Confucian Analects, Confucius, 500 B.C., Part 13
Tsze-lu asked about government.
The Master said, "Go before the people
with your example, and be laborious in
He requested further instruction, and
was answered, "Be not weary in these
Chung-kung, being chief minister to the
head of the Chi family, asked about
government. The Master said, "Employ
first the services of your various
officers, pardon small faults, and raise
to office men of virtue and talents."
Chung-kung said, "How shall I know the
men of virtue and talent, so that I may
raise them to office?" He was answered,
"Raise to office those whom you know. As
to those whom you do not know, will
others neglect them?"
Tsze-lu said, "The ruler of Wei has been
waiting for you, in order with you to
administer the government. What will you
consider the first thing to be done?"
The Master replied, "What is necessary
is to rectify names."
"So! indeed!" said Tsze-lu. "You are
wide of the mark! Why must there be such
The Master said, "How uncultivated you
are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to
what he does not know, shows a cautious
"If names be not correct, language is
not in accordance with the truth of
things. If language be not in accordance
with the truth of things, affairs cannot
be carried on to success.
"When affairs cannot be carried on to
success, proprieties and music do not
flourish. When proprieties and music do
not flourish, punishments will not be
properly awarded. When punishments are
not properly awarded, the people do not
know how to move hand or foot.
"Therefore a superior man considers it
necessary that the names he uses may be
spoken appropriately, and also that what
he speaks may be carried out
appropriately. What the superior man
requires is just that in his words there
may be nothing incorrect."
Fan Ch'ih requested to be taught
husbandry. The Master said, "I am not so
good for that as an old husbandman." He
requested also to be taught gardening,
and was answered, "I am not so good for
that as an old gardener."
Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master
said, "A small man, indeed, is Fan Hsu!
If a superior man love propriety, the
people will not dare not to be reverent.
If he love righteousness, the people
will not dare not to submit to his
example. If he love good faith, the
people will not dare not to be sincere.
Now, when these things obtain, the
people from all quarters will come to
him, bearing their children on their
backs; what need has he of a knowledge
The Master said, "Though a man may be
able to recite the three hundred odes,
yet if, when intrusted with a
governmental charge, he knows not how to
act, or if, when sent to any quarter on
a mission, he cannot give his replies
unassisted, notwithstanding the extent
of his learning, of what practical use
The Master said, "When a prince's
personal conduct is correct, his
government is effective without the
issuing of orders. If his personal
conduct is not correct, he may issue
orders, but they will not be followed."
The Master said, "The governments of Lu
and Wei are brothers."
The Master said of Ching, a scion of the
ducal family of Wei, that he knew the
economy of a family well. When he began
to have means, he said, "Ha! here is a
collection-!" When they were a little
increased, he said, "Ha! this is
complete!" When he had become rich, he
said, "Ha! this is admirable!"
When the Master went to Weil Zan Yu
acted as driver of his carriage.
The Master observed, "How numerous are
Yu said, "Since they are thus numerous,
what more shall be done for them?"
"Enrich them, was the reply.
"And when they have been enriched, what
more shall be done?" The Master said,
The Master said, "If there were any of
the princes who would employ me, in the
course of twelve months, I should have
done something considerable. In three
years, the government would be
The Master said, "'If good men were to
govern a country in succession for a
hundred years, they would be able to
transform the violently bad, and
dispense with capital punishments.' True
indeed is this saying!"
The Master said, "If a truly royal ruler
were to arise, it would stir require a
generation, and then virtue would
The Master said, "If a minister make his
own conduct correct, what difficulty
will he have in assisting in government?
If he cannot rectify himself, what has
he to do with rectifying others?"
The disciple Zan returning from the
court, the Master said to him, "How are
you so late?" He replied, "We had
government business." The Master said,
"It must have been family affairs. If
there had been government business,
though I am not now in office, I should
have been consulted about it."
The Duke Ting asked whether there was a
single sentence which could make a
country prosperous. Confucius replied,
"Such an effect cannot be expected from
"There is a saying, however, which
people have -'To be a prince is
difficult; to be a minister is not
"If a ruler knows this,-the difficulty
of being a prince,-may there not be
expected from this one sentence the
prosperity of his country?"
The duke then said, "Is there a single
sentence which can ruin a country?"
Confucius replied, "Such an effect as
that cannot be expected from one
sentence. There is, however, the saying
which people have-'I have no pleasure in
being a prince, but only in that no one
can offer any opposition to what I say!'
"If a ruler's words be good, is it not
also good that no one oppose them? But
if they are not good, and no one opposes
them, may there not be expected from
this one sentence the ruin of his
The Duke of Sheh asked about government.
The Master said, "Good government
obtains when those who are near are made
happy, and those who are far off are
Tsze-hsia! being governor of Chu-fu,
asked about government. The Master said,
"Do not be desirous to have things done
quickly; do not look at small
advantages. Desire to have things done
quickly prevents their being done
thoroughly. Looking at small advantages
prevents great affairs from being
The Duke of Sheh informed Confucius,
saying, "Among us here there are those
who may be styled upright in their
conduct. If their father have stolen a
sheep, they will bear witness to the
Confucius said, "Among us, in our part
of the country, those who are upright
are different from this. The father
conceals the misconduct of the son, and
the son conceals the misconduct of the
father. Uprightness is to be found in
Fan Ch'ih asked about perfect virtue.
The Master said, "It is, in retirement,
to be sedately grave; in the management
of business, to be reverently attentive;
in intercourse with others, to be
strictly sincere. Though a man go among
rude, uncultivated tribes, these
qualities may not be neglected."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What qualities
must a man possess to entitle him to be
called an officer? The Master said, "He
who in his conduct of himself maintains
a sense of shame, and when sent to any
quarter will not disgrace his prince's
commission, deserves to be called an
Tsze-kung pursued, "I venture to ask who
may be placed in the next lower rank?"
And he was told, "He whom the circle of
his relatives pronounce to be filial,
whom his fellow villagers and neighbors
pronounce to be fraternal."
Again the disciple asked, "I venture to
ask about the class still next in
order." The Master said, "They are
determined to be sincere in what they
say, and to carry out what they do. They
are obstinate little men. Yet perhaps
they may make the next class."
Tsze-kung finally inquired, "Of what
sort are those of the present day, who
engage in government?" The Master said
"Pooh! they are so many pecks and
hampers, not worth being taken into
The Master said, "Since I cannot get men
pursuing the due medium, to whom I might
communicate my instructions, I must find
the ardent and the cautiously-decided.
The ardent will advance and lay hold of
truth; the cautiously-decided will keep
themselves from what is wrong."
The Master said, "The people of the
south have a saying -'A man without
constancy cannot be either a wizard or a
"Inconstant in his virtue, he will be
visited with disgrace."
The Master said, "This arises simply
from not attending to the
The Master said, "The superior man is
affable, but not adulatory; the mean man
is adulatory, but not affable."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What do you
say of a man who is loved by all the
people of his neighborhood?" The Master
replied, "We may not for that accord our
approval of him." "And what do you say
of him who is hated by all the people of
his neighborhood?" The Master said, "We
may not for that conclude that he is
bad. It is better than either of these
cases that the good in the neighborhood
love him, and the bad hate him."
The Master said, "The superior man is
easy to serve and difficult to please.
If you try to please him in any way
which is not accordant with right, he
will not be pleased. But in his
employment of men, he uses them
according to their capacity. The mean
man is difficult to serve, and easy to
please. If you try to please him, though
it be in a way which is not accordant
with right, he may be pleased. But in
his employment of men, he wishes them to
be equal to everything."
The Master said, "The superior man has a
dignified ease without pride. The mean
man has pride without a dignified ease."
The Master said, "The firm, the
enduring, the simple, and the modest are
near to virtue."
Tsze-lu asked, saying, "What qualities
must a man possess to entitle him to be
called a scholar?" The Master said, "He
must be thus,-earnest, urgent, and
bland:-among his friends, earnest and
urgent; among his brethren, bland."
The Master said, "Let a good man teach
the people seven years, and they may
then likewise be employed in war."
The Master said, "To lead an
uninstructed people to war, is to throw
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