Mencius. Book III: T'ang Wan Kung. Part II. Chapter VII.

Legge's summary: 1. Kung-sun Châu asked Mencius, saying, 'What is the point of righteousness involved in your not going to see the princes?' Mencius replied, 'Among the ancients, if one had not een a minister in a State, he did not go to see the sovereign.

2. 'Twan Kan-mû leaped over his wall to avoid the prince. Hsieh Liû shut his door, and would not admit the prince. These two, however, carried their scrupulosity to excess. When a prince is urgent, it is not improper to see him.

3. 'Yang Ho wished to get Confucius to go to see him, but disliked doing so by any want of propriety. As it is the rule, therefore, that when a great officer sends a gift to a scholar, if the latter be not at home to receive it, he must go to the officer's to pay his respects, Yang Ho watched when Confucius was out, and sent him a roasted pig. Confucius, in his turn, watched when Ho was out, and went to pay his respects to him. At that time, Yang Ho had taken the initiative;-- how could Confucius decline going to see him?

4. 'Tsang-tsze said, "They who shrug up their shoulders, and laugh in a flattering way, toil harder than the summer labourer in the fields." Tsze-lû said, "There are those who talk with people with whom they have no great community of feeling. If you look at their countenances, they are full of blushes. I do not desire to know such persons." By considering these remarks, the spirit which the superior man nourishes may be known.'


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Translated by James Legge, published in 1861 and revised for publication in 1895. Prepared as etext by Stephen R. McIntyre. Noded by schist. Please msg schist if you have suggestions for useful hard-links.

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