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Book of Documents 尚書

周書 蔡仲之命 Zhou Shu - Charge to Zhong of Cai

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When the duke, of Zhou was in the place of prime minister and directed all the officers, the (king's) uncles spread abroad an (evil) report, in consequence of which (the duke) put to death the prince of Guan in Shang; confined the prince of Cai in Guo-lin, with an attendance of seven chariots; and reduced the prince of Huo to be a private man, causing his name to be erased from the registers for three years. The son of the prince of Cai having displayed a reverent virtue, the duke of Zhou made him a high minister, and when his father died, requested a decree from the king, investing him with the country of Cai.


The king speaks to this effect: "My little child, Hu, you follow the virtue (of our ancestors), and have changed from the conduct (of your father); you are able to take heed to your ways; I therefore appoint you to be a marquis in the east. Go to your fief, and be reverent! In order that you may cover the faults of your father, be loyal, be filial. Urge on your steps in your own way, diligent and never idle, and so shall you hand down an example to your descendants. Follow the constant lessons of your grandfather king Wen, and be not, like your father, disobedient to the royal orders. Great Heaven has no partial affections; it helps only the virtuous. The people's hearts have no unchanging attachment; they cherish only the kind. Acts of goodness are different, but they contribute in common to good order. Acts of evil are different, but they contribute in common to disorder. Be cautious! In giving heed to the beginning think of the end;--the end will then be without distress. If you do not think of the end, it will be full of distress, even of the greatest. Exert yourself to achieve your proper merit. Seek to be in harmony with all your neighbours. Be a fence to the royal House. Live in amity with your brethren. Tranquillize and help the lower people. Follow the course of the Mean, and do not by aiming to be intelligent throw old statutes into confusion. Watch over what you see and hear, and do not for one-sided words deviate from the right rule. Then I, the One man, will praise you. The king says, "Oh! my little child, Hu, go, and do not idly throw away my charge."

English translation: James Legge

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