Confucian Analects, Confucius, 500 B.C., Part 5
The Master said of Kung-ye
Ch'ang that he might be wived; although
he was put in bonds, he had not been
guilty of any crime. Accordingly, he
gave him his own daughter to wife.
Of Nan Yung he said that if the country
were well governed he would not be out
of office, and if it were in governed,
he would escape punishment and disgrace.
He gave him the daughter of his own
elder brother to wife.
The Master said of Tsze-chien, "Of
superior virtue indeed is such a man! If
there were not virtuous men in Lu, how
could this man have acquired this
Tsze-kung asked, "What do you say of me,
Ts'ze!" The Master said, "You are a
utensil." "What utensil?" "A gemmed
Some one said, "Yung is truly virtuous,
but he is not ready with his tongue."
The Master said, "What is the good of
being ready with the tongue? They who
encounter men with smartness of speech
for the most part procure themselves
hatred. I know not whether he be truly
virtuous, but why should he show
readiness of the tongue?"
The Master was wishing Ch'i-tiao K'ai to
enter an official employment. He
replied, "I am not yet able to rest in
the assurance of this." The Master was
The Master said, "My doctrines make no
way. I will get upon a raft, and float
about on the sea. He that will accompany
me will be Yu, I dare say." Tsze-lu
hearing this was glad, upon which the
Master said, "Yu is fonder of daring
than I am. He does not exercise his
judgment upon matters."
Mang Wu asked about Tsze-lu, whether he
was perfectly virtuous. The Master said,
"I do not know."
He asked again, when the Master replied,
"In a kingdom of a thousand chariots, Yu
might be employed to manage the military
levies, but I do not know whether he be
"And what do you say of Ch'iu?" The
Master replied, "In a city of a thousand
families, or a clan of a hundred
chariots, Ch'iu might be employed as
governor, but I do not know whether he
is perfectly virtuous."
"What do you say of Ch'ih?" The Master
replied, "With his sash girt and
standing in a court, Ch'ih might be
employed to converse with the visitors
and guests, but I do not know whether he
is perfectly virtuous."
The Master said to Tsze-kung, "Which do
you consider superior, yourself or Hui?"
Tsze-kung replied, "How dare I compare
myself with Hui? Hui hears one point and
knows all about a subject; I hear one
point, and know a second."
The Master said, "You are not equal to
him. I grant you, you are not equal to
Tsai Yu being asleep during the daytime,
the Master said, "Rotten wood cannot be
carved; a wall of dirty earth will not
receive the trowel. This Yu,-what is the
use of my reproving him?"
The Master said, "At first, my way with
men was to hear their words, and give
them credit for their conduct. Now my
way is to hear their words, and look at
their conduct. It is from Yu that I have
learned to make this change."
The Master said, "I have not seen a firm
and unbending man." Some one replied,
"There is Shan Ch'ang." "Ch'ang," said
the Master, "is under the influence of
his passions; how can he be pronounced
firm and unbending?"
Tsze-kung said, "What I do not wish men
to do to me, I also wish not to do to
men." The Master said, "Ts'ze, you have
not attained to that."
Tsze-kung said, "The Master's personal
displays of his principles and ordinary
descriptions of them may be heard. His
discourses about man's nature, and the
way of Heaven, cannot be heard."
When Tsze-lu heard anything, if he had
not yet succeeded in carrying it into
practice, he was only afraid lest he
should hear something else.
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "On what ground
did Kung-wan get that title of Wan?"
The Master said, "He was of an active
nature and yet fond of learning, and he
was not ashamed to ask and learn of his
inferiors!-On these grounds he has been
The Master said of Tsze-ch'an that he
had four of the characteristics of a
superior man-in his conduct of himself,
he was humble; in serving his superior,
he was respectful; in nourishing the
people, he was kind; in ordering the
people, he was just."
The Master said, "Yen P'ing knew well
how to maintain friendly intercourse.
The acquaintance might be long, but he
showed the same respect as at first."
The Master said, "Tsang Wan kept a large
tortoise in a house, on the capitals of
the pillars of which he had hills made,
and with representations of duckweed on
the small pillars above the beams
supporting the rafters.-Of what sort was
Tsze-chang asked, saying, "The minister
Tsze-wan thrice took office, and
manifested no joy in his countenance.
Thrice he retired from office, and
manifested no displeasure. He made it a
point to inform the new minister of the
way in which he had conducted the
government; what do you say of him?" The
Master replied. "He was loyal." "Was he
perfectly virtuous?" "I do not know. How
can he be pronounced perfectly
Tsze-chang proceeded, "When the officer
Ch'ui killed the prince of Ch'i, Ch'an
Wan, though he was the owner of forty
horses, abandoned them and left the
country. Coming to another state, he
said, 'They are here like our great
officer, Ch'ui,' and left it. He came to
a second state, and with the same
observation left it also;-what do you
say of him?" The Master replied, "He was
pure." "Was he perfectly virtuous?" "I
do not know. How can he be pronounced
Chi Wan thought thrice, and then acted.
When the Master was informed of it, he
said, "Twice may do."
The Master said, "When good order
prevailed in his country, Ning Wu acted
the part of a wise man. When his country
was in disorder, he acted the part of a
stupid man. Others may equal his wisdom,
but they cannot equal his stupidity."
When the Master was in Ch'an, he said,
"Let me return! Let me return! The
little children of my school are
ambitious and too hasty. They are
accomplished and complete so far, but
they do not know how to restrict and
The Master said, "Po-i and Shu-ch'i did
not keep the former wickednesses of men
in mind, and hence the resentments
directed towards them were few."
The Master said, "Who says of Weishang
Kao that he is upright? One begged some
vinegar of him, and he begged it of a
neighbor and gave it to the man."
The Master said, "Fine words, an
insinuating appearance, and excessive
respect;-Tso Ch'iu-ming was ashamed of
them. I also am ashamed of them. To
conceal resentment against a person, and
appear friendly with him;-Tso Ch'iu-ming
was ashamed of such conduct. I also am
ashamed of it."
Yen Yuan and Chi Lu being by his side,
the Master said to them, "Come, let each
of you tell his wishes."
Tsze-lu said, "I should like, having
chariots and horses, and light fur
clothes, to share them with my friends,
and though they should spoil them, I
would not be displeased."
Yen Yuan said, "I should like not to
boast of my excellence, nor to make a
display of my meritorious deeds."
Tsze-lu then said, "I should like, sir,
to hear your wishes." The Master said,
"They are, in regard to the aged, to
give them rest; in regard to friends, to
show them sincerity; in regard to the
young, to treat them tenderly."
The Master said, "It is all over. I have
not yet seen one who could perceive his
faults, and inwardly accuse himself."
The Master said, "In a hamlet of ten
families, there may be found one
honorable and sincere as I am, but not
so fond of learning."
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