Confucian Analects, Confucius, 500 B.C., Part 8
The Master said, "T'ai-po may be
said to have reached the highest point
of virtuous action. Thrice he declined
the kingdom, and the people in ignorance
of his motives could not express their
approbation of his conduct."
The Master said, "Respectfulness,
without the rules of propriety, becomes
laborious bustle; carefulness, without
the rules of propriety, becomes
timidity; boldness, without the rules of
propriety, becomes insubordination;
straightforwardness, without the rules
of propriety, becomes rudeness.
"When those who are in high stations
perform well all their duties to their
relations, the people are aroused to
virtue. When old friends are not
neglected by them, the people are
preserved from meanness."
The philosopher Tsang being ill, he
cared to him the disciples of his
school, and said, "Uncover my feet,
uncover my hands. It is said in the Book
of Poetry, 'We should be apprehensive
and cautious, as if on the brink of a
deep gulf, as if treading on thin ice, I
and so have I been. Now and hereafter, I
know my escape from all injury to my
person. O ye, my little children."
The philosopher Tsang being ill, Meng
Chang went to ask how he was.
Tsang said to him, "When a bird is about
to die, its notes are mournful; when a
man is about to die, his words are good.
"There are three principles of conduct
which the man of high rank should
consider specially important:-that in
his deportment and manner he keep from
violence and heedlessness; that in
regulating his countenance he keep near
to sincerity; and that in his words and
tones he keep far from lowness and
impropriety. As to such matters as
attending to the sacrificial vessels,
there are the proper officers for them."
The philosopher Tsang said, "Gifted with
ability, and yet putting questions to
those who were not so; possessed of
much, and yet putting questions to those
possessed of little; having, as though
he had not; full, and yet counting
himself as empty; offended against, and
yet entering into no altercation;
formerly I had a friend who pursued this
style of conduct."
The philosopher Tsang said, "Suppose
that there is an individual who can be
entrusted with the charge of a young
orphan prince, and can be commissioned
with authority over a state of a hundred
li, and whom no emergency however great
can drive from his principles:-is such a
man a superior man? He is a superior man
The philosopher Tsang said, "The officer
may not be without breadth of mind and
vigorous endurance. His burden is heavy
and his course is long.
"Perfect virtue is the burden which he
considers it is his to sustain;-is it
not heavy? Only with death does his
course stop;-is it not long?
The Master said, "It is by the Odes that
the mind is aroused.
"It is by the Rules of Propriety that
the character is established.
"It is from Music that the finish is
The Master said, "The people may be made
to follow a path of action, but they may
not be made to understand it."
The Master said, "The man who is fond of
daring and is dissatisfied with poverty,
will proceed to insubordination. So will
the man who is not virtuous, when you
carry your dislike of him to an
The Master said, "Though a man have
abilities as admirable as those of the
Duke of Chau, yet if he be proud and
niggardly, those other things are really
not worth being looked at."
The Master said, "It is not easy to find
a man who has learned for three years
without coming to be good."
The Master said, "With sincere faith he
unites the love of learning; holding
firm to death, he is perfecting the
excellence of his course.
"Such an one will not enter a tottering
state, nor dwell in a disorganized one.
When right principles of government
prevail in the kingdom, he will show
himself; when they are prostrated, he
will keep concealed.
"When a country is well governed,
poverty and a mean condition are things
to be ashamed of. When a country is ill
governed, riches and honor are things to
be ashamed of."
The Master said, "He who is not in any
particular office has nothing to do with
plans for the administration of its
The Master said, "When the music master
Chih first entered on his office, the
finish of the Kwan Tsu was
magnificent;-how it filled the ears!"
The Master said, "Ardent and yet not
upright, stupid and yet not attentive;
simple and yet not sincere:-such persons
I do not understand."
The Master said, "Learn as if you could
not reach your object, and were always
fearing also lest you should lose it."
The Master said, "How majestic was the
manner in which Shun and Yu held
possession of the empire, as if it were
nothing to them!
The Master said, "Great indeed was Yao
as a sovereign! How majestic was he! It
is only Heaven that is grand, and only
Yao corresponded to it. How vast was his
virtue! The people could find no name
"How majestic was he in the works which
he accomplished! How glorious in the
elegant regulations which he
Shun had five ministers, and the empire
was well governed.
King Wu said, "I have ten able
Confucius said, "Is not the saying that
talents are difficult to find, true?
Only when the dynasties of T'ang and Yu
met, were they more abundant than in
this of Chau, yet there was a woman
among them. The able ministers were no
more than nine men.
"King Wan possessed two of the three
parts of the empire, and with those he
served the dynasty of Yin. The virtue of
the house of Chau may be said to have
reached the highest point indeed."
The Master said, "I can find no flaw in
the character of Yu. He used himself
coarse food and drink, but displayed the
utmost filial piety towards the spirits.
His ordinary garments were poor, but he
displayed the utmost elegance in his
sacrificial cap and apron. He lived in a
low, mean house, but expended all his
strength on the ditches and water
channels. I can find nothing like a flaw
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