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Zhuang Bao, seeing Mencius, said to him, 'I had an interview with the king. His Majesty told me that he loved music, and I was not prepared with anything to reply to him. What do you pronounce about that love of music?'
Mencius replied, 'If the king's love of music were very great, the kingdom of Qi would be near to a state of good government!'
Another day, Mencius, having an interview with the king, said, 'Your Majesty, I have heard, told the officer Zhuang, that you love music - was it so?' The king changed colour, and said, 'I am unable to love the music of the ancient sovereigns; I only love the music that suits the manners of the present age.'
Mencius said, 'If your Majesty's love of music were very great, Qi would be near to a state of good government! The music of the present day is just like the music of antiquity, as regards effecting that.' The king said, 'May I hear from you the proof of that?'
Mencius asked, 'Which is the more pleasant - to enjoy music by yourself alone, or to enjoy it with others?' 'To enjoy it with others,' was the reply
'And which is the more pleasant - to enjoy music with a few, or to enjoy it with many?' 'To enjoy it with many.'
Mencius proceeded, 'Your servant begs to explain what I have said about music to your Majesty. Now, your Majesty is having music here. The people hear the noise of your bells and drums, and the notes of your fifes and pipes, and they all, with aching heads, knit their brows, and say to one another, "That's how our king likes his music! But why does he reduce us to this extremity of distress? Fathers and sons cannot see one another. Elder brothers and younger brothers, wives and children, are separated and scattered abroad." Now, your Majesty is hunting here. The people hear the noise of your carriages and horses, and see the beauty of your plumes and streamers, and they all, with aching heads, knit their brows, and say to one another, "That's how our king likes his hunting! But why does he reduce us to this extremity of distress? Fathers and sons cannot see one another. Elder brothers and younger brothers, wives and children, are separated and scattered abroad." Their feeling thus is from no other reason but that you do not allow the people to have pleasure as well as yourself.
'Now, your Majesty is having music here. The people hear the noise of your bells and drums, and the notes of your fifes and pipes, and they all, delighted, and with joyful looks, say to one another, "That sounds as if our king were free from all sickness! If he were not, how could he enjoy this music?" Now, your Majesty is hunting here. The people hear the noise of your carriages and horses, and see the beauty of your plumes and streamers, and they all, delighted, and with joyful looks, say to one another, "That looks as if our king were free from all sickness! If he were not, how could he enjoy this hunting?" Their feeling thus is from no other reason but that you cause them to have their pleasure as you have yours. If your Majesty now will make pleasure a thing common to the people and yourself, the royal sway awaits you.'
The king Xuan of Qi asked, 'Was it so, that the park of king Wen contained seventy square li?'
Mencius replied, 'It is so in the records.'
'Was it so large as that?' exclaimed the king.
The people,' said Mencius, 'still looked on it as small.'
The king added, 'My park contains only forty square li, and the people still look on it as large. How is this?'
'The park of king Wen,' was the reply, 'contained seventy square li, but the grass-cutters and fuel-gatherers had the privilege of entrance into it; so also had the catchers of pheasants and hares. He shared it with the people, and was it not with reason that they looked on it as small? When I first arrived at the borders of your kingdom, I inquired about the great prohibitory regulations, before I would venture to enter it; and I heard, that inside the barrier-gates there was a park of forty square lî, and that he who killed a deer in it, was held guilty of the same crime as if he had killed a man. Thus those forty square li are a pitfall in the middle of the kingdom. Is it not with reason that the people look upon them as large?'
The king Xuan of Qi asked, saying, 'Is there any way to regulate one's maintenance of intercourse with neighbouring kingdoms?'
Mencius replied, 'There is. But it requires a perfectly virtuous prince to be able, with a great country, to serve a small one - as, for instance, Tang served Ge, and king Wen served the Kun barbarians. And it requires a wise prince to be able, with a small country, to serve a large one - as the king Tai served the Xun Yu, and Gou Jian served Wu. He who with a areat State serves a small one, delights in Heaven. He who with a small State serves a large one, stands in awe of Heaven. He who delights in Heaven, will affect with his love and protection the whole kingdom. He who stands in awe of Heaven, will affect with his love and protection his own kingdom. It is said in the Book of Poetry, "I fear the Majesty of Heaven, and will thus preserve its favouring decree."'
The king said,'A great saying! But I have an infirmity - I love valour.'
I beg your Majesty,' was the reply, 'not to love small valour. If a man brandishes his sword, looks fiercely, and says, "How dare he withstand me?" - this is the valour of a common man, who can be the opponent only of a single individual. I beg your Majesty to greaten it. It is said in the Book of Poetry, "The king blazed with anger, And he marshalled his hosts, To stop the march to Chu, To consolidate the prosperity of Zhou, To meet the expectations of the nation." This was the valour of king Wen. King Wen, in one burst of his anger, gave repose to all the people of the kingdom. In the Book of History it is said, "Heaven having produced the inferior people, made for them rulers and teachers, with the purpose that they should be assisting to God, and therefore distinguished them throughout the four quarters of the land. Whoever are offenders, and whoever are innocent, here am I to deal with them. How dare any under heaven give indulgence to their refractory wills?" There was one man pursuing a violent and disorderly course in the kingdom, and king Wu was ashamed of it. This was the valour of king Wu. He also, by one display of his anger, gave repose to all the people of the kingdom. Let now your Majesty also, in one burst of anger, give repose to all the people of the kingdom. The people are only afraid that your Majesty does not love valour.'
The king Xuan of Qi had an interview with Mencius in the Snow palace, and said to him, 'Do men of talents and worth likewise find pleasure in these things?'
Mencius replied, 'They do; and if people generally are not able to enjoy themselves, they condemn their superiors. For them, when they cannot enjoy themselves, to condemn their superiors is wrong, but when the superiors of the people do not make enjoyment a thing common to the people and themselves, they also do wrong. When a ruler rejoices in the joy of his people, they also rejoice in his joy; when he grieves at the sorrow of his people, they also grieve at his sorrow. A sympathy of joy will pervade the kingdom; a sympathy of sorrow will do the same - in such a state of things, it cannot be but that the ruler attain to the royal dignity.
'Formerly, the duke Jing of Qi asked the minister Yan, saying, "I wish to pay a visit of inspection to Zhuan Fu, and Chao Wu, and then to bend my course southward along the shore, till I come to Lang Xie. What shall I do that my tour may be fit to be compared with the visits of inspection made by the ancient sovereigns?" The minister Yan replied, "An excellent inquiry! When the Son of Heaven visited the princes, it was called a tour of inspection, that is, be surveyed the States under their care. When the princes attended at the court of the Son of Heaven, it was called a report of office, that is, they reported their administration of their offices. Thus, neither of the proceedings was without a purpose. And moreover, in the spring they examined the ploughing, and supplied any deficiency of seed; in the autumn they examined the reaping, and supplied any deficiency of yield. There is the saying of the Xia dynasty - If our king do not take his ramble, what will become of our happiness? If our king do not make his excursion, what will become of our help? That ramble, and that excursion, were a pattern to the princes. Now, the state of things is different. A host marches in attendance on the ruler, and stores of provisions are consumed. The hungry are deprived of their food, and there is no rest for those who are called to toil. Maledictions are uttered by one to another with eyes askance, and the people proceed to the commission of wickedness. Thus the royal ordinances are violated, and the people are oppressed, and the supplies of food and drink flow away like water. The rulers yield themselves to the current, or they urge their way against it; they are wild; they are utterly lost - these things proceed to the grief of the inferior princes. Descending along with the current, and forgetting to return, is what I call yielding to it. Pressing up against it, and forgetting to return, is what I call urging their way against it. Pursuing the chase without satiety is what I call being wild. Delighting in wine without satiety is what I call being lost. The ancient sovereigns had no pleasures to which they gave themselves as on the flowing stream; no doings which might be so characterized as wild and lost. It is for you, my prince, to pursue your course." The duke Ching was pleased. He issued a proclamation throughout his State, and went out and occupied a shed in the borders. From that time he began to open his granaries to supply the wants of the people, and calling the Grand music-master, he said to him "Make for me music to suit a prince and his minister pleased with each other." And it was then that the Zheng Zhao and Jiao Zhao were made, in the words to which it was said, "Is it a fault to restrain one's prince?" He who restrains his prince loves his prince.'
The king Xuan of Qi said, 'People all tell me to pull down and remove the Hall of Distinction. Shall I pull it down, or stop the movement for that object?'
Mencius replied, 'The Hall of Distinction is a Hall appropriate to the sovereigns. If your Majesty wishes to practise the true royal government, then do not pull it down.'
The king said, 'May I hear from you what the true royal government is?'
'Formerly,' was the reply, 'king Wen's government of Qi was as follows: The husbandmen cultivated for the government one-ninth of the land; the descendants of officers were salaried; at the passes and in the markets, strangers were inspected, but goods were not taxed: there were no prohibitions respecting the ponds and weirs; the wives and children of criminals were not involved in their guilt. There were the old and wifeless, or widowers; the old and husbandless, or widows; the old and childless, or solitaries; the young and fatherless, or orphans - these four classes are the most destitute of the people, and have none to whom they can tell their wants, and king Wen, in the institution of his government with its benevolent action, made them the first objects of his regard, as it is said in the Book of Poetry, "The rich may get through life well; But alas! for the miserable and solitary!"'
The king said, 'O excellent words!'
Mencius said, 'Since your Majesty deems them excellent, why do you not practise them?'
'I have an infirmity,' said the king; 'I am fond of wealth.'
The reply was, 'Formerly, Gong Liu was fond of wealth. It is said in the Book of Poetry, "He reared his ricks, and filled his granaries, He tied up dried provisions and grain, In bottomless bags, and sacks, That he might gather his people together, and glorify his State. With bows and arrows all-displayed, With shields, and spears, and battle-axes, large and small, He commenced his march." In this way those who remained in their old seat had their ricks and granaries, and those who marched had their bags of provisions. It was not till after this that he thought he could begin his march. If your Majesty loves wealth, give the people power to gratify the same feeling, and what difficulty will there be in your attaining the royal sway?'
The king said, 'I have an infirmity; I am fond of beauty.'
The reply was, 'Formerly, king Tai was fond of beauty, and loved his wife. It is said in the Book of Poetry, "Gu Gong Tan Fu, Came in the morning, galloping his horse, By the banks of the western waters, As far as the foot of Qi hill, Along with the lady of Jiang; They came and together chose the site for their settlement." At that time, in the seclusion of the house, there were no dissatisfied women, and abroad, there were no unmarried men. If your Majesty loves beauty, let the people be able to gratify the same feeling, and what difficulty will there be in your attaining the royal sway?'
Mencius said to the king Xuan of Qi, 'Suppose that one of your Majesty's ministers were to entrust his wife and children to the care of his friend, while he himself went into Chu to travel, and that, on his return, he should find that the friend had let his wife and children suffer from cold and hunger - how ought he to deal with him?'
The king said, 'He should cast him off.'
Mencius proceeded, 'Suppose that the chief criminal judge could not regulate the officers under him, how would you deal with him?'
The king said, 'Dismiss him.'
Mencius again said, 'If within the four borders of your kingdom there is not good government, what is to be done?'
The king looked to the right and left, and spoke of other matters.
Mencius, having an interview with the king Xuan of Qi, said to him, 'When men speak of "an ancient kingdom," it is not meant thereby that it has lofty trees in it, but that it has ministers sprung from families which have been noted in it for generations. Your Majesty has no intimate ministers even. Those whom you advanced yesterday are gone to-day, and you do not know it.'
The king said, 'How shall I know that they have not ability, and so avoid employing them at all?'
The reply was, 'The ruler of a State advances to office men of talents and virtue only as a matter of necessity. Since he will thereby cause the low to overstep the honourable, and distant to overstep his near relatives, ought he to do so but with caution? When all those about you say, "This is a man of talents and worth," you may not therefore believe it. When your great officers all say, "This is a man of talents and virtue," neither may you for that believe it. When all the people say, "This is a man of talents and virtue," then examine into the case, and when you find that the man is such, employ him. When all those about you say, "This man won't do," don't listen to them. When all your great officers say, "This man won't do," don't listen to them. When the people all sav, "This man won't do," then examine into the case, and when you find that the man won't do, send him away. When all those about you say, "This man deserves death," don't listen to them. When all your great officers say, "This man deserves death," don't listen to them. When the people all say, "This man deserves death," then inquire into the case, and when you see that the man deserves death, put him to death. In accordance with this we have the saying, "The people killed him." You must act in this way in order to be the parent of the people.'
The king Xuan of Qi asked, saying, 'Was it so, that Tang banished Jie, and that king Wu smote Zhou?'
Mencius replied, 'It is so in the records.'
The king said, 'May a minister then put his sovereign to death?'
Mencius said, 'He who outrages the benevolence proper to his nature, is called a robber; he who outrages righteousness, is called a ruffian. The robber and ruffian we call a mere fellow. I have heard of the cutting off of the fellow Zhou, but I have not heard of the putting a sovereign to death, in his case.'
Mencius, having an interview with the king Xuan of Qi, said to him, 'If you are going to build a large mansion, you will surely cause the Master of the workmen to look out for large trees, and when he has found such large trees, you will be glad, thinking that they will answer for the intended object. Should the workmen hew them so as to make them too small, then your Majesty will be angry, thinking that they will not answer for the purpose. Now, a man spends his youth in learning the principles of right government, and, being grown up to vigour, he wishes to put them in practice; if your Majesty says to him, "For the present put aside what you have learned, and follow me," what shall we say? Here now you have a gem unwrought, in the stone. Although it may be worth 240,000 taels, you will surely employ a lapidary to cut and polish it. But when you come to the government of the State, then you say, "For the present put aside what you have learned, and follow me." How is it that you herein act so differently from your conduct in calling in the lapidary to cut the gem?'
The people of Qi attacked Yan, and conquered it. The king Xuan asked, saying, 'Some tell me not to take possession of it for myself, and some tell me to take possession of it. For a kingdom of ten thousand chariots, attacking another of ten thousand chariots, to complete the conquest of it in fifty days, is an achievement beyond mere human strength. If I do not take possession of it, calamities from Heaven will surely come upon me. What do you say to my taking possession of it?'
Mencius replied, 'If the people of Yan will be pleased with your taking possession of it, then do so. Among the ancients there was one who acted on this principle, namely king Wu. If the people of Yan will not be pleased with your taking possession of it, then do not do so. Among the ancients there was one who acted on this principle, namely king Wen. When, with all the strength of your country of ten thousand chariots, you attacked another country of ten thousand chariots, and the people brought baskets of rice and vessels of congee, to meet your Majesty's host, was there any other reason for this but that they hoped to escape out of fire and water? If you make the water more deep and the fire more fierce, they will in like manner make another revolution.'
The people of Qi, having smitten Yan, took possession of it, and upon this, the princes of the various States deliberated together, and resolved to deliver Yan from their power. The king Xuan said to Mencius, 'The princes have formed many plans to attack me - how shall I prepare myself for them?'
Mencius replied, 'I have heard of one who with seventy li exercised all the functions of government throughout the kingdom. That was Tang. I have never heard of a prince with a thousand li standing in fear of others. It is said in the Book of History, As soon as Tang began his work of executing justice, he commenced with Ge. The whole kingdom had confidence in him. When he pursued his work in the east, the rude tribes on the west murmured. So did those on the north, when he was engaged in the south. Their cry was "Why does he put us last?" Thus, the people looked to him, as we look in a time of great drought to the clouds and rainbows. The frequenters of the markets stopped not. The husbandmen made no change in their operations. While he punished their rulers, he consoled the people. His progress was like the falling of opportune rain, and the people were delighted. It is said again in the Book of History, "We have waited for our prince long; the prince's coming will be our reviving!"
'Now the ruler of Yan was tyrannizing over his people, and your Majesty went and punished him. The people supposed that you were going to deliver them out of the water and the fire, and brought baskets of rice and vessels of congee, to meet your Majesty's host. But you have slain their fathers and elder brothers, and put their sons and younger brothers in confinement. You have pulled down the ancestral temple of the State, and are removing to Qi its precious vessels. How can such a course be deemed proper? The rest of the kingdom is indeed jealously afraid of the strength of Qi; and now, when with a doubled territory you do not put in practice a benevolent government - it is this which sets the arms of the kingdom in in motion. If your Majesty will make haste to issue an ordinance, restoring your captives, old and young, stopping the removal of the precious vessels, and saying that, after consulting with the people of Yen, you will appoint them a ruler, and withdraw from the country - in this way you may still be able to stop the threatened attack.'
There had been a brush between Zou and Lu, when the duke Mu asked Mencius, saying,'Of my officers there were killed thirty-three men, and none of the people would die in their defence. Though I sentenced them to death for their conduct, it is impossible to put such a multitude to death. If I do not put them to death, then there is the crime unpunished of their looking angrily on at the death of their officers, and not saving them. How is the exigency of the case to be met?'
Mencius replied, 'In calamitous years and years of famine, the old and weak of your people, who have been found lying in the ditches and water-channels, and the able-bodied who have been scattered about to the four quarters, have amounted to several thousands. All the while, your granaries, 0 prince, have been stored with grain, and your treasuries and arsenals have been full, and not one of your officers has told you of the distress. Thus negligent have the superiors in your State been, and cruel to their inferiors. The philosopher Zeng said, "Beware, beware. What proceeds from you, will return to you again." Now at length the people have paid back the conduct of their officers to them. Do not you, 0 prince, blame them. If you will put in practice a benevolent government, this people will love you and all above them, and will die for their officers.'
The duke Wen of Teng asked Mencius, saying, 'Teng is a small kingdom, and lies between Qi and Chu. Shall I serve Qi? Or shall I serve Chu?'
Mencius replied, 'This plan which you propose is beyond me. If you will have me counsel you, there is one thing I can suggest. Dig deeper your moats; build higher your walls; guard them as well as your people. In case of attack, be prepared to die in your defence, and have the people so that they will not leave you - this is a proper course.'
The duke Wen of Teng asked Mencius, saying, 'The people of Qi are going to fortify Xue. The movement occasions me great alarm. What is the proper course for me to take in the case?'
Mencius replied, 'Formerly, when king Tai dwelt in Bin, the barbarians of the north were continually making incursions upon it. He therefore left it, went to the foot of mount Qi, and there took up his residence. He did not take that situation, as having selected it. It was a matter of necessity with him. If you do good, among your descendants, in after generations, there shall be one who will attain to the royal dignity. A prince lays the foundation of the inheritance, and hands down the beginning which he has made, doing what may be continued by his successors. As to the accomplishment of the great result, that is with Heaven. What is that Qi to you, 0 prince? Be strong to do good. That is all your business.'
The duke Wen of Teng asked Mencius, saying, 'Teng is a small State. Though I do my utmost to serve those large kingdoms on either side of it, we cannot escape suffering from them. What course shall I take that we may do so?'
Mencius replied, 'Formerly, when king Tai dwelt in Bin, the barbarians of the north were constantly making incursions upon it. He served them with skins and silks, and still he suffered from them. He served them with dogs and horses, and still he suffered from them. He served them with pearls and gems, and still he suffered from them. Seeing this, he assembled the old men, and announced to them, saying, "What the barbarians want is my territory. I have heard this - that a ruler does not injure his people with that wherewith he nourishes them. My children, why should you be troubled about having no prince? I will leave this." Accordingly, he left Bin, crossed the mountain Liang, built a town at the foot of mount Qi, and dwelt there. The people of Pin said, "He is a benevolent man. We must not lose him." Those who followed him looked like crowds hastening to market. On the other hand, some say, "The kingdom is a thing to be kept from generation to generation. One individual cannot undertake to dispose of it in his own person. Let him be prepared to die for it. Let him not quit it." I ask you, prince, to make your election between these two courses.'
The duke Ping of Lu was about to leave his palace, when his favourite, one Zang Cang, made a request to him, saying, 'On other days, when you have gone out, you have given instructions to the officers as to where you were going. But now, the horses have been put to the carriage, and the officers do not yet know where you are going. I venture to ask.' The duke said, 'I am going to see the scholar Meng.' 'How is this?' said the other. 'That you demean yourself, prince, in paying the honour of the first visit to a common man, is, I suppose, because you think that he is a man of talents and virtue. By such men the rules of ceremonial proprieties and right are observed. But on the occasion of this Meng's second mourning, his observances exceeded those of the former. Do not go to see him, my prince.' The duke said, 'I will not.'
The officer Yue Zheng entered the court, and had an audience. He said, 'Prince, why have you not gone to see Meng Ke?' the duke said, 'One told me that, on the occasion of the scholar Meng's second mourning, his observances exceeded those of the former. It is on that account that I have not gone to see him.' 'How is this!' answered Yue Zheng. 'By what you call "exceeding," you mean, I suppose, that, on the first occasion, he used the rites appropriate to a scholar, and, on the second, those appropriate to a great officer; that he first used three tripods, and afterwards five tripods.' The duke said, 'No; I refer to the greater excellence of the coffin, the shell, the grave-clothes, and the shroud.' Yo-chAng said, 'That cannot be called "exceeding." That was the difference between being poor and being rich.'
After this, Yue Zheng saw Mencius, and said to him, 'I told the prince about you, and he was consequently coming to see you, when one of his favourites, named Zang Cang, stopped him, and therefore he did not come according to his purpose.' Mencius said, 'A man's advancement is effected, it may be, by others, and the stopping him is, it may be, from the efforts of others. But to advance a man or to stop his advance is really beyond the power of other men. My not finding in the prince of Lu a ruler who would confide in me, and put my counsels into practice, is from Heaven. How could that scion of the Zang family cause me not to find the ruler that would suit me?'
English translation: Legge 1861
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