Mencius. Book I: King HÛi of Liang. Part I. Chapter II.

Legge's summary: Rulers must share their pleasures with the people. They can only be happy when they rule over happy subjects.

1. Mencius, another day, saw King Hûi of Liang. The king went and stood with him by a pond, and, looking round at the large geese and deer, said, 'Do wise and good princes also find pleasure in these things?'

2. Mencius replied, 'Being wise and good, they have pleasure in these things. If they are not wise and good, though they have these things, they do not find pleasure.

3. 'It is said in the Book of Poetry,

He measured out and commenced his marvellous tower;

He measured it out and planned it.

The people addressed themselves to it,

And in less than a day completed it.

When he measured and began it, he said to them --

Be not so earnest:

But the multitudes came as if they had been his children.

The king was in his marvellous park;

The does reposed about,

The does so sleek and fat:

And the white birds came glistening.

The king was by his marvellous pond;

How full was it of fishes leaping about!"

'King Wan used the strength of the people to make his tower and his pond, and yet the people rejoiced to do the work, calling the tower "the marvellous tower," calling the pond "the marvellous pond," and rejoicing that he had his large deer, his fishes, and turtles. The ancients caused the people to have pleasure as well as themselves, and therefore they could enjoy it.

4. 'In the Declaration of T'ang it is said, "O sun, when wilt thou expire? We will die together with thee." The people wished for Chieh's death, though they should die with him. Although he had towers, ponds, birds, and animals, how could he have pleasure alone?'

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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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