1. Mencius said, 'Po-î would not allow his eyes to look on a bad sight, nor his ears to listen to a bad sound. He would not serve a prince whom he did not approve, nor command a people whom he did not esteem. In a time of good government he took office, and on the occurrence of confusion he retired. He could not bear to dwell either in a court from which a lawless government emanated, or among lawless people. He considered his being in the same place with a villager, as if he were to sit amid mud and coals with his court robes and court cap. In the time of Châu he dwelt on the shores of the North sea, waiting the purification of the kingdom. Therefore when men now hear the character of Po-î, the corrupt become pure, and the weak acquire determination.
2. 'Î Yin said, "Whom may I not serve? My serving him makes him my sovereign. What people may I not command? My commanding them makes them my people." In a time of good government he took office, and when confusion prevailed, he also took office. He said, "Heaven's plan in the production of mankind is this:-- that they who are first informed should instruct those who are later in being informed, and they who first apprehend principles should instruct those who are slower in doing so. I am the one of Heaven's people who has first apprehended;-- I will take these principles and instruct the people in them." He thought that among all the people of the kingdom, even the common men and women, if there were any who did not share in the enjoyment of such benefits as Yâo and Shun conferred, it was as if he himself pushed them into a ditch;-- for he took upon himself the heavy charge of the kingdom.
3. 'Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was not ashamed to serve an impure prince, nor did he think it low to be an inferior officer. When advanced to employment, he did not conceal his virtue, but made it a point to carry out his principles. When dismissed and left without office, he did not murmur. When straitened by poverty, he did not grieve. When thrown into the company of village people, he was quite at ease and could not bear to leave them. He had a saying, "You are you, and I am I. Although you stand by my side with breast and arms bare, or with your body naked, how can you defile me?" Therefore when men now hear the character of Hûi of Liü-hsiâ, the mean become generous, and the niggardly become liberal.
4. 'When Confucius was leaving Ch'î, he strained off with his hand the water in which his rice was being rinsed, took the rice, and went away. When he left Lû, he said, "I will set out by-and-by:"-- it was right he should leave the country of his parents in this way. When it was proper to go away quickly, he did so; when it was proper to delay, he did so; when it was proper to keep in retirement, he did so; when it was proper to go into office, he did so:-- this was Confucius.'
5. Mencius said,'Po-î among the sages was the pure one; Î Yin was the one most inclined to take office; Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was the accommodating one; and Confucius was the timeous one.
6. 'In Confucius we have what is called a complete concert. A complete concert is when the large bell proclaims the commencement of the music, and the ringing stone proclaims its close. The metal sound commences the blended harmony of all the instruments, and the winding up with the stone terminates that blended harmony. The commencing that harmony is the work of wisdom. The terminating it is the work of sageness.
7. 'As a comparison for wisdom, we may liken it to skill, and as a comparison for sageness, we may liken it to strength;-- as in the case of shooting at a mark a hundred paces distant. That you reach it is owing to your strength, but that you hit the mark is not owing to your strength.'
1. Pêi-kung Î asked Mencius, saying, 'What was the arrangement of dignities and emoluments determined by the House of Châu?'
2. Mencius replied, 'The particulars of that arrangement cannot be learned, for the princes, disliking them as injurious to themselves, have all made away with the records of them. Still I have learned the general outline of them.
3. 'The SON OF HEAVEN constituted one dignity; the KUNG one; the HÂU one; the PÂI one; and the TSZE and the NAN each one of equal rank:-- altogether making five degrees of rank. The RULER again constituted one dignity; the CHIEF MINISTER one; the GREAT OFFICERS one; the SCHOLARS OF THE FIRST CLASS one; THOSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS one; and THOSE OF THE LOWEST CLASS one:-- altogether making six degrees of dignity.
4. 'To the Son of Heaven there was allotted a territory of a thousand lî square. A Kung and a Hâu had each a hundred lî square. A Pâi had seventy lî, and a Tsze and a Nan had each fifty lî. The assignments altogether were of four amounts. Where the territory did not amount to fiftylî, the chief could not have access himself to the Son of Heaven. His land was attached to some Hâu-ship, and was called a FÛ-YUNG.
5. 'The Chief ministers of the Son of Heaven received an amount of territory equal to that of a Hâu; a Great officer received as much as a Pâi; and a scholar of the first class as much as a Tsze or a Nan.
6. 'In a great State, where the territory was a hundred lî square, the ruler had ten times as much income as his Chief ministers; a Chief minister four times as much as a Great officer; a Great officer twice as much as a scholar of the first class; a scholar of the first class twice as much as one of the middle; a scholar of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; the scholars of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed about the government offices, had for their emolument as much as was equal to what they would have made by tilling the fields.
7. 'In a State of the next order, where the territory was seventy lî square, the ruler had ten times as much revenue as his Chief minister; a Chief minister three times as much as a Great officer; a Great officer twice as much as a scholar of the first class; a scholar of the first class twice as much as one of the middle; a scholar of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; the scholars of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed about the government offices, had for their emolument as much as was equal to what they would have made by tilling the fields.
8. 'In a small State, where the territory was fifty lî square, the ruler had ten times as much revenue as his Chief minister; a Chief minister had twice as much as a Great officer; a Great officer twice as much as a scholar of the highest class; a scholar of the highest class twice as much as one of the middle; a scholar of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; scholars of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed about the government offices, had the same emolument;-- as much, namely, as was equal to what they would have made by tilling the fields.
9. 'As to those who tilled the fields, each husbandman received a hundred mâu. When those mâu were manured, the best husbandmen of the highest class supported nine individuals, and those ranking next to them supported eight. The best husbandmen of the second class supported seven individuals, and those ranking next to them supported six; while husbandmen of the lowest class only supported five. The salaries of the common people who were employed about the government offices were regulated according to these differences.'
1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'I venture to ask the principles of friendship.' Mencius replied, 'Friendship should be maintained without any presumption on the ground of one's superior age, or station, or the circumstances of his relatives. Friendship with a man is friendship with his virtue, and does not admit of assumptions of superiority.
2. 'There was Mang Hsien, chief of a family of a hundred chariots. He had five friends, namely, Yo-chang Chiû, Mû Chung, and three others whose names I have forgotten. With those five men Hsien maintained a friendship, because they thought nothing about his family. If they had thought about his family, he would not have maintained his friendship with them.
3. 'Not only has the chief of a family of a hundred chariots acted thus. The same thing was exemplified by the sovereign of a small State. The duke Hûi of Pî said, "I treat Tsze-sze as my Teacher, and Yen Pan as my Friend. As to Wang Shun and Ch'ang Hsî, they serve me."
4. 'Not only has the sovereign of a small State acted thus. The same thing has been exemplified by the sovereign of a large State. There was the duke P'ing of Tsin with Hâi T'ang:-- when T'ang told him to come into his house, he came; when he told him to be seated, he sat; when he told him to eat, he ate. There might only be coarse rice and soup of vegetables, but he always ate his fill, not daring to do otherwise. Here, however, he stopped, and went no farther. He did not call him to share any of Heaven's places, or to govern any of Heaven's offices, or to partake of any of Heaven's emoluments. His conduct was but a scholar's honouring virtue and talents, not the honouring them proper to a king or a duke.
5. 'Shun went up to court and saw the sovereign, who lodged him as his son-in-law in the second palace. The sovereign also enjoyed there Shun's hospitality. Alternately he was host and guest. Here was the sovereign maintaining friendship with a private man.
6. Respect shown by inferiors to superiors is called giving to the noble the observance due to rank. Respect shown by superiors to inferiors is called giving honour to talents and virtue. The rightness in each case is the same.'
1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'I venture to ask what feeling of the mind is expressed in the presents of friendship?' Mencius replied, 'The feeling of respect.'
2. 'How is it,' pursued Chang, 'that the declining a present is accounted disrespectful?' The answer was, 'When one of honourable rank presents a gift, to say in the mind, "Was the way in which he got this righteous or not? I must know this before I can receive it;"-- this is deemed disrespectful, and therefore presents are not declined.'
3. Wan Chang asked again, 'When one does not take on him in so many express words to refuse the gift, but having declined it in his heart, saying, "It was taken by him unrighteously from the people," and then assigns some other reason for not receiving it;-- is not this a proper course?' Mencius said, 'When the donor offers it on a ground of reason, and his manner of doing so is according to propriety;-- in such a case Confucius would have received it.'
4. Wan Chang said, 'Here now is one who stops and robs people outside the gates of the city. He offers his gift on a ground of reason, and does so in a manner according to propriety;-- would the reception of it so acquired by robbery be proper?' Mencius replied, 'It would not be proper. in "The Announcement to Kang" it is said, "When men kill others, and roll over their bodies to take their property, being reckless and fearless of death, among all the people there are none but detest them:"-- thus, such characters are to be put to death, without waiting to give them warning. Yin received this rule from Hsiâ and Châu received it from Yin. It cannot be questioned, and to the present day is clearly acknowledged. How can the grift of a robber be received?'
5. Chang said, 'The princes of the present day take from their people just as a robber despoils his victim. Yet if they put a good face of propriety on their gifts, then the superior man receives them. I venture to ask how you explain this.' Mencius answered, 'Do you think that, if there should arise a truly royal sovereign, he would collect the princes of the present day, and put them all to death? Or would he admonish them, and then, on their not changing their ways, put them to death? Indeed, to call every one who takes what does not properly belong to him a robber, is pushing a point of resemblance to the utmost, and insisting on the most refined idea of righteousness. When Confucius was in office in Lû, the people struggled together for the game taken in hunting, and he also did the same. If that struggling for the captured game was proper, how much more may the gifts of the princes be received!'
6. Chang urged, 'Then are we to suppose that when Confucius held office, it was not with the view to carry his doctrines into practice?' 'It was with that view,' Mencius replied, and Chang rejoined, 'If the practice of his doctrines was his business, what had he to do with that struggling for the captured game?' Mencius said, 'Confucius first rectified his vessels of sacrifice according to the registers, and did not fill them so rectified with food gathered from every quarter.' 'But why did he not go away?' He wished to make a trial of carrying his doctrines into practice. When that trial was sufficient to show that they could be practised and they were still not practised, then he went away, and thus it was that he never completed in any State a residence of three years.
7. 'Confucius took office when he saw that the practice of his doctrines was likely; he took office when his reception was proper; he took office when he was supported by the State. In the case of his relation to Chî Hwan, he took office, seeing that the practice of his doctrines was likely. With the duke Ling of Wei he took office, because his reception was proper. With the duke Hsiâo of Wei he took office, because he was maintained by the State.'