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

The Master said, Whilst the land keeps the Way, be fearless of speech and fearless in deed; when the land has lost the Way, be fearless in deed but soft of speech.



1. 憲問恥。子曰:「邦有道穀,邦無道穀,恥也。」

Hsien asked, What is shame? The Master said, To draw pay when the land keeps the Way and to draw pay when it has lost the Way, is shame.

2. 「克伐怨欲,不行焉,可以為仁矣。」子曰:「可以為難矣,仁則吾不知也。」

To eschew strife and bragging, spite and greed, would that be love? The Master said, That may be hard to do; but I do not know that it is love.

3. 子曰:「士而懷居,不足以為士矣!」

The Master said, A knight that is fond of ease does not amount to a knight.

4. 子曰:「邦有道,危言危行;邦無道,危行言孫。」

The Master said, Whilst the land keeps the Way, be fearless of speech and fearless in deed; when the land has lost the Way, be fearless in deed but soft of speech.

5. 子曰:「有德者必有言,有言者不必有德。仁者必有勇,勇者不必有仁。」

The Master said, A man of mind can always talk, but talkers are not always men of mind. Love is always bold, though boldness is found without love.

6. 南宮适問於孔子曰:「羿善射,奡盪舟,俱不得其死然。禹稷躬稼而有天下。」夫子 不答。南宮适出,子曰:「君子哉若人!尚德哉若人!」

Nan-kung Kuo said to Confucius, Yi shot well, Ao pushed a boat over land: each died before his time. Yü and Chi toiled at their crops, and had all below heaven. The Master did not answer. But when Nan-kung Kuo had gone, he said, What a gentleman he is! How he honours mind!

7. 子曰:「君子而不仁者有矣夫,未有小人而仁者也。」

The Master said, Alas! there have been gentlemen without love! But there has never been a small man that was not wanting in love.

8. 子曰:「愛之,能勿勞乎?忠焉,能勿誨乎?」

The Master said, Can he love thee that never tasks thee? Can he be faithful that never chides?

9. 子曰:「為命:裨諶草創之,世叔討論之,行人子羽修飾之,東里子產潤色之。」

The Master said, The decrees were drafted by P'i Shen, criticised by Shih-shu, polished by the Foreign Minister Tzu-yü, and given the final touches by Tzu-ch'an of Tung-li.

10. 或問「子產」,子曰:「惠人也。」問「子西」,曰:「彼哉彼哉!」問「管仲」, 曰:「人也,奪伯氏駢邑三百,飯疏食,沒齒無怨言。」

When he was asked what he thought of Tzu-ch'an, the Master said, A kind-hearted man. Asked what he thought of Tzu-hsi, the Master said, Of him! What I think of him! Asked what he thought of Kuan Chung, the Master said, He was the man that drove the Po from the town of Pien with its three hundred households to end his days on coarse rice, without his muttering a word.

11. 子曰:「貧而無怨難,富而無驕易。」

The Master said, Not to grumble at being poor is hard, not to be proud of wealth is easy.

12. 子曰:「孟公綽為趙魏老則優,不可以為滕薛大夫。」

The Master said, Meng Kung-ch'o is more than fit to be steward of Chao or Wei, but he could not be minister of T'eng or Hsieh.

13. 子路問「成人」。子曰:「若臧武仲之知,公綽之不欲,卞莊子之勇,冉求之藝,文 之以禮樂,亦可以為成人矣!」曰:「今之成人者,何必然?見利思義,見危授命,久要不忘平生之言,亦可以為成人矣!」

Tzu-lu asked what would make a full-grown man. The Master said, The wisdom of Tsang Wu-chung, Kung-ch'o's lack of greed, Chuang of Pien's boldness and the skill of Jan Ch'iu, graced by courtesy and music, might make a full-grown man. But now, he said, who asks the like of a full-grown man? He that in sight of gain thinks of right, who when danger looms stakes his life, who, though the bond be old, does not forget what he has been saying all his life, might make a full-grown man.

14. 子問「公叔文子」於公明賈,曰:「信乎?夫子不言不笑不取乎?」公明賈對曰:「 以告者過也!夫子時然後言,人不厭其言;樂然後笑,人不厭其笑;義然後取,人不厭其取。」子曰:「其然!豈其然乎?」

Speaking of Kung-shu Wen, the Master said to Kung-ming Chia, Is it true that thy master does not speak, nor laugh, nor take a gift? Kung-ming Chia answered, That is saying too much. My master only speaks when the time comes, so no one tires of his speaking; he only laughs when he is merry, so no one tires of his laughter; he only takes when it is right to take, so no one tires of his taking. It may be so, said the Master; but is it?

15. 子曰:「臧武仲以防,求為後於魯,雖曰不要君,吾不信也。」

The Master said, When he held Fang and asked Lu to appoint an heir, though Tsang Wu-chung said he was not forcing his lord, I do not believe it.