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Mencius : Chapter 3

58

1. Chwang P'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' would be near to a state of good government!'

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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.'

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3. Mencius said, 'If your Majesty's love of music were very great, Ch' 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.'

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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 with many.'

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5. Mencius proceeded, 'Your servant begs to explain what I have said about music to your Majesty.

63

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.

64

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.

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8. 'If your Majesty now will make pleasure a thing common to the people and yourself, the royal sway awaits you.'

66

1. The king Hsan of Ch' asked, 'Was it so, that the park of king Wan contained seventy square l?' Mencius replied, 'It is so in the records.'

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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 l, and the people still look on it as large. How is this?' 'The park of king Wan,' was the reply, 'contained seventy square l, 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?

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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 l, 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 l are a pitfall in the middle of the kingdom. Is it not with reason that the people look upon them as large?'

69

1. The king Hsan of Ch' 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'i served the Hsn-y, and Ku-ch'ien served W.

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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 kingdom.

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3. 'It is said in the Book of Poetry, "I fear the Majesty of Heaven, and will thus preserve its favouring decree."'

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4. The king said,'A great saying! But I have an infirmity;-- I love valour.'

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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.

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6. 'It is said in the Book of Poetry, "The king blazed with anger, And he marshalled his hosts, To stop the march to Ch, To consolidate the prosperity of Chu, 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.

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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 W was ashamed of it. This was the valour of king W. He also, by one display of his anger, gave repose to all the people of the kingdom.

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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 love valour.'

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1. The king Hsan of Ch' 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.

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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.

79

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.

80

4. 'Formerly, the duke Ching of Ch' asked the minister Yen, saying, "I wish to pay a visit of inspection to Chwan-f, and Cbo-w, and then to bend my course southward along the shore, till I come to Lang-y. What shall I do that my tour may be fit to be compared with the visits of inspection made by the ancient sovereigns?"

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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 Hsi 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.

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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 inferior princes.

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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.

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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.

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9. '"It is for you, my prince, to pursue your course."'

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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 Ch-sho and Chio-sho 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.'

87

1. The king Hsan of Ch' 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 object?'

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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.'

89

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' 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!"'

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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-lu 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?'

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5. The king said, 'I have an infirmity; I am fond of beauty.' The reply was, 'Formerly, king T'i was fond of beauty, and loved his wife. It is said in the Book of Poetry, K-kung T'an-f Came in the morning, galloping his horse, By the banks of the western waters, As far as the foot of Ch' 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?'

92

1. Mencius said to the king Hsan of Ch', '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' 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.'

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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 him.'

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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

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