Talk:The Chinese Classics/Volume 1/Confucian Analects

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Information about this edition
Source: Project Gutenberg
Contributor(s): Zorayda, CES1596
Level of progress: Complete.
Notes: Scans available on Google Books and Internet archive

Would anyone mind very much if I added the original Chinese text right above the translations?

I think it would be better at the Chinese Wikisource, where it is already. Yann (talk) 10:51, 4 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Alright, that makes sense, thanks. --Tansm (talk) 00:08, 5 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Verse number[edit]

I remember that this book have verse numbers. Should we add them here? -- 07:42, 22 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Plus the notes.[edit]

I just started to proofread the whole OCR scan of the "Four books" at, to include the long notes that Legge appended to each paragraph. Perhaps this would be a better version to keep here at Wikisource? I have reformated the text to make it easier to read. Has this been done before? Am I redoing work that could be found on the net already? If so, please contact me at per DOT stromdahl AT gmail DOT com // Per Strömdahl

The first book:


TITLE OF THE WORK. - 論語, "Discourses and Dialogues"; that is, the discourses or discussions of Confucius with his disciples and others on various topics, and his replies to their inquiries. Many chapters, however, and one whole book, are the sayings, not of the sage himself, but of some of his disciples. The characters may also be rendered "Digested Conversations," and this appears to be the more ancient signification attached to them, the account being that, after the death of Confucius, his disciples collected together and compared the memoranda of his conversations which they had severally preserved, digesting them into the twenty books which compose the work. Hence the title - 論語, "Discussed Sayings," or "Digested Conversations." See 論語註疏解經序. I have styled the work "Confucian Analects," as being more descriptive of its character than any other name I could think of.


HEADING OF THIS BOOK. - 學而第一. The two first characters in the book, after the introductory - "The master said," are adopted as its heading. This is similar to the custom of the Jews, who name many books in the Bible from the first word in them. 第一 "The first"; that is, of the twenty books composing the whole work. In some of the books we find a unity or analogy of subjects, which evidently guided the compilers in grouping the chapters together. Others seem devoid of any such principle of combination. The sixteen chapters of this book are occupied, it is said, with the fundamental subjects which ought to engage the attention of the learner, and the great matters of human practice. The word 學, "learn," rightly occupies the forefront in the studies of a nation, of which its educational system has so long been the distinction and glory.

【第一章】 Chapter I. 【一節】子曰、 學而時習之、不亦說乎。 1. The Master said, "Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? 【二節】有朋自遠方來、不亦樂乎。 2. "Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters? 【三節】人不知而不慍、不亦君子乎。 3. "Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?"

1. THE WHOLE WORK AND ACHIEVEMENT OF THE LEARNER, FIRST PERFECTING HIS KNOWLEDGE, THEN ATTRACTING BY HIS FAME LIKE-MINDED INDIVIDUALS, AND FINALLY COMPLETE IN HIMSELF. 1. 子, at the commencement, indicates Confucius. 子, "a son," is also the common designation of males - especially of virtuous men. We find it, in conversations, used in the same way as our "Sir." When it follows the surname, it is equivalent to our "Mr.," or may be rendered "the philosopher," "the scholar," "the officer," etc. Often, however, it is better to leave it untranslated. When it precedes the surname, it indicates that the person spoken of was the master of the writer, as 子沈子, "my master, the philosopher 沈." Standing single and alone, as in the text, it denotes Confucius, the philosopher, or, rather, the master. If we render the term by Confucius, as all preceding translators have done, we miss the indication which it gives of the handiwork of his disciples, and the reverence which it bespeaks for him. 學, in the old commentators, is explained by 誦, "to read chantingly," "to discuss." Chû Hsî interprets it by 效, "to imitate," and makes its results to be 明善而復初, "the understanding of all excellence, and the bringing back original goodness." Subsequent scholars profess, for the most part, great admiration of this explanation. It is an illustration, to my mind, of the way in which Chû Hsî and his followers are continually being wise above what is written in the classical books, 習 is the rapid and frequent motion of the wings of a bird in flying, used for "to repeat," "to practice." 之 is the obj. of the third pers. pronoun, and its antecedent is to be found, in the pregnant meaning of 學. 不亦...乎 is explained by 豈不, "is it not?" See 四書補註備旨. To bring out the force of "also" in 亦, some say thus: - "The occasions for pleasure are many, is this not also one?" But it is better to consider 亦 as merely redundant; see Wang Yin-chih's masterly Treatise on the particles, chap, iii; it forms chaps. 1208 to 1217 of the 皇清經解. 說, read yuĕ, as always when it has the entering tone marked, stands for 悅. What is learned becomes by practice and application one's own, and hence arises complacent pleasure in the mastering mind. 悅, as distinguished from 樂 (lŏh), in the next paragraph, is the internal, individual feeling of pleasure, and the other, its external manifestation, implying also companionship. 2. 朋, properly "fellow students"; but, generally, individuals of the same class and character, like-minded. 3. 君子, I translate here "a man of complete virtue." Literally, it is - "a princely man." See on 子, above. It is a technical term in Chinese moral writers, for which there is no exact correspondency in English, and which cannot be rendered always in the same way. See Morrison's Dictionary, character 子. Its opposite is 小人 A "a small, mean man." 人不知, "Man do not know him," but anciently some explained - "man do not know," that is, are stupid under his teaching. The interpretation in the text is, doubtless, the correct one.

【第二章】 Chapter II. 【一節】有子曰、其為人也孝弟、而好犯上者鮮矣、不好犯上、而好作亂者、未之有也。 1. The philosopher Yu said, "They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion. 【二節】君子務本、本立、而道生、孝弟也者、其為仁之本與。 2. "The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission!—are they not the root of all benevolent actions?"

2. FILIAL PIETY AND FRATERNAL SUBMISSION ARE THE FOUNDATION OF ALL VIRTUOUS PRACTICE. 1. Yu, named 若, and styled 子有, and 子若, a native of 魯, was famed among the other disciples of Confucius for his strong memory, and love for the doctrines of antiquity. In something about him he resembled the sage. See Mencius, III, Pt. I, iv, 13. 有子 is "Yû, the philosopher," and he and Tsăng Shăn are the only two of Confucius's disciples who are mentioned in this style in the Lun Yu. This has led to an opinion on the part of some, that the work was compiled by their disciples. This may not be sufficiently supported, but I have not found the peculiarity pointed out satisfactorily explained. The tablet of Yû's spirit is now in the same apartment of the sage's temples as that of the sage himself, occupying che sixth place in the eastern range of "the wise ones." To this position it was promoted in the third year of Ch'ien Lung of the Manchu dynasty. A degree of activity enters into the meaning of 為 in 為人. = "playing the man," "as man, showing themselves filial," etc. 弟 here = 悌, "to be submissive as a younger brother," is in the fourth tone. With its proper signification, it was anciently in the third tone, 而 = "and yet," different from its simple conjunctive use = " and," in the preceding chapter. 好, a verb, "to love," in the fourth tone, differs from the same character in the third tone, an adjective, = "good." 鮮, third tone, = "few." On the idiom 未之有, see Prémare's Grammar, p. 156. 2. 君子 has a less intense signification here than in the last chapter. I translate - "The superior man," for want of a better term. 本, "the root," "what is radical," is here said of filial and fraternal duties, and 道, "ways" or "courses," of all that is intended by 為 (=行) 仁, below. The particles 也者 resume the discourse about 孝弟, and introduce some further description of them. See Prémare, p. 158. 與, in the second tone, is half interrogative, an answer in the affirmative being implied. 仁 is explained here as "the principle of love," "the virtue of the heart." Mencius says - 仁也者人也 "仁 is man," in accordance with which, Julien translates it by humanitas. Benevolence often comes near it, but, as has been said before of 君子, we cannot give a uniform rendering of the term.

【第三章】 Chapter III. 子曰、巧言令色、鮮矣仁。 The Master said, "Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue."

3. FAIR APPEARANCES ARE SUSPICIOUS. 巧言令色 see Shŭ-ching, II, iii, 2. 巧, "skill in workmanship"; then, "skill," "cleverness," generally, and sometimes with a bad meaning, as here, = "artful," "hypocritical." 令 "a law,", "an order," also "good," and here like 巧 with a bad meaning, = "pretending to be good." 色, "the manifestation of the feelings made in the color of the countenance," is here used for the appearance generally.

【第四章】 Chapter IV. 曾子曰、吾日三省吾身、為人謀、而不忠乎、與朋友交、而不信乎、傳不習乎。 The philosopher Tsang said, "I daily examine myself on three points:—whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful;—whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere;—whether I may have not mastered and practised the instructions of my teacher."

4. HOW THE PHILOSOPHER TSĂNG DAILY EXAMINED HIMSELF, TO GUARD AGAINST HIS BEING GUILTY OF ANY IMPOSITION Tsăng, whose name was 參 (shăn), and his designation 子輿, was one of the principal disciples of Confucius. A follower of the sage from his sixteenth year, though inferior in natural ability to some others, by his filial piety and other moral qualities, he entirely won the Master's esteem, and by persevering attention mastered his doctrines. Confucius, it is said, employed him in the composition of the 孝經, or "Classic of Filial Piety." The authorship of the 大學, "The Great Learning," is also ascribed to him, though incorrectly, as we shall see. Portions, moreover, of his composition are preserved in the Li Chî. His spirit tablet among the sage's four assessors, occupying the first place on the west, has precedence of that of Mencius. 省 read hsing, "to examine." 三省 is naturally understood of "three times," but tho context and consent of commentators make us assent to the interpretation - "on three points." 身, "the body," "one's personality"; 吾身 = myself. 為 is in the fourth tone, = "for." So, frequently, below. 忠 from 中, "middle," "the center," and 心, "the heart," = loyalty, faithfulness, action with and from the heart. 朋, see chap. i. 友, "two hands joined," denoting union, 朋友 = when together, "friends." 傳不習 is very enigmatical. The translation follows Chû Hsî. 何晏 explained quite differently: "whether I have given instruction in what I had not studied and practiced?" It does seem more correct to take 傳 actively, "to give instruction," rather then passively, "to receive instruction." See Mao Hsî-ho's 四書改錯, XV, article 17.

【第五章】 Chapter V. 子曰、道千乘之國、敬事而信、節用而愛人、使民以時。 The Master said, To rule a country of a thousand chariots, there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the people at the proper seasons."

5. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF A LARGE STATE, 道 used for 導, "to rule," "to lead," and is marked in the fourth tone, to distinguish it from 道, the noun, which was anciently read with the third tone. It is different from 治; which refers to the actual business of government, while 導 is the duty and purpose thereof, apprehended by the prince. The standpoint of the principles is the prince's mind. 乘 in fourth tone, "a chariot," different from its meaning in the second tone, " to ride." A country of one thousand chariots was one of the largest fiefs of the empire, which could bring such an armament into tho field. The last principle, 使民以時 means that the people should not be called from their husbandry at improper seasons, to do service on military expeditions and public works.

【第六章】 Chapter VI. 子曰、弟子、入則孝、出則弟、謹而信、凡愛眾、而親仁、行有餘力、則以學文。 汎 The Master said, "A youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful. He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies."

6. RULES FOR THE TRAINING OF THE YOUNG: - DUTY FIUST AND THEN ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 弟子 "younger brothers and sons," taken together, = youths, a youth. The second 弟 is for 悌, as in chap. ii. 入出 "coming in, going out," = at home, abroad. 汎 is explained by Chû Hsî by 廣 "wide," "widely"; its proper meaning is "the rush or overflow of water." 力, "strength," here embracing the idea of leisure. 學文, not literary studies merely, but all the accomplishments of a gentleman also: - ceremonies, music, archery, horsemanship, writing, and numbers.

【第七章】 Chapter VII. 子夏曰、賢賢易色、事父母、能竭其力、事君、能致其身、與朋友交、言而有信、雖曰未學、吾必謂之學矣。 Tsze-hsiâ said, "If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere:—although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has."

7. TSZE-HSIA'S VIEWS OF THE SUBSTANCE OF LEABNING. Tsze-hsiâ was the designation of 卜商, another of the sage's distinguished disciples, and now placed fifth in the eastern range of "the wise ones." He was greatly famed for his learning, and his views on the Shih-ching and the Ch'un Ch'iu are said to be preserved in the commentaries of 毛, and of 公羊高 and 穀梁赤. He wept himself blind on the death of his son, but lived to a great age, and was much esteemed by the people and princes of the time. With regard to the scope of this chapter, there is some truth in what the commentator Wû, 吳, says, - that Tsze-hsiâ's words may be wrested to depreciate learning, while those of the Master in the preceding chapter hit exactly the due medium. The second 賢 a concrete noun. Written in full, it is composed of the characters for a minister, loyal, and a precious shell. It conveys the ideas of talents and worth in the concrete, but it is not easy to render it uniformly by any one term of another language. The first 賢 is a verb, = "to treat as a hsien." 色, has a different meaning from that in the third chapter. Here it means "sensual pleasure." Literally rendered, the first sentence would be, "esteeming properly the virtuous, and changing the love of woman," and great fault is found by some, as in 四書改錯, XIII, i, with Chû Hsî's interpretation which I have followed; but there is force in what his adherents say, that the passage is not to be understood as if the individual spoken of had ever been given to pleasure, but simply signifies the sincerity of his love for the virtuous. 致 here = 委, "to give to," "to devote."

【第八章】 Chapter VIII. 【一節】子曰、君子不重、則不威、學則不固。 1. The Master said, "If the scholar be not grave, he will not call forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid. 【二節】主忠信。 2. "Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. 【三節】無友不如己者。 3. "Have no friends not equal to yourself. 【四節】過則勿憚改。 4. "When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them."

8. PRINCIPLES OF SELF-CULTIVATION. 1. 君子 has here its lightest meaning, = a student, one who wishes to be a Chün-tsze. 孔安國 of the Han dynasty, in the second century before Christ, took 固, in the sense of "obscured," "dulled," and interprets - "Let him learn, and he will not fall into error." The received interpretation, as in the transl., is better. 2. 主, as a verb, "to hold to be chief." It is often used thus. 3. The object of friendship, with Chinese moralists, is to improve one's knowledge and virtue; - hence, this seemingly, but not really, selfish maxim.

【第九章】 Chapter IX. 曾子曰、慎終追遠、民德歸厚矣。 愼 The philosopher Tsăng said, "Let there be a careful attention to perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice;—then the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence."

9. THE GOOD EFFECT OF ATTENTION ON THE PART OF SUPERIORS TO THE OFFICES TO THE DEAD: - AN ADMONITION OF TSĂNG SHĂN. 終, "the end," = death, and 遠, "distant," have both the force of adjectives, =" the dead," and "the departed," or "the long gone." 愼 and 追 mean, "to be careful of," "to follow," but their application is as in the translation. 厚, "thick," in opposition to 薄, "thin"; metaphorically, = good, excellent. The force of 歸, "to return," is to show that this virtue is naturally proper to the people.

【第十章】 Chapter X. 【一節】子禽問於子貢曰、夫子至於是邦也、必聞其政、求之與、抑與之與。 1. Tsze-ch'in asked Tsze-kung, saying, "When our master comes to any country, he does not fail to learn all about its government. Does he ask his information? or is it given to him?" 【二節】子貢曰、夫子溫、良、恭、儉、讓、以得之、夫子之求之也、其諸異乎人之求之與。 2. Tsze-kung said, "Our master is benign, upright, courteous, temperate, and complaisant, and thus he gets his information. The master's mode of asking information!—is it not different from that of other men?"

10. CHARACTERTSTICS OF CONFUCIUS, AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE PRINCES OF THE TIME. 1. Tsze-ch'in and Tsze-k'ang (亢) are designations of 陳亢, one of the minor disciples of Confucius. His tablet occupies the twenty-eighth place, on the west, in the outer part of the temples. On the death of his brother, his wife and major-domo wished to bury some living persons with him, to serve him in the regions below. Tsze-ch'in proposed that the wife and steward should themselves submit to the immolation, which made them stop the matter. Tsze-kung, with the double surname 端木, and named 賜, occupies a higher place in the Confucian ranks. He is conspicuous in this work for his steadiness and smartness in reply, and displayed on several occasions practical and political ability. 夫, "a general designation for males," = a man. 夫子, a common designation for a teacher or master. 是邦, "this country" = any country. 必 "must," = does not fail to. The antecedent to both the 之 is the whole clause 聞其政. 與, with no tone marked = "to give to," "with," "to"; 與, as in chap. ii. 2. The force of 其諸 is well enough expressed by the dash in English, the previous 也 indicating a pause in the discourse, which the 其 "it," resumes. See Wang Yin-chih's Treatise, chap. ix.

【十一章】 Chapter XI. 子曰、父在、觀其志、父沒、觀其行、三年無改於父之道、可謂孝矣。 The Master said, "While a man's father is alive, look at the bent of his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three years he does not alter from the way of his father, he may be called filial."

11. ON FILIAL DUTY. 行, is, in the fourth tone, explained by 行迹 "traces of walking," = conduct. It is to be understood that the way of the father had not been very bad. An old interpretation, that the three years are to be understood of the three years of mourning for the father, is now rightly rejected. The meaning should not be confined to that period.

【十二章】 Chapter XII. 【一節】有子曰、禮之用、和為貴、先王之道、斯為美、小大由之。 1. The philosopher Yû said, "In practising the rules of propriety, a natural ease is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small and great we follow them. 【二節】有所不行、知和而和、不以禮節之、亦不可行也。 2. "Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done."

12. IN CEREMONIES A NATURAL EASE IS TO BE PRIZED, AND YET TO BE SUBORDINATE TO THE END OF CEREMONIES, - THE REVERENTIAL OBSERVANCE OF PROPRIETY. 1. 禮 is not easily rendered in another language. There underlies it the idea of what is proper. It is 事之宜 "the fitness of things," what reason calls for in the performance of duties towards superior beings, and between man and man. Our term "ceremonies" comes near its meaning here. 道 is here a name for 禮, as indicating the courses or ways to be trodden by men. In 小大由之, the antecedent to 之 is not 和, but 禮 or 道. 2 Observe the force of the 亦, "also," in the last clause, and how it affirms the general principle enunciated in the first paragraph.

【十三章】 Chapter XIII. 有子曰、信近於義、言可復也、恭近於禮、遠恥辱也、因不失其親、亦可宗也。 The philosopher Yû said, "When agreements are made according to what is right, what is spoken can be made good. When respect is shown according to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and disgrace. When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he can make them his guides and masters."

13. TO SAVE FROM FUTURE REPENTANCE, WE MUST BE CAREFUL IN OUR FIRST STEPS. A different view of the scope of this chapter is taken by Ho Yen. It illustrates, according to him, the difference between being sincere and righteousness, between being respectful and propriety, and how a man's conduct may be venerated. The later view commends itself, the only difficulty being with 近於, "near to," which we must accept as a meiosis for 和平, "agreeing with." 信 = 信約, "a covenant," "agreement." 遠, fourth tone, "to keep away from." The force of the 亦 = "he can go on to make them his masters," 宗 being taken as an active verb.

【十四章】 Chapter XIV. 子曰、君子食無求飽、居無求安、敏於事、而慎於言、就有道、而正焉、可謂好學也已。 The Master said, "He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does he seek the appliances of ease; he is earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle that he may be rectified:—such a person may be said indeed to love to learn."

14. WITH WHAT MIND ONE AIMING TO BE A CHÜN-TSZE PURSUES HIS LEARNING. He may be well, even luxuriously, fed and lodged, but, with his higher aim, these things are not his seeking, - 無求. A nominative to 可謂 must be supposed, - all this, or such a person. The closing particles, 也已 give emphasis to the preceding sentence, = yes, indeed.

【十五章】 Chapter XV. 【一節】子貢曰貧、而無諂、富而無驕、何如。子曰、可也、未若貧而樂、富而好禮者也。 1. Tsze-kung said, "What do you pronounce concerning the poor man who yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not proud?" The Master replied, "They will do; but they are not equal to him, who, though poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves the rules of propriety." 【二節】子貢曰、詩云、如切如磋、如琢如磨、其斯之謂與。 2. Tsze-kung replied, "It is said in the Book of Poetry, 'As you cut and then file, as you carve and then polish.'—The meaning is the same, I apprehend, as that which you have just expressed." 【三節】子曰、賜也、始可與言詩已矣、告諸往而知來者。 3. The Master said, "With one like Ts'ze, I can begin to talk about the odes. I told him one point, and he knew its proper sequence."

15. AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE SUCCESSIVE STEPS IN SELF-CULTIVATION. 1. Tsze-kung had been poor, and then did not cringe. He became rich and was not proud. He asked Confucius about the style of character to which he had attained, Confucius allowed its worth, but sent him to higher attainments, 而 here, =" and yet." 何如, "what as?" = "what do you say - what is to be thought - of this?" Observe the force of the 未 "not yet." 2. The ode quoted is the first of the songs of Wei (衛), praising the prince Wû, who had dealt with himself as an ivory worker who first cuts the bone, and then files it smooth, or a lapidary whose hammer and chisel are followed by all the appliances for smoothing and polishing. See the Shih-ching, I, v, Ode I, st. 2. In 其斯之謂, the antecedent to 其 is the passage of the ode, and that to 斯 is the reply of Confucius. 之謂, see Prémare, p. 156. The clause might be translated - "is not that passage the saying of this?" Or, "Does not that mean this?" 3. Intercetta and his coadjutors translate here as if 賜 were in the 2nd pers. But the Chinese comm. put it in the 3rd, and correctly. Prémare, on the character 也 says, "Fere semper adjungitur nominibus propriis. Sic in libra Lun Yu, Confucius loquens de suis discipulis, Yeou, Keou, Hoei, velipsos alloquens, dicit 由也, 求也, 囘也." It is not to be denied that the name before 也 is sometimes in the 2nd pers., but generally it is in the 3rd, and the force of the 也 = quoad. 賜也 quoad Ts'ze. 已矣, nearly = 也巳 (or 巳 without marking the tone), in chap. xiv. The last clause may be given "Tell him the past, and he knows the future;" but the connection determines the meaning as in the translation. 諸, as in chap. x, is a particle, a mere 語助, as it is called, "a helping or supporting word."

【十六章】 Chapter XVI. 子曰、不患人之不己知、患不知人也。 The Master said, "I will not be afflicted at men's not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men."

16. PERSONAL ATTAINMENT SHOULD BE OUR CHIEF AIM. Comp. chap, i, 3. After the negative 不 as in chap, ii, 1, observe the transposition in 己知, which is more elegant than 知己 would be. 己, "self," the person, depending on the context. We cannot translate "do not be afflicted," because 不 is not used imperatively, like 勿. A nominative to 患 has to be assumed, 我, "I," or 君子, "the superior man."