Front Page Titles (by Subject) KAOU-TSZE. PART II. - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius
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KAOU-TSZE. PART II. - Mencius, The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius 
The Chinese Classics: Translated into English with Preliminary Essays and Explanatory Notes by James Legge. Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius. (London: N. Trübner, 1875).
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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.”
[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.
[* ]Title of this Book. Like the previous Books, this is named from the commencing words—Tsin Sin, “The exhausting of all the mental constitution.” It contains many more chapters than any of the others,—brief, enigmatical sentences for the most part, conveying Mencius’ views on human nature. It is more abstruse also, and the student will have much difficulty in satisfying himself that he has hit the exact meaning of our philosopher. The author of “The Root and Relish of the four Books” says:—“This Book was made by Mencius in his old age. Its style is terse, and its meaning deep, and we cannot discover an order of subjects in its chapters. He had completed the previous chapters, and this grew up under his stylus, as his mind was affected, and he was prompted to give expression to his thoughts. The first chapter, however, may be regarded as a compendium of the whole.”