Mencius : Chapter 19 |
1. Mencius said, 'Po-î would not allow his eyes to look on a bad sight, nor his
ears to listen to a bad sound. He would not serve a prince whom he did not
approve, nor command a people whom he did not esteem. In a time of good
government he took office, and on the occurrence of confusion he retired. He
could not bear to dwell either in a court from which a lawless government
emanated, or among lawless people. He considered his being in the same place
with a villager, as if he were to sit amid mud and coals with his court robes
and court cap. In the time of Châu he dwelt on the shores of the North sea,
waiting the purification of the kingdom. Therefore when men now hear the
character of Po-î, the corrupt become pure, and the weak acquire determination.
2. 'Î Yin said, "Whom may I not serve? My serving him makes him my sovereign.
What people may I not command? My commanding them makes them my people." In a
time of good government he took office, and when confusion prevailed, he also
took office. He said, "Heaven's plan in the production of mankind is this:--
that they who are first informed should instruct those who are later in being
informed, and they who first apprehend principles should instruct those who are
slower in doing so. I am the one of Heaven's people who has first apprehended;--
I will take these principles and instruct the people in them." He thought that
among all the people of the kingdom, even the common men and women, if there
were any who did not share in the enjoyment of such benefits as Yâo and Shun
conferred, it was as if he himself pushed them into a ditch;-- for he took upon
himself the heavy charge of the kingdom.
3. 'Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was not ashamed to serve an impure prince, nor did he think
it low to be an inferior officer. When advanced to employment, he did not
conceal his virtue, but made it a point to carry out his principles. When
dismissed and left without office, he did not murmur. When straitened by
poverty, he did not grieve. When thrown into the company of village people, he
was quite at ease and could not bear to leave them. He had a saying, "You are
you, and I am I. Although you stand by my side with breast and arms bare, or
with your body naked, how can you defile me?" Therefore when men now hear the
character of Hûi of Liü-hsiâ, the mean become generous, and the niggardly become
4. 'When Confucius was leaving Ch'î, he strained off with his hand the water in
which his rice was being rinsed, took the rice, and went away. When he left Lû,
he said, "I will set out by-and-by:"-- it was right he should leave the country
of his parents in this way. When it was proper to go away quickly, he did so;
when it was proper to delay, he did so; when it was proper to keep in
retirement, he did so; when it was proper to go into office, he did so:-- this
5. Mencius said,'Po-î among the sages was the pure one; Î Yin was the one most
inclined to take office; Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was the accommodating one; and
Confucius was the timeous one.
6. 'In Confucius we have what is called a complete concert. A complete concert
is when the large bell proclaims the commencement of the music, and the ringing
stone proclaims its close. The metal sound commences the blended harmony of all
the instruments, and the winding up with the stone terminates that blended
harmony. The commencing that harmony is the work of wisdom. The terminating it
is the work of sageness.
7. 'As a comparison for wisdom, we may liken it to skill, and as a comparison
for sageness, we may liken it to strength;-- as in the case of shooting at a
mark a hundred paces distant. That you reach it is owing to your strength, but
that you hit the mark is not owing to your strength.'
1. Pêi-kung Î asked Mencius, saying, 'What was the arrangement of dignities and
emoluments determined by the House of Châu?'
2. Mencius replied, 'The particulars of that arrangement cannot be learned, for
the princes, disliking them as injurious to themselves, have all made away with
the records of them. Still I have learned the general outline of them.
3. 'The SON OF HEAVEN constituted one dignity; the KUNG one; the HÂU one; the
PÂI one; and the TSZE and the NAN each one of equal rank:-- altogether making
five degrees of rank. The RULER again constituted one dignity; the CHIEF
MINISTER one; the GREAT OFFICERS one; the SCHOLARS OF THE FIRST CLASS one; THOSE
OF THE MIDDLE CLASS one; and THOSE OF THE LOWEST CLASS one:-- altogether making
six degrees of dignity.
4. 'To the Son of Heaven there was allotted a territory of a thousand lî square.
A Kung and a Hâu had each a hundred lî square. A Pâi had seventy lî, and a Tsze
and a Nan had each fifty lî. The assignments altogether were of four amounts.
Where the territory did not amount to fiftylî, the chief could not have access
himself to the Son of Heaven. His land was attached to some Hâu-ship, and was
called a FÛ-YUNG.
5. 'The Chief ministers of the Son of Heaven received an amount of territory
equal to that of a Hâu; a Great officer received as much as a Pâi; and a scholar
of the first class as much as a Tsze or a Nan.
6. 'In a great State, where the territory was a hundred lî square, the ruler had
ten times as much income as his Chief ministers; a Chief minister four times as
much as a Great officer; a Great officer twice as much as a scholar of the first
class; a scholar of the first class twice as much as one of the middle; a
scholar of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; the scholars of
the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed about the
government offices, had for their emolument as much as was equal to what they
would have made by tilling the fields.
7. 'In a State of the next order, where the territory was seventy lî square, the
ruler had ten times as much revenue as his Chief minister; a Chief minister
three times as much as a Great officer; a Great officer twice as much as a
scholar of the first class; a scholar of the first class twice as much as one of
the middle; a scholar of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest;
the scholars of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed
about the government offices, had for their emolument as much as was equal to
what they would have made by tilling the fields.
8. 'In a small State, where the territory was fifty lî square, the ruler had ten
times as much revenue as his Chief minister; a Chief minister had twice as much
as a Great officer; a Great officer twice as much as a scholar of the highest
class; a scholar of the highest class twice as much as one of the middle; a
scholar of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; scholars of the
lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed about the
government offices, had the same emolument;-- as much, namely, as was equal to
what they would have made by tilling the fields.
9. 'As to those who tilled the fields, each husbandman received a hundred mâu.
When those mâu were manured, the best husbandmen of the highest class supported
nine individuals, and those ranking next to them supported eight. The best
husbandmen of the second class supported seven individuals, and those ranking
next to them supported six; while husbandmen of the lowest class only supported
five. The salaries of the common people who were employed about the government
offices were regulated according to these differences.'
1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'I venture to ask the principles of
friendship.' Mencius replied, 'Friendship should be maintained without any
presumption on the ground of one's superior age, or station, or the
circumstances of his relatives. Friendship with a man is friendship with his
virtue, and does not admit of assumptions of superiority.
2. 'There was Mang Hsien, chief of a family of a hundred chariots. He had five
friends, namely, Yo-chang Chiû, Mû Chung, and three others whose names I have
forgotten. With those five men Hsien maintained a friendship, because they
thought nothing about his family. If they had thought about his family, he would
not have maintained his friendship with them.
3. 'Not only has the chief of a family of a hundred chariots acted thus. The
same thing was exemplified by the sovereign of a small State. The duke Hûi of Pî
said, "I treat Tsze-sze as my Teacher, and Yen Pan as my Friend. As to Wang Shun
and Ch'ang Hsî, they serve me."
4. 'Not only has the sovereign of a small State acted thus. The same thing has
been exemplified by the sovereign of a large State. There was the duke P'ing of
Tsin with Hâi T'ang:-- when T'ang told him to come into his house, he came; when
he told him to be seated, he sat; when he told him to eat, he ate. There might
only be coarse rice and soup of vegetables, but he always ate his fill, not
daring to do otherwise. Here, however, he stopped, and went no farther. He did
not call him to share any of Heaven's places, or to govern any of Heaven's
offices, or to partake of any of Heaven's emoluments. His conduct was but a
scholar's honouring virtue and talents, not the honouring them proper to a king
or a duke.
5. 'Shun went up to court and saw the sovereign, who lodged him as his
son-in-law in the second palace. The sovereign also enjoyed there Shun's
hospitality. Alternately he was host and guest. Here was the sovereign
maintaining friendship with a private man.
6. Respect shown by inferiors to superiors is called giving to the noble the
observance due to rank. Respect shown by superiors to inferiors is called giving
honour to talents and virtue. The rightness in each case is the same.'
1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'I venture to ask what feeling of the mind
is expressed in the presents of friendship?' Mencius replied, 'The feeling of
2. 'How is it,' pursued Chang, 'that the declining a present is accounted
disrespectful?' The answer was, 'When one of honourable rank presents a gift, to
say in the mind, "Was the way in which he got this righteous or not? I must know
this before I can receive it;"-- this is deemed disrespectful, and therefore
presents are not declined.'
3. Wan Chang asked again, 'When one does not take on him in so many express
words to refuse the gift, but having declined it in his heart, saying, "It was
taken by him unrighteously from the people," and then assigns some other reason
for not receiving it;-- is not this a proper course?' Mencius said, 'When the
donor offers it on a ground of reason, and his manner of doing so is according
to propriety;-- in such a case Confucius would have received it.'
4. Wan Chang said, 'Here now is one who stops and robs people outside the gates
of the city. He offers his gift on a ground of reason, and does so in a manner
according to propriety;-- would the reception of it so acquired by robbery be
proper?' Mencius replied, 'It would not be proper. in "The Announcement to Kang"
it is said, "When men kill others, and roll over their bodies to take their
property, being reckless and fearless of death, among all the people there are
none but detest them:"-- thus, such characters are to be put to death, without
waiting to give them warning. Yin received this rule from Hsiâ and Châu received
it from Yin. It cannot be questioned, and to the present day is clearly
acknowledged. How can the grift of a robber be received?'
5. Chang said, 'The princes of the present day take from their people just as a
robber despoils his victim. Yet if they put a good face of propriety on their
gifts, then the superior man receives them. I venture to ask how you explain
this.' Mencius answered, 'Do you think that, if there should arise a truly royal
sovereign, he would collect the princes of the present day, and put them all to
death? Or would he admonish them, and then, on their not changing their ways,
put them to death? Indeed, to call every one who takes what does not properly
belong to him a robber, is pushing a point of resemblance to the utmost, and
insisting on the most refined idea of righteousness. When Confucius was in
office in Lû, the people struggled together for the game taken in hunting, and
he also did the same. If that struggling for the captured game was proper, how
much more may the gifts of the princes be received!'
6. Chang urged, 'Then are we to suppose that when Confucius held office, it was
not with the view to carry his doctrines into practice?' 'It was with that
view,' Mencius replied, and Chang rejoined, 'If the practice of his doctrines
was his business, what had he to do with that struggling for the captured game?'
Mencius said, 'Confucius first rectified his vessels of sacrifice according to
the registers, and did not fill them so rectified with food gathered from every
quarter.' 'But why did he not go away?' He wished to make a trial of carrying
his doctrines into practice. When that trial was sufficient to show that they
could be practised and they were still not practised, then he went away, and
thus it was that he never completed in any State a residence of three years.
7. 'Confucius took office when he saw that the practice of his doctrines was
likely; he took office when his reception was proper; he took office when he was
supported by the State. In the case of his relation to Chî Hwan, he took office,
seeing that the practice of his doctrines was likely. With the duke Ling of Wei
he took office, because his reception was proper. With the duke Hsiâo of Wei he
took office, because he was maintained by the State.'
Mencius : Chapter 19