YANG HOU1 wished to see Confucius. Confucius did not visit him. He sent Confucius a sucking pig. Confucius chose a time when he was out, and went to thank him. They met on the road. He said to Confucius: Come, let us speak together. To cherish a gem and undo the kingdom, is that love? It is not, said Confucius. To be fond of power and let each chance of office slip, is that wisdom? It is not, said Confucius. The days and months glide by; the years do not tarry for us. True, said Confucius; I must take office.
As the Master drew near to Wu-ch´eng2 he heard sounds of lute and song. Why use an ox-knife to kill a fowl? said the Master, with a pleased smile. Tzu-yu answered: Master, I have heard you say of yore: A gentleman who has conned the truth will love mankind; poor folk who have conned the truth are easy to rule. My boys, said the Master, Yen3 is right. I spake before in play.
Kung-shan Fu-jao4 held Pi in rebellion. He summoned the Master, who fain would have gone. Tzu-lu said in displeasure: This cannot be. Why must ye go to Kung-shan? The Master said: This lord summons me, and would that be all? Could I not make an Eastern Chou5 of him that employed me?
Tzu-chang asked Confucius, What is love? Love, said Confucius, is to mete out five things to all below heaven. May I ask what they are? Modesty and bounty, said Confucius, truth, earnestness, and kindness. Modesty escapes insult; bounty wins the many; truth gains mens trust; earnestness brings success; kindness is the key to mens work.
Pi Hsi summoned the Master, who fain would have gone. Tzu-lu said: Master, I have heard you say of yore: When the man in touch with the soul does evil, a gentleman stands aloof. Pi Hsi holds Chung-mou in rebellion: how, Sir, could ye join him? Yes, I said so, answered the Master. But is not a thing called hard that cannot be ground thin; white, if steeping will not turn it black? and am I a gourd? can I hang without eating?
The Master said: Hast thou heard the six words, Yu,6 or the six they sink into? He answered: No. Sit down that I may tell thee. The thirst for love, without love of learning, sinks into fondness. Love of knowledge, without love of learning, sinks into presumption. Love of truth, without love of learning, sinks into cruelty. Love of uprightness, without love of learning, sinks into harshness. Love of courage, without love of learning, sinks into turbulence. Love of strength, without love of learning, sinks into oddity.
The Master said: My boys, why do ye not study poetry? Poetry would ripen you; teach you insight, fellow-feeling, and forbearance; show you first your duty to your father, then your duty to the king; and would teach you the names of many birds and beasts, plants and trees.
The Master said: Men of old had three failings, which have, perhaps, died out to-day. Ambitious men of old were not nice: ambitious men to-day are unprincipled. Masterful men of old were rough: masterful men to-day are quarrelsome. Simple men of old were straight: simple men to-day are false. That is all.
The Master said: I long for silence. Tzu-kung said: If ye, Sir, were silent, what would your disciples have to tell? The Master said: Does Heaven speak? The seasons four revolve, and all things multiply. Does Heaven speak?
Tsai Wo10 asked about the three years mourning. He thought one enough. If for three years pomp is scouted by the gentry, will not courtesy suffer? If music stop for three years, will not music decay? The old grain vanishes, the new springs up; the round of woods for the fire drill is ended in one year. The Master said: Feeding on rice, clad in brocade, couldst thou feel happy? I could feel happy, he answered. Then do what makes thee happy. A gentleman, when in mourning, has no taste for sweets, no ear for music; he is unhappy in his home. And so he forsakes these things. But since thou art happy in them, keep them. When Tsai Wo had left, the Master said: A man without love! At the age of three a child first leaves his parents arms, and three years is the time for mourning everywhere below heaven. But did Yü11 enjoy for three years a fathers and a mothers love?
Tzu-kung said: Does a gentleman also hate? He does, said the Master. He hates the sounding of evil deeds; he hates men of low estate who slander their betters; he hates courage without courtesy; he hates daring matched with blindness. And Tz´u,1211 he added, dost thou hate too? I hate those who mistake spying for wisdom. I hate those who take want of deference for courage. I hate evil speaking, cloaked as honesty.