, ‘The nature is good.’ Then are all those wrong?”
5. Mencius replied, “From the feelings proper to it, [we see] that it is constituted for the doing of what is good. This is what I mean in saying that [the nature] is good.
6. “If [men] do what is not good, the guilt cannot be imputed to their natural powers.
7. “The feeling of compassionate distress belongs to all men; so does that of shame and dislike; and that of modesty and respect; and that of approving and disapproving. The feeling of compassion and distress is the principle of benevolence; the feeling of shame and dislike is the principle of righteousness; the feeling of modesty and respect is the principle of propriety; and the feeling of approving and disapproving is the principle of knowledge. Benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge are not fused into us from without; they naturally belong to us, and [a different view] is simply from want of reflection. Hence it is said, ‘Seek, and you will find them; neglect, and you will lose them.’ [Men differ from one another in regard to them]; some as much again as others, some five times as much, and some to an incalculable amount; it is because they cannot fully carry out their [natural] endowments.
8. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,
Confucius said, ‘The maker of this ode knew indeed the constitution [of our nature].’ We may thus see that to every faculty and relationship there must belong its law, and that since the people possess this normal nature, they therefore love its normal virtue.”
VII.1. Mencius said, “In good years the children of the people are most of them good, and in bad years they are most of them evil. It is not owing to their natural endowments conferred by Heaven, that they are thus different. It is owing to the circumstances in which they allow their minds to be ensnared and devoured that they appear so [as in the latter case].
2. “There now is barley.—Let the seed be sown and covered up; the ground being the same, and the time of sowing also the same, it grows luxuriantly, and when the full time is come, it is all found to be ripe. Although there may be inequalities [of produce], that is owing to [the difference of] the soil as rich or poor, to the [unequal] nourishment afforded by rain and dew, and to the different ways in which man has performed his business.
3. “Thus all things which are the same in kind are like to one another;—why should we doubt in regard to man, as if he were a solitary exception to this? The sage and we are the same in kind.
4. “In accordance with this, Lung-tsze said, ‘If a man make hempen sandals, without knowing [the size of people’s] feet, yet I know that he will not make them like baskets.’ Sandals are like one another, because all men’s feet are like one other.
5. “So with the mouth and flavours;—all mouths have the same relishes. Yih Ya [simply] appreciated before me what my mouth relishes. Suppose that his mouth, in its relish for flavours, were of a different nature from [the mouths of] other men, in the same way as dogs and horses are not of the same kind with us, how should all men be found following Yih Ya in their relishes? In the matter of tastes, the whole kingdom models itself after Yih Ya; that is, the mouths of all men are like one another.
6. “So it is with the ear also. In the matter of sounds, the whole kingdom models itself after the musicmaster Kwang; that is, the ears of all men are like one another.
7. “And so it is also with the eye. In the case of Tsze-too, there is no one under heaven but would recognize that he was beautiful. Any one who did not recognize the beauty of Tsze-too would [be said to] have no eyes.
8. “Therefore [I] say,—[Men’s] mouths agree in having the same relishes; their ears agree in enjoying the same sounds; their eyes agree in recognizing the same beauty:—shall their minds alone be without that which they similarly approve? What is it then of which their minds similarly approve? It is the principles [of things], and the [consequent determinations of] righteousness. The sages only apprehended before me that which I and other men agree in approving. Therefore the principles [of things] and [the determinations of] righteousness are agreeable to my mind just as [the flesh] of grass and grain-fed [animals] is agreeable to my mouth.”
VIII.1. Mencius said, “The trees of Nëw hill were once beautiful. Being situated, however, in the suburbs of [the capital of] a large State, they were hewn down with axes and bills; and could they retain their beauty? Still through the growth from the vegetative life day and night, and the nourishing influence of the rain and dew, they were not without buds and sprouts springing out. But then came the cattle and goats, and browsed upon them. To these things is owing the bare and stript appearance [of the hill]; and when people see this, they think it was never finely wooded. But is this the nature of the hill?
2. “And so even of what properly belongs to man; shall it be said that the mind [of any man] was without benevolence and righteousness. The way in which a man loses the proper goodness of his mind is like the way in which [those] trees were denuded by axes and bills. Hewn down day after day, can it retain its excellence? But there is some growth of its life day and night, and in the [calm] air of the morning, just between night and day, the mind feels in a degree those desires and aversions which are proper to humanity; but the feeling is not strong; and then it is fettered and destroyed by what the man does during the day. This fettering takes place again and again; the restorative influence of the night is not sufficient to preserve [the proper goodness]; and when this proves insufficient for that purpose, the [nature] becomes not much different from [that of] the irrational animals; and when people see this, they think that it never had those endowments [which I assert]. But does this condition represent the feelings proper to humanity?
3. “Therefore if it receive its proper nourishment, there is nothing which will not grow; if it lose its proper nourishment, there is nothing which will not decay away.
4. “Confucius said, ‘Hold it fast, and it remains with you; let it go, and you lose it. Its out-going and in-coming cannot be defined as to time and place.’ It was the mental nature of which this was said.”
2. “Suppose the case of the most easily growing thing in the world;—if you let it have one day’s genial heat, and then expose it for ten days to cold, it will not be able to grow. It is but seldom that I have an audience [of the king], and when I retire, there come [all] those who act upon him like the cold. Though I succeed in bringing out some buds of goodness, of what avail is it?
3. “Now chess-playing is an art, though a small one; but without his whole mind being given, and his will bent to it, a man cannot succeed in it. Chess Ts‘ëw is the best chess-player in all the kingdom. Suppose that he is teaching two men to play;—the one gives all his mind to the game, and bends to it all his will, doing nothing but listen to Chess Ts‘ëw; the other, though he [seems to] be listening to him, has his whole mind running on a swan which he thinks is approaching, and wishes to bend his bow, adjust the arrow to the string, and shoot it. Though the latter is learning along with the former, his progress is not equal to his. Is it because his intelligence is not equal? Not so.”
X.1. Mencius said, “I like fish, and I also like bears’ paws. If I cannot get both together, I will let the fish go, and take the bears’ paws. So I like life, and I also like righteousness. If I cannot keep the two together, I will let life go, and choose righteousness.
2. “I like life indeed, but there is that which I like more than life; and therefore I will not seek to hold it by any improper ways. I dislike death indeed, but there is that which I dislike more than death, and therefore there are occasions when I will not avoid calamity [that may occasion death].
3. “If among the things which man likes there were nothing which he liked more than life, why should he not use all means by which he could preserve it? If among the things which man dislikes there were nothing which he disliked more than death, why should he not do everything by which he could avoid calamity [that might occasion it].
4. “[But as man is], there are cases when by a certain course men might preserve life, and yet they do not employ it; and when by certain things they might avoid calamity [that will occasion death], and yet they will not do them.
5. “Therefore men have that which they like more than life, and that which they dislike more than death. They are not men of talents and virtue only who have this mental nature. All men have it;—what belongs to such men is simply that they are able not to lose it.
6. “Here are a small basket of rice and a basin of soup;—and the case is one where the getting them will preserve life, and the want of them will be death. If they are offered to him in an insulting tone, [even] a tramper on the road will not receive them, or if you first tread upon them, [even] a begger will not stoop to take them.
7. “[And yet] a man will accept of ten thousand chung, without any question as to the propriety and righteousness of his doing so. What can the ten thousand chung really add to him? [When he takes them], is it not that he may get beautiful mansions? or that he may secure the services of wives and concubines? or that the poor and needy of his acquaintance may be helped by him?
8. “In the former case, the [offered bounty] was not received, though it would have saved from death, and now the man takes [the emolument] for the sake of beautiful mansions. [The bounty] that would have saved from death was not received, and [the emolument] is taken to get the services of wives and concubines. [The bounty] that would have saved from death was not received, and [the emolument] is taken that one’s poor and needy acquaintances may be helped by him. Was it not possible then to decline [the emolument] in these instances? This is a case of what is called—losing the proper nature of one’s mind.”
2. “How lamentable is it to neglect this path and not pursue it, to lose this mind and not know to seek it [again].
3. “When men’s fowls and dogs are lost, they know to seek them [again]; but they lose their mind, and do not know to seek it [again].
4. “The object of learning is nothing else but to seek for the lost mind.”
XII.1. Mencius said, “Here is a man whose fourth finger is bent, and cannot be stretched out straight. It is not painful, nor does it incommode his business; but if there were any one who could make it straight, he would not think it far to go all the way from Ts‘in to Ts‘oo [to find him];—because his finger is not like those of other people.
2. “When a man’s finger is not like other people’s, he knows to feel dissatisfied; but when his mind is not like other people’s, he does not know to feel dissatisfied. This is what is called—ignorance of the relative [importance of things].”
XIII. Mencius said, “Anybody who wishes to cultivate a t‘ung tree, or a tsze, which may be grasped with the two hands, [perhaps] with one, knows by what means to nourish it; but in the case of their own persons men do not know by what means to nourish them. Is it to be supposed that their regard for their own persons is inferior to their regard for a t‘ung or a tsze? Their want of reflection is extreme.”
XIV.1. Mencius said, “Men love every part of their persons; and as they love every part, so they [should] nourish every part. There is not an inch of skin which they do not love, and so there is not an inch of skin which they will not nourish. For examining whether his [way of nourishing] be good or not, what other rule is there but simply this, that a man determine, [by reflecting] on himself, where it should be applied?
2. “Some parts of the body are noble, and some ignoble; some great, and some small. The great must not be injured for the small, nor the noble for the ignoble. He who nourishes the little belonging to him is a small man; he who nourishes the great is a great man.
3. “Here is a plantation-keeper, who neglects his woo and kea, and nourishes his small jujube trees;—he is a poor plantation-keeper.
4. “He who nourishes one of his fingers, neglecting his shoulders and back, without knowing that he is doing so, is a man [who resembles] a hurried wolf.
5. “A man who [only] eats and drinks is counted mean by others; because he nourishes what is little to the neglect of what is great.
6. “If a man, [fond of] eating and drinking, do [yet] not fail [in nourishing what in him is great], how should his mouth and belly be accounted as no more than an inch of skin?”
XV.1. The disciple Kung-too asked, saying, “All are equally men, but some are great men, and others are little men; how is this?” Mencius replied, “Those who follow that part of themselves which is great are great men; those who follow that part which is little are little men.”
2. Kung-too pursued, “All are equally men; but some follow that part of themselves which is great, and some that which is little; how is this?” Mencius said, “The ears and the eyes have it not in their office to think, and are [liable to be] obscured by things [affecting them]; and when one thing comes into contact with another, it simply leads it away. But it is in the office of the mind to think. By thinking, it gets [the right view of things]; when neglecting to think, it fails to do this. These—[the senses and the mind]—are what Heaven has given to us. Let a man first stand in [the supremacy of] the greater [and nobler] part of his constitution, and the smaller part will not be able to take it from him. It is simply this which makes the great man.”
XVI.1. Mencius said, “There is a nobility of Heaven, and there is a nobility of man. Benevolence, righteousness, self-consecration, and fidelity, with unwearied joy in the goodness [of these virtues],—these constitute the nobility of Heaven. To be a duke, a minister, or a great officer,—this constitutes the nobility of man.
2. “The men of antiquity cultivated their nobility of Heaven, and the nobility of man came in its train.
3. “The men of the present day cultivate their nobility of Heaven in order to seek for the nobility of man, and when they have obtained this, they throw away the other; their delusion is extreme. The issue is simply this, that they must lose [that nobility of man] as well.”
XVII.1. Mencius said, “To desire to be what is considered honourable is the common mind of men. And all men have what is [truly] honourable in themselves; only they do not think of it.
2. “The honour which man confers is not the truly good honour. Those to whom Chaou-măng gave honourable rank he could make mean again.
3. “It is said in the Book of Poetry
meaning that [the guests] were filled with benevolence and righteousness, and therefore did not wish for the fat meat and fine millet of men. When a good reputation and farreaching praise fall to [a man’s] person, he does not desire the elegant embroidered garments of men.”
XVIII.1. Mencius said, “Benevolence subdues its opposite just as water subdues fire. Those, however, who now-a-days practise benevolence [do it] as if with a cup of water they could save a whole waggon-load of faggots which was on fire, and when the flames were not extinguished were to say that water cannot subdue fire. Such a course, moreover, is the greatest aid to what is not benevolent.
2. “The final issue will simply be this, the loss [of that small amount of benevolence].”
XIX. Mencius said, “Of all seeds the best are the five kinds of grain, but if they are not ripe, they are not equal to the t‘e or the pae. So the value of benevolence lies simply in its being brought to maturity.”
2. “A master-workman, in teaching others, must use the compass and square, and his pupils must do the same.”
KAOU-TSZE. PART II.
ChapterI.1. A man of Jin asked the disciple Uh-loo, saying, “Is [an observance of] the rules of propriety [in regard to eating] or the eating the more important?” The answer was, “[The observance of] the rules of propriety is the more important.”
2. “Is [the gratifying] the appetite of sex or [the doing so only] according to the rules of propriety the more important?”
3. The answer [again] was, “[The observance of] the rules of propriety [in the matter] is the more important;” [and then the man] said, “If the consequence of eating [only] according to the rules of propriety will be death from starvation, while by disregarding those rules one can get food, must he still observe them [in such a case]? If, according to the rule that he shall go in person to meet his bride, a man cannot get married, while by disregarding the rule he can get married, must he still hold to the rule [in such a case]?”
4. Uh-loo was unable to reply [to these questions], and next day he went to Tsow and told them to Mencius, who said, “What difficulty is there in answering these inquiries?
5. “If you do not bring them together at the bottom, but only at their tops, a piece of wood an inch square may be made to be higher than the pointed ridge of a high building.
6. “ ‘Metal is heavier than feathers;’—but does that saying have reference to a single clasp of metal and a waggonload of feathers?
7. “If you take a case where the eating is all-important, and the observing the rules of propriety is of little importance, and compare them together, why merely say that the eating is the more important? [So,] taking the case where the gratifying the appetite of sex is all-important, and the observing the rules of propriety is of little importance, why merely say that the gratifying the appetite is the more important?
8. “Go and answer him thus: ‘If by twisting round your elder brother’s arm, and snatching from him what he is eating, you can get food for yourself, while, if you do not do so, you cannot get such food, will you so twist round his arm? And if by getting over your neighbour’s wall, and dragging away his virgin daughter, you can get a wife for yourself, while if you do not do so, you cannot get such wife, will you so drag her away?’ ”
2. [Këaou went on], “I have heard that king Wăn was ten cubits high, and T‘ang nine. Now I am nine cubits and four inches in height; but I can do nothing but eat my millet. What am I to do to realize that saying?”
3. The reply was, “What has the thing to do with this,—[the question of size]? It all lies simply in acting as such. Here is a man whose strength was not equal to lift a duckling or a chicken,—he was [then] a man of no strength. [But] to-day he says, ‘I can lift three thousand catties;’ he is [now] a man of strength. And so, he who can lift the weight which Woo Hwoh lifted is just another Woo Hwoh. Why should a man make a want of ability the subject of his grief? It is only that he will not do the thing.
4. “To walk slowly, keeping behind his elders, is to perform the part of a younger. To walk rapidly, going before his elders, is to violate the duty of a younger. But is walking slowly what any man can not do? it is [only] what he does not do. The course of Yaou and Shun was simply that of filial piety and fraternal duty.
5. “Do you wear the clothes of Yaou, repeat the words of Yaou, and do the actions of Yaou, and you will just be a Yaou. And if you wear the clothes of Këeh, repeat the words of Këeh, and do the actions of Këeh, you will just be a Këeh.”
6. [Këaou] said, “When I have an audience of the ruler of Tsow, I can ask him to let me have a house to lodge in. I wish to remain here, and receive instruction at your gate.”
7. [Mencius] replied, “The way [of truth] is like a great road; it is not difficult to know it. The evil is only that men will not seek for it. Do you go home, and seek it, and you will have abundance of teachers.”
III.1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow asked, saying, “Kaou-tsze says that the Seaou pwan is the ode of a small man;—[is it so?]” Mencius replied, “Why does he say so?” and [the disciple] said, “Because of the murmuring [which it expresses].”
2. [Mencius] answered, “How stupid is that old Kaou in dealing with the ode! There is a man here, and a native of Yueh bends his bow to shoot him, while I will talk smilingly, and advise him [not to do so];—for no other reason but that he is not related to me. [But] if my own elder brother be bending his bow to shoot the man, then I will advise him [not to do so], weeping and crying the while;—for no other reason but that he is related to me. The dissatisfaction expressed in the Sëaou pwan is the working of relative affection; and that affection shows benevolence. Stupid indeed is that old Kaou’s criticism of the ode!”
3. [Ch‘ow then] said, “How is it that there is no murmuring in the K‘ae fung?”
4. [Mencius] replied, “The parent’s fault referred to in the K‘ae fung was small, while that referred to in the Seaou pwan was great. Where the parent’s fault was great, not to have murmured at it would have increased the alienation [between father and son]. Where the parent’s fault was small, to have murmured at it would have been [like water which frets and foams about a rock that stands in its channel], unable to suffer the interruption to its course. To increase the want of natural affection would have been unfilial; to have refused to suffer such an interruption [to the flow of natural affection] would also have been unfilial.
5. “Confucius said, ‘Shun was indeed perfectly filial! Even when fifty, he was full of longing desire for [the affection of] his parents.’ ”
2. “Where are you going, respected Sir?” said [Mencius].
3. [K‘ăng] replied, “I have heard that Ts‘in and Ts‘oo are fighting together, and I am going to see the king of Ts‘oo, and advise him to cease hostilities. If he should not be pleased with my advice, I will go and see the king of Ts‘in, and advise him in the same way. Of the two kings I shall [surely] find that I can succeed with one of them.”
4. [Mencius] said, “I will not presume to ask the particulars, but I should like to hear the scope [of your plan]. What course will you take in advising them?” “I will tell them,” was the reply, “the unprofitableness [of their strife].” “Your aim, Sir,” rejoined [Mencius], “is great, but your argument is not good.
5. “If you, respected Sir, starting from the point of profit, offer your counsels to the kings of Ts‘in and Ts‘oo, and they, being pleased with the consideration of profit, should stop the movements of their armies, then all belonging to those armies will rejoice in the cessation [of war], and find their pleasure in [the pursuit of] profit. Ministers will serve their rulers for the profit of which they cherish the thought; sons will serve their fathers, and younger brothers will serve their elder brothers, from the same consideration; and the issue will be that, abandoning benevolence and righteousness, ruler and minister, father and son, elder brother and younger, will carry on their intercourse with this thought of profit cherished in their breasts. But never has there been such a state [of society] without ruin being the result of it.
6. “If you, Sir, starting from the ground of benevolence and righteousness, offer your counsels to the kings of Ts‘in and Ts‘oo, and they, being pleased with benevolence and righteousness, should stop the movements of their armies, then all belonging to those armies will rejoice in the cessation [of war], and find their pleasure in benevolence and righteousness. Ministers will serve their rulers from the benevolence and righteousness of which they cherish the thought. Sons will serve their fathers, and younger brothers will serve their elder brothers, from the same;—and the issue will be that, abandoning [the thought of] profit, ruler and minister, father and son, elder brother and younger, will carry on their intercourse with benevolence and righteousness cherished in their breasts. But never has there been such a state [of society] without the result of it being the attainment of true Royal sway. Why must you speak of profit?”
V.1. When Mencius was residing in Tsow, the younger brother of [the ruler of] Jin, who was guardian of the State at the time, sent him a gift of [some] pieces of silk, which he received, without [going] to give thanks for it. When he was staying for a time in P‘ing-luh, Ch‘oo, who was prime-minister [of Ts‘e], sent him [likewise] a gift of silks, which he received, without [going] to give thanks for it.
2. Subsequently, when he went from Tsow to Jin, he visited the younger brother of the ruler, but when he went from P‘ing-luh to [the capital of] Ts‘e, he did not visit the minister Ch‘oo. The disciple Uh-loo was glad, and said, “I have got an opportunity [to obtain some information].”
3. He asked accordingly, “Master, when you went to Jin, you visited the ruler’s younger brother. But when you went to [the capital of] Ts‘e, you did not visit the minister Ch‘oo; was it because he is [only] the minister?”
4. [Mencius] replied, “No. It is said in the Book of History, ‘In offerings, there are many ceremonial observances. If the observances are not equal to the articles, it may be said that there is no offering, there being no service of the will in the offering.’
5. “[This is] because the things [so presented] do not constitute an offering.”
6. Uh-loo was pleased; and when some one asked him [what Mencius meant], he said, “The younger brother [of the ruler of Jin] could not go to Tsow, but the minister Ch‘oo could have gone to P‘ing-luh.”
VI.1. Shun-yu K‘wăn, said, “He who makes the fame and real service his first object acts from a regard to others; he who makes them only secondary objects acts from a regard to himself. You, Master, were ranked among the three high ministers of the kingdom, and before your fame and services had reached either to the ruler or the people, you went away. Is this indeed the way of the benevolent?”
2. Mencius replied, “There was Pih-e;—he abode in an inferior position, and would not with his virtue and talents serve a degenerate ruler. There was E Yin;—he five times went to T‘ang, and five times went to Këeh. There was Hwuy of Lëw-hëa;—he did not disdain to serve a vile ruler, nor did he decline a small office. The courses pursued by those three worthies were different, but their aim was one. And what was their one aim? We must answer—benevolence. And so it is simply after this that superior men strive;—why must they [all] pursue the same [course]?”
3. [K‘wăn] pursued, “In the time of duke Muh of Loo, the government was in the hands of Kung-e, while Tsze-lew and Tsze-sze were ministers. [And yet] the dismemberment of Loo increased exceedingly. Such was the case,—a specimen of how your men of talents and virtue are of no use to a State!”
4. [Mencius] replied, “[The duke of] Yu did not use Pih-le He, and [thereby] lost his State; duke Muh of Ts‘in used him, and became chief of all the princes. The consequence of not employing men of talents and virtue is ruin;—how can it end in dismemberment [merely]?”
5. [K‘wăn] urged [again], “Formerly, when Wang Paou dwelt on the K‘e, the people on the west of the Ho became skilful at singing in his abrupt manner. When Meen K‘eu dwelt in Kaou-t‘ang, the people in the west of Ts‘e became skilful at singing in his prolonged manner. The wives of Hwa Chow and K‘e Lëang bewailed their husbands so skilfully that they changed the manners of the State. When there is [the gift] within, it is sure to manifest itself without. I have never seen the man who could do the deeds [of a worthy] and did not realize the work of one. Therefore there are [now] no men of talents and virtue; if there were, I should know them.”
6. [Mencius] replied, “When Confucius was minister of crime in Loo, [the ruler] came not to follow [his counsels]. Soon after there was the [solstitial] sacrifice, and when a part of the flesh there presented did not come to him, he went away [even] without taking off his cap of ceremony. Those who did not know him supposed that [he went away] because the flesh [did not come to him]. Those who knew him [somewhat] supposed that it was because of the neglect of the [usual] ceremony. The truth was that Confucius wished to go on occasion of some small offence, and did not wish to go without an apparent cause. All men cannot be expected to understand the conduct of a superior man.”
VII.1. Mencius said, “The five presidents of the princes were sinners against the three kings. The princes of the present day are sinners against the five presidents. The great officers of the present day are sinners against the princes of the present day.
2. “When the son of Heaven visited the princes, it was called ‘A tour of inspection.’ When the princes attended at his court, it was called ‘A report of office.’ In the spring they examined the ploughing, and supplied any deficiency [of seed]; in the autumn they examined the reaping, and assisted where there was a deficiency [of yield]. When [the son of Heaven] entered the boundaries [of a State], if [new] ground was being reclaimed, and the old fields were well cultivated; if the old were nourished, and honour shown to men of talents and virtue; and if men of distinguished ability were placed in office:—then [the ruler] was rewarded,—rewarded with [an addition to his] territory. [On the other hand], if on his entering a State, the ground was found left wild or overrun with weeds; if the old were neglected, and no attention paid to men of talents and virtue; and if hard tax-gatherers were placed in office:—then [the ruler] was reprimanded. If [a prince] once omitted his attendance at court, he was punished by degradation of rank; if he did so a second time, he was deprived of a portion of his territory; and if he did so a third time, the royal armies [were set in motion], and he was removed [from his government]. Thus the son of Heaven commanded the punishment, but did not himself inflict it, while the various feudal princes inflicted the punishment, but did not command it. The five presidents, [however,] dragged the princes of the States to attack other princes, and therefore I say that they were sinners against the three kings.
3. “Of the five presidents duke Hwan was the most distinguished. At the assembly of the princes in K‘wei-k‘ew, they bound the victim, and placed the writing [of the covenant] upon it, but did not [slay it], and smear their mouths with its blood. The first article in the covenant was:—‘Slay the unfilial; do not change the son who has been appointed heir; do not exalt a concubine to the rank of wife.’ The second was:—‘Give honour to the worthy, and cherish the talented,—to give distinction to the virtuous.’ The third was:—‘Reverence the old, and be kind to the young; be not forgetful of visitors and travellers.’ The fourth was:—‘Let not offices be hereditary, nor let officers be pluralists; in the selection of officers let the object be to get the proper men; let not [a ruler] take it on himself to put a great officer to death.’ The fifth was:—‘Follow no crooked policy in making embankments; do not restrict the sale of grain; do not grant any investiture without [first] informing [the king, and getting his sanction].’ It was [then] said, ‘All we who have united in this covenant shall hereafter maintain amicable relations.’ The princes of the present day all violate those five prohibitions, and therefore I say that they are sinners against the five presidents.
4. “The crime of him who connives at and aids the wickedness of his ruler is small, but the crime of him who anticipates and excites that wickedness is great. The great officers of the present day all are guilty of this latter crime, and I say that they are sinners against the princes.”
2. Mencius said [to Shin], “To employ an uninstructed people [in war] is what is called—destroying the people. A destroyer of the people was not tolerated in the age of Yaou and Shun.
3. “Though by a single battle you should vanquish Ts‘e, and so get possession of Nan-yang, the thing ought not to be done.”
4. Shin changed countenance, was displeased, and said, “This is what I, Kuh-le, do not understand.”
5. [Mencius] said, “I will lay the case plainly before you. The territory of the son of Heaven is a thousand le square;—without a thousand le, he would not have enough for his entertainment of the princes. The territory of a prince [of the highest rank] is a hundred le square;—without a hundred le, he would not have enough wherewith to observe the statutes kept in his ancestral temple.
6. “When the duke of Chow was invested with [the marquisate of] Loo, it was a hundred le square. The territory was indeed enough, but it was limited to a hundred le. When T‘ae-kung was invested with [the marquisate of] Ts‘e, it was also a hundred le square;—sufficient indeed, but limited to that amount.
7. “Now Loo is five times a hundred le square. If a true king were to arise, whether do you think that Loo would be diminished or increased by him?
8. “If it were merely taking from one [State] to give to another, a benevolent person would not do it; how much less would he do so, when the thing has to be sought by the slaughter of men!
9. “The way in which a superior man serves his ruler is simply an earnest endeavour to lead him in the right path, and to direct his mind to benevolence.”
IX.1. Mencius said, “Those who now-a-days serve their rulers, say, ‘We can for our ruler enlarge the limits of the cultivated ground, and fill his treasuries and arsenals.’ Such men are now-a-days called ‘Good ministers,’ but anciently they were called ‘Robbers of the people.’ If a ruler is not following the [right] path, nor has his mind bent on benevolence, to seek to enrich him is to enrich a Këeh.”
2. “[Or they will say], ‘We can for our ruler make engagements with our allied States, so that our battles must be successful.’ Such men are now-a-days called ‘Good ministers,’ but anciently they were called ‘Robbers of the people.’ If a ruler is not following the [right] path, nor has his mind bent on benevolence, to seek to make him stronger in battle is to help a Keeh.
3. “Although a [ruler], by the path of the present day, and with no change of its practices, were to have all under heaven given to him, he could not keep it for a single morning.”
2. Mencius replied, “Your way, Sir, would be that of the Mih.
3. “In a State of ten thousand families, would it do to have [only] one potter?” “No,” said the other; “the vessels would not be enow for use.”
4. [Mencius] went on, “In Mih [all] the five kinds of grain are not grown;—it only produces the millet. There are no fortified cities with their walled suburbs, no great edifices, no ancestral temples, no ceremonies of sacrifice; there are no feudal princes requiring gifts of silk and entertainments; there is no system of officers with their various subordinates. On this account a tax of one twentieth of the produce is [there] sufficient.
5. “But now, [as] we live in the middle States, how can such a state of things be thought of, which would do away with the relationships of men, and have no officers of superior rank?
6. “A State cannot be made to subsist with but few potters; how much less can it be so without men of a superior rank to others!
7. “If we wish to make the taxation lighter than the system of Yaou and Shun, we shall have a great Mih and a small Mih. If we wish to make it heavier, we shall have the great Këeh and the small Këeh.”
XI.1. Pih Kwei said, “My management of the waters is superior to that of Yu.”
2. Mencius said, “You are wrong, Sir. Yu’s regulation of the waters was according to the laws of water.
3. “He therefore made the four seas their receptacle, while you now, Sir, make the neighbouring States their receptacle.
4. “When waters flow out of their natural channels, we have what is called an inundation. Inundating waters form a vast [waste] of water, and are what a benevolent man detests. You are wrong, my good Sir.”
XII. Mencius said, “If a superior man have not confidence [in his views], how shall he take a firm hold [of things]?”
2. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said, “Is Yoh-ching a man of vigour?” “No.” “Is he wise in council?” “No.” “Is he a man of much information?” “No.”
3. “What then made you so glad that you could not sleep?”
4. “He is a man who loves what is good,” was the reply.
5. “Is the love of what is good sufficient?”
6. [Mencius] replied, “The love of what is good is more than a sufficient qualification for the government of the whole kingdom; how much more is it so for the State of Loo!
7. “If [a minister] love what is good, then all within the four seas will think a thousand le but a small distance to come and lay [their thoughts about] what is good before him.
8. “If he do not love what is good, men will say, ‘How self-conceited he looks! [He is saying], “I know it.” ’ The language and looks of that self-conceit will repel men to more than the distance of a thousand le. When good men stop more than a thousand le off, calumniators, flatterers, and sycophants will make their appearance. When [a minister] lives with calumniators, flatterers, and sycophants about him, though he may wish the State to be well governed, is it possible for it to be so?”
XIV.1. The disciple Ch‘in said, “What were the principles on which superior men of old took office?” Mencius said, “There were three cases in which they accepted office, and three in which they left it.
2. “If received with the utmost respect and all courteous observances, and they could say [to themselves] that [the ruler] would carry their words into practice, then they went to him [and took office]. [Afterwards], though there might be no remission of the courteous observances, if their words were not carried into practice, they left him.
3. “The second case was that in which, though [the ruler] could not [be expected] at once to carry their words into practice, yet being received by him with the utmost respect and all courteous observances, they went to him [and took office]. [But afterwards], if there was a remission of the courteous observances, they left him.
4. “The last case was that of [the superior man] who had nothing to eat either morning or evening, and was so famished that he could not move out of his door. If the ruler, on hearing of his state, said, ‘I must fail of the great point,—that of carrying his principles into practice, and moreover I cannot follow his words, but I am ashamed to allow him to starve in my country,’ and so assisted him, the help might be accepted in such a case, but not beyond what was sufficient to avert death.”
XV.1. Mencius said, “Shun rose [to the empire] from among the channeled fields. Foo Yueh was called to office from the midst of his [building] frames and [earth-] beaters; Kaou Kih from his fish and salt; Kwan E-woo from the hands of the officer in charge of him; Sun Shuh-gaou from [his hiding by] the sea-shore; and Pih-le He from the market-place.
2. “Thus, when Heaven is about to confer a great office on any one, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his sinews and bones with toil; it exposes his body to hunger, and subjects him to extreme poverty; and it confounds his undertakings. In all these ways it stimulates his mind, hardens his nature, and supplies his incompetencies.
3. “Men constantly err, but are afterwards able to reform. They are distressed in mind, and perplexed in thought, and then they arise to vigorous endeavour. When things have been evidenced in men’s looks, and set forth in their words, then they understand them.
4. “If a ruler have not about his court families attached to the laws and able officers, and if abroad there are no hostile States or other external calamities, the State will generally come to ruin.
5. “From such things we see how life springs from sorrow and calamity, and death from ease and pleasure.”
XVI. Mencius said, “There are many arts in teaching. I refuse, as inconsistent with my character, to teach a man, but I am only thereby still teaching him.”
[* ]Title of this Book. Kaou-tsze, i. e., Mr Kaou, or the scholar Kaou, who appears in the first and other chapters questioning Mencius, gives his name to the Book. He is probably the same who is referred to by our philosopher in II. Part I. ii. 2. Chaou K‘e tells us that his name was Puh-hae, seeming to identity him with Haou-săng Puh-hae of VII. Pt II. xxv. He adds that Kaou, while a student under Mencius, gave himself also to the examination of the doctrines of the heresiarch Mih (III. Pt I. v., Pt II. ix. 9); and from a passage in Mih’s writings this is not unlikely, but the name of Kaou appears there as Shing.
Kaou appears from this Book to have been much perplexed respecting the real character of human nature in its relations to good and evil, which is the subject mainly discussed throughout it; and it is to the view of human nature as here developed that Mencius is chiefly indebted for his place among the sages of his country. “The Book,” says the Relish and Root of the four Books, “treats first of the nature; then of the heart; and then of instruction: the whole being analogous to the lessons in the doctrine of the Mean. The second Part continues to treat of the same subject, and a resemblance will generally be found between the views of the parties there combated and those of the scholar Kaou.”
[Ch. I. ]That benevolence and righteousness are no unnatural and forced products of human nature. Choo He says that there underlies the words of Kaou here the view of human nature afterwards insisted on by the philosopher Seun (see the prolegomena), that human nature is evil. But Kaou might have disallowed such an induction from his words. Seun maintained that human nature was positively evil, and that any good in it was an artificial product. Kaou perhaps would have contended that it was like a tabula rasa, on which either good or evil might be made to appear.
[Par. 2. ] “In accordance with the nature of the willow tree;” i. e., leaving its nature untouched, doing no violence to it. “Will you also do violence and injury to a man?”—i. e. to a man’s nature, to humanity.
[Ch. II. ]That man’s nature is not indifferent to good and evil. Its proper tendency is to good. Here, it seems to me, Kaou more clearly explains what he meant in the last chapter. Choo He says, however, that his idea here was akin to that of Yang Heung, a writer about the beginning of our era. Yang held that good and evil were mixed in the nature of man, and that the passion-nature was like a horse drawing the man, according as it moved, either to good or to evil. Kaou, however, appears to have differed from him in thinking that there was neither good nor evil in the nature itself.
[Par. 1. ] The phrase which I have translated—“water whirling round” is explained in the dictionaries as “water flowing rapidly,” “water flowing quickly over sand;” and hence Julien renders it by “rapide fluens aqua.” So also Williams. Chaou K‘e, followed by Choo He, gives the meaning which I have adopted.
[Parr. 2, 3. ] Choo He says:—“This chapter tells us that the nature is properly good, so that if we accord with it, we shall do nothing but what is good; and that it is properly without evil, so that we must violate it before we do what is evil. It shows that the nature is not properly without a decided character so that it may do good or evil indifferently.”
[Ch. III. ]The nature is not to be confounded with the phænomena of life. Choo He says that “by life is intended that whereby men and animals perceive and move,” and he adds that Kaou’s sentiment was analogous to that of the Buddhists, who made “doing and moving” to be the nature. We must understand, I think, by life here the phænomena of the life of sensation, and Kaou’s idea led to the ridiculous conclusion that wherever there were those phænomena the nature of the subjects is the same We find it difficult to place ourselves in sympathy with him in this conversation, and also to follow Mencius in passing from the second paragraph to the third. His questions in the former refer to the qualities of inanimate things, and then he jumps to others about the nature of animals and of man.
[Ch. IV. ]That the discrimination of what is right, as well as the feeling of love or benevolence, is internal, and not merely determined by what is external to us.
[Par. 1. ] The first remark of Kaou here would seem to be intended to explain his statement in the preceding chapter that “life was nature.” Then he seems to give in to the view of Mencius that benevolence proceeds from a principle within us, just as we are moved by an internal feeling to food and sexual pleasure, but he still contends that it is not so in the exercise of righteousness;—by which term Chinese writers mean, “the conduct proper in reference to men and things without us, and the showing it to them. This meaning of “righteousness” is put out by Mencius at the close of the third paragraph.
[Par. 4. ] “A man of Ts‘in,” “a man of Ts‘oo;”—i. e., people indifferent to me, strangers to me.
[Par. 5. ] Mencius silences his opponent by showing that the difficulty which he alleged in regard to righteousness would attach also to the enjoyment of food, which he had himself allowed, at the outset of the conversation, to be internal, from the inward constitution of our nature.
[Ch. V. ]The same subject:—a difficulty obviated in the way of the conclusion that the discrimination of what is right is from within.
[Par. 1. ] Măng Ke was, probably, a younger brother of Măng Chung, who appears in II. Pt II ii. 3 in close attendance on Mencius. He had heard the previous conversation with Kaou, or heard of it; and feeling some doubts on the subject, he applied to the disciple Kung-too.
[Par. 3. ] “For whom would you pour out spirits first?”—i. e., at a feast. Courtesy then required that the honour should be given to a stranger; but Măng Ke does not consider this, but maintains that the manifestation of respect varied with the individual, and was therefore not from within.
[Par. 4. ] “Personating a deceased ancestor;”—see the Prolegomena to Vol. IV. of my larger Work, pp. 135, 136, on the strange custom under the Chow dynasty of personating a deceased ancestor at a sacrificial feast by one of the descendants of the family.
[Par. 5. ] Kung-too here beats down the cavilling of Măng Ke as Mencius did that of Kaou in the conclusion of last chapter.
[Ch. VI. ]Various views of human nature, and Mencius’ vindication of his own doctrine, that it is good.
[Par. 1. ] Choo He says that this view had been revived near his own times by the famous Soo Tung-po, and by Hoo Woo-fung, a son of the more celebrated Hoo Wăn-ting.
[Par. 2. ] Kaou had also given this view,—in the second chapter. Wăn and Woo are the famous founders of the Chow dynasty; Yëw and Le were two of their successors whose character and course damaged the dynasty not a little.
[Par. 3. ] This view was afterwards advocated, with an addition to it, by Han Yu of the T‘ang dynasty;—see his essay in the prolegomena. Seang was the wicked brother of Shun;—for him and Koo-sow see V. Pt I. ii., et al. For Chow (or Show) of the Shang dynasty and his relatives, see on the Analects XVIII. i., and on the Book of History, Pt IV. xi.
[Parr. 5, 6. ] These paragraphs are important for the correct understanding of our philosopher’s views.
[Par. 7. ] See II. Pt I. vi. 4, 5.
[Par. 8. ] See the Book of Poetry, Bk III. Pt III. vi. 1, and my commentary there.
[Ch. VII. ]The phænomena of good and evil in men’s character and conduct are to be explained from the different circumstances acting on them. All men, sages and others, are the same in mind, and it follows that the nature of other men is good, like that of the sages.
[Par. 1. ] The idea seems to be that in good years, the supply of food and clothes being sufficient, the young escape temptations to robbery and other wickedness. Mencius elsewhere puts forth powerfully the truth that adversity is often a school of superior virtue. The general sentiment enunciated here, that a competence is favourable to virtue, must be admitted, and it has the warrant of Confucius in Ana. XIII. ix.
[Par. 4. ] Of Mr Lung, who is here quoted, nothing is known. Mencius purposely quotes his saying on an ordinary matter as being well known, and serving to illustrate the point in hand.
[Par. 5. ] Yih Ya was the cook of the famous duke Hwan of Ts‘e (bc 684—642), otherwise a worthless man, but great in his art.
[Par. 6. ] Of the music-master Kwang see on IV. Pt I. i. 1.
[Par. 7. ] Tsze-too was the designation of Kung-sun Oh, a scion of the house of Ch‘ing about bc 700, distinguished for his beauty. See an account of his villainy and death in the 7th chapter of the “History of the several States.” See also in the Tso Chuen under the 11th year of duke Yin, and the 16th year of duke Chwang.
[Ch. VIII. ]How it is that the nature, properly good, comes to appear as if it were not so;—from not receiving its proper nourishment.
[Par. 1. ] Nëw hill, i. e. Ox hill, was a mountain not far from the capital of Ts‘e. It is 10 le south of the present district city of Lin-tsze, department of Ts‘ing-chow.
[Par. 4. ] This is a saying of Confucius for which we are indebted to Mencius. Choo He thus expands the paragraph:—“Confucius said of the mind, ‘If you hold it fast, it is here; if you let it go, it is lost and gone; so indeterminate in regard to time is its outgoing and incoming, and also in regard to place.’ Mencius quoted his words to illustrate the unfathomableness of the mind as spiritual and intelligent, how easy it is to have it or to lose it, and how difficult to preserve and keep it so that it should not be left unnourished for a moment. Learners ought constantly to be using their strength to insure the pureness of its spirit and the settledness of its passion-nature, as in the calm of the morning between day and night; then will the proper mind always be preserved, and everywhere and in all circumstances its manifestations will be those of benevolence and righteousness.”
[Ch. IX. ]Illustrating the preceding chapter.—How the king of Ts‘e’s want of wisdom was owing to his neglect of Mencius’ instructions and to bad associations.
[Par. 1. ] The king is understood to have been Seuen of Ts‘e;—see I. Pt I. vii., et al.
[Par. 2. ] The last sentence may also be taken, with Choo He, as meaning—“Though there may be [some] sprouts of goodness in him, what can I do?”
[Par. 3. ] “Chess Ts‘ëw;”—Ts‘ëw was the man’s name, and he was called Chess Ts‘ëw from his skill at the game.
[Ch. X. ]That it is proper to man’s nature to love righteousness more than life, and how it is that many act as if it were not so.
[Par. 1. ] “Bears’ paws,” lit., palms, have been a delicacy in China from the earliest times. They require a long time to cook them thoroughly. In bc 425, the king Ch‘ing of Ts‘oo, being besieged in his palace, requested that he might have a dish of bears’ palms before he was put to death,—hoping that help would come while they were being cooked.
[Par. 5. ] Up to this point our philosopher has been bringing out his great point,—that all men have the good heart, which he clinches by the cases in the two paragraphs that follow, which are very well conceived and expressed.
[Parr. 6—8. ] The reader will remember that it was with 10,000 chung that the king of Ts‘e tried to bribe Mencius to remain in his country;—see II. Pt II. x. “What can the 10,000 chung really add to him?” is literally, in Chinese—“What do the 10,000 chung add to me?” The meaning is better brought out in English by changing the person from the first to the third; but there is in the Chinese idiom also the lofty, and true, idea—that a man’s personality is something independent of, and higher than, all external advantages. The same peculiarity of Chinese idiom appears in the conclusion of the paragraph. “Is it not that the poor and needy of his acquaintance may be helped by him?” is, literally, “Is it not that the poor and needy may get me? i. e., may get my help?” On this a Chinese writer says, “The thinking of the poor would seem to show a kindly feeling, but the true nature of it appears in the—‘may get me.’ The idea is not one of benevolence, but of selfishness.”
[Ch. XI. ]How men, having lost the proper qualities of their nature, should seek to recover them.
[Par. 1. ] “Benevolence is man’s mind (or heart),” i. e., it is the proper and universal characteristic of man’s nature, what, as the commentators often say, “all men have.” “Benevolence” would seem here to include all the moral qualities of humanity; but it is followed by the Mencian specification of “righteousness.” Compare our philosopher’s yet more remarkable saying in VII. Pt II. xvi., that “Benevolence is man.”
[Par. 4. ] “The object of learning” is, literally, “The way of learning and asking,” “the way” meaning the proper course, that which is to be pursued. Mencius would seem to be guarding himself against being supposed to teach that man need not go beyond himself to secure his renovation. To illustrate his “learning and asking” we are referred to Confucius’ words in the Doctrine of the Mean, XX. 19, and those of Tsze-hea in Ana. XIX. vi.—It will be noted that the Chinese sages always end with the recovery of the old heart, and that the Christian idea of “a new heart” is unknown to them.
[Ch. XII. ]How men are sensible of bodily defects, however slight, but are not sensible of mental or moral defects.
[Par. 1. ] The thumb is called by the Chinese “the great finger;” next to it is “the eating finger;” then “the leading finger;” then “the fourth or nameless finger;” and last, “the little finger.” The fourth is called “nameless,” as being of less use than the others. The capital of Ts‘in was in the present department of Fung-ts‘eang, Shen-se, and that of Ts‘oo in King-chow, Hoo-pih.
[Ch. XIII. ]Men’s extreme want of thought in regard to the cultivation of themselves.
The t‘ung here is probably the bignonia. The wood of it was good for making lutes. The tsze also yields a valuable wood, and is spoken of as “the king of all trees.”
[Ch. XIV. ]The attention given by men to the nourishment of the different parts of their nature must be regulated by the relative importance of those parts, which every man can determine for himself by reflection.
[Par. 1. ] The concluding part of this par. is rather difficult to translate, but the meaning is plain:—A man is to determine, by reflection on his constitution, what parts are more important, and should have the greater attention paid to them. It will be seen that there underlies the argument of Mencius in this chapter the important point that the human constitution is a system, certain parts of which should be kept subordinate to others.
[Par. 2. ] “The great must not be injured for the small”;—it is implied that to neglect the greater and nobler parts of the constitution, is really to injure them. They are badly treated, not receiving the attention they deserve, and the language implies that positive injury is done to them.
[Par. 3. ] The “plantation-keeper” was an officer under the Chow dynasty, who had the superintendence of the sovereign’s plantations and orchards. The woo was the woo-t‘ung, the dryandra condifolia of Thunberg. The kea was also a valuable tree; some identify it with the tsze of last chapter.
[Par. 4. ] The illustrations here are not so happy. Chaou K‘e, indeed, introduces the idea of the parts mentioned being diseased so that the “nourishing” is equivalent to trying to heal; but this does not appear in the text The wolf, it is said, is very wary, and has a quick sight to discern danger: but when chased, he is unable to exercise this faculty, hence “a hurried wolf” is the image of a man pursuing his course heedlessly.
[Par. 6. ] The meaning here is—that the parts considered small and ignoble may have, and should have, their share of attention, if the more important parts are first cared for as they ought to be. While Mencius argued that the appetites and passions should be kept in subjection, he would give no countenance to the practice of asceticism.
[Ch. XV. ]That some are great men, lords of reason; and some are little men, slaves of sense.
Kung-too might have gone on to inquire:—“All are equally men; but some stand fast in the nobler part of their constitution, and others allow its supremacy to be snatched away by the inferior part:—how is this?” Mencius would have tried to carry the difficulty a step farther back, and after all have left it where it originally was. His saying that the nature of man is good can be reconciled with the teaching of Christianity; but his views of human nature as a whole are open to the three objections which I have stated in the note to the 21st chapter of the Doctrine of the Mean.
[Ch. XVI. ]There is a nobility that is of Heaven, and a nobility that is of man; and the neglect of the former leads to the loss of the latter.
[Par. 1. ] On the “nobility of man,” and its classes, see V. Pt II. ii. What I have translated “self-consecration” and “fidelity” are taken as devotion in mind and act to “benevolence and righteousness,” and the “joy in goodness” is also the goodness of those virtues.
[Par. 2. ] We have here merely the laudation temporis acti.
[Par. 3. ] On “their delusion is extreme” it is said:—“When the nobility of Heaven is cultivated in order to seek for the nobility of man, at the very time it is cultivated, there is a previous mind to throw it away;—showing the existence of delusion. Then when the nobility of man has been got, to throw away the nobility of Heaven exhibits conduct after the attainment not equal even to that in the time of search, so that the delusion is extreme.” Several commentators observe that facts may be referred to, apparently inconsistent with what is said in the last sentence of this paragraph, and then go on to say that the preservation of the nobility of man, in the case supposed, is only a lucky accident, and that the issue ought always to be as Mencius affirms. Yes, but all moral teachings must be imperfect where the thoughts are bounded by what is seen and temporal.
[Ch. XVII. ]The true honour which men should desire. A sequel to the preceding chapter. “Nobility” is the material dignity, and “honour” is the estimation which springs from it.
[Par. 2. ] The “really good honour” is that which springs from the nobility of Heaven, and of which human power cannot deprive its possessor. The Chaou family was one of the principal houses of the State of Tsin, and four of its chiefs had had the title of Măng, or “the chief,” combined with their surname. They were a sort of “king-making Warwicks,” and figure largely in the narratives of Tso K‘ew-ming.
[Par. 3. ] See the Book of Poetry, Part III. ii. Ode III. st. 1. The Ode is one responsive from the uncles and cousins of the reigning king of Chow for the kindness he had shown and the honour he had done to them at a sacrificial feast. Mencius’ use of the lines is a mere accommodation of them.
[Ch. XVIII. ]In order to accomplish what it is adapted to do, benevolence must be practised vigorously and fully. So only, indeed, can it be preserved. Compare with this chapter Mencius’ conversation with king Hwuy of Leang in I. Pt I. iii., and also his saying in VI. Pt II. i. 6.
[Par. 1. ] Chaou K‘e takes the conclusion of this paragraph as meaning—“This moreover is equivalent to the course of those who are the greatest practisers of what is not benevolent.” But both the sentiment and construction are in this way made more difficult.
[Ch. XIX. ]Benevolence must be matured. The sentiment here is akin to that of the former chapter, and is perhaps rather unguardedly expressed.
For “the five kinds of grain” see on III. Pt I. iv. 8. The t‘e and pae are two plants closely resembling each other. “They are a kind of spurious grain, yielding a small seed like rice or millet. They are to be found at all times, in wet situations and dry, and, when crushed and roasted, may satisfy the hunger in a time of famine.”
[Ch. XX. ]Learning must not be by halves, but by the full use of the rules appropriate to what is learned. Compare with this chapter what Mencius says in IV. Pt I. i. and ii.
[Par. 1. ] For E see on IV. Pt II. xxiv. 1. On this chapter Choo He says—“This chapter shows that affairs must be proceeded with according to their laws, and then they can be accomplished. But if a master neglect these, he cannot teach; and if a pupil neglect them, he cannot learn. In small arts it is so;—how much more with the principles of the sages!”
[Ch. I. ]To observe the rules of properiety in our conduct is a most important principle, and where they may be disregarded, the exception will be found to prove the rule. Extreme cases must not be pressed so as to invalidate the principle.
[Par. 1. ] Jin was a small earldom, referred to the present Tse-ning Chow, in Yen chow department, Shan-tung. The distance between the city of Jin and Mencius’ native city of Tsow was only between 30 and 40 miles. Uh-loo, by name Leen, a native of Tsin, was a disciple of Mencius, and is said by some to have written on the doctrines of “the old P‘ăng” and Laoutsze. The man of Jin’s questions are not to be understood of propriety in the abstract, but of the rules of propriety understood to regulate the other things which he mentioned.
[Par. 7. ] See in V. Pt I. ii. 1 how Mencius disposes of the charge against Shun for marrying without the knowledge of his parents,—an offence against the rules of propriety greater than that which the man of Jin had supposed. That case and even those adduced here came under the category of that necessity which has no law.
[Ch. II. ]All may become Yaous and Shuns, and to do so they have only sincerely to cultivate Yaou and Shun’s principles and ways. It is the mind which is the measure of the man. How Mencius dealt with an applicant in whom he had not confidence.
[Par. 1. ] Ts‘aou had been an earldom, held by descendants of one of king Wăn’s sons; but it had been extinguished and absorbed by Sung before the end of the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw period,—a considerable time before Mencius. The descendants of its earls had probably adopted the name of their ancient patrimony as their surname; and the Keaou of the text was, we may suppose, one of them.
[Par. 2. ] As to the heights mentioned here, see on Ana. VIII. vi. The ancient cubit was only, it is said, ·74 of the present, so that Wăn’s 10 cubits become reduced to 7·4, and T‘ang’s 9 to 6·66 of the present standard; but these estimates must still be too high. Këaou was evidently pluming himself on his dimensions.
[Par. 3. ] “It all lies simply in acting as such;”—compare the way in which Mencius puts the question of physical and moral ability in I. Pt I. vii. 10, 11. Woo Hwoh was a man noted for his strength. Sze-ma Ts‘ëen and others mention him in connexion with king Woo of Ts‘in (bc 309—306).
[Par. 4. ] In illustration of this paragraph, Choo He quotes two other commentators,—Ch‘in Yang, or Ch‘in Tsin-che (about the beginning of the 11th century), who says:—“Filial piety and fraternal duty, of which men have an intuitive knowledge, and for which they have an inborn ability, are the natural out-goings of the nature. Yaou and Shun exhibited the perfection of the human relations; but yet they simply acted in accordance with this nature. How could they add a hair’s point to it?” and Yang She or Yang Chung-teih (ad 1053—1099), who says:—“The way of Yaou and Shun was great, but what made it so was now the rapidity and now the slowness of their walking and stopping, and not things that were very high and difficult to practise. This is what may be present to the common people in their daily usages, but they do not know it.”
[Par. 5. ] The meaning is simply—Imitate the men, doing as they did, and you will be such as they.
[Par. 6. ] There is an indication here that Keaou was presuming on his nobility, and vaunting his influence with the ruler of Tsow. Moreover, his wish to secure a lodging before he became a pupil in Mencius’ school is held to show that he was devoid of genuine earnestness. On these grounds Mencius would give him no encouragement, yet there are important truths and a valuable lesson in the words of the next paragraph, with which he sent him away.
[Ch. III. ]Mencius’ explanation of the odes Sëaou Pwan and K‘ae Fung. Complaints against a parent are not necessarily unfilial.
[Par. 1. ] Who the Kaou-tsze, mentioned here, was, must be left in doubt. From Mencius calling him “that old Kaou,” it would seem plain that he could not be the individual of the same surname who appears in II. Part II. xii. 2, and was, we may suppose, a disciple of our philosopher.
For the Seaou pwan see the Book of Poetry, Part II. vii. Ode III. That Ode is commonly, though not by Chaou K‘e, accepted as having been written by E-k‘ëw, the son and heir-apparent of king Yëw (bc 780—770), or by the prince’s master. Led away by the arts of a mistress, the king degraded E-k‘ëw and his mother, and the Ode expresses the sorrow and dissatisfaction which the son could not but feel in such circumstances.
[Par. 2. ] This is Mencius’ vindication of the dissatisfaction and even indignation expressed in the Seaou pwan. The first shooter well appears as a man of Yueh, a barbarous country in the south, in whom the beholder could have no interest.
[Par. 3. ] For the K‘ae fung see the Book of Poetry, Part I. iii. Ode VII. That Ode is supposed to be the production of seven sons in the State of Wei, whose widowed mother could not live quietly and chastely at home; but they take all the blame for her conduct to themselves, and express no dissatisfaction with her.
[Par. 4. ] We must think there was room for dissatisfaction in both cases. Mencius’ justification of the K‘ae fung is an instance in point to show how filial piety in China often dominates other feelings, though he would seem to intimate that, where great public interests are in question, it should be kept in check.
[Par. 5. ] See V. Pt I. i.
[Ch. IV. ]Mencius’ warning to Sung K‘ăng on the error and danger of counselling the princes to abstain from war on the ground of its unprofitableness, the proper ground being that of benevolence and righteousness. Compare especially I. Pt I. i., where we have the key-note to much of our philosopher’s teaching.
[Par. 1. ] Sung K‘ăng, or K‘ăng of Sung, was one of the travelling scholars of the times, who made it their business to go from State to State to counsel the princes. He was, it is said, a disciple of Mih Teih. Shih-k‘ew was in Sung, but where does not seem to be ascertained.
[Par. 2. ] “Respected Sir,” is literally “elder born.” It would seem that Mencius and K‘ăng must have had some previous acquaintance. Our philosopher must have been travelling at this time in Sung. The hostilities which had called forth K‘ăng on his mission have been referred to the year bc 311.
[Par. 3. ] Does not Mencius himself in the conclusion bring in the idea of profitableness, when he says that the course which he recommended would raise the kinglet who followed it to the true royal sway?
[Ch. V. ]How Mencius regulated himself in differently acknowledging different favours which he received.
[Par. 1. ] Jin,—see on ch. i. P‘ing-luh,—see on II. Pt II. iv. 1. The ruler of Jin must have gone abroad on some State duty or service, leaving his brother guardian of the State for the time.
[Par. 4. ] See the Book of History, V. xiii. 12.
[Par. 5. ] This is Mencius’ explanation of the passage which he had quoted.
[Par. 6. ] Uh-loo now understood the reasons of Mencius’ different conduct. By his guardianship the prince of Jin was prevented from leaving the State to go to Tsow; but the minister of Ts‘e could have gone to P‘ing-luh which was in that State.
[Ch. VI. ]How Mencius replied to the insinuations of Shun-yu K‘wăn, who condemned him for leaving office in Ts‘e without having accomplished anything.
[Par. 1. ] For Shun-yu K‘wăn see on IV. Pt I. xvii. He there appears, as here, captiously questioning our philosopher. “Acts from a regard to others;”—i. e., such a man’s motive is to benefit others. “Acts from a regard to himself;”—i. e., such a man is bent on the personal cultivation of himself. “The three high ministers” were those of Instruction, of War, and of Works. The kings of Chow had six high ministers; but though the princes of Ts‘e and other States had usurped the title of king, it would appear that their organization of offices had not been fully completed. Some say that in these kingdoms the high ministers were distinguished into three classes,—upper, middle, and lower, without the special designations used in Chow.
[Par. 2. ] For Pih-e, E Yin, and Hwuy of Lëw-hëa, see II. Pt I. ii. ix. IV. Pt I. xiii.: V. Pt. II. i.; et al.
[Par. 3. ] K‘wăn here advances in his condemnation of Mencius. He had charged him with having left his office before he had accomplished anything, but here he insinuates that though he had remained in office, he would not have done anything. Tsze-lew is the same with the Seeh Lëw of II. Pt II. xi., which paragraph should be compared with this. Kung-e, called Hew, was prime-minister of Loo,—a man of merit and principle. The facts of duke Muh’s history by no means justify what K‘wăn alleges here as to the dismemberment of Loo in his time.
[Par. 4. ] For Pih-le He see V. Pt I. 9.
[Par. 5. ] Of the men here all belonged to Ts‘e, except Wang Paou, who was of Wei, in which was the river K‘e. Of him and Meen K‘eu little is known. The bravery of K‘e Lëang and Hwa Chow is much celebrated, and also the virtue of K‘e Lëang’s wife, with the way in which she and the wife of Hwa Chow bewailed their husbands. See a narrative in the Tso Chuen, under the 23rd year of duke Seang; the Le Ke, II. Pt II. iii. 1; et al. In the citation of these instances, K‘wăn’s object was to insinuate that Mencius was a pretender, because, wherever there was ability, it was sure to come out, and to prove itself by its fruits.
[Par. 6. ] Mencius shields himself by the example of Confucius, implying that he was beyond the knowledge of a sophist like K‘wăn. See the Life of Confucius in Vol. I.
[Ch. VII. ]The progress and manner of degeneracy from the three kings to the five presidents of the princes, and from the five presidents of the princes to the princes and officers of Mencius’ time.
[Par. 1. ] “The three kings” are the founders of the three dynasties of Hea, Shang, and Chow. “The five presidents of the princes” were Hwan of Ts‘e (bc 683—642), Wăn of Tsin (634—627), Seang of Sung, (649—636), Muh of Tsin (658—620); and Chwang of Ts‘oo (612—590). These professed to take the lead and direction of the various States, and exercised really royal functions throughout the kingdom, while yet there was a profession of loyal attachment to the house of Chow. There are two enumerations of the “five presidents;”—one called “the presidents of the three dynasties,” and one called “the presidents of the Ch‘un Ts‘ew period:”—only Hwan of Ts‘e and Wăn of Tsin are common to the two. But Mencius is speaking, probably, only of those included in the second enumeration; and though there is some difference of opinion in regard to the individuals in the list, the names I have given were, I think, those he had in his mind: “Were sinners against;”—i. e. violated their principles and ways.
[Par. 2. ] See I. Pt II. iv. 5. This par. exhibits the principles and ways of “the three kings,” and concludes by showing how “the five presidents” violated them.
[Par. 3. ] Duke Hwan brought the princes of the States together many times, but no occasion perhaps was greater than the assembly at K‘wei-k‘ëw (probably in the present district of K‘aou-shing, department K‘wei-fung), in bc 650. Mencius, no doubt, selected this because he had a full account of it, which enabled him to exhibit it as a specimen of the principles and ways of the presidents of the States. The object in assembling the princes was to get them to form a covenant with conditions required by the existing state of things in the kingdom. The usual practice at those meetings was first to dig a square pit over which the victim was slain. Its left ear was then cut off, and placed in a vessel ornamented with pearls, and the blood was received in a vessel of jade. Holding these vessels the president of the assembly read out the articles of the covenant, with his face to the north, announcing them to the Spirits of the sun and moon, the mountains and rivers. After this he and all the others smeared the corners of their mouths with the blood, placed the victim in the pit, with the articles of the covenant upon it, and then covered it up.
[Ch. VIII. ]Mencius’ opposition to the warlike ambition of the marquis of Loo:—a conversation with the general Shin Kuh-le.
[Par. 1. ] We do not have much information about the Shin who appears here. According to Sze-ma Ts‘een there was, in Mencius’ time, a Shin Taou, a native of Chaou, and a writer of the Taouist sect. It is supposed that he had also studied the art of war, and that duke P‘ing of Loo now wished to take advantage of his skill. In par. 4, Shin appears to call himself by the name of Kuh-le—which is against his being this Shin Taou. Some therefore say that he had studied under a Mihist professor of the time, who was called K‘in Kuh-le, and that we should translate in par. 4—“This is what [even] Kuh-le does not understand.” But Kuh-le there must be Shin’s own name. We must leave the question of who he was undetermined. The title of “army-commander” which appears here had come into use in the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw period.
[Par. 2. ] Compare what Confucius says in Ana. XIII. xxix. and xxx.
[Par. 3. ] Nan-yang was a tract of country south of mount T‘ae, which originally belonged to Loo, but had been taken and appropriated by Ts‘e. Duke P‘ing of Loo now wanted to take advantage of the difficulties of Ts‘e to regain the territory.—The fact of Nan-yang’s having originally been Loo territory certainly made it a bad text for Mencius to give his lecture to Shin-tsze on it.
[Par. 4. ] The statutes kept in the ancestral temple would prescribe all things relating to the public sacrifices, the interviews of the ruler of Loo with other princes, and other public matters, the expense of which required a territory of 100 le square to defray them.
[Par. 6. ] “Tae-kung;”—see on IV. Pt I. xiii.
[Ch. IX. ]Mencius condemns the ministers of his time for pandering to, and even encouraging, their rulers’ thirst for wealth and power. This chapter probably owes its place here to its being a sort of sequel to the last paragraph of the preceding one.
[Par. 1. ] “We can enlarge the territory of the cultivated ground;”—compare IV. Pt I. xiv. 3. The territory would be enlarged at the expense of the people, taking their commons from them, and making them labour upon them for the ruler. Chaou K‘e takes the phrase as meaning the appropriation of small States;—which is not so good.
Par. 4. See IV. Pt I. xiv. 2.
[Ch. X. ]An ordered State can only subsist with a proper system of taxation; and that which originated with Yaou and Shun is the proper one for China.
[Par. 1. ] Pih Kwei (as appears from next chapter, named Tan) is generally supposed to have been a man of Chow, ascetic in his own habits and fond of innovations. Such is the account of him given by Sze-ma Ts‘een; but there are difficulties in the way of our supposing Ts‘ëen’s Pih Kwei to be the same as the person who appears here.
[Par. 2. ] The Mih were one of the wild tribes lying on the north of the middle States,—the China of Mencius’ time. The name does not occur in the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw, nor in the Tso Chuen. Its territory, lying far north, would be unfit for most of the kinds of gram. The people would be for the most part nomads, and very inferior in civilization to those of the States of China, though Mencius perhaps rather exaggerates the extent of their barbarism.
[Par. 7. ] Under the system of taxation proposed by Pih Kwei, China would become a copy of the Mih; under a heavier system than that of Yaou and Shun, it would be brought to its state under the tyrant Këeh.
[Ch. XI. ]Pih Kwei’s presumptuous idea that he could regulate inundations of the rivers better than Yu had done.
There must have been some partial mundations at this time, and Pih Kwei had been called in to remedy them. This he had done in an unsatisfactory way, benefiting one State at the expense of others.
[Ch. XII. ]Faith in principles is necessary to firmness in action.
[Ch. XIII. ]Of what importance it is to a minister—to government—to love what is good.
[Par. 1. ] Yoh-ching,—see I. Pt I. xvi. et al.
[Par. 2. ] The three gifts mentioned here were those generally considered most important to government, and Kung-sun Ch‘ow, knowing Yoh-ching to be deficient in them, shaped his questions accordingly.
[Par. 4. ] On this it is said:—“In the administration of government, the most excellent quality is without prejudice and dispassionately to receive what is good. Now Yoh-ching in his heart sincerely loved all good words and good actions.”
[Ch. XIV. ]The grounds on which worthies of old took office or left it.
[Par. 1. ] “The disciple Ch‘in” here was the Ch‘in Ts‘in of II. Pt II. iii.
[Parr. 2—4. ] Compare V. Pt II. iv. 7. There Confucius appears as having taken office on all the grounds mentioned here. In this chapter our philosopher enters more into the grounds why the office once undertaken should again be abandoned;—if in the third case we can speak of office having been taken.
[Ch. XV. ]Trials and hardships the way in which Heaven prepares men for great services. Illustrated by the cases of several eminent worthies of former times.
[Par. 1. ] The rise of Shun is well known:—see the 1st part of the Book of History. Foo Yueh,—see the Book of History, Part IV. viii., where it is related that king Kaou-tsung, having dreamt that “God gave him a good assistant,” caused a picture of the man he had seen in his dream to be made, and search made for him through the kingdom, when he was found dwelling in the wilderness of Foo-yen. Sze-ma Ts‘een says that the surname of the man was given in the dream as Foo, and his name as Yueh, which the king interpreted as meaning, that he would be a “tutor” (foo) to himself, and a “blessing” (yueh) to the people. Kaou Kih is mentioned in II. Pt I. i. 8, as an able assistant of the last king of Yin. In the disorders and misgovernment of that king Kaou Kih had retired to obscurity, and was discovered by the lord of Chow in the guise of a seller of fish and salt, and induced to take office under the king, with whom Kih continued faithful to the last.
Kwan E-woo was the chief minister of duke Hwan of Ts‘e;—see II. Pt I. i.; et al. He was carried from Loo to Ts‘e in a cage, Hwan having demanded his surrender that he might have the pleasure of putting him to death; but he met him outside the city and raised him to the greatest distinction. Shuh-sun Gaou was chief minister to king Chwang of Ts‘oo, one of the five presidents of the States. He appears in the narratives of the Tso Chuen (see Book VII. xi.; et al.) as Wei Gae-leeh. He belonged to one of the principal families of Ts‘oo; but being at one time treated with neglect by the king, he had retired into obscurity, and lived somewhere (it must have been out of Ts‘oo) on the sea-coast. The events of his life at this time, however, are all but lost to history. Afterwards, he did good service to the State. Sun-shuh must have been his designation originally, and Gaou was the name of an office in Ts‘oo,—probably the sound of its appellation in the original language of the country. Pih-le He,—see V. Pt I. ix.
[Par. 3. ] This par. is intended to show that the same thing may in a manner be predicated of ordinary men. The concluding part seems to say that though most men are not quick of apprehension, yet when things are brought clearly before them, they can lay hold of them.
[Par. 4. ] The same thing is true of a State. “Families attached to the laws” will not readily submit to the infraction of those laws without remonstrating, and their feelings will find a voice in the “able counsellors.” This will stimulate the ruler’s mind; and foreign danger will make him careful, and rouse him to exertion.
[Ch. XVI. ]That a refusal to teach may be teaching.
There is a sufficient example of what Mencius states here in the second chapter.