Being asked what he thought of Tzu-ch´an, the Master said: A kind-hearted man. Asked what he thought of Tzu-hsi, the Master said: Of him! What I think of him! Asked what he thought of Kuan Chung,3 the Master said: He was the man who drove the Po from the town of Pien and its three hundred households, to end his days on coarse rice, and no word of wrong could he find to say.
Tzu-lu asked what were a full-grown man. The Master said: A man wise as Tsang Wu-chung, greedless as Kung-ch´o, bold as Chuang of Pien, skilful as Jan Ch´iu, and graced with courtesy and music, might be called a full-grown man. But to-day who asks the like of a full-grown man? Who in sight of gain remembers right, in face of danger will risk his life, and cleaves to his word for a lifetime, however old the bond, him we must call a full-grown man.
Speaking of Kung-shu Wen, the Master said to Kung-ming Chia: Is it true that thy master does not speak, nor laugh, nor take a gift? Kung-ming Chia answered: That is saying too much. My master speaks when it is time to speak, so none weary of his speaking: he laughs when he is merry, so none weary of his laughter: he takes what it is right to take, so none weary of his taking. It may be so, said the Master; but is it?
Tzu-lu said: When Duke Huan slew the young duke Chiu, Shao Hu died with him, but not Kuan Chung, was this not want of love.4 The Master said: Duke Huan gathered the nobles together, without help from chariots of war, through the might of Kuan Chung. What can love do more? What can love do more?
Tzu-kung said: In becoming minister, instead of dying with the young duke Chiu, when he was slain by Duke Huan, Kuan Chung showed want of love, it would seem. The Master said: Through Kuan Chung helping Duke Huan to bend the nobility, and tame the world, men have fared the better from that day unto this. But for Kuan Chung we should wear our hair down our backs and the left arm bare: or should he, like the ploughboy and his lass, their troth to keep, have drowned in a ditch, no man the wiser?
The Master spake of the wickedness of Ling, Duke of Wei. K´ang5 said: If that be so, how does he escape ruin? Confucius answered: With Chung-shu Yü in charge of the guests, the reader T´o in charge of the Ancestral Temple, and Wang-sun Chia in charge of the troops, how should he come to ruin?
Ch´en Ch´eng murdered Duke Chien.6 Confucius cleansed himself, went to court, and told Duke Ai, saying: Ch´en Heng has murdered his prince. Pray chastise him. The duke said: Tell the three chiefs. Confucius said: Following in the wake of the ministry I dared not leave this untold; but the prince says, Tell the three chiefs. He told the three chiefs. It was vain. Confucius said: Following in the wake of the ministry I dared not leave this untold.
Ch´ü Po-yü sent an envoy to Confucius. As they sat together, Confucius asked him: How is your lord busied? He answered: My lord tries to pare his faults, and tries in vain. When the envoy had left, the Master said: An envoy, an envoy indeed!
The Master said: Alas! no man knows me! Tzu-kung said: Why do ye say, Sir, that no man knows you? The Master said: Never murmuring against Heaven, nor finding fault with men; learning from the lowest, cleaving the heights. I am known but to one, but to Heaven.
Liao, the dukes uncle, spake ill of Tzu-lu to Chi-sun.7 Tzu-fu Ching-po told this to Confucius, saying: My lords mind is surely being led astray by the dukes uncle, but strength is yet mine to expose his body in the market-place. The Master said: The doom has fallen if truth is to win: it has fallen if truth is to lose. Can Liao, the dukes uncle, fight against doom?
When the Master was chiming his sounding stones in Wei, a basket-bearer said, as he passed the door: His heart is full, who chimes those stones! But then he added: For shame! What a tinkling note! If no one heed thee, have done!
Wade the deep places,
Lift thy robe through the shallows.
The Master said: Where theres a will, that is lightly done.
Tzu-chang said: What does the book mean by saying that Kao-tsung,8 when mourning his predecessor, did not speak for three years? The Master said: Why pick out Kao-tsung? Men of old were all thus. For three years after the king had died, the hundred officers acted each for himself, and obeyed the chief minister.
Tzu-lu asked, What is a gentleman? The Master said: A man bent on shaping his mind. Is that all? said Tzu-lu. On shaping his mind to give happiness to others. And is that all? On shaping his mind to give happiness to the people, said the Master. To shape the mind and give happiness to the people, for this both Yao and Shun still pined.
When a lad from the village of Ch´üeh was made message-bearer, some one asked, saying: Is it because he has made progress? The Master said: I have seen him sitting in a mans seat, seen him walking abreast of his elders. This shows no wish to improve, only hurry to be a man.
Note 4. Huan and Chiu were brothers, sons of the Duke of Ch´i. When the father died, their uncle seized the throne. To preserve the rightful heirs Shao Hu and Kuan Chung fled with Chiu to Lu, whilst Huan escaped to another state. The usurper having subsequently been murdered, Huan returned to Ch´i and secured the throne. He then required the Duke of Lu to kill his brother and deliver up to him Shao Hu and Kuan Chung. This was done. But on the way, to Ch´i, Shao Hu cut his throat. Kuan Chung, on the other hand, took service under Duke Huan, became his Prime Minister, and raised the state to greatness (see note to iii. 22). [back]
Note 6. B.C. 481, two years before the death of Confucius, who was not at the time in office. Chien was Duke of Ch´i, a state bordering on Lu. The three chiefs were the heads of the three great clans, all powerful in Lu. [back]
Note 7. The head of the Chi clan, in whose service Tzu-lu was. [back]