The Master said: Without a sense of courtesy, attentions grow into fussiness, heed turns to fearfulness, courage becomes unruliness, uprightness turns to harshness. When the gentry are true to kinsmen, love will thrive among the people. If they do not forsake old friends, the people will not be selfish.
When Tseng-tzu lay sick Meng Ching3 came to ask after him. Tseng-tzu said: When a bird is to die, his note is sad; when a man is to die, his words are true. There are three duties that a gentleman prizes: to banish from his bearing violence and levity; to sort his face to the truth; to purge his speech of the low and unfair. As for temple matters there are officers to mind them.
Tseng-tzu said: Out of knowledge to learn from ignorance, out of wealth to learn from penury; having to seem wanting, real to seem shadow; when gainsaid never answering back; I had once a friend who would act thus.4
The Master said: A man who loves learning with simple faith, who to mend his life is content to die, will not enter a tottering kingdom, nor stay in a land distraught. When right prevails below heaven, he is seen; when wrong prevails, he is unseen. When right prevails, he would blush to be poor and lowly; when wrong prevails, wealth and honours would shame him.
The Master said: How great was Yao in kingship! Sublime! Heaven alone is great; Yao alone was patterned on it! Boundless! Mens words failed them. Sublime the work he did, dazzling the wealth of his culture!
Shun had five ministers, and order reigned below heaven. King Wu said: Ten in number are my able ministers. Confucius said: The dearth of talent, is not that the truth? The days when Yü6 succeeded T´ang7 were rich in talent; yet there were but nine men in all, and one of these was a woman. The utmost worth was the worth of Chou!8 Lord of two-thirds of the earth, he submitted all to Yin.
The Master said: I find no flaw in Yü. Frugal in eating and drinking, he was lavish to the ghosts of the dead: ill-clad, he was gorgeous in cap and gown: his home a hovel, he poured out his strength upon dikes and ditches. No kind of flaw can I find in Yü.
Note 1. T´ai-po was the eldest son of the King of Chou. The father wished his third son to succeed him, in order that the throne might pass through him to his famous son, afterwards known as King Wen. To facilitate this plan T´ai-po and his second brother went into voluntary exile. [back]
Note 2. The Chinese say: The body is born whole by the mother; it is for the son to return it again whole. [back]