Mencius. Book V: Wan Chang. Part I. Chapter III.

Legge's summary: Explanation and defence of Shun's conduct in the case of his wicked brother Hsiang;-- how he both distinguished him, and kept him under restraint.

1. Wan Chang said, 'Hsiang made it his daily business to slay Shun. When Shun was made sovereign, how was it that he only banished him?' Mencius said, 'He raised him to be a prince. Some supposed that it was banishing him?'

2. Wan Chang said, 'Shun banished the superintendent of works to Yû-châu; he sent away Hwan-tâu to the mountain Ch'ung; he slew the prince of San-miâo in San-wei; and he imprisoned Kwân on the mountain Yü. When the crimes of those four were thus punished, the whole kingdom acquiesced:-- it was a cutting off of men who were destitute of benevolence. But Hsiang was of all men the most destitute of benevolence, and Shun raised him to be the prince of Yû-pî;-- of what crimes had the people of Yû-pî been guilty? Does a benevolent man really act thus? In the case of other men, he cut them off; in the case of his brother, he raised him to be a prince.' Mencius replied, 'A benevolent man does not lay up anger, nor cherish resentment against his brother, but only regards him with affection and love. Regarding him with affection, he wishes him to be honourable: regarding him with love, he wishes him to be rich. The appointment of Hsiang to be the prince of Yû-pî was to enrich and ennoble him. If while Shun himself was sovereign, his brother had been a common man, could he have been said to regard him with affection and love?'

3. Wan Chang said, 'I venture to ask what you mean by saying that some supposed that it was a banishing of Hsiang?' Mencius replied, 'Hsiang could do nothing in his State. The Son of Heaven appointed an officer to administer its government, and to pay over its revenues to him. This treatment of him led to its being said that he was banished. How indeed could he be allowed the means of oppressing the people? Nevertheless, Shun wished to be continually seeing him, and by this arrangement, he came incessantly to court, as is signified in that expression-- "He did not wait for the rendering of tribute, or affairs of government, to receive the prince of Yû-pî.

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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.