The Analects

Book 17: Yang Ho


Chapter I.

Confucius's polite but dignified treatment of a powerful, but usurping and unworthy, officer.

1. Yang Ho wished to see Confucius, but Confucius would not go to see him. On this, he sent a present of a pig to Confucius, who, having chosen a time when Ho was not at home, went to pay his respects for the gift. He met him, however, on the way.

2. Ho said to Confucius, "Come, let me speak with you." He then asked, "Can he be called benevolent who keeps his jewel in his bosom, and leaves his country to confusion?" Confucius replied, "No." "Can he be called wise, who is anxious to be engaged in public employment, and yet is constantly losing the opportunity of being so?" Confucius again said, "No." "The days and months are passing away; the years do not wait for us." Confucius said, "Right; I will go into office."

Chapter 2.

The differences in the characters of men are chiefly owing to habit.

The Master said, "By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart."

Chapter 3.

Only two classes whom practice cannot change.

The Master said, "There are only the wise of the highest class, and the stupid of the lowest class, who cannot be changed."

Chapter 4.

However small the sphere of government, the highest influences of proprieties and music should be employed.

1. The Master, having come to Wû-ch'ang, heard there the sound of stringed instruments and singing.

2. Well pleased and smiling, he said, "Why use an ox knife to kill a fowl?"

3. Tsze-yû replied, "Formerly, Master, I heard you say, -- 'When the man of high station is well instructed, he loves men; when the man of low station is well instructed, he is easily ruled.'"

4. The Master said, "My disciples, Yen's words are right. What I said was only in sport."

Chapter 5.

The lengths to which Confucius was inclined to go, to get his principles carried into practice.

1. Kung-shan Fû-zâo, when he was holding Pi, and in an attitude of rebellion, invited the Master to visit him, who was rather inclined to go.

2. Tsze-lû was displeased. and said, "Indeed, you cannot go! Why must you think of going to see Kung-shan?"

3. The Master said, "Can it be without some reason that he has invited ME? If any one employ me, may I not make an eastern Châu?"

Chapter 6.

Five things the practice of which constitutes perfect virtue.

Tsze-chang asked Confucius about perfect virtue. Confucius said, "To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue." He begged to ask what they were, and was told, "Gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. If you are grave, you will not be treated with disrespect. If you are generous, you will win all. If you are sincere, people will repose trust in you. If you are earnest, you will accomplish much. If you are kind, this will enable you to employ the services of others.

Chapter 7.

Confucius, inclined to respond to the advances of an unworthy man, protests against his conduct being judged by ordinary rules.

1. Pî Hsî inviting him to visit him, the Master was inclined to go.

2. Tsze-lû said, "Master, formerly I have heard you say, 'When a man in his own person is guilty of doing evil, a superior man will not associate with him.' Pî Hsî is in rebellion, holding possession of Chung-mâu; if you go to him, what shall be said?"

3. The Master said, "Yes, I did use these words. But is it not said, that, if a thing be really hard, it may be ground without being made thin? Is it not said, that, if a thing be really white, it may be steeped in a dark fluid without being made black?

4. "Am I a bitter gourd? How can I be hung up out of the way of being eaten?"

Chapter 8.

Knowledge, acquired by learning, is necessary to the completion of virtue, by preserving the mind from being beclouded.

1. The Master said, "Yû, have you heard the six words to which are attached six becloudings?" Yû replied, "I have not."

2. "Sit down, and I will tell them to you.

3. "There is the love of being benevolent without the love of learning;-- the beclouding here leads to a foolish simplicity. There is the love of knowing without the love of learning;-- the beclouding here leads to dissipation of mind. There is the love of being sincere without the love of learning;-- the beclouding here leads to an injurious disregard of consequences. There is the love of straightforwardness without the love of learning;-- the beclouding here leads to rudeness. There is the love of boldness without the love of learning;-- the beclouding here leads to insubordination. There is the love of firmness without the love of learning;-- the beclouding here leads to extravagant conduct."

Chapter 9.

Benefits derived from studying the Book of Poetry.

1. The Master said, "My children, why do you not study the Book of Poetry?

2. "The Odes serve to stimulate the mind.

3. "They may be used for purposes of self-contemplation.

4. "They teach the art of sociability.

5. "They show how to regulate feelings of resentment.

6. "From them you learn the more immediate duty of serving one's father, and the remoter one of serving one's prince.

7. "From them we become largely acquainted with the names of birds, beasts, and plants."

Chapter 10.

The importance of studying the Châu-nan and Shâo-nan.

The Master said to Po-yü, "Do you give yourself to the Châu-nan and the Shâo-nan. The man who has not studied the Châu-nan and the Shâo-nan is like one who stands with his face right against a wall. Is he not so?"

Chapter 11.

It is not the external appurtenances which constitute propriety, nor the sound of instruments which constitute music.

The Master said, "'It is according to the rules of propriety,' they say. -- 'It is according to the rules of propriety,' they say. Are gems and silk all that is meant by propriety? 'It is music,' they say. -- 'It is music,' they say. Are bells and drums all that is meant by music?"