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Author: Confucius (孔夫子); translated by James Legge

The Master said, Eating coarse rice and drinking water, with bent arm for pillow, we may be merry; but ill-gotten wealth and honours are to me a wandering cloud.

1. 子曰:「述而不作,信而好古,竊比於我老彭。」

The Master said, A teller and not a maker, one that trusts and loves the past; I might liken myself to our old P'eng.

2. 子曰:「默而識之,學而不厭,誨人不倦,何有於我哉?」

The Master said, To think things over in silence, to learn and be always hungry, to teach and never weary; is any of these mine?

3. 子曰:「德之不修,學之不講,聞義不能徒,不善不能改,是吾憂也。」

The Master said, Not making the most of my mind, want of thoroughness in learning, failure to do the right when told it, lack of strength to overcome faults; these are my sorrows.

4. 子之燕居,申申如也,夭夭如也。」

In his free moments the Master was easy and cheerful.

5. 子曰:「甚矣吾衰也!久矣吾不復夢見周公!」

The Master said, How deep is my decay! It is long since I saw the Duke of Chou in a dream.

6. 子曰:「志於道,據於德,依於仁,游於藝。」

The Master said, Keep thy will on the Way, lean on mind, rest in love, move in art.

7. 子曰:「自行束修以上,吾未嘗無誨焉。」

The Master said, From the man that paid in dried meat upwards, I have withheld teaching from no one.

8. 子曰:「不憤不啟,不悱不發。舉一隅不以三隅反,則不復也。」

The Master said, Only to those fumbling do I open, only for those stammering do I find the word. If I lift one corner and the other three are left unturned, I say no more.

9. 子食於有喪者之側,未嘗飽也。子於是日哭,則不歌。

When eating beside a mourner the Master never ate his fill. On days when he had been wailing, he did not sing.

10. 子謂顏淵曰:「用之則行,舍之則藏,惟我與爾有是夫。」子路曰:「子行三軍,則 誰與?」子曰:「暴虎馮河,死而不悔者,吾不與也。必也臨事而懼,好謀而成者也。」

The Master said to Yen Yüan, To go forward when in office and lie quiet when not; only I and thou can do that. Tzu-lu said, If ye had to lead three armies, Sir, whom would ye have with you? No man, said the Master, that would face a tiger bare-fisted, or plunge into a river and die without a qualm; but one, indeed, who, fearing what may come, lays his plans well and carries them through.

11. 子曰:「富而可求也,雖執鞭之士,吾亦為之。如不可求,從吾所好。」

The Master said, If shouldering a whip were a sure road to riches I should turn carter; but since there is no sure road, I tread the path I love.

12. 子之所慎:齊,戰,疾。

The Master gave heed to abstinence, war and sickness.

13. 子在齊聞韶,三月不知肉味,曰:「不圖為樂之至於斯也。」

When he was in Ch'i, for three months after hearing the Shao played, the Master knew not the taste of flesh. I did not suppose, he said, that music could reach such heights.

14. 冉有曰:「夫子為衛君乎?」子貢曰:「諾,吾將問之。」入曰:「伯夷、叔齊何人 也?」曰:「古之賢人也。」曰:「怨乎?」曰:「求仁而得仁,又何怨?」出曰:「夫子不為也。」

Jan Yu said, Is the Master for the lord of Wei? I shall ask him, said Tzu-kung. He went in, and said, What kind of men were Po-yi and Shu-ch'i? Worthy men of yore, said the Master. Did they rue the past? They sought love and found it; what had they to rue? Tzu-kung went out, and said, The Master is not for him.

15. 子曰:「飯疏食,飲水,曲肱而枕之,樂亦在其中矣。不義而富且貴,於我如浮雲。 」

The Master said, Eating coarse rice and drinking water, with bent arm for pillow, we may be merry; but ill-gotten wealth and honours are to me a wandering cloud.

16. 子曰:「加我數年,五十以學易,可以無大過矣。」

The Master said, Given a few more years, making fifty for learning the Yi, I might be freed from gross faults.

17. 子所雅言,詩、書、執禮,皆雅言也。

The Master liked to talk of poetry, history, and the upkeep of courtesy. Of all these he liked to talk.

18. 葉公問孔子於子路,子路不對。子曰:「女奚不曰,其為人也,發憤忘食,樂以忘 憂,不知老之將至云爾。」

The Duke of She asked Tzu-lu about Confucius. Tzu-lu did not answer. The Master said, Why didst thou not say, He is a man that forgets to eat in his eagerness, whose sorrows are forgotten in gladness, who knows not that age draws near?

19. 子曰:「我非生而知之者,好古,敏以求之者也。」

The Master said, I was not born to wisdom: I loved the past, and sought it earnestly there.

20. 子不語怪力亂神。

The Master never talked of goblins, strength, disorder, or spirits.