Mencius : Chapter 3 |
1. Chwang Pâ'o, seeing Mencius, said to him, 'I had an interview with the king.
His Majesty told me that he loved music, and I was not prepared with anything to
reply to him. What do you pronounce about that love of music?' Mencius replied,
'If the king's love of music were very great, the kingdom of Ch'î would be near
to a state of good government!'
2. Another day, Mencius, having an interview with the king, said, 'Your Majesty,
I have heard, told the officer Chwang, that you love music;-- was it so?' The
king changed colour, and said, 'I am unable to love the music of the ancient
sovereigns; I only love the music that suits the manners of the present age.'
3. Mencius said, 'If your Majesty's love of music were very great, Ch'î would be
near to a state of good government! The music of the present day is just like
the music of antiquity, as regards effecting that.'
4. The king said, 'May I hear from you the proof of that?' Mencius asked, 'Which
is the more pleasant,-- to enjoy music by yourself alone, or to enjoy it with
others?' 'To enjoy it with others,' was the reply. 'And which is the more
pleasant,-- to enjoy music with a few, or to enjoy it with many?' 'To enjoy it
5. Mencius proceeded, 'Your servant begs to explain what I have said about music
to your Majesty.
6. 'Now, your Majesty is having music here.-- The people hear the noise of your
bells and drums, and the notes of your fifes and pipes, and they all, with
aching heads, knit their brows, and say to one another, "That's how our king
likes his music! But why does he reduce us to this extremity of distress?--
Fathers and sons cannot see one another. Elder brothers and younger brothers,
wives and children, are separated and scattered abroad." Now, your Majesty is
hunting here.-- The people hear the noise of your carriages and horses, and see
the beauty of your plumes and streamers, and they all, with aching heads, knit
their brows, and say to one another, "That's how our king likes his hunting! But
why does he reduce us to this extremity of distress?-- Fathers and sons cannot
see one another. Elder brothers and younger brothers, wives and children, are
separated and scattered abroad." Their feeling thus is from no other reason but
that you do not allow the people to have pleasure as well as yourself.
7. 'Now, your Majesty is having music here. The people hear the noise of your
bells and drums, and the notes of your fifes and pipes, and they all, delighted,
and with joyful looks, say to one another, "That sounds as if our king were free
from all sickness! If he were not, how could he enjoy this music?" Now, your
Majesty is hunting here.-- The people hear the noise of your carriages and
horses, and see the beauty of your plumes and streamers, and they all,
delighted, and with joyful looks, say to one another, "That looks as if our king
were free from all sickness! If he were not, how could he enjoy this hunting?"
Their feeling thus is from no other reason but that you cause them to have their
pleasure as you have yours.
8. 'If your Majesty now will make pleasure a thing common to the people and
yourself, the royal sway awaits you.'
1. The king Hsüan of Ch'î asked, 'Was it so, that the park of king Wan contained
seventy square lî?' Mencius replied, 'It is so in the records.'
2. 'Was it so large as that?' exclaimed the king. 'The people,' said Mencius,
'still looked on it as small.' The king added, 'My park contains only forty
square lî, and the people still look on it as large. How is this?' 'The park of
king Wan,' was the reply, 'contained seventy square lî, but the grass-cutters
and fuel-gatherers had the privilege of entrance into it; so also had the
catchers of pheasants and hares. He shared it with the people, and was it not
with reason that they looked on it as small?
3. 'When I first arrived at the borders of your kingdom, I inquired about the
great prohibitory regulations, before I would venture to enter it; and I heard,
that inside the barrier-gates there was a park of forty square lî, and that he
who killed a deer in it, was held guilty of the same crime as if he had killed a
man.-- Thus those forty square lî are a pitfall in the middle of the kingdom. Is
it not with reason that the people look upon them as large?'
1. The king Hsüan of Ch'î asked, saying, 'Is there any way to regulate one's
maintenance of intercourse with neighbouring kingdoms?' Mencius replied, 'There
is. But it requires a perfectly virtuous prince to be able, with a great
country, to serve a small one,-- as, for instance, T'ang served Ko, and king Wan
served the Kwan barbarians. And it requires a wise prince to be able, with a
small country, to serve a large one,-- as the king T'âi served the Hsün-yü, and
Kâu-ch'ien served Wû.
2. 'He who with a areat State serves a small one, delights in Heaven. He who
with a small State serves a large one, stands in awe of Heaven. He who delights
in Heaven, will affect with his love and protection the whole kingdom. He who
stands in awe of Heaven, will affect with his love and protection his own
3. 'It is said in the Book of Poetry, "I fear the Majesty of Heaven, and will
thus preserve its favouring decree."'
4. The king said,'A great saying! But I have an infirmity;-- I love valour.'
5. I beg your Majesty,' was the reply, 'not to love small valour. If a man
brandishes his sword, looks fiercely, and says, "How dare he withstand me?"--
this is the valour of a common man, who can be the opponent only of a single
individual. I beg your Majesty to greaten it.
6. 'It is said in the Book of Poetry,
"The king blazed with anger,
And he marshalled his hosts,
To stop the march to Chü,
To consolidate the prosperity of Châu,
To meet the expectations of the nation."
This was the valour of king Wan. King Wan, in one burst of his anger, gave
repose to all the people of the kingdom.
7. 'In the Book of History it is said, "Heaven having produced the inferior
people, made for them rulers and teachers, with the purpose that they should be
assisting to God, and therefore distinguished them throughout the four quarters
of the land. Whoever are offenders, and whoever are innocent, here am I to deal
with them. How dare any under heaven give indulgence to their refractory wills?"
There was one man pursuing a violent and disorderly course in the kingdom, and
king Wû was ashamed of it. This was the valour of king Wû. He also, by one
display of his anger, gave repose to all the people of the kingdom.
8. 'Let now your Majesty also, in one burst of anger, give repose to all the
people of the kingdom. The people are only afraid that your Majesty does not
1. The king Hsüan of Ch'î had an interview with Mencius in the Snow palace, and
said to him, 'Do men of talents and worth likewise find pleasure in these
things?' Mencius replied, 'They do; and if people generally are not able to
enjoy themselves, they condemn their superiors.
2. 'For them, when they cannot enjoy themselves, to condemn their superiors is
wrong, but when the superiors of the people do not make enjoyment a thing common
to the people and themselves, they also do wrong.
3. 'When a ruler rejoices in the joy of his people, they also rejoice in his
joy; when he grieves at the sorrow of his people, they also grieve at his
sorrow. A sympathy of joy will pervade the kingdom ; a sympathy of sorrow will
do the same:-- in such a state of things, it cannot be but that the ruler attain
to the royal dignity.
4. 'Formerly, the duke Ching of Ch'î asked the minister Yen, saying, "I wish to
pay a visit of inspection to Chwan-fû, and Cbâo-wû, and then to bend my course
southward along the shore, till I come to Lang-yê. What shall I do that my tour
may be fit to be compared with the visits of inspection made by the ancient
5. 'The minister Yen replied, "An excellent inquiry! When the Son of Heaven
visited the princes, it was called a tour of inspection, that is, be surveyed
the States under their care. When the princes attended at the court of the Son
of Heaven, it was called a report of office, that is, they reported their
administration of their offices. Thus, neither of the proceedings was without a
purpose. And moreover, in the spring they examined the ploughing, and supplied
any deficiency of seed; in the autumn they examined the reaping, and supplied
any deficiency of yield. There is the saying of the Hsiâ dynasty,-- If our king
do not take his ramble, what will become of our happiness? If our king do not
make his excursion, what will become of our help? That ramble, and that
excursion, were a pattern to the princes.
6. '"Now, the state of things is different.-- A host marches in attendance on
the ruler, and stores of provisions are consumed. The hungry are deprived of
their food, and there is no rest for those who are called to toil. Maledictions
are uttered by one to another with eyes askance, and the people proceed to the
commission of wickedness. Thus the royal ordinances are violated, and the people
are oppressed, and the supplies of food and drink flow away like water. The
rulers yield themselves to the current, or they urge their way against it; they
are wild; they are utterly lost:-- these things proceed to the grief of the
7. '"Descending along with the current, and forgetting to return, is what I call
yielding to it. Pressing up against it, and forgetting to return, is what I call
urging their way against it. Pursuing the chase without satiety is what I call
being wild. Delighting in wine without satiety is what I call being lost.
8. '"The ancient sovereigns had no pleasures to which they gave themselves as on
the flowing stream; no doings which might be so characterized as wild and lost.
9. '"It is for you, my prince, to pursue your course."'
10. 'The duke Ching was pleased. He issued a proclamation throughout his State,
and went out and occupied a shed in the borders. From that time he began to open
his granaries to supply the wants of the people, and calling the Grand
music-master, he said to him-- "Make for me music to suit a prince and his
minister pleased with each other." And it was then that the Chî-shâo and
Chio-shâo were made, in the words to which it was said, "Is it a fault to
restrain one's prince?" He who restrains his prince loves his prince.'
1. The king Hsüan of Ch'î said, 'People all tell me to pull down and remove the
Hall of Distinction. Shall I pull it down, or stop the movement for that
2. Mencius replied, 'The Hall of Distinction is a Hall appropriate to the
sovereigns. If your Majesty wishes to practise the true royal government, then
do not pull it down.'
3. The king said, 'May I hear from you what the true royal government is?'
'Formerly,' was the reply, 'king Wan's government of Ch'î was as follows:-- The
husbandmen cultivated for the government one-ninth of the land; the descendants
of officers were salaried; at the passes and in the markets, strangers were
inspected, but goods were not taxed: there were no prohibitions respecting the
ponds and weirs; the wives and children of criminals were not involved in their
guilt. There were the old and wifeless, or widowers; the old and husbandless, or
widows; the old and childless, or solitaries ; the young and fatherless, or
orphans:-- these four classes are the most destitute of the people, and have
none to whom they can tell their wants, and king Wan, in the institution of his
government with its benevolent action, made them the first objects of his
regard, as it is said in the Book of Poetry,
"The rich may get through life well;
But alas! for the miserable and solitary!"'
4. The king said, 'O excellent words!' Mencius said, 'Since your Majesty deems
them excellent, why do you not practise them?' 'I have an infirmity,' said the
king; 'I am fond of wealth.' The reply was, 'Formerly, Kung-lîu was fond of
wealth. It is said in the Book of Poetry,
"He reared his ricks, and filled his granaries,
He tied up dried provisions and grain,
In bottomless bags, and sacks,
That he might gather his people together, and glorify his State.
With bows and arrows all-displayed,
With shields, and spears, and battle-axes, large and small,
He commenced his march."
In this way those who remained in their old seat had their ricks and granaries,
and those who marched had their bags of provisions. It was not till after this
that he thought he could begin his march. If your Majesty loves wealth, give the
people power to gratify the same feeling, and what difficulty will there be in
your attaining the royal sway?'
5. The king said, 'I have an infirmity; I am fond of beauty.' The reply was,
'Formerly, king T'âi was fond of beauty, and loved his wife. It is said in the
Book of Poetry,
Kû-kung T'an-fû Came in the morning, galloping his horse, By the banks of the
western waters, As far as the foot of Ch'î hill, Along with the lady of
Chiang; They came and together chose the site for their settlement."
At that time, in the seclusion of the house, there were no dissatisfied women,
and abroad, there were no unmarried men. If your Majesty loves beauty, let the
people be able to gratify the same feeling, and what difficulty will there be in
your attaining the royal sway?'
1. Mencius said to the king Hsüan of Ch'î, 'Suppose that one of your Majesty's
ministers were to entrust his wife and children to the care of his friend, while
he himself went into Ch'û to travel, and that, on his return, he should find
that the friend had let his wife and children suffer from cold and hunger;-- how
ought he to deal with him?' The king said, 'He should cast him off.'
2. Mencius proceeded, 'Suppose that the chief criminal judge could not regulate
the officers under him, how would you deal with him?' The king said, 'Dismiss
3. Mencius again said, 'If within the four borders of your kingdom there is not
good government, what is to be done?' The king looked to the right and left, and
spoke of other matters.
Mencius : Chapter 3