Click on any word to see more details.王若曰：「伯冏！惟予弗克于德，嗣先人宅丕後。怵惕惟厲，中夜以興，思免厥愆。昔在文、武，聰明齊聖，小大之臣，咸懷忠良。其侍御樸從，罔匪正人，以旦夕承弼厥辟，出入起居，罔有不欽，發號施令，罔有不臧，下民祗若，萬邦咸休。惟予一人無良，實賴左右前後有位之士，匡其不及。繩愆糾謬，格其非心，俾克紹先烈。今予命汝作大正，正于群僕侍御之臣，懋乃後德，交修不逮；慎簡乃僚，無以巧言令色，便辟側媚，其惟吉士。僕臣正，厥後克正，僕臣諛，厥後自聖；後德惟臣，不德惟臣。爾無昵于憸人，充耳目之官，迪上以非先王之典；非人其吉，惟貨其吉；若時瘝厥官；惟爾大弗克只厥辟，惟予汝辜。」
The king spoke to the following effect: 'Bo-jiong, I come short in virtue, and have succeeded to the former kings, to occupy the great throne. I am fearful, and conscious of the peril (of my position). I rise at midnight, and think how I can avoid falling into errors. Formerly Wen and Wu were endowed with all intelligence, august and sage, while their ministers, small and great, all cherished loyalty and goodness. Their servants, charioteers, chamberlains, and followers were all men of correctness; morning and evening waiting on their sovereign's wishes, or supplying his deficiencies. (Those kings), going out and coming in, rising up and sitting down, were thus made reverent. Their every warning or command was good. The people yielded a reverent obedience, and the myriad regions were all happy. But I, the One man, am destitute of goodness, and really depend on the officers who have places about me to help my deficiencies, applying the line to my faults, and exhibiting my errors, thus correcting my bad heart, and enabling me to be the successor of my meritorious predecessors.
'Now I appoint you to be High Chamberlain, to see that all the officers in your department and my personal attendants are upright and correct, that they strive to promote the virtue of their sovereign, and together supply my deficiencies. Be careful in selecting your officers. Do not employ men of artful speech and insinuating looks, men whose likes and dislikes are ruled by mine, one-sided men and flatterers; but employ good men. When these household officers are correct, the sovereign will be correct; when they are flatterers, the sovereign will consider himself a sage. His virtue or his want of it equally depends on them. Cultivate no intimacy with flatterers, nor get them to do duty for me as my ears and eyes; they will lead their sovereign to disregard the statutes of the former kings. If you choose the men not for their personal goodness, but for the sake of their bribes, their offices will be made of no effect, your great want of reverence for your sovereign will be apparent, and I will hold you guilty.'
The king said, 'Oh! be reverent! Ever help your sovereign to follow the regular laws of duty (which he should exemplify).'
English translation: James Legge
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