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The Complete Works of F. The people could find no name for it. How glorious in the elegant regulations which he instituted! The able ministers were no more than nine men. The virtue of the house of Chau may be said to have reached the highest point indeed.
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- The Analects (Translated by James Legge with an Introduction by Lionel Giles)?
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He used himself coarse food and drink, but displayed the utmost filial piety towards the spirits. His ordinary garments were poor, but he displayed the utmost elegance in his sacrificial cap and apron. He lived in a low, mean house, but expended all his strength on the ditches and water channels.
I can find nothing like a flaw in Yu. The subjects of which the Master seldom spoke were-profitableness, and also the appointments of Heaven, and perfect virtue. His learning is extensive, and yet he does not render his name famous by any particular thing. Shall I practice charioteering, or shall I practice archery? I will practice charioteering. It is economical, and I follow the common practice. I continue to bow below the hall, though I oppose the common practice. There were four things from which the Master was entirely free. He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no egoism.
How various is his ability! He is about a sage. And, moreover, his ability is various. When I was young, my condition was low, and I acquired my ability in many things, but they were mean matters. Must the superior man have such variety of ability? He does not need variety of ability.
I am not knowing. But if a mean person, who appears quite empty-like, ask anything of me, I set it forth from one end to the other, and exhaust it. When the Master saw a person in a mourning dress, or any one with the cap and upper and lower garments of full dress, or a blind person, on observing them approaching, though they were younger than himself, he would rise up, and if he had to pass by them, he would do so hastily.
He enlarged my mind with learning, and taught me the restraints of propriety. By pretending to have ministers when I have them not, whom should I impose upon?
Should I impose upon Heaven? And though I may not get a great burial, shall I die upon the road? Should I lay it up in a case and keep it? But I would wait for one to offer the price. How can you do such a thing? If there want but one basket of earth to complete the work, and I stop, the stopping is my own work. It may be compared to throwing down the earth on the level ground. Though but one basketful is thrown at a time, the advancing with it my own going forward. I saw his constant advance. I never saw him stop in his progress. There are cases where it flowers but fruit is not subsequently produced!
How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present? If he reach the age of forty or fifty, and has not made himself heard of, then indeed he will not be worth being regarded with respect. But it is reforming the conduct because of them which is valuable.
- The Analects of Confucius; translated by James Legge.
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Can men refuse to be pleased with words of gentle advice? But it is unfolding their aim which is valuable. If a man be pleased with these words, but does not unfold their aim, and assents to those, but does not reform his conduct, I can really do nothing with him. Have no friends not equal to yourself. When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them. Perhaps we may go on with them to principles, but we shall find them unable to get established in those along with us.
Or if we may get so established along with them, we shall find them unable to weigh occurring events along with us. Do I not think of you? But your house is distant. When he was waiting at court, in speaking with the great officers of the lower grade, he spoke freely, but in a straightforward manner; in speaking with those of the higher grade, he did so blandly, but precisely.
When the ruler was present, his manner displayed respectful uneasiness; it was grave, but self-possessed. When the prince called him to employ him in the reception of a visitor, his countenance appeared to change, and his legs to move forward with difficulty. He inclined himself to the other officers among whom he stood, moving his left or right arm, as their position required, but keeping the skirts of his robe before and behind evenly adjusted. When he entered the palace gate, he seemed to bend his body, as if it were not sufficient to admit him.
When he was standing, he did not occupy the middle of the gateway; when he passed in or out, he did not tread upon the threshold. When he was passing the vacant place of the prince, his countenance appeared to change, and his legs to bend under him, and his words came as if he hardly had breath to utter them. He ascended the reception hall, holding up his robe with both his hands, and his body bent; holding in his breath also, as if he dared not breathe.
When he came out from the audience, as soon as he had descended one step, he began to relax his countenance, and had a satisfied look. When he had got the bottom of the steps, he advanced rapidly to his place, with his arms like wings, and on occupying it, his manner still showed respectful uneasiness. When he was carrying the scepter of his ruler, he seemed to bend his body, as if he were not able to bear its weight. He did not hold it higher than the position of the hands in making a bow, nor lower than their position in giving anything to another. His countenance seemed to change, and look apprehensive, and he dragged his feet along as if they were held by something to the ground.
In warm weather, he had a single garment either of coarse or fine texture, but he wore it displayed over an inner garment. His undergarment, except when it was required to be of the curtain shape, was made of silk cut narrow above and wide below. When fasting, he thought it necessary to have his clothes brightly clean and made of linen cloth.
When fasting, he thought it necessary to change his food, and also to change the place where he commonly sat in the apartment. He did not eat rice which had been injured by heat or damp and turned sour, nor fish or flesh which was gone. He did not eat what was discolored, or what was of a bad flavor, nor anything which was ill-cooked, or was not in season. Though there might be a large quantity of meat, he would not allow what he took to exceed the due proportion for the rice. It was only in wine that he laid down no limit for himself, but he did not allow himself to be confused by it.
The flesh of his family sacrifice he did not keep over three days. If kept over three days, people could not eat it. Although his food might be coarse rice and vegetable soup, he would offer a little of it in sacrifice with a grave, respectful air. When the villagers were drinking together, upon those who carried staffs going out, he also went out immediately after. When the villagers were going through their ceremonies to drive away pestilential influences, he put on his court robes and stood on the eastern steps.
When he was sending complimentary inquiries to any one in another state, he bowed twice as he escorted the messenger away. I dare not taste it. When the he would adjust his mat, first taste it, and then give it away to others. When the prince sent him a gift of undressed meat, he would have it cooked, and offer it to the spirits of his ancestors.
When the prince sent him a gift of a living animal, he would keep it alive. When he was in attendance on the prince and joining in the entertainment, the prince only sacrificed. He first tasted everything. When he was ill and the prince came to visit him, he had his head to the east, made his court robes be spread over him, and drew his girdle across them. When he saw any one in a mourning dress, though it might be an acquaintance, he would change countenance; when he saw any one wearing the cap of full dress, or a blind person, though he might be in his undress, he would salute him in a ceremonious manner.
To any person in mourning he bowed forward to the crossbar of his carriage; he bowed in the same way to any one bearing the tables of population. When he was at an entertainment where there was an abundance of provisions set before him, he would change countenance and rise up.
When he was in the carriage, he did not turn his head quite round, he did not talk hastily, he did not point with his hands. Thrice it smelt him and then rose. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight. Other people say nothing of him different from the report of his parents and brothers. Nan Yung was frequently repeating the lines about a white scepter stone. Confucius gave him the daughter of his elder brother to wife. Unfortunately his appointed time was short, and he died. Now there is no one who loves to learn, as he did.
There was Li; when he died, he had a coffin but no outer shell. I would not walk on foot to get a shell for him, because, having followed in the rear of the great officers, it was not proper that I should walk on foot. I have not been able to treat him as my son. The fault is not mine; it belongs to you, O disciples.
The Analects (The Revised James Legge Translation)
Chi Lu asked about serving the spirits of the dead. The disciple Min was standing by his side, looking bland and precise; Tsze-lu, looking bold and soldierly; Zan Yu and Tsze-kung, with a free and straightforward manner. The Master was pleased. The other disciples began not to respect Tszelu. Tsze-kung asked which of the two, Shih or Shang, was the superior. Yet his judgments are often correct. Tsze-chang asked what were the characteristics of the good man. Tsze-lu asked whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard.
Yu has more than his own share of energy; therefore I kept him back. Why must one read books before he can be considered to have learned? As to teaching them the principles of propriety, and music, I must wait for the rise of a superior man to do that. At the services of the ancestral temple, and at the audiences of the princes with the sovereign, I should like, dressed in the dark square-made robe and the black linen cap, to act as a small assistant. His words were not humble; therefore I smiled at him. Yen Yuan asked about perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, an under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him.
Is the practice of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from others? Chung-kung asked about perfect virtue. Sze-ma Niu asked about the superior man. What has the superior man to do with being distressed because he has no brothers? Tsze-chang asked what constituted intelligence. Yea, he with whom neither soaking slander, nor startling statements, are successful, may be called farseeing.
Tsze-kung asked about government. From of old, death has been the lot of an men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the state. Your words, sir, show you to be a superior man, but four horses cannot overtake the tongue. Ornament is as substance; substance is as ornament. The hide of a tiger or a leopard stripped of its hair, is like the hide of a dog or a goat stripped of its hair.
If the people are in want, their prince cannot enjoy plenty alone. Having wished him to live, you also wish him to die. This is a case of delusion. What is necessary, however, is to cause the people to have no litigations. Tsze-chang asked about government. The mean man does the opposite of this. If you lead on the people with correctness, who will dare not to be correct? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good.
The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it. He is anxious to humble himself to others. Such a man will be distinguished in the country; he will be distinguished in his clan. Such a man will be heard of in the country; he will be heard of in the clan. Tsze-kung asked about friendship. If you find him impracticable, stop.
Do not disgrace yourself. Tsze-lu asked about government. Chung-kung, being chief minister to the head of the Chi family, asked about government. As to those whom you do not know, will others neglect them? What will you consider the first thing to be done? A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect. If a superior man love propriety, the people will not dare not to be reverent. If he love righteousness, the people will not dare not to submit to his example. If he love good faith, the people will not dare not to be sincere.
Now, when these things obtain, the people from all quarters will come to him, bearing their children on their backs; what need has he of a knowledge of husbandry? If his personal conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they will not be followed. The Master said of Ching, a scion of the ducal family of Wei, that he knew the economy of a family well. In three years, the government would be perfected. If he cannot rectify himself, what has he to do with rectifying others? If there had been government business, though I am not now in office, I should have been consulted about it.
The Duke Ting asked whether there was a single sentence which could make a country prosperous. But if they are not good, and no one opposes them, may there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin of his country? Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished. If their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact. The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father.
Uprightness is to be found in this. Though a man go among rude, uncultivated tribes, these qualities may not be neglected. They are obstinate little men. Yet perhaps they may make the next class. The ardent will advance and lay hold of truth; the cautiously-decided will keep themselves from what is wrong.
It is better than either of these cases that the good in the neighborhood love him, and the bad hate him. If you try to please him in any way which is not accordant with right, he will not be pleased. But in his employment of men, he uses them according to their capacity. The mean man is difficult to serve, and easy to please.
If you try to please him, though it be in a way which is not accordant with right, he may be pleased. But in his employment of men, he wishes them to be equal to everything. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease. Hsien asked what was shameful. But I do not know that it is to be deemed perfect virtue.
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When bad government prevails, the actions may be lofty and bold, but the language may be with some reserve. Men of principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not always be men of principle. Yu and Chi personally wrought at the toils of husbandry, and they became possessors of the kingdom. An esteemer of virtue indeed is this! But there never has been a mean man, and, at the same time, virtuous. Can there be loyalty which does not lead to the instruction of its object? He asked about Kwan Chung. To be rich without being proud is easy.
The man, who in the view of gain, thinks of righteousness; who in the view of danger is prepared to give up his life; and who does not forget an old agreement however far back it extends: He laughs when there is occasion to be joyful, and so men do not get tired of his laughing. He takes when it is consistent with righteousness to do so, and so men do not get tired of his taking.
But is it so with him? Although it may be said that he was not using force with his sovereign, I believe he was. May not I say that he was wanting in virtue? Whose beneficence was like his? Moreover, he became prime minister to Hwan. Down to the present day, the people enjoy the gifts which he conferred. But for Kwan Chung, we should now be wearing our hair unbound, and the lappets of our coats buttoning on the left side. I beg that you will undertake to punish him. He went to the chiefs, and informed them, but they would not act.
Tsze-lu asked how a ruler should be served. Nowadays, men learn with a view to the approbation of others. Confucius sat with him, and questioned him. Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear. Tsze-kung was in the habit of comparing men together. Now, I have not leisure for this. Is it not that you are an insinuating talker? I do not grumble against men. My studies lie low, and my penetration rises high. But there is Heaven;-that knows me! If they are to fall to the ground, it is so ordered. What can the Kung-po Liao do where such ordering is concerned?
This book is the revised James Legge translation which has been extensively reworked and restored compared to the freely available Legge translations. The Analects, also known as the Analects of Confucius, is the collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries, traditionally believed to have been written by Confucius' followers.
By the early Han dynasty the Analects was considered merely a "commentary" on the Five Classics, but the status of the Analects grew to be one of the central texts of Confucianism by the end of that dynasty. During the late Song dynasty the importance of the Analects as a philosophy work was raised above that of the older Five Classics, and it was recognized as one of the "Four Books".