Nonfiction > Harvard Classics > The Sayings of Confucius
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
   The Sayings of Confucius.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
IX
 
 
[1]  THE MASTER seldom spake of gain, doom, or love.
[2]    A man from the Ta-hsiang village said: “The great Confucius, with his vast learning, has made no name in anything.”
  When the Master heard it, he said to his disciples: “What shall I take up? Shall I take up charioteering? Shall I take up bowmanship? I must take up charioteering.”
[3]    The Master said: “A linen cap is correct: to-day silk is worn. It is cheap, and I follow the many. To bow below is correct: to-day it is done above. This is overweening, and, despite the many, I bow below.”
[4]    From four things the Master was quite free. He had no by-views; he knew not “must,” or “shall,” or “I.”
[5]    When the Master was affrighted in K´uang, 1 he said: “Since the death of King Wen, is not this the home of culture? Had Heaven condemned culture, later mortals had missed their share in it. If Heaven uphold culture, what can the men of K´uang do to me?”
[6]    A high minister said to Tzu-kung: “The Master must be a holy man, he can do so many things!”
  Tzu-kung said: “Heaven has indeed well-nigh endowed him with holiness, and he is many-sided too.”
  When the Master heard it, he said: “Does the minister know me? Being lowly born, I learned many an humble trade in my youth. But has a gentleman skill in many things? No, in few things.”
  Lao said that the Master would say: “Having no post, I learned a craft.”
[7]    The Master said: “Have I in truth understanding? I have no understanding. But if a yokel ask me aught in an empty way, I tap it on this side and that, and sift it to the bottom.”
[8]    The Master said: “The phœnix comes not, nor does the river give forth a sign. All is over with me!”
[9]    When the Master saw folk clad in mourning, or in robes of state, or else a blind man, he made a point of rising—even for the young—or, if he were passing by, of quickening his step.
[10]    Yen Yüan heaved a sigh and said: “As I gaze it grows higher, more remote as I dig! I sight it in front, next moment astern! The Master tempts men forward deftly bit by bit. He widened me with culture, he bound me with courtesy. Until my strength was spent I had no power to stop. The goal seemed at hand: I longed to reach it, but the way was closed.”
[11]    When the Master was very ill, Tzu-lu moved the disciples to act as ministers.
  During a better spell the Master said: “Yu has long been feigning. This show of ministers, when I have no ministers, whom can it deceive? Will it deceive Heaven? Moreover, is it not better to die in your arms, my boys, than to die in the arms of ministers? And if I lack a grand burial, shall I die by the roadside?”
[12]    Tzu-kung said: “Were a beauteous jadestone mine, ought I to hide it away in a case, or seek a good price and sell it?”
  The Master said: “Sell it, sell it! I tarry for my price.”
[13]    The Master wished to make his home among the nine tribes. 2 One said: “They are low, how could ye?”
  The Master said: “Where a gentleman has his home, can aught live that is low?”
[14]    The Master said: “After I came back from Wei to Lu the music was set straight and each song found its place.”
[15]    The Master said: “To serve men of high rank when abroad, and father and brothers when at home; to dread slackness in graveside duties, and be no thrall to wine: to which of these have I won?”
[16]    As he stood by a stream’ the Master said: “Hasting away like this, day and night without stop!”
[17]    The Master said: “I have found none who love good as they love women.”
[18]    The Master said: “In making a mound, if I stop when one basketful more would end it, it is I that stop. In levelling ground, if I go on after throwing down one basketful, it is I that proceed.”
[19]    The Master said: “Never listless when spoken to, such was Hui!” 3
[20]    Speaking of Yen Yüan, the Master said: “The pity of it! I have seen him go on, but never have I seen him stop.”
[21]    The Master said: “Some sprouts do not blossom, some blossoms bear no fruit.”
[22]    The Master said: “Awe is due to youth. May not to-morrow be bright as to-day? To men of forty or fifty, who are unknown still, no awe is due.”
[23]    The Master said: “Who would not give ear to a downright word? But to mend is of price. Who would not be pleased by a guiding word? But to ponder the word is of price. With such as give ear, but will not mend; who are pleased, but will not ponder, I can do nothing.”
[24]    The Master said: “Make faithfulness and truth thy masters: have no friends unlike thyself: be not ashamed to mend thy faults.”
[25]    The Master said: “Three armies may be robbed of their leader, no wretch can be robbed of his will.”
[26]    The Master said: “Clad in a tattered, quilted cloak, Yu 4 will stand unabashed amidst robes of fox and badger.
        ‘Void of hatred and greed,
What but good does he do?’”

  But when Tzu-lu was ever humming these words, the Master said: “This is the way: but is it the whole of goodness?”
[27]    The Master said: “Erst the cold days show how fir and cypress are last to fade.”
[28]    The Master said: “The wise are free from doubt; love is never vexed; the bold have no fears.”
[29]    The Master said: “With some we can join in learning, but not in aims; with others we can join in aims, but not in standpoint; and with others again in standpoint, but not in measures.”
[30]    
        “The flowers overhead
  Are dancing in play;
My thoughts are with thee,
  In thy home far away.”

  The Master said: “Her thoughts were not with him, or how could he be far away?”
 
Note 1. During the Master’s wanderings. K´uang is said to have been a small state near Lu, that had been oppressed by Yang Huo. Confucius resembled him, and the men of K´uang set upon him, mistaking him for their enemy. The commentators say that the Master was not affrighted, only “roused to a sense of danger.” I cannot find that the text says so. [back]
Note 2. The half-barbarous tribes in the mountainous, eastern districts of the present province of Shantung. [back]
Note 3. Yen Yüan. [back]
Note 4. Tzu-lu. [back]
 

CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors