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Title: Gems of Chinese Literature: Prose
Author: Herbert A Giles
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  This text was typed up from the "revised and greatly enlarged" 2nd
  edition, published in 1923 by Kelly & Walsh, Ltd., Shanghai, also
  Hongkong--Singapore--Yokohama--Hankow. The book consists of this
  prose volume and the companion work on verse bound together.

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Title: Gems of Chinese Literature: Prose
Author: Herbert A Giles

First Published 1883.

Etext prepared by John Bickers,
              and Dagny,

                      GEMS OF CHINESE LITERATURE


               HERBERT A. GILES, Hon. LL.D. (Aberdeen)

         Professor of Chinese in the University of Cambridge

         What work nobler than transplanting foreign thought?

                           PREPARER'S NOTE

  This text was typed up from the "revised and greatly enlarged" 2nd
  edition, published in 1923 by Kelly & Walsh, Ltd., Shanghai, also
  Hongkong--Singapore--Yokohama--Hankow. The book consists of this
  prose volume and the companion work on verse bound together.


A second edition of this book has long been overdue, blocked, like
many other enterprises, by the war. Its aim will be found fully set
forth in the extract, given below, from the preface to the first
edition. That edition has been carefully revised, and by many
additional translations has been doubled in size and brought down to
the present day. Short biographical notices will now be found with all
the authors quoted, whose names have further been given in an English-
Chinese index, as a means of easy identification by students. Poems
have been omitted; they are to appear in a companion volume.

                                                      Herbert A. Giles

December, 1922.


The present volume is a venture in a new direction. English readers
will search in vain for any work leading to an acquaintanceship,
however slight, with the general literature of China. Dr. Legge's
colossal labours have indeed placed the canonical books of
Confucianism within easy reach of the curious; but the immense bulk of
Chinese authorship is still virgin soil and remains to be efficiently

I have therefore ventured to offer an instalment of short extracts
from the works of the most famous writers of all ages, upon which time
has set an approving seal. These are chronologically arranged, and
cover a period extending from 550 B.C. to A.D. 1650--two thousand two
hundred years. Short biographical and dynastic notices will be found
scattered through the volume in their proper places; also such brief
foot-notes as seemed to me necessary to the occasion.

"Untold treasures," says Professor G. von der Gabelentz, "lie hidden
in the rich lodes of Chinese literature." Now without committing
myself to exaggeration or misdirection as to the practical value of
these treasures, I dare assert that the old pride, arrogance, and
exclusiveness of the Chinese are readily intelligible to any one who
has faithfully examined the literature of China and hung over the
burning words of her great writers. I do not flatter myself that all
the extracts given will be of equal interest to all readers. I have
not catered for any particular taste, but have striven to supply a
small handbook of Chinese literature, as complete as circumstances
would permit.

In the process of translation I have kept verbal accuracy steadily in
view, so that the work may be available to students of Chinese in one
sense as a key. But with due regard to the requirements of a general
public, impatient of long strings of unpronounceable names and of
allusions which for the most part would be shorn of all meaning and
point, I have eliminated these, wherever it was possible to do so
without obscuring or otherwise interfering with the leading idea in
the text. I have also been compelled sometimes to expand and sometimes
to compress;--on the one hand, by an extreme grammatical terseness,
intelligible enough in the original; on the other, by a redundancy of
expression, which, while offering wide scope for literary /tours de
force/ (compare Psalm cxix.), contrasts strangely with the verbal
condensation aforesaid. It must however always be borne in mind that
translators are but traitors at the best, and that translations may be
moonlight and water while the originals are sunlight and wine.

                                                              H. A. G.

16th October, 1883.

                      NOTE ON CHINESE LITERATURE

              THE CHOU AND CH`IN DYNASTIES: 550-200 B.C.

The texts of this period may be described as rude and rugged in style,
but full of vigorous expression, and unmatched in dramatic power. Many
scenes in the /Tso Chuan/ are brought as vividly before the mind of
the reader as are the incidents of the /Iliad/ and /Odyssey/.
Unfortunately, such excellences depend upon something beyond the reach
of a translator, who has to be content with a barely approximate

In poetry, excluding the /Odes/, we have the beautiful but in some
cases terribly obscure /Rhapsodies/, chiefly from the pen of CH`
P`ING, who might not inaptly be compared with PINDAR in diction and
wealth of words. In philosophy, the subtle speculations of MO TI, YANG
CHU, and CHUANG TZU, the great exponent of the doctrines enunciated by
LAO TZU, would beyond all doubt have commanded a hearing in the
contemporary schools of Greece.

                THE HAN DYNASTY: 200 B.C. TO A.D. 200.

The literature of the Hans reflects the stateliness of the age. It is
further distinguished by a tone of practical common sense, strikingly
and logically expressed. The meanings of words were still however by
no means accurately fixed, neither had the written language reached
that degree of stylistic polish it was ultimately destined to acquire.
Consequently, the scrupulous translator often finds himself involved
in a maze of impossible collocations, from which he has to extricate
himself by the clue of logic alone. Yet it was under such conditions
that SSU-MA CH`IEN--truly named the Herodotus of China--committed to
writing his most splendid history, and CH`AO TS`O drew faithful
conclusions from long and elaborately worded premises.

The poetry of the period may be dismissed as wanting in that essential
which differentiates poetry from didactic verse. The philosophers of
the day occupied themselves chiefly in editing and commenting upon the
sacred books. Their interpretations were duly accepted for many
centuries until at length doomed to pale in the flood of a brighter
light. (See /Chu Hsi/.) This was also the age of forgery on a grand
scale, extending even to the end of the 3rd century A.D. To the bulk
of forgers of this time we are probably indebted for the bulk of the
/Tao T Ching/, the work of LIEH TZU, many chapters of CHUANG TZU,

                   THE SIX DYNASTIES: A.D. 200-600.

This period was virtually an interregnum, an age of literary
stagnation. Though covering no fewer than four centuries, it produced
but one really great writer, in consequence, probably, of the
disturbed and unsatisfactory state of public affairs, so unfavourable
to the development of literary talent. It was during these years that
Buddhism took the firm grip upon the religious susceptibilities of the
Chinese people which it holds at the present day.

                   THE T`ANG DYNASTY: A.D. 600-900.

With the final establishment of the above dynasty authorship rapidly
revived. It was the epoch of glittering poetry (untranslatable,
alas!), of satire, of invective, of irony, and of opposition to the
strange and fascinating creed of Buddha. Imagination began to come
more freely into play, and the language to flow more easily and more
musically, as though responsive to the demands of art.

                   THE SUNG DYNASTY: A.D. 900-1200.

This was admittedly the Elizabethan age of Chinese literature. More
great writers in all branches flourished under this than under any
other dynasty before or since. Their styles are massive and grand,
without grammatical flaw, exquisitely cadenced, and thrilling the
reader with an inexpressible thrill. They exhibit to perfection what
the Rev. ARTHUR SMITH, a most accurate writer on Chinese topics, calls
"an indescribable loftiness of style, which resembles expression in

The poetry of the age is second only to that of the T`angs. The
historians rank with, but after, their famous predecessor of the Han
dynasty. But CHU HSI swept away the existing interpretations of
Confucianism, and established his own for ever.

             THE YUAN AND MING DYNASTIES: A.D. 1200-1644.

Under the Yuan (Mongol) and Ming dynasties, literary execution
remained stationary as regards accuracy of structure and balance of
sentences. Imaginative power became visibly weaker, to decline later
on to a still lower level of rule-and-line mediocrity. These two
dynasties have been bracketed together; partly because it is
impossible to say exactly when the Mongol dynasty either began or
ended, and partly because the dates so far assigned have been more
nominal than exact. Further, the Mongols, detested aliens, held sway
for such a comparatively short period that they hardly left any
characteristic mark on the face of Chinese literature.

             THE CH`ING (MANCHU) DYNASTY: A.D. 1644-1912.

The first edition of this book ended with the collapse of the Ming
dynasty and the establishment of Manchu rule. I then contented myself
by saying that the literature of the present dynasty has hardly passed
beyond the limits of essayism and artificial verse. The book-market is
flooded with collections of essays and poems on themes chosen from the
sacred books, logically worded and correctly constructed, but wanting
in the chief feature of the work of genius--originality of thought.
Still from a literary point of view, there have been not a few elegant
composes both of poetry and of prose. Chief among these we may reckon
LAN LU-CHOU, author of the /Whole Duty of Woman/, and of a vast number
of essays on a variety of subjects; also TSENG KUO-FAN, the hero of
the T`ai-p`ing rebellion, and father of the present Ambassador to
Western Powers. As an actual specimen of the best style of modern
composition, I may draw the reader's attention to the Chinese preface,
in /cursiv-schrift/, which adorns the cover of the first edition of
this book. It was very kindly written for me by a rising young
graduate of Foochow, named NIEN YUN-TING, through the medium of my
friend, Mr. KU HUNG-MING (M.A., Edinburgh), to whose wide acquaintance
with the literatures and philosophies of China, England, France,
Germany, and Ancient Greece and Rome, I am indebted for many luminous
suggestions. This preface runs as follows:--

"For sixteen years past I have been a diligent student of the language
and literature of the Chinese people. I have now attempted to render
into the English tongue specimens of their standard authors of past
ages, in the hope that my countrymen may thereby learn something of
the literary achievements of a great empire, whose inhabitants held
learning in high esteem when our own painted forefathers were running
naked and houseless in the woods and living on berries and raw

[1] "My poor friend, the young master of arts who indited the preface
    for your /Gems/, is dead, and has not left his peer."--Letter of
    12th August 1883.

In this second edition I have included extracts from the two writers
mentioned above, as well as others from the pens of distinguished men
of this dynasty, down to quite recent times, concluding with specimens
of the matter and style of a brilliant Republican author and statesman
who is still working for his country's good. It is usual to make light
of Manchu scholarship; perhaps because of the ease with which they
were allowed to obtain the coveted degrees. I have not been able to
insert any specimen of Manchu style or imagination in the following
collection; it should always be remembered, however, that the two
Emperors, K`ANG HSI and CHIEN LUNG, by their production of most
important works of reference,--the standard lexicon of the Chinese
language, more than one huge encyclopdia, an enormous dictionary of
literary phraseology of all ages, new editions of classical and
historical works, etc., etc.--have placed Chinese scholars, native and
foreign, under a deeper obligation than all the other Emperors of
China put together.

                      GEMS OF CHINESE LITERATURE


                           THE DUKE OF CHOU

                            Died 1105 B.C.

  The following is not a translation; it is not even an ordinary
  paraphrase. It is an attempt to give the spirit of an ancient
  document by picking out the more interesting sentences and
  stringing them together, omitting such portions as would require
  long explanations and be wearisome to the general reader. Dr.
  Legge has given in his Chinese Classics, vol. III, p. 399, a full
  translation with copious notes. It only remains to add that the
  Duke of Chou was a younger son of King Wn, the founder and
  posthumously first ruler of China under the feudal system which
  lasted for eight hundred years; and that this edict was issued by
  order of the Duke's elder brother and second actual sovereign,
  reigning as King Ch`ng.

                         AGAINST DRUNKENNESS

Thus saith the King:--"Make known these important commands in the
State of Mei.

"When our great and good father, King Wn, laid the foundations of our
empire in the west, daily and nightly he warned his officials, saying,
'For sacrifice you may use wine.' And whenever God has favoured the
people, it has been because wine was in use only at the great
sacrifices. But whenever God has sent down His terrors, and the people
have become disorganized and have lost their moral balance, this has
always been due to indulgence in wine. So too when States, small and
great alike, have similarly suffered, misuse of wine has always been
the cause of their downfall.

"Hearken, then, to these instructions, all you high officers and
others! When you have done your duty in ministering to your parents
and serving your sovereign, then you may drink and eat until you are
tipsy and replete. Again, when after constant examination and a course
of virtuous conduct you have ministered with sacrifices to the
spirits, then you may proceed to indulge yourselves with festivity.
Thus, you will be serving your sovereign, God will approve of your
great virtue, and you will never be forgotten by the royal House.

"The drunkenness of the last ruler of the House of Yin, and of his
creatures, caused the resentment of the people to be heard on high;
and God sent down calamity on Yin, because of these excesses God is
not cruel; people bring punishment on themselves.

"It is not a pleasure to me to issue these numerous commands. The
ancients had a saying, 'A man should not seek to see himself in water,
but as reflected in other people.' Ought we not then to look back to
the House of Yin, which has now perished, in order to secure repose
for our own times?

"If persons congregate together to drink, let them all be seized, and
sent to me at the capital; I will put them to death. Those officers of
the House of Yin who have always been accustomed to drink may be
exempted from this penalty. Let them be taught; and then, if they
obey, they may be allowed to enjoy distinction. Otherwise, I will show
no pity."

                               LAO TZU

                      7th and 6th Centuries B.C.

  Lao Tzu was a great Teacher whose birth has been assigned to
  various ages, of which 604 B.C. has perhaps the best claim. Legend
  has gathered around his name, and it has even been stated that he
  was the son of a virgin. He is known to the Chinese as the author
  of a number of remarkable sayings which have been preserved in the
  writings of ancient philosophers and which were brought together
  and issued, with a large amount of absurd padding, in the form of
  a book--the so-called /Tao T Ching/--possibly as early as the
  Second Century B.C. He is regarded as the founder of Taoism, the
  doctrine of the WAY.

The goodness of /doing/ good is not real goodness.

When merit has been achieved, do not take it to yourself; for if you
do not take it to yourself, it shall never be taken from you.

By many words wit is exhausted; it is better to preserve a mean.

Keep behind, and you shall be put in front; keep out, and you shall be
kept in.

He who grasps more than he can hold, would be better without any; he
who strikes with a sharp point, will not himself be safe for long.

Good words shall gain you honour in the market-place; but good deeds
shall gain you friends among men.

To see oneself is to be clear of sight.

He who knows how to shut, uses no bolts,--yet you cannot open; he who
knows how to bind, uses no ropes,--yet you cannot undo.

He who does not desire power nor value wealth,--though his wisdom be
as a fool's, shall he be esteemed among men.

He who, conscious of being strong, is content to be weak,--he shall be
a cynosure of men.

A great principle cannot be divided.[1]

The empire is a divine trust; it may not be ruled. He who rules ruins;
he who holds it by force, loses it.

Mighty is he who conquers himself.

If you would contract, you must first expand. If you would weaken, you
must first strengthen. If you would take, you must first give.

Fishes cannot be taken from water; the instruments of government
cannot be delegated to others.

If the WAY prevails on earth, horses will be used for agriculture; if
not, war-horses will breed in camp.[2]

To the good I would be good. To the not-good I would also be good,--in
order to make them good.

In governing men and in serving God, there is nothing like moderation.

Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish.

Recompense injury with kindness.

Desire not to desire, and you will not value things difficult to

[1] You must not approbate and reprobate.

[2] No campaign will ever end.

                             K`UNG FU-TZU

                     (Latinized into CONFUCIUS.)

                            B.C. 551-479.

  Confucius was the Socrates of China. He taught virtue for its own
  sake, unsupported by reference to the supernatural, any reliance
  upon which he steadily, though indirectly, condemned. He seems,
  however, to have thoroughly believed in a God; but whether as a
  force physical, or a force moral, or both, it is quite impossible
  to decide. Under no circumstances can he be regarded as the
  founder of a "religion" in the ordinary sense of the term, with a
  priesthood, sacraments, dogmas, etc.; though what is now called
  "Confucianism" was actually based in pre-Confucian days on

  Confucius held several official appointments, and finally rose to
  be chief Minister of Justice in his native State. He "became the
  idol of the people, and flew in songs through their mouths." But
  by the intrigues of a neighbouring prince, he found himself
  compelled to resign office, and went into voluntary exile,
  wandering from place to place, and employing himself in literary
  pursuits, until at length he returned home, where death came upon
  him in the seventy-third year of his age.

  He was an editor rather than an author. He collected and edited
  the ancient national songs now known as the /Odes/. He arranged
  and edited those old records which form the /Canon of History/. It
  is claimed by Mencius that he compiled the annals of his own State
  (but see /Yan Mei/), dating from some 200 years previous to the
  times in which he lived. His discourses were treasured up in the
  hearts of his disciples, and were committed to writing in later


The Master said--

A plausible tongue and a fascinating expression are seldom associated
with true virtue.

A youth should be filial at home, respectful abroad. He should be
earnest and truthful. He should overflow in love to all, but cultivate
the friendship of the good. Then, whatsoever of energy may be left to
him, he should devote to the improvement of his mind.

Let loyalty and truth be paramount with you. Have no friends not equal
to yourself. If you have faults, shrink not from correcting them.

Learning without thought is labour lost. Thought without learning is
intellectual death.

The study of the supernatural is injurious indeed.

Yu! shall I teach you in what true knowledge consists? To know what
you do know, and to know what you do not know--that is true knowledge.

A man without truthfulness!--I know not how that can be.

In mourning, it is better to be sincere than to be punctilious.

He who offends against God[1] has none to whom he can pray.

Riches and honours are what men desire; yet except in accordance with
right these should not be enjoyed. Poverty and degradation are what
men dread; yet except in accordance with right these should not be

The faults of men are characteristic of themselves. By observing a
man's faults you may infer what his virtues are.

If a man hear the Truth in the morning, he may die in the evening
without regret.

Chi Wn thought thrice and then acted. The Master said, Twice will do.

Man is born to be upright. If he be not so, and yet live, he is lucky
to have escaped.

Those who know the Truth are not equal to those who love it; nor those
who love it to those who delight in it.

A disciple having asked for a definition of charity,[2] the Master
said LOVE ONE ANOTHER! Having further asked for a definition of
knowledge, the Master said, KNOW ONE ANOTHER!

The Master said--

Rare are they who prefer virtue to the pleasures of sex.

The commander-in-chief of an army may be carried captive, but the
convictions even of the meanest man cannot be taken from him.

A disciple having enquired about serving the spirits of the dead, the
Master said, You are not even able to serve living men. How then
should you serve spirits? Having further enquired about death, the
Master said, You do not even understand life. How then should you
understand death?

The Master said--

In hearing litigations, I am like any one else. I differ in wishing to
prevent these litigations.

Some one asked Confucius, saying, Master, what think you concerning
the principle that good should be returned for evil? The Master
replied, What then will you return for good? No: RETURN GOOD FOR FOOD;

A disciple having asked for a rule of life in a word, the Master said,
Is not /Reciprocity/ that word? WHAT YOU WOULD NOT OTHERS SHOULD DO

When his stable was burnt down, Confucius left the Court and asked,
"Has any man been hurt?" He did not ask about the horses.

A feudal noble said to Confucius, "The villagers of my State are
upright men. If a father steals a sheep, his son will give evidence
against him." Confucius replied, "The uprightness of the villagers in
my State is different from that. A father will shield his son, and a
son will shield his father. This is what I call uprightness."[4]

[1] Understood down to A.D. 1200 by the masses as an anthropomorphic
    Being, resident in the sky and in control of the four elements;
    but subsequently explained by Chu Hsi, the most famous of all
    commentators, as "abstract Right."

[2] In its theological sense. See I Corinthians, xiii, Authorized
    Version. Since this volume was first published, the Revised
    Version has substituted "love" in all cases.

[3] An attempt has been made to show that this is after all only a
    negative (and therefore comparatively worthless) enunciation of
    the Golden Rule as expressed positively by Christ. The
    worthlessness, if any, lies in the terms of such an argument. For
    instance, you would not that others should abstain from helping
    you in trouble. Therefore you do not refrain from helping them in
    trouble. Consequently, you help them; thus doing unto others what
    you would they should do unto you.

[4] It may be interesting to compare a recent case, in London, of a
    man accused of harbouring his son, a deserter from the army.

    The man said that his son had been in the house only a week, and
    he could not drive him out.

    Mr. Boyd.--You should have informed the police.

    The accused.--I should never have heard the last of it from my

    Mr. Boyd.--I appreciate that you were in a difficult position, but
    it is a serious offence. You must pay 10 or go to prison for six

                            TSO-CH`IU MING

                 Probably 4th and 5th Centuries B.C.

  Very little is known of this writer, whose very name is a matter
  of doubt. His important work, the /Tso Chuan/,[1] was a so-called
  commentary on the Annals of the Lu State. Those annals consisted
  of bald statements of the principal events which took place in the
  successive years of each prince's reign. Tso-ch`iu Ming
  supplemented these by detailed accounts of the various incidents
  alluded to; and thus we have a vivid panorama of the wars and
  treaties, the intrigues and dissensions, the loves and hates, of
  China's feudal age. The style of the work is grand in the extreme,
  and is a perfect repertory of Chinese proverbs and familiar
  household words.

                       THE BATTLE OF CH`ANG-CHO

  In the tenth year of his reign, in the first moon, Duke Chuang
  defeated the army of the Ch`i State at Ch`ang-Cho.--/Annals/.

The State of Ch`i having declared war against us, our duke was about
to give battle, when a man named Kuei begged for an audience. Kuei's
clansmen had said to him, "The authorities will decide upon the proper
strategy; what place will there be in their counsels for you?" To
which Kuei had replied, "They are but a poor lot, and have no idea
whatever of deep-laid plans."

Accordingly, Kuei was admitted to see the duke, and at once enquired,
saying, "On the strength of what is your Highness about to fight?" "I
have never monopolized the comforts of food and raiment," replied the
duke; "I have always shared with others." "That," said Kuei, "is a
small favour, extending only to a few. The people will not rally round
you on that account alone." "Then," continued the duke, "in the
sacrifices to the Gods I have trusted more to earnestness of heart
than to costly displays." "That again," objected Kuei, "is an
insufficient basis. The Gods will not bless your arms on that account
alone." "And in all judicial investigations," added the duke, "though
oft-times unable to ascertain the precise truth, I have always given
my decision in accordance with the evidence before me." "Ha!" cried
Kuei; "so far you have done your duty to the people, and you may risk
a battle on that. I myself pray to be allowed to accompany your
Highness." To this the duke acceded, and took Kuei with him in his own

The battle was fought at Ch`ang-cho; and on sighting the enemy our
duke would have forthwith given orders to beat an attack, but Kuei
said "Not yet!" Only when the enemy's drums had sounded thrice did
Kuei shout out, "Now!"

Our victory was complete; and the duke would promptly have given
orders to pursue, had not Kuei again said, "Not yet!" The latter then
alighted and examined the tracks of the enemy's chariot-wheels; after
which he got up on the hand-rail in front, and following the flying
foe with his eye, cried out, "Now!" Thereupon the order was given to

When the battle had been gained, our duke asked Kuei for an
explanation of his tactics. "A battle," replied Kuei, "depends wholly
upon the martial ardour of the combatants. At the first roll of the
drum, that ardour is violently excited; with the second, it begins to
flag; with the third, it is exhausted. Now, when the enemy's ardour
was at this last stage, ours was at its highest pitch: therefore we
conquered them. Still, against a formidable foe, one should be
prepared for anything. I feared an ambuscade; but I found that their
wheel-tracks were in evident disorder. I then looked at their
standards, and saw that these also were in confusion. Therefore I gave
the word to pursue."[2]

                           BURNING A WIZARD

  Twenty-first year of Duke Hsi:--In summer there was a great

Thereupon the duke wished to burn a wizard; but his chief minister
said to him, "That will avail nothing against the drought. Rather mend
the city walls; diminish consumption; be economical; and devote every
energy to gathering in the harvest. This is the proper course to take:
what can a wizard do for you? If God now desires his death, he might
as well have never been born. And if he can cause a drought, to burn
him would only make it worse."

The duke followed this advice; and in the ensuing season, although
there was distress, it was not very bad.


  Twenty-fifth year of Duke Hsiang:--In the fifth moon, in summer,
  Ts`ui of the Ch`i State, slew his prince.--/Annals/.

Duke Chuang committed adultery with Ts`ui-tzu's wife, and Ts`ui-tzu
slew him. Thereupon Yen-tzu planted himself at the door of the
latter's house.

"Are you going to die with your prince?" cried his attendants. "Was he
my prince only?" asked Yen-tzu, "that I alone should die." "Will you
flee the country?" said the attendants. "Was his death my crime, that
I should flee?" asked Yen-tzu. "Will you then go home?" enquired the
attendants. "Where," said Yen-tzu, "is there a home for him whose
master is dead? It is not enough for a prince to be merely above the
people; the commonwealth is in his hands. It is not enough for a
minister merely to draw his pay; the commonwealth is his trust.
Therefore, when the prince dies for the commonwealth, his minister
dies with him; when the prince flees, the minister flees also. But if
a prince dies or flees in consequence of matters which concern only
himself, who, save his own private associates, can be expected to
share his fate? Besides, if some one else, under obligations similar
to my own, slays the prince, why should I die, why flee, why go home?"

By-and-by, the door was opened and Yen-tzu went in; and, pillowing the
corpse upon his lap gave vent to tears. He then arose, and striking
the ground three times with his heel, went out. People advised
Ts`ui-tzu to put him to death; but Ts`ui-tzu replied, "He is a popular
man, and to leave him in peace will be to win over the people."

Ts`ui now placed another duke upon the throne, and became his chief
minister, Ch`ing Fng being appointed minister of the Left. And when
the people were taking the oaths of allegiance in the State temple,
beginning, "May those who are not true to Ts`ui and Ch`ing--,"
Yen-tzu, looking up to heaven, sighed and said, "May I, in whatsoever
I do not submit to those who are loyal to the prince and true to the
commonwealth, be answerable to God!" He then smeared his lips with the

                               A TUNNEL

  In 721 B.C., the mother of Duke Chuang of the Ch`ing State
  conspired against him, with a view to put her younger son on the
  throne. The plot failed.

Then the Duke placed his mother under restraint, swearing to her the
following oath:--"Until we meet in the Underworld, I will not look
upon you again,"--an oath of which he shortly repented. Later on, one
of the frontier officials, who had heard the story, came to pay his
respects. The Duke entertained him with a meal, and noticed that he
put aside a portion of the meat served to him. On the Duke asking him
why he did so, the official replied, "Your servant has a mother, who
always shares his food; she has never tasted your Grace's meat, and I
beg to be allowed to keep some for her." The Duke said, "Ah, you have
a mother to whom you can give things; alas! I have no mother." The
official ventured to ask how this could be; and the Duke told him,
adding that he now repented of his oath. "This need not trouble your
Grace," said the official. It will be necessary only to dig down to
the Underworld and form a tunnel in which the meeting can take place.
Who shall say that this is not in accordance with your oath?" The Duke
agreed, and entered the tunnel singing,

  Herein we find
  Our peace of mind,

while his mother came in singing,

  Without, no more
  Was joy in store,

and thus they became mother and son as before.

[1] This title has been taken by some to mean literally "Helping
    Commentary," and the work has been attributed to Confucius

[2] My first acquaintance with the sacred books of China was through
    the medium of Dr. Legge's translations; and when I subsequently
    came to make free use of native commentaries, I could not but be
    impressed by the strict verbal accuracy of his renderings,
    especially in regard to the /Tso Chuan/. To this rule there are
    necessarily exceptions, of a more or less serious character; but
    their grand total would be wholly insufficient to cast a shadow
    upon that which is truly a monument more lasting than brass. Sir
    Thomas Wade, whose scholarship was of a vastly inferior order,
    characterized Legge's work as "wooden." His own rendering of "The
    /Lun Y/, being Utterances of Kung (sic.!) Tzu," is beneath

                               LIEH TZU

  An imaginary philosopher, said by Chuang Tzu (q.v.) to have been
  able to "ride upon the wind and dispense with walking," and
  generally regarded as a creature of Chuang Tzu's own brain. The
  small work from which the following extracts are taken, was
  written up some centuries later. It is in a pseudoarchaic style,
  and is not wanting in interest.


Tzu Kung said to Confucius, "Master, I am aweary, and would fain have

"In life," replied the sage, "there is no rest."

"Shall I, then, never have rest?" asked the disciple.

"You will," said Confucius. "Behold the tombs which lie around; some
magnificent, some mean. In one of these you will find rest."

"How wonderful is Death!" rejoined Tzu Kung. "The wise man rests, the
worldly man is engulfed therein."

"My son," said Confucius, "I see that you understand. Other men know
life only as a boon: they do not perceive that it is a bane. They know
old age as a state of weakness: they do not perceive that it is a
state of ease. They know death only as an abomination: they do not
perceive that it is a state of rest."

"How grand," cried Yen Tzu, "is the old conception of Death! The
virtuous find rest, the wicked are engulfed therein. In death, each
reverts to that from which he came. The ancients regarded death as a
return to, and life as an absence from home. And he who forgets his
home becomes an outcast and a by-word in his generation."

                          DREAM AND REALITY

A man of the State of Cheng was one day gathering fuel, when he came
across a startled deer, which he pursued and killed. Fearing lest any
one should see him, he hastily concealed the carcass in a ditch and
covered it with plantain-leaves, rejoicing excessively at his good
fortune. By-and-by, he forgot the place where he had put it; and
thinking he must have been dreaming, he set off towards home, humming
over the affair on his way.

Meanwhile, a man who had overheard his words, acted upon them, and
went and got the deer. The latter, when he reached his house, told his
wife, saying, "A woodman dreamt he had got a deer, but he did not know
where it was. Now I have got the deer; so his dream was a reality."
"It is you," replied his wife, "who have been dreaming you saw a
woodman. Did he get the deer? and is there really such a person? It is
you who have got the deer: how, then, can his dream be a reality?" "It
is true," assented the husband, "that I have got the deer. It is
therefore of little importance whether the woodman dreamt the deer or
I dreamt the woodman."

Now when the woodman reached his home, he became much annoyed at the
loss of the deer; and in the night he actually dreamt where the deer
then was, and who had got it. So next morning he proceeded to the
place indicated in his dream,--and there it was. He then took legal
steps to recover possession; and when the case came on, the magistrate
delivered the following judgment:--"The plaintiff began with a real
deer and an alleged dream. He now comes forward with a real dream and
an alleged deer. The defendant really got the deer which the plaintiff
said he dreamt, and is now trying to keep it; while, according to his
wife, both the woodman and the deer are but the figments of a dream,
so that no one got the deer at all. However, here is a deer, which you
had better divide between you."

When the Prince of Chng heard this story, he cried out, "The
magistrate himself must have dreamt the case!" So he enquired of his
prime minister, who replied, "Only the Yellow Emperor and Confucius
could distinguish dream from reality, and they are unfortunately dead.
I advise, therefore, that the magistrate's decision be confirmed."

                        WHY CONFUCIUS WAS SAD

Confucius was one day sitting at leisure, when Tzu Kung went in to
attend upon him. The disciple noticed that his master wore a sorrowful
air; but not venturing to ask the reason, went out and told Yen Hui.
Thereupon Yen Hui seized his guitar and began to sing; at which
Confucius called him in and said, "Hui, why are you alone glad?"
"Master," retorted Hui, "why are you alone sorrowful?" "First answer
my question," said Confucius. "I once heard you declare," explained
Yen Hui, "that he who was contented with his lot and prepared for the
appointments of destiny, could not be sorrowful. Accordingly, I am

The master's expression for a moment changed. Then he answered,
saying, "I did use those words. But you are misapplying them here.
Such utterances are of the past. Rather adopt those which I deliver
now. Alas! you know only the superficial principle that he who is
contented with his lot and prepared for the appointments of destiny
cannot be sorrowful. You do not perceive the deeper sorrow entailed by
this very absence of sorrow. I will you all.

"You cultivate yourself. You accept success or failure as they may
come. You see that life and death are independent of your efforts. You
maintain your moral and mental equilibrium. And you consider that
under such conditions of contentment and preparedness you are without

"Now, I edited the /Odes/ and the /Book of History/. I defined the
functions of Music and Ceremonial. I did this in order to benefit the
whole earth, and to be a guide for posterity. I did not do it merely
for my own personal advantage, nor for that of my own individual
State. But now, even in my own State, the obligations between prince
and subject are forgotten; charity and duty to one's neighbour are
passing away; and right feeling is all but gone. If then the truth
cannot prevail for a brief space in a single State, how is it likely
to prevail over the whole earth through all generations to come? I
know now that all I have achieved is in vain; and I am utterly at a
loss to discover the true remedy. Therefore I am sad."

                                MO TI

                      4th and 5th Centuries B.C.

  A philosopher of the Sung State, who flourished in the days
  between Confucius and Mencius, and who propounded a doctrine of
  "universal love," in opposition to the "selfish" school of Yang
  Chu, as the proper foundation for organized society. He showed
  that under such a system all the calamities which men being upon
  one another would altogether disappear, and that the peace and
  happiness of the Golden Age would be renewed. He was vigorously
  denounced by Mencius, who exhibited the unpractical side of an
  otherwise fascinating scheme. See /Liang Ch`i-ch`ao/.

                         LOVE ONE ANOTHER.--I

There are two men, one of whom discriminates in his love for his
fellows; the other loves all men equally. The former argues, "I cannot
feel for my friends so strongly as I feel for myself, neither can I
feel for my friend's parents so strongly as I feel for my own
parents." As a consequence of this, he may see his friend hungry, and
will not feed him; he may see him cold, and will not clothe him; he
may see him sick, and will not nurse him; he may see him dead, and
will not bury him. Not so the latter; he will not argue thus nor will
he act thus, but he will say, "He who wishes to attain distinction
among men, will feel for his friend as he feels for himself, and for
his friend's parents as for his own." Therefore, when he sees his
friend hungry, he will feed him; cold, he will clothe him; sick, he
will nurse him; and dead, he will bury him. Such will be the language
of one who loves all men equally, and such will be his behaviour.

                        LOVE ONE ANOTHER.--II

Of old, Duke Wn liked his soldiers to wear coarse clothes; and
therefore, all his Ministers wore sheepskin robes, leather sword-
belts, and caps of rough silk, both when having audience and when on
duty at Court. Why did they do this?--The Duke liked it, and therefore
his Ministers did it.

Of old, Duke Ling liked his soldiers to have small waists; and
therefore his Ministers made it their rule to have only one meal a
day. They drew in their breath before buckling on their belts; they
held on to the wall to help themselves to get up; and by the end of a
year they were all in danger of turning black from starvation. Why did
they do this?--The Duke liked it, and therefore his Ministers did it.

Of old, Prince Kou Chen liked his soldiers to be brave, and instructed
his Ministers to train them accordingly. When they had followed out
these orders, the Prince set fire to a ship in order to test the
soldiers, crying out, "All our State jewels are on board!" He then
beat the Drum for advance; and when the soldiers heard its irregular
rattle, they rushed headlong to trample out the fire, about a hundred
men losing their lives in the attempt, whereupon the Prince beat the
gong for retreat.

Now, to achieve fame by scanty food, or coarse clothes, or loss of
life, is repugnant to the feelings of people in general; but if they
are ready to face such trials merely to gratify their sovereign, how
much more could they not achieve if stimulated by mutual love and by
mutual interests?

                           DIVINE VENGEANCE

If we do not do that which God wishes us to do, but do that which God
wishes us not to do, then God too will not do that which we wish Him
to do, but will do that which we wish Him not to do. What are those
things which men wish not to suffer?--disease, misfortune, and
bewitchment. Now, if we do not do what God wishes us to do, but do
that which He does not wish us to do, we shall drag the myriad people
of the empire along with us into misfortune and bewitchment.

                            KUNG-YANG KAO

                      5th and 4th Centuries B.C.

  A commentator on the Annals of the Lu State, said to have been
  compiled by Confucius. Nothing is none of his life. On the
  authorship of the Annals, see /Yan Mei/.


What is meant by a Great Exodus?--Extinction.

Who extinguished?--The Ch`i State extinguished.

Then why not say Ch`i extinguished?--To avoid the name of Duke Hsiang
of Ch`i. In such cases in the Annals, the name of a good man is always

What goodness was there in Duke Hsiang? He avenged an injury.

What injury?--Owing to slander by the then Marquis of Chi, a distant
ancestor of his had been boiled alive at the suzerain's capital;[2]
and what Duke Hsiang did on this occasion was actuated by an
overwhelming sense of duty to the manes of this ancestor.

How many generations back was this ancestor?--Nine generations.

May an injury be avenged even after nine generations?--It may be
avenged even after one hundred generations.[3]

[1] To save his people from the horrors of war. The commentator
    Ku-liang Ch`ih (q.v.) says "he did not leave a single man behind
    him" which can only mean that his partisans and retainers followed
    him, as he handed over the feudal throne a brother. The State of
    Chi was ultimately absorbed by the victors.

[2] In 893 B.C. The present entry refers to 689 B.C.

[3] The principle of the blood-feud has been attributed to Confucius;
    but the attribution has only been found in works--the Book of
    Rites and the Family Sayings--neither of which, certainly not the
    latter, as possessing the stamp of validity.

                            KU-LIANG CH`IH

                      4th and 5th Centuries B.C.

  Author of another commentary upon the Annals said to have been
  compiled by Confucius. Nothing is known of his life except that he
  was a pupil of one of the disciples of Confucius, who was born 507
  B.C. Even his personal name is differently given as Shu and Ch`ih.

                           PRAYING FOR RAIN

Prayers for rain should be offered up in spring and summer only; not
in autumn and winter. Why not in autumn and winter? Because the
moisture of growing things is not then exhausted; neither has man
reached the limit of his skill. Why in spring and summer? Because time
is then pressing, and man's skill is of no further avail. How so?
Because without rain just then nothing could be made to grow; the
crops would fail, and famine ensue. But why wait until time is
pressing, and man's skill of no further avail? Because prayers for
rain are the same as asking a favour, and the ancients did not lightly
ask favours. Why so? /Because they held it more blessed to give than
to receive/; and as the latter excludes the former, the main object of
man's life is taken away. How is praying for rain asking a favour? It
is a request that God will do something for us. The divine men of old
who had any request to make to God, were careful to prepare it in due
season. At the head of all his high officers of State, the prince
would proceed in person to offer up his prayer. He could not ask any
one else to go as his proxy.[1]

[1] A commentator adds, "If we are not to ask favours of God, how much
    less may we ask them of one another. Persons who recklessly ask
    favours, should not be treated with the same consideration to
    which they would otherwise be entitled."

                               YANG CHU

                           4th Century B.C.

  A heterodox thinker who taught the doctrine of /egoism/, as
  opposed to the /altruism/ of Mo Tzu (q.v.), also a dissenter from
  Confucianism pure and undefiled.

  Yang Chu has left us no book. His views, as given below, are taken
  from chapter VII of the work ascribed to Lieh Tzu (q.v.), the
  authenticity of which has already been discussed under the name of
  its alleged author. These views are supposed to be stated in the
  actual words of Yang Chu, and at any rate may be held to represent
  adequately the opinions of the great egoist.

                        IS LIFE WORTH LIVING?

A hundred years are the extreme limit of human life,--an age which not
one in a thousand attains.

Let us take the case of a man who does. His helpless infancy and his
helpless old age will together occupy nearly half the time. Pain and
sickness, sorrow and misfortune, actual losses and opportunities
missed, anxieties and fears,--these will almost fill up the rest. He
may possibly have some ten years or so to the good; but even then he
will hardly enjoy a single hour of absolute serenity, undarkened by
the gloom of care. What, then, can be the object of human existence?
Wherein is happiness to be found?

In the appointments of wealth and luxury? Or in the enjoyment of the
pleasures of sense? Alas! those will not always charm, and these may
not always be enjoyed.

Then gain there is the stimulus of good report, there is the restraint
of law, in things we may do and in things we may not do. And thus we
struggle on for a breath of fame, and scheme to be remembered after
death; ever on our guard against the allurements of sense, ever on
watch over our hearts and actions. We miss whatever of real happiness
is to be got out of life, never being able even for a single moment to
relax the vigilance of our heed. In what do we differ, indeed, from
the fettered captives of a gaol?

The men of old knew that with life they had come but for a while, and
that with death they would shortly depart again. Therefore they
followed the desires of their own hearts, and did not deny themselves
pleasures to which they felt naturally inclined. Fame tempted them
not; but led by their instincts alone, they took such enjoyments as
lay in their path, not seeking for a name beyond the grave. They were
thus out of reach of censure; while as for precedence among men, or
length or shortness of life, these gave them no concern whatever.

A disciple asked Yang Chu, saying, "Here is a man who values his life,
and loves his body so that he may escape death; is that possible?" "We
know," replied Yang Chu, "that there is no one who does not die." "So
that he may obtain a very long life," said the enquirer; "is that
possible?" "We know," replied Yang Chu, "that no one has a very long
life. Life cannot be kept by being valued, nor can the body be
strengthened by being loved. Moreover, what will long life do for you?
The five passions, with love and hate, are still with us, as of old.
The miseries and pleasures of this life are still with us, as of old.
The changes of good government and rebellion are still with us, as of
old. And since these things are actually heard and seen and do
alternate, even a hundred years seem too many; how much more miserable
would be a still further prolongation of life?" To this the enquirer
rejoined, "If this is so, then a short life would be better than a
long one, an end which could be reached by falling on a spear or a
sword, by water or by fire." "Not so," answered Yang Chu; "once you
are born, regard life as a disease, and bear it, following the desires
of your heart until death comes; being about to die, regard death as a
disease, and bear it, following its lead until there is an end of you.
Life and death should both be regarded as diseases, and both should be
borne as such; why worry about slowly or quickly in these matters?"

                          EGOISM v. ALTRUISM

Yang Chu said, A certain man would not par with a single hair in order
to benefit any one. He turned his back on his country and went into
retirement, occupying himself with agriculture. The Great Y (see
below), who did not employ himself for his own advantage, became
paralysed on one side. The men of old, if by losing one hair they
could advantage the empire, would not give it; but all would offer the
whole body, which was not wanted. If no man ever lost a single hair,
and no man ever advantaged the empire, the empire would enjoy good
government. An enquirer then asked Yang Chu, saying, "If by
sacrificing a single hair /you/ could help the world, would you do
it?" "The world," replied Yang Chu, "could most certainly not be
helped by a single hair." "But if it could," urged the enquirer,
"would you do it?" To this, Yang Chu returned no answer, and the
enquirer took his leave.


Yang Chu said, The admiration of the empire is for Shun, Y, Chou,[1]
and Confucius; its detestation, for Chieh and Chou.[1]

Shun was engaged in ploughing and in making pottery. His four limbs
never knew a moment's rest; his palate was never tickled and his belly
never full; his parents ceased to love him, and his brothers and
sisters ceased to care for him. He had lived for thirty years before
he asked his parents' leave to be married; and when Yao resigned the
throne to him (2255 B.C.[2]), he was already old, his mind was
impaired, and his son was worthless, so he handed on his throne to Y
and dragged out a melancholy existence until the end. Here was a
divine man who exhausted all the poisons of this life.

When K`un failed to reduce the waters of the flood[3] and was put to
death, Y (his son), ignoring the question of vengeance, took over the
task and worked at it with great energy. A son was born to him, but he
had no time to care for it; he even passed his own door without going
into the house. He was paralysed on one side; his hands and feet
became hard and horny; when he received the throne from Shun (2205
B.C.), his palace was a humble cottage, though his State regalia was
magnificent; and thus he dragged out a melancholy existence until the
end. Here was a divine man whose life was sorrowful and wretched.

After the death of the Martial King, his heir being a child, Duke Chou
became Regent (1122 B.C.). One of the feudal nobles was aggrieved, and
mutterings were heard throughout the Four States. The Duke had to stay
in the east; he killed his elder brother and banished his younger
brother;[4] and then he dragged out a melancholy existence until the
end. Here was a divine man whose life was full of dangers and alarms.

Confucius (551-479 B.C.) preached the doctrines of the rulers of old,
and took service under the princes of his day. In the Sung State, the
tree under which he was preaching was cut down; in the Wei State, his
traces were obliterated; in the Shang and Chou States, he was reduced
to want; in the Ch`n and Ts`ai States, he was in danger of his life;
he had to take rank below Chi, whose chief Minister insulted him; and
thus he dragged out a melancholy existence until the end. Here was a
divine man whose life was all hurry, without a moment's leisure.

All these four holy men failed to get a single day's enjoyment out of
life. Dead, their fame will last for ten thousand generations; but
they will get no reality out of that. Though praised, they do not know
it; though rewarded, they do not know it--any more than if they were
logs of wood or clods of clay.

Chieh (1818 B.C.) inherited vast wealth and enjoyed the dignity of the
throne. He had wit enough to enable him to hold in check his
officials, and power enough to make himself feared within the empire.
He gave himself over to the lusts of the ear and of the eye; he
carried out to the uttermost every fanciful scheme, and had a glorious
time until the end. Here was a divine[5] man whose life was all
pleasure and dissipation.

Chou (1154 B.C.) likewise inherited great wealth, and enjoyed the
dignity of the throne. His power enabled him to do anything, and he
might have gratified any ambition. He indulged his passions with his
concubines, spending long nights in such revelry. He did not bother
about rites and ceremonies or his duties, and had a glorious time
until he was slain.[6]

These two scoundrels had every pleasure in life that they wished to
have. Dead, they will be branded as fools and tyrants; but they will
get no reality out of that. Though reviled, they do not know it;
though praised, they do not know it;--what difference is there between
these two and logs of wood or clods of clay?

Those four holy men, although objects of admiration to all, suffered
miseries throughout their lives and then died like everybody else.
Those two scoundrels, although objects of detestation to all, enjoyed
themselves throughout their lives and also died like everybody else.

[1] These two words are quite distinct in Chinese; in speech, they are
    differently toned; and in writing, the characters used are
    differently formed.

[2] Since the discovery of the inscribed bones and their
    interpretation by Lo Chn-y and L. C. Hopkins, these early dates
    are no longer regarded as legendary.

[3] A more or less local catastrophe, which has been foolishly
    identified with Noah's flood.

[4] Out of loyalty to the reigning house.

[5] As being the vice regent of God. Defeated in battle, he was
    banished 1766 B.C. and died three years later.

[6] Defeated in battle, he perished in the flames of his own palace.

                              CHUANG TZU

                           4th Century B.C.

  A most original thinker, of whom the Chinese nation might well be
  proud. Yet his writings are tabooed as heterodox, and are very
  widely unread, more perhaps on account of the extreme obscurity of
  the text than because they are under the ban of the Confucianists.
  What little is known of Chuang Tzu's life may be gathered from
  some of the extracts given. He is generally regarded as an
  advanced exponent of the doctrines of Lao Tzu. So late as the 4th
  century A.D., the work of Chuang Tzu appears to have run to fifty-
  three chapters. Of these, only thirty-three now remain; and
  several of them are undoubtedly spurious, while into various other
  chapters, spurious passages have been inserted.

                     LIFE, DEATH, AND IMMORTALITY


Four men were conversing together, when the following resolution was
suggested:--"Whosoever can make Inaction the head, Life the backbone,
and Death the tail, of his existence,--that man shall be admitted to
friendship with us." The four looked at each other and smiled; and
tacitly accepting the conditions, became friends forthwith.

By-and-by, one of them, named Tzu-y, fell ill, and another Tzu-ssu,
went to see him. "Verily God is great!" said the sick man. "See how he
has doubled me up. My back is so hunched that my viscera are at the
top of my body. My cheeks are level with my navel. My shoulders are
higher than my neck. My hair grows up towards the sky. The whole
economy of my organism is deranged. Nevertheless, my mental
equilibrium is not disturbed." So saying, he dragged himself painfully
to a well, where he could see himself, and continued, "Alas, that God
should have doubled me up like this!"

"Are you afraid?" asked Tzu-ssu. "I am not," replied Tzu-y. "What
have I to fear? Ere long I shall be decomposed. My left shoulder may
become a cock, and I shall herald the approach of morn. My right
shoulder will become a cross-bow, and I shall be able to get broiled
duck. My buttocks will become wheels; and with my soul for a horse, I
shall be able to ride in my own chariot. I obtained life because it
was my time; I am now parting with it in accordance with the same law.
Content with the natural sequence of these states, joy and sorrow
touch me not. I am simply, as the ancients expressed it, hanging in
the air, unable to cut myself down, bound with the trammels of
material existence. But man has ever given way before God: why then,
should I be afraid?"

By-and-by, another of the four, named Tzu-lai, fell ill, and lay
gasping for breath, while his family stood weeping around. The fourth
friend, Tzu-li, went to see him. "Chut!" cried he to the wife and
children; "begone! you balk his decomposition." Then, leaning against
the door, he said, "Verily God is great! I wonder what he will make of
you now. I wonder whither you will be sent. Do you think he will make
you into a rat's liver[1] or into the shoulders of a snake?"

"A son," answered Tzu-lai, "must go whithersoever his parents bid him.
Nature is no other than a man's parents. If she bid me die quickly,
and I demur, then I am an unfilial son. She can do me no wrong. She
gives me form here on earth; she gives me toil in manhood; she gives
me repose in old age; she gives me rest in death. And she who is so
kind an arbiter of my life, is necessarily the best arbiter of my

"Suppose that the boiling metal in a smelting-pot were to bubble up
and say, 'Make of me an Excalibur'; I think the caster would reject
that metal as uncanny. And if a sinner like myself were to say to god,
'Make of me a man, make of me a man'; I think he too would reject me
as uncanny. The universe is the smelting-pot, and God is the caster. I
shall go whithersoever I am sent, to wake unconscious the past, as a
man wakes from a dreamless sleep."


How do I know that love is life is not a delusion? How do I know that
those who fear death are not mere lost lambs which cannot find their
way back to the fold?

A daughter of the Governor of Ai, when first captured by the Chins,
saturated her robe with tears; but afterwards, when she went into the
prince's palace and lived with him on the fat of the land, she
repented having wept. And how do I know that the dead do not now
repent their former craving for life?

One man will dream of the banquet hour, but wake to lamentation and
sorrow. Another will dream of lamentation and sorrow, but wake to
enjoy himself in the hunting-field. While men are dreaming, they do
not perceive that it is a dream. Some will even have a dream in a
dream; and only when they awake do they know that it was all a dream.
And so, only when the Great Awakening comes upon us, shall we know
this life to be a great dream. Fools believe themselves to be awake


Chuang Tzu one day saw an empty skull, bleached, but still preserving
its shape. Striking it with his riding-whip, he said, "Wert thou once
some ambitious citizen whose inordinate yearnings brought him to this
pass?--some statesman who plunged his country in ruin and perished in
the fray?--some wretch who left behind him a legacy of shame?--some
beggar who died in the pangs of hunger and cold? Or didst thou reach
this state by the natural course of old age?"

When he had finished speaking, he took the skull, and placing it under
his head as a pillow, went to sleep. In the night, he dreamt that the
skull appeared to him and said, "You speak well, Sir; but all you say
has reference to the life of mortals, and to mortal troubles. In death
there are none of these. Would you like to hear about death?"

Chuang Tzu having replied in the affirmative, the skull began:--"In
death, there is no sovereign above, and no subject below. The workings
of the four seasons are unknown. Our existences are bound only by
eternity. The happiness of a king among men cannot exceed that which
we enjoy."

Chuang Tzu, however, was not convinced, and said, "Were I to prevail
upon God to allow your body to be born again, and your bones and flesh
to be renewed, so that you could return to your parents, to your wife,
and to the friends of your youth,--would you be willing?"

At this, the skull opened its eyes wide and knitted its brows and
said, "How should I cast aside happiness greater than that of a king,
and mingle once again in the toils and troubles of mortality?"[3]


Life is a state which follows upon Death. Death is a state which
precedes Life. Which of us understands the laws that govern their

The life of man is the resultant of forces. The aggregation of those
forces is life: their dispersion, death. If, then, Life and Death are
but consecutive states of existence, what cause for sorrow have I?

And so it is that all thing are but phases of unity. What men delight
in is the spiritual essence of life. What they loathe is the material
corruption of death. But this state of corruption gives place to that
state of spirituality, and that state of spirituality gives place in
turn to this state of corruption. Therefore, we may say that all in
the universe is comprised in unity; and therefore the inspired among
us have adopted unity as their criterion.

                         THE DEATH OF LAO TZU

When Lao Tzu died and Ch`in Shih went to mourn,[4] the latter uttered
three yells and departed.

A disciple asked him, saying, "Were you not our Master's friend?" "I
was," replied Ch`in Shih. "And if so, do you consider that was a
fitting expression of grief at his loss?" added the disciple. "I do,"
said Ch`in Shih. "I had believed him to be the man (/par excellence/),
but now I know he was not. When I went in to mourn, I found old
persons weeping as if for their children, young ones wailing as if for
their mothers. And for him to have gained the attachment of these
people in this way, he too must have uttered words which should not
have been spoken, and dropped tears which should not have been shed,
thus violating eternal principles, increasing the sum of human
emotion, and forgetting the source from which his own life was
received. Such emotions are but the trammels of mortality. The Master
came, because it was his time to be born; he went, because it was his
time to die. For those who accept the phenomenon of birth and death in
this sense, lamentation and sorrow have no place. Death is but the
severance of a thread by which a man hangs suspended in life. Fuel can
be consumed; but the fire endureth for ever."

                    THE DEATH OF CHUANG TZU'S WIFE

When Chuang Tzu's wife died, Hui Tzu went to condole. He found the
widower sitting on the ground, singing, with his legs spread out at a
right angle, and beating time on a bowl.

"To live with your wife," exclaimed Hui Tzu, "and see your eldest son
grow to be a man, and then not to shed a tear over her corpse,--this
would be bad enough. But to drum on a bowl, and sing; surely this is
going too far."

"Not at all," replied Chuang Tzu. "When she died, I could not help
being affected by her death. Soon, however, I remembered that she had
already existed in a previous state before birth, without form, or
even substance; that while in that unconditioned condition, substance
was added to spirit; that this substance then assumed form; and that
the next stage was birth. And now, by virtue of a further change, she
is dead, passing from one phase to another like the sequence of
spring, summer, autumn, and winter. And while she is thus lying asleep
in Eternity, for me to go about weeping and wailing would be to
proclaim myself ignorant of these natural laws. Therefore I refrain."

                         ON HIS OWN DEATH-BED

When Chuang Tzu was about to die, his disciples expressed a wish to
give him a splendid funeral. But Chuang Tzu said, "With Heaven and
Earth for my coffin and shell; with the sun, moon, and stars as my
burial regalia; and with all creation to escort me to the grave,--are
not my funeral paraphernalia ready to hand?"[5]

"We fear," argued the disciples, "lest the carrion kite should eat the
body of our Master;" to which Chuang Tzu replied, "Above ground, I
shall be food for kites; below, I shall be food for molecrickets and
ants. Why rob one to feed the other?

"If you adopt, as absolute, a standard of evenness which is so only
relatively, your results will not be absolutely even. If you adopt, as
absolute, a criterion of right which is so only relatively, your
results will not be absolutely right. Those who trust to their senses
become, as it were, slaves to objective existences. Those alone who
are guided by their intuitions find the true standard. So far are the
senses less reliable than the intuitions. Yet fools trust to their
senses to know what is good for mankind, with alas! but external

                      HOW YAO WISHED TO ABDICATE

The great Yao begged Hs-yu to become Emperor in his stead, saying,
"If, when the sun and moon are shining brightly, you persist in
lighting a torch, is not that misapplication of fire? If, when the
rainy season is at its height, you still continue to water the ground,
is not that waste of labour? Now, sir, do you assume the reins of
government, and the empire will be at peace. I am but a dead body,
conscious of my own deficiency. I beg you will ascend the throne."

"Ever since you, sire, have directed the administration," replied
Hs-yu, "the empire has enjoyed tranquillity. Supposing, therefore,
that I were to take your place now, should I gain any reputation
thereby? Besides, reputation is but the shadow of reality; and should
I trouble myself about the shadow? The tit builds its nest in the
mighty forest, and occupies but a single twig. The tapir slakes its
thirst from the river, but drinks enough only to fill its belly. To
you, sire, belongs the reputation: the empire has no need for me. If a
cook is unable to dress the sacrifices, the boy who impersonates the
corpse may not step over the wines and meats and do it for him."


Chuang Tzu and Hui Tzu had strolled on to the bridge over the Hao,
when the former observed, "See how the minnows are darting about! That
is the pleasure of fishes."

"You not being yourself a fish," said Hui Tzu, "how can you possibly
know in what the pleasure of fishes consists?"

"And you not being I," retorted Chuang Tzu, "how can you know that I
do not know?"

"That I, not being you, do not know what you know," replied Hui Tzu,
"is identical with my argument that you, not being a fish, cannot know
in what the pleasure of fishes consists."

"Let us go back to your original question," said Chuang Tzu. "You ask
me how I know in what consists the pleasure of fishes. Your very
question shows that you knew I knew. I knew it from my own feelings on
this bridge."


Chuang Tzu was one day fishing, when the Prince of Ch`u sent two high
officials to interview him, saying that his Highness would be glad of
Chuang Tzu's assistance in the administration of his government. The
latter quietly fished on, and without looking round, replied, "I have
heard that in the State of Ch`u there is a sacred tortoise, which has
been dead three thousand years, and which the prince keeps packed up
in a box on the altar in his ancestral shrine. Now do you think that
tortoise would rather be dead and have its remains thus honoured, or
be alive and wagging its tail in the mud?" The two officials answered
that no doubt it would rather be alive and wagging its tail in the
mud; whereupon Chuang Tzu cried out, "Begone! I too elect to remain
wagging my tail in the mud."

                           THE PERFECT MAN

The perfect man is like a spirit. Were the ocean to be scorched up, he
would not be hot. Were the Milky Way to be fast frozen, he would not
feel cold. Of thunder which rives mountains, of wind which lashes the
sea, he is not afraid; and thus, charioted on the clouds of heaven, or
riding on the sun and moon, he journeys beyond the limits of
mortality. Exempt from the changes of life and death, how much more is
he beyond the reach of physical injury. The perfect man can walk under
water without difficulty; he can touch fire without being burnt.[6]


A drunken man who falls out of a cart, though he may suffer, yet will
not die. His bones are jointed like those of other people, but he
meets the accident under different conditions. His mental equilibrium
is undisturbed. Unconscious of riding in the cart, he is equally
unconscious of falling out of it. The ordinary ideas of life, death,
and fear, find no place in his breast; consequently, when thrown into
collision with matter, he is not afraid. And if a man can thus get
perfect mental equilibrium out of wine, how much more should he do so
out of the resources of his own nature? It is there that the wise man
takes refuge; and there no one can injure him. To those who would
wreak vengeance upon him, he opposes neither spear nor shield; nor
does he heed the brick which some spiteful enemy may hurl at his head.


Lieh Y-k`ou instructed Poh-hun Wu-jn in archery. Drawing the bow to
its full, he [the teacher] placed a cup of water on his elbow and
began to let fly. Hardly was one arrow out of sight ere another was on
the string, the archer all the time standing like a statue. Poh-hun
Wu-jn cried out, "This is shooting under ordinary conditions; it is
not shooting under extraordinary conditions. Now I will ascend a high
mountain with you, and stand on the edge of a precipice a thousand
feet in depth, and see if you can shoot like this then." Thereupon
Wu-jn went with his teacher up a high mountain, and stood on the edge
of a precipice a thousand feet high, approaching it backwards until
one-fifth of his feet overhung the chasm, when he beckoned Lieh
Y-k`ou to come on. But Y-k`ou had fallen prostrate on the ground,
with the sweat pouring down to his heels.


The Penumbra said to the Umbra, "At one moment you move: at another
you are in rest. At one moment you sit down: at another you get up.
Why this instability of purpose?"

"I depend," replied the Umbra, "upon something which causes me to do
as I do; and that something depends upon something else which causes
it to do as it does. My dependence is like that of a snake's scales or
a cicada's wings (which do not move of their own accord). How can I
tell why I do one thing or do not do another."

                          DREAM AND REALITY

Once upon a time I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and
thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only
of following my fancies (as a butterfly), and was unconscious of my
individuality as a man. Suddenly, I awaked; and there I lay, myself
again. I do not know whether I was then dreaming I was a butterfly, or
whether I am now a butterfly dreaming that it is a man. Between a man
and a butterfly there is necessarily a barrier; and this transition is
called /Metempsychosis/.

[1] The Chinese believe that a rat has no liver.

[2] "To any one who objects that all we see, hear, feel and taste,
    think and do, during our whole being, is but the series and
    deluding appearances of a long dream, and therefore our knowledge
    of anything be questioned; I must desire him to consider that, if
    all be a dream, then he doth but dream that makes the

[3] Reminding us strangely of /Hamlet/.

[4] Of course only in the Taoist sense--i.e. more to take note of the
    death than for purposes of condolence, etc.

[5] Compare the following lines by Mrs. Alexander, from /The Burial of

    And had he not high honour?--
      The hillside for his pall;
    To lie in state while angels wait
      With stars for tapers tall;
    And the dark rock pines like nodding plumes
      Above his bier to wave.
    And God's own hand in that lonely land
      To lay him in the grave.

[6] Compare the foolish taunts of Reid and Beattie, who asked Bishop
    Berkeley why "he did not run his head against a post, walk over
    precipices, etc.; as in accordance with his theory, no pain, no
    broken limbs could result."--Lewes' /Hist. of Philos./ II., p.


                           4th Century B.C.

  A famous poet and minister of one of the feudal princes. Being
  unjustly dismissed from favour, he committed suicide by drowning,
  and his death gave rise to an annual spring festival, known as the
  Dragonboat Festival, at which an imaginary search for his body is
  made in every available stream of water throughout the Eighteen

                        CONSULTING THE ORACLE

Three years had elapsed since Ch`-p`ing[1] was dismissed from office,
and still he was unable to obtain an audience of his prince. His
fervent loyalty had been intercepted by the tongue of slander. He was
broken in spirit and knew not whither to direct his steps. In his
doubt he repaired to the Chief Augur and asked for a response. The
Chief Augur thereupon arranged the divining-grass and wiped the
tortoise-shell, saying, "What, sir, are the points on which you desire
to be enlightened?"

"Tell me," cried Ch`-p`ing, "whether I should steadily pursue the
path of truth and loyalty, or follow in the wake of a corrupt
generation. Should I work in the fields with spade and hoe, or seek
advancement in the retinue of a grandee? Should I court danger by
outspoken words, or fawn in false tones upon the rich and great?
Should I rest content in the cultivation of virtue, or practise the
art of wheedling women in order to secure success? Should I be pure
and clean-handed in my rectitude, or an oily-mouthed, slippery, time-
serving sycophant? Should I hold on my course like an impetuous
charger, or oscillate, with the indecision of a duck in a pool, to and
fro as self-interest commands? Should I yoke myself a fellow in the
shafts with Bucephalus, or shamble along by the side of Rozinante?
Should I vie with the wild goose in soaring to heaven, or scramble for
food on a dunghill with hens? Of these alternatives I would know which
to choose. The age is muddy and will not be made clean. The wing of
the cicada outweighs a thousand pounds. The priceless goblet is set
aside for the delf cup. Flatterers fill high places: men of worth are
ignored. Alas! who is there that knows my worth?"

The Chief Augur gathered up his divining apparatus and saluted
Ch`-p`ing, saying, "A foot is oft-times too short; an inch, too long.
The implements of my art are not adequate to your requirements. Think
for yourself, and translate your thoughts into action. The divining-
grass and the tortoise-shell would avail you naught."

                        THE FISHERMAN'S REPLY

When Ch`-p`ing was dismissed, he wandered away to the banks of a
river, and there poured forth his soul in verse. His colour changed.
His body wasted to a skeleton.

One day a fisherman accosted him, saying, "Are you not his Excellency
the Prime Minister? What has brought you to this pass?"

"The world," replied Ch`-p`ing, "is foul; and I alone am clean. There
they are all drunk, while I alone am sober. So I am dismissed."

"Ah!" said the fisherman, "the true sage does not quarrel with his
environment, but adapts himself to it. If, as you say, the world is
foul, why not leap into the tide and make it clean? If all men are
drunk, why not drink with them, and teach them to avoid excess? Of
what avail are these subtle thoughts, these lofty schemes, which end
only in disgrace?"

"I have heard," rejoined Ch`-p`ing, "that the bather fresh from the
bath will shake the dust from his hat and clothes. How should he allow
his pure body to be soiled with the corruption of earth? I am willing
to find a grave in the bellies of the fishes that swim in this stream:
I will not let my purity be defiled by the filth and corruption of the

The fisherman laughed, and keeping time with his oar, sculled off,

  My tassel I'll wash if the water is sweet;
  If the water is muddy 'twill do for my feet.

                      THE GENIUS OF THE MOUNTAIN

Methinks there is a Genius of the hills, clad in wistaria, girdled
with ivy, with smiling lips, of witching mien, riding on the pard,
wild cats galloping in the rear, reclining in a chariot, with banners
of cassia, cloaked with the orchid, girt with azalea, culling the
perfume of sweet flowers to leave behind a memory in the heart. But
dark is the grove wherein I dwell. No light of day reaches it ever.
The path thither is dangerous and difficult to climb. Alone I stand on
the hill top, while the clouds float beneath my feet, and all around
is wrapped in gloom.

Gently blows the east wind: softly falls the rain. In my joy I become
oblivious of home; for who in my decline would honour me now?

I pluck the larkspur on the hillside, amid the chaos of rock and
tangled vine. I hate him who has made me an outcast, who has now no
leisure to think of me.

I drink from the rocky spring. I shade myself beneath the spreading
pine. Even though he were to recall me to him, I could not fall to the
level of the world.

Now booms the thunder through the drizzling rain. The gibbons bowl
around me all the long night. The gale rushes fitfully through the
whispering trees. And I am thinking of my prince, but in vain; for I
cannot lay my grief.[2]

[1] This use of the third person is common in Chinese literature.

[2] The above translation of what is more correctly a song has been
    versified and published without a word of acknowledgment by Mr.
    Cranmer-Byng in his "Lute of Jade" (which has been called a "Loot
    of Jade"), p. 32, as follows:--

    Methinks there is a genius
    Roams in the mountains,
    Girdled with ivy
    And robed in wisteria (sic), etc., etc.

                               SUNG Y

                      3rd and 4th Centuries B.C.

  Nephew of the famous Ch` P`ing, and like his uncle a statesman
  and a poet. His poems are included among the "Rhapsodies of Ch`u."


King Hsiang of the Ch`u State was strolling in the palace on the
Epidendrum Terrace, with Sung Y and Ching Ch`a in attendance. A
breeze suddenly got up, causing the king to draw his robe across his
breast as a protection. "The air bites shrewdly," he said; "do I, the
sovereign and my people feel it alike?" Sung Y replied, "This breeze
belongs to your Majesty alone; how could the people share it?" "But
wind," said the king, "is a vivifying principle of the universe; it is
universally exhilarating, and it does not distinguish in its favours
between those who are honoured and exalted and those who are humble
and lowly. You, sir, just now spoke as if the breeze belonged
personally to me, the sovereign. How is this so?" "I have learnt from
my teacher," answered Sung Y, "that forks in the mulberry-tree invite
nests and that hollows and holes invite wind, the reason in each case
being the different qualities of wind." "But where does wind come
from?" asked the king. "Wind," replied Sung Y, "is produced on the
earth, and rises from the tips of the green duckweed leaves; it rushes
wildly through ravines and valleys, and roars loudly in large holes.
Climbing the slopes of Mt. T`ai, it dances beneath the pines and the
cypresses, with streams of whirling water, with angry flashes of
flying flames and peals of booming thunder. Now, back to the holes
while blowing from every quarter, flinging about stones, breaking off
the ends of branches and destroying the undergrowth of the forest.

"Then, when it begins to abate, after having scattered far and wide
the beauty of foliage, it rushes into hollows an rattles door-bars,
while a brightness is diffused around as now it calms down and now it
comes again. Therefore this pure cool virile wind is wafted about, up
and down; it mounts the lofty city walls and enters far into the
palace; it touches flowers and leaves, and stimulates their vitality;
it wanders among the cinnamon and pepper-trees, and soars round and
round over the rolling waters; it strikes at the spirit of the
hibiscus; it robs the orchid and scatters the asaram; it levels the
magnolia and shrivels the poplar. Returning to its lair, it plays
havoc with artemisia and other fragrant plants; it moves to and fro in
the court-yard, or northwards to the Jade Hall, where it runs up the
silk curtains and passes into the nuptial chamber. That is why it is
called the sovereign's wind.

"The effect of this wind upon those who are in it, is to make them
look sad, and chilled, even to sobbing. Pure and fresh, it cures
disease and sobers the drunk; it sharpens one's sight and hearing; it
gives repose to the body and comfort to the man; and thus it is called
the virile wind of the sovereign."

"Well put, indeed," said the king. "Now can you tell me about the wind
of the people?" "The wind of the people," replied Sung Y, "rises with
a gust in the slums. It sweeps up clouds of dust from holes; suddenly
roused, it brings troubles, piercing through crevices and attacking
doors; it disturbs graves and blows about dead ashes; it throws
everything into confusion, whirling along rotten flesh and other
horrors, until at last it passes through the jar-mouth windows and so
into the rooms of the cottage.

"The effect of this wind upon those who are in it, is to make them
altogether dull and full of anxiety, driving out warmth and
engendering dampness and distrustful emotions. It breeds disease and
produces fevers; affecting the lips, it causes sores; reaching the
eyes, it makes them red; it harasses by a racking cough, so that
people care nothing whether they live or die; and thus it is called
the feminine wind of the people."


The Prince of Ch`u said to his prime minister,[1] "What have you done
that should cause the officers and people of this State to abuse you
so clamorously?"

"Abuse me indeed they do," replied the minister; "but pardon my
boldness, and I will explain. A stranger was singing in one of our
villages the other day, and this was the subject of his lay:--There is
the music of the masses; there is the music of a narrower circle; that
of a narrower circle still; and lastly, the classical music of the
cultured few. This classical music is too lofty, and too difficult of
comprehension, for the masses.[2]

"Among birds there is the phnix: among fishes, the leviathan. The
phnix soars aloft, cleaving the red clouds, with the blue firmament
above it, away into the uttermost realms of space. But what can the
poor hedge-quail know of the grandeur of heaven and earth? The
leviathan rises in the morning in one ocean to go to rest at night in
another. But what can the minnow of a puddle know of the depth of the

"And there are phnixes and leviathans, not only among birds and
fishes, but among men. There is the Safe, full of nervous thought and
of unsullied fame, who dwells complacently alone.--What can the vulgar
herd know of me?"

[1] Sc. to the writer.

[2] It is vulgarly believed that the Chinese have no music--worthy the
    name. That they had what they themselves were pleased to call
    music, a thousand years before Christ, is beyond all doubt; and an
    idea of its sthetic value may be gathered from the following
    extracts from the /Tso Chuan/:--

    They sang to him the Odes of Chou. "Admirable!" said he; "this is
    the expression of earnest endeavour, without any resentment."

    They sang to him the Odes of P`ei. "Admirable!" said he; "here are
    those who sorrow, and yet are not distressed."

    They sang to him the Odes of Pin. "Admirable!" said he; "they are
    expressive of enjoyment without license."

    They sang to him the Odes of Wei. "Admirable!" said he; "what
    harmony! Here is grandeur with delicacy, like a defile, dangerous,
    yet easily traversed."

    Their ancient music, however, disappeared, and with it the Canon
    of Music which was formerly included among the Six Classics (now
    Five), at some period subsequent to the campaign of Alexander the
    Great in Central Asia. The music of Greece took its place; "cette
    fill aile," said Professor Chavannes, "du gnie hellenique erra
    jusque chez les Chinois qui furent merveills de sa beaut, mais
    qui ne surent pas lui conserver sa puret native."

                              T`AN KUNG

                      3rd and 4th Centuries B.C.


When Tzu-shang's mother died, he would not attend her funeral. A
disciple asked his father, Tzu-ssu (grandson of Confucius), saying,
"Did not your father attend his divorced mother's funeral?" "He did,"
replied Tzu-ssu. "Then why cannot you make Tzu-shang do likewise?"
rejoined the disciple. "My grandfather," said Tzu-ssu, "was a man of
complete virtue. I cannot aspire to his level. As long as the deceased
was my wife, she was my son's mother. When she ceased to be my wife,
she ceased also to be his mother."

From that time forth, it became a rule among the descendants of
Confucius not to attend the funeral of a divorced mother.

                       THE BURIAL OF CONFUCIUS

A certain man travelled from afar to witness the funeral obsequies of
Confucius. He stayed at the house of Tzu-hsia, who observed, "A sage
conducting a funeral is one thing: a safe's funeral is another thing.
What did you expect to see? Do you not remember that our Master once
said, 'Some people pile up earth into square, others into long-shaped
tumuli. Some build spacious mausolea, others content themselves with
small axe-shaped heaps. I prefer the heaps.' He meant what we call
/horse-neck/ heaps. So we have given him only a few handfuls of earth,
and he is buried. Is not this as he would have wished it himself?"

                             ON MOURNING

One day Yu-tzu and Tzu-yu saw a child weeping for the loss of its
parents. Thereupon, the former observed, "I never could understand why
mourners should necessarily jump about to show their grief, and would
long ago have got rid of the custom. Now here you have an honest
expression of feeling, and that is all there should ever be."

"My friend," replied Tzu-yu, "the mourning ceremonial, with all its
material accompaniments, is at once a check upon undue emotion and a
guarantee against any lack of proper respect. Simply to give vent to
the feelings is the way of barbarians. That is not our way.

"Consider. A man who is pleased will show it in his face. He will
sing. He will get excited. He will dance. So, too, a man who is vexed
will look sad. He will sigh. He will beat his breast. He will jump
about. The due regulation of these emotions is the function of a set

"Further. A man dies and becomes an object of loathing. A dead body is
shunned. Therefore, a shroud is prepared, and other paraphernalia of
burial, in order that the survivors may cease to loathe. At death,
there is a sacrifice of wine and meat; when the funeral cortge is
about to start, there is another; and after burial there is yet
another. Yet no one ever saw the spirit of the departed come to taste
of the food.

"These have been our customs from remote antiquity. They have not been
discarded, because, in consequence, men no more shun the dead. What
you may censure in those who perform the ceremonial is no blemish in
the ceremonial itself."

                            BURYING ALIVE

When Tzu-ch died, his wife and secretary took counsel together as to
who should be interred with him.[1] All was settled before the arrival
of his brother, Tzu-k`ang; and then they informed him, saying, "The
deceased requires some one to attend upon him in the nether world. We
must ask you to go down with his body to the grave." "Burial of the
living with the dead," replied Tzu-hng, "is not in accordance with
established rights. Still, as you say some one is wanted to attend
upon the deceased, who better fitted than his wife and secretary? If
this contingency can be avoided altogether, I am willing; if not, then
the duty will devolve upon you two."

From that time forth the custom fell into desuetude.[2]

                            BAD GOVERNMENT

When Confucius was crossing the T`ai mountain, he overheard a woman
weeping and wailing beside a grave. He thereupon sent one of his
disciples to ask what was the matter; and the latter addressed the
woman, saying, "Some great sorrow must have come upon you that you
give way to grief like this?" "Indeed it is so," replied she. "My
father-in-law was killed here by a tiger; after that, my husband; and
now my son has perished by the same death." "But why, then," enquired
Confucius, "do you not go away?" "The government is not harsh,"
answered the woman. "There!" cried the Master, turning to his
disciples; "remember that. Bad government is worse than a tiger."

                       A STRANGE CONGRATULATION

When Chao Wu had completed his palace, all the great nobles went to
offer their congratulations. One of them said, "How beautiful! how
grand! how spacious! Here you will sing: there you will weep: and here
the clans will gather together."

"Ah!" replied Chao Wu; "may it indeed come to pass that I shall sing
here, and weep there, and that here the clans will gather together;
for thus I should go down to the grave of my forefathers with my head
safely on my shoulders." So saying, he bowed twice towards the north,
striking his brow upon the ground.

"Well-timed," exclaims the superior man, "was the panegyric; and well-
timed also was the prayer."[3]

                        THE SONG OF THE COFFIN

An old friend of Confucius having lost his mother, the Master went to
assist in varnishing the coffin. "Ai-ya!" exclaimed the friend as he
brought the coffin in, "'tis long since I have had any music."
Thereupon he began to sing--

  [musical notation omitted]
  Striped like the wild cat's head, Smooth as a maiden's hand
  Ai-yah! Ai-yah!

[alluding (1) to the grain of the wood and (2) to the varnish.][4]

Confucius pretended not to hear, and moved away; but one of his
disciples cried out, "Master, should you not have done with a fellow
like this?"

"It is not right," replied Confucius, "to disregard the duties we owe
to our parents; neither is it right to disregard the duties we owe to
our friends."

[1] The custom of burying living creatures with the dead was first
    practised in China B.C. 580. It was said to have been suggested by
    an earlier and more harmless custom of placing straw and wooden
    effigies in the mausolea of the great.

[2] In the 8th moon (B.C. 590) Duke Wn of Sung died. He was the first
    duke who had an elaborate funeral. Clam mortar was used for lining
    the grave. There were additional horses and carriages; and human
    beings were now for the first time interred alive with the dead.--
    /Tso Chuan/.

[3] The strange part of the congratulation was to allude, even
    indirectly, to the hateful contingency of death, as suggested by
    the word "weep." But the reply skilfully turned into a compliment
    what must otherwise have been taken as an affront.

[4] The music is not part of the text. These few bars are given merely
    as a sample of a Chinese popular air.


                         THE ELIXIR OF DEATH

A certain person having forwarded some elixir of immortality to the
Prince of Ching, it was received as usual by the door-keeper. "Is this
to be swallowed?" enquired the Chief Warden of the palace. "It is,"
replied the door-keeper. Thereupon, the Chief Warden purloined and
swallowed it. At this, the prince was exceedingly wroth, and ordered
his immediate execution; but the Chief Warden sent a friend to plead
for him, saying, "Your Highness' servant asked the door-keeper if the
drug was to be swallowed; and as he replied in the affirmative, your
servant accordingly swallowed it. The blame rests entirely with the
door-keeper. Besides, if the elixir of life is presented to your
Highness, and because your servant swallows it, your Highness slays
him, that elixir is clearly the elixir of death; and for your Highness
thus to put to death an innocent official is simply for your Highness
to be made the sport of men."

The prince spared his life.

                               MENG TZU

                      (Latinized into MENCIUS.)

                            B.C. 372-289.

  Mencius is China's "second sage." He was to Confucius much what
  St. Paul was to Christ. The great principles which were henceforth
  to guide the nation had been already enunciated, and to these
  Mencius added nothing new. He lacked the inspiration which had
  placed Confucius in the front rank of the world's Prophets. But he
  did good work in expounding and disseminating the message which
  the Master had left behind him; especially in denouncing the
  theories of Mo Ti and Yang Chu (qq.vv.). His writings have been
  justly included in the Canon of Confucianism, and for more than
  twenty centuries his name has been a household word over the
  length and breadth of China.

                            HALF MEASURES

King Hui of Liang said to Mencius, "I exhaust my energies in the
administration of government. If the harvest is bad on one side of the
river, I transfer a number of the inhabitants to the other, and send
supplies to those who remain. No ruler among the neighbouring States
devotes himself as I do to the welfare of his people. Yet their
populations do not decrease; neither does mine increase. How is this?"

Mencius replied, "Your Majesty loves war. Let us take an illustration
from war:--

"The drums beat: blades cross: arms are flung aside: the vanquished
seek safety in flight. Some will run a hundred yards and then stop;
others, fifty only. Can those who run fifty laugh at those who run a

"No, indeed," replied the king; "it was flight in both cases."

"And so," rejoined Mencius, "your Majesty, perceiving the application
of what I have said, will not (under present conditions) expect your
population to exceed the populations of neighbouring States.

"Let the times for agriculture be not neglected, and there will be
more grain than can be eaten. Let no close-meshed nets sweep your
streams, and there will be more fishes and turtles than can be eaten.
Let forestry be carried on in due season, and there will be more wood
than can be used. Thus, the people will be able to feed their living
and bury their dead without repining; and this is the first step
towards establishing a perfect system of government.

"Let the mulberry-tree be cultivated in accordance with regulation;
then persons of fifty years old will be able to wear silk. Let due
attention be paid to the breeding of poultry, and swine, and dogs;
then persons of seventy years old will be able to eat meat. Let there
be no interference with the labour of the husbandman; and there will
be no mouths crying for food. Let education of the people be
reverently attended to;--above all, let them be taught their duties
towards their parents and brethren;--and there will be no gray-headed
burden-carriers to be seen along the highway. For, where
septuagenarians wear silk and eat meat, where the black-haired people
are neither hungry nor cold, it has never been that perfect government
did not prevail.

"Your dogs and swine are battening on the food of men, and you do not
limit them. By the roadside there are people dying of hunger, and you
do not succour them. If they day, you say, 'It was not I; it was the
bad season.' What is this but to stab a man to death, and say, 'It was
not I; it was the weapon?' O king, blame not the season for these
things, and all men under the canopy of heaven will flock to you."

King Hui replied, "I beg to receive your instructions."

Mencius continued, "Is there any difference between killing a man with
a bludgeon and killing him with a sword?"

"There is none," answered the king.

"Or between killing him with a sword and killing him by misrule?"
pursued Mencius.

"There is none," replied the king again.

"Yet in your kitchen," said Mencius, "there is fat meat, and in your
stables there are sleek horses, while famine sits upon the faces of
your people, and men die of hunger in the fields. This is to be a
beast, and prey upon your fellow-man.

"Beasts prey upon one another, in a manner abhorrent to us. If, then,
he who holds the place of father and mother to the people, preys upon
them like a beast, wherein does his prerogative consist?

"Confucius said, 'Was he not without posterity who first buried images
with the dead?'--meaning that these, being in the likeness of man,
suggested the use of living men. What then of him who causes his
people to die of hunger?"

                             BORN IN SIN

Kao Tzu said, "Human nature may be compared with a block of wood; duty
towards one's neighbour, with a wooden bowl. To develop charity and
duty towards one's neighbour out of human nature is like making a bowl
out of a block of wood."

To this Mencius replied, "Can you without interfering with the natural
constitution of the wood, make out of it a bowl? Surely you must do
violence to that constitution in the process of making your bowl. And
by parity of reasoning you would do violence to human nature in the
process of developing charity and duty towards one's neighbour. From
which it follows that all men would come to regard these rather as
evils than otherwise."

Kao Tzu said, "Human nature is like rushing water, which flows east or
west according as an outlet is made for it. For human nature makes
indifferently for good or for evil, precisely as water makes
indifferently for the east, or for the west."

Mencius replied, "Water will indeed flow indifferently towards the
east or west; but will it flow indifferently up or down? It will not;
and the tendency of human nature towards good is like the tendency of
water to flow down. Every man has this bias towards good, just as all
water flows naturally downwards. By splashing water, you may indeed
cause it to fly over your head; and by turning its course you may keep
it for use on the hillside; but you would hardly speak of such results
as the nature of water. They are the results, of course, of a /force
majeure/. And so it is when the nature of man is diverted towards

Kao Tzu said, "That which comes with life is nature."

Mencius replied, "Do you mean that there is such a thing as nature in
the abstract, just as there is whiteness in the abstract?"

"I do," answered Kao Tzu.

"Just, for instance," continued Mencius, "as the whiteness of a
feather is the same as the whiteness of snow, or the whiteness of snow
as the whiteness of jade?"

"I do," answered Kao Tzu again.

"In that case," retorted Mencius, "the nature of a dog is the same as
that of an ox, and the nature of an ox the same as that of a man."

Kao Tzu said, "Eating and reproduction of the species are natural
instincts. Charity is subjective and innate; duty towards one's
neighbour is objective and acquired. For instance, there is a man who
is my senior, and I defer to him as such. Not because any abstract
principle of seniority exists subjectively in me, but in the same way
that if I see a white man I recognise him as such, because he is so
objectively to me. Consequently, I say that that duty towards one's
neighbour is objective or acquired."

Mencius replied, "The cases are not analogous. The whiteness of a
white horse is undoubtedly the same as the whiteness of a white man;
but the seniority of a horse is not the same as the seniority of a
man. Does our duty to our senior begin and end with the fact of his
seniority? Or does it not rather consist in the necessity of deferring
to him as such?"

Kao Tzu said, "I love my own brother; but I do not love another man's
brother. The distinction arises from within myself; therefore I call
it subjective or innate. But I defer to a stranger who is my senior
just as I defer to a senior among my own people. The distinction comes
to me from without; therefore I call it objective or acquired."

Mencius retorted, "We enjoy food cooked by strangers just as much as
food cooked by our own people. Yet extension of your principle lands
us in the conclusion that our appreciation of cooked food is also
objective and acquired."


A disciple asked, saying, "Is it true that Yao (2357 B.C.) gave the
throne to Shun[1] (2255 B.C.)?" "It is not true," replied Mencius;
"the Son of God[2] cannot take the throne and give it to any one."
"Yes," said the disciple, "but Shun got it. Who gave it to him?" "God
gave it to him." "Oh, God gave it to him, did He? Were there any
particular commands as to what his duties would be?" "No," replied
Mencius; "God does not speak. God made manifest His will through
Shun's own behaviour." "Oh," said the disciple, "through Shun's own
behaviour, was it? How did He manage that?" "The Son of God," replied
Mencius, "can recommend any one to God, but he cannot make God give
that man the throne. Just so, the feudal nobles can recommend any one
to the Son of God, but they cannot make the Son of God appoint that
man to be a feudal noble. Likewise, a Minister can recommend any one
to his suzerain, but he cannot make his suzerain appoint that man to
be a Minister. In those days of old, Yao recommended Shun to God, and
God accepted him; he let the people see what sort of man Shun was, and
the people accepted him. Therefore I said, God does not speak; He
manifests His will through behaviour." "May I ask," said the disciple,
"how this was managed?" "Yao," replied Mencius, "caused Shun to
preside over the sacrifices; and as the spirits were well pleased, God
accepted him. Yao also caused him to preside over the conduct of
affairs; and as affairs were well administered and a general well-
being prevailed, the people accepted him. Thus it was god and the
people who gave Shun the throne; and therefore I said that the Son of
God cannot give the throne to any one."

                           CHARITY OF HEART

There are dignities of God, and there are dignities of man. Charity of
heart, duty towards one's neighbour, loyalty, and truth--these are the
dignities of God. To be a duke, a minister of State, or a high
official--these are the dignities of man. The men of old cultivated
the dignities of God, and the dignities of man followed. The men of
to-day cultivate the dignities of God in order to secure the dignities
of man; and when they have obtained the dignities of man, they case
aside all further thought of the dignities of God. In this they
greatly err, and the probability is that they will lose their
dignities of man as well.

Charity of heart is the noblest gift of God; it is a house, so to
speak, in which a man may live in peace. No one can prevent us from
possessing this gift; if we have it not, that is due to our own folly.

Charity of heart subdues uncharitableness just as water subdues fire.
But people nowadays employ charity of heart much in the same way as if
they were to try to put out a blazing cartload of firewood with a
single cupful of water; and then when they fail to put out the flames,
they turn round and blame the water.[3]

                          YANG CHU AND MO TI

"Master," said a disciple, "people all declare that you are fond of
disputing; I venture to ask if this is so." "It is not," replied
Mencius; "the fact is that I cannot do otherwise. Inspired rulers are
no longer in power; the feudal barons have thrown off all restraint;
and idle scholars are discussing unorthodox themes. The words of Yang
Chu and Mo Ti fill the empire, and those who are not on the side of
one will be found on the side of the other. Yang's doctrine is /Every
man for himself/, which means that he recognizes no ruler. Mo's
doctrine is /Love all equally/, which means that he does not recognize
the special claim of a parent. But to recognize neither parent nor
ruler is to be a brute beast. If these doctrines are not checked, and
the doctrines of Confucius are not put forward, heterodox teachings
will delude the people, and charity of heart and duty towards one's
neighbour will cease to prevail. Then, beasts will be led on to devour
men, and men will soon be devouring one another. I am alarmed by these
things, and address myself to the doctrines of the inspired men of old
in order to oppose Yang and Mo.[4]

                         SEPARATION OF SEXES

A philosopher asked Mencius, saying, "That men and women, in giving
and receiving, shall not touch hands,--is such the rule of propriety?"
"It is," replied Mencius. "But supposing," said the philosopher, "that
a sister-in-law was drowning, should a man not give her a hand and
pull her out?" "A man," answered Mencius, "who could see his sister-
in-law drown and not give her his hand, would be a wolfish brute. That
men and women, in giving and receiving, do not touch hands, is a rule
of propriety; but when a sister-in-law is drowning, to give her a hand
and pull her out comes under the head of exceptions to the rule."
"Just now," retorted the philosopher, "the empire is drowning; why do
you not pull it out?" "The drowning empire," replied Mencius, "must be
saved by the eternal principles of Right; a drowning sister-in-law by
the hand. Would you have me save the empire by my hand?"

[1] For more about Sun, see /Yang Chu/. "On Self Sacrifice."

[2] More commonly called the "Son of Heaven"; but now that the word
    /t`ien/ has been shown to mean an anthropomorphic Deity--to all
    intents and purposes /the/ Deity, as universally recognized,--it
    seems only proper to use the term "God" without reserve. That
    /t`ien tzu/ means the "Son of God" is also beyond the reach of
    argument. This phraseology may doubtless shock many who are more
    concerned with accidentals than with essentials. It must however
    be remembered that priority is on the side of the Chinese, who
    created the term and used it widely centuries before the Christian

[3] It is plain that on this important topic, much slurred over by
    many, the Chinese have nothing to learn from St. Paul.

[4] For the views of these writers, see the extracts given under their

                               HSN TZU

                           3rd Century B.C.

  Famous chiefly for having sustained the heterodox theory that the
  nature of man is evil in opposition to the Confucian doctrine that
  man is born good and becomes evil through his environment.

                             BORN IN SIN

By nature, man is evil. If a man is good, that is an artificial
result. For, his condition being what it is, he is influenced first of
all by a desire for gain. Hence, he strives to get all he can without
consideration for his neighbour. Secondly, he is liable to envy and
hate. Hence, he seeks the ruin of others, and loyalty and truth are
set aside. Thirdly, he is a slave to his animal passions. Hence, he
commits excesses, and wanders from the path of duty and right.

Thus, conformity with man's natural disposition leads to all kinds of
violence, disorder, and ultimate barbarism. Only under the restraint
of law and of lofty moral influences does man eventually become fit to
be a member of regularly organised society.

From these premises it seems quite clear that by nature man is evil;
and that if a man is good, that is an artificial result.

                                LI SSU

                           3rd Century B.C.

  Was for a long period prime minister and trusted adviser of the
  prince who finally annihilated the feudal system which prevailed
  under the Chou dynasty, and seated himself upon the throne as the
  First Emperor of China. It was then that Li Ssu suggested the
  entire destruction of existing literature, with a few trifling
  exceptions, in order to break off absolutely all connection with 
  the past; a design which was rapidly carried into practical
  effect, though not to the extent which has been generally
  supposed, and from the operation of which the sacred books of
  Confucianism were saved only by the devotion of a few. Li Ssu was
  himself an accomplished scholar, and invented a form of writing
  which remained in vogue for several centuries, until superseded by
  the style now in use.


The high officers of State had combined to persuade the Prince of
Ch`in to dismiss all foreign nobles and other strangers from the
Court, urging that such persons were there only in the interests of
their masters. This proscription would have included me. I therefore
sent up the following Memorial:--

May it please your Majesty,

The present scheme for proscribing strangers is in every way a fatal
step. have we not innumerable examples in the past of the employment
of foreigners, to the greater glory of the State and to the infinite
advantage of the people?

From the mountains of Tibet your Majesty receives jade; from
elsewhere, jewels. Bright pearls, good blades, fine horses, kingfisher
banners, triton-skin drums,--of such rarities not one is produced at
home, yet your Majesty delights in all. But if nothing is to be used
in future save local produce, then will rich pearls shine no more at
Court, then will the elephant and the rhinoceros contribute their
ivory no more, nor the ladies of Chao throng the Imperial harem, nor
sleek palfreys stand in the Imperial stables, nor gold, nor pewter-
ware, not brilliant hues glow within the Imperial walls.

And if all, too, which adorns the seraglio, and ministers to the
pleasure of eye and ear, must for the future be of local growth; then
adieu to pearl-set pins, to jewelled ear-drops, to silken shirts and
embroidered hems;--welcome the humble and the plain, there where
beauty no longer reigns supreme.

Take for instance our local music--shrill songs shrieked to earthen
and wooden accompaniments--as compared with the magnificent harmonies
of other States. Those we have rejected in favour of these, simply
because the latter contributed most to the pleasure of sense.

In the choice of men, however, this principle is not to prevail. There
is to be no question of capacity or of incapacity, of honesty or of
dishonesty. If he be not native, he must go: all foreigners are to be
dismissed. Surely this is to measure men by a lower standard than
music and gems! No method this for stretching the rod of empire over
all within the boundary of the sea.

As broad acres yield large crops, so for a nation to be great there
should be a great population; and for soldiers to be daring their
generals should be brave. Not a single clod was added to T`ai-shan in
vain: hence the huge mountain we now behold. The merest streamlet is
received into the bosom of Ocean: hence the Ocean's unfathomable
expanse. And wise and virtuous is the ruler who scorns not the masses
below. For him, no boundaries of realm, no distinctions of nationality
exist. The four seasons enrich him; the Gods bless him; and, like our
rulers of old, no man's hand is against him.

But now it is proposed to deliver over the black-haired people into
the power of the foe. For if strangers are expelled, they will rally
round the feudal princes. The leaders of the age will retire, and none
will step forth to fill the vacant place. It is as though one should
furnish arms to a rebel, or set a premium upon theft.

Many things that are not produced here are nevertheless highly prized.
Countless men who were not born here are nevertheless loyal of heart.
Therefore to dismiss all foreigners will be to make our enemies
strong; for those who suffer expulsion will go to swell the hostile
ranks. There will be but hollowness within and bitterness without; and
danger will never cease to menace the State.

On reading the above, the Prince of Ch`in cancelled the edict
respecting the proscription of foreigners, and I was restored to

[1] "The iniquity of the writer," observes a commentator, "must not
    blind us to the beauty of his appeal."

                               HAN FEI

  Died 233 B.C. A student of criminal law and procedure, who rose to
  distinction but incurred the enmity of a rival and was thrown into
  prison where he committed suicide. Fifty-five of his essays, in a
  more or less corrupt state, are still extant, and are especially
  valuable as containing many of the sayings attributed to Lao Tzu,
  woven later on, sometimes with portions of his own commentary,
  into the spurious work known as the /Tao T Ching/.

                      CIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CASES

Of old Mi Tzu-hsia was much attached to the Prince of the Wei State,
where there was a law that any one who should furtively ride in one of
the royal chariots would be punished by having his feet cut off. Now
when Mi's mother was ill and her illness was reported to him, he went
boldly off in one of the Prince's chariots to see her. On hearing of
this, the Prince entirely approved, saying, "Filial piety! For the
sake of his mother he risked the loss of his feet."

On another occasion, Mi was strolling with the Prince in a fruit-
garden; and finding that a peach, of which he had partly eaten, was
unusually sweet, he offered the remaining piece to the Prince. The
Prince said, "Love for me! He forgets himself." Mi's face fell, and
his attachment abated. The Prince added, "He furtively rode off in one
of my chariots, and now he wants to feed me with the balance of his
peach." Mi's second act was inconsistent with his first. By the first
he showed himself to be a good man, and by the second he incurred
punishment, thus illustrating the extreme difference between love and
hate. Thus, when there is love for a ruler, wisdom steps in and
familiarity is increased; but when there is hatred of a ruler, there
comes cause for punishment and the result is alienation. So that when
admonishing a ruler, it becomes necessary to consider the question of
love or hatred before offering advice. A dragon is a deadly reptile
which, however, can be trained to be fit for riding; but if a fishbone
a foot long should stick in its throat and a man should try to remove
it, there would be an end of the man. Now rulers, too, have fishbones
sticking in their throats, and what is the fate of those who try but
fail to remove them?

                        BRUTALITY v. HUMANITY

Yo Yang was a general in the army of the Wei State. When he attacked
Chung-shan, his son was in the beleaguered city. The prince of Chung-
shan boiled this son alive and sent some of the broth to his father,
who received it sitting in his military headquarters and drank up a
whole cupful. The marquis of Wei, speaking in commendation, said to an
officer, "Yo Yang ate his son's flesh for my sake." "If he ate his own
son," replied the officer, "who is there whom he would not eat?" When
Yo Yang had captured Chung-shan, the marquis duly rewarded him, but
became suspicious of his loyalty.

One day, when Mng Sun was out hunting, a fawn was captured. Mng Sun
bade his huntsman put it on a cart and take it home; but the dam
followed and bleated so piteously that the huntsman could not bear to
be unkind to the animal, and let the fawn go. When they got home, Mng
Sun asked where the fawn was, and the huntsman said, "I could not bear
to be so unkind, and I gave the fawn back to its dam." Mng Sun was
furious at this, and dismissed the man from his service; but three
months later he recalled him, and appointed him to be tutor to his
son. Upon this, an official of the Court said, "Not long ago, you
punished this man, and now you appoint him to be tutor of your son;
how is this?" Mng Sun replied, "If he cannot bear to be unkind to an
animal, how will he bear to be unkind to my son?"

Therefore it is said that clever trickery is not equal to stupid
sincerity. Yo Yang was rewarded and became an object of suspicion; the
huntsman was punished and became more trusted than ever.

                         LIU AN, HUAI-NAN TZU

  Died 122 B.C. Ruler of Huai-nan, and grandson of the founder of
  the Han dynasty. A student of Taoism under its grosser aspects, he
  directed his attention to alchemistic research and to the
  discovery of an elixir of immortality. Becoming mixed up in some
  treasonable conspiracy, he perished by his own hand.

                         DOES GOD INTERVENE?

Of old, Shih K`uang played before the Court a piece entitled "White
Snow," the action of which was rendered by a cast of supernatural
beings.[1] Down came a storm of wind and rain; the Duke was stricken
with old age, while afterwards his State became red with drought.

When a woman of the people cried aloud her wrongs to God, thunder and
lightning came down and struck the palace of the Duke to ruins,
crushing his Highness and breaking his limbs, followed by the sea
flooding over the whole.[2]

A blind musician and his wife from the people occupied a very lowly
position, below even that of the humblest official. Nevertheless, with
great earnestness they put aside their personal occupations and
devoted themselves to worshipping the saints, so that their devotion
became known and received encouragement in heaven above.

Thus it is clear that no matter whether isolated in the wilds, or in
concealment at a distance, or in a double-walled stone house, or
separated by intervening obstacles and dangers, there is no place to
which a man can escape from God.

When our Martial King (1122 B.C.) attacked the tyrant Shou, while
crossing the river at the ford of Mng, the spirit of the wicked
Marquis (who had been drowned there) stirred up the waves to fury
against him, with a bitter wind and so black a pall of darkness that
men and horses could not see one another. Then the Martial King,
grasping in his left hand a golden halberd and in his right hand a
white-tasselled staff, shook them at the river, saying, "I am the
ruler of all under the sky; who dares to cross my path?" Thereupon,
the wind fell and the waves were stilled.

The Duke of the Lu State had become involved in trouble with the Han
State, and a battle was raging fiercely when the sun began to set. The
Duke seized his spear and shook it at the sun, which forthwith went
back three zodiacal spaces in the heavens.

Thus, if we keep our physical nature complete, and preserve our
spirituality, this will allow of no injury to the body. In the hour of
danger or difficulty, such earnestness will appeal to God; and if
there has been no departure from the great archetype,[3] what is there
which cannot be accomplished?

                         ON THE NATURE OF TAO

Tao roofs over the sky and is the foundation of the earth; it extends
north, south, east, and west, stretching to the eight extreme points
in those directions. Its height is beyond reach and its depth is
unfathomable; it enfolds both the sky and the earth, and produces
things which had been formless. It is like the flow of a spring, which
starts bubbling up from nothing but gradually forms a volume of
rushing muddy water which again gradually becomes clear. Therefore, if
set vertically, it will block all the space between the sky and the
earth; if set laterally, it will touch the shores of the Four Seas;
inexhaustible by use, it knows neither the fullness of morning nor the
decay of night; dispersed, it fills space; compressed, it is scarce a
handful; scant, it can be ample; dark, it can be light; weak, it can
be strong; soft, it can be hard. Though open on all sides, it contains
two cosmogonical Principles; it binds up the universe, while making
manifest the sun, moon, and stars; it is thick as clay, and yet is
watery; it is infinitesimally fine, and yet it can be subdivided; it
makes mountains rise high and valleys sink low; it makes beasts to
walk, birds to fly, the sun and moon to shine, the stars to move, the
unicorn to come forth, and the phnix to hover above us.

The first two Emperors of old (3rd millenium B.C.) obtained control of
Tao, and established themselves in the centre of all things (China),
and by their divine influence brought about civilization and gave
peace to the world. Thus, the sky duly turned round, while the earth
stood still, and the wheel of human life revolved without ceasing.

[1] And therefore blasphemous.
[2] For misgovernment.

[3] Tao. For this writer's conception of Tao, see the following
    extract, with which may be compared the views of Chuang Tzu, his

                            SSU-MA CH`IEN

                      1st and 2nd Centuries B.C.

  Author of the first general /History of China/. The work begins
  with the reign of Huang Ti, the Yellow Emperor (2697 B.C.), and
  closes with the year 104 B.C., at about the period described in
  the subjoined extract. As a youth, Ssu-ma Ch`ien had travelled
  widely throughout the empire. He finally settled down as Grand
  Astrologer; but his spirited defence of Li Ling (q.v.) when
  overthrown and captured by the Huns, brought down upon him the
  wrath of the Emperor. He was subjected to the punishment of
  mutilation, and ended his days in disgrace. He reformed the
  calendar, and determined the chronology which still obtains in

                       A CENTURY BEFORE CHRIST
                         (By an eye-witness)

            Wealth, vice, corruption,--barbarism at last.
            And history, with all her volumes vast,
            Hath but /one/ page.

When the House of Han arose, the evils of their predecessors had not
passed away. Husbands still went off to the wars. The old and the
young were employed in transporting food. Production was almost at a
standstill, and money became scarce. So much so, that even the Son of
Heaven had not carriage horses of the same colour; the highest civil
and military authorities rode in bullock-carts; and the people at
large knew not where to lay their heads.

At this epoch, the coinage in use was so heavy and cumbersome that a
new law was made, under which the people themselves cast money, the
gold unit being equal to sixteen ounces. But the laws were too lax,
and it was impossible to prevent grasping persons from coining
largely, buying largely, and then holding against a rise in the
market. The consequence was that prices went up enormously. Rice sold
at 10,000 /cash/[1] per picul: a horse cost 100 ounces of silver. But
by-and-by, when the empire was settling down to tranquillity, His
Majesty, Kao Tsu, gave orders that no trader should wear silk nor ride
in a carriage; besides which, the imposts levied upon this class were
greatly increased, in order to keep them down. Some years later, these
restrictions were withdrawn; still, however, the descendants of
traders were disqualified from holding any office connected with the

Meanwhile, certain levies were made on a scale calculated to meet the
exigencies of public expenditure; while the land-tax and customs'
revenue were regarded by all officials, from the Emperor downwards, as
their own personal emolument, and such revenue was not entered in the
ordinary expenses of the empire. Grain was forwarded by water to the
capital for the use of the officials there; but the quantity did not
amount to more than a few hundred thousand piculs every year.

Gradually, the coinage began to deteriorate and light coins to
circulate; whereupon another issue followed, each piece being marked
"half an ounce." But at length the system of private issues led to
serious abuses, resulting first of all in vast sums of money
accumulating in the hands of individuals; finally, in rebellion; until
the country was flooded with the coinage of the rebels, and it became
necessary to enact laws against any such issue in the future.

At this period, the Huns were harassing our northern frontier, and
soldiers were massed there in large bodies, in consequence of which
food became so scarce that the authorities offered certain rank and
titles of honour to those who would supply a given quantity of grain.
Later on, a drought ensued in the west, and in order to meet
necessities of the moment, official rank was again made a marketable
commodity, while those who broke the law were allowed to commute their
penalties by money payments. And now horses began to reappear in
official stables; and in palace and hall, signs of an ampler luxury
were visible once more.

Thus it was in the early days of the dynasty, until some seventy years
after the accession of the House of Han. The empire was then at peace.
But for such catastrophes as flood and drought, the people had been in
the enjoyment of plenty. The public granaries were well stocked; the
government treasuries were full. In the capital, strings of /cash/
were piled in myriads, until the very strings rotted, and their tale
could no longer be told. The grain in the Imperial storehouses grew
mouldy year by year. It burst from the crammed granaries, and lay
about until it became unfit for human food. The streets were thronged
with horses belonging to the people, and on the high roads whole
droves were to be seen, so that it became necessary to prohibit the
public use of mares. Village elders ate of the best grain and also
meat. Petty government clerkships and the like lapsed from father to
son; the higher offices of State were adopted as surnames. For there
had come abroad a spirit of self-respect and of reverence for the law,
while a sense of charity and of duty towards one's neighbour kept men
aloof from disgrace and shame.

At length, under lax laws, the wealthy began to use their riches for
evil purposes of pride and self-aggrandisement and oppression of the
weak. Members of the Imperial family received grants of land, while
from the highest to the lowest, every one vied with his neighbour in
lavishing money on houses, and appointments, and apparel, altogether
beyond the limit of his means. Such is the everlasting law of the
sequence of prosperity and decay.[2]

Then followed extensive military preparations in various parts of the
empire; the establishment of a tradal route with the barbarians of the
south-west, for which purpose mountains were hewn through for many
miles. The object was to open up the resources of those remote
districts; but the result was to swamp the inhabitants in hopeless
ruin. Then, again, there was the subjugation of Korea; its
transformation into an Imperial dependency; with other troubles nearer
home. The Huns violated their treaty and broke in upon our northern
frontier, with great injury to the empire. Nothing in fact but wars
and rumours of wars from day to day. Those who went to the war carried
money with them; those who remained sent money after them. The
financial stability of the empire was undermined, and its impoverished
people were driven thereby into crime. Wealth had been frittered away,
and its renewal was sought in corruption. Those who brought money in
their hands received appointments under government. Those who could
pay escaped the penalties of their guilt. Military merit opened the
door to advancement. Shame and scruples of conscience were laid aside.
Laws and punishments were administered with severer hand.

From this period must be dated the rise and growth of official

                            ON CHANG LIANG

Educated people mostly deny the existence of a spiritual world. Yet
they will concede supernatural attributes to things; as for instance
in the story of Chang Liang's /rencontre/ with the old man who gave
him that wonderful book.[3]

Now, that the founder of the Han dynasty should find himself involved
in difficulties was a mere matter of destiny. But that Chang Liang
should so often come to his aid,--there we detect the hand of God.

His Majesty said, "In concocting stratagems in the tent for winning
battles a thousand miles away, I cannot compare with Chang Liang." And
I too had always entertained great respect for the genius of this
remarkable man. But when I saw his portrait, lo and behold! his
features were those of a woman. However, according to Confucius, "If
we always chose men for their looks, we should have lost Tzu-y."[4]
And the same is true of Chang Liang.


The /Odes/ have it thus:--"We may gaze up to the mountain's brow: we
may travel along the great road;" signifying that although we cannot
hope to reach the goal, still we may push on thitherwards in spirit.

While reading the works of Confucius, I have always fancied I could
see the man as he was in life; and when I went to Shantung I actually
beheld his carriage, his robes, and the material parts of his
ceremonial usages. There were his descendants practising the old rites
in their ancestral home;--and I lingered on, unable to tear myself
away. Many are the princes and prophets that the world has seen in its
time; glorious in life, forgotten in death. But Confucius, though only
a humble member of the cotton-clothed masses, remains among us after
many generations. He is the model for such as would be wise. By all,
from the Son of Heaven down to the meanest student, the supremacy of
his principles is fully and freely admitted. He may indeed be
pronounced the divinest of men.


He who will face death at the call of duty must necessarily be brave.
There is no difficulty in merely dying: the difficulty lies in dying
at fitting junctures only.

When Hsiang-ju carried in the jewel,[5] and with haughty gesture
cursed right and left of the Prince of Ch`in, death was the worst he
had to fear; yet few would have been bold enough to act as he did. His
courageous attitude commanded the admiration even of an enemy; and
when on his return he forbore to risk death in a wrong cause, he
gained for himself a name which shall endure for ever.

Verily, wisdom and courage were well combined in that man!

[1] About 25 /cash/ used to go to a penny. Now (1923) approximately 63
    /cash/ equal a penny. 1 /picul/ = 133 1/3 lbs.

[2] For further on this law, see /Fulness and Decay/, by Ou-yang Hsiu.

[3] Chang Liang was the friend and adviser whose counsels contributed
    so much to the success of Kao Ti (q.v.), founder of the House of
    Han. Having had occasion, in his youth, to oblige an old man by
    picking up his sandal for him, the latter is said to have
    presented him with a book from which he drew the wisdom that
    distinguished him so much in after life.

[4] A disciple, chiefly remarkable for great ugliness combined with
    lofty mental characteristics.

[5] A remarkable stone in the possession of the Prince of Chao, from
    whom it had been demanded by the Prince of Ch`in, in exchange for
    fifteen cities, which however were never intended to be handed
    over. Hsiang-ju managed to out-manuvre the enemy, and bore back
    the stone in triumph to his master.

                                KAO TI

                         Reigned 202-195 B.C.

  This wonderful man, who founded the splendid House of Han, raised
  himself from the plough-tail to the throne. He was a simple
  peasant, named Liu Pang; but his genius soon placed him at the
  head of those malcontents who sought to shake the tyrannical yoke
  of the Ch`ins; and from that time until he was proclaimed Emperor,
  his career was one of uninterrupted success.



You have long groaned under the despotic sway of the Ch`ins. To
complain openly was to incur the penalty of extermination. Even casual
words of objection were punished by the decapitation of the

Now, it was agreed between myself and the other nobles that whosoever
first entered the territory of Ch`in should rule over it. Therefore I
am come to rule over you. With you, I further agree upon three laws,

1. For murder, death.

2. For injury to the person, proportionate punishment.

3. For theft, proportionate punishment.

The remainder of the Ch`in laws to be abrogated.

The officials and people will continue to attend to their respective
duties as heretofore. My sole object in coming here is to eradicate
wrong. I desire to do violence to no one. Fear not.

My camp is for the moment at Pa-shang. I await the arrival of my
colleagues in order to ratify the terms of our agreement.

                                WN TI

                         Reigned 179-157 B.C.

  Bastard son of Kao Ti. The tone of this letter is especially
  remarkable, as addressed by the Emperor to the captain of a
  barbarian horde. But the irresistible power of the Huns had
  already begun to make itself severely felt.

                      TO THE CAPTAIN OF THE HUNS

WE respectfully trust that the great Captain is well. WE have
respectfully received the two horses which the great Captain forwarded
to US.

The first Emperor of this dynasty adopted the following policy:--All
to the north of the Long Wall, comprising the nations of the bow and
arrow, to be subject to the great Captain: all within the Long Wall--
namely, the families of the hat and girdle, to be subject to the House
of Han. Thus, these people would each pursue their own avocations,--
OURS, agriculture and the manufacture of cloth; yours, archery and
hunting,--in the acquisition of food and raiment. Father and son would
not suffer separation; suzerain and vassal would rest in peace; and
neither side would do violence to the other.

But of late WE hear that certain worthless persons have been incited
by the hope of gain to shake off their natural allegiance. Breaches of
moral obligation and of treaty have occurred. There has been
forgetfulness of family ties; and the tranquillity of suzerain and
vassal is at an end. This, however, belongs to the past. Your letter
says, "The two States had become friendly; their rulers friends. The
tramp of armies had been stilled for more peaceful occupations, and
great joy had come upon successive generations at the new order of
things." WE truly rejoice over these words. Let us then tread together
this path of wisdom in due compassion for the peoples committed to our
charge. Let us make a fresh start. Let us secure quiet to the aged;
and to the young, opportunity to grow up, and, without risk of harm,
to complete their allotted span.

The Hans and the Huns are border nations. Your northern climate is
early locked in deadly cold. Therefore WE have annually sent large
presents of food and clothing and other useful things; and now the
empire is at peace and the people prosperous. Of those people, WE and
you are, as it were, the father and mother; and for trivial causes,
such as an Envoy's error, we should not lightly sever the bonds of
brotherly love. Heaven, it is said, covers no one in particular; and
Earth is the common resting-place of all men. Let us then dismiss
these trifling grievances, and tread the broader path. Let us forget
bygone troubles in a sincere desire to cement an enduring friendship,
that our peoples may live like the children of a single family, while
the blessings of peace and immunity from evil extend even to the
fishes of the sea, to the fowls of the air, and to all creeping
things. Unresting for ever is the course of Truth. Therefore let us
obliterate the past. WE will take no count of deserters or of injuries
sustained. Do you take no count of those who have joined our banner.

The rulers of old never broke the faith of their treaties. O great
Captain, remember this. And when peace shall prevail once more, rest
assured that its first breach will not proceed from the House of Han.

                              CH`AO TS`O

                            Died 155 B.C.

  An Imperial counsellor, chiefly known by his strenuous opposition
  to the system of vassal princes, which had been in part
  re-established under the Han dynasty after the total abolition of
  feudatory government by their predecessors, the Ch`ins.
  Ultimately, when a coalition of seven vassal princes threatened
  the very existence of the dynasty, Ch`ao Ts`o was shamefully
  sacrificed by the Emperor, with a view to appease the rebels and
  avert the impending disaster.

                                ON WAR

May it please your Majesty,

Ever since the accession of the House of Han there have been constant
irruptions of Tartar hordes, with more or less profit to the invaders.
During one reign they twice fell upon Lung-hsi, besieging the city,
slaughtering the people, and driving off cattle. On another occasion,
they made a further raid, murdered the officials and garrison, and
carried away everything upon which they could lay their hands.

Now, victory inspires men with additional courage: with defeat their
/morale/ disappears. And these three defeats at Lung-hsi have left the
inhabitants utterly demoralised, with never a ray of hope for the
future. The officials, acting under the protection of the Gods and
armed with authority from the Throne, may strive to renew the /morale/
and discipline of their soldiers, and to raise the courage of a beaten
people to face the onset of Huns flushed with victory. They may
struggle to oppose many with few, or to compass the rout of a host by
the slaughter of its leader. The question, however, is not one of the
bravery or cowardice of our people, but rather of the strategy of our
generals. Thus it is said in the /Art of War/, "A good general is more
indispensable to success than a good army." Therefore we should begin
by careful selection of competent generals. Further, there are three
points upon which the fate of a battle depends. These are (1)
Position, (2) Discipline, and (3) Arms.[1]

We read in the /Art of War/, "(1) A country intersected by ditches and
watercourses, or marshy, or woody, or rocky, or overgrown with
vegetation, is favourable to the operations of infantry. Two horsemen
are there not equal to one foot-soldier.

"Gentle slopes of earth, and level plains, are adapted to the
manuvres of cavalry. Ten foot-soldiers are there not a match for one

"Where the route lies between high hills some distance apart, or
through defiles with steep precipices on each side, the conditions are
favourable to bowmen. A hundred soldiers with side-arms are there no
match for a single archer.

"Where two armies meet at close quarters on a plain, covered with
short grass and giving plenty of room to manuvre, the conditions are
favourable to lancers. Three men with sword and buckler are not equal
to one of these.

"But in jungle and amid thick undergrowth, there is nothing like the
short spear. Two lancers are there not equal to one spearman.

"On the other hand, where the path is tortuous and difficult, and the
enemy is concealed from view, then swordsmen carry everything before
them, one man thus equipped being more than a match for three archers.

"(2) If soldiers are not carefully chosen and well drilled to obey,
their movements will be irregular. They will not act in concert. They
will miss success for want of unanimity. Their retreat will be
disorderly, one half fighting while the other is running away. They
will not respond to the call of the gong and drum. One hundred such as
these will not hold their own against ten will-drilled men.

"(3) If their arms are not good, the soldiers might as well have none.
If the cuirass is not stout and close set, the breast might as well be
bare. Bows that will not carry, are no more use at long distances than
swords and spears. Bad marksmen might as well have no arrows. Even
good marksmen, unless able to make their arrows pierce, might as well
shoot with headless shafts. These are the oversights of incompetent
generals. Five such soldiers are no match for one."

Therefore, the /Art of War/ says, "Bad weapons betray soldiers. Raw
soldiers betray their general. Incompetent generals betray their
sovereign. Injudicious sovereigns betray their country." The above
four points are of vital importance in military matters.

May it please your Majesty. There is a difference in outline between
great things and small ones. There is a difference in power between
the strong and the weak. There is a difference in preparation between
dangerous enterprises and easy ones. To truckle and cringe to the
powerful,--this is the behaviour of a petty State. To mass small
forces against one great force,--this is the attitude of a hostile
State. To use barbarians as a weapon against barbarians,--this is what
we do in the Central State.

The configuration of the Hun territory, and the particular skill there
available, are not what we are accustomed to at home. In scaling
mountains and fording rivers our horses do not excel; nor our horsemen
in galloping wildly along precipitous mountain paths, shooting as they
go; nor our soldiers in endurance of cold, hunger, and thirst. In all
these respects the Huns are our superiors. On level ground we beat
them out of the field. Our bows, our spears, are incomparably better
than theirs. Our armour, our blades, and the manuvres of our troops,
are unmatched by anything the Huns can show. When our good archers
discharge their arrows, the arrows strike the target all together,
against which their cuirasses and wooden bucklers are of no avail. And
when it comes to dismounting and hand-to-hand fighting with sword and
spear in the supreme struggle, the victory is easily ours. In these
respects we excel them. Thus, the Huns may be compared with us in
strength as three to five. Besides which, to slaughter their myriads
we can being tens of myriads, and crush them by mere force of numbers.
But arms are a curse, and war is a dread thing. For in the twinkling
of an eye the mighty may be humbled, and the strong may be brought
low. The stake is great, and men's lives of no account. For him who
falls to rise no more, the hour of repentance is past.

Now the maxim of our ancient kings was this:--"The greatest safety of
the greatest number." And as we have among us several thousand
barbarians who, in point of food and skill, are closely allied to the
Huns, let us clothe them in stout armour and warm raiment, arm them
with trusty bows and sharp blades, mount them on good horses, and set
them to guard the frontier. Let them be under the command of a
competent general, familiar with their customs, and able to develop
their /morale/ according to the military traditions of this empire.
Then, in the event of arduous military operations, let these men go to
the front, while we keep back our light war-chariots and horse-archers
for work upon level ground. We shall thus have, as it were, an outside
and a lining; each division will be employed in the manner for which
best adapted; our army will be increased, and the greatest safety of
the greatest number will be achieved.

It is written, "The rash minister speaks, and the wise ruler decides."
I am that rash minister, and with my life in my hand I dare to utter
these words, humbly awaiting the decision of your Majesty.

                     ON THE VALUE OF AGRICULTURE

              "A bold peasantry, their country's pride."

When the people are prosperous under the sway of a wise ruler,
familiar with the true principle of national wealth, it is not only
the tiller of the soil who fills his belly, nor the weaver alone who
has a suit of clothes to his back.

In the days of Yao[2] there was a nine years' flood: in the days of
T`ang, a seven years' drought. Yet the State suffered not, because of
the preparations which had been made to meet such emergencies. Now,
all within the boundary of the sea is under one sceptre; and our
country is wider and its inhabitants more numerous. For many years
Heaven has sent upon us no visitation of flood or drought. Why then is
our provision against emergency less? The fertility of the soil is not
exhausted; and more labour is to be had. All cultivable land is not
under tillage; neither have the hills and marshes reached their limit
of production; neither has every available idler put his hand to the

Crime begins in poverty; poverty in insufficiency of food;
insufficiency of food in neglect of agriculture. Without agriculture,
man has no tie to bind him to the soil. Without such tie, he readily
leaves his birth-place and his home. He is like unto the birds of the
air or the beasts of the field. Neither battlemented cities, nor deep
moats, nor harsh laws, nor cruel punishments, can subdue this roving
spirit that is strong within him.

He who is cold examines not the quality of cloth: he who is hungry
tarries not for choice meats. When cold and hunger came upon men,
honesty and shame depart. As man is constituted, he must eat twice
daily, or hunger; he must wear clothes, or be cold. And if the stomach
cannot get food and the body clothes, the love of the fondest mother
cannot keep her children at her side. How then should a sovereign keep
his subjects gathered round him?

The wise ruler knows this. Therefore he concentrates the energies of
his people upon agriculture. He levies light taxes. He extends the
system of grain storage, to provide for his subjects at times when
their resources fail.

Man makes for grain, just as water flows of necessity in the direction
of a lower level. Gold, silver, and jewels, are powerless to allay the
pangs of hunger or to ward off the bitterness of cold; yet the masses
esteem these things because of the demand for them among their
betters. Light and of limited bulk, a handful of such valuables will
carry one through the world without fear either of cold or hunger. It
is for these things that a minister plays false to his prince. It is
for these things that a man lightly leaves his home:--a stimulus to
theft, the godsend of fugitives!

Grain and cotton cloths come to use from the earth. They are produced
in due season by the labour of man, and time is needed for their
growth. A few hundred-weight of such stuffs is more than an ordinary
man can carry. They offer no inducement to crime; yet to be without
them for a single day is to suffer both hunger and cold. Therefore the
wise ruler holds grain in high honour, but degrades gold and jewels.

Now in every family of five there is an average of at least two
capable husbandmen, who have probably not more than a few roods of
land, the yield of which would perhaps be not more than a hundred
piculs. In spring they have to plough; in summer, to weed; in autumn,
to reap; in winter, to store; besides cutting fuel, repairing official
residences, and other public services. Exposed, in spring, to wind and
dust; in summer, to scorching heat; in autumn, to fog and rain; in
winter, to cold and first,--from year's end to year's end they know
not what leisure means. They have besides their own social
obligations, visits of sympathy and condolence, the nourishment of
orphans, of the aged, and of the young. Then, when flood and drought
come upon them, already compassed round with toil and hardship, the
government pressing harshly, collecting taxes at unsettled times,
issuing orders in the morning to revoke them at night,--those who have
grain to sell at half value, while those who have not borrow at
exorbitant usury. Then paternal acres change hands; sons and grandsons
are sold to pay debts; merchants make vast profits, and even petty
tradesmen realise unheard-of gains. These take advantage of the
necessities of the hour. Their men do not till; their women do not
spin. Yet they all wear fine clothes and live on the fat of the land.
They share not the hardships of the husbandman. Their wealth pours in
from the four quarters of the earth. Vying in riches with kings and
princes, in power they out-do the authorities themselves. Their
watchword is gain. When they go abroad they are followed by long
retinues of carriages and servants. They ride in fine coaches and
drive sleek horses. They are shod in silk and robed in satin. Thus do
they strip the husbandman bare of his goods; and thus it is that the
husbandman is an outcast on the face of the earth.

At present, the merchant is /de jure/ an ignoble fellow; /de facto/,
he is rich and great. The husbandman is, on the other hand, /de jure/
an honourable man; /de facto/, a beggar. Theory and practice are at
variance; and in the confusion which results, national prosperity is
out of the question. Now there would be nothing more presently
advantageous than to concentrate the energies of our people upon
agriculture; and the way to do this is to enhance the value of grain
by making it an instrument of reward and punishment. Let rank be
bestowed in return for so much grain. Let penalties be commuted for so
much. By these means, rich men will enjoy honours, husbandmen will
make money, and grain be distributed over the face of the empire.
Those who purchase rank in this way will purchase out of their
surplus; and by handing this over to the Imperial exchequer, the
burden of taxes may be lightened, one man's superfluity making up for
the deficiency of another, to the infinite advantage of the people.
The benefits of this plan may in fact be enumerated under the
following heads:--(1) Sufficiency for Imperial purposes; (2) Light
taxation; (3) Impetus given to agriculture.

Then again, at present a horse and cart are taken in lieu of three men
under conscription for military service, on the ground that these are
part of the equipment of war. But it was said of old, "An you have a
stone rampart a hundred feet high, a moat a hundred feet broad, and a
million of soldiers to guard the city, without food it shall be of no

From the above it is clear that grain is the basis of all government.
Rather then bid men gain rank and escape conscription by payments of
grain: this would be better far than payment in horses and carts. Rank
can be given at will by the mere fiat of the Emperor, and the supply
is inexhaustible; grain can be produced from the earth by man in
endless measure; and rank and exemption from penalty are what men
above all things desire.

Therefore, I pray your Majesty, bestow rank and commute penalties for
grain-payments; and within three years the empire will be amply

[1] These words were penned about two thousand years ago; and yet Mr.
    Demetrius Boulger (/horresco referens/), in the June number of the
    /Fortnightly/ for 1883 treats us to the following:--

    "China has yet to learn that arms alone will not make an efficient

[2] 2356 B.C. An attempt has been made, as stated under /Yang Chu/
    (note), to identify this with Noah's flood. It was ultimately
    drained away by the engineering skill of an individual known in
    history as the Great Y. "Ah!" says a character in the /Tso
    Chuan/, "if it had not been for Y, we should all have been

                                WU TI

                         Reigned 140-87 B.C.

  This Emperor is famous for his long and magnificent reign of
  fifty-four years; for his energetic patronage of scholars engaged
  in the resuscitation of Confucian literature; for the brilliant
  exploits of his generals in Central Asia against the Huns; for the
  establishment of universities and literary degrees, etc., etc. For
  a reply to the Proclamation annexed, see Tung-fang So.

                    HEROES WANTED!--A PROCLAMATION

Exceptional work demands exceptional men. A bolting or a kicking horse
may eventually become a most valuable animal. A man who is the object
of the world's detestation may live to accomplish great things. As
with the untractable horse, so with the infatuated man;--it is simply
a question of training.

WE therefore command the various district officials to search for men
of brilliant and exceptional talents, to be OUR generals, OUR
ministers, and OUR envoys to distant States.

                             TUNG-FANG SO

                           2nd Century B.C.

  Popularly known as "The Wag." The following memorial was forwarded
  by him in response to the Proclamation of Wu Ti (q.v.), calling
  for heroes to assist in the government. Tung-Fang So became at
  once an intimate friend and adviser of the young Emperor,
  continuing in favour until his death. On one occasion he drank off
  some elixir of immortality, which belonged to the Emperor, and the
  latter in a rage ordered him to be put to death. But Tung-Fang So
  smiled and said, "If the elixir was genuine, your Majesty can do
  me no harm; if it was not, what harm have I done.


I lost my parents while still a child, and grew up in my elder
brother's home. At twelve I learnt to write, and within the year I was
well advanced in history and composition. At fifteen, I learnt sword
exercise; at sixteen, to repeat the /Odes/ and the /Book of History/--
220,000 words in all. At nineteen, I studied the tactics of Sun Wu,[1]
the accoutrements of battle array, and the use of the gong and drum,
also 220,000 words in all, making a grand total of 440,000 words. I
also carefully laid to heart the sayings of the bold Tzu Lu.[2]

I am now twenty-two years of age. I am nine feet three inches in
height.[3] My eyes are like swinging pearls, my teeth like a row of
shells. I am as brave as Mng Fn, as prompt as Ch`ing Chi, as pure as
Pao Shu, and as devoted as Wei Shng.[4] I consider myself fit to be a
high officer of State; and with my life in my hand, I await your
Majesty's reply.

[1] A skilful commander who flourished in the sixth century before
    Christ, and wrote a treatise on the art of war.

[2] One of Confucius's favourite disciples, specially remarkable for
    his courage. Whatever he said, he did. Of him, Mr. Watters said in
    his "Tablets in the Confucian Temple," p. 20, "It is very unfair
    of Dr. Legge to call him 'a kind of Peter,' meaning of course
    Simon Peter, a man who lacked faith, courage and fidelity, and
    moreover cursed and swore."

[3] We must understand a shorter foot-rule than that now in use.

[4] Hereby hangs a pretty tale. Wei Shng was a young man who had an
    assignation with a young lady beneath a bridge. At the time
    appointed she did not come, but the tide did; and Wei Shng,
    rather than quit his post, clung to a pillar and was drowned.

                           SSU-MA HSIANG-JU

                            Died 117 B.C.

  A distinguished statesman, scholar, and poet, who flourished
  during the reigns of Ching Ti and Wu Ti of the Han dynasty. In his
  early days, he eloped with a young widow, and the two of them ran
  a wine-shop until her father came to the rescue with pecuniary

                           AGAINST HUNTING

I had accompanied the Imperial hunt to Ch`ang-yang. At that time His
Majesty (Wu Ti, 2nd century B.C.) was an ardent follower of the chase,
and loved to slaughter bears and wild boars with his own hands.
Therefore I handed in the following Memorial:--

May it please your Majesty,

I have heard that although the human race is comprised under one
class, the capabilities of each individual are widely different. Thus
we praise the strength of this man, the swiftness of that, and the
courage of a third. And I venture to believe that what is true of us
in this respect is equally true of the brute creation.

Now your Majesty enjoys laying low the fierce quarry in some close
mountain pass. But one day there will come a beast, more terrible than
the rest, driven from its lair; and then disaster will overtake the
Imperial equipage. There will be no means of escape, no time to do
anything, no scope for the utmost skill or strength, over the rotten
branches and decaying trunks which help to complete the disorder. The
Huns rising up under your Majesty's chariot-wheels, the barbarians of
the west clinging on behind, would hardly be worse than this. And even
if, in every case, actual injury is avoided, still this is not a
fitting scene for the presence of the Son of Heaven. Besides, even on
smooth ground and on a beaten track there is always risk of accident,
--a broken rein or a loose pin; how much more so in the jungle or on
the rough mountain-side, where, with the pleasure of the chase ahead
and no thought of danger within, misfortune easily comes?

To neglect the affairs of a mighty empire and to find no peaceful
occupation therein, but to seek for pleasure in the chase, never
wholly without peril,--this is what in my opinion your Majesty should
not do. The clear of vision discern coming events before they actually
loom in sight: the wise in counsel avoid dangers before they
definitely assume a shape. Misfortunes often lie concealed in trifles,
and burst forth when least expected. Hence the vulgar saying, /He who
has piled up a thousand ounces of gold, should not sit with chair
overhanging the dais/; which proverb, though trivial in itself, may be
used in illustration of great matters. I trust that your Majesty will
deign to reflect hereon.

                       THE PRINCE OF CHUNG-SHAN

                            About 110 B.C.

  An Emperor of the Han dynasty was feasting several of his vassal
  princes who had come to pay their respects at Court, when it was
  observed that one of them shed tears at the sound of the music.[1]
  His Majesty enquired the cause of his distress, and the following
  was the prince's reply. He had been a terrified witness of the
  unexpected fall of a number of his colleagues, apparently without
  other reason than the caprice of their Imperial master excited by
  the voice of secret slander, and was evidently afraid that his own
  turn might be next.


May it please your Majesty!

There are moments when those who sorrow must weep, when those who are
pensive cannot restrain their sighs. And so, when Kao Chien-li struck
his lute, Ching K`o bowed his head and forgot to eat; when Yung
Mn-tzu vented his sorrow in song, Mng Ch`ang-chn uttered a
responsive cry. Now, mine has been a grief pent up for many a day; and
whenever music's plaintive strains reach my ear, I know not how it is,
my tears begin to flow.

Enough spittle will float a mountain; enough mosquitoes will cause a
roar like thunder; a band of confederates will catch a tiger; ten men
will break an iron bar. Combination has ever prevailed even against
the greatest of the great.

And I,--I live afar off. I have but few friends, and none to intercede
on my behalf. Against enough calumny, the purest purity and the ties
of kindred cannot prevail. Light things may be piled on a cart until
the axle snaps: it is by abundance of feathers that birds can raise
their bodies in the air. And when I see so many of my colleagues
tangled in the meshes of treason, my tears are beyond control.

When the sun is glowing brightly in the sky, the darkest corners are
illumined by its light. Beneath the beams of the clear moon, the eye
discerns the insect on the wing. But when dark clouds hide the sky
behind their murky veil; when storms of dust thicken the surrounding
air;--then even mighty mountains are lost to sight behind the screen
of intervening things.

Thus I am beyond the pale, while the lying tongues of courtiers
chatter behind my back. The way is long, and none will speak on my
behalf. Therefore I weep.

Rats are not flooded out of shrines: mice are not smoked out of a
house, lest the buildings suffer withal. Now, I am but distantly
related to your Majesty: still we are as the calyx and the fruit of
the persimmon. My rank may be low: still I address your Majesty as my
elder brother. But the courtiers round the Throne: their claims to
relationship are thin as the pellicle of the rush, light as the down
of the wild goose. Yet they combine, and each supports the other. They
bring about separations in the Imperial family, until the ties of
blood vanish like melting ice. It was this that drove Poh Ch`i into
exile: it was this that hurried Pi Kan to his grave.

It is said in the /Odes/, "Sorrow stabs my heart, and I am overwhelmed
with sad thoughts. Vainly trying to sleep, I do naught but sigh. My
grief is aging me. My heart throbs with it, like a throbbing head."
And such, may it please your Majesty, is my case now.

[1] See note to /Unpopularity/, by Sung Y.

                               LI LING

                      1st and 2nd Centuries B.C.

  Su Wu, the friend to whom this letter was addressed, had been sent
  100 B.C. on a special mission to the court of the Huns, where,
  because he would not renounce his allegiance, he was thrown into
  prison and remained in captivity for nineteen years. He
  subsequently effected an escape, and returned to China, whence he
  wrote to Li Ling (who had meanwhile surrendered to the Huns) in a
  sense that will be gathered from a perusal of the latter's reply.

                               A REPLY

O Tzu-ch`ing,[1] O my friend, happy in the enjoyment of a glorious
reputation, happy in the prospect of an imperishable name,--there is
no misery like exile in a far-off foreign land, the heart brimful of
longing thoughts of home! I have thy kindly letter, bidding me be of
good cheer, kinder than a brother's words; for which my soul thanks

Ever since the hour of my surrender until now, destitute of all
resource, I have sat alone with the bitterness of my grief. All day
long I see none but barbarians around me. Skins and felt protect me
from wind and rain. With mutton and whey I satisfy my hunger and slake
my thirst. Companions with whom to while time away, I have none. The
whole country is stiff with black ice. I hear nought but the moaning
of the bitter autumn blast, beneath which all vegetation has
disappeared. I cannot sleep at night. I turn and listen to the distant
sound of Tartar pipes, to the whinnying of Tartar steeds. In the
morning I sit up and listen still, while tears course down my cheeks.
O Tzu-ch`ing, of what stuff am I, that should do aught but grieve? The
day of thy departure left me disconsolate indeed. I thought of my aged
mother butchered upon the threshold of the grave. I thought of my
innocent wife and child, condemned to the same cruel fate. Deserving
as I might have been of Imperial censure, I am now an object of pity
to all. Thy return was to honour and renown, while I remained behind
with infamy and disgrace. Such is the divergence of man's destiny.

Born within the domain of refinement and justice, I passed into an
environment of vulgar ignorance. I left behind me obligations to
sovereign and family for life amid barbarian hordes; and now barbarian
children will carry on the line of my forefathers.[2] And yet my merit
was great, my guilt of small account. I had no fair hearing; and when
I pause to think of these things, I ask to what end I have lived. With
a thrust I could have cleared myself of all blame: my severed throat
would have borne witness to my resolution; and between me and my
country all would have been over for aye. But to kill myself would
have been of no avail: I should only have added to my shame. I
therefore steeled myself to obloquy and to life. There were not
wanting those who mistook my attitude for compliance, and urged me to
a nobler course; ignorant that the joys of a foreign land are sources
only of a keener grief.

O Tzu-ch`ing, O my friend, I will complete the half-told record of my
former tale. His late Majesty commissioned me, with five thousand
infantry under my command, to carry on operations in a distant
country. Five brother generals missed their way: I alone reached the
theatre of war. With rations for a long march, leading on my men, I
passed beyond the limits of the Celestial Land, and entered the
territory of the fierce Huns. With five thousand men I stood opposed
to a hundred thousand: mine jaded foot soldiers, theirs horsemen fresh
from the stable. Yet we slew their leaders, and captured their
standards, and drove them back in confusion towards the north. We
obliterated their very traces: we swept them away like dust: we
beheaded their general. A martial spirit spread abroad among my men.
With them, to die in battle was to return to their homes; while I--I
venture to think that I had already accomplished something.

This victory was speedily followed by a general rising of the Huns.
New levies were trained to the use of arms, and at length another
hundred thousand barbarians were arrayed against me. The Hun chieftain
himself appeared, and with his army surrounded my little band, so
unequal in strength,--foot-soldiers opposed to horse. Still my tired
veterans fought, each man worth a thousand of the foe, as, covered
with wounds, one and all struggled bravely to the fore. The plain was
strewed with the dying and the dead: barely a hundred men were left,
and these too weak to hold a spear and shield. Yet, when I waved my
hand and shouted to them, the sick and wounded arose. Brandishing
their blades, and pointing towards the foe, they dismissed the Tartar
cavalry like a rabble rout. And even when their arms were gone, their
arrows spent, without a foot of steel in their hands, they still
rushed, yelling, onward, each eager to lead the way. The very heavens
and the earth seemed to gather round me, while my warriors drank tears
of blood. Then the Hunnish chieftain, thinking that we should not
yield, would have drawn off his forces. But a false traitor told him
all: the battle was renewed, and we were lost.

The Emperor Kao Ti, with 300,000 men at his back, was shut up in
P`ing-ch`ng. Generals he had, like clouds; counsellors, like drops of
rain. Yet he remained seven days without food, and then barely escaped
with life. How much more then I, now blamed on all sides that I did
not die? This was my crime. But, O Tzu-ch`ing, canst thou say that I
would live from craven fear of death? Am I one to turn my back on my
country and all those dear to me, allured by sordid thoughts of gain?
It was not indeed without cause that I did not elect to die. I longed,
as explained in my former letter, to prove my loyalty to my prince.
Rather than die to no purpose, I chose to live and to establish my
good name. It was better to achieve something than to perish. Of old,
Fan Li did not slay himself after the battle of Hui-chi; neither did
Ts`ao Mo die after the ignominy of three defeats. Revenge came at
last; and thus I too had hoped to prevail. Why then was I overtaken
with punishment before the plan was matured? Why were my own flesh and
blood condemned before the design could be carried out? It is for this
that I raise my face to Heaven, and beating my breast, shed tears of

O my friend, thou sayest that the house of Han never fails to reward a
deserving servant. But thou art thyself a servant of the house, and it
would ill beseem thee to say other words than these. Yet Hsiao and Fan
were bound in chains; Han and P`ng were sliced to death. Ch`ao Ts`o
was beheaded, Chou Po was disgraced, and Tou Ying paid the penalty
with his life. Others too, great in their generation, have also
succumbed to the intrigues of base men, and have been overwhelmed
beneath a weight of shame from which they were unable to emerge. And
now, the misfortunes of Fan Li and Ts`ao Mo command the sympathies of

My grandfather filled heaven and earth with the fame of his exploits--
the bravest of the brave. Yet, fearing the animosity of an Imperial
favourite, he slew himself in a distant land, his death being followed
by the secession, in disgust, of many a brother-hero. Can this be the
reward of which thou speakest?

Thou too, O my friend, an envoy with a slender equipage, sent on that
mission to the robber race, when fortune failed thee even to the last
resource of the dagger. Then years of miserable captivity, all but
ended by death among the wilds of the far north. Thou left us full of
young life, to return a grey-beard; thy old mother dead, thy wife gone
from thee to another. Seldom has the like of this been known. Even the
savage barbarian respected thy loyal spirit: how much more the lord of
all under the canopy of the sky? A many-acred barony should have been
thine, the ruler of a thousand-charioted fief! Nevertheless, they tell
me 'twas but two paltry millions, and the chancellorship of the
Tributary States. Not a foot of soil repaid thee for the past, while
some cringing courtier gets the marquisate of ten thousand families,
and each greedy parasite of the Imperial house is gratified by the
choicest offices of the State. If then thou farest thus, what could I
expect? I have been heavily repaid for that I did not die. Thou hast
been meanly rewarded for thy unswerving devotion to thy prince. This
is barely that which should attract the absent servant back to his

And so it is that I do not now regret the past. Wanting though I may
have been in my duty to the State, the State was wanting also in
gratitude towards me. It was said of old, "A loyal subject, though not
a hero, will rejoice to die for his country." I would die joyfully
even now; but the stain of my prince's ingratitude can never be wiped
away. Indeed, if the brave man is not to be allowed to achieve a name,
but to die like a dog in a barbarian land, who will be found to crook
the back and bow the knee before an Imperial throne, where the bitter
pens of courtiers tell their lying tales?

O my friend, look for me no more. O Tzu-ch`ing, what shall I say? A
thousand leagues lie between us, and separate us for ever. I shall
live out my life as it were in another sphere: my spirit will find its
home among a strange people. Accept my last adieu. Speak for me to my
old acquaintances, and bid them serve their sovereign well. O my
friend, be happy in the bosom of thy family, and think of me no more.
Strive to take all care of thyself; and when time and opportunity are
thine, write me once again in reply.

                                                 Li Ling salutes thee!

[1] Su Wu's literary name or style.

[2] He had taken a Tartar wife.

                              LU WN-SHU

                           1st Century B.C.

  He taught himself to read and write while working as a shepherd,
  and soon attracted attention. Graduating as what was in his day
  the equivalent of B.A., he rose to some distinction in official
  life. The Memorial given below was presented in 67 B.C.

                            ON PUNISHMENTS

May it please your Majesty,

Of the ten great follies of our predecessors, one still survives in
the maladministration of justice which prevails.[1]

Under the Ch`ins, learning was at a discount: brute force carried
everything before it. Those who cultivated a spirit of charity and
duty towards their neighbour were despised. Judicial appointments were
the prizes coveted by all. He who spoke out the truth was stigmatised
as a slanderer, and he who strove to expose abuses was set down as a
pestilent fellow. Consequently, all who acted up to the precepts of
our ancient code, found themselves out of place in their generation;
and loyal words of good advice to the sovereign remained locked up
within their bosoms, while hollow notes of obsequious flattery soothed
the monarch's ear and lulled his heart with false images, to the
exclusion of disagreeable realities. And so the rod of empire fell
from their grasp for ever.

At the present moment, the State rests upon the immeasurable bounty
and goodness of your Majesty. We are free from the horrors of war,
from the calamities of hunger and cold. Father and son, husband and
wife, are united in their happy homes. Nothing is wanting to make this
a golden age, save only reform in the administration of justice.

Of all trusts, this is the greatest and most sacred. The dead man can
never come back to life: that which is once cut off cannot be joined
again. "Rather than slay an innocent man, it were better that the
guilty escape." Such, however, is not the view of our judicial
authorities of to-day. With them, oppression and severity are reckoned
to be signs of magisterial acumen, and lead on to fortune; whereas
leniency entails naught but trouble. Therefore, their chief aim is to
compass the death of their victims; not that they entertain any grudge
against humanity in general, but simply that this is the shortest cut
to their own personal advantage. Thus, our market-places run with
blood, our criminals throng the gaols, and many thousands annually
suffer death. These things are injurious to public morals, and hinder
the advent of a truly golden age.

Man enjoys life only when his mind is at peace; when he is in
distress, his thoughts turn towards death. Beneath the scourge, what
is there that cannot be wrung from the lips of the sufferer? His agony
is overwhelming, and he seeks to escape by speaking falsely. The
officials profit by the opportunity, and cause him to say what will
best confirm his guilt. And then, fearing lest the conviction be
quashed by higher courts, they dress the victim's deposition so to
suit the circumstances of the case, so that, when the record is
complete, even were Kao Yao[2] himself to rise from the dead, he would
declare that death still left a margin of unexpiated crime. This,
because of the refining process adopted to ensure the establishment of

Our magistrates indeed think of nothing else. They are the bane of the
people. They keep in view their own ends, and care not for the welfare
of the State. Truly they are the worst criminals of the age. Hence the
saying now runs, "Chalk out a prison on the ground, and no one would
remain within. Set up a gaoler of wood, and he will be found standing
there alone."[3] Imprisonment has become the greatest of all
misfortunes; while among those who break the law, who violate family
ties, who choke the truth,--there are none to be compared in iniquity
with the officers of justice themselves.

Where you let the kite rear its young undisturbed, there will the
phnix come and build its nest. Do not punish for misguided advice,
and by-and-by valuable suggestions will flow in. The men of old said,
"Hills and jungles shelter many noxious things: rivers and marshes
receive much filth: even the finest gems are not wholly without flaw.
Surely then the ruler of an empire should put up with a little abuse."
But I would have your majesty exempt from vituperation, and open to
the advice of all who have aught to say. I would have freedom of
speech in the advisers of the Throne. I would sweep away the errors
which brought about the downfall of our predecessors. I would have
reverence for the virtues of our ancient kings, and reform in the
administration of justice, to the utter confusion of those who now
pervert its course. Then, indeed, would the golden age be renewed over
the face of the glad earth, and the people would move ever onwards in
peace and happiness boundless as the sky itself.

[1] The "ten great follies" which helped to bring about the overthrow
    of the Ch`in dynasty were--

     1. Abolition of the feudal system.
     2. Melting down all weapons and casting twelve huge figures from
        the metal.
     3. Building the Great Wall to keep out the Tartars.
     4. Building a huge pleasaunce, the central hall of which was over
        sixty feet in height, and capable of accommodating ten
        thousand guests. It is described in a poem by Tu Mu, or the
        younger Tu.
     5. The Burning of the Books. See /Li Ssu/.
     6. The massacre of the Literati.
     7. Building a vast mausoleum.
     8. Searching for the elixir of life.
     9. Appointing the Heir-Apparent to be Commander-in-Chief.
    10. Maladministration of justice.

[2] A famous Minister of Crime in the third millennium B.C.

[3] Contrary to what is believed to have been the case during the
    Golden Age.

                              SHU KUANG

                           1st Century B.C.

  The following is the reply of an aged statesman to his friends and
  kinsmen, on being urged by them to invest a sum of money, granted
  to him by the Emperor on his retirement from office, in landed
  property for his descendants. He began life as a teacher, and his
  success was so great that pupils flocked to him from a distance.
  In 67 B.C. he was appointed Tutor to the Heir Apparent.

                     THE DISADVANTAGES OF WEALTH

How should I be so infatuated in my old age as to make no provision
for my children? There is the family estate. Let them work hard upon
it, and that toil will find them in clothes and food, like other
people. To add anything, and so create a superfluity, would be to hold
up a premium for sloth. The genius of men who possess is stunted by
possession. Wealth only aggravates the natural imbecility of fools.
Besides, a rich man is an eyesore to all. I may not be able to do much
to improve my children; at least, I will not stimulate their vices and
cause them to be objects of hate.

Then again, this money was graciously bestowed upon me by His Majesty,
as pension for the old age of a servant. Therefore I rejoice to spend
it freely among my clansmen and my fellow-villagers, as I pass to my
appointed rest. Am I not right?

                               KU YUNG

                           1st Century B.C.

  A distinguished scholar who by 36 B.C. had risen to be a Censor.
  In 34 B.C. there was an eclipse of the sun, accompanied by a
  severe earthquake, which he attributed to the favours shown to the
  Empress and the ladies of the seraglio. For this he suffered no
  penalty, but ultimately died in high office. The following
  memorial refers to the reception of a Hun refugee, named 
  Issimoyen, who was seeking to become a naturalised subject of


At the rise of the Han dynasty, the Huns were a frontier curse.
Accordingly, presents and honours were heaped upon them, in the hope
that they would be led to join the Empire. And now that the Hun
Captain has tendered his allegiance and become an officer of this
government, his territory being enrolled among the Tributary States of
the north,--he can entertain but one feeling towards us, and it
behoves us to treat him in a manner different from that of past years.
But if with one hand we receive his tribute, while with the other we
welcome his fugitive servant,--is not this to clutch with greedy grasp
at a single individual and sacrifice the trust and confidence of a
nation; to clasp to our bosom a defaulting officer and cast from us
the honourable friendship of a prince?

Possibly the Hun Captain has sent his man here to test our good faith,
and the request to be naturalised is but a specious plea. In this
case, to receive him would be a breach of duty, and would cause the
Hun Captain to separate from us altogether.

Or it may be the Hun Captain's wish to bring about a separation in
this way; and then we should but play into his hands, and enable him
to quote his own loyalty against our disloyalty.

These are the beginnings of frontier troubles, of recourse to arms,
and of military expeditions. Let us rather refuse to receive this man.
Let us lay bare the integrity of our own hearts, and prevent the
operation of any possible ruse by adhering closely to the principles
of honest friendship.

                               MA YAN

                            Died A.D. 49.

  Popularly known as the "Wave-quelling General." A famous
  commander, who crushed a dangerous rebellion in Tonquin, organised
  by a native Joan of Arc with a view to shake off the suzerainty of
  China. Was also successfully employed against the Huns and other
  border tribes.


My younger brother used often to find fault with my indomitable
ambition. He would say, "The man of letters requires food and clothing
only. A modest carriage and a humble hack; some small official post in
a quiet place, where he may win golden opinions from the surrounding
villagers--that should suffice. Why toil and strive for more?"

Later on, when away in the far barbarian south, before the rebellion
was stamped out--a bog beneath my feet, a fog above my head, so that I
have even seen kites drop dead in the water, killed by the poisonous
vapours of the place--then I used to lie and muse upon the other view
of life which my brother had set before my eyes.

And now that, thanks to you my brave comrades, my efforts have been
crowed with success, and I have preceded you on the path to glory and
honour--I have cause both for joy and for shame.[1]

[1] Implying that his success had been due to good luck.

                             WANG CH`UNG

                           1st Century A.D.

  A brilliant exponent of China's "higher school of criticism." Born
  A.D. 27, in poverty, he managed to pick up a good education and
  entered official life. After a short spell he retired dissatisfied
  to his home, and there composed his great work, the /Lun Hng/ or
  "Adminadversions," in which he criticises freely the teachings of
  Confucius and Mencius, and tilts generally against the errors and
  superstitions of his day. His subsequent writings were chiefly of
  a reforming character. He memorialized the throne on the
  prevailing vice and extravagance; and in the days of a drunken
  China, he pleaded for the prohibition of alcohol.


The Confucianists of the present day have great faith in their Master
and accept antiquity as the standard of right. They strain every nerve
to explain and practise the words which are attributed to their sages
and inspired men. The writings, however, of these sages and inspired
men, over which much thought and research have been spent, cannot be
said to be infallibly true; how much less, then, can their casual
utterances be so? But although their utterances are not true, people
generally do not know how to convict them; and even if their
utterances were true, because of the difficulty of grasping abstruse
ideas, people generally would not know how to criticize them. I find
that the words of these sages and inspired men are often
contradictory, the value of one passage being frequently destroyed by
the language of a later passage; but the scholars of our day do not
see this. It is invariably said that the seventy disciples of
Confucius were superior to talent to the Confucian scholars of to-day;
but this is nonsense. According to that view, Confucius was a Master,
and the inspired men who preached his doctrines must have been
exceptionally gifted, and therefore different (from our scholars). The
fact is that there is no difference. Those whom we now call men of
genius, the ancients called inspired or divine beings; and therefore
it has been said that men like the seventy disciples have rarely been
heard of since that time.

                       VIRTUE IS ITS OWN REWARD

There are but few good men in the empire, and many bad ones. The good
follow right principles, and the bad defy the will of God. Yet the
lives of bad men are not therefore shortened, nor the lives of good
men prolonged. How is it that God does not arrange that the virtuous
shall always enjoy a hundred years of life, and that the wicked shall
die young, as punishment for their guilt?


Look at the hair and feathers of animals and birds, with their various
colourings; can these have all been made? At that rate, animals and
birds would never be finished. In spring we see plants growing, and in
autumn we see them full-grown. Can God and Mother Earth have done
this, or do things grow of themselves? If we say that God and Mother
Earth have done it, they must have used hands for the purpose. Do God
and Mother Earth possess many thousands or many myriads of hands, so
that they can produce many thousands and many myriads of things, all
at the same time?

                            GOD OUR FATHER

All creatures are to God like children, and the kindness and love of
father and mother are the same to all their children.

                              ON SPIRITS

The dead do not become disembodied spirits; neither have they
consciousness, nor do they injure anybody. Animals do not become
spirits after death; why should man alone undergo this change? That
which informs man at his birth is a vital fluid, or soul, and at death
this vitality is extinguished, the body decays and becomes dust. How
can it become a spirit? Vitality becomes humanity, just as water
becomes ice. The ice melts and is water again; man dies and reverts to
the condition of the vital fluid. Death is like the extinction of
fire. When a fire is extinguished, its light does not shine any more;
and when a man dies, his intellect does not perceive any more. The
nature of both is the same. If people, nevertheless, pretend that the
dead have knowledge, they are mistaken. The spirits which people see
are invariably in the form of human beings, and that very fact is
enough of itself to prove that these apparitions cannot be the souls
of dead men. If a sack is filled with grain, it will stand up, and is
obviously a sack of grain; but if the sack is burst and the grain
falls out, then it collapses and disappears from view. Now, man's soul
is enfolded in his body as grain in a sack. When the man dies, his
body decays and his vitality is dissipated. When the grain is taken
away, the sack loses its form; why then, when vitality is gone, should
the body obtain a new shape in which to appear again in the world?

The number of persons who have died since the world began, old,
middle-aged, and young, must run into thousands of millions, far
exceeding the number of persons alive at the present day. If every one
of these has become a disembodied spirit, there must be at least one
to every yard as we walk along the road; and those who die now must
suddenly find themselves face to face with vast crowds of spirits,
filling every house and street. If these spirits are the souls of dead
men, they should always appear naked; for surely it is not contended
that clothes have souls as well as men. It can be further shown not
only that dead men never become spirits, but also that they are
without consciousness, by the simple fact that before birth they are
without consciousness. Before birth man rests in God; when he dies he
goes back to God. God is vague and without form, and man's soul is
there in a state of unconsciousness. The universe is, indeed, full of
disembodied spirits, but these are not the souls of dead men. They are
beings only of the mind, conjured up for the most part in sickness,
when the patient is especially subject to fear. For sickness induces
fear of spirits; fear of spirits causes the mind to dwell upon them;
and thus apparitions are produced. Even if disembodied spirits did
exist, they could not be either pleased or angry with a sacrifice, for
the following reason. We must admit that spirits do not require man
for their maintenance; for if they did, they would hardly be spirits.
If we believe that spirits only smell the sacrifices, which sacrifices
are supposed to bring either happiness or misfortune, how do we
picture to ourselves the habitations of these spirits? Have they their
own provisions stored up, or must they use the food of man to appease
their hunger? Should they possess stores of their own, these would
assuredly be other than human, and they would not have to eat human
food. If they have no provisions of their own, then we should have to
make offerings to them every morning and evening; and according as we
sacrificed to them or did not sacrifice, they would be satiated or
hungry, pleased or angry, respectively.

                         MORALS v. SACRIFICE

The people of to-day rely on sacrifice. They do not improve their
morals, but multiply their prayers; they do not honour their
superiors, but are afraid of spirits. When they die, or when
misfortune befalls them, these things are ascribed to noxious
influences which have not been properly dealt with. When they have
been properly dealt with, and offerings have been prepared, and yet
misfortunes continue to be as numerous as before, they attribute it
all to the sacrifices, declaring that they have not been performed
with sufficient reverence. Exorcism is of no use; sacrifices are of no
avail. Wizards and priests have no power, for it is plain that all
depends on man, and not on disembodied spirits; on his morality, and
not on his sacrifices.

                     MING TI OF THE HOUSE OF WEI

                         Reigned 227-239 A.D.

  An intelligent and kindly monarch, whose beard, when he stood up,
  is said to have touched the ground. Under his reign women were for
  the first time admitted into official life, and several actually
  rose to high office. No women officials however have been known
  since the eighth century.

                      ON AN ECLIPSE.--A RESCRIPT

WE have heard tell that if a sovereign is remiss in government, God
terrifies him by calamities and strange portents. These are divine
reprimands sent to recall him to a sense of duty. Thus, partial
eclipses of the sun and moon are manifest warnings that the rod of
empire is not yielded aright.

Ever since WE ascended the throne, OUR inability to continue the
glorious traditions of OUR departed ancestors and carry on the great
work of civilisation, has now culminated in a warning message from on
high. It therefore behoves US to issue commands for personal
reformation, in order to avert the impending calamity.

But the relations of God with Man are those of a father and son; and a
father about to chastise his son, would not be deterred were the
latter to present him with a dish of meat. WE do not therefore
consider it part of OUR duty to act in accordance with certain
memorials advising that the Grand Astrologer be instructed to offer up
sacrifices on this occasion. Do ye governors of districts and other
high officers of State, seek rather to rectify your own hearts; and if
any one can devise means to make up for OUR shortcomings, let him
submit his proposals to the Throne.

                               WANG SU

                            Died A.D. 256.

  A very distinguished scholar who wrote and published many volumes
  of classical commentaries. He is said to have found, in the house
  of a descendant of the Sage, the text of "The Family Sayings of
  Confucius," and to have published it in A.D. 240; but the
  generally received opinion is that he wrote the work himself,
  based no doubt upon tradition. Specimens are given below.


A disciple asked Confucius, saying, "Why, sir, does the superior man
value jade much more highly than serpentine? Is it because jade is
scarce and serpentine is abundant?" "It is not," replied Confucius;
"but it is because the superior men of olden days regarded it as a
symbol of the virtues. Its gentle, smooth, glossy appearance suggests
/charity of heart/; its fine close texture and hardness suggests
/wisdom/; it is firm and yet does not wound, suggesting /duty to one's
neighbour/; it hangs down as though sinking, suggesting /ceremony/;
struck, it gives a clear note, long drawn out, dying gradually away
and suggesting /music/; its flaws do not hide its excellences, nor do
its excellences hide its flaws, suggesting /loyalty/; it gains our
confidence, suggesting /truth/; its spirituality is like the bright
rainbow, suggesting the heavens above; its energy is manifested in
hill and stream, suggesting the earth below; as articles of regalia it
suggests the exemplification of that than which there is nothing in
the world of equal value, and thereby is--TAO itself. We read in the

  When I think of my husband,[1]
  As gentle as jade,
  In his hutment of planking,
  My heart is afraid . . .


Confucius noted in the ancestral temple of Duke Huan[2] of the Lu
State certain vessels which stood awry, and required of the verger
what these vessels were; to which the verger replied that they were
goblets for use at banquets. "I have been told," said Confucius, "that
when these goblets are empty they stand awry, that when they are half
full they stand up straight, and that when filled up they topple right
over. A wise ruler would use them as a warning, and see that such were
always placed alongside of his guests." Then turning to his disciples,
the Sage said, "Let us try them with water;" and accordingly water was
poured in until the goblets were half full, when they stood up
straight. They were then filled up, and at once toppled over. "Alas,"
cried Confucius, heaving a deep sigh, "there are men who are full of
wickedness, but they do not topple over."

                      ENTER NOT INTO TEMPTATION

A man of the Lu State lived alone in a cottage, and a neighbour, who
was a widow, lived alone in another. One night, there was a terrific
storm of wind and rain; the widow's cottage was destroyed, and she
herself ran across to the man and asked to be taken in. The man,
however, bolted his door and refused to admit her; whereupon the widow
called to him, saying, "Where, sir, is your charity of heart, that you
do not let me in?" "I have heard," replied he, "that until a man is
sixty, he may not share a house with a woman.[3] Now, you are young,
and I too am young; so that I dare not receive you." "Sir," said the
widow, "why not play the part of Liu-hsia Hui?[4] Besides, I am an old
dame, and not a damsel of doubtful reputation; there would be no
scandal talked about us." "Liu-hsia Hui," answered the man, "might act
as you say, but I am unable to do so. I will follow my own inability
in striving to imitate the ability of Liu-hsia Hui." When Confucius
heard this, he said, "Good indeed! There has never been any one who
has better imitated Liu-hsia Hui.[5] Can a desire to be good, without
the attempt to succeed, be accounted wisdom?"

                         CONFUCIUS IN DANGER

The Prince of the Ch`u State having invited Confucius to visit him,
the Master proceeded thither to pay his respects. His way lay through
Ch`n and Ts`ai; and the high officials of those States consulted
together, saying, "Confucius is an inspired and good man; his counsels
will consist of attacks upon the vices of us nobles; and if that
should be the case, our States would be in danger." Accordingly, they
arranged for a number of armed men to obstruct the Sage's way and to
prevent him from continuing his journey. His party were cut off from
supplies for seven days, nothing being allowed to reach them. Broth
made from leaves was not sufficient, and all fell ill except Confucius
himself, whose spirits rose higher than usual, as he lectured,
recited, played, and sang without giving way. He called Tzu-lu[6] to
him and said, "We read in the Odes--

 'We are neither wild cattle[7] nor tigers,
  That we should be kept in these desolate wilds'

"Has my doctrine of Eternal Right[8] been a failure? How have I come
to this pass?" To this, Tzu-lu angrily replied, "The superior man can
suffer no restrictions. To think that you, Sir, have ever failed in
charity of heart is what I cannot believe; to think that you have ever
acted unwisely towards others has not come within my experience.
Besides, Sir, in other times I have heard you say that God will reward
with happiness those who do good,[9] and will punish with misfortunes
those who do evil; and now for a long time you have been accumulating
a splendid record of virtues and of duty towards your neighbour. How
then should you be reduced to this extremity?" "My son," said the
Master, "you have not understood me. I will tell you. If all depended
on charity of heart, loyalty, and giving good counsel, many great
heroes would have escaped suffering and death.[10] But success and
failure are matters of opportunity; the worthy and the worthless are
distinguished by their talents. Superior men of wide learning and wise
schemes, who have failed from want of opportunity, are many indeed;
why should I be the only one? The epidendrum grows in the depths of
the forest, but it is not wanting in fragrance because there is no one
there to smell it; the superior man cultivates the doctrine of Eternal
Right and exemplifies it in practice; but he does not give up his
principles because he is reduced to extremities. The man acts; the
result, whether life or death, belongs to the will of God."

[1] Away at the war.

[2] Reigned 684-642 B.C. A great and wise ruler, who late in life gave
    way to sensuality, and whose corpse lay unburied while his sons
    fought for the throne.

[3] Compare /Mencius/, "Separation of Sexes."

[4] 7th and 6th centuries B.C. His name was Chan Huo; his canonization
    title was Hui; he was Governor of Liu-hsia; hence the popular
    term, meaning Hui of Liu-hsia. He was a man of eminent virtue, and
    is said on one occasion to have held a lady in his lap without the
    slightest imputation on his moral character.

[5] This of course is a paradox.

[6] See /Tung-fang So/.

[7] This word has always been translated by "rhinoceros." It is quite
    certain, however, that a kind of buffalo is the real meaning, as
    witness the Odes (in two places)--"Crumpled is the goblet made
    from the /ssu/ horn," in support of which there are many other

[8] Tao. The Confucian /Tao/ and the /Tao/ of Lao Tzu must be kept
    strictly apart.

[9] These words are not in the spirit of Confucian teaching; those
    which follow are.

[10] A short list of such personages is here inserted.

                               LIU LING

                           3rd Century A.D.

  One of seven hard-drinking poets of the day who formed themselves
  into a club, known as the Bamboo Grove. He was always accompanied
  by a servant carrying a wine-flask; and he gave orders that if he
  fell dead in his cups he should be buried where he lay. In this
  respect, he was perhaps out-Heroded by another famous tippler, who
  left instructions that he should be buried in a potter's field, so
  that, "when time into clay might resolve him again," he would have
  a chance of re-appearing among men under the form of a wine-jug.

                          THE GENIUS OF WINE

An old gentleman, a friend of mine (sc. himself), regards eternity as
but a single day, and whole centuries as but an instant of time. The
sun and moon are the windows of his house; the cardinal points are the
boundaries of his domain. He wanders unrestrained and free; he dwells
within no walls. The canopy of Heaven is his roof; his resting-place
is the lap of Earth. He follows his fancy in all things. He is never
for a moment without a wine-flask in one hand, a goblet in the other.
His only thought is wine: he knows of naught beyond.

Two respectable philanthropists, hearing of my friend's weakness,
proceeded to tax him on the subject; and with many gestures of
disapprobation, fierce scowls, and gnashing of teeth, preached him
quite a sermon on the rules of propriety, and sent his faults buzzing
round his head like a swarm of bees.

When they began, the old gentleman filled himself another bumper; and
sitting down, quietly stroked his beard and sipped his wine by turns,
until at length he lapsed into a semi-inebriate state of placid
enjoyment, varied by intervals of absolute unconsciousness or of
partial return to mental lucidity. His ears were beyond the reach of
thunder; he could not have seen a mountain. Heat and cold existed for
him no more. He knew not even the workings of his own mind. To him,
the affairs of this world appeared but as so much duckweed on a river;
while the two philanthropists at his side looked like two wasps trying
to convert a caterpillar (into a wasp, as the Chinese believe is

                            T`AO YAN-MING

                             365-427 A.D.

  Chiefly remarkable for having thrown up a good official
  appointment, because as he said his salary did not repay him for
  being obliged to "crook the pregnant hinges of the knee." In
  private life, he amused himself with authorship and rearing
  chrysanthemums. See /The Language of Flowers/, under /Chou Tun-i/.

                              HOME AGAIN

Homewards I bend my steps. My fields, my gardens, are choked with
weeds: should I not go? My soul has led a bondsman's life: why should
I remain to pine? But I will waste no grief upon the past: I will
devote my energies to the future. I have not wandered far astray. I
feel that I am on the right track once again.

Lightly, lightly, speeds my boat along, my garments fluttering to the
gentle breeze. I enquire my route as I go. I grudge the slowness of
the dawning day. From afar I descry my old home, and joyfully press
onwards in my haste. The servants rush forth to meet me: my children
cluster at the gate. The place is a wilderness; but there is the old
pine-tree and my chrysanthemums. I take the little ones by the hand,
and pass in. Wine is brought in full bottles, and I pour out in
brimming cups. I gaze out at my favourite branches. I loll against the
window in my new-found freedom. I look at the sweet children on my

And now I take my pleasure in my garden. There is a gate, but it is
rarely opened. I lean on my staff as I wander about or sit down to
rest. I raise my head and contemplate the lovely scene. Clouds rise,
unwilling, from the bottom of the hills: the weary bird seeks its nest
again. Shadows vanish, but still I longer round my lonely pine. Home
once more! I'll have no friendships to distract me hence. The times
are out of joint for me; and what have I to seek from men? In the pure
enjoyment of the family circle I will pass my days, cheering my idle
hours with lute and book. My husbandmen will tell me when spring-time
is nigh, and when there will be work in the furrowed fields. Thither I
shall repair by cart or by boat, through the deep gorge, over the
dizzy cliff, trees bursting merrily into leaf, the streamlet swelling
from its tiny source. Glad is this renewal of life in due season: but
for me, I rejoice that my journey is over. Ah, how short a time it is
that we are here! Why then not set our hearts at rest, ceasing to
trouble whether we remain or go? What boots it to wear out the soul
with anxious thoughts? I want not wealth: I want not power: heaven is
beyond my hopes. Then let me stroll through the bright hours as they
pass, in my garden among my flowers; or I will mount the hill and sing
my song, or weave my verse beside the limpid brook. Thus will I work
out my allotted span, content with the appointments of Fate, my spirit
free from care.

                      THE PEACH-BLOSSOM FOUNTAIN

Towards the close of the fourth century A.D., a certain fisherman of
Wu-ling, who had followed up one of the river branches without taking
note whither he was going, came suddenly upon a grove of peach-trees
in full bloom, extending some distance one each bank, with not a tree
of any other kind in sight. The beauty of the scene and the exquisite
perfume of the flowers filled the heart of the fisherman with
surprise, as he proceeded onwards, anxious to reach the limit of this
lovely grove. He found that the peach trees ended where the water
began, at the foot of a hill; and there he espied what seemed to be a
cave with light issuing from it. So he made fast his boat, and crept
in through a narrow entrance, which shortly ushered him into a new
world of level country, of fine houses, of rich fields, of fine pools,
and of luxuriance of mulberry and bamboo. Highways of traffic ran
north and south; sounds of crowing cocks and barking dogs were heard
around; the dress of the people who passed along or were at work in
the fields was of a strange cut; while young and old alike appeared to
be contented and happy.

One of the inhabitants, catching sight of the fisherman, was greatly
astonished; but, after learning whence he came, insisted on carrying
him home, and killed a chicken and placed some wine before him. Before
long, all the people of the place had turned out to see the visitor,
and they informed him that their ancestors had sought refuge here,
with their wives and families, from the troublous times of the house
of Ch`in, adding that they had thus become finally cut off from the
rest of the human race. They then enquired about the politics of the
day, ignorant of the establishment of the Han dynasty, and of course
of the later dynasties which succeeded it. And when the fisherman told
them the story, they grieved over the vicissitudes of human affairs.

Each in turn invited the fisherman to his home and entertained him
hospitably, until at length the latter prepared to take his leave. "It
will not be worth while to talk about what you have seen to the
outside world," said the people of the place to the fisherman, as he
bade them farewell and returned to his boat, making mental notes of
his route as he proceeded on his homeward voyage.

When he reached home, he at once went and reported what he had seen to
the Governor of the district, and the Governor sent off men with him
to seek, by the aid of the fisherman's notes, to discover this unknown
region. But he was never able to find it again. Subsequently, another
desperate attempt was made by a famous adventurer to pierce the
mystery; but he also failed, and died soon afterwards of chagrin, from
which time forth no further attempts were made.[1]

[1] The whole story is allegorical, and signifies that the fisherman
    had been strangely permitted to go back once again into the peach-
    blossom days of his youth.

                               FA HSIEN

                      4th and 5th Centuries A.D.

  The name in religion of a Chinese Buddhist priest who, in the year
  A.D. 399, walked from Central China to Central India, then on to
  Calcutta and Ceylon, and back by sea, finally landing near the
  modern Kiao-chow. His object was to secure Buddhist texts and
  images for the purpose of spreading the Law of Buddha in China,
  and in this he was completely successful. He started with quite a
  number of companions but came home alone, the others having either
  turned back or died. In his own words: "I spent six years in
  travelling from Ch`ang-an to Central India. I stayed there six
  years, and took three more to reach Kiao-chow. The countries I
  passed through numbered rather fewer than thirty. Coming home
  across the sea, I encountered even more difficulties and dangers;
  but happily I was accorded the awful protection of our holy
  Trinity,[1] and was thus preserved in the hour of danger.
  Therefore I wrote down on bamboo slips and silk what I had done,
  desiring that worthy men should share this information." The
  result was a small work, known as "Record of the Buddhistic


From this point (Rjagriha) going west four /yjanas/,[3] the pilgrims
arrived at the city of Gay, also a complete waste within its walls.
Journeying twenty more /li/[4] to the south, they arrived at the place
where the Bdhisatva passed six years in self-mortification;[5] it has
forests on all sides. From that point going west three /li/, they
arrived at the spot where Buddha entered the water to bathe, and an
angel pressed down the branch of a tree to pull him out of the pool.
Also, by going two /li/ further north, at a place where the two lay-
sisters presented Buddha with congee made with milk, and two /li/ to
the north of this is the place where Buddha, sitting on a large stone
and facing the east, ate it. The tree and the stone are both still
there, the latter being about six feet in length and breadth by over
two feet in height. In Central India the climate is equable; trees
will live several thousand, and even so much as ten thousand years.
From this point going north-east half a /yjana/, the pilgrims arrived
at a cave where the Bdhisatva, having entered, sat down cross-legged
with his face to the west, and reflected as follows:--"If I am to
attain perfect Wisdom, there should be some divine manifestation."
Thereupon, the silhouette of a Buddha appeared upon the stone, over
three feet in height; it is plainly visible to this day. Then Heaven
and Earth quaked mightily, and the angels in space cried out, saying,
"This is not the spot where past and future Buddhas have attained and
should attain perfect Wisdom. The proper place is beneath the B tree,
less than half a /yjana/ to the south-west of this." When the angels
had uttered these words, they proceeded to lead the way with singing
in order to conduct him thither. The Bdhisatva got up and followed,
and when thirty paces from the tree an angel gave him the /kusa/
grass.[6] Having accepted this, he went on fifteen paces further, when
five hundred dark-coloured birds came and flew three times round him,
and departed. The Bdhisatva went on to the B[7] tree, and laying
down his /kusa/ grass sat with his face to the east. Then, Mra, the
king of the devils, sent three beautiful girls to approach from the
north and tempt him; he himself approaching from the south with the
same object. The Bdhisatva pressed the ground with his toes,
whereupon the infernal army retreated in confusion and the three girls
became old women.[8]

                       A STORM AT SEA: A.D. 413

I remained in Ceylon for two years, and after a prolonged search I
obtained copies of several important sacred books, not to be found in
China. When I had obtained these in the Pali original, I took passage
on board a large merchant-vessel, on which there were over two hundred
souls, and astern of which there was a small vessel in case of
accident at sea and the destruction of the big vessel. Catching a fair
wind, we proceeded east for two days when we encountered a heavy gale
and the ship sprung a leak. The merchants wished to pass on to the
small vessel, but the men there, afraid that too many would come, cut
the two-rope. The merchants were very frightened, for death was close
at hand; and fearing that the ship would fill, they immediately took
what bulky goods there were and threw them into the sea. I also took
my pitcher and ewer with whatever else I could spare and threw them
into the sea; but I was afraid that the merchants would throw over my
books and images, and accordingly I fixed my whole thoughts on the
Goddess of Mercy[9] and prayed to our Church in China, saying, "I have
journeyed afar in search of the Law. Oh, that by your awful power you
would turn back the flow of the leak that we might reach some

[1] The doctrine of the Trinity was a Buddhist dogma long before it
    was adopted by the Christian Church. See Chu Hsi, "Taoism and

[2] The scene of General Cunningham's important Buddhist excavations
    and discoveries.

[3] In popular language, the /yjana/ may mean a day's march; also,
    from five to nine miles.

[4] The Chinese /li/ is about one-third of a mile.

[5] As a preparation for Buddhahood.

[6] An odoriferous grass of lucky augury.

[7] The /patra/ or palm tree.

[8] The Bdhisatva, having successfully resisted temptation, became a
    Buddha, the Buddha of the present day.

[9] Kuan Yin.

[10] Which they shortly afterwards did.


                           5th Century A.D.

  An Indian missionary monk who reached the Chinese capital, in
  order to preach the gospel of Buddha, in A.D. 401. He translated
  various /stras/ into Chinese, from one of which, the so-called
  "Diamond /Stra/," the following passages have been taken. At his
  death, about 412-417 A.D., his body was cremated, but his tongue
  remained unhurt in the midst of the fire.

                      SUBHTI ASKS FOR GUIDANCE

"O rare world-honoured One, O Tathgata, thou who dost protect and
instruct those who are Bdhisattvas! If a good man, or a good woman,
should show signs of unexcelled perfect intelligence, upon what should
such a one rely, and how should such a one subdue the heart?" Buddha
replied, "Good indeed! Good indeed! As you say, I protect and instruct
those who are Bdhisattvas. Listen therefore attentively, and I will
tell you." Subhti promptly answered that he would be glad to hear,
and Buddha thereupon told the Bdhisattvas and Mahsattvas, as
follows: "All living creatures whatsoever, whether born from the egg,
or from the womb, or from damp (as wood-lice), or by metamorphosis,
whether having form or not, whether possessed of intelligence or not,
whether not possessed of intelligence or not not-possessed of
intelligence--all such I command to enter into the absolutely non-
material state of Nirvna, and so by extinction (of all sense-values,
etc.), to obtain salvation. Thus, all living creatures will be freed
from measurement, from number, and from space-limit, though in reality
there are no living creatures by such extinction to obtain salvation.
Why so? Subhti, if a Bdhisattva recognizes such objective existences
as self, others, living creatures, or such a concept as old age--he is
not a Bdhisattva . . . A good disciple must accustom himself to think
in terms of negation as regards the existence of all living beings,
whereafter it will follow that for him there will be no living beings
to think about."

                        FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE

O Subhti, if a good man, or a good woman, were to give up in the
morning as many of his or her lives (in re-births) as there are sands
in the river Ganges, and to do the same at noonday, and again in the
evening, and to continue to do this every day for an innumerable
number of /kalpas/, each of an innumerable number of years; and if, on
the other hand, there should be one who, having heard this /stra/,
should yield up his heart to implicit belief--then the happiness of
this last would exceed the happiness of that other. And much more
would this be so if he were to write out this /stra/, hold fast to it
himself, and recite and explain it to others. O Subhti, let me state
its importance. This /stra/ has a merit which cannot be conceived of
by thought, and cannot be estimated by weight or measurement.

  If any one looks for me through the medium of form,
  Or seeks me through the medium of sound,
  Such a man is walking in a heterodox path,
  And will not be able to see the Lord Buddha.

                               WANG CHI

                      6th and 7th Centuries A.D.

  Author of many beautiful poems. His official career was marred by
  his inability to keep sober.

                         RECORD OF DRUNK-LAND

Drunk-land lies at I cannot say how many thousand /li/ from the Middle
Kingdom. Its soil is uncultivated, and has no boundary. It has no
hills nor dangerous cliffs. The climate is equable. Nowhere is there
either darkness or light, cold or heat. Customs are everywhere the
same. There are no towns; the inhabitants live scattered about. They
are very refined; they neither love, nor hate, nor rejoice, nor give
way to anger. They inhale the breeze, and drink the dew; they do not
eat of the five cereals. Happy in their rest, dignified in their
movements, they mingle freely with birds, beasts, fishes, and
crustaceans. They have no chariots, nor boats, nor weapons of any

Of old, the Yellow Emperor (3rd millenium B.C.) visited the capital of
this country; and when he came back, in his confused state he lost his
hold on the empire,[1] all through trying to govern by a system of
knotted cords.[2] When the throne was handed on to Yao and Shun, there
were sacrifices with a thousand goblets and a hundred flagons, the
result being that a divine man had to be shot, in order to secure a
passage into this territory, on the frontiers of which will be found
perfect peace for life. Under the Great Y (2205 B.C.), laws were
instituted, rites were numerous, and music was of various kinds, so
that for many generations there was no communication with Drunk-Land.
Then Hsi and Ho threw up their appointments as astronomers royal and
fled,[3] in the hope of reaching this country; but they missed their
way and died young, after which there was much unrest in the empire.
The last Emperors of the House of Hsia (d. 1763 B.C.) and of the House
of Yin (d. 1122 B.C.) toiled violently up the steps of the eight-
thousand-feet mountain of Grains;[4] but though long gazing
southwards, they never could see Drunk-Land. The Martial King (d. 1116
B.C.) satisfied his ambition in his generation. He ordered his Grand
Astrologer to establish a Department of Wine, with its proper
officials; and he extended his territory for 7,000 /li/, until it just
reached Drunk-Land. The result was that for forty years punishments
were unknown, down to the reigns of king Cruel (878 B.C.) and king
Grim (781 B.C.). By the time of the Ch`ins (255 B.C.) and the Hans
(206 B.C.), the Middle Kingdom was in a state of confusion and
collapse, and communications with Drunk-Land were cut off. However,
certain enlightened friends of mine often slipped across on the sly.
The poets Yan Chi, T`ao Ch`ien, and others, to the number of ten or a
dozen, went off to Drunk-Land, disappeared there and never came back;
they died there and were buried in its earth. They are known in the
Middle Kingdom as the Wine Immortals. Ah me! How different are the
customs of the people of Drunk-Land from those of the country of the
mother of Fu Hsi (3rd millennium B.C.) of old! How pure and peaceful
they are! Well, I have been there myself, and therefore I have written
this record.

[1] This statement to be based upon imagination only.

[2] Originally used for rudimentary arithmetic, and popularly
    exaggerated into a method of government.

[3] "Now here are Hsi and Ho. They have entirely subverted their
    virtue and are sunk and lost in wine. They have violated the
    duties of their office, and left their posts. They have been the
    first to allow the regulations of heaven to get into disorder,
    putting far from them their proper business. On the first day of
    the last month, the sun and moon did not meet harmoniously. The
    blind musicians beat their drums; the inferior officers and common
    people bustled and ran about." Legge's /Chinese Classics/, vol.
    III, p. 165.

[4] From which whisky had been distilled.

                              CHANG YEH

                             667-730 A.D.

  Poet and statesman who rose to high office, and who was one of the
  first officials appointed to the newly-instituted Han-lin College.

                            FIGHTING GOATS

May it please your Majesty,

It is on record that the cock's comb and the pheasant's plume were
emblems of the bravery of old. This honour might well be extended to
goats. Born on the beetling cliff; hardened by a rigorous life; they
face all foes without fear, and fight on courageously to the death.
Although but brute beasts, their will may not be lightly crossed.

And now that your Majesty is seeking good soldiers in every corner of
the empire, even the birds of the air and the beasts of the field
should be laid under contribution. Suppose, then, that your Majesty
should deign to place the accompanying animals in the Imperial park
where they could exhibit to all comers their untiring strength and
their unflinching courage, when with impetuous rush they fall blindly
upon one another, horns crashing, bones breaking, blood spurting, in
the fierce struggle for victory;--then I think that even the bravest
of our brave would be thrilled, and yield their unqualified applause.
Thus, I too might hope to lend some trifling aid, like him who
counselled the purchase of horses' bones, like him who bowed to the
intrepid frog.[1]

At the same time, could these goats speak they would doubtless say,
"If we are to fight on without interference, there will soon be an end
of us. We rely on your Majesty's humanity not to exterminate us thus,
but to make use of us in the sense required only as far as our
strength permits."

I am suffering from gout, and cannot put my foot to the ground. I
therefore humbly forward these goats by your Majesty's son-in-law, to
be duly laid before the Throne, trembling meanwhile lest I may have
incurred the Imperial displeasure.

[1] (1) When Chao Wang stood in need of horses for military purposes,
    he was advised to offer a high price for horses' bones, so that
    the people, in view of still larger profits, might be induced to
    bring real horses to the camp for sale.

    (2) When the Prince of Ch`u was attacking the Wu State, he one day
    made obeisance to a frog--a traditionally brave creature--in order
    that his soldiery might infer how much more he would be likely to
    honour them for bravery upon the field.

                             HAN WN-KUNG

                             768-824 A.D.

  From Mr. Watters' invaluable /Guide to the Tables in a Confucian
  Temple/, I learn that we should wash our hands in rose-water
  before taking up the works of Han Wn-kung, whose official name
  was Han Y, Wn-kung being his title by canonisation. Known as the
  "Prince of Literature," and generally regarded as the most
  striking figure in the Chinese world of letters, he certainly
  ranks high as poet, essayist, and philosopher. In official life,
  he got himself into trouble by his outspoken attacks upon
  Buddhism, at that time very fashionable at Court, and was banished
  to the then barbarous south, where he gained great kudos by his
  wise and incorrupt administration. It was there that he issued his
  famous manifesto to the crocodile, at which we might well smile if
  it were not quite clear that to the author superstition was
  simply, as elsewhere, an instrument of political power. Han
  Wn-kung was ultimately recalled from his quasi-exile, and died
  loaded with honours. His tablet has been placed in the Confucian
  temple, which is otherwise strictly reserved for exponents of the
  doctrines of Confucius, "because," as Mr. Watters states, "he
  stood out almost alone against the heresy of Buddhism which had
  nearly quenched the torch of Confucian truth."


Universal love is called /charity/: right conduct is called /duty/.
The product of these two factors is called the /Method/; and its
practice, without external stimulus, is called /Exemplification/.[1]

Charity and Duty are constant terms. Method and Exemplification are
variable. Thus, there is the Method of the perfect man, and the Method
of the mean man; while Exemplification may be either good or evil.

Lao Tzu merely narrowed the scope of charity and duty; he did not
attempt to do without them altogether. His view of them was the narrow
view of a man sitting at the bottom of a well and inferring the size
of the heavens from the small portion visible to himself. He
understood Charity and Duty in a limited, individual sense; and
narrowness followed as a matter of course. What he called the Method
was a Method he had determined was the Method. It was not what I call
the Method. What he called Exemplification was different from what I
call Exemplification. What I call Method and Exemplification are based
upon a combination of Charity and Duty; and this is the opinion of the
world at large. What Lao Tzu called Method and Exemplification were
based upon a negation of Charity and Duty; but that was the opinion of
one man.

Under the Chows, the true Method began to decay; the influence of
Confucius to wane. Under the Ch`ins, came the burning of the books.[2]
Under the Hans, the doctrines of Lao Tzu prevailed, followed by the
Buddhism of succeeding dynasties. Those who then occupied themselves
with morals, sided either with Yang Chu or with Mo Tzu,[3] or embraced
the tenets either of Lao Tzu or of Buddha. Such a one was necessarily
led to denounce the teachings of Confucius. His adopted faith became
all in all to him; his former faith, an outcast. He glorified the new;
he vilified the old. And now those who would cultivate morality,
hesitate between a choice of guides!

The followers of Lao Tzu say, "Confucius was a disciple of our
Master." The followers of Buddha say, "Confucius was a disciple of our
Master."[4] And the followers of Confucius, by dint of repetition,
have at length fallen so low as themselves to indulge in such random
talk, saying, "Our Master also respected Lao Tzu and Buddha." Not only
have they uttered this with their tongues, but they have written it
down in books; and now, if a man would cultivate morality, from whom
should he seek instruction?

Great is the straining of mankind after the supernatural! Great is
their neglect of fundamentals in this yearning for the supernatural

Of old, the people were divided into four classes. They are now
divided into six.[5] Of old, there was but one faith. Now, there are
three. The husband tills his field, and six classes eat of its fruits.
The artisan plies his craft, and six classes profit by his skill. The
trader barters his goods, and six classes are enriched by the
exchange. Is it then surprising that beggary and crime are rampant?

In ancient times, men stood face to face with many dangers. Sages
arose and taught them the secret of society. They gave him rulers for
the people and teachers for the young. They drove away the beasts of
the field and the birds of the air, and established him at the centre
of the earth.[6] He was cold, and they gave him clothes. He was
hungry, and they gave him food. He entrusted his life to the hazard of
a branch, or slept himself into sickness on the bare ground; and they
built him palaces and houses to live in. They taught him handicrafts
that he might furnish himself with useful things; they taught him
trade that the deficiency of one region might be supplied from the
abundance of another. They taught him medicine that he might battle
against premature death; they taught him burial and sacrifice that the
memory of the dead might be perpetuated for ever. They taught him
ceremonial in order to secure a rule of precedence; they taught him
music as a means of dissipating the melancholy of his heart. They
taught him government in order to restrain the lax; they taught him
punishment in order to weed out the vicious. As a safeguard against
fraud, they made for him seals and measures and scales. As a safeguard
against robbery, they built walls and organised militia. Thus did they
take precautions against whatsoever evils might come upon him.

But now forsooth we are told that "unless our sages are put to death,
deeds of violence will not cease;" and that "if we destroy our
measures and break our scales, the people will have no further cause
for dissension." What thoughtless talk is this![7]

Had there been no sages of old, the race of man would have long since
become extinct. Men have not fur and feathers and scales to adjust the
temperature of their bodies; neither have they claws and fangs to aid
them in the struggle for food. Hence their organisation, as follows:--
The sovereign issues commands. The minister carries out these commands
and makes them known to the people. The people produce grain and flax
and silk, fashion articles of every-day use, and interchange
commodities, in order to fulfil their obligations to their rulers. The
sovereign who fails to issue his commands loses his /raison d'tre/:
the minister who fails to carry out his sovereign's commands and to
make them known to the people, loses his /raison d'tre/: the people
who fail to produce grain and flax and silk, fashion articles of
every-day use, and interchange commodities, in order to fulfil their
obligations to their rulers,--should lose their heads.

But now the rule runs thus:--"Discard the relationships of sovereign
and subject, of father and son." These social obligations are put out
of sight in order to secure, as they say, "perfect purity in
abstraction from a world of sense." Happily, indeed, these doctrines
were not promulgated until after the Three Dynasties, when they were
unable to interfere with the already-established landmarks of our
great Sages. Unhappily, it might be said, because they have thus
escaped demolition at the hands of those mighty teachers of men.

Now the title of emperor is different from that of king; yet the
wisdom of each is the same. To slake thirst by drinking and to appease
hunger with food; to wear grass-cloth in summer and fur in winter,--
these acts cannot be regarded as identical; yet the rationale of each
is the same. Those who urge us to revert to the inaction of extreme
antiquity, might as well advise us to wear grass-cloth in winter, or
to drink when we are hungry. It is written, "He who would manifest his
good instincts to all mankind, must first duly order the State. But
previous to this he must duly order his Family. And previous to that
his own Self. And previous to that his Heart. And previous to that his
Thoughts." It will be seen therefore that there was an ulterior motive
in thus ordering the heart and the thoughts. What, on the other hand,
is the object of the followers of Lao Tzu and Buddha? To withdraw
themselves form the world, from the State, and from the family! To
deny the eternal obligations of society so that sons need no longer
submit themselves to their fathers, so that subjects need no longer
own allegiance to their sovereigns, so that the people need no longer
occupy themselves with their natural duties!

When Confucius wrote his /Spring and Autumn/,[8] he treated as
barbarians those of the feudal princes who used a barbarian
ceremonial; while those who adopted the ceremonial of the Central
State, were treated by him as men of the Central State. It is written
in the /Book of Changes/, "A barbarian prince is not the equal of a
Chinese peasant."[9] It is written in the /Book of Odes/, "Oppose the
hordes of the west and north: punish the tribes of Ching and Shu." But
now when they would take the rule of life of barbarians and graft it
upon the wisdom of our ancient kings,--is not this the first step on
the road to barbarism itself? For what was the wisdom of our ancient
kings? It was this:--"Universal love is called charity: right conduct
is called duty. The resultant of these two factors is called the
Method; and their exemplification, without external stimulus, is
called instinct." Their cannon comprised the /Book of Odes/, the /Book
of History/, the /Book of Changes/, and the /Spring and Autumn/. Their
code embraced Ceremonial, Music, Punishment, and Administration in
general. They divided the people into four classes;--Literati,
Husbandmen, Artisans, and Traders. Their relationships were those
between sovereign and subject, between father and son, with teacher
and with friend, between host and guest, between elder and younger
brother, and between husband and wife. Their clothes were of cloth or
of silk. They dwelt in palaces or in ordinary houses. They ate grain
and vegetables and fruit and fish and flesh. Their Method was easy of
comprehension: their doctrines were easily carried into practice.
Hence their lives passed pleasantly away, a source of satisfaction to
themselves, a source of benefit of mankind. At peace within their own
hearts, they readily adapted themselves to the necessities of the
family and of the State. Happy in life, they were remembered after
death. Their sacrifices were grateful to the God of Heaven, and the
spirits of the departed rejoiced in the honours of ancestral worship.

And if I am asked what Method is this, I reply that it is what I call
/the/ Method, and not merely a method like those of Lao Tzu and
Buddha. The Emperor Yao handed it down to the Emperor Shun; the
Emperor Shun handed it down to the Great Y; and so on until it
reached Confucius, and lastly Mencius, who died without transmitting
it to any one else. Then followed the heterodox schools of Hsn and
Yang, wherein much that was essential was passed over, while the
criterion was vaguely formulated. In the days before Chou Kung, the
Sages were themselves rulers; hence they were able to secure the
reception of their Method. In the days after Chou Kung, the sages were
all high officers of the State; hence its duration through a long
period of time.

And now, it will be asked, what is the remedy? I answer that unless
these false doctrines are rooted out, the true faith will not prevail.
Let us insist that the followers of Lao Tzu and Buddha behave
themselves like ordinary mortals. Let us burn their books. Let us turn
their temples into dwelling-houses. Let us make manifest the Method of
our ancient kings in order that men may be led to embrace its
teachings. Thus, and thus only, will there be wherewithal to feed the
widow and the orphan, to nourish the cripple and the sick;--and the
scheme is feasible enough.

                              ON SLANDER

The perfect men of old were unsparing in censure of their own faults,
but gentle in dealing with the shortcomings of others. Thus they kept
up the standard of their own conduct, and stimulated others to the
practice of virtue.

Among them were Shun and Chou King, both models of charity and duty
towards one's neighbour. He who would imitate the lives of these
heroes should say to himself, "They were but men after all. Why cannot
I do what they did?" And then day and night he should ponder over
their story; and while holding fast to all in which he might resemble
these models, he should put away all in which he might find himself to
differ therefrom. For these were famous sages, whose likes have not
appeared in after ages. And if a man were to accuse himself in
whatsoever he might be their equal,--would he not be eminently
unsparing in censure of his own faults?

And then if, in regard to others, he would say, "Such a one is but a
man; we must not expect too much of him: what he has done is very
creditable," and so on, taking care to consider only the present, and
not rake up past misdeeds,--would not he be eminently gentle in
dealing with the shortcomings of others?

The perfect men of the present day, however, are not constituted thus.
They love to be sharp upon the faults of others and lenient towards
their own, the result being that no advantage accrues thereby to
either. In their own conduct, they are satisfied with a minimum of
virtue and ability, cajoling others as well as themselves into
believing this more than it is. But when it comes to estimating
anybody else's virtue and ability, nothing seems to be good enough for
them. The past is raked up and the present ignored, in fear lest those
should come to the front instead of themselves. But such men are
merely lowering themselves and exalting others thereby, and must
necessarily lose their self-respect.

Remissness and envy are at the bottom of all this. Men are often too
lazy to push forward, and at the same time horribly jealous of the
advance of others. Thus, whenever I have purposely taken occasion to
praise or censure any one, I have invariably found that all who agreed
or disagreed, respectively, were those whose interests were closely
bound up with the individual praised or blamed; or those whose
interests at any rate did not clash with his; or those who spoke under
the influence of fear. For the rest, the bolder ones would angrily
differ from my praise, or agree with my censure, in words; the weaker,
by their looks. Hence it is that virtue and merit are sure to be

Alas! the times are evil for him who would seek an honest fame, and
aim at the practice of virtue. Let those about to enter into official
life digest these words, and benefit to the State may be the result.

                             THE UNICORN[10]

That the unicorn is a spiritual being is beyond all doubt. Hymned in
the /Odes/, immortalised in /Springs and Autumns/,[11] it has found a
place in the writings of all ages. Women and children alike know that
it is a portent of good.

Yet it is reared is no farmyard: it is rarely ever seen throughout the
empire's breadth. It is classed under no species. It is not of normal
growth like a horse, ox, dog, pig, panther, wolf, or deer. Even were
one to appear now, it would not be recognised for what it is.

We see horns, and say, "That is an ox." We see a mane, and say, "That
is a horse." And by a similar process we know dogs, pigs, panthers,
and deer to be what they are. But the unicorn cannot be known. For
Shu-sun to regard it as inauspicious, was therefore reasonable enough.
On the other hand, for the unicorn to appear, there should be an All-
wise[12] in power: it is in token thereof that the unicorn does
appear. Then the All-wise recognises the unicorn, and its
manifestation comes in due season.

Again, it is said that the unicorn is a unicorn by virtue not of
shape, but of the Truth, of which it is the material embodiment. But
if the unicorn appears before the All-wise is in power, then, for
Shu-sun to regard its manifestation as inauspicious, was once more
reasonable enough.[13]

                           A TAOIST PRIEST

Of the five mountains of China, Hng-shan is farthest off; and of all
the myriad great and lofty eminences of the south, Hng-shan is chief.
That its influences are divine, follows therefore as a matter of

Three or four hundred miles to the south, the ground rises still
higher, the mountains become more precipitous, the streams clearer and
of swifter flow. The highest point is on a range running east and
west, and about two-thirds of the way up is situated the town of
Pin-chou. The pure pellucid atmosphere of China ends here. And ending
here, in already transcendent purity, it sweeps round, and doubling
back upon itself with tortuous course, enwraps the mountain in a two-
fold coil.

Thus, if Hng-shan is divine, how much more so must be Pin-chou, where
perfection itself becomes more perfect still!

And as it cannot be that this wealth of nature, these heavenly
influences, are lavished upon material products,--upon silver,
mercury, cinnabar, crystal, stalactites, the glory of the orange and
the pumelo, the beauty of the straight bamboo, the lofty growth of
fine trees,--one would naturally conclude that such a spot must be the
birthplace of genius, the home of loyal and honourable and virtuous
men. But I never saw any; for the people there are sunk, alas!, in
superstition, in the worship of Lao Tzu and Fo.

However, there is my friend Liao, a priest of the religion of Tao.[14]
He is a native of these parts, and a man of infinite learning and
goodness of heart. How can I class him among those who grovel in
superstitious depths? He is one who has an eye for talent in others;
and thus, though not available himself, men of action may be looked
for in the ranks of his friends.

I asked him concerning this strange paradox, but he would not discuss
the question, and I must await a more favourable opportunity.

                     ON A BONE FROM BUDDHA'S BODY

                       A Memorial to the Throne

Your Majesty's servant would submit that Buddhism is but a cult of the
barbarians, and that its spread into China dates only from the later
Han dynasty, and that the ancients knew nothing of it.

Of old, Huang Ti sat on the throne one hundred years, dying at the age
of one hundred and ten. Shao Hao sat on the throne eighty years and
died at the age of a hundred. Chuan Hs sat on the throne seventy-nine
years and died at the age of ninety-eight. Ti Ku sat on the throne
seventy years and died at the age of a hundred and fifty. The Emperor
Yao sat on the throne ninety-eight years and died at the age of a
hundred and eighteen; and the Emperors Shun and Y both attained the
age of one hundred years. At that epoch the Empire was tranquil, and
the people happy in the attainment of old age; and yet no Buddha had
yet reached China. Subsequently, the Emperor T`ang of the Yin dynasty
reached the age of a hundred years; his grandson T`ai Mou reigned for
seventy-five years; and Wu Ting reigned for fifty-nine years. Their
exact ages are not given in the annals, but at the lowest computation
these can hardly have been less than a hundred years. Wn Wang of the
Chou dynasty reached the age of ninety-seven, Wu Wang reached the age
of ninety-three; and Mu Wang reigned for one hundred years; and as at
that date likewise the Buddhist religion had not reached China, these
examples of longevity cannot be attributed to the worship of the Lord

The Buddhist religion was in fact introduced during the reign of Ming
Ti of the Han dynasty; and that Emperor sat on the throne but eighteen
years. After him came rebellion upon rebellion, with short-lived

During the Sung, Ch`i Liang, Ch`n, Yan and Wei dynasties, and so on
downwards, the Buddhistic religion gradually spread. The duration of
those dynasties was comparatively short, only the Emperor Wu Ti of the
Liang dynasty reigning for so long as forty-eight years. Thrice he
devoted himself to the service of Buddha; at the sacrifices in his
ancestral shrines no living victims were used; he daily took but one
single meal, and that composed of fruits and vegetables; yet he was
harassed by the rebel Ho Ching and died of hunger at T`ai-ch`ng, soon
after which his dynasty came to an end. He sought happiness in the
worship but found misfortune instead; from which it must be clear to
all that Buddha himself is after all but an incompetent God.

When Kao Tsu obtained the Empire he contemplated the extermination of
this religion; but the officials of that day were men of limited
capabilities; they did not understand the way of our rulers of old;
they did not understand the exigencies of the past and present; they
did not understand how to avail themselves of His Majesty's wisdom,
and root out this evil. Therefore, the execution of this design was
delayed, to your servant's infinite sorrow.

Now your present Majesty, endowed with wisdom and courage such as are
without parallel in the annals of the past thousand years, prohibited
on your accession to the throne the practice of receiving candidates,
whether male or female, for priestly orders, prohibiting likewise the
erection of temples and monasteries; which caused your servant to
believe that the mantle of Kao Tsu had descended on Your Majesty's
shoulders. And even should prohibition be impossible, patronage would
still be out of the question. Yet your servant has now heard that
instructions have been issued to the priestly community to proceed to
Feng-hsiang and receive a bone of Buddha, and that from a high tower
in the palace Your Majesty will view its introduction into the
Imperial Palace; also that orders have been sent to the various
temples, commanding that the relic be received with the proper
ceremonies. Now, foolish though your servant may be, he is well aware
that your Majesty does not do this in the vain hope of deriving
advantages therefrom; but that in the fulness of our present plenty,
and in the joy which reigns in the hearts of all, there is a desire to
fall in with the wishes of the people in the celebration at the
capital of this delusive mummery. For how could the wisdom of Your
Majesty stoop to participation in such ridiculous beliefs? Still the
people are slow of perception and easily beguiled; and should they
behold Your Majesty thus earnestly worshipping at the feet of Buddha
they would cry out, "See! the Son of Heaven, the All-Wise, is a
fervent believer; who are we, his people, that we should spare our
bodies?" Then would ensue a scorching of heads and burning of fingers;
crowds would collect together, and tearing off their clothes and
scattering their money, would spend their time from morn to eve in
imitation of Your Majesty's example. The result would be that by and
by young and old, seized with the same enthusiasm, would totally
neglect the business of their lives; and should Your Majesty not
prohibit it, they would be found flocking to the temples, ready to cut
off an arm or slice their bodies as an offering to God. Thus would our
traditions and customs be seriously injured, and ourselves become a
laughing-stock on the face of the earth;--truly, no small matter! For
Buddha was a barbarian. His language was not the language of China;
his clothes were of an alien cut. He did not utter the maxims of our
ancient rulers, nor conform to the customs which they have handed
down. He did not appreciate the bond between prince and minister, the
tie between father and son. Supposing, indeed, this Buddha had come to
our capital in the flesh, under an appointment from his own State,
then your Majesty might have received him with a few words of
admonition, bestowing on him a banquet and a suit of clothes, previous
to sending him out of the country with an escort of soldiers, and
thereby have avoided any dangerous influence on the minds of the
people. But what are the facts? The bone of a man long since dead and
decomposed, is to be admitted, forsooth, within the precincts of the
Imperial Palace! Confucius said, "Pay all respect to spiritual beings,
but keep them at a distance." And so, when the princes of old paid
visits of condolence to one another, it was customary for them to send
on a magician in advance, with a peach wand in his hand, whereby to
expel all noxious influences previous to the arrival of his master.
Yet now Your Majesty is about to carelessly introduce a disgusting
object, personally taking part in the proceedings without the
intervention either of the magician or of this peach wand. Of the
officials, not one has raised his voice against it; of the censors,
not one has pointed out the enormity of such an act. Therefore your
servant, overwhelmed with shame, implores Your Majesty that this bone
may be handed over for destruction by fire or water, whereby the root
of this great evil may be exterminated for all time, and the people
know how much the wisdom of Your Majesty surpasses that of ordinary
men. The glory of such a deed will be beyond all praise. And should
the Lord Buddha have power to avenge this insult by the infliction of
some misfortune, then let the vials of his wrath be poured out upon
the person of your servant who now calls Heaven to witness that he
will not repent him of his oath.

In all gratitude and sincerity your Majesty's servant now humbly
presents, with fear and trembling, this Memorial for your Majesty's
benign consideration.

                     THE CROCODILE OF CH`AO-CHOU[15]

On a certain date, I, Han Y, Governor of Ch`ao-chou, gave orders that
a goat and a pig should be thrown into the river as prey for the
crocodile, together with the following notification:--

"In days of yore, when our ancient rulers first undertook the
administration of the empire, they cleared away the jungle by fire,
and drove forth with net and spear such denizens of the marsh as were
obnoxious to the prosperity of the human race, away beyond the
boundaries of the Four Seas. But as years went on, the light of
Imperial virtue began to pale; the circle of the empire was narrowed;
and lands once subject to the divine sway passed under barbarian rule.
Hence, the region of Ch`ao-chou, distant many hundred miles from the
capital, was then a fitting spot for thee, O crocodile, in which to
bask, and breed, and rear thy young. But now again the times are
changed. We live under the auspices of an enlightened prince, who
seeks to bring within the Imperial fold all, even to the uttermost
limits of sea and sky. Moreover, this is soil once trodden by the feet
of the Great Y himself[16]; soil for which I, an officer of the
State, am bound to make due return, in order to support the
established worship of Heaven and earth, in order to the maintenance
of the Imperial shrines and temples of the Gods of our land.

"O crocodile! thou and I cannot rest together here. The Son of Heaven
has confided this district and this people to my charge; and thou, O
goggle-eyed, by disturbing the peace of this river and devouring the
people and their domestic animals, the bears, the boars, and deer of
the neighbourhood, in order to batten thyself and reproduce thy kind,
--thou art challenging me to a struggle of life and death. And I,
though of weakly frame, am I to bow the knee and yield before a
crocodile? No! I am the lawful guardian of this place, and I would
scorn to decline thy challenge, even were it to cost me my life.

"Still, in virtue of my commission from the Son of Heaven, I am bound
to give fair warning; and thou, O crocodile, if thou art wise, will
pay due heed to my words. There before thee lies the broad ocean, the
domain alike of the whale and the shrimp. Go thither, and live in
peace. It is but the journey of a day.

"And now I bid thee begone, thou and thy foul brood, within the space
of three days, from the presence of the servant of the Son of Heaven.
If not within three days, then within five; if not within five, then
within seven. But if not within seven, then it is that thou wilt not
go, but art ready for the fight. Or, may be, that thou hast not wit to
seize the purport of my words; though whether it be wilful
disobedience or stupid misapprehension, the punishment in each case is
death. I will arm some cunning archer with trusty bow and poisoned
arrow, and try to the issue with thee, until thou and all thy likes
have perished. Repent not then, for it will be too late."[17]

                             IN MEMORIAM[18]

Seven days had elapsed after the news of thy death ere I could control
my grief and collect my thoughts. I then bade one go and prepare, dear
boy, some choice votive offering to thy departed spirit.

Ah, me! Betimes an orphan; growing up without a father's care;
dependent solely upon an elder brother, thy father, and his wife. And
when, in mid career, that brother died far away in the south, thou and
I, mere boys, followed the widow home with the funeral /cortge/. Then
our life together, orphans each, never separated for a day.

My three brothers all early died, leaving only us, a grandson and a
son, to carry on the ancestral line. We were two generations, with but
one body, one form, one shadow. And often when thy mother bore thee in
her arms, she would point at me and say, "Of two generations of the
house of Han, these are all that remain." Thou wert too young to
remember that now; and I, though I remember the words now, did not
understand the sorrow that they expressed.

At sixteen, I went to the capital, returning home after the lapse of
four years. Then four years more, after which I repaired to the family
burying-ground, and met thee there, standing by thy mother's grave.
Another two years of official life: a short reunion during thy visit
of a year: leave of absence to bring my family to my home. The next
year my chief died, and I quitted my post; but thou didst not come. In
the same year another appointment elsewhere, whence the messenger sent
to fetch thee had barely started ere I again had left. Once more thou
camest not. Yet I knew that had we gone eastwards together it would
have been but for a short time, and that I should do better to make
for the west, where we might all gather round the old home.

Alas! why leave me thus and die? To me it seemed that both were young
in years, and that although separated for a time, we might still hope
to pass our lives together. Therefore we parted, and I went to the
capital in search of place; but could I have foreseen what was to
happen, the many-charioted territory of a duke should not have tempted
me one moment from thy side.

Last year I wrote thee, saying, "Not forty yet: sight dim, hair gray,
strength sapped. Father and brothers, lusty men all, died in their
prime;--can then this decaying frame last long? I may not go: thou
wilt not come. Alas! I fear lest at any moment I may be cut off and
leave thee to unutterable grief." Yet who would have thought that the
young man was to perish and the old man to live? the strong youth to
sink into a premature grave, the sick man to be made whole? Is it
reality or a dream? Was it truth they told me? Reality--that the line
of my noble-hearted brother should be thus ended in premature death?
Reality--that thy pure intelligence shall not survive to continue the
traditions of his house? Reality--that the young and strong thus early
fade and die, while the old and decaying live on and thrive? Reality
indeed it is; and no dream, and no lie. Else why this letter, this
notice of death, now lying before me? It is so. The line of my noble-
hearted brother has indeed been prematurely cut off. Thy pure
intelligence, hope of the family, survives not to continue the
traditions of his house. Unfathomable are the appointments of what men
call Heaven: inscrutable are the workings of the unseen: unknowable
are the mysteries of eternal truth: unrecognisable those who are
destined to attain to old age!

Henceforth, my gray hairs will grow white, my strength fail.
Physically and mentally hurrying on to decay, how long before I shall
follow thee? If there is knowledge after death, this separation will
be but for a little while. If there is no knowledge after death, so
will this sorrow be but for a little while, and then no more sorrow
for ever.

Thy boy is just ten; mine five. But if the young and the strong are to
be thus cut off, who shall dare hope that these babes in arms may not
share the same unhappy fate?

Thy last year's letters told me of the tender foot and its increasing
pains; but I said to myself, "The disease is common in Kiangnan, and
need cause no alarm." Was it then this that extinguished thy life, or
some other disease that brought thee to the grave?

Thy last letter is dated 17th of the 6th moon. Yet I hear from one
that death came on the 2nd, while another sends a letter without date.
The messenger never thought to ask; and the family, relying on the
letter's date, never thought to tell. I enquired of the messenger, but
he replied at random, so that I am still in doubt. I have now sent to
sacrifice to thy departed spirit, and to condole with thy orphan and
foster-mother, bidding them wait, if possible, until the final rites
are paid, but if not, then to come to me, leaving the servants to
watch over thy corpse. And when perchance I am able, I will some day
see that thy bones are duly laid in our ancestral burying-place.

Alas! of thy sickness I knew not the time; of thy death I knew not the
hour. Unable to tend thee in life, I was debarred from weeping over
thee in death. I could not touch thy bier: I could not stand by thy
grave. I have sinned against Heaven: I have caused thee to be cut off
in thy prime. Wretch that I am, separated from thee alike in life and
death--thou at one end of the earth, I at the other--thy shadow did
not accompany my form, neither shall thy spirit now blend with my
dreams. The fault, the blame are mine alone.

O ye blue heavens, when shall my sorrow have end? Henceforth, the
world has no charms. I will get me a few acres on the banks of the
Ying, and there await the end, teaching my son and thy son, if haply
they may grow up,--my daughter and thy daughter, until their day of
marriage comes. Alas! though words fail, love endureth. Dost thou
hear, or dost thou not here? Woe is me: Heaven bless thee!

                             IN MEMORIAM[19]

Alas! Tzu-hou, and has thou come to this pass?--fool that I am! is it
not the pass to which mortals have ever come? Man is born into the
world like a dream: what need has he to take note of gain or loss?
While the dream lasts, he ma sorrow or may joy; but when the awakening
is at hand, why cling regretfully to the past?

'Twere well for all things an they had no worth. The excellence of its
wood is the bane of the tree. And thou, whom God released in mid-
career from earthly bonds, weaver of the jewelled words, thou wilt be
remembered when the imbeciles of fortune and place are forgot.

The unskilful bungler hacks his hands and streams with sweat, while
the expert craftsman looks on with folded arms. O my friend, thy work
was not for this age; though I, a bungler, have found employment in
the service of the State. Thou didst know thyself above the common
herd; but when in shame thou didst depart, never to return, the
philistines usurped thy place.

Alas! Tzu-hou, now thou art no more. But thy last wish, that I should
care for thy little son, is still ringing sadly in my ears. The
friendships of the day are those of self-interest alone. How can I
feel sure that I shall live to carry out thy behest? I did not
arrogate to myself this duty. Thou thyself hast bidden me to the task;
and, by the Gods above, I will not betray thy trust.

Thou hast gone to thy eternal home, and wilt not return. With these
sacrifices by thy coffin's side, I utter an affectionate farewell.

[1] This last term cannot be satisfactorily rendered. It is usually
    translated by "virtue"; but that, to go no farther, would make
    nonsense of the next clause. The meaning, however, may be
    sufficiently gathered from the context. I need hardly add that
    "method" must be here understood in its philosophical sense.

[2] See Li Ssu.

[3] Founds of the egoistic and altruistic schools, respectively

[4] Confucius is reported to have said "There is a prophet in the
    West," and the Buddhists have explained this to mean Buddha. A few
    centuries later and the Jesuits would inevitably have appropriated
    it as a palpable allusion to Christ.

[5] Alluding to the priests of Lao Tzu and Buddha.

[6] Which the Chinese then believed to be square and flat.

[7] The doctrine elaborated by Chuang Tzu, namely, that if good was
    not defined, evil could not exist.

[8] The name given in the /Annals/ said, but not universally admitted
    to be, from his pen. See Yan Mei.

[9] As I was leaving China in 1883, I was presented by a literary
    friend with a complimentary poem, in which the following lines

      We may easily meet once more: still it is hard to part.
      The chrysanthemums will have faded ere I shall see you again.
      Deep have been your researches in our Sacred Books;
      Shallow, alas! my wit to expound those books to you.
      From of old, literature has illumined the nation of nations;
      And now its influence has gone forth to regenerate a barbarian

    The word used for "barbarian" was the character tabooed by Treaty;
    and yet the writer was undoubtedly conscious only of an effort to

    Just now, there is a feeling in certain quarters that the term
    "Chinaman" is offensive to the Chinese people, and recently a
    young "Chinese" wrote to /The Times/ on the subject. Incidentally,
    he spoke of us as "Britishers," which though harmless is scarcely
    a term of respect. Britishers, however, are not so foolish as to
    resent this; nor, I think, should the Chinese show themselves too
    sensitive in regard to "Chinaman," which may be too playful but is
    certainly not meant offensively, considering that they have but
    lately dropped the less endearing term "foreign devils," and even
    now may be occasionally detected in the use of /fan/ "barbarian."
    Meanwhile, our American rivals have advised the use of "Chinese"
    by Americans who are desirous of improving the relations between
    the United States and China (see "Commercial Handbook of China,"
    published by the United States Department of Commerce).

[10] This short piece has reference to the sudden appearance of a
    unicorn not very long before the death of Confucius, and was
    written in extenuation of the heterodox opinion of Shu-sun, who
    had ventured to regard the creature as an omen, not of good, but
    of evil.

[11] These /Annals/ (see /K`ung Fu-tzu/ and /Yan Mei/) end, so far as
    Confucius is concerned, with the entry of the unicorn's

[12] Sc., Confucius, who was then out of power.

[13] Those who can read between the lines will detect the spirit of
    sceptical irony which pervades this curious essay.

[14] The superstition which later ages had developed out of the pure
    philosophy of Lao Tzu.

[15] This diatribe has reference to the alleged expulsion of a
    crocodile which had been devastating the water-courses round
    Ch`ao-chou, whither Han Wn-kung had been sent in disgrace. The
    writer's general character and high literary attainments forbid
    us, indeed, to believe that he believed himself.

[16] See /Ch`ao Ts`o/, "On the Value of Agriculture" (note).

[17] The crocodile went.

[18] This exquisite /morceau/ tells its own tale, coupled with several
    interesting details of the writer's own life.

[19] In memory of his dear friend Liu Tsung-yan, whose literary name
    was Tzu-hou.

                            LIU TSUNG-YAN

                             A.D. 773-819.

  A most versatile writer, and one of the intimate friends of Han
  Wn-kung (q.v.), like whom he was banished on political grounds to
  a distant official post, where he died. His breadth of
  intelligence allowed him to tolerate Buddhism, in direct
  opposition to the utterances of Han Wn-kung, who perceived in its
  growing influence a menacing danger to Confucianism and to the
  State. He excelled in political satire, and suffered for the sting
  of his pain. His death called forth the short but beautiful
  lament, "In Memoriam," by Han Wn-kung.


It is on record that during the reign of the Empress Wu, a man named
Hs, whose father had been executed for some misdeed, slew the
presiding magistrate and then gave himself up to the authorities. A
suggestion was made by one of the Censors of the day that, on the one
hand, the son should suffer death for his crime; on the other, that a
memorial to him should be erected in his native village. Further, that
the case should be entered as a judicial precedent.

I consider this suggestion to be wholly wrong. Honours and rewards
originated in a desire to prevent aggression. If therefore a son
avenges the death of a guilty father, the former should be slain
without mercy. Administration of punishment was also organised with
the same object. If, therefore, officers of government put the laws in
operation without due cause, they too should be slain without mercy.
Though springing from the same source, and with the same object in
view, honours and punishments are applicable to difference cases and
cannot be awarded together. To punish one deserving of reward is to
cast a slur upon all punishment: to honour one deserving of punishment
is to detract from the value of all honours. And if such a case were
to be admitted as a precedent for future generations, then those eager
to do their duty, and those anxious to avoid evil, would equally find
themselves in a strange dilemma. Is this the stuff that law is made

Now, in adjusting reward and punishment, praise and blame, the wise
men of old adhered closely to fixed principles, while allowing for
such modifications as special circumstances might demand. Their end
and aim was a consistent uniformity. And it has ever been the chief
object of judicial investigations to distinguish between right and
wrong, and to administer justice with impartial hand. Hence the
impossibility of applying honour and punishment to the same case.

Let me explain. Suppose that Hs's father had committed no crime, but
had been wrongfully done to death by the magistrate, out of spite or
in a rage; and suppose the magistrate and other officials to have
treated the matter as of small account, to have rejected all claims,
to have turned a deaf ear to all entreaties;--then, if the son,
scorning to live under the same heaven, his head pillowed by night
upon his sword, his heart brimful of wrong, had struck the murderer to
earth, careless of the death to come upon himself,--then I would say
that he was a noble fellow who did his duty and deserved the thanks of
shame-faced officials for relieving them of their responsibilities of
office. Why talk of condemning him?

But if Hs's father was really guilty, and the magistrate rightly put
him to death, in that case it was not the magistrate but the law which
took his life; and can a man feel a grudge against the law? Besides,
to slay an official in order to be avenged upon the law he
administers, is simply open rebellion against properly-constituted
authority. Such an offender should indeed suffer death for his crime
in accordance with the statutes of the empire; but he should hardly be
honoured at the same time with a memorial.

The above-mentioned Censor further went on to say, "Every man has a
son, and every son is under the same obligations to his parents. If
then it is admissible for sons to slay the murderers of their fathers,
the result will of course be an endless chain of slaughter." But here
the Censor totally misunderstands the purport of social obligations.
The man whom society deems qualified for revenge is one who struggles
beneath a terrible load of wrong, with no means of redress. It is not
one who, when a guilty father has rightly perished under the knife of
the executioner, cries out, "He killed my parent. I will kill him!"
oblivious of all questions of right or wrong, and presuming on one's
own strength as against another's weakness. This would amount to
complete overthrow of all those great principles upon which our system
is based.

In the days of the Chou dynasty, the peace officers arranged the
/vendette/ of the people. If a man was deservedly put to death, they
would not allow any revenge to be taken; and disobedience to this
order was punished capitally, the State interfering as the aggrieved
party, in order to prevent endless reprisals by sons of murdered
fathers. Again, in Kung-yang's Commentary to the /Spring and Autumn/
the principle is stated thus:--"If a man is wrongfully put to death,
his son may avenge him. But if rightly, and yet the son avenges his
death, this is to push to extremes the arbitrament of the sword, while
the source of all the evil still remains untouched." And in my opinion
this principle would be lawfully applied to the present case. Not to
neglect vengeance is the duty of a son: to brave death is heroic; and
if Hs, without breaking the social code, proved himself a man of
filial piety and heroism, he must necessarily have been a man of lofty
virtue would ever oppose the operation of his country's laws. His case
should not therefore be admitted as a precedent, and I pray that the
decree may be rescinded accordingly.

                           CATCHING SNAKES

In the wilds of Hu-kuang there is an extraordinary kind of snake,
having a black body with white rings. Deadly fatal, even to the grass
and trees it may chance to touch; in man, its bite is absolutely
incurable. Yet if caught and prepared, when dry, in the form of cakes,
the flesh of this snake will soothe excitement, heal leprous sores,
remove sloughing flesh, and expel evil spirits. And so it came about
that the Court physician, acting under Imperial orders, exacted from
each family a return of two of these snakes every year; but as few
persons were able to comply with the demand, it was subsequently made
known that the return of snakes was to be considered in lieu of the
usual taxes. Thereupon there ensued a general stampede among the
people of those parts.

However, there was one man whose family had lived there for three
generations; and from him I obtained the following information:--"My
grandfather lost his life in snake-catching. So did my father. And
during the twelve years that I have been engaged in the same way,
death has several times come very near to me." He was deeply moved
during this recital; but when I asked if I should state his sad case
to the authorities and apply for him to be allowed to pay taxes in the
regular manner, he burst into tears and said, "Alas! sir, you would
take away my means of livelihood altogether. The misery of this state
is as nothing when compared with the misery of that. Formerly, under
the ordinary conditions of life, we suffered greatly; but for the past
three generations we have been settled in this district, now some
sixty years since. During that period, my fellow-villagers have become
more and more impoverished. Their substance has been devoured, and in
beggary they have gone weeping and wailing away. Exposed to the
inclemency of wind and rain, enduring heat and cold, they have fled
from the cruel scourge, in most cases, to die. Of those families which
were here in my grandfather's time, there remains not more than one in
ten; of those here in my father's time, not more than two or three;
and of those still here in my own time, not more than four or five.
They are all either dead or gone elsewhere; while we, the snake-
catchers, alone survive. Harsh tyrants sweep down upon us, and throw
everybody and everything, even to the brute beasts, into paroxysms of
terror and disorder. But I,--I get up in the morning and look into the
jar where my snakes are kept; and if they are still there, I lie down
at night in peace. At the appointed time, I take care that they are
fit to be handed in; and when that is done, I retire to enjoy the
produce of my farm and complete the allotted span of my existence.
Only twice a year have I to risk my life: the rest is peaceful enough
and not to be compared with the daily round of annoyance which falls
to the share of my fellow-villagers. And even though I were to die now
in this employ, I should still have outlived almost all my
contemporaries. Can I then complain?

This story gave me food for much sad reflection. I had always doubted
the saying of Confucius that "bad government is worse than a
tiger,"[1] but now I felt its truth. Alas! who would think that the
tax-collector could be more venomous than a snake? I therefore record
this for the information of those whom it may concern.

                      CONGRATULATIONS ON A FIRE

I have received the letter informing me that your house has been
attacked by fire, and that you have lost everything. At first, I felt
shocked: then doubtful: but now I congratulate you from the bottom of
my heart. My sorrow is turned into joy. Still, we are far apart, and
you give no particulars. If you mean that you are utterly and
irretrievable beggared, then I have further reason to offer you my

In the first place, it was only because I knew your happiness to be
bound up with the happiness of your parents, and feared that this
calamity would disturb the even tenor of their lives, that I felt

Secondly, the world is never weary of citing the fickleness of fortune
and the uncertainty of her favours. And it is an old tradition that
the man who is to rise to great things must first be chastened by
misfortune and sorrow; and that the evils of flood and fire, and the
slanders of scoundrels, are sent upon him solely that he may shine
thereafter with a brighter light. But this doctrine is absurdly far-
fetched, and could never command the confidence even of diviner
intellects than ours. Therefore I doubted.

My friend, you are widely read in ancient lore. You are an
accomplished scholar: a man, in fact, of many gifts. Yet you have
failed to rise above the common rank and file. And why? Because you
were known to be rich; and men jealous of their reputation refrained
from speaking your praises. They kept their knowledge of your virtues
to themselves, fearing the calumnious imputations of the world. To
speak on your behalf would be to raise a titter, coupled with queries
as to the amount transferred.

As for me, it is now some years since I became aware of your literary
power; but all that time I selfishly said nothing, disloyal not only
to you but to the cause of truth. And even when I became a Censor and
a high functionary of State, and rejoiced in my proximity to the
Throne and in the liberty of speech which enabled me to bring forth
your merits into the blaze of day,--I was only laughed at as one
recommending his friends. I have long hated myself for this want of
straightforwardness and fear of the world's censure, and with our
friend Mng Chi have often bewailed the impracticability of the
position. But now that Heaven has sent this ruin upon you, the
suspicions of men vanish with the smoke of the fire, and are refuted
by the blackened walls which proclaim your poverty to all. Your
talents have now free play, without fear of reproach. Verily the God
of Fire is on your side. In one night he has done more to set your
praises before men than your own bosom friends have accomplished
during the space of ten years. Have patience awhile, and those who
have always believed in your genius will be able to open their mouths;
and those with whom your advancement lies, will advance you without
fear. You must remain in obscurity no longer. I can help you now, and
therefore I congratulate you from my heart.

In the olden days, when the capitals of four States were burnt to the
ground,[2] the other States, with one exception, sent to condole with
the sufferers. The omission on the part of that one State incurred the
disapprobation of the superior man. But I have gone even farther. I
congratulate where the world condoles; and as for the care of your
parents, with the examples of antiquity before you, there need be no
cause for fear.

                       THE BEAUTIES OF BUDDHISM

My learned and estimable friend Han Y[3] has often reproached by
/penchant/ for Buddhism and the intercourse that I hold with its
priests. And now a letter from him has just reached me, in which he
blames me severely for not having denounced the religion in a recent
address forwarded to another friend.

In point of fact, there is much in Buddhism which could not well be
denounced; /scilicet/, all those tenets which are based on principles
common to our own sacred books. And it is precisely to these
essentials, at once in perfect harmony with human nature and the
teachings of Confucius, that I give in my adhesion.

Han Y himself could not be a warmer advocate of moral culture (as
excluding the supernatural) than was Yang Hsiung; and the works of the
latter, as well as those of other heterodox writers, contain a great
deal that is valuable. Why then should this be impossible in the case
of Buddhism? Han Y replies, "Buddha was a barbarian." But if this
argument is good for anything, we might find ourselves embracing a
criminal who happened to be a fellow-countryman, while neglecting a
saint whose misfortune it was to be a foreigner! Surely this would be
a hollow mockery indeed.

The lines I admire in Buddhism are those which are coincident with the
principles enunciated in our own sacred books. And I do not think
that, even were the holy sages of old to revisit the earth, they would
fairly be able to denounce these. Now, Han Y objects to the Buddhist
commandments. He objects to the bald pates of the priests, their dark
robes, their renunciation of domestic ties, their idleness, and life
generally at the expense of others. So do I. But Han Y misses the
kernel while railing at the husk. He sees the lode, but not the ore. I
see both; hence my partiality for the faith.

Again, intercourse with men of this religion does not necessarily
imply conversion. Even if it did, Buddhism admits no envious rivalry
for place or power. The majority of its adherents love only to lead a
simple life of contemplation amid the charms of hill and stream. And
when I turn my gaze towards the hurry-scurry of the age, in its daily
race for the seals and tassels of office, I ask myself if I am to
reject those in order to take my place among the ranks of these.

The Buddhist priest, Hao-ch`u, is a man of placid temperament and of
passions subdued. He is a fine scholar. His only joy is to muse o'er
flood and fell, with occasional indulgence in the delights of
composition. His family--for he has one[4]--follow in the same path.
He is independent of all men; and no more to be compared with those
heterodox sages of whom we make so much, than with the vulgar herd of
the greedy, grasping world around us.

                           IS THERE A GOD?

Over the western hills the road trends away towards the north; and on
the further side of the pass, separates into two. The westerly branch
leads to nowhere in particular; but if you follow the other, which
takes a north-easterly turn, for about a quarter of a mile, you will
find that the path ends abruptly, while the stream forks to enclose a
steep pile of boulders. On the summit of this pile there is what
appears to be an elegantly-built look-out tower; below, as it were a
battlemented wall, pierced by a city gate, through which one gazes
into darkness. A stone thrown in here, falls with a splash suggestive
of water; and the reverberations of this sound are audible for some
time. There is a way round from behind up to the top, whence nothing
is seen far and wide except groves of fine straight trees, which,
strange to say, are grouped symmetrically, as if by an artist's hand.

Now, I have always had my doubts about the existence of God; but this
scene made me think he really must exist. At the same time, however, I
began to wonder why he did not place it in some worthy centre of
civilisation, rather than in this out-of-the-way barbarous region,
where for centuries there has been no one to enjoy its beauty. And so,
on the other hand, such waste of labour and incongruity of position
disposed me to think that there could not be a God after all.

A friend suggested that it was designedly placed there to gratify
those virtuous men who might be banished in disgrace to that spot (as,
for instance, the writer). Another argued that it was simply the
nature of the locality, which was unfavourable to the growth of
heroes, and fit only for the production of inanimate objects of the
kind: as witness the great dearth of men and abundance of boulders in
these parts.[5] But I do not accept either explanation.

                          PAS TROP GOUVERNER

I do not know what Camel-back's real name was. Disease had hunched him
up behind, and he walked with his head down, like a camel. Hence,
people came to give him the nickname of Camel. "Capital!" cried he,
when he first heard of his sobriquet; "the very name for me." And
thereafter he entirely left off using his proper name, calling himself

He lived in the village of Peace-and-Plenty, near the capital, and
followed the occupation of a nursery-gardener. All the grand people of
the city used to go and see his show; while market-gardeners vied with
each other in securing his services, since every tree he either
planted or transplanted was sure to thrive and bear fruit, not only
early in the season but in abundance. Others in the same line of
business, although they closely watched his method, were quite unable
to achieve the same success.

One day a customer asked him how this was so; to which he replied,
"Old Camel-back cannot make trees live or thrive. He can only let them
follow their natural tendencies. Now in planting trees, be careful to
set the root straight, to smooth the earth around them, to use good
mould, and to ram it down well. Then, don't touch them; don't think
about them; don't go and look at them; but leave them alone to take
care of themselves, and nature will do the rest. I only avoid trying
to make my trees grow. I have no special method of cultivation, no
special means for securing luxuriance of growth. I only don't spoil
the fruit. I have no way of getting it either early or in abundance.
Other gardeners set with bent root, and neglect the mould. They heap
up either too much earth or too little. Or if not this, then they
become too fond of and too anxious about their trees, and are for ever
running backwards and forwards to see how they are growing; sometimes
scratching them to make sure they are still alive, or shaking them
about to see if they are sufficiently firm in the ground; thus
constantly interfering with the natural bias of the tree, and turning
their affection and care into an absolute bane and a curse. I only
don't do these things. That's all."

"Can these principles you have just now set forth be applied to
government?" asked his listener. "Ah!" replied Camel-back, "I only
understand nursery-gardening: government is not my trade. Still, in
the village where I live, the officials are for ever issuing all kinds
of orders, as if greatly compassionating the people, though really to
their utter injury. Morning and night the underlings come round and
say, 'His Honour bids us urge on your ploughing, hasten your planting,
and superintend your harvest. Do not delay with your spinning and
weaving. Take care of your children. Rear poultry and pigs. Come
together when the drum beats. Be ready at the sound of the rattle.'
Thus are we poor people badgered from morn till eve. We have not a
moment to ourselves. How could any one flourish and develop naturally
under such conditions? It was this that brought about my illness. And
so it is with those who carry on the gardening business."

"Thank you," said the listener. "I simply asked about the management
of trees, and I have learnt about the management of men. I will make
this known, as a warning to government officials."

[1] See under /T`an Kung/.

[2] Owing, as it was said, to the appearance of a great comet.

[3] Now generally known as Han Wn-kung (q.v.).

[4] Celibacy is now strictly enforced, with only qualified results.

[5] A sneer at the inhabitants of Kuang-si, which is rather lost upon
    the European reader.

                                LI HUA

                           9th Century A.D.

                        ON AN OLD BATTLE-FIELD

Vast, vast,--a limitless extent of flat sand, without a human being in
sight; girdled by a stream and dotted with hills; where in the dismal
twilight the wind moans at the setting sun. Shrubs gone: grass
withered: all chill as the hoar-frost of early morn. The birds of the
air fly past: the beasts of the field shun the spot; for it is, as I
was informed by the keeper, the site of an old battle-field. "Many a
time and oft," said he, "has an army been overthrown on this spot; and
the voices of the dead may frequently be heard weeping and wailing in
the darkness of the night."

Oh, sorrow! oh, ye Ch`ins, ye Hans, ye dynasties now passed away! I
have heard that when the Ch`is and the Weis gathered at the frontier,
and when the Chings and the Hans collected their levies, many were the
weary leagues they trod, many were the years of privation and exposure
they endured. Grazing their horses by day, fording the river by night,
the endless earth beneath, the boundless sky above, they know not the
day of their return; their bodies all the time exposed to the pitiless
steel, with many other unspeakable woes.

Again, since the Ch`in and the Han dynasties, countless troubles have
occurred within the boundaries of the empire, desolating the Middle
Kingdom. No age has been free from these. In the olden days,
barbarians and Chinese alike meekly followed their Imperial guide. But
the place of right was usurped by might; the rude soldier cast aside
the obligations of morality, and the rule of reason lost its sway.

Alas! methinks I see them now, the bitter wind enveloping them in
dust, the Tartar warriors in ambuscade. Our general makes light of the
foe. He would give battle upon the very threshold of his camp. Banners
wave over the plain; the river closes-in the battle array. All is
order, though hearts may beat. Discipline is everything: life is of no

And now the cruel spear does its work, the startled sand blinds the
combatants locked fast in the death-struggle; while hill and vale and
stream groan beneath the flash and crash of arms. By-and-by, the chill
cold shades of night fall upon them, knee-deep in snow, beards stiff
with ice. The hardy vulture seeks its nest: the strength of the war-
horse is broken. Clothes are of no avail; hands frost-bitten, flesh
cracked. Even nature lends her aid to the Tartars, contributing a
deadly blast, the better to complete the work of slaughter begun.
Ambulance waggons block the way: our men succumb to flank attacks.
Their officers have surrendered: their general is dead. The river is
choked with corpses to its topmost banks: the fosses of the Great Wall
are swimming over with blood. All distinctions are obliterated in that
heap of rotting bones . . .

Faintly and more faintly beats the drum. Strength exhausted, arrows
spent, bow-strings snapped, swords shattered, the two armies fall upon
one another in the supreme struggle for life or death. To yield is to
become the barbarian's slave: to fight is to mingle our bones with the
desert sand . . .

No sound of bird now breaks from the hushed hillside. All is still,
save the wind whistling through the long night. Ghosts of the dead
wander hither and thither in the gloom: spirits from the nether world
collect under the dark clouds. The sun rises and shines coldly over
the trampled grass, while the fading moon still twinkles upon the
frost-flakes scattered around. What sight more horrible than this!

I have heard that Li Mu led the soldiers of Chao to victory over their
Tartar foes, clearing the country for miles, and utterly routing the
Huns. The Hans, on the other hand, exhausted in vain the resources of
the empire. They had not the man, and their numbers availed them

The Chows, too, drove back the barbarous hordes of the north; and
having garrisoned the country, returned safely home. Then they offered
thanks to the Gods, and gave themselves up to the universal enjoyment
which peace alone can bring.

The Ch`ins built the Great Wall, stretching far away to the sea. Yet
the poison-breath of war decimated the people, and mile upon mile ran
with their red blood.

The Hans beat down the Huns, and seized Yin-shan. But their corpses
lay pillowed over the plain, and the gain was not equal to the loss.

O high Heaven! which of these but has father and mother, who bore them
about in childhood, fearing only lest maturity should never come?
Which of these but has brothers, dear to them as themselves? Which of
these but has a wife, bound by the closest ties? They owe no thanks
for life, for what have they done to deserve death? They may be alive
or dead--the family knows it not. And if one brings the news, they
listen, half doubting, half believing, while the heart overflows with
grief. Sleeping and waking, they seem to see the lost one's form.
Sacrifices are made ready and libations poured, with tearful eyes
strained towards the far horizon; heaven and earth, nay, the very
trees and plants, all seeming to sympathise with their sorrow. And
when, in response to prayers and libations, these wanderers return
not, where shall their spirits find repose? Verily there shall be a
famine over the land,[1] and the people be scattered abroad. Alas!
such is life, and such it has ever been. What resource then is left
but to keep within our frontier lines?[2]

[1] In allusion to some words attributed to Lao Tzu.

[2] I doubt of the Peace Society, to whom this essay might well be
    dedicated, has ever published a more graphic description of the
    horrors of war.

                              LIU Y-HSI

                            A.D. 772-842.

  One of the well-known poets of the T`ang dynasty. As an official,
  he shared the fate of Liu Tsung-yan, being banished to a distant
  post in consequence of political intrigue.

                            MY HUMBLE HOME

Hills are not famous for height alone: 'tis the Genius Loci that
invests them with their charm. Lakes are not famous for mere depth:
'tis the resounding Dragon that imparts to them a spell not their own.
And so, too, my hut may be mean; but the fragrance of Virtue is
diffused around.

The green lichen creeps up the steps: emerald leaflets peep beneath
the bamboo blind. Within, the laugh of cultured wit, where no gross
soul intrudes; the notes of the light lute, the words of the /Diamond
Book/,[1] marred by no scraping fiddle, no scrannel pipe, no hateful
archives of official life.

K`ung-ming had his cottage in the south; Yang Hsiung his cabin in the
west. And the Master said, "What foulness can there be where virtue

[1] A famous Buddhist /stra/, of which there is a handy if not
    perfect English translation by William Gemmell.

                              PO CH-YI

                            A.D. 772-846.

  One of China's greatest poets, and a statesman with a varied
  career. Rising to high rank he was suddenly banished to a
  distance, with reduced rank, which disgusted him with official
  life. He then joined with eight congenial companions, and gave
  himself up to poetry and wine. Later on, he was recalled, and
  subsequently became President of the Board of War.

                        THE LUTE-GIRL'S LAMENT

By night, at the riverside, adieus were spoken: beneath the maple's
flower-like leaves, blooming amid autumnal decay. Host had dismounted
to speed the parting guest, already on board his boat. Then a stirrup-
cup went round, but no flute, no guitar, was heard. And so, ere the
heart was warmed with wine, came words of cold farewell, beneath the
bright moon glittering over the bosom of the broad stream . . . when
suddenly, across the water, a lute broke forth into sound. Host forgot
to go, guest lingered on, wondering whence the music, and asking who
the performer might be. At this, all was hushed, but no answer given.
A boat approached, and the musician was invited to join the party.
Cups were refilled, lamps trimmed again, and preparations for
festivity renewed. At length, after much pressing, she came forth,
hiding her face behind her lute; and twice or thrice sweeping the
strings, betrayed emotion ere her song was sung. Then every note she
struck swelled with pathos deep and strong, as though telling the tale
of a wrecked and hopeless life, while with bent head and rapid finger
she poured forth her soul in melody. Now softly, now slowly, her
plectrum sped to and fro; now this air, now that; loudly, with the
crash of falling rain; softly, as the murmur of whispered words; now
loud and soft together, like the patter of pearls and pearlets
dropping upon a marble dish. Or liquid, like the warbling of the
mango-bird in the bush; trickling, like the streamlet on its downward
course. And then like the torrent, stilled by the grip of frost, so
for a moment was the music lulled, in a passion too deep for sound.[1]
Then, as bursts the water from the broken vase, as clash the arms upon
the mailed horseman, so fell the plectrum once more upon the strings
with a slash like the rent of silk.

Silence on all sides: not a sound stirred the air. The autumn moon
shone silver athwart the tide, as with a sigh the musician thrust her
plectrum beneath the strings and quietly prepared to take leave. "My
childhood," said she, "was spent at the capital, in my home near the
hills. At thirteen, I learnt the guitar, and my name was enrolled
among the /primas/ of the day. The /mastro/ himself acknowledged my
skill: the most beauteous of women envied my lovely face. The youths
of the neighbourhood vied with each other to do me honour: a single
song brought me I know not how many costly bales. Golden ornaments and
silver pins were smashed, blood-red skirts of silk were stained with
wine, in oft-times echoing applause. And so I laughed on from year to
year, while the spring breeze and autumn moon swept over my careless

"Then my brother went away to the wars: my mother died. Nights passed
and mornings came; and with them my beauty began to fade. My doors
were no longer thronged: but few cavaliers remained. So I took a
husband, and became a trader's wife. He was all for gain, and little
recked of separation from me. Last month he went off to buy tea, and I
remained behind, to wander in my lonely boat on moon-lit nights over
the cold wave, thinking of the happy days gone by, my reddened eyes
telling of tearful dreams."

The sweet melody of the lute had already moved my soul to pity, and
now these words pierced me to the heart again. "O lady," I cried, "we
are companions in misfortune, and need no ceremony to be friends. Last
year I quitted the Imperial city, banished to this fever-ridden spot,
where in its desolation, from year's end to year's end, no flute or
guitar is heard. I live by the marshy river-bank, surrounded by yellow
reeds and stunted bamboos. Day and night no sounds reach my ears save
the bloodstained note of the goatsucker,[2] the gibbon's mournful
wail. Hills songs I have, and village pipes with their harsh
discordant twang. But now that I listen to thy lute's discourse,
methinks 'tis the music of the Gods. Prithee sit down awhile and sing
to us yet again, while I commit thy story to writing."

Grateful to me (for she had been standing long), the lute-girl sat
down and quickly broke forth into another song, sad and soft, unlike
the song of just now. Then all her hearers melted into tears
unrestrained; and none flowed more freely than mine, until my bosom
was wet with weeping.

[1] "The sure perception of the exact moment when the rest should be

[2] Or nightjar (/Caprimulgus europaeus/).

                               P`EI LIN

                           9th Century A.D.

  A statesman who, when the Emperor Hsien Tsung had become very ill
  from swallowing drugs of immortality, presented the Memorial given
  below, and was immediately banished to a subordinate post. Under
  the next Emperor he was recalled and rose to high office.

                          THE ELIXIR OF LIFE

May it please your Majesty,

I have heard that he who eradicates evil, himself reaps advantage in
proportion to his work; and that he who adds to the pleasures of
others, himself enjoys happiness. Such was ever the guiding principle
of our ancient kings.

Of late years, however, the Court has been overrun by a host of
"professors" who profess to have the secret of immortality.

Now supposing that such beings as immortals really did exist--Would
they not be likely to hide themselves in deep mountain recesses, far
from the ken of man? On the other hand, persons who hang about the
vestibules of the rich and great, and brag of their wonderful powers
in big words,--what are they more than common adventurers in search of
pelf? How should their nonsense be credited and their drugs devoured?
Besides, even medicines to cure bodily ailments are not to be
swallowed casually, morning, noon, and night. How much less then this
poisonous, fiery goldstone, which the viscera of man must be utterly
unable to digest?

Of old, when the prince took physic, his prime minister tasted it. I
humbly pray that all those who present to your Majesty their
concoctions, may be compelled first of all to swallow the same
periodically for the space of one year. Thus will truth be effectually
separated from falsehood.

                               WU TSUNG

                        Reigned A.D. 838-836.

  A monarch who reached the throne through the murder of a brother,
  but was not otherwise noteworthy.


We have heard that previous to the Three Dynasties (A.D. 221-265) the
name of Buddha was unknown. It was from the time of the Hans and the
Weis that his images and his doctrines became familiar institutions in
the land. The strength of man was lavished over his shrines; the
wealth of man diverted to their costly adornment with gold and jewels.
Unsurpassed was the injury to public morals: unsurpassed the injury to
the welfare of the people!

A man who does not work, suffers bitter consequences in cold and
hunger. But these priests and priestesses of Buddha, they consume food
and raiment without contributing to the production of either. Their
handsome temples reach up to the clouds and vie with the palaces of
kings. The vice, the corruption, of those dynasties which followed
upon the Three Kingdoms, can be attributed to no other source.

The founders of the House of T`ang put down disorder by /might/; and
then proceeded to govern by /right/. With these two engines of power,
they succeeded in establishing their rule;--shall, then, some paltry
creed from the West be allowed to dispute with US the sovereign power?

At the beginning of the present dynasty, efforts were made to get rid
of this pest; but is extermination was not complete, and the faith
became rampant once more. Now WE, having extensively studied the
wisdom of the ancients, and guided moreover by public opinion, have no
hesitation in saying that this evil can be rooted out. Do you, loyal
officers of the State, only aid me in carrying out my great project by
enforcing the laws,--and the thing is done. Already, more than 4,600
monasteries have been destroyed; and their inmates, to the number of
265,000 persons of both sexes, have been compelled to return to the
world. Of temples and shrines, more than 40,000 have likewise been
demolished; while many thousand acres of fat soil have been added to
the wealth of the people. The work which my predecessors left undone,
I have been able to accomplish. Let us then seize this favourable our,
and from the four quarters of the earth lead back the black-haired
people once again into the Imperial fold!

And should there be any to whom OUR action in this matter may not be
clear, do you officers of government enlighten them on the subject.

                             SSU-MA KUANG

                            A.D. 1009-1086.

  A famous historian, second only to Ssu-ma Ch`ien (q.v.), and a
  voluminous writer in other directions. He compiled a general
  history of China from the Chou dynasty down to the end of the
  T`ang dynasty, popularly known as the "Mirror of History." In
  political life he was successfully opposed to the great reformer
  Wang An-Shih (q.v.).


In ancient times there was no such office as that of Censor. From the
highest chamberlain of the Court down to the humblest workman of the
people, all were free alike to offer their advice to the Throne.

With the Han dynasty, the functions of Censor became vested in a
single individual officer, whose duty it was to advise on all matters
involving the welfare of the empire generally. His was a sacred trust;
and for this post it was necessary to choose men of resolution and of
liberal minds, who could gauge the relative importance of events and
entirely subordinate their own interests to those of the commonwealth.
Seekers after notoriety or wealth found no place in their ranks.

During the Sung dynasty the number of Censors was increased to six;
and later on their names were duly engraved upon wooden boards. But I,
fearing lest these should be obliterated by time, caused them to be
carved upon stone; so that future generations might point to the
record and say, "Such a one was loyal. Such a one was a traitor. Such
a one was upright. Such a one was corrupt." Verily this should give
good cause for fear!

                             OU-YANG HSIU

                            A.D. 1017-1072.

  A leading statesman, historian, poet, and essayist of the Sung
  dynasty. His tablet is to be found in the Confucian temple; an
  honour reserved for those alone who have contributed towards the
  elucidation or dissemination of Confucian truth.

                        IMPERIAL EXTRAVAGANCE

May it please your Majesty,

I am informed that in consequence of the recent birth of a princess, a
demand has been made on the Treasury for no less than 8,000 pieces of

Now the rigour of winter is just at its height, and the wretched
workmen of the Dyeing Department, forced to break ice before they can
get water, will suffer unspeakable hardships in supplying the amount
required. And judging by your Majesty's known sentiments of humanity
and thrift, I cannot believe that this wasteful /corve/ is to be
imposed, though rumour indeed has it that the dyers are already at

I have also noticed that the relatives of the Lady Chang have of late
participated too frequently in the Imperial bounty. I am, it is true,
but a poor Censor; yet whenever I see anything calculated to impair
the /prestige/ of the Son of Heaven, it becomes my duty to speak, that
the divine wrath may be averted in time.

It is a noticeable fact in our annals that those favoured ladies who
modestly and thriftily availed themselves of their connexion with the
Throne, always prospered; while those, on the other hand, who gave
themselves up to extravagance and nepotism, invariably ended in ruin.
I will not cite instances from remote antiquity: I will confine myself
to the more recent condition of affairs within the palace. Where, I
would ask, are those proud spendthrift ladies who basked but just now
in the imperial smiles? In their stead we have the Lady Chang, but
yesterday blushing unseen in her quiet home,--to-day, the cynosure of
every eye. Report declares her to be of quite another mould, and well
qualified to keep the position to which she has been raised.
Nevertheless, there seems to be growing up that old tendency to
exceed, which sets men's tongues agog; and if your Majesty would save
this lady from the fate of her predecessors, it would be well to
admonish that a more modest economy prevail. For example: these 8,000
pieces of silk cannot all be for that one lady's use. Doubtless they
are for distribution; but in that case their preparation involves
waste of money, and gives a handle for public censure, from which even
the Throne itself is not exempt.

Only lately the Lady Chang's mother received a District, and four days
afterwards a Department; and now it is rumoured that further
emoluments are to be bestowed upon distant relatives. That parents
should share in the prosperity of their children is perhaps
admissible; but propriety has its limits, and these are overstepped in
the case of distant relatives. Who were they, forsooth, before the
Lady Chang entered the Imperial hareem, that their present rank and
riches should yield a subject for conversation injurious to the
/prestige/ of the Throne?

And were this a question only of the Lady Chang, the principle would
still be applicable: how much more so as things are? The fact is that
the Imperial bounty is too lavishly bestowed, and that extravagance is
rife in the palace. Your Majesty suffers thereby: the State suffers
thereby; and it is my duty to speak, trusting that your Majesty will
take immediate steps to rectify these abuses.


Your Majesty's servant has heard that associations of friends are of
time-honoured antiquity. It only remains for a ruler to distinguish
between those of good and those of evil men. In the former case, the
bond results from identity of purpose in the cause of truth; in the
latter, from identity of personal interest alone. Evil men are, in
fact, unable to form friendships; this privilege being reserved for
the pure and good. And why? Simply because evil men love wealth and
worldly advantage. Hence, as long as their interests are identical,
they are friends. But when these begin to clash, first comes rivalry,
and then a dissolution of their friendship. Sometimes they turn round
and become bitter enemies, even of their own brothers and near
relatives. There is therefore no reality about their friendships.

With the virtuous man, it is another thing altogether. His landmarks
are duty towards his neighbour and loyalty to his prince: his most
precious possession is his good name.

In the golden age, there was one clique of evil men, and two
associations of virtuous men. Shun joined the latter, and the empire
had peace. And when he came to be emperor himself, he profited by an
association of officers who had united for the cultivation of generous
principles,--and the empire had peace.

It is written, "The courtiers gathered around Chow Hsin in myriads,
but their hearts were distributed in a myriad directions. The officers
of Wu Wang were three thousand in number, and the hearts of these
three thousand were as /one/." The absence of any real bond, in the
first instance, brought about the disruption of the empire; while, in
the second, its presence was a safeguard of the national welfare.

Later on, Hsien Ti, the last emperor of the House of Han, seized and
threw into prison all the notable men of the day, because of an
association they had formed. Then followed the revolt of the Yellow
Caps, and his Majesty repented and released the prisoners;--but it was
too late.

The question of forming such societies reappeared in the declining
years of the T`ang dynasty, when in the reign of Chao Tsung all the
best spirits of the day were either beheaded or thrown into the Yellow
River, his Majesty exclaiming, "Let these pure ones go and associate
with that muddy one!" But the end was at hand.

Of the rulers of old who failed to concentrate the hearts of the
people, Chou Hsin was pre-eminent. Of those who put down associations
of virtuous men, Hsien Ti stands first. Among those who exterminated
honourable friendships, Chao Tsung bears away the palm. The result in
each case the same. The dynasty perished.

Shun, on the other hand, confidently availed himself of the
incomparable societies of his day; and no one has ever said that his
confidence was misplaced. In point of act, he is always extolled as an
enlightened and discriminating ruler. In Wu Wang's time, three
thousand officers of State formed themselves into a society famed ever
since for its numbers and power. And Wu Wang availed himself of this
association,--and the empire prospered. The society was indeed large;
but its members were not one too many.[1]

Your Majesty will doubtless not fail to be instructed by these
examples of national prosperity and decay.

                         RELEASING PRISONERS

Sincerity and a sense of duty,--these are the attributes of the
virtuous. Punishment and death,--these are the portion of the
depraved. To deserve death in the iniquity of guilt,--this is the
climax of crime. To die without regret at the call of duty,--this is
the acme of heroism.

When the second Emperor of the late T`ang dynasty had just been six
years upon the throne, he released more than 300 condemned criminals,
and sent them to their homes on condition that within a certain period
they should inflict upon themselves the penalty of death. This was
simply to bid those unprincipled wretches play the difficult /rle/ of

At the expiry of the time, they all returned to the Emperor without
one exception. No true hero could have acted thus: those men found it
easy enough. It was, to say the least of it, unnatural.

A friend has suggested that in spite of their deep-dyed guilt and
unqualified want of principle, the Emperor's act of grace might
possibly have converted them from their evil ways; such a marvellous
and speedy conversion not being without precedent. But I say that his
Majesty did this thing solely with a view to gain for himself a good
report. We may rest assured that when he released these men he knew
full well they would come back in the hope of a pardon; and that
therefore he released them. We may rest assured that the return of the
prisoners was based upon the certainty of receiving a pardon, and that
therefore they came back. And if his Majesty only released them
because he felt they would return, he was simply discounting the
impulses of his subjects; while if the prisoners only returned because
they felt they would be pardoned, they were likewise discounting the
mercy of their ruler. As far as I can see, the credit of the whole
affair was a product of mutual spoliation. Where indeed was the
magnanimity of the one or the heroism of the other?

Let us consider. The Emperor had then been graciously reigning over
the land for the space of six years. If during that time he had been
unable to prevent evil men from doing evil deeds, it is absurd to
suppose that he was suddenly, by a single act of grace, to convert
them into heroic and dutiful subjects. What, it may be asked, was the
proper course to pursue? I reply that those prisoners who returned
should have been put to death; and then, on any future occasion of the
kind, it would be fairly established that returning prisoners were
influenced by a sincere sense of duty. But under those circumstances,
there would of course be no prisoners forthcoming.

To release in that way and to pardon on return, might be all very well
in an individual case. But to apply the principle to numbers, would be
equivalent to pardoning murderers in general, directly contrary to all
laws human and divine. Thus it was that the wise rulers of old based
their administration upon the normal workings of the human heart. They
sought no extraordinary standard of conduct with a view of exalting
themselves; neither did they act in opposition to the natural
instincts of man in order to secure the approbation of the public.[2]

                          FULNESS AND DECAY[3]

Alas for the fulness and decay of human greatness! Though these are
called the appointments of Heaven, truly they are the handiwork of
man. The rise and fall of Chuan Tsung may be cited as an instance in

When the Prince of Chin lay on his death-bed, he took three arrows and
handed them to his son, saying, "The Liangs are my foes. The Prince of
Yen treats me with ingratitude. The K`i-tan Tartar swore to me as a
brother, and then passed over to the Liangs. These three grievances I
leave as a legacy of hate to thee. Take these three arrows, and fail
not to bear in mind thy father's wishes.

Chuang Tsung accordingly took the arrows and deposited them in a
shrine; and by-and-by, when war was declared, he despatched an
attendant to sacrifice a goat at the temple and bring out the arrows.
He then placed them in an embroidered quiver, and bearing them on his
back proceeded to the field of battle.

He returned triumphant, and ascended the Imperial throne. He had
captured the Prince of Yen and his son. He had got with him in a box
the heads of the ruler and prime minister of the House of Liang. He
went to the shrine to replace the arrows and communicate to the spirit
of his dead father that the work which had been entrusted to him was
accomplished. Was not this, then, the supreme fulness of glorious

Vengeance had thus been wreaked, and the empire was his, when suddenly
there was a cry in the night,--a rush to arms,--hasty flight,--
defection of soldiery,--sovereign and minister blankly gazing in each
other's faces,--monastic vows and shaven crowns,--robes drenched with
tears,--oh, what a fall was there! So hard to win: so easy to lose.
Surely these were issues that lay in the hand of man.

It is written, "The proud shall suffer; the modest succeed." And so
toil and anxiety may establish a kingdom; dissipation and ease will
wreck a life. At the zenith of his fortune, among all the heroes of
the age there could not be found his match. Yet when the tide turned,
a few mummers dragged him to earth; the sceptre fell from his hand,
and he perished,--the laughing-stock of all.

Truly misfortunes ofttimes spring from trivial and unexpected causes;
and wisdom and courage are often marred by foibles other than a
passion for theatrical display.

                      THE OLD DRUNKARD'S ARBOUR

The district of Ch`u is entirely surrounded by hills, and the peaks to
the south-west are clothed with a dense and beautiful growth of trees,
over which the eye wanders in rapture away to the confines of
Shantung. A walk of two or three miles on those hills brings one
within earshot of the sound of falling water which gushes forth from a
ravine, known as the Wine-Fountain; while hard by in a nook at a bend
of the road stands a kiosque, commonly spoken of as the /Old
Drunkard's Arbour/. It was built by a Buddhist priest, called
Deathless Wisdom, who lived among these hills, and who received the
above name from the Governor. The latter used to bring his friends
hither to take wine; and as he personally was incapacitated by a very
few cups, and was moreover well stricken in years, he gave himself the
sobriquet of the Old Drunkard. But it was not wine that attracted him
to this spot. It was the charming scenery which wine enabled him to

The sun's rays peeping at dawn through the trees, by-and-by to be
obscured behind gathering clouds, leaving naught but gloom around,
give to this spot the alternations of morning and night. The wild
flowers exhaling their perfume from the darkness of some shady dell;
the luxuriant foliage of the dense forest of beautiful trees; the
clear frosty wind; and the naked boulders of the lessening torrent;--
these are the indications of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Morning is the time to go thither, returning with the shades of night;
and although the place presents a different aspect with the changes of
the season, its charms are subject to no interruption, but continue
alway. Burden-carriers sing their way along the road, travellers rest
awhile under the trees; shouts from one, responses from another; old
people hobbling along; children in arms, children dragged along by
hand; backwards and forwards all day long without a break;--these are
the people of Ch`u. A cast in the stream, and a fine fish taken from
some sport where the eddying pools begin to deepen; a draught of cool
wine from the fountain; and a few such dishes of meats and fruits as
the hills are able to provide;--these, nicely spread out beforehand,
constitute the Governor's feast. And in the revelry of the banquet
hour there is no thought of toil or trouble. Every archer hits his
mark, and every player wins his /partie/; goblets flash from hand to
hand, and a buzz of conversation is heard as the guests move
unconstrainedly about. Among them is an old man with white hair, bald
at the top of his head. This is the drunken Governor, who when the
evening sun kisses the tips of the hills, and the falling shadows are
drawn out and blurred, bends his steps homewards in company with his
friends. Then in the growing darkness are heard sounds above and
sounds below: the beasts of the field and the birds of the air are
rejoicing at the departure of man. They, too, can rejoice in hills and
in trees, but they cannot rejoice as man rejoices. So also the
Governor's friends. They rejoice with him, though they know not at
what it is that he rejoices. Drunk, he can rejoice with them; sober,
he can discourse with them;--such is the Governor. And should you ask
who is the Governor, I reply, "Ou-yang Hsiu of Lu-ling."[4]

                           AN AUTUMN DIRGE

One night, I had just sat down to my books, when suddenly I heard a
sound far away towards the south-west. Listening intently, I wondered
what it could be. On it came, at first like the sighing of a gentle
zephyr, . . . gradually deepening into the plash of waves upon a surf-
beat shore, . . . the roaring of huge breakers in the startled night,
amid howling storm-gusts of wind and rain. It burst upon the hanging
bell, and set every one of its pendants tinkling into tune. It seemed
like the muffled march of soldiers, hurriedly advancing bit in mouth
to the attack,[5] when no shouted orders rend the air, but only the
tramp of men and horses meet the ear.

"Boy," said I; "what noise is that? Go forth and see." "Sir," replied
the boy, on his return, "the moon and stars are brightly shining: the
Silver River spans the sky. No sound of man is heard without: 'tis but
the whispering of the trees."

"Alas!" I cried; "autumn is upon us.[6] And is it thus, O boy, that
autumn comes?--autumn the cruel and the cold; autumn the season of
rack and mist; autumn the season of cloudless skis; autumn the season
of piercing blasts; autumn the season of desolation and blight! Chill
is the sound that heralds its approach; and then it leaps upon us with
a shout. All the rich luxuriance of green is changed; all the proud
foliage of the forest swept down to earth,--withered beneath the icy
breath of the destroyer. For autumn is Nature's chief executioner; and
its symbol is darkness. It has the temper of steel; and its symbol is
a sharp sword. It is the avenging angel, riding upon an atmosphere of
death. As spring is the epoch of growth, so autumn is the epoch of

  Its strains decay,
  And melt away,
  In a dying, dying fall.[7]

And sad is the hour when maturity is passed; for that which passes its
prime must die.

"Still what is this to plants and trees, which fade away in their due
season? . . . But stay: there is man, man the divinest of all things.
A hundred cares wreck his heart: countless anxieties trace their
wrinkles on his brow: until his inmost self is bowed beneath the
burden of life. And swifter still he hurries to decay when vainly
striving to attain the unattainable, or grieving over his ignorance of
that which can never be known. Then comes the whitening hair;--and why
not? Has a man an adamantine frame, that he should outlast the trees
of the field? Yet after all who is it, save himself, that steals his
strength away? Tell me, O boy, what right has man to accuse his autumn

My boy made no answer. He was fast asleep. No sound reached me save
that of the cricket chirping its response to my dirge.

                              AT A GRAVE

O Man-ch`ing, thy birth gave a hero, thy death a God! Like the vulgar
herd thou wast born and didst die, returning to the domain of
nothingness. But thy earthly form could not perish like theirs. There
was that within which could not decay: thy bright memory will endure
through all generations. For such is the lot of the wise and good:
their names are inscribed imperishably, to shine like the stars for

O Man-ch`ing, 'tis long since we met. Yet methinks I see thee now, as
then, lofty of mien, courage upon thy brow. Ah! when the grave closed
over thee, it was not into foul earth, but into the pure essence of
gold and gems that thy dear form was changed.[8] Or haply thou art
some towering pine--some rare, some wondrous plant. What boots it now?
Here in thy loneliness the spreading brambles weave around thy head,
while the chill wind blows across thy bed moist with the dew of
heaven. The will-o'-the-wisp and the fire-fly flit by: naught heard
but the shepherd and the woodman singing songs on the hill-side;
naught seen but the startled bird rising, the affrighted beast
scampering from their presence, as they pass to and fro and pour forth
their plaintive lays. Such is thy solitude now. A thousand, ten
thousand years hence, the fox and the badger will burrow into thy
tomb, and the weasel make its nest within. For this also has ever been
the lot of the wise and good. Do not their graves, scattered on every
side, bear ample witness of this?

Alas! Man-ch`ing, I know full well that all things are overtaken,
sooner or later, by decay. But musing over days by-gone, my heart
grows sad; and standing thus near to thy departed spirit, my tears
flow afresh, and I blush for the heartlessness of God. O Man-ch`ing,
rest in peace![9]

[1] "For the same reason he (Lord Ripon) has begun to consult the
    popular Associations, hundreds of which have sprung up in recent
    years, which are springing up day by day, and which reflect
    educated opinion on such great questions as education, local self-
    rule, usury laws, agrarian questions and the like."--/Daily News/,
    6th. Sept., 1883.

[2] A commentator suggests that the act of grace in question was
    performed merely for the sake of notoriety; just as the same
    Emperor, during a severe plague of locusts, sought to check the
    evil by swallowing a locust alive, "which," adds the commentator,
    "was probably only a paper imitation after all."

[3] "By the law of Nature, too, all manners of Ideals have their fatal
    limits and lot; their appointed periods of youth, of maturity or
    perfection, of decline, degradation, and final death and
    disappearance."--Carlyle's /Past and Present/.

[4] Meaning, of course, himself.

[5] The Chinese have a device by which they can gag their soldiers,
    and so prevent them from talking in the ranks on the occasion of a
    night attack.

[6] Any old resident in China will recognise the truth of this
    description in regard to the change of season here indicated. In
    September, 1874, at Hankow, the thermometer fell something like
    forty degrees in less than forty-eight hours.

[7] A fair rendering of the text.

[8] Of his bones are coral made;
    Those are pearls that were his eyes.

[9] At the great spring festival, when every one tries to get away to
    visit his ancestral burying ground and there perform those
    harmless rites which time and custom have hallowed, it is not
    unusual for literary men to indite some such address as the above,
    and burn it at the grave of the deceased as a means of
    communication with the spiritual world. Of this most sacred
    anniversary, Carlyle has well said, "He (the Emperor) and his
    three hundred millions visit yearly the Tombs of their Fathers;
    each man the Tomb of his Father and his Mother; alone, there, in
    silence, with what of /worship/ or of other thought there may be,
    pauses solemnly each man; the divine Skies all silent over him;
    the divine Graves, and this divinest Grave, all silent under him;
    the pulsings of his own soul, if he have any soul, alone audible.
    Truly it may be a kind of worship! Truly if a man cannot get some
    glimpse into the Eternities, looking through this portal,--through
    what other need he try it?"

                               SHN KUA

                           A.D. 1030-1093.

  A distinguished scholar who, in accordance with ancient custom,
  was employed in military expeditions, and who was held responsible
  for a defeat in which 60,000 Chinese soldiers perished, and was
  banished to Shensi. He ranks among the highest as an art critic.


When painters paint Buddha's aureole, they make it flat and round like
a fan. If his body is deflected, then the aureole is also deflected,--
a serious blunder. Such a one is only thinking of Buddha as a graven
image, and does not know that the roundness of his aureole is
everlasting. In like manner, when Buddha is represented as walking,
his aureole is made to tail out behind him, and this is called the
wind-borne aureole,--also a serious blunder. For Buddha's aureole is a
divine aureole which even a universe-wrecking hurricane could not
move, still less could our light breezes flutter it.

                          AERIAL PERSPECTIVE

In painting oxen and tigers, it is always customary to paint the hair,
but the hair of horses is not painted. On my asking an artist why this
was, he replied that a horse's hair is too fine, and cannot be brought
out; but when I suggested that a rat's hair was still finer and yet
was always painted, he had nothing to say. Now a horse is never seen
in a painting to be more than a foot in size, which is a great
proportionate reduction, and therefore the hair would be far too fine
to be reproduced; whereas a rat generally has about the same
measurement as in real life, and therefore the hair ought to be
painted. This principle would seem to apply equally to the ox and the
tiger; the hair however of these animals is long, and a distinction
has accordingly to be made. Li Ch`ing,[1] whenever he put kiosques,
pagodas, or other buildings, on the mountains of his landscapes,
painted them with cocked-up eaves, so that the spectator looked
upwards and saw the inner part; because, he said, the point of view
was below the object, just as a man standing beneath a pagoda sees
above him the rafters of the eaves. This reasoning is faulty. For in
landscape there is a method of looking at big things as if they were
small (aerial perspective). If people looked at imitation hills in the
same way that they look at real hills, that is, looking from the base
up to the summit, it would only be possible to see one range at a
time, and not range behind range; neither would the ravines and
valleys in the mountains be visible. Similarly, you ought not to see
the middle court of a house, nor what is going on in the back
premises. You cannot lay down the rule that if you have a man on the
east side, then the west side of the hill must contain the distant
scenery, and /vice vers/; under such conditions no picture could
possibly be painted. Li Ch`ng did not know the method by which big
objects are made to look small. By this method effects of height and
distance can be more skilfully secured than by simply cocking up the
corners of houses.


In calligraphy and painting, soul is more important than form. Most of
the good people who look at pictures can point out some slight defect
in shape, in position, or in colouring; but that is the extent of
their range. As tot hose who penetrate to deeper principles, they are
very hard to find. It has been said that Wang Wei in his pictures paid
no attention whatever to the four seasons. With regard to flowers, he
would introduce the peach, apricot, hibiscus, and water-lily into one
and the same scene. I myself possess a picture of his in which there
is a banana-tree covered with snow. The idea flashed through his mind,
and was completed by his hand,--an inspiration of genius. But it is
difficult to discuss this with the unwashed . . . Does not the poet

  The old masters painted the spirit, they did not paint the form;
  Mei Shng, when singing of things, left no emotion unexpressed.
  Those who can ignore the form and seize the spirit are few;
  But why not apply to verse what to painting applies so well?

[1] A famous painter of landscapes. Died A.D. 965 of /delirium

                             SU TUNG P`O

                           A.D. 1036-1101.

  An almost universal genius, like Ou-yang Hsiu, this writer is even
  a greater favourite with the Chinese literary public. Under his
  hands, the language of which China is so proud may be said to have
  reached perfection of finish, of art concealed. In subtlety of
  reasoning, in the lucid expression of abstractions, such as in
  English too often elude the faculty of the tongue, Su Tung-P`o is
  an unrivalled master. On behalf of his honoured manes I desire to
  note my protest against the words of Mr. Baber, recently spoken at
  a meeting of the Royal Geographical Society, and stating that "the
  Chinese language is incompetent to express the subtleties of
  theological reasoning, just as it is inadequate to represent the
  nomenclature of European science." I am not aware that the
  nomenclature of European science can be adequately represented
  even in the English language; at any rate, there can be no
  comparison between the expression of terms and of ideas, and I
  take it the doctrine of the Trinity itself is not more difficult
  of comprehension than the theory of "self abstraction beyond the
  limits of an external world," so closely reasoned out by Chuang
  Tzu. If Mr. Baber merely means that the gentlemen entrusted with
  the task have proved themselves so far quite incompetent to
  express in Chinese the subtleties of theological reasoning, then I
  am with him to the death.

  There is one more point in regard to which I should be glad to
  cleanse the stuffed bosoms of some from a certain perilous stuff--
  the belief that Chinese sentences are frequently open to two or
  more interpretations. No theory could well be more mischievous
  than this. It tends to make a student readily satisfied with
  anything he can get out of an obscure paragraph rather than push
  on laboriously through the dark passages of thought until the real
  sense begins to glimmer ahead, and finally to shine brightly upon
  him. I wish to place it on record, as my opinion, after the
  arduous task of translation lying completed before me, that the
  written language of China is hardly more ambiguous than English;
  and that an ordinary Chinese sentence, written without malice
  aforethought, can have but one meaning, though it may often appear
  at the first blush to have several. There are exceptions, of
  course; but the rule remains unchanged. I have frequently been
  trapped myself, and may be again; trapped into satisfaction with a
  rendering which I subsequently discovered to be wrong, and which I
  could then feel to be grammatically wrong though I had previously
  accepted it as right. The fault in such cases, I venture to
  suggest, should be sought for outside the text. (/I leave this to
  stand as it stood in 1884, merely suggesting that it is the
  extreme difficulty of the book-language which is mistaken for

  To revert to the subject of this note, Su Tung-P`o shared the fate
  of most Chinese statesmen of the T`ang and Sung dynasties. He was
  banished to a distant post. In 1235 he was honoured with a niche
  in the Confucian temple, but his tablet was removed in 1845. After
  six hundred years he might well have been left there in peace.

                      THE ARBOUR TO JOYFUL RAIN

My arbour was named after rain, to commemorate joy.

Whenever our forefathers rejoiced greatly, they used the name of
whatever caused their joy in order to commemorate the event. Thus,
Chou Kung named a book from the auspicious appearance of a double ear
of corn. An emperor named a period of his reign from the discovery of
an ancient bronze; and a case is on record of one who named his
children after prisoners taken captive in war. The joy in each
instance was hardly the same; but the principle of commemoration was
uniformly applied.

Now the year after I was appointed to rule over Fu-fng, I began to
put my official residence in repair, and arranged for the construction
of an arbour at a certain spot, where I let in a stream of water and
planted trees, intending to use it as a refuge from the business of

In that very year it rained wheat; and the soothsayers predicted in
consequence that the ensuing season would be most prosperous. However,
for a whole month no rain fell, and the people became alarmed at the
prospect. Then rain fell at intervals, but not in sufficient
quantities. At length, it poured incessantly for three days.
Thereupon, great congratulations were exchanged between officials;
tradesmen and traders sang songs of glee in the market-place; while
farmers wished each other joy across the furrowed fields. The
sorrowful were gladdened: the sick were made whole. And precisely at
that moment my arbour was completed.

So I spread a feast there, and invited a number of guests, of whom I
enquired, "What would have happened if the rain had held off five days
longer?" "There would have been no wheat," was the answer. "And what
if it had been ten days?" I continued; to which they replied that then
there would have been no crops at all. "And had there been harvest
neither of wheat nor of other grain," said I, "a famine must
inevitably have ensued. The law courts would have overflowed with
litigation. Brigandage and robbery would have been rife. And you and I
would have missed the pleasant meeting of to-day beneath this arbour.
But God did not leave the people to perish. Drought has been followed
by rain; and to rain it is due that we are enjoying ourselves here
to-day. Shall we then let its remembrance fade away? I think not; and
therefore I have given to this arbour its name, and have added to the
record the following verses:--

 "Should the sky rain jewels, the cold cannot wear them as clothes;
  Should the sky rain jade, the hungry cannot use it as food.
    It has rained without cease for three days--
    Whose was the influence at work?
  Should you say it was that of your Governor,
  The Governor himself refers it to the Emperor.
  But the Emperor says 'No! it was God.'
  And God says 'No! it was Nature.'
    And as Nature lies beyond the ken of man,
    I dedicate this arbour instead."

                          THE BASELESS TOWER

He who lives near hills, in his uprising and in his down-sitting, in
his eating and in his drinking, should be in daily communion with the

Of all ranges none is so lofty as Chung-nan. Of all towns situated
near hills, none is so close to them as Fu-fng. Hence it would follow
that mountain-peaks were included in the surrounding scenery.
Nevertheless, from the Governor's residence here was not a hill to be
seen. Although this entailed no consequences either of evil or of
good, still it was not in accordance with the eternal fitness of
things. And so the Baseless Tower was built.

Before the erection of this Tower, the Governor would frequently
stroll about, staff in hand, at the foot of the hills, whence he every
now and again caught glimpses of their outlines through the dense
groves of trees, much as one sees the top-knots of people who are
passing on the other side of a wall. The result was that he ordered
workmen to dig a square pond in front of his house, and with the clay
taken therefrom to build a tower somewhat higher than the eaves. When
this was done, those who mounted to the top lost all sense of the
tower's elevation, while the surrounding hills seemed to have started
up into view. The Governor therefore named it the Baseless Tower, and
bade me commit its record to writing.

To this I replied, "The sequence of fulness and decay lies beyond the
limits of our ken. Years ago, when this site was exposed to the hoar-
frost and dew of heaven, the home of the adder and of the fox, who
could then have forecast the Tower of to-day? And when, obedient to
the eternal law, it shall once again by lapse of time become a
wilderness and a desert as before,--this is what no man can declare."

"Where now," said I to the Governor, as we mounted the Tower together
and gazed over the landscape around us, "where now are the palaces of
old, beautiful, spacious buildings, a hundred times more solid than
this? They are gone; and not a broken tile, not a crumbling wall
remains, to mark the spot. They have passed into the growing grain,
into the thorny brake. They have melted into the loamy glebe. Shall
not then this Tower in like manner pass away? And if towers cannot
last for ever, how much less shall we rely for immortality upon the
ever fickle breath of praise? Alas for those who trust by these means
to live in the record of their age! For whether the record of their
age will endure or perish depends on something beyond the preservation
and decay of towers."[1]

I then retired and committed the above to writing.

                       THE TOWER OF CONTENTMENT

All things are in some sense worth seeing, and are consequently
sources of pleasure: it is not necessary that they should possess
either rarity or beauty. Eating grains and swilling lees will make a
man drunk: berries and herbs will fill his belly; and it is by parity
of reasoning that I am able to enjoy myself wherever I go.

Now those who seek happiness and avoid misery, rejoice or grieve
according as they are successful or otherwise. But man's desires are
endless, while his means of gratifying them are limited: good and evil
strive together for the upper hand, and choice between them is
ofttimes a difficult task. It follows therefore that occasions of joy
are few, and occasions of grief many. Rather might we say that men
pursue misery and eschew happiness. This, however, is contrary to
human nature. /Men do so only because they are the slaves of objective
existences./ Thus, if existences are considered subjectively (as
regards themselves), all idea of their dimension is lost; whereas, if
they are considered subjectively (as regards ourselves), then there
are none to which the idea of dimension does not apply. But when
another would refer to me his perceptions of such dimensions then I
become troubled in mind, as though I saw a battle through a chink and
was asked to decide with which party the victory lay. And thus it is,
alas! that good and evil grow up promiscuously, and sorrow and joy are
intertwined together.

On my transfer from Chekiang to Shantung, I exchanged the comfort of
boats for the fatigue of horses and carts. I relinquished the elegance
of carved panels for a home among the citron groves of the north. I
turned my back upon hill and lake to wander over acres of mulberry and
hemp. When I reached my post, the year's crops had failed, the country
round was alive with banditti, and litigation the order of the day. I
accordingly adopted a diet of lenten fare, living on berries and
herbs; from which it was generally inferred that I was unhappy. But
ere a year had passed away, my face filled out, and hair which had
grown white become black again. I learned to love the honest manliness
of the people, and my own easy disposition won popularity for my
administration. I set to work upon my garden and my house, hewing down
trees to effect the necessary repairs. On the north, abutting on the
city wall, there was an old tower, which had stood there for years.
This I to some extent restored; and thither I would often go and give
vent to my feelings over the scene below. Southwards, hills receding,
hills looming darkly into view, the home perhaps of some virtuous
recluse. Eastwards, hills: the hill to which L Ao retired to hide.
Westwards, the Mu-ling pass in the far distance, like the battlements
of a city, hallowed by the memory of many a glorious name. Northwards,
the river Wei below; and looking down I would sigh as I remembered him
of Huai-yin and his unaccomplished work.

My tower is lofty but solid; and even from its summit a clear view was
obtainable. Cool in summer, it was warm in winter; and on mornings of
rain or snow, on windy or moonlit nights, I would be there, always
accompanied by friends. Vegetables from the garden, fish from the
pool, the small wine of the country, and a dish of millet porridge,--
such was our simple fare, over which I would exclaim, "Ho, there! what
happiness is this!"

A brother, who lived in Chi-nan, hearing how I passed my time, wrote
me some verses on the subject, and named my tower the /Tower of
Contentment/, in reference to my knack of enjoying myself under all
conditions. This, because I could roam beyond the limits of an
external world.

                         THE CHLET OF CRANES

During the autumn of 1078, there was a great flood over a certain
district, which nearly submerged the rude dwelling of a recluse named
Chang. However, by the following spring the water had fallen, and he
was able to occupy a site near his former residence, on a range of
hills, in the midst of charming scenery, where he built himself a
mountain hut. It was a perfect /cordon/ of peaks, except on the west
where the line broke; and there, right in the gap, the hermit's
cottage stood. Thence, in spring and summer, the eye wandered over a
broad expanse of verdure and vegetation: in autumn and winter, over
moonlit miles of gleaming snow; while every change of wind and rain,
every alternation of darkness and light, brought ever-varying beauties
into view.

Chang kept a couple of cranes, which he had carefully trained; and
every morning he would release them westwards through the gap, to fly
away and alight in the marsh below or soar aloft among the clouds as
the birds' own fancy might direct. At nightfall, they would return
with the utmost regularity. And so he named his abode the Chlet of

When I was Governor in those parts, I went with some friends to call
upon Chang, and spent a merry time with him over a stomp of wine. And
as I pledged my host, I said, "Are you aware, sir, how perfect is the
happiness you enjoy?--happiness that I would not exchange even for the
diadem of a prince. Does not the /Book of Changes/ speak of the
crane's voice sounding in solitude, and the harmony which prevails
among its young? Does not the /Book of Poetry/ tell us that the
crane's note rings through the marsh, and is heard far away in the
sky? For the crane is a bird of purity and retirement, taking its
pleasure beyond the limits of this dusty world of ours. Therefore it
has been made an emblem of the virtuous man and of the lettered
recluse; and to cherish such pets in one's home should entail rather
profit than harm. Yet the love of cranes once lost a kingdom.[2]

"Then we have had Edicts prohibiting the use of wine,--the greatest
curse, as 'twas said, of the curses which afflict mankind. Yet there
have been those who attained immortality thereby, and made themselves
heroes for ever.

"Ah! 'tis but the prince, who, though pure as the crane itself, dares
not indulge in a passion for wine. An he do so, it may cost him his
throne. But for the lettered recluse of the hill-side, what odds if he
perish in his cups? And what harm can his cranes being to him? Thus,
sir, it is that the joys of the prince and the hermit may not be
mentioned together."

"True enough!" cried Chang, smiling, as he proceeded to sing the Song
of the Cranes:--

 "Away! away! my birds, fly westwards now,
  To wheel on high and gaze on all below;
  To swoop together, pinions closed, to earth;
  To soar aloft once more among the clouds;
  To wander all day long in sedgy vale;
  To gather duckweed in the stony marsh.
    Come back! come back! beneath the lengthening shades,
  Your serge-clad master stands, guitar in hand.
  'Tis he that feeds you from his slender store:
  Come back! come back! nor linger in the west."


It is stated in the ancient work on /Water-courses/ that at a certain
place there was a "stone-bell hill." The commentator, Li Yan,
considers the name to have arisen from the fact that the foot of the
hill is washed by a deep pool, and that on the slightest agitation of
its surface by the wind, waves would splash against the rock and
produce a sound like that of a great bell.

This explanation, long regarded with suspicion, was at length exploded
by a real bell being placed in the pool, which, no matter how violent
the waves, never gave forth a sound. How much less then, it was
argued, would stone.

By-and-by, an official, named Li Po, set to work to investigate, and
discovered at the pool two stones which when struck emitted ringing
sounds of different pitches, the vibration continuing some time after
the stroke, and at length dying gradually away. Thus he believed that
he had finally settled the point.

Of this settlement, however, I always entertained grave doubts. For
many stones will yield a ringing sound when struck; why then should
these be more particularly /bell/ stones than any others?

Subsequently, I had an opportunity of seeing for myself these so-
called bells, when accompanying my eldest son on the way to his post
as magistrate. The priests of a neighbouring temple bade one of their
novices carry an adze, and with this he chipped off several pieces and
showed me how they rang when struck. I smiled, but was not convinced;
and that same night, the moon shining brightly, I stepped into a boat
with my son and we proceeded to the base of the hill where the rock
rose almost sheer to a height of near a thousand feet, looking like a
fierce beast or huge hobgoblin about to spring upon us. Flocks of
birds, startled at our approach, flew out and whirled away into the
sky. There were also sounds as of old men coughing and laughing within
a chasm of the rock, which one would have said was the noise of herons
or cranes.

Much affected by the scene, I was about to leave, when suddenly over
the face of the water came changing and rolling sounds, like the notes
of bells and drums. The boatman was horribly alarmed; but on
examination we found that the base of the rock was pitted all over
with holes, of I know not what depth, and that the sounds were due to
the water which had been forced up them rushing noisily out as each
wave retired. And steering our boat into a chasm between two rocks, we
there found a large boulder of a size to seat a hundred persons, right
in mid-channel. This too was full of holes, and when these had been
filled with water driven in by the wind, the water would flow out with
a noise similar to that we had just heard.

Laughing, I turned to my son and said, "Don't you see? These sounds
are identical in timber with the notes of the two famous bells of old.
Ah! the ancients deceive us not. But how should people undertake to
decide about what they have neither seen with their eyes nor heard
with their ears? Li Yan was a man of experience equal to my own. Yet
his explanation was inaccurate. He doubtless would not be bothered to
get into a boat and anchor here at night beneath the cliff. Therefore
he could not ascertain the real cause of the phenomenon, while the
boatmen and others, who may have known, had no means of publishing the
truth. Li Po put his trust in an adze, and thought he had solved the
problem thereby."

I accordingly made a note of this adventure, with a sigh for the
remissness of Li Yan, and a smile at the credulity of Li Po.

                      OLD SQUARE-CAP THE HERMIT

Old Square-Cap was a hermit. In his youth he had been a knight-errant,
and the leader of knight-errantry in his hamlet. He was also an
enthusiastic student of all kinds of books, hoping by these means to
make his mark upon the age. But he never succeeded, and retired late
in life to the hills. He lived in a hut. He was a vegetarian. He held
no intercourse with the outer world. He would have neither horse nor
carriage. He destroyed his official uniform. He walked by himself on
the hills. No one knew who he was; but his tall square hat, apparently
a survival of the ancient head-piece of the Han dynasty, earned for
him the sobriquet of Old Square-Cap.

When I was banished I lived in the neighbourhood, and one day came
suddenly upon him. "Good gracious!" I cried, "my old friend Ch`n!
What are you doing here?" Old Square-Cap replied by asking me what I
did there; and when I told him, he bent his head in silence and then
quickly looked up and smiled. He took me to sleep at his home, a quiet
little place with a mud wall round it, where, nevertheless, his wife
and servants all seemed very contented and happy. I was astonished at
what I saw. For I remembered how, in his wine-bibbing, swash-
bucklering youth, he had flung away money like dirt. Nineteen years
before, I had seen him out shooting on the hills with a couple of
attendants. A jay rose in front of them, and he bade one of the
attendants shoot, but the man missed; at which he urged his horse
forward, drew an arrow, and shot the bird dead. Then, as he sat there
on horseback, he held forth on military matters, and discussed the
victories and defeats of ancient and modern times, calling himself the
warrior of his age.

And now, after all these years, the old determined look is still to be
seen in his face. How then is he what we mean by a hermit of the
hills? Yet he was of an illustrious house. He would have had grand
opportunities. He would have made himself famous ere this. His home
was at the capital,--a home of luxury and splendour, like the palace
of a prince. He held an estate which gave him yearly a thousand pieces
of silk; so that the pleasures of wealth were in his grasp. All these
things he put aside, and retired to penury and solitude on the hills.
He did not turn his back upon the world because he had failed to
secure the material blessings of life.

I have heard that there are many weird things on those hills, though I
never caught a glimpse of one. Doubtless Old Square-Cap, himself of
that clique, has made their acquaintance long ago.


In the year 1081, the seventh moon just on the wane, I went with a
friend on a boat excursion to the Red Wall. A clear breeze was gently
blowing, scarce enough to ruffle the river, as I filled my friend's
cup and bade him troll a lay to the bright moon, singing the song of
the /Modest Maid/.

By-and-by, up rose the moon over the eastern hills, wandering between
the Wain and the Goat, shedding forth her silver beams, and linking
the water with the sky. On a skiff we took our seats, and shot over
the liquid plain, lightly as though travelling through space, riding
on the wind without knowing whither we were bound. We seemed to be
moving in another sphere, sailing through air like the Gods. So I
poured out a bumper for joy, and, beating time on the skiff's side,
sang the following verse:--

  With laughing oars, our joyous prow
    Shoots swiftly through the glittering wave--
  My heart within grows sadly grave--
  Great heroes dead, where are ye now?

My friend accompanied these words upon his flageolet, delicately
adjusting its notes to express the varied emotions of pity and regret,
without the slightest break in the thread of sound which seemed to
wind around us in a silken skein. The very monsters of the deep
yielded to the influence of his strains, while the boat-woman, who had
lost her husband, burst into a flood of tears. Overpowered by my own
feelings, I settled myself into a serious mood, and asked my friend
for some explanation of his art. To this he replied, "Did not Ts`ao
Ts`ao say:--

  The stars are few, the moon is bright,
  The raven southward wings his flight.

"Westwards to Hsia-k`ou, eastwards to Wu-ch`ang, where hill and stream
in wild luxuriance blend,--was it not there that Ts`ao Ts`ao was
routed by Chou Y? Ching-chou was at his feet: he was pushing down
stream towards the east. His war-vessels stretched stem to stern for a
thousand /li/: his banners darkened the sky. He poured out a libation
as he neared Chiangling; and sitting in the saddle, armed, /cap--
pie/, he uttered those words did that hero of his age. Yet where is he

"Now you and I have fished and gathered fuel together on the river
eyots. We have fraternized with the crayfish: we have made friends
with the deer. We have embarked together in our frail canoe; we have
drawn inspiration together from the wine-flash--a couple of
ephemerides, launched on the ocean in a rice-husk! Alas, life is but
an instant of Time. I long to be like the Great River which rolls on
its way without end. Ah, that I might cling to some angel's wing and
roam with him for ever! Ah, that I might clasp the bright moon in my
arms and dwell with her for aye! Alas! it only remains to me to enwrap
these regrets in the tender melody of sound."

"But do you forsooth comprehend," I enquired, "the mystery of this
river and of this moon? The water passes by but is never gone: the
moon wanes only to wax once more. Relatively speaking, Time itself is
but an instant of time; absolutely speaking, you and I, in common with
all matter, shall exist to all eternity. Wherefore then the longing of
which you speak?

"The objects we see around us are one and all the property of
individuals. If a thing does not belong to me, not a particle of it
may be enjoyed by me. But the clear breeze blowing across this stream,
the bright moon streaming over yon hills,--these are sounds and sights
to be enjoyed without let or hindrance by all. They are the eternal
gifts of God to all mankind, and their enjoyment is inexhaustible.
Hence it is that you and I are enjoying them now."

My friend smiled as he threw away the dregs from his wine-cup and
filled it once more to the brim. And then, when our feast was over,
amid the litter of cups and plates, we lay down to rest in the boat:
for streaks of light from the east had stolen upon us unawares.

                         THE RED WALL: AUTUMN

In the same year, when the tenth moon was full, I went again to the
Red Wall. Two friends accompanied me; and as we crossed the hill, the
landscape glittered white with frost, while the leafless trees cast
our shadows upon the ground. The bright moon above inspired our
hearts, and many a catch we sang as we strolled along. Then I sighed
and said, "Here are the guests gathered together, but where are the
cakes and ale? Here in the silver moonlight, here in the clear breeze,
--what waste of a night like this!"

Then up spoke a friend and said, "This very eve I netted one of those
/gobemouche/ small-scaled fishes, for all the world like the famous
perch of the Sung. But how about liquor?" However, we went back with
our friend to consult his wife, and she at once cried out, "I have a
stoup of wine, stored now some time in case of an accident like this."
And so with wine and fish we retraced our steps towards the Red Wall.

The river was rushing noisily by, but with narrowed stream; and over
the heightened hill-tops the moon was still scarcely visible, while
through the shallowing tide naked boulders stood prominently forth. It
was but three months since, yet I hardly knew the place again.

I picked up my skirts and began to ascend the steep cliff. I struggled
through bramble-brake. I sat me down upon the Tiger rock. I climbed a
gnarled tree, up to the dizzy hawk's nest, whence I looked down upon
the River God's temple below, and whither my two friends were unable
to follow.

Suddenly there arose a rushing mighty sound. Trees and shrubs began to
wave, hills to resound, valleys to re-echo, while wind lashed water
into waves. Fear and regret entered into my soul; for it was not
possible to remain. I hurried back and got on board. We poled the boat
into mid-channel, and letting it take its own course, our excursion
came to an end.

The hour was midnight, and all around was still; when from the east,
across the river, flew a solitary crane, flapping its huge wings of
dusky silk, as, with a long shrill scream, it whizzed past our boat
towards the west. By-and-by, my friends left me, and I slept and
dreamed that a lame Taoist priest in a feathery robe passed by on the
bank, and, bowing to me, said, "Have you had a pleasant trip, sir, to
the Red Wall?" I enquired his name, but he merely bowed again and made
no reply. "Ah!" exclaimed I, "I know who you are. Are you not that
bird which flew past me last night and screamed?" Just then I awakened
with a start. I opened the door of my boat and looked out, but no one
was to be seen.[4]

                           A RAT'S CUNNING

I was sitting up one night when suddenly a rat began to gnaw. A rap on
the couch stopped the noise, which however soon began again. Calling a
servant to look round with a light, we noticed an empty sack, from the
inside of which came a grating sound, and I at once cried out, "Ha!
the rat has got shut in here, and can't get out." So we opened the
sack, but there was apparently nothing in it, though when we came to
throw in the light, there at the bottom lay a dead rat. "Oh!"
exclaimed the servant in a fright, "can the animal that was just now
gnawing have died so suddenly as this? Or can it have been the rat's
ghost that was making the noise?" Meanwhile, he turned the rat out on
the ground, when--away it went full speed, escaping before we had time
to do anything. "'Tis passing strange," said I, with a sigh, "the
cunning of that rat. Shut up in a sack too hard for it to gnaw its way
out, it nevertheless gnawed in order to attract attention by the
noise; and then it pretended to be dead in order to save its life
under the guise of death. Now I have always understood that in
intelligence man stands first. Man can tame the dragon, subdue the
mastodon, train the tortoise, and carry captive the unicorn. He makes
all things subservient to his will; and yet here he is, trapped by the
guile of a rat, which combined the speed of the flying hare with the
repose of a blushing girl. Wherein then lies his superior

Thinking over this, with my eyes closed, a voice seemed to say to me,
"Your knowledge is the knowledge of books; you gaze towards the truth
but see it not. You do not concentrate your mind within yourself, but
allow it to be distracted by external influences. Hence it is that you
are deceived by the gnawing of a rat. /A man may voluntarily destroy a
priceless gem, and yet be unable to restrain his feelings over a
broken cooking-pot. Another will bind a fierce tiger, and yet change
colour at the sting of a bee./ These words are our own; have you
forgotten them?" At this I bent my head and laughed; and then, opening
my eyes, I bade a servant bring pen and ink and commit the episode to

                       THE PRINCE OF LITERATURE

                         (See Han Wn-kung.)

How has the simple and lowly one become a Teacher for all generations?
Why has a single word of his become law for the whole world? Because
he could place himself in harmony with Nature, and adapt himself to
the eternal sequence of fulness and decay.

Life does not come to us without reason: it is not without reason that
we lay it down. Hence, some have descended from the hills to live
among us; others have joined the galaxy of the stars above.[5] The
traditions of old lie not.

Mencius said, "I am able to nourish my divine spirit."[6] That spirit
may lodge in a specified area; but its volume fills all space. For him
who possesses it, the honours of princes and kings, the wealth of
millionaires, the sagacity of counsellors, the courage of heroes, the
subtlety of diplomatists,--these are but empty names. But who plants
this spirit within us? It stands, independent of form; it moves,
independent of force; it waits not for life, to exist; it perishes not
in the swoon of death. Above, it assumes the shape of heavenly bodies;
on earth, that of hills and streams: in the dark, that of spiritual
beings; in the broad light of day, it returns again to man. But let
this pass.

From the age of the Hans, the Truth began to be obscured, and
literature to fade. Supernatural religions sprang up on all sides; and
many eminent scholars failed to oppose their advance, until Han
Wn-kung, the cotton-clothed, arose, and blasted them with his
derisive sneer.[7] Thenceforth, not one but adopted him as their
guide, returning into the true path,--now three hundred years ago.
From the dead ashes of the immediate past his genius soared up: his
message brought help to many in the hour of their affliction. His
loyalty (to the commonwealth) called down the wrath of his Imperial
master; his bravery eclipsed that of the bravest warrior. Was not this
to place himself in harmony with Nature, and adapt himself to the
eternal sequence of fulness and decay?

The human, they say, is all-powerful, except as against the divine.
What is this distinction between the human and the divine? Cunning may
deceive kings and princes, but cannot impose upon pigs and fishes.[8]
Brute force may conquer an empire, but cannot win over the hearts of
the people. So Han Wn-kung's purity of heart dispersed the clouds at
the summit of Mount Hng,[9] but could not free him from Imperial
suspicions. He tamed the fierce monster of the river, but could not
shake off the calumnies of his foes. He endeared himself to the
inhabitants of the southern shores, where his memory is held sacred
after many generations; but he could not secure to himself a day's
repose as a courtier about the Throne. His failures were human, his
successes divine.

The people of Ch`ao-chou were sunk in ignorance. Han Wn-kung
appointed a superintendent of education; and ever since, their city
has been a centre of learning, a rival to the classic seats of old. To
this day its inhabitants are known for their peace-loving ways; for
their faith in the maxim that the "true doctrines inspires lofty
natures with love for their fellow-men, inferior natures with respect
for the authority of government." And so, when they eat or drink, a
portion is always devoted to the memory of their Master. Or if flood,
or drought, or pestilence come upon them, it is to him they betake
themselves for aid. But his shrine was behind the chief magistrate's
/yamn/, and inconvenient of access; and an application to the Throne
to build a new shrine had been refused, when a Governor came to rule
over the district whose administration was modelled upon that of his
great predecessor. This popular official issued a notice that if the
people themselves wished to erect a new shrine, they were at liberty
to select a suitable site at a given spot; and within the year the
building was completed.

Then some one said, "Han Wn-kung was banished to this spot, a
thousand miles from his home, with no hope of return. If knowledge is
given to him after death, it will hardly be with feelings of affection
that he will look back upon his sojourn at Ch`ao-chou."

"Not so," I replied. "Our Master's spirit pervades space as water
pervades the earth: there is no place where it is not. The Ch`ao-chou
people trusted and loved him more than others, and still venerate his
spirit which hovers over their soil. Fancy, if a man boring for water
should strike a spring and say, 'Water is /here/!'"

Han Wn-kung's full designation is given in the inscription; and as
the inhabitants of Ch`ao-chou desired me to prepare a record to be
engraven on stone, I indited the following lines to the memory of this
great man:--

  He rode of old on the dragon in the white cloud domain;
  He grasped with his hand the glory of the sky;
  The Weaving Damsel[10] robed him with the effulgence of the stars,
  The wind bore him delicately from the throne of God.
  He swept away the chaff and husks of his generation.
  He roamed over the limits of the earth.
  He clothed all nature with his bright rays,
  The third in the triumvirate of genius.[11]
  His rivals panted after him in vain,
  Dazed by the brilliancy of his light.
  He cursed Buddha: he offended his prince.
  He journeyed far away to the distant south.
  He passed the grave of Shun, and wept over the daughters of Yao.
  The water-god went before him and stilled the waves.
  He drove out the fierce monster as it were a lamb.
  But above, in heaven, there was no music, and God was sad,
  And summoned him to his place beside the Throne.
  And now, with these poor offerings, I salute him;
  With red lichees and yellow plantain fruit.
  Alas, that he did not linger awhile on earth,
  But passed so soon, with streaming hair, into the great unknown.

                            A SOUND CRITIC

In Ssuch`uan there lived a retired scholar, named Tu. He was very fond
of calligraphy and painting, and possessed a large and valuable
collection. Among the rest was a painting of oxen by Tai Sung, which
he regarded as exceptionally precious, and kept in an embroidered case
on a jade-mounted roller. One day he put his treasures out to sun, and
it chanced that a herdboy saw them. Clapping his hands and laughing
loudly, the herdboy shouted out, "Look at the bulls fighting! Bulls
trust to their horns, and keep their tails between their legs, but
here they are fighting with their tails cocked up in the air; that's
wrong!" Mr. Tu smiled, and acknowledged the justice of the criticism.
So truly does the old saying run: For ploughing, go to a ploughman;
for weaving, to a servant-maid.

[1] A sneer at the Governor for trying to commemorate his prosperous
    term of office by the erection of a perishable tower.

[2] Alluding to a certain feudal prince who lavished his revenues upon

[3] Not the spot mentioned in the /San-kuo-chih/, where Chou Y burnt
    Ts`ao Ts`ao's fleet, and where a wall is said to have been
    reddened by the flames. Su Tung-P`o seems himself to have mistaken
    the identity of the place.

[4] "Alas!" says a commentator, "yesterday was the to-day of
    yesterday, and to-morrow will be the to-day of to-morrow." Compare
    Carlyle (/Past and Present/), "To-day becomes yesterday so fast;
    all to-morrows become to-days."

[5] Two mythological allusions.

[6] Dr. Legge, in his translation of Mencius, renders this term by
    "vast, flowing, passion-nature." It is, in fact, untranslatable;
    but what is meant may be easily understood from Wn T`ien-hsiang's
    splendid poem, headed /Divin Particulam Aur/.

[7] Cf. "Sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer."

[8] Alluding to a passage in the /Book of Changes/.

[9] One of the numerous legendary tales of his supernatural power.

[10] The star {alpha} Lyrae.

[11] The other two were Tu Fu and Li T`ai-po (q.v.).

                             WANG AN-SHIH

                            A.D. 1021-1086.

  A scholar, poet, and statesman, popularly known as "the Reformer,"
  in consequence of certain momentous political reforms he was
  enabled temporarily to introduce; the most remarkable being a
  system of compulsory military training for all classes of the
  people. He denounced the /Tao T Ching/, attributed to Lao Tzu
  (q.v.), as "akin to nonsense." In 1104, his tablet was placed in
  the Confucian temple, only, however, to remain there about a
  hundred and forty years, when it was removed.


I have been debarred by illness from writing to you now for some time,
though my thoughts have been with you all the while.

In reply to my last letter wherein I expressed a fear that you were
not progressing with your study of the Canon, I have received several
from you, in all of which you seem to think I meant the Canon of
Buddha, and you are astonished at my recommendation of such pernicious
works. But how could I possibly have intended any other than the Canon
of the sages of China? And for you to have thus missed the point of my
letter is a good illustration of what I meant when I said I feared you
were not progressing with your study of the Canon.

Now a thorough knowledge of our Canon has not been attained by any one
for a very long period. Study of the Canon alone does not suffice for
a thorough knowledge of the Canon. Consequently, I have been myself an
omnivorous reader of books of all kinds, even, for example, of ancient
medical and botanical works. I have moreover dipped into treatises on
agriculture and on needlework, all of which I have found very
profitable in aiding me to seize the great scheme of the Canon itself.
For learning in these days is a totally different pursuit from what it
was in the olden times; and it is now impossible otherwise to get at
the real meaning of our ancient sages.

There was Yang Hsiung. He hated all books that were not orthodox. Yet
he made a wide study of heterodox writers. By force of education he
was enabled to take what of good and to reject what of bad he found in
each. Their pernicious influence was altogether lost on him; while on
the other hand he was prepared the more effectively to elucidate what
we know to be the Truth. Now do you consider that I have been
corrupted by these pernicious influences? If so, you know me not.

No! the pernicious influences of the age are not to be sought for in
the Canon of Buddha. They are to be found in the corruption and vice
of those in high places; in the false and shameless conduct which is
now rife among us. Do you not agree with me?

                           A FALSE ESTIMATE

  The prince of Ch`in held Mng Ch`ang-chn a prisoner, and intended
  to slay him. Meanwhile, Mng Ch`ang-chn sent word to the prince's
  favourite lady, asking her to intercede for him; to which the
  latter replied that if he would give her a certain robe of white
  fox-skin, she would speak on his behalf. Now, it chanced that this
  very robe had already been presented to the prince; but among Mng
  Ch`ang-chn's followers was one who could steal like a dog, and
  this man introduced himself by night into the palace and
  transferred the robe from the prince to the lady. The consequence
  was that Mng Ch`ang-chn was released and fled at once to the
  frontier; while the prince soon repented of his clemency, and sent
  off to recapture his prisoner. When Mng Ch`ang-chn reached the
  pass, the great gate was closed, not to be opened until cock-crow;
  at which he was much alarmed, fearing pursuit, until another of
  his followers, who possessed the art, began to crow like a cock,
  and set off all the cocks of the place crowing too. Thereupon, the
  gate was opened, and they escaped.

All ages have extolled Mng Ch`ang-chn as one who possessed the power
of attracting men of genius to his side, in consequence of which he
was surrounded by such, and availed himself of their skill to escape
from the tiger-clutch of the prince of Ch`in.

Dear me! he was but the leader of cock-crowing, cur-stealing
swashbucklers--men of genius in no sense were they.

Indeed, had his own powerful State included but one single man of
genius, it would have wrested supremacy from the House of Ch`in, and
the opportunity for this cock-crowing, cur-stealing skill would never
have occurred.

Besides, no true man of genius would condescend to associate with
imitators of cocks and dogs.[1]

[1] This brief note is considered to be a veritable gem. One
    commentator says, "Within the space of a hundred words all the
    conditions of a perfect essay are fulfilled."

                              CHOU TUN-I

                           A.D. 1017-1073.

                       THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS

Lovers of flowering plants and shrubs we have had by scores, but T`ao
Yan-ming (q.v.) alone devoted himself to the chrysanthemum. Since the
opening days of the T`ang dynasty, it has been fashionable to admire
the peony; but my favourite is the water-lily. How stainless it rises
from its slimy bed! How modestly it reposes on the clear pool--an
emblem of purity and truth! Symmetrically perfect, its subtle perfume
is wafted far and wide; while there it rests in spotless state,
something to be regarded reverently from a distance, and not to be
profaned by familiar approach.

In my opinion, the chrysanthemum is the flower of retirement and
culture; the peony, the flower of rank and wealth; the water-lily, the
Lady Virtue /sans pareille/.

Alas; few have loved the chrysanthemum since T`ao Yan-ming; and none
now love the water-lily save myself; /whereas the peony is a general
favourite with all mankind/.

                          HUANG T`ING-CHIEN

                           A.D. 1042-1102.

  Ranks as one of the Four Great Scholars of the empire; and in
  consequence of his filial behaviour to his mother, he is placed
  among the twenty-four examples of filial piety.


Hsi K`ang's verses[1] are at once vigorous and purely beautiful,
without a vestige of commonplace about them. Every student of the
poetic art should know them thoroughly, and thus bring the author into
his mind's eye.

Those who are sunk in the cares and anxieties of this world's strife,
even by a passing glance would gain therefrom enough to clear away
some pecks of the cobwebs of mortality. How much more they who
penetrate further and seize each hidden meaning and enjoy its flavour
to the full! Therefore, my nephew, I send you these poems for family
reading, that you may cleanse your heart and solace a weary hour by
their perusal.

As I recently observed to my own young people, the true hero should be
many-sided, but he must not be commonplace. It is impossible to cure
that. Upon which, one of them asked by what characteristics this
absence of the commonplace was distinguished. "It is hard to say," I
replied. "A man who is not commonplace is, under ordinary
circumstances, much like other people. But he who at moments of great
trial does not flinch--he is not commonplace."

A hero may exist in his generation, either as a man of action or as a
man of retirement; he may be inflexible or he may be of gentler mould.
In any case, the above test gives the truest estimate of his value.

[1] A famous painter, poet, and philosopher of the third century of
    our era. As a student of alchemy, he managed to offend one of the
    Imperial princes and was denounced as a dangerous person. He was
    ultimately put to death as a magician and a heretic.

                               LI CHIH

                     11th and 12th Centuries A.D.

  A painter and art-critic who in early life attracted the attention
  and patronage of Su Tung-P`o, who declared that his style was
  "like heaving waves, like flying sand, like rolling rocks." Author
  of the /Hua p`in/, a professedly critical work.

                             ON PICTURES

The colour of old pictures is black, resulting from deposits of dirt
over the original thin wash of ink. Sometimes the picture is
pleasantly impregnated with some ancient perfume. Faked pictures are
mostly made up yellow, but this colour is easily distinguishable from
the dark hue caused by dirt.

No more than three or four pictures by eminent artists should ever be
hung in one room. After these have been enjoyed for four or five days,
others should be substituted. All pictures should occasionally be
brought into the open air, and on no account be exposed to smoke or
damp. If they are exhibited in turn, they will not collect the dust
and dirt, and what is more, you will not get tired of looking at them.
Great care must be exercised in unrolling and rolling them up; and
when they are brought out, they should be lightly flicked over the
surface with a horse-tail or a silk flapper; coir brushes must on no
account be used.

If the personages in a picture, when you look at them, seem to speak;
if flowers and fruit are swayed by the wind and sparkle with dew; if
birds and beasts seem as if they were alive; if hills and streams and
forests and fountains are limpid, reposeful, dark, and distant; if
buildings have depth; if bridges have movement to and fro; if the base
of a hill can be seen below the surface of the clear water at its
foot; and if the sources of the water are made obvious and distinct;--
then, though his name may not be known, the man who paints such
pictures is a great artist.

But if the personages resemble corpses or clay images; if the flowers
and fruit look artificial; if the birds and beats are like, only so
far as plumage and fur; if the characteristics of the landscape are
blurred and indistinct; if the buildings are out of proportion; if the
bridges are out of drawing; if the foot of the hill rests on the top
of the water; and if the streams have no apparent source;--pictures
with such faults as these may be set aside as of no account.

                                YO FEI

                            A.D. 1103-1141.

  A famous military commander who was equally successful, at home in
  suppressing rebellion, and abroad in resisting the encroachments
  of the Tartars. However, the intrigues of a rival, by whose advice
  peace with the Tartars was purchased at the price of half the
  empire, brought him to the sword of the executioner. Posterity has
  avenged him by adopting the hated name of his betrayer as the
  common term for a spittoon.

                             GOOD HORSES

His Majesty asked me one day if I had any good horses; to which I
replied that I used to have two excellent animals. "They ate," I
added, "large quantities of hay and many pecks of beans, daily;
besides drinking each a gallon of spring water. Unless their food was
fresh and clean, they would not touch it. On being mounted, they did
not immediately break into a gallop; but would gradually warm into
eagerness for their work. Between noon and sunset they would cover
some sixty and odd miles; and on removing the saddle they would be
found neither to have lost wind nor to have turned a hair any more
than if they had been doing nothing. Such is the capacity for
endurance in those who are well fed and well treated; who are willing,
but not over-zealous. Unhappily, they both died; and those I have now
do not eat more than a few pints per diem. They are not particular
about either their food or their drink. Before you have fairly got
hold of the bridle, away they go; and then, ere many miles are passed,
they pant and sweat and are like to drop with fatigue. Such is the
jaded condition of those who get little and are easily satisfied, who
are over-eager and are easily exhausted."

His Majesty praised my reply ("but," as one commentator says, "quite
missed the point.")

                              HU CH`AN

                           Died A.D. 1172.

  Statesman and art critic. He first attracted attention in 1129 by
  his answer to a theme set by the Emperor in an oral examination of
  scholars. The theme ran thus: "The way of government has its
  origin in God; the way of God has its origin in the people." We
  are told that his reply ran to over ten thousand words and that
  the Emperor was much astonished, but I can find no record of what
  he said.


There is no branch of painting so difficulty as portrait-painting. It
is not that reproduction of the features is difficult; the difficulty
lies in painting the springs of action hidden in the heart. The face
of a great man may resemble that of a mean man, but their hearts will
not be alike. Therefore, to paint a likeness which does not exhibit
these heart-impulses, leaving it an open question whether the sitter
is a great man or a mean man, is to be unskilled in the art of

                              SUNG TZ`U

                     Middle of 13th Century A.D.

  A scholar who is known for a work entitled "The Washing Away of
  Wrongs." It is a handbook of instructions to coroners; and until
  recent years it was always carried by magistrates to the inquests
  over which they had to preside. Its opening words may perhaps help
  to dispel certain false ideas as to the value of human life in

                     GENERAL REMARKS ON INQUESTS

There is nothing more important than human life; there is no
punishment greater than death. A murderer gives life for life; the law
shows no mercy. If punishment is wrongly inflicted, the mind of the
judge cannot be at peace; therefore, confession and sentence and
entirely dependent on examination showing the wounds to be genuine,--
genuine wounds, with a confession that tallies. Thus, one life given
for one death will cause those who know the law to fear the law, crime
will be less frequent among the people, and human life will enjoy a
more complete protection. If an inquest is not honestly conducted, the
wrong of the murdered man will not be washed away, and new wrongs will
be raised up among the living. One murder leads on to two murders, or
even more; hate and vengeance follow one another, with pitiable
results of which no man can foresee the end.

                           THE DEATH-LIMIT

Murders are rarely the result of premeditation, but can be traced in
the majority of cases to a brawl. The statute which treats of wounding
in a brawl attaches great weight to the death-limit, which means that
the wounded man be handed over to the accused to be taken care of and
provided with medical aid, and that a limit of time be fixed, on the
expiration of which, punishment should be awarded according to
circumstances. Now the relatives of a wounded man, unless their ties
be of the closest, generally desire his death that they may extort
money from his slayer; but the accused wishes him to live that he
himself may escape death, and therefore leaves no means untried to
restore him to health. This institution of the death-limit is a
merciful endeavour to save the lives of both.

                            LO KUAN-CHUNG

                          12th Century A.D.

  The reputed author of the novel based upon the History of the
  Three Kingdoms, of which specimens are given below. Of all Chinese
  works of fiction, this one, largely based upon fact, is
  undoubtedly the prime favourite. It is written in an easy and
  picturesque style, and therefore appeals to a very large circle of
  readers. Many of its episodes have been dramatised, and have thus
  become familiar to audiences drawn from the most unlettered

                      EUNUCHS KIDNAP AN EMPEROR

Through fire and smoke, Chang Jang and Tuan Kuei[1] hurried away the
Emperor[2] and his brother, the Prince. Day and night they travelled
on, until they reached Mt. Mang; then, during the second watch,[3]
they heard behind them a great hubbub of voices, with men and horses
in pursuit. "Stop! you rascally rebels, stop!" cried out in a
stentorian voice an officer who was leading the pursuers; at which,
Chang Jang, seeing it was all up, threw himself into the river and was
drowned. The Emperor and the Prince, not knowing if it was a real
deliverance or not, did not dare to utter a sound but hid themselves
in the long grass by the river side. The mounted soldiers scattered on
all sides to search for them, but failed to discover their hiding-
place. The Emperor and Prince remained concealed until the fourth
watch,[4] when drenched with dew and faint with hunger, they embraced
one another in tears, at the same time muffling their sobs in the
undergrowth lest any one should hear them. At length, the Prince said,
"we cannot stay here much longer; let us seek some way of escape."
They then tied themselves together by their clothes and climbed up the
bank of the river, to find themselves in a tangled mass of brambles,
unable for want of light to see which way to go. They were in despair;
when suddenly a huge cluster of fireflies, giving forth a brilliant
glow, flew round and round the Emperor. "God is helping us brothers!"
cried the Prince; and by following the lead of the fireflies, they by-
and-by reached a road. It was now the fifth watch,[5] and their feet
were so sore that they could walk no more. On the hillside they saw a
heap of straw, in the middle of which they lay down; and over against
this heap of straw there was a wooden shanty, the owner of which had
dreamt that very night of two red suns which had fallen behind his
shanty. Waking up in a fright, he slipped on his clothes and went out
to see if anything had happened. Looking about, he noticed a bright
red glare rising up to the sky from the top of the heap of straw at
the back of his shanty; and on going hurriedly to find out what it
was, he discovered two persons lying alongside the straw. "And you may
you two young fellows be?" he called out; to which he got no answer
from the Emperor, who was afraid to reply; but the Prince pointed at
his brother, saying, "This is his Majesty, the Emperor; there has been
a mutiny of ten of our eunuchs, and he has taken refuge in flight; I
am the Prince, his younger brother." At this, the farmer was greatly
alarmed; and after twice prostrating himself, he said, "Your servant
is the brother of an official who served under the last dynasty, but
being disgusted with the sale of office by the ten eunuchs, and their
bad treatment of worthy men, I retired to this spot." He then assisted
the Emperor into the shanty, and on his knees offered wine and food.
Meanwhile, the officer and his men had pursued and caught Tuan Kuei,
and asked him where the Emperor was; and on being told that the
Emperor had disappeared, without leaving any traces, the officer
immediately beheaded Tuan Kuei and hung the head to his horse's neck,
dispersing his men to search in all directions. He himself rode off
alone, and chance brought him to the farmer's shanty. The farmer,
seeing the decapitated head, enquired whose it might be; and when the
officer had told him the circumstances, sovereign and subject met once
more, to dissolve in bitter tears. "The State cannot be for a single
day without its ruler," said the officer; "I beg your Majesty to
return to the capital." The farmer could only produce one miserable
horse, on which the Emperor mounted, while the Prince rode with the
officer on the other.[6]

                            THE GOD OF WAR[7]

By the loss of two generals, one after the other Ts`ao Ts`ao[8] was
greatly depressed. "Allow me," said one of his staff, "to recommend 
the very man you want;" and on being asked by Ts`ao Ts`ao for the
name, he replied, "The only man for this job is Kuan Y." Ts`ao Ts`ao
was soon convinced, and gladly dispatched a messenger to summon him.
After taking leave of his two sisters-in-law, who begged him to
enquire for news of their Imperial uncle, Kuan Y set out to obey the
summons. Seizing his green-dragon sword, and mounting his hare-brown
charger, accompanied by several followers, he went straight to an
interview with Ts`ao Ts`ao, who told him of the deaths of the two
generals and of the loss of /morale/ in the ranks; also, how Yn
Ch`ang had been invited to a consultation with the enemy.[9] To this,
Kuan Y replied, "Suffer me to see this business through;" upon which
Ts`ao Ts`ao ordered wine and treated him most cordially. Suddenly, it
was announced that the enemy, under General Yen, was preparing an
attack; and Ts`ao Ts`ao took Kuan Y to the top of a hill to
reconnoitre. They sat down, and the other generals stood around them,
while Ts`ao Ts`ao pointed out the position of the enemy, the fresh-
looking splendour of his standards, the dense masses of his spears and
swords, all drawn up in a formidable array. Then he turned to Kuan Y
and said, "You see this powerful force of men and horses . . ." "I
do," answered Kuan Y; "they remind me of a lot of earthen cocks and
pottery dogs." Again Ts`ao Ts`ao pointed and said, "There, under the
standard, with the embroidered robe and golden coat of mail, holding a
sword and standing still on his horse--is General Yen." Kuan T raised
his eyes and looked over in the direction indicated; then he said, "To
me, General Yen looks as if he had stuck up an advertisement for the
sale of his head." "Ah," cried Ts`ao Ts`ao, "you must not underrate
him!" At this, Kuan Y got up and exclaimed, "Although a man of no
ability, I am prepared to go into this ten-thousand-man camp and bring
you back his head as an offering." "There should be no joking on a
battlefield," said one of the staff; "anyhow don't forget that Yn
Ch`ang is there." Kuan Y rushed off at once, and jumping on his
horse, with his sword reversed, galloped down the hill. With round,
glaring, phnix-like eyes, and his silkworm-moth eyebrows raised
straight up, he dashed right among the enemy whose ranks opened like
parting waves, until he reached General Yen himself. The latter, under
his standard, seeing Kuan Y rush forwards, was just about to ask what
he wanted, when the speed of the brown-as-a-hare charger had already
brought Kuan Y alongside of him. General Yen had no time to lay his
hand on his sword before he was knocked off his horse by Yn Ch`ang;
whereupon Kuan Y jumped down, cut off the General's head, hung it
round his horse's neck, remounted in a moment, and with sword drawn
made his way through the enemy's ranks as though no one was there to
stop him. Officers and men were all terrified and a perfect panic
ensued. Ts`ao Ts`ao's troops seized the opportunity for attack, and
slaughtered the enemy in great numbers, besides capturing many horses
and quantities of munitions of war. Kuan Y rode his horse up the
hill, to receive congratulations from the various commanders as he
presented the head to Ts`ao Ts`ao, who exclaimed, "General, you are
indeed no mortal man!"

[1] Eunuchs.

[2] Succeeded A.D. 189, aged 13.

[3] 9 to 11 p.m.

[4] 1 to 3 a.m.

[5] 3 to 5 a.m.

[6] On reaching the capital, the young Emperor was at once deposed by
    his chief Minister, and the still more youthful brother, who had
    shared the above adventure, was set up in his stead. The former
    only reigned for five months, and is not included by Chinese
    historians as an actual occupant of the throne. The brother
    resigned the throne in A.D. 220.

[7] The hero of the above story, Kuan Y, after long and bloody
    campaigns was taken prisoner in A.D. 219 and put to death.
    Posthumously ennobled in the 12th century, in 1594 he was made a
    God; and ever since that date he has been worshipped as the God of
    War, and temples in his honour have been built all over the

[8] One of the leading figures in the wars of the Three Kingdoms,
    whose son became the first Emperor of the short-lived Wei dynasty.
    In his last illness, he is said to have called in the famous
    physician of the day, who diagnosed wind on the brain and offered
    to get rid of this trouble by opening his skull under an
    ansthetic. Fearing treachery, Ts`ao Ts`ao declined the operation.

[9] And was then actually in the enemy's camp.

                               CHU HSI

                           A.D. 1130-1200.

  The most voluminous, and one of the most luminous, of Chinese
  authors. He successfully introduced interpretations of the
  Confucian books, either wholly or partly at variance with those
  which had been put forth by the scholars of the Han dynasty and
  hitherto received as infallible, thus modifying to a certain
  extent the prevailing standard of political and social morality.
  His principle was simply one of consistency. He refused to
  interpret given words in a given passage in one sense, and the
  same words, occurring elsewhere, in another sense. Consequently,
  his are now the only authorised interpretations; and these, in
  spite of the hankerings of a few woolly-headed scholars, are never
  likely to be displaced.

  At Chu Hsi's death, his coffin is said to have taken up a
  suspended position, about three feet from the ground. Whereupon
  his son-in-law, falling on his knees beside the bier, reminded the
  departed spirit of the great principles (anti-supernatural) of
  which it had been such a brilliant exponent in life,--and the
  coffin descended gently to the ground.


It has always been considered first-class work in portrait painting,
even for the most skilful artist, when the result is a likeness, more
or less exact, of the mere features. Such skill is now possessed by
Kuo Kung-ch`n; but what is still more marvellous, he catches the very
expression, and reproduces, as it were, the inmost mind of his model.

I had already heard much of him from a couple of friends; however, on
my sending for him, he did not make his appearance until this year.
Thereupon, a number of the gentlemen of the neighbourhood set
themselves to test his skill. Sometimes the portrait would be perfect;
sometimes perhaps a little less so; but in all cases a marked likeness
was obtained, and in point of expression of individual character the
artist showed powers of a very high order.

I myself sat for two portraits, one large and the other small; and it
was quite a joke to see how accurately he reproduced my coarse ugly
face and my vulgar rustic turn of mind, so that even those who had
only heard of, but had never seen me, knew at once for whom the
portraits were intended.

I was just then about to start on my travels,--eastwards, to the
confines of Shantung, westwards, to the turbid waters of the Tung-
t`ing lake; northwards, to the quiet home of the old recluse, T`ao
Yan-ming;--after which I contemplated retirement from public life.
And I thought how much I should like to bring back with me portraits
of the various great and good, but unknown, men I might be fortunate
enough to meet with on the way. But Kuo's parents were old, and he
could not venture upon such a long journey, for which I felt very
sorry. So at parting, I gave him this document.[1]

                         TAOISM AND BUDDHISM

Taoism was at first confined to purity of life and to inaction. These
were associated with long life and immortality, which by-and-by became
the sole objects of the cult. Nowadays, they have thought it advisable
to adopt a system of magical incantations, and chiefly occupy
themselves with exorcism and prayers for blessings. Thus, two radical
changes have been made. The Taoists have the writings of Lao Tzu and
Chuang Tzu. They neglected these, and the Buddhists stole them for
their own purposes; whereupon the Taoists went off and imitated the
/stras/ of Buddhism. This is just as if the scions of some wealthy
house should be robbed of all their valuables, and then go off and
gather up the old pots and pans belonging to the thieves. Buddhist
books are full of what Buddha said, and Taoist books are similarly
full of what /Tao/ said. Now Buddha was a man, but how does /Tao/
manage to talk? This belief, however, has prevailed for eight or nine
centuries past. Taoism began to Lao Tzu. Its Trinity of the Three Pure
Ones is copied from the Trinity of the Three Persons as taught by
Buddhism. By their trinity the Buddhists mean (1) the spiritual body
(of Buddha), (2) his joyful body (showing Buddha rewarded for his
virtues), and (3) his fleshly body, under which Buddha appears on
earth as a man. The modern schools of Buddhism have divided their
Trinity under three images which are placed side by side, thus
completely missing the true signification (which is Trinity in Unity);
and the adherents of Taoism, wishing to imitate the Buddhists in this
particular, worship Lao Tzu under (another version of) the Three Pure
Ones, namely, (1) as the original revered God, (2) the supreme ruler
/Tao/, and (3) the supreme ruler Lao Tzu (in the flesh). Almighty God
(that is, /T`ien/) is ranked below these three, which is nothing short
of an outrageous usurpation. Moreover, the first two do not represent
the spiritual and joyful bodies of Lao Tzu, and the two images set up
cannot form a Unity with him; while the introduction of the third is
an aggravated copy of the mistake made by the Buddhists. Chuang Tzu
has told us in plain language of the death of Lao Tzu, who must now
be a spirit; how then can he usurp the place of Almighty God? The
doctrines of Buddha and Lao Tzu should be altogether abolished; but if
this is not possible, then only the teachings of Lao Tzu should be
tolerated, all shrines in honour of him, or of his disciples and
various magicians, to be placed under the control of the directors of
Public Worship.

[1] The following most interesting note was written for me by my
    valued friend, Mr. J. B. Coughtrie, an artist well-known in
    Hongkong circles.


    The art of portraiture does not reach a very high standard in
    China, and its professors meet with limited patronage. The
    backward condition in which this branch of art remains is probably
    owing to the fact that the style and taste peculiar to the Chinese
    combine to render a lifelike resemblance impossible, and the
    completed picture unattractive. The artist lays upon his paper a
    flat wash of colour to match the complexion of his sitter, and
    upon this draws a mere map of the features, making no attempt to
    obtain roundness or relief by depicting light and shadows, and
    never by any chance conveying the slightest suggestion of
    animation or expression. The degree of merit accorded to the
    production at this stage depends upon the ease and rapidity with
    which it is seemingly done, a timid highly-wrought face taking
    rank beneath a facile sketchy production, which latter in many
    cases is but the affectation of those qualities obtained slowly
    and with labour. On the drapery the utmost care is bestowed, and
    the sitter is invariably represented in the finest raiment he is
    entitled to wear, and equally invariably with fan in one hand and
    snuff-bottle in the other.

    There is a wide-spread belief that the Chinese object to have
    their portraits taken for superstitious reason; and it is true
    that artists who have visited the country have always failed to
    induce picturesque coolies, peasants, and even beggars, to allow
    themselves to be sketched. The writer, however, has been informed
    that no such superstition really exists, but merely a proud
    objection on the part of the native to be depicted in his rags or
    every-day clothing.

                              TNG CH`UN

                          12th Century A.D.

        Author of the /Hua Chi/ "The Development of Painting."

                           PAINTING BUDDHAS

In India, at the temple of Nalanda, the priests paint many Buddhas,
Bdhisatvas, and Lohans, using the linen of the West. The features of
their Buddhas are very different from Chinese features; the eyes are
larger and the mouths and ears are curiously shaped; the figures wear
girdles and have the right shoulder bare, and are either in sitting or
standing attitudes. The artist begins by drawing the heart, liver,
stomach, lungs, and kidneys, at the back of the picture; on the other
side he paints the figure in colours, using gold or vermilion as a
ground. They object to ox-glue as too noticeable, and take the gum
from peach-trees mixed with the juice of the willow, which is very
strong and clear, but quite unknown in China.

                              KUO JO-HS

                          12th Century A.D.

  From the /T`u hua wn chien chih/ "Record of Observations on
  Drawing and Painting." Its author was an art critic and painter,
  said by Tng Ch`un to be the only artist of his acquaintance who
  could express the soul, as well as the form, of his subject, human
  or otherwise.

                              KOREAN ART

When the Sung dynasty was at the height of its glory, the roads were
thronged with men of foreign nations coming to Court. Of all these the
most cultured and refined were the Koreans, who were gradually
yielding to the influences of the Flowery Land. In matters of manual
skill there was no other people to be compared with them, and they
were remarkably proficient in painting. At one house I saw a coloured
landscape in four rolls; and at another, two rolls containing pictures
of the eight ancient worthies of Korea; while elsewhere I saw a
picture on fine calico of the Heavenly Kings, all being works of
considerable excellence. In 1074 a Korean envoy arrived, bringing
tribute, and also bent upon obtaining specimens of Chinese calligraphy
and painting. He bought up a good many of these, with not more than
ten to twenty per cent. of inferior works, and paid in some cases as
much as 300 ounces of silver. In the winter of 1076 another envoy was
sent with tribute; and being about to take back with him several
painters, he begged leave to be allowed to copy the frescos in the
Hsiang-kuo Temple. This he was permitted to do, and carried away with
him copies of all the frescoes, the men he employed being fairly
skilled in the art. When these envoys came to China they used at their
private audiences folding fans made of duck['s egg] blue paper, on
which were painted pictures of their national heroes, men, women,
horses, landscape, lotus-flowers, tree-birds and water-fowl, all very
cleverly done. Patches of silver were also used for clouds and the
moon, with very charming effect. They called the fans their Dwarf
fans, because the fans came originally from the Dwarf Nation (Japan).

                           WN T`IEN-HSIANG

                            A.D. 1236-1282.

  The famous statesman and patriot, who, when finally held captive
  by Kublai Khan after the complete overthrow of the Sung dynasty,
  calmly faced death rather than own allegiance to the Mongol
  conqueror. The following beautiful /morceau/ was penned in
  captivity, and cannot but fill us with admiration for the hero of
  whom the Chinese may proudly say, "Whatever record leaps to light,
  he shall never be shamed."

                        DIVIN PARTICULAM AUR

There is in the universe an /Aura/ which permeates all things, and
makes them what they are. Below, it shapes forth land and water;
above, the sun and the stars. In man it is called spirit; and there is
nowhere where it is not.

In times of national tranquillity, this spirit lies /perdu/ in the
harmony which prevails. Only at some great crisis is it manifested
widely abroad. And as to these manifestations, those who run may read.
Were there not the fearless and truthful annalists of old?[1] Was
there not the disinterested chivalry of Chang Liang?[2] the unswerving
devotion of Su Wu?[3] Did not Yen Yen[4] say they had headless
generals in his district, but none who surrendered their allegiance?
Was not an emperor's robe splashed with blood that might not be washed
away?[5] And the teeth of Chang Hsn?[6]--the tongue of Yen Hsi?[6]--
the guileless honesty of Kuan Ning,[7] pure as the clearest ice?--the
martial genius of K`ung Ming,[8] the admiration of Gods and men?--the
oath of Tsu T`i?[9]--the tablet dashed in the rebel's face?[10]

Such is this grand and glorious spirit which endureth for all
generations, and which, linked with the sun and moon, knows neither
beginning nor end. The foundation of all that is great and good in
heaven and earth, it is itself born from the everlasting obligations
which are due by man to man.

Alas! the fates were against me: I was without resource. Bound with
fetters, hurried away towards the north, death would have been sweet
indeed; but that boon was refused.

My dungeon is lighted by the will-o'-the-wisp alone: no breath of
spring cheers the murky solitude in which I dwell. The ox and the barb
herd together in one stall: the rooster and the phnix feed together
from one dish. Exposed to mist and dew, I had many times thought to
die; and yet, through the seasons of two revolving years, disease
hovered round me in vain. The dank unhealthy soil to me became
Paradise itself. For there was that within me which misfortune could
not steal away.[11] And so I remained firm, gazing at the white clouds
floating over my head, and bearing in my heart a sorrow boundless as
the sky.

The sun of those dead heroes has long since set; but their record is
before me still. And while the wind whistles under the eaves, I open
my books and read; and lo! in their presence my heart glows with a
borrowed fire.

[1] In allusion to certain murders which were denounced by the
    historiographers of the periods in question.

[2] Who, after setting an Emperor upon the throne, refused all reward,
    and retired into private life. See Ssu-ma Ch`ien /On Chang Liang/.

[3] Held prisoner by the Huns for the space of nineteen years. See Li
    Ling /A Reply/. The reference is to his "credentials," from which
    he never allowed himself to be separated.

[4] In reply to the famous Chang Fei, who took him prisoner, but in
    consequence of this bold answer, spared his life.

[5] The blood of Chi Shao, who died to save his Imperial master's

[6] Killed for their violent language in the presence of rebels by
    whom they had been taken prisoners.

[7] Who faithfully repaid all loans made to him while in exile.

[8] The famous general of the /Story of the Three Kingdoms/.

[9] As he was about to cross the Yellow River with troops in pursuit
    of an enemy--"If I do not succeed in purging the country of these
    men, may my blood flow away like this river!"

[10] By a virtuous official whose loyalty the said rebel was vainly
    striving to undermine.

[11] But there is that within me which shall tire
    Torture and Time; and breathe when I expire:
    Something unearthly.

                               LIU YIN

                           A.D. 1241-1293.

  A promising official who was prevented by failing health from
  rising to eminence. He lived a retired life in a cottage which he
  named "Peace with Culture."


When God made man, he gave him powers to cope with the exigencies of
his environment; and resources within himself, so that he need not be
dependent upon external circumstances [for good or evil].

Thus, in districts where poisons abound, antidotes abound also; and in
others, where malaria prevails, we find such correctives as ginger,
nutmegs, and dog-wood. Again, fish, terrapins, and clams, are the most
wholesome articles of diet in excessively damp climates, where in fact
they are produced. For, if these things were unable to prevail against
their surroundings, they could not possibly thrive where they do;
while the fact that they do so thrive is proof positive that they were
ordained as specifics against those surroundings.

Chu Hsi said, "When God is about to send down calamities upon us, he
first raises up the hero whose genius shall finally prevail against
those calamities." From this point of view, there can be no living man
without his appointed use; nor any state of society which man should
be unable to put right.

                              T`ANG HOU

                          13th Century A.D.

  Art critic and author of the /Hua Lun/ "On Painting." The Emperor
  Hui Tsung, A.D. 1100-1126, mentioned below, was an artist of
  considerable skill, and a liberal patron of art in general.

                          AN IMPERIAL ARTIST

The old masters always had some deep meaning in their pictures, and
never put brush to silk unless dominated by an idea. The Emperor Hui
Tsung painted with his own hand a picture entitled "A Dream Journey to
the Next World." The inhabitants, several thousands in number, were
about half the size of one's little finger. All things in heaven and
earth, and most beautifully executed, were to be found therein,--
cities with their suburbs, palaces, houses, banners, pennants, bells,
drums, beautiful girls, souls of men (/chn tsai), clouds, red glows,
mists, the Milky Way, birds, cattle, dragons, and horses. Gazing at
this picture makes one feel a longing to travel away into space and
forget the world of men. Verily 'tis a marvellous work.

                          PICTURE COLLECTING

In forming collections of pictures, Taoist and Buddhist subjects rank
first, the reason being that the old masters put a great deal of work
into them, wishing to inspire reverence, love, and a fondness for
ceremonial. Next come human figures, which may be used as patterns or
warnings. Then comes landscape with its inexhaustible delights,
followed by flowers, and by horses, which are among divine animals.
Portraits of gentlemen and ladies, and pictures of barbarians, though
very clever, are scarcely adjuncts to intellectual culture. At the
present day collectors of pictures mostly set a high store upon works
by old masters, and despise those of modern times.


                           ? 13th Century.

  From a work entitled /Mn shih hsin y/, or "Chats while Lice-


Two lines from a poem of the T`ang dynasty were once set as a test to
a company of painters. The lines ran thus:

  Some tender sprays of budding green, with a tiny splash of red,--
  A little goes a long way to put spring thoughts in one's head.

All the painters sought for their interpretations in plants and in
hints of the pink blossoms of spring, and all failed alike, with the
single exception of one artist, who produced the picture of a kiosque
on a cliff, faintly seen in a setting of green willows, with a
beautiful girl (dressed according to custom in red) standing up and
leaning on the balustrade.[1] The others admitted their defeat, for
such a picture may really be said to interpret the thought of the

[1] In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of


                           ? 14th Century.

  From a work entitled /Mo k`o hui tsi/ "The Scholar Waves the Yak's

                        THE CAT AND THE PEONY

Ou-yang Hsiu (q.v.) picked up an old picture of a cluster of peonies
with a cat sitting near by. He was quite at a loss to make out its
inner meaning, until a friend who lived next door came in to see it.
"Oh," exclaimed the latter, "the subject is Noon;" and he proceeded to
explain as follows. "You notice," said he, "that the flowers are wide
open and dulled in hue, just as flowers are at midday. Then again, the
pupils of the cat's eyes are like a black thread, as they always are
at that hour. When flowers have dew on them the calyx is contracted
and the hue is fresh; and in the morning and evening the pupils in a
cat's eyes are always round. Thus skilfully is it possible to ferret
out the underlying intentions of the men of old."

                               LIU CHI

                           A.D. 1311-1375.

  For many years a faithful servant of the quondam Buddhist-novice
  Emperor, who at length succeeded in overthrowing the dynasty of
  the Mongols and establishing himself, under the title of Hung Wu,
  as the first ruler of the House of Ming.


When Shao P`ing fell,[1] he repaired to the abode of a famous augur to
ask his fate by means of divination.

"What is it you would enquire about?" asked the latter.

"He who has lain awhile," replied Shao P`ing, "longs to arise. He who
has hidden awhile, longs to come forth. He whose nose is stuffed,
longs to sneeze. And I have heard that that which is over-pent breaks
out at last; that excessive sorrow finds its own relief; that
excessive heat is followed by wind; and that excessive compression
makes its own vent. Thus too, the seasons follow one another with
ceaseless change: one rolls away and another comes on. Yet I have my
doubts, and would fain receive instruction at your hands."

"Sir," said the augur; "after all you have just now stated, pray tell
me what further you would have me divine?"

"The abstruser mysteries," answered Shao P`ing, "I do not pretend to
have penetrated; and would beg you to enlighten me thereon."

"Alas!" cried the augur, "what is there that Heaven can bestow save
that which virtue can obtain? Where is the efficacy of spiritual
beings beyond that with which man has endowed them? The divining-plant
is but a dead stalk; the tortoise-shell a dry bone. They are but
matter like ourselves. And man, the divinest of all things, why does
he not seek wisdom from within, rather than from these grosser stuffs?

"Besides, sir, why not reflect upon the past--that past which gave
birth to this present? Your cracked roof and crumbling walls of to-day
are but the complement of yesterday's lofty towers and spacious halls.
The straggling bramble is but the complement of the shapely garden
tree. The grasshopper and the cicada are but the complement of organs
and flutes; the will-o'-the-wisp and firefly, of gilded lamps and
painted candles. Your endive and watercresses are but the complement
of the elephant-sinews and camel's hump[2] of days by-gone; the maple-
leaf and the rush, of your once rich robes and fine attire. Do not
repine that those who had not such luxuries then, enjoy them now. Do
not be dissatisfied that you who enjoyed them then, have them now no
more. In the space of a day and a night, the flower blooms and dies.
Between spring and autumn things perish and are renewed. Beneath the
roaring cascade a deep pool is found: dark valleys lie at the foot of
high hills. These things you know: what more can divination teach


At Hangchow there lived a costermonger who understood how to keep
oranges a whole year without letting them spoil. His fruit was always
fresh-looking, firm as jade, and of a beautiful golden hue; but inside
--dry as an old cocoon.

One day I asked him, saying, "Are your oranges for altars or
sacrificial purposes, or for show at banquets?[3] Or do you make this
outside display merely to cheat the foolish? as cheat them, you most
outrageously do." "Sir," replied the orangeman, "I have carried on
this trade now for many years. It is my source of livelihood. I sell:
the world buys. And I have yet to learn that you are the only honest
man about, and that I am the only cheat. Perhaps it never struck you
in this light. The bton-bearers of to-day, seated on their tiger
skins, pose as the martial guardians of the State; but what are they
compared with the captains of old? The broad-brimmed, long-robed
ministers of to-day, pose as pillars of the constitution; but have
they the wisdom of our ancient counsellors? Evil doers arise and none
can subdue them. The people are in misery, and none can relieve them.
Clerks are corrupt, and none can restrain them. Laws decay, and none
can renew them. Our officials eat the bread of the State, and know no
shame. They sit in lofty halls, ride fine steeds, drink themselves
drunk with wine, and batten on the richest fare. Which of them but
puts on an awe-inspiring look, a dignified mien?--all gold and gems
without, but dry cocoons within. You pay, sir, no heed to these
things, while you are very particular about my oranges."

I had no answer to make. I retired to ponder over this costermonger's
wit, which reminded me forcibly of "The Wag."[4] Was he really out of
conceit with the age, or only quizzing me in defence of his fruit?

[1] As he did with the Ch`in dynasty (206 B.C.), under which he had
    been Marquis of Tung-ling.

[2] Sc., rich food.

[3] A light touch of nature which seems to prove the kinship of the
    whole human family.

[4] Tung-fang So (q.v.).

                            FANG HSIAO-JU

                           A.D. 1357-1402.

  A Minister of State under Hui Ti, the Emperor who vanished and is
  supposed to have been recognized forty years afterwards by a mole
  on his chin. Refusing to serve under the new Emperor, Yung Lo,
  whose name is connected with the giant encyclopdia, he was cut to
  pieces in the market-place and his family was exterminated.

                     IT IS ALWAYS THE UNEXPECTED

Statesmen who forecast the destinies of an empire, oft-times
concentrate their genius upon the difficult, and neglect the easy.
They provide against likely evils, and disregard combinations which
yield no ground for suspicion. Yet calamity often issues from
neglected quarters, and sedition springs out of circumstances which
have been set aside as trivial. Must this be regarded as due to an
absence of care?--No. It results because the things that man can
provide against are human, while those that elude his vigilance and
overpower his strength are divine.

The Ch`ins obliterated the feudal system and united the empire under
one sway. They saw that the Chou dynasty had been overthrown by the
turbulence of vassal nobles, and therefore they dispersed these over
the land as officers of state responsible to the central government;
trusting that thereby appeal to arms would cease, and the empire be
theirs for ever. But they could not foresee that the founder of the
Hans would arise from the furrowed fields and snatch away the sceptre
from their grasp.

The Hans took warning by the Ch`ins, and re-established feudatory
princes, choosing them from among the members of the Imperial family,
and relying upon their tie of kinship to the throne.[1] Yet the
conflict with the Confederate States was at hand, in consequence of
which the power of the princes was diminished to prevent similar
troubles for the future; when, lo! Wang Mang leaped upon the

Wang Mang took warning by his predecessors, and others, in like
manner, took warning by his fate, each in turn providing against a
recurrence of that which had proved fatal before. And in each case
calamity came upon them from a quarter whence least expected.

The Emperor T`ai Tsung of the T`angs secretly learned that his issue
would be done to death by Wu. He accordingly slew the Wu upon whom his
suspicions fell: but the real Wu was all the time at his side.

The Emperor T`ai Tsu of the Sungs persuaded those who had placed him
upon the throne to retire into private life. He little foresaw that
his descendants would writhe under the barbarian Tartar's yoke.[3]

All the instances above cited include gifted men whose wisdom and
genius overshadowed their generation. They took counsel and provided
against disruption of their empire with the utmost possible care. Yet
misfortune fell upon every one of them, always issuing from some
source where its existence was least suspected. This, because human
wisdom reaches only to human affairs, and cannot touch the divine.
Thus, too, will sickness carry off the children even of the best
doctors, and devils play their pranks in the family of an exorcist.
How is it that these professors who succeed in grappling with the
cases of others, yet fail in treating their own? It is because in
those they confine themselves to the human; in these they would meddle
with the divine.

The men of old knew that it was impossible to provide infallibly
against the convulsions of ages to come. There was no plan, no device,
by which they could hope to prevail; and they refrained accordingly
from vain scheming. They simply strove by the force of Truth and
Virtue to win for themselves the approbation of God; that He, in
reward for their virtuous conduct, might watch over them, as a fond
mother watches over her babes, for ever. Thus, although fools were not
wanting to their posterity,--fools, able to drag an empire to the
dust,--still, the evil day was deferred. This was indeed foresight of
a far-reaching kind.

But he who, regardless of the favour of God, may hope by the light of
his own petty understanding to establish that which shall endure
through all time,--he shall be confounded indeed.

[1] See The Prince of Chung-Shan /Music/.

[2] A famous usurper.

[3] The dynasty of the Mongols, established by Kublai Khan.

                            THE LADY CHANG

                           16th Century A.D.

            Wife of the patriot statesman Yang Chi-Shng.

                        FOR HER HUSBAND'S LIFE

May it please your Majesty,

My husband was chief minister in the Cavalry Department of the Board
of War. Because he advised your Majesty against the establishment of a
tradal mart,[1] hoping to prevent Ch`ou Luan from carrying out his
design, he was condemned only to a mild punishment; and then when the
latter suffered defeat, he was restored to favour and to his former

Thereafter, my husband was for ever seeking to make some return for
the Imperial clemency. He would deprive himself of sleep. He would
abstain from food. All this I saw with my own eyes. By-and-by,
however, he gave ear to some idle rumour of the market-place, and the
old habit came strong upon him. He lost his mental balance. He uttered
wild statements, and again incurred the displeasure of the Throne. Yet
he was not slain forthwith. His punishment was referred to the Board.
He was beaten: he was thrown into prison. Several times he nearly
died. His flesh was hollowed out beneath the scourge: the sinews of
his legs were severed. Blood flowed from him in bowlfuls, splashing
him from head to foot. Confined day and night in a cage, he endured
the utmost misery.

Then our crops failed, and daily food was wanting in our poverty-
stricken home. I strove to earn money by spinning, and worked hard for
the space of three years, during which period the Board twice
addressed the Throne, receiving on each occasion an Imperial rescript
that my husband was to await his fate in gaol. But now, I hear, your
Majesty has determined that my husband shall die, in accordance with
the statutes of the Empire. Die as he may, his eyes will close in
peace with your Majesty, while his soul seeks the realms below.

Yet I know that your Majesty has a humane and kindly heart; and when
the creeping things of the earth,--nay, the very trees and shrubs,--
share in the national tranquillity, it is hard to think that your
Majesty would grudge a pitying glance upon our fallen estate. And
should we be fortunate enough to attract the Imperial favour to our
lowly affairs, that would be joy indeed. But if my husband's crime is
of too deep a dye, I humbly beg that my head may pay the penalty, and
that I be permitted to die for him. Then, from the far-off land of
spirits, myself brandishing spear and shield, I will lead forth an
army of fierce hobgoblins to do battle in your Majesty's behalf, and
thus make some return for this act of Imperial grace.[2]

[1] At the frontier, between China and Tartary, the alleged object of
    which was to keep China supplied with a fine breed of Tartar
    horses. Ch`ou Luan was a statesman and general in favour of the
    project, until complications arose and he was beaten by the
    Tartars in a pitched battle.

[2] Her husband was executed in 1556.

                            THE LADY CHANG

                           16th Century A.D.

  Wife of Shn Shu. Her husband fell a victim to the influence of a
  powerful rival and was imprisoned for fifteen years, being
  liberated (1567) on the fall of his rival through the joint
  petition, given below, by his wife and concubine.

                        IN HER HUSBAND'S STEAD

May it please your Majesty,

My husband was a Censor attached to the Board of Rites. For his folly
in recklessly advising your Majesty, he deserved indeed a thousand
deaths; yet, under the Imperial clemency, he was doomed only to await
his sentence in prison.

Since then, fourteen years have passed away. His aged parents are
still alive, but there are no children in his hall, and the wretched
man has none on whom he can rely. I alone remain--a lodger at an inn,
working day and night at my needle to provide the necessities of life;
encompassed on all sides by difficulties; to whom every day seems a

My father-in-law is eighty-seven years of age. He trembles on the
brink of the grave. He is like a candle in the wind. I have naught
wherewith to nourish him alive, or to honour him when dead. I am a
lone woman. If I tend the one, I lose the other. If I return to my
father-in-law, my husband will die of starvation. If I remain to feed
him, my father-in-law may die at any hour. My husband is a criminal
bound in gaol. He dares give no thought to his home. Yet can it be
that when all living things are rejoicing in life under the wise and
generous rulers of to-day, we alone should taste the cup of poverty
and distress, and find ourselves beyond the pale of universal peace?

Oft, as I think of these things, the desire to die comes upon me; but
I swallow my grief and live on, trusting in providence for some happy
termination, some moistening with the dew of Imperial grace. And now
that my father-in-law is face to face with death; now that my husband
can hardly expect to live--I venture to offer this body as a hostage,
to be bound in prison, while my husband returns to watch over the last
hours of his father. Then, when all is over, he will resume his place
and await your Majesty's pleasure. Thus, my husband will greet his
father once again, and the feelings of father and child will be in
some measure relieved. Thus, I shall give to my father-in-law the
comfort of his son, and the duty of a wife towards her husband will be

[1] "For every word we read," says a commentator, "we shed a tear of
    blood." It is at any rate satisfactory to know that the lady's
    husband was released.

                             TSUNG CH`N

                            16th Century.

  An official who took the highest degree (/chin shih/) at the age
  of twenty and rose, with vicissitudes, to high rank. He is noted
  for his defence of Foochow against the Japanese (circa 1560). He
  opened the west gate, of which he was in charge, as if to admit
  the enemy by treachery; and then his troops and the populace
  attacked the invaders from the top of the wall and slaughtered
  them in great numbers.


I was very glad at this distance to receive your letter which quite
set my mind at rest, together with the present you were so kind as to
add. I thank you very much for your good wishes, and especially for
your thoughtful allusion to my father.

As to what you are pleased to say in reference to official popularity
and fitness for office, I am much obliged by your remarks. Of my
unfitness I am only too well aware; while as to popularity with my
superiors, I am utterly unqualified to secure that boon.

How indeed does an official find favour in the present day with his
chief? Morning and evening he must whip up his horse and go dance
attendance at the great man's door.[1] If the porter refuses to admit
him, then honied words, a coaxing air, and money drawn from the
sleeve, may prevail. The porter takes in his card; but the great man
does not come out. So he waits in the stable among grooms, until his
clothes are charged with the smell; in spite of hunger, in spite of
cold, in spite of a blazing heat. At nightfall, the porter who had
pocketed his money comes forth and says his master is tired and begs
to be excused, and will he call again next day. So he is forced to
come once more as requested. He sits all night in his clothes. At
cock-crow he jumps up, performs his toilette, and gallops off and
knocks at the entrance gate. "Who's there?" shouts the porter angrily;
and when he explains, the porter gets still more angry and begins to
abuse him, saying, "You are in a fine hurry, you are! Do you think my
master sees people at this hour?" Then is the visitor shamed, but has
to swallow his wrath and try to persuade the porter to let him in. And
the porter, another fee to the good, gets up and lets him in; and then
he waits again in the stable as before, until perhaps the great man
comes out and summons him to an audience.

Now, with many an obeisance, he cringes timidly towards the foot of
the dais steps; and when the great man says "Come!" he prostrates
himself twice and remains long without rising. At length he goes up to
offer his present, which the great man refuses. He entreats
acceptance; but in vain. He implores, with many instances; whereupon
the great man bids a servant take it. Then two more prostrations, long
drawn out; after which he arises, and with five or six salutations he
takes his leave.

On going forth, he bows to the porter, saying, "It's all right with
your master. Next time I come you need make no delay." The porter
returns the bow, well pleased with his share in the business.[2]
Meanwhile, our friend springs on his horse, and when he meets an
acquaintance flourishes his whip and cries out, "I have just been with
His Excellency. He treated me very kindly, very kindly indeed." And
then he goes into detail, upon which his friends begin to be more
respectful to him as a /protg/ of His Excellency. The great man
himself says, "So-and-so is a good fellow, a very good fellow indeed;"
upon which the bystanders of course declare that they think so too.[3]

Such is popularity with one's superiors in the present day. Do you
think that I could be as one of these? No! Beyond sending in a
complimentary card at the summer and winter festivals, I do not go
near the great one from one year's end to the other. Even when I pass
their doors I stuff my ears and cover my eyes and gallop quickly past
as if some one was after me. In consequence of this want of breadth, I
am of course no favourite with the authorities; but what care I? There
is a destiny that shapes our ends and it has shaped mine towards the
path of duty alone. For which, no doubt, you think me an ass.

[1] The reader of Juvenal will no doubt be reminded of Satire III--

        quid das, ut Cossum aliquando salutes?
    Ut te respiciat clauso Veiento labello?

[2] Juvenal, Satire III--

        prstare tributa clientes
    Cogimur, et cultis augere peculia servis.

[3] Ibid.--

        rides? majore cachinno
    Concutitur: flet, si lachrymas aspexit amici, etc.

                            WANG TAO-K`UN

                            16th Century.

  Graduated as /chin shih/ in 1547, and distinguished himself as a
  military commander and as a writer.

                            HOW TO GET ON

A retainer was complaining to Po Tzu that no one in the district knew
how to get on.

"You gentlemen," said he, "are like square handles which you would
thrust into the round sockets of your generation. Consequently, there
is not one of you which fits."

"You speak truth," replied Po Tzu; "kindly explain how this is so."

"There are five reasons," said the retainer, "why you are at
loggerheads with the age, as follows:--

"(1) The path to popularity lies straight before you, but you will not
follow it.

"(2) Other men's tongues reach the soft places in the hearts of their
superiors, but your tongues are too short.

"(3) Others eschew fur robes, and approach with bent backs as if their
very clothes were too heavy for them; but you remain as stiff-necked
as planks.

"(4) Others respond even before they are called, and seek to
anticipate the wishes of their superiors; whose enemies, were they the
saints above, would not escape abuse; whose friends, were they
highwaymen and thieves, would be larded over with praise. But you--you
stick at facts, and express opinions adverse to those of your
superiors whom it is your special interest to conciliate.[1]

"(5) Others make for gain as though bent on shooting a pheasant;
watching in secret and letting fly with care, so that nothing escapes
their aim. But you--you hardly bend your bow, or bend it only to miss
the quarry that lies within your reach.

"One of these five failings is like a tumour hanging to you and
impeding your progress in life. How much more all of them!"

"It is indeed as you state," answered Po Tzu. "But would you bid me
cut these tumours away? A man may have a tumour and live. To cut it
off is to die. And life with a tumour is better than death without.
Besides, beauty is a natural gift; and the woman who tried to look
like Hsi Shih only succeeded in frightening people out of their wits
by her ugliness.[2] Now it is my misfortune to have these tumours,
which make me more loathsome even than that woman. Still, I can
always, so to speak, stick to my needle and my cooking-pots and strive
to make my good man happy.[3] There is no occasion for me to proclaim
my ugliness in the market-place."

"Ah, sir," said the retainer, "now I know why there are so many ugly
people about, and so little beauty in the land."

[1] Cf. the well-known--si dixeris stuo, sudat.

[2] Hsi Shih was a famous beauty who made herself even more lovely by
    contracting her brows.

[3] I.e., do my duty.

                              HS HSIEH

                       16th and 17th Centuries.

  Graduated in 1601 as first /Chin shih/, and joined the Han-lin
  College. He was devoted to study, and vowed that if only he might
  attain to a good style, he would jump into the ocean to spread it
  far and wide.


For some years I had possessed an old inkstand, left at my house by a
friend. It came into ordinary use as such, I being unaware that it was
an antique. However, one day a connoisseur told me it was at least a
thousand years old, and urged me to preserve it carefully as a
valuable relic. This I did, but never took any further trouble to
ascertain whether such was actually the case or not. For supposing
that this inkstand really dated from the period assigned, its then
owner must have regarded it simply as an inkstand. He could not have
known that it was destined to survive the wreck of time and come to be
cherished as an antique. And while we prize it now, because it has
descended to us from a distant past, we forget that then, when
antiques were relics of a still earlier period, it could not have been
of any value to antiquarians, themselves the moderns of what is
antiquity to us!

The surging crowd around us thinks of naught but the acquisition of
wealth and material enjoyment, occupied only with the struggle for
place and power. Men lift their skirts and hurry through the mire;
they suffer indignity and feel no sense of shame. And if from out this
mass there arises one spirit purer and simpler than the rest, striving
to tread a nobler path than they, and amusing his leisure, for his own
gratification, with guitars, and books, and pictures and other relics
of olden times,--such a man is indeed a genuine lover of the antique.
He can never be one of the common herd, though the common herd always
affect to admire whatever is admittedly admirable. In the same way,
persons who aim at advancement in their career, will spare no
endeavour to collect the choicest rarities, in order, by such gifts,
to curry favour with their superiors; who, in their turn, will take
pleasure in ostentatious display of their collections of antiquities.
Such is but a specious hankering after antiques, arising simply from a
desire to eclipse one's neighbours. Such men are not genuine lovers of
the antique. Their tastes are those of the common herd after all,
though they make a great show and filch the reputation of true
antiquarians, in the hope of thus distinguishing themselves from their
fellows, ignorant as they are that what they secure is the name alone
without the reality. The man whom I call a genuine antiquarian is he
who studies the writings of the ancients, and strives to form himself
upon their model though unable to greet them in the flesh; who ever
and anon, in his wanderings up and down the long avenue of the past,
lights upon some choice fragment which brings him in an instant face
to face with the immortal dead. Of such enjoyment there is no
satiety.[1] Those who truly love antiquity, love not the things, but
the men of old; since a relic in the present is much what it was in
the past,--a mere thing. And so if it is not to things, but rather to
men, that devotion is due, then even I may aspire to be some day an
antique. Who shall say that centuries hence an antiquarian of the day
may not look up to me as I have looked up to my predecessors? Should I
then neglect myself, and foolishly devote my energies to trifling with

Such is popular enthusiasm in these matters. It is shadow without
substance. But the theme is endless, and I shall therefore content
myself with this passing record of my old inkstand.

[1] Cf.--

    O ye who patiently explore
    The wreck of Herculanean lore,
      What rapture could ye seize!--
    Some Theban fragment, or unroll
    One precious, tender-hearted scroll
      Of pure Simonides.

                              HUAI TSUNG

                            Died A.D. 1644.

  The last Emperor of the Ming dynasty. He made great efforts to
  rule wisely and to free the country from the curse of eunuch
  domination. It was, however, too late. Extra taxation, necessary
  to meet a huge deficit, led to rebellion; a state of anarchy
  prevailed in the provinces; at the capital all was in confusion;
  and on April 9, 1644, Peking fell. On the previous night the
  Emperor, who had refused to flee, tried to kill the eldest
  princess but only cut off her arm.[1] He commanded the Empress to
  commit suicide, and sent his three sons into hiding. At dawn, the
  bell was struck for the Court to assemble, but no one came. His
  Majesty then ascended the small hill in the palace grounds; and
  after having written a final Decree upon the lapel of his coat, he
  hanged himself,[2] as also did one faithful eunuch.


Poor in virtue and of contemptible personality, I have incurred the
wrath of God on high. My Ministers have deceived me. I am ashamed to
meet my ancestors; and therefore I myself take off my crown, and with
my hair covering my face, await dismemberment at the hands of the
rebels. Do not hurt a single one of my people!

[1] She was afterwards killed by the rebels.

[2] His body, together with that of the Empress, was reverently
    encoffined by the Manchus.

                          THE HUNG LOU-MNG

                          17th Century A.D.

  Author unknown. Placed in the Chinese /Index Expurgatorius/ in
  consequence of its denunciation of official abuses. As a novel it
  ranks amongst the greatest of any nation, for originality of plot
  and varied delineation of no fewer than 400 characters. The name
  means "Dream of Red Upper Storeys (q.d. of wealth and power);" but
  it is known to foreigners as "The Dream of the Red Chamber."

                         A POPULAR PHYSICIAN

Just then a maid came in to say that the doctor had arrived, and to
ask her ladyship to take her seat behind the curtain. "What!" cried
her ladyship, "an old woman like me? Why I might easily be the mother
of your prodigy! I am not afraid of him. Don't let down the curtain;
he must see me as I am." So a small table was brought forward and a
pillow placed on it, after which the doctor was called in. He entered
with downcast eyes and made a respectful salutation to her ladyship,
who at once stretched out her hand to rest upon the pillow, while a
stool was arranged for the doctor to sit upon. Holding his head
aside,[1] the doctor felt the pulse for a long time, by-and-by doing
the same with the other hand.[2] He then bowed and retired.

"Her ladyship," said the doctor to some members of the family, "has
nothing the matter with her beyond a slight chill. It is not really
necessary for her to take any medicine. Give her light food and keep
her warm, and she will soon be all right again. I will, however, write
a prescription, and if her ladyship fancies a dose, have it made up
and give it to her; but if she would rather not, well--it will be all
the same in the end."

[1] In order not to look at the patient.

[2] Chinese doctors recognize no fewer than twenty-four varieties of
    pulse, and always test both wrists.

                           THE SACRED EDICT

  In 1671, the great Manchu Emperor, K`ang Hsi, published sixteen
  moral maxims for the guidance of his people, and gave orders for
  these to be read aloud by certain officials on the 1st and 15th of
  each month in every city and town in the empire. In 1724, his son
  and successor, Yung Chng, caused short amplificatory essays on
  these maxims to be written by one hundred of the best scholars of
  the day; and from these were chosen for publication sixteen essays
  which the Emperor decided to be the best. Below will be found the
  seventh of K`ang Hsi's maxims, with its amplification by some
  unknown hand.


We, desiring to improve public morals, must begin by reforming the
heart of man; and in order to reform the heart of man, it is necessary
first of all to place education upon a sound basis.

When man comes into being between Heaven and Earth, there are certain
moral obligations in his daily life, which are for the learned and
simple alike; to seek after the mysterious and to practice strange
arts is not to follow the example of the wise and the worthy.

The /Canon of Changes/ says, "Teach the young in order to bring them
up as they should be; such is the function of the sage." The /Canon of
History/ says, "Without deflection, without unevenness, without
perversity, without one-sidedness,--such was the WAY of the ancient
kings." Both the above have their origin in the true doctrine.

With regard to uninspired books and uncanonical records, such as
startle the age and astonish the vulgar herd, bringing confusion in
their train and preying upon the substance of the people, all these
are heterodox and should be abolished.

You soldiers and people are mostly willing to lead honest lives; but
among you there may be some who have been led astray and who fall
through ignorance into crime. These WE greatly pity.

From of old three sets of doctrines have come down to us, there being,
in addition to Confucianism, the systems of Taoism and Buddhism.

Chu Hsi (q.v.) says, "The teaching of Buddha takes no heed of anything
between Heaven and Earth and the four points of the compass, beyond
cultivation of the heart. The teaching of Lao Tzu aims solely at the
conservation of vitality." Such was the unbiased judgment of Chu Hsi,
and shows what were the original aims of Buddhism and Taoism.

But ever since penniless and homeless rascals have secretly usurped
these names and degraded these cults,--mostly quoting calamities and
blessings, evil fortune and happiness, to aid in circulating their
visionary and baseless talk, beginning by wheedling money out of
people in order to enrich themselves, and ending by bringing men and
women together in meetings for burning incense,--ever since then the
agriculturist and the artisan have neglected their callings, and on
all sides are to be met men whose mouths are full of marvels. What is
even worse, traitorous and evil-disposed persons lie concealed in the
midst, organizing brotherhoods and swearing oaths, meeting at night
and dispersing at dawn, breaking the law and failing in duty,
disturbing society and imposing on the people. The day comes when all
is discovered. They are seized with their accomplices; they are thrown
into prison; and their wives and children are implicated. The head of
the sect is punished most severely of all, and their source of
happiness yields only misfortune. As in the case of the White-Lily and
Smell-Incense sects, all of which may be warnings to you just as is a
cart ahead (which gets overset).

So too those Western doctrines which teach the worship of the Lord of
Heaven are also uncanonical. However, because the men understood
mathematics, the State employed them.[1] It is important for you
people to know this.

Now towards heterodoxy which disturbs the minds of the masses, the law
shows no mercy; and for wizards and their evil tricks the State
provides fixed punishments, the object of OUR Imperial laws being
simply to prevent the people from doing evil and to induce them to be
good, to abolish heterodoxy and to glorify the true doctrine, to keep
from danger and to court repose.

O ye soldiers and people, to take that body which your parents gave
you, born in a peaceful and prosperous age, with clothes to wear and
good to eat, and without troubles of any kind, and yet nevertheless to
befog its ordinary nature and follow evil tendencies, violating the
laws and opposing the authorities of your country,--is not this the
height of folly?

OUR sacred ancestor, the Humane Emperor, refined the people by his
goodness and improved them by his sense of duty; he cultivated the
(Five) Perfections and exhibited the (Five) Virtues. Glorious are the
precepts by which he strove to lead men's hearts aright, yea, most

You soldiers and people should respectfully sympathize with these
Imperial wishes and reverently obey the Holy Doctrine. Drive out
heterodoxy as thought it were robbers, fire, or flood. These last
indeed harm only the body, whereas heterodoxy harms the heart. And the
heart is naturally upright, and with firmness of purpose will not
suffer disturbance.

If in the future your behaviour is correct, all these evil influences
will fail to turn you from the right path; and if within your homes
you are peaceful and obedient, you may meet adversity in such a way as
to change it into a blessing.

Those who serve their parents with piety and their sovereign with
loyalty, and generally fulfil their duties as men, will assuredly
surround themselves with divine favours; while those who seek not what
is beyond their lot, and do not that which is improper to be done, are
sure to meet with prosperity from the spirits.

Do you people attend to your agriculture, and you soldiers to your
military affairs. Rest in the pursuit of cotton and silk and pulse and
corn; follow the great and perfect principles (of Confucianism); there
will then be no need to expel heterodoxy; it will die out of itself!

[1] Adam Schall, Ferdinand, Verbiest, and Matteo Ricci.

                            P`U SUNG-LING

                          17th Century A.D.

  After taking his first or bachelor's degree before he was twenty,
  this now famous writer, popularly known as "Last of the
  Immortals," failed to secure the second and more important degree
  which would have brought him into official life; the reason being
  that he neglected the beaten track of academic study and allowed
  himself to follow his own fancy. His literary output consists of a
  large collection of weird fantastic tales, which might well have
  disappeared but for the extraordinarily beautiful style in which
  they are written,--a style which has been the envy and admiration
  of authors for the past two hundred and forty years. They have
  been translated into English by the present writer under the title
  of "Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio." All that we really
  know about him is given in the document translated below.

                         AUTHOR'S OWN RECORD

"Clad in Wistaria, girdled with ivy:" thus sang Ch` P`ing[1] in his
/Falling into Trouble/. Of ox-headed devils and serpent Gods, he of
the long nails[2] never wearied to tell. Each interprets in his own
way the music of heaven; and whether it be discord or not, depends
upon antecedent causes. As for me, I cannot, with my poor autumn fire-
fly's light, match myself against the hobgoblins of the age. I am but
the dust in the sunbeam, a fit laughing-stock for devils. For my
talents are not those of Kan Pao,[3] elegant explorer of the records
of the Gods; I am rather animated by the spirit of Su Tung-P`o,[4] who
loved to hear men speak of the supernatural. I get people to commit
what they tell me to writing, and subsequently I dress it up in the
form of a story; thus in the lapse of time my friends form all
quarters have supplied me with quantities of material, which, from my
habit of collecting, has grown into a vast pile.[5]

Human beings, I would point out, are not beyond the pale of fixed
laws, and yet there are more remarkable phenomena in their midst than
in the country of those who crop their hair;[6] antiquity is unrolled
before us, and many tales are to be found therein stranger than that
of the nation of Flying Heads.[7] "Irrepressible bursts and luxurious
ease,"[8]--such was always one enthusiastic strain. "For ever
indulging in liberal thought,"[9]--thus spoke another openly without
restraint. Were men like these to open my book, I should be a
laughing-stock to them indeed. At the cross-road men will not listen
to me, and yet I have some knowledge of the three states of existence
spoken of beneath the cliff;[10] neither should the words I utter be
set aside because of him that utters them.[11] When the bow was hung
at my father's door,[12] he dreamed that a sickly-looking Buddhist
priest, but half covered by his stole, entered the chamber. On one of
his breasts was a piece of plaster like a /cash/; and my father,
waking from sleep, found that I, just born, had a similar black patch
on my body. As a child, I was thin and constantly ailing, and unable
to hold my own in the battle of life. Our home was chill and desolate
as a monastery; and working there for my livelihood with my pen, I was
as poor as a priest with his alms-bowl. Often and often I put my hand
to my head and exclaimed, "Surely he who sat with his face to the
wall[13] was myself in a previous state of existence;" and thus I
referred my non-success in this life to the influence of a destiny
surviving from the last. I have been tossed hither and thither in the
direction of the ruling wind, like a flower falling in filthy places;
but the six paths of transmigration[14] are inscrutable indeed, and I
have no right to complain. As it is, midnight finds me with an
expiring lamp, while the wind whistles mournfully without; and over my
cheerless table I piece together my tales, vainly hoping to produce a
sequel to /The Infernal Regions/.[15] With a bumper I stimulate my
pen, yet I only succeed thereby in "venting my excited feeling,"[16]
and as I thus commit my thoughts to writing, truly I am object worthy
of consideration. Alas! I am but the bird that, dreading the winter
frost, finds no shelter in the tree; the autumn insect that chirps to
the moon, and hugs the door for warmth. For where are they who know
me?[17] They are "in the bosky grove and at the frontier pass,"[18]--
wrapped in an impenetrable gloom!

                           RAISING THE DEAD

Mr. T`ang P`ing, who took the highest degree in the year 1661, was
suffering from a protracted illness, when suddenly he felt, as it
were, a warm glow rising from his extremities upwards. By the time it
had reached his knees, his feet were perfectly numb and without
sensation; and before long his knees and the lower part of his body
were similarly affected. Gradually this glow worked its way up until
it attacked his heart, and then some painful moments ensued. Every
single incident of Mr. T`ang's life from his boyhood upwards, no
matter how trivial, seemed to surge through his mind, borne along on
the tide of his heart's blood. At the revival of any virtuous act of
his, he experienced a delicious feeling of peace and calm; but when
any wicked deed passed before his mind, a painful disturbance took
place within him, like oil boiling and fretting in a cauldron. He was
quite unable to describe the pangs he suffered; however, he mentioned
that he could recollect having stolen, when only seven or eight years
old, some young birds from their nest, and having killed them; and for
this alone, he said, boiling blood rushed through his heart during the
space of an ordinary meal-time. Then when all the acts of his life had
passed one after another in panorama before him, the warm glow
proceeded up his throat, and entering the brain, issued out at the top
of his head like smoke from a chimney. By-and-by Mr. T`ang's soul
escaped from his body by the same aperture, and wandered far away,
forgetting all about the tenement it had left behind. Just at that
moment a huge giant came along, and seizing the soul, thrust it into
his sleeve, where it remained cramped and confined, huddled up with a
crowd of others, until existence was almost unbearable. Suddenly Mr.
T`ang reflected that Buddha alone could save him from this horrible
state, and forthwith he began to call on his holy name. At the third
or fourth invocation he fell out of the giant's sleeve, whereupon the
giant picked him up and put him back; but this happened several times,
and at length the giant, wearied of picking him up, let him lie where
he was. The soul lay there for some time, not knowing in which
direction to proceed; however, it soon recollected that the land of
Buddha was in the west, and westwards accordingly it began to shape
its course. In a little while the soul came upon a Buddhist priest
sitting by the roadside, and hastening forwards, respectfully inquired
of him which was the right way. "The Book of Life and Death for
scholars," replied the priest, "is in the hands of the God of
Literature and Confucius; any application must receive the consent of
both." The priest then directed Mr. T`ang on his way, and the latter
journeyed along until he reached a Confucian temple, in which the Sage
was sitting with his face to the south. On hearing his business,
Confucius referred him to the God of Literature; and proceeding
onwards in the direction indicated, Mr. T`ang by-and-by arrived at
what seemed to be the palace of a king, within which sat the God of
Literature precisely as we depict him on earth. "You are an upright
man," replied the God, in reply to Mr. T`ang's prayer, "and are
certainly entitled to a longer span of life; but by this time your
mortal body has become decomposed, and unless you can secure the
assistance of the Bdhisatva, I can give you no aid." So Mr. T`ang set
off once more, and hurried along until he came to a magnificent shrine
standing in a thick grove of tall bamboos; and entering in, he stood
in the presence of the Bdhisatva,[19] on whose head was the
/ushnisha/,[20] whose golden face was round like the full moon, and at
whose side was a green willow-branch bending gracefully over the lip
of a vase. Humbly Mr. T`ang prostrated himself on the ground, and
repeated what Wn Ch`ang had said to him; but the Bdhisatva seemed to
think it would be impossible to grant his request, until one of the
Lohans who stood by cried out. "O Bdhisatva, perform this miracle.
Take earth and make his flesh; take a sprig of willow and make his
bones." Thereupon the Bdhisatva broke off a piece from the willow-
branch in the vase beside him; and pouring a little water on the
ground, he made clay, and casting the whole over Mr. T`ang's soul, he
bade an attendant lead the body back to the place where his coffin
was. At that instant Mr. T`ang's family heard a groan come from within
his coffin; and on rushing to it and helping out the lately deceased
man, they found that he had quite recovered. He had then been dead
seven days.

                           A CHINESE JONAH

A man named Sun Pi-chn was crossing the Yang-tze when a great
thunder-squall broke upon the boat and caused her to toss about
fearfully, to the great terror of all the passengers. Just then, an
angel in golden armour appeared standing upon the clouds above them,
holding in his hand a scroll inscribed with certain words, also
written in gold, which the people on the boat easily made out to be
three in number, namely /Sun Pi-chn/. So, turning at once to their
fellow-traveller, they said to him, "You have evidently incurred the
displeasure of God; get into a boat by yourself and do not involve us
in your punishment." And without giving him time to reply whether he
would do so or not, they hurried him over the side into a small boat
and set him adrift; but when Sun Pi-chn looked back, lo! the vessel
itself had disappeared.[21]

                            CHANG PU-LIANG

A certain trader who was travelling in the province of Chih-li, being
overtaken by a storm of rain and hail, took shelter among some
standing crops by the wayside. There he heard a voice from the sky,
saying, "These are Chang Pu-liang's fields; do not injure his crops!"
The trader began to wonder who this Chang Pu-liang could be, and how,
if he was /pu liang/ (no virtue), he came to be under divine
protection; so when the storm was over and he had reached the
neighbouring village, he made inquiries on the subject and told the
people there what he had heard. The villagers then informed him that
Chang Pu-liang was a very wealthy farmer, who was accustomed every
spring to make loans of grain to the poor of the district, and who was
not too particular about getting back the exact amount he had lent,--
taking in fact whatever they brought him without discussion; hence the
sobriquet of /pu liang/ "no measure" (i.e. the man who doesn't measure
the repayment of his loans).[22] After that, they all proceeded in a
body to the fields, where it was discovered that vast damage had been
done to the crops generally, with the exception of Chang Pu-liang's,
which had escaped uninjured.

[1] A celebrated statesman and poet, 332-295 B.C.

[2] Li Ho, a poet who lived A.D. 791-817, noted also for his small
    waist and joined eyebrows.

[3] 4th century A.D.

[4] The famous statesman, poet, and essayist, A.D. 1036-1101.

[5] The plan adopted by Charles Dickens.

[6] Southern savages of early ages.

[7] A fabulous race, whose heads leave their bodies at night and fly
    off in search of food.

[8] From the poet Wang Pieh, A.D. 648-676.

[9] ? The poet Li Po, d. A.D. 762.

[10] Referring to the story of an old priest who said that these
    states, present, past, and future, bore no relation to eternity.

[11] A Confucian maxim.

[12] A small towel announces the birth of a girl.

[13] Bdhidharma, the Buddhist Patriarch who went as missionary to
    China and died there circa A.D. 535.

[14] Angels, men, demons, hungry devils, brute beasts, and tortured

[15] By Lin I-ch`ing.

[16] From the philosopher, d. 233 B.C.

[17] Confucius said, "Alas! there is no one who knows me (to be what I

[18] That is, non-existent; like Li Po, whom his brother-poet, Tu-Fu,
    saw coming to him in a dream.

[19] One who has fulfilled all the conditions necessary to the
    attainment of Buddhahood and Nirvna, but from charity of heart
    continues voluntarily subject to reincorporation for the benefit
    of mankind.

[20] A fleshy protuberance on the head, which is the distinguishing
    mark of a Buddha.

[21] The point of this story is lost in translation. /Pi-chn/ may
    mean to the ear either "must be struck" or "must be saved," though
    in writing two different characters are used. That the other
    passengers misread /chn/ "to be saved" for /chn/ "to be struck"
    --Sun must be struck--is evident from the catastrophe which
    overtook their vessel, while Sun's little boat rode safely through
    the storm.

[22] The two phrases, "no virtue" and "no measure," are pronounced

                            LAN TING-YAN

                           A.D. 1680-1733.

  Also known as Lan Lu-chou. One of the most attractive writers of
  the Manchus dynasty, especially of State papers and judicial
  records, and known in his day as a just and incorrupt judge. He
  managed however to offend his superiors, and was impeached and
  thrown into prison. From this he was released by order of the
  Emperor, who loaded him with honours and appointed him to be
  Prefect in Canton. He died, however, a month later, of a broken

                      ON THE SOUTHERN BARBARIANS

The barbarians of the south can do no harm to China. The prohibition
against trade should be cancelled and the people allowed to do
business with them, supplying the deficiencies of the Middle Kingdom
from the superabundance of the lands beyond the sea. There should be
no delay in this matter.

Recently, a Lieutenant-Governor of Fukien presented a secret memorial
to the Throne, stating that he suspected the merchants engaged in
foreign trade of selling ships to the barbarians, and that the latter
carried rice away to other countries, which practice might ultimately
become a great loss to China. He also feared that foreign ships were
addicted to piracy, and requested that all native vessels might be
prohibited from going abroad and so lessen the risk of such
calamities. This was but the shallow, narrow-minded opinion of a book-
worm, the limited area of sky which appears to a man sitting at the
bottom of a well! He himself regarded it as the far-reaching foresight
of a statesman, as an excellent plan laid at the feet of his
sovereign;--but he was wrong. His Imperial Majesty K`ang Hsi took it
very much to heart, fearing that there was at any rate some chance of
what he said turning out to be the case. Accordingly, he made
enquiries both among high officials and private individuals; for he
had his suspicions about those statements, and wished to get hold of
some person who was acquainted with the affairs of these distant
peoples, from whom he might learn the actual truth. However, at that
time none of the officials had ever been beyond the seas, and it was
impossible for private individuals to communicate direct with His
Majesty; so that nothing was done and the prohibition came into force,
contrary to His Majesty's intentions. Now only those who are versed in
the affairs of the maritime nations are competent to give an opinion
on the desirability of encouraging their trade. The barbarian
countries beyond the sea are thickly scattered about like stars. Of
all of them Korea is nearest to the holy city (Peking), and there
ceremonies and laws are observed. Of the eastern nations the Japanese
are the fiercest and most important. Beyond Japan there are no
barbarian nations of any magnitude. Descending a little we come to
Lewchow, which consists of a number of islands of different sizes
extending over about two thousand /li/. Their watercourses all debouch
upon the east coast, beyond which there are no other nations. Luzon
and Singapore are among the largest; Brunei, Sulu, Malacca, Indragiri,
Acheen, Johore, Banjermassin, the Carimon islands, and many others,
are all infinitesimally small and not worth mentioning. They have
never dared to entertain bad intentions towards China. Annam and
Southern Cochin-China are connected together, like Kuang-tung and
Kuang-si; and beyond these we have Cambodia, Ligor, Chiya, Patani, and
other nations to the south-west, of all of which Siam is the most
important. To the extreme west there are the red-haired and western
foreigners, a fierce violent lot, quite unlike the other barbarians of
the western islands. Among them there are the English, the Islamists,
the French, the Dutch, the Spaniards, and the Portuguese. These are
all very fierce nations; their ships are strong and do not fear
typhoons; and their guns, powder, and munitions of war generally are
superior to those of China. Their natures are dark, dangerous, and
inscrutable; wherever they go they spy around with a view of seizing
other people's lands. Of all the island barbarians under the heaven
the red-haired barbarians, the western barbarians, and the Japanese
are the three most deadly. Singapore originally belonged to the
Malays, who were in the habit of trading with these red-haired
barbarians. Subsequently, they were ousted by them, and the place
became a barbarian harbour and emporium. Luzon also was a Malay
colony, but because the Catholic religion was permitted there, it fell
similarly into the hands of the western foreigners. During the Ming
dynasty Japan rebelled, and many provinces were overrun by them, so
that even now the people of those parts cannot mention the name of the
robber dwarfs without a shudder. The numerous nations of southern
barbarians have never yet given the slightest cause of trouble to
China: their only business is trade and the circulation of goods. Now
there is no prohibition against trade with Japan or with the red-
haired barbarians, and the Catholic religion of the western foreigners
is spreading all over the land, Canton and Macao being actually open
to them as places of residence; only against these innocent southern
barbarians has a prohibition been put forth which stops all
intercourse with them. This surely requires some investigation. For
the people of Fuhkien and Kuang-tung are very numerous in proportion
to the area they inhabit; and as the land is not sufficient to supply
their wants, some five or six out of every ten look to the sea for a
livelihood. Articles paltry in our estimation acquire the value of
jewels when carried across the sea to these barbarians; all the
dwellers on the seabord send off their trifling embroidery, etc., in
the foreign-going ships for sale, and receive annually from the
barbarians many hundred thousand taels of silver, all of which comes
into China. Thus no small issues depend upon the cancelment of the
prohibition. Before trade with these southerners was stopped the
people of Fuhkien and Kuang-tung were well-to-do, and the scum and
riff raff of their populations went off to try and enrich themselves
among the barbarians. Few remained at home either to starve or to
steal. But since the arrest of commerce, merchandise cannot circulate
and the people daily find it more difficult to support life. The
artisans complain that there is no market for their manufactures; the
traders sigh that they are unable to carry them to those distant
ports. For the four or five thousand taels which it takes to build a
foreign-going junk are tied up in vessels which are rotting in a dock
or upon the now desolate sea-shore. The occupation of these junks is
gone. If put up for sale no purchaser could be found; and breaking
them up to make smaller vessels would be like paring down the beam of
a house to make a peg, or unpicking embroidered work to get a skein of
silk. No one would willingly do that. Besides they hope that some day
the clouds will break and the sun will shine out, that the prohibition
will be repealed and trade go on as before; and the loss of a single
one of these large junks would reduce many families to misery and
ruin. The present destitute state of the seabord population is
entirely due to the stoppage of trade. Those of them who understand
marine work and are accustomed to act as sailors are unable to adapt
themselves to the duties of weight-carriers and earn their living as
ordinary coolies. They prefer the dangers of the sea where piracy
supplies them with their daily food. The rowdies and blackguards have
still less before them. They go off in large numbers to Formosa, and
there rebel against the Imperial Government as they actually did in
the year 1721 under the leadership of Ch`en Fu-shou. It is a principle
that nothing should be left undone which may turn out of the smallest
advantage to the State and to the people; and, similarly, that
everything likely to cause the least detriment to either should be
incontinently cast away. Now to prohibit trade with the southern
foreigners, so far from being advantageous, is very much to the
contrary. Of the seabord population the rich will be made poor, and
the poor, destitute. Their artisans will be changed into loafing
vagabonds, their loafing vagabonds into pirates and robbers. Further,
Fuhkien has no silver mines and is dependent on the barbarians for its
supply of that metal. But since the prohibition none has been
forthcoming, and the result will be some such expedient as paper,
cloth, or leather issue, whereby great mischief will be done. The
advantages of repealing the prohibition would be the circulation of
goods and the absorption of our own bad characters; and thus the
people would have the wherewithal to support their parents and rear
their children. Hence it would follow that a larger revenue would be
yielded by the Customs, and the country enriched by the wealth of the
people. Surely this is no trifling advantage. As to selling their
junks to the barbarians to carry rice out of the country, or cases of
piracy committed by foreigners, such things have hitherto been quite
unknown. To build a foreign-going junk in China costs from seven to
eight thousand taels for a large one, from two to three thousand for a
small one. How much could they get for these? A Chinese trader invests
his money in a junk as a means of enriching himself; he intends to
hand it down to his sons and grandsons. In case he ceases to care
about trading abroad himself, he lets his junks out to somebody else
and pockets so much per annum. He is not likely to wish to sell it.
Besides, the barbarian wood is much stronger than our own; in fact our
merchants buy quantities of it, a mast which costs there only one or
two hundred taels being here worth as much as a thousand. The
barbarians build their vessels much more strongly than we do, putting
a whole tree where we should only use a plank, and where we use nails
of a few inches they use nails of over a foot in length. Truly I do
not think they would be overjoyed to receive our junks as gifts, to
say nothing of paying a heavy price for them. Fuhkien and Kuang-tung
produce but little rice, least of all Fuhkien. The people look to
T`aiwan for the half of their annual supply, or are partly furnished
from Kiang-si and Cheh-kiang. Before the prohibition, a considerable
quantity of rice was sent from the Philippines to Amoy. These
barbarian countries produce plenty of rice and do not look to China
for their supply. The merchants engaged in the foreign trade, being
all men of means, would be hardly likely to risk running counter to
the law; and under any circumstances, seeing they can get four or five
taels per picul for conveying other goods, it is hardly likely they
would accept the comparative trifle they would obtain for carrying
rice, and offend against the law into the bargain. The biggest fool
would scarcely be guilty of this. Hitherto our foreign-going junks
have never been plundered on the high seas. Pirates hang about the
coast and dodge in and out of islands, seldom going farther from land
than two or at most three hundred /li/, for as but few junks go to a
greater distance from land than that, it would only be a waste of
time, to say nothing of their having no anchorage at hand, if it
should chance to come on to blow. The foreign-going junks on the other
hand leave the land thousands of /li/ behind them, and being large
vessels have no fear of the wind and the waves. No pirate junks could
keep up with them. Besides the pirates have a fine field among the
Cheh-kiang and Canton merchant vessels; there is no need for them to
direct their attention to foreign-going junks. And even if they
chanced to fall in with them, their own junks being so small, they
would require a ladder to get up the sides. Pirate junks carry from
twenty to thirty men; these sea-going junks at the very least over a
hundred men. Neither would they wait for a hand to hand fight with the
pirates, but would get to windward of them, and then bear right down
on them and sink their junk. Piracy, therefore, is hardly a sufficient
cause of alarm.

That at the present moment, with His Majesty upon the throne and the
empire at peace, and when all the human race are, as it were, but one
family, we should prohibit trade only with the mild and gentle
foreigners of the south, reflects somewhat upon those officials who
know these things and yet do not speak them. Where is their loyalty,
their patriotism, their care for men from afar and their solicitude
for those who are near, their consideration for the prosperity of the
Chinese people? Insignificant I, can only look on and sigh.

                           AGAINST BUDDHISM

Of all the Eighteen Provinces Cheh-kiang is the one where Buddhist
priests and nuns most abound. In the three prefectures of Hang-chow,
Chia-hsing, and Hu-chow, there cannot be fewer than several tens of
thousands of them, of whom, by the way, not more than one-tenth have
willingly taken the vows. The others have been given to the priests
when quite little, either because their parents were too poor to keep
them, or in return for some act of kindness; and when the children
grow up, they are unable to get free. Buddhist nuns are also in most
cases brought up when children as a means of making a more extensive
show of religion, and are carefully prevented from running away. They
are not given in marriage--the desire for which is more or less
implanted in every human breast, and exists even amongst prophets and
sages. And thus to condemn thousands and ten thousands of human beings
to the dull monotony of the cloister, granting that they strictly keep
their religious vows, is more than sufficient to seriously interfere
with the equilibrium of the universe. Hence floods, famines, and the
like catastrophes; to say nothing of the misdeeds of the nuns in

When Wn Wang came to the throne (1122 B.C.) his first object was the
proper disposition of the sexes, so that there should be no unmarried
maids within, no unattached bachelors without. Thus was the good
Government of that monarch displayed. And it is the duty of those who
occupy high places to see to the due adjustment of the male and female
elements; of those whose functions bring them into closer connexion
with the people, to give their minds to the improvement of our
national manners and customs--duties that should on no account be
allowed to fall into neglect. When I passed through Soochow and
Hangchow I saw many disgraceful advertisements that quite took my
breath away with their barefaced depravity; and the people there told
me that these atrocities were much practised by the denizens of the
cloister, which term is simply another name for houses of ill-fame.
These cloister folk do a great deal of mischief amongst the populace,
wasting the substance of some and robbing others of their good name.
"You, sir," some of the people said to me, "being an official, and it
being your business to look after public morals, will doubtless refuse
to countenance such proceedings. Good government consists of carrying
out the natural wishes of men and women to mate together. A clever man
like you will necessarily pay attention to this."

                  A DEAD BEGGAR GETS A WIFE AND SON[1]

The wife of a man, named Chng, once came before me to complain that
her husband had been driven to commit suicide. She said that she had
been the beadle of a certain village, and that having had some trouble
in collecting taxes from a man, named Hsiao, who withheld his title-
deed and refused to listen to argument, the latter, on the 13th day of
the moon, had collected a number of friends and wrecked the house,
beating her husband so severely that, in despair, he threw himself
into the river and was drowned. She further indicated the spot at
which the body was to be found; and accordingly, though suspecting in
my heart the truth of her story, I had no alternative but to hold the
usual inquest. Her son got the corpse on board a boat and brought it
along, and I proceeded forthwith to make an examination. No wounds
were visible upon it; the fingernails were full of mud and sand--a
sure proof of suicide by drowning--though at the same time I felt
confident that the persons accused, who were all honestly engaged in
trade, would not thus causelessly set upon and beat another man.
Further, deceased had been beadle of the place, and those who
arraigned on this charge of murder had frequently complained on
previous occasions to my predecessor in office, of the depredations of
thieves, with a view to their losses from the beadle; and I, when I
took over the seals, had gone so far as to fix a limit of time within
which the missing articles were to be restored, but without success.
Now, there was this story of attack and suicide; but the flesh on the
face of the dead man was far too decomposed to admit of his
identification, and I also thought it rather strange that no one
should know anything about an affair which had happened eight days
previously, and that there should have been such delay in making the
charge. At the same time, as the inquest was held only eight days
after death, it remained to be shown by the body should be then so far
gone in decomposition as if the man had been dead for a fortnight or
more. On my putting this last question to the prosecutrix, her son
replied that bodies naturally decompose more rapidly in water than
otherwise; and as for the accused, they none of them seemed to have a
word to say for themselves, while mother and son stood there jabbering
away, with their hempen garments and mourning staves, the one
bemoaning the loss of her husband, the other of his father, in such
affecting tones as would have drawn tears from the bystanders even had
they been of iron or of stone. My own conviction was, however,
unfavourable to their case, and I bade them go along home and bury the
body themselves. At this, there was a general expression of
astonishment; and then I called the accused and said to them, "Chng
is not dead; can you not manage to arrest him?" They all declared that
they "didn't know;" whereupon I railed at them, saying, "What! you
can't find out the affairs of those who live in the same village and
draw from the same well as yourselves? This indolent careless
behaviour is perfectly amazing. It's all very well to be callous when
other people are concerned; but now that you stand charged with this
murder and your own necks are in peril, it being my duty to commit you
to prison, do you mean to tell me that you are willing to take the
consequences?" The accused men then burst into tears, and implored me
to save them; to which I replied, "Here is this man Chng, who was
formerly an accomplice of thieves, alarmed by my appointment to
office, disappears from the scene. Now, your cities of refuge are
confined to some half-dozen or so; and if you separate and go to them
in search of the missing man, I have no doubt but that you will find
him." Three days passed away, when back came one of them with Chng,
whom he had caught at the city of Hui-lai. They were followed y a
large crowd of several thousand persons, who clapped their hands and
seemed much amused; among them being the mother and son, overwhelmed
with shame, and grovelling in the dust before me. I made the latter
tell me the name of the legal adviser who had egged them on to act
thus, and I punished all three according to the law and to the great
delight of the inhabitants of the district. As for the corpse, it was
that of a drowned beggar, and no one came forward to claim it.
However, as the pretended wife and son had worn sackcloth and carried
funeral staves, interring the body with every outward demonstration of
respect, the beggar's soul must have had a good laugh over the whole
affair down in the realms below.

[1] This is the record of an actual case.

                      VISITS TO STRANGE NATIONS

                          17th Century A.D.

  The following extracts from the /Ching Hua Yan/ give an imaginary
  account of some portions of the travels of a party of friends,
  undertaken in the year A.D. 684 as a protest against the frivolous
  and aggressive policy of the then reigning Empress, coupled with a
  strong flavour of commercial enterprise. They are included in this
  volume not because of any grace of style in the original text, but
  as specimens of literature akin to such works as "Gulliver's
  Travels," though lacking the philosophic motive which underlies
  Swift's work.

                       THE COUNTRY OF GENTLEMEN

  Imagine that, instead of preferring to buy things at low prices,
  men habitually preferred to give high prices for them; and imagine
  that, conversely, sellers rejoiced in getting low prices, instead
  of high ones.--Herbert Spencer.

They sailed along for many days until they arrived at the Country of
Gentlemen, where they went on shore and proceeded at once to the
capital city. There, over the city gate, T`ang and his companions read
the following legend:--

  Virtue is man's only jewel!

They then entered the city, which they found to be a busy and
prosperous mart, the inhabitants all talking the Chinese language.
Accordingly, T`ang accosted one of the passers-by and asked him how it
was his nation had become so famous for politeness and consideration
of others; but to his great astonishment the man did not understand
the meaning of his question. T`ang then asked him why this land was
called the Country of Gentlemen, to which he likewise replied that he
did not know. Several other persons of whom they enquired giving
similar answers, the venerable To[1] remarked that the term had
undoubtedly been adopted by the inhabitants of adjacent countries, in
consequence of the polite manners and considerate behaviour of these
people. "For," said he, "the very labourers in the fields and foot-
passengers in the streets step aside to make room for one another.
High and low, rich and poor, mutually respect each other's feelings
with reference to the wealth or social state of either; and this is
after all the essence of what constitutes the true gentleman."

"In that case," cried T`ang, "let us not hurry on, but rather improve
ourselves by observing the ways and customs of this people."

By-and-by they arrived at the market-place, where they saw an official
servant[2] standing at a stall engaged in making purchases. He was
holding in his hand the articles he wished to buy and was saying to
the owner of the stall, "Just reflect a moment, Sir, how impossible it
would be for me to take these excellent goods at the absurdly low
price you are asking. If you will oblige me by doubling the amount, I
shall do myself the honour of accepting them; otherwise, I cannot but
feel that you are unwilling to do business with me to-day."

"How very funny!" whispered T`ang to his friends. "Here now is quite a
different custom from ours, where the buyer invariably tries to beat
down the seller, and the seller to run up the price of his goods as
high as possible. This certainly looks like the 'consideration for
others' of which we spoke just now."

The man at the stall here replied, "Your wish, Sir, should be law to
me, I know; but the fact is I am already overwhelmed with shame at the
high price I have ventured to name. Besides I do not profess to adhere
rigidly to 'marked prices,' which is a mere trick of the trade; and
consequently it should be the aim of every purchaser to make me lower
my terms to the very smallest figure. You, on the contrary, are trying
to raise the price to an exorbitant figure; and although I fully
appreciate your kindness in that respect, I must really ask you to
seek what you require at some other establishment. It is quite
impossible for me to execute your commands."

T`ang was again expressing his astonishment at this extraordinary
reversal of the platitudes of trade when the would-be purchaser
replied, "For you, Sir, to ask such a low sum for these first-class
goods and then to turn round and accuse me of over-considering your
interests, is indeed a sad breach of etiquette. Trade could not be
carried on at all if all the advantages were on one side and the
losses on the other; neither am I more devoid of brains than the
ordinary run of people that I should fail to understand this principle
and let you catch me in a trap."

So they went on wrangling and jangling, the stall-keeper refusing to
charge any more and the runner insisting on paying his own price,
until the latter made a show of yielding and put down the full sum
demanded on the counter, but took only half the goods. Of course the
stall-keeper would not consent to this, and they would both have
fallen back upon their original positions had not two old gentlemen
who happened to be passing stepped aside and arranged the matter for
them by deciding that the runner was to pay the full price but to
receive only four-fifths of the goods.

T`ang and his companions walked on in silence, meditating upon the
strange scene they had just witnessed; but they had not gone many
steps when they came across a soldier[3] similarly engaged in buying
things at an open shop window. He was saying, "When I asked the price
of these goods, you, Sir, begged me to take them at my own valuation;
but now that I am willing to do so, you complain of the large sum I
offer, whereas the truth is that it is actually very much below their
real value. Do not treat me thus unfairly."

"It is not for me, Sir," replied the shop-keeper, "to demand a price
for my own goods; my duty is to leave that entirely to you. But the
fact is that these goods are old stock and are not even the best of
their kind; you would do much better at another shop. However, let us
say half what you are good enough to offer; even then I feel I shall
be taking a great deal too much: I could not think, Sir, of parting
with my goods at your price."

"What is that you are saying, Sir?" cried the soldier. "Although not
in the trade myself I can tell superior from inferior articles and am
not likely to mistake one for the other. And to pay a low price for a
good article is simply another way of taking money out of a man's

"Sir," retorted the shop-keeper, "if you are such a stickler for
justice as that, let us say half the price you first mentioned, and
the goods are yours. If you object to that, I must ask you to take
your custom elsewhere. You will then find that I am not imposing on

The soldier at first stuck to his text, but seeing that the shop-
keeper was not inclined to give way, he laid down the sum named and
began to take his goods, picking out the very worst he could find.
Here, however, the shop-keeper interposed, saying, "Excuse me, Sir,
but you are taking all the bad ones. It is doubtless very kind of you
to leave the best for me; but if all men were like you, there would be
a general collapse of trade."

"Sir," replied the soldier, "As you insist on accepting only half the
value of the goods, there is no course open to me but to choose
inferior articles. Besides, as a matter of act the best kind will not
answer my purpose so well as the second or third best; and although I
fully recognise your good intentions, I must really ask to be allowed
to please myself."

"There is no objection, Sir," said the shop-keeper, "to your pleasing
yourself; but low-class goods are sold at a low price and do not
command the same rates as superior articles.

Thus they went on bandying arguments for a long time without coming to
any definite agreement, until at last the soldier picked up the things
he had chosen and tried to make off with them. The bystanders,
however, all cried shame upon him and said he was a downright cheat,
so that he was ultimately obliged to take some of the best kind and
some of the inferior kind and put an end to the altercation.

A little farther on our travellers saw a countryman who had just paid
the price of some purchases he had succeeded in making, and was
hurrying away with them, when the shop-keeper called after him, "Sir!
Sir! you have paid me by mistake in finer silver than we are
accustomed to use here, and I have allowed you a considerable discount
in consequence. Of course this is a mere trifle to a gentleman of your
rank and position, but still for my own sake I must ask leave to make
it all right with you."

"Pray don't mention such a small matter," replied the countryman, "but
oblige me by putting the amount to my credit for use at a future date
when I come again to buy some more of your excellent wares."

"No, no," answered the shop-keeper, "you don't catch old birds with
chaff. That trick was played upon me last year by another gentleman,
and to this day I have never set eyes upon him again, though I have
made every endeavour to find out his whereabouts. As it is, I can now
only look forward to repaying him in the next life; but if I let you
take me in the same way, why, when the next life comes and I am
changed, may be into a horse or a donkey, I shall have quite enough to
do to find him, and your debt will go dragging on till the life after
that. No, no, there is no time like the present; hereafter I might
very likely forget what was the exact sum I owed you."

They continued to argue the point until the countryman consented to
accept a trifle as a set-off against the fineness of his silver and
went away with the goods, the shop-keeper bawling after him as long as
he was in sight that he had sold him inferior articles at a high rate
and was positively defrauding him of his money. The countryman,
however, got clear away, and the shop-keeper returned to his grumbling
at the iniquity of the age. Just then a beggar happened to pass, and
so in anger at having been compelled to take more than his due he
handed him the difference. "Who knows," said he, "but that the present
misery of this poor fellow may be retribution for overcharging people
in a former life?"

"Ah," said T`ang, when he had witnessed the finale of this little
drama, "truly this is the behaviour of gentlemen!"

                       THE COUNTRY OF GREAT MEN

A voyage of a few days brought them to the Country of Great Men, where
they would hardly have landed but for T`ang's curiosity to see a
people who he had heard used clouds as a means of locomotion. The
omniscient To explained that the city lay at some distance from the
shore behind a range of hills, and that it would be absolutely
necessary to get as far as that if they wanted to see anything of the
manners and customs of the people. So they set off to walk, meeting on
the way a few people moving about on clouds of different colours about
half a foot from the ground, but they soon lost themselves in a
perfect labyrinth of paths and did not know which way to turn. Luckily
they spied out a small temple hidden in a grove of waving bamboos, and
were on the point of knocking for admittance, when out came an old man
of ordinary appearance, riding on a cloud, with a stoup of wine in one
hand and a lump of pork in the other.[4] On seeing the strangers he
turned back and put down the pork and wine, returning at once with a
smile on his face to welcome them to his "rush hut." T`ang made him a
low bow and enquired what might be the name of the temple. He replied
that it was sacred to the goddess of mercy and that he was the
officiating priest. The trader Lin opened his eyes at this and said,
"But, my venerable Sir, how comes it then that you do not shave your
head? And may we presume that there is a lady inside for whom you were
about to prepare the work and wine we saw just now?"

"There is, indeed, a lady within," replied the priest, "but she is
merely the insignificant wife of your humble slave. She and I have
lived here ever since we were children, burning incense and candles
daily before the shrine. For our countrymen, hearing that China during
the Han dynasty had accepted the Law of Buddha and that priests and
nuns with shaven heads had become quite common there, determined to
adopt the same religion, dispensing however with the usual monastic

The old priest then asked them whence they came, and on learning that
they had just arrived from China became anxious to shew them some
hospitality; but T`ang prayed him to excuse them, urging that they
wished to hurry on to the city. He then added, "May I ask what is the
explanation of the clouds I see underneath the feet of the inhabitants
of this country? Are you born with them?"

"Sir," answered the old priest, "these clouds are perfectly
independent of the will of the individuals to whom they are attached.
Their colour varies, and also changes, with the disposition of each
particular person. The best clouds to have are striped like a rainbow;
yellow is the second best, and black is the worst of all." T`ang then
begged him to point out the way to the city, which he did, and our
travellers forthwith proceeded on their way thither. At length they
arrived, but found nothing very different from what they had
previously seen in the Country of Gentlemen, except that all the
inhabitants were moving about on clouds of various hues, green, red,
yellow, blue, and black. Amongst others they noticed a filthy beggar
riding on a striped or rainbow cloud; whereupon T`ang remarked, "Why,
the priest told us that the striped cloud was the best of all, and
here is a dirty beggar with one!"

"Don't you recollect," said Lin, "that the wine-bibbing, meat eating,
wife-marrying ascetic had a striped cloud himself? You may be pretty
sure that neither of them are men of very distinguished virtue."

"When I was here before," explained To, "I heard that the colour of a
man's cloud was quite independent of his wishes, being regulated
entirely by his natural disposition and actions, so that virtuous
people shew good colours and wicked people bad ones whether they like
or not; and that nothing short of change of disposition and conduct
can possibly alter the hue of any man's cloud. Thus it happens that
persons of high rank are sometimes seen on black clouds, while their
poorer and humbler neighbours ride about on clouds of the very best
colours. As it is, I would have you notice very few--scarcely two in a
hundred--are seen on black clouds. For such are held in universal
detestation by their fellow-countrymen, who avoid contact with them as
much as they can; whereas, on the other hand, nothing gives more
pleasure to the inhabitants of this region than the sight of a kindly
and benevolent act. Neither are they always striving to get the better
of one another, and therefore the people of the adjacent nations have
named this the country of great men; not meaning thereby that
physically speaking they are greater than the usual run of human
beings, but that they are a high-minded and virtuous race."

While they were thus talking, the people in the streets began to fall
back to either side, leaving a clear passage in the middle; and by-
and-by they saw an official pass in great state with his red umbrella,
gongs, tablets, and other instrumental parts of his dignity, besides
hosts of attendants on clouds of various hues. They noticed, however,
that his own cloud was scrupulously concealed by a valance of red silk
so that its colour could not possibly be seen; whereupon T`ang
observed, "Of course the high officials of this country have no need
for horses or sedan-chairs, provided as they are with these convenient
clouds upon which they can move about at their pleasure; but I should
like to know why this gentleman keeps his cloud covered up in such a
mysterious manner."

"Well," replied To, "the fact is that he, like too many others of his
class, has a cloud of a peculiar colour. It is not exactly black but
more of an ashen hue, shewing thereby that his hands are not nearly so
clean as they ought to be. For although he puts on all the appearance
of a virtuous member of society and conceals his misdeeds from the
world at large, yet he cannot control his cloud which takes its hue
from the real working of his inmost mind. Consequently, he covers it
up; but he might as well 'stuff his ears' and 'ring a bell' for all
the good that can do him. Other people will hear the bell if he
doesn't. Nothing on earth will change the colour of that cloud of his
except a conscientious repentance and a thorough reformation of
character. Besides there is every danger of the truth becoming bruited
abroad, and then he is a lost man. Not only would he be severely
punished by the king of the country, but he would further be shunned
on all sides as a degraded and dishonourable man."

"Great God!" cried the trader Lin, "how unjust are thy ways."

"Why say you so?" asked T`ang of his uncle, "and to what may you be
particularly alluding?"

"I say so," replied Lin, "inasmuch as I see these clouds confined to
this nation. How useful it would be in our country to have some such
infallible means of distinguishing the good from the bad. For if every
wicked man carried about, so to speak, his own shop-sign with him
wherever he went, surely this would act as a powerful deterrent from

"My dear friend," said the aged To, "though the wicked in our part of
the world carry about with them no tell-tale cloud, there is
nevertheless a blackness in their looks by which you may know the
colour of their hearts."

"That may be so," answered Lin, "but I for one am unable to perceive
whether the blackness is there or not."

"/You/ may not detect it," retorted To, "but God does, and deals out
rewards and punishments accordingly."

"Sir," said Lin, "I will take your word for it;"--and there the
discussion ended.

[1] A /sobriquet/ meaning "Much," and referring to the old man's

[2] A class very much dreaded by shop-keepers in China, for their
    avarice and extortion. Usually called "runners."

[3] If possible a more deadly foe to the Chinese tradesmen than the
    runners above mentioned. These ill-paid, and consequently brutal,
    vagabonds used to think nothing of snatching pastry or fruit from
    the costermongers' stalls as they walked along the streets. Hence
    the delicacy of our author's satire, which is necessarily somewhat
    lost upon foreign readers.

[4] Evidencing a gross breach of the rule pasted at the door of every
    Buddhist temple--

      No wine or meat shall enter here!

                               YAN MEI

                           A.D. 1715-1797.

  An official who got into trouble with his superiors and went into
  retirement at the early age of 40. Chiefly known as a poet, he
  wrote prose in a fascinating style, and his witty and amusing
  letters are widely read. He also composed a famous cookery-book,
  which amply entitles him to be regarded as the Brillat-Savarin of

                          THE ART OF DINING

Everything has its own original constitution, just as each man has
certain natural characteristics. If a man's natural abilities are of a
low order, Confucius and Mencius themselves would teach him to no
purpose. And if an article of food is in itself bad, the greatest
/chef/ of all ages could not cook a flavour into it.

A ham is a ham; but in point of goodness two hams will be as widely
separated as sea and sky. A mackerel is a mackerel; but in point of
excellence two mackerel will differ as much as ice and live coals. And
other things in the same way. So that the credit of a good dinner
should be divided between the cook and the steward,--forty per cent.
to the steward, and sixty per cent. to the cook. Cookery is like
matrimony. Two things served together should match. Clear should go
with clear, thick with thick, hard with hard, and soft with soft. I
have known people mix grated lobster with birds'-nest, and mint with
chicken or pork! The cooks of to-day think nothing of mixing in one
soup the meat of chicken, duck, pig, and goose. But these chickens,
ducks, pigs, and geese, have doubtless souls; and these souls will
most certainly file plaints in the next world as to the way they have
been treated in this.

Let salt food come first, and afterwards food of a more negative
flavour. Let the heavy precede the light. Let dry dishes precede those
with gravy. No flavour should dominate. If a guest eats his fill of
savouries, his stomach will be fatigued. Salt flavours must be
relieved by bitter or hot-tasting foods, in order to restore the
palate. Too much wine will make the stomach dull. Sour or sweet food
will be required to rouse it again into vigour. In winter we should
eat beef and mutton; in summer dried and preserved meats. As for
condiments, mustard belongs specially to summer; pepper to winter.

/Don't eat with your ears!/ By this I mean do not aim at having
extraordinary out-of-the-way foods, just to astonish your guests. For
that is to eat with the ears, not with the mouth. Beancurd, if good,
is actually nicer than birds'-nest.[1] And better than sea-slugs
(/bche-de-mer/), if not first-rate, is a dish of bamboo shoots. The
chicken, the pig, the fish, the duck,--these are the four heroes of
the table. Sea-slugs and birds'-nest have no characteristic flavours
of their own. They are but usurpers in the house. I once dined with a
friend who gave us birds'-nest in bowls more like vats, holding each
about four ounces of the plain-boiled article. The other guests
applauded vigorously, but I smiled and said, "I came here to eat
birds'-nest, not to take delivery of it wholesale."

/Don't eat with your eyes!/ By this I mean do not cover the table with
innumerable dishes and multiply courses indefinitely. For this is to
eat with the eyes, not with the mouth.

To know right from wrong, a man must be sober. And only a sober man
can distinguish good flavours from bad. It has been well said that
words are inadequate to describe the various shades of taste. How much
less then must a stuttering sot be able to appreciate them!

To make good tea, the water must be poured on at the moment of
boiling. If allowed to go on boiling, the water will lose its flavour.
If the water is allowed to go off the boil, the tea-leaves will float.

I am not much of a wine-drinker, but this makes me all the more
particular. Wine is like scholarship. It ripens with age, and it is
best from a fresh-opened jar. "The top of the wine-jar, the bottom of
the tea-pot," as the saying has it.


I have received a copy of your book, entitled "Some difficult points
in the Annals," which I regard as a specimen of accurate scholarship.
Based upon the works of Tan Chu and Chao K`uang, it certainly
surpasses both of them; and as for the work of Hu An-ting, the less
said the better. Nevertheless, my humble opinion, with which I
invariably end up, is that the book we know as the Annals of Lu is not
the work of Confucius.

Confucius said of himself,[3] "I edited, but did not write,"--the
writing of the Annals being the business of the official
historiographers. Now Confucius was not an official historiographer,
and "he who does not hold an office cannot direct its
administration."[3] How could he usurp the function of the
historiographers, and without authority do their work for them? There
is the saying, "By the Annals I shall be known, by the Annals I shall
be blamed,"[4] as though Confucius was taking up the attitude of an
uncrowned king, which not only the Master himself would not have done,
but which the Prince and his Ministers, and the official
historiographers, would not have tolerated. Further, Confucius said,
"What I have written, I have written; what I have cut out, I have cut
out. Tzu-yu and Tzu-hsia cannot add a single phrase;"[5] yet though he
laid down his pen at the capture of the /ch`i lin/,[6] the Annals
continued to be written from the 14th to the 16th year of Duke Ai,
when Confucius died and the record came to an end. Whose pen was it
that provided the Annals of those three years? Whose were the
additions? From this it is clear that the Lu State had its own
historiographers, and that the preservation or loss of its Annals had
nothing to do with Confucius.

Of all books in which we can put our trust, there is none like the
"Discourses." It contains the teachings of the Sage; and taken
together with the Canons of History, Poetry, the Book of Rites, and
the Canon of Changes,--in regard to which last Confucius said that
were his life prolonged for fifty years, he would devote them all to
its study,--it may be said that not one of these works makes the
slightest reference to the Annals.

When Han Hsan-tzu was invited to the Lu State, he saw the Canon of
Changes with its diagrams, and also, the Annals. In the "Records of
the Ch`u State" we read of Shn Shu-shih, tutor to the Heir Apparent
of King Chuang, teaching his pupils the Annals and in the "Records of
the Chin State" we read of Yang-sh Hsi being celebrated for his
familiarity with the Annals. That is to say, before the age of
Confucius all the various States had for a long period written Annals
of their own.

There is a possibility that Confucius, on his return from Wei to Lu,
in moments spared from his work on the "Odes," may have read the
Annals and perhaps have made some improvements. Whether Kung-yuang or
Ku-liang[7] quoted from the unimproved text or not, we cannot know;
what is certain is that Confucius did no "writing."

[1] Juvenal, too, contends that "magis illa juvant quae pluris

[2] See under K`ung Fu-tzu (Confucius). It was Mencius who first
    attributed these Annals to Confucius, and he makes the Master say,
    "By these Annals alone will men know me; by these Annals alone
    will men blame me." They were written at a time when morality was
    at a low ebb, and their object was, as Ssu-ma Ch`ien tells us, to
    frighten rebellious Ministers and unfilial sons. They are known to
    the Chinese by the picturesque name of "Springs and Autumns,"
    which means nothing more than "Annals," a more convenient term.

[3] Thus recorded in the "Discourses."

[4] Condensed here in the Chinese to four words, "Know me, blame me,"
    which could only be understood by those familiar with the
    quotation given above.

[5] The authority is the historian, Ssu-ma Ch`ien (q.v.).

[6] A fabulous animal, known to collectors of curios as the /kylin/.
    It was regarded as an evil omen, and Confucius announced that his
    own end was at hand. Two years later he died (479 B.C.).

[7] Two writers of commentaries on the Annals of Lu. Inasmuch as their
    works were not committed to writing until perhaps two hundred
    years after the death of Confucius, their value is reduced
    considerably. Specimens of both have been given.

                              CHANG KNG

                           18th Century A.D.

  Author of the /Kuo ch`ao ch`ng lu/, published in 1739, a
  collection of short biographies of one hundred and thirty artists,
  exclusive of nine Buddhist priests, one Taoist priest, and ten
  women, followed by a supplement containing lives of seventy-two
  more artists, exclusive of six Buddhist priests and twelve women.
  The "Chiao," mentioned below, is Chiao Ping-chn, who painted
  "according to the method of western foreigners," and reproduced,
  with improved perspective, the pictures entitled "Agriculture and
  Weaving," by Liu Sung-nien (A.D. 1195-1224).


Under the Ming dynasty there was Li Ma-tou (Matteo Ricci), a native of
Europe, who, being able to speak Chinese, came to the southern capital
(Nanking) and lived in the western camp at the Chng-yang gate. He
painted a picture of the Pope, and depicted a woman holding a little
child, declaring that this last was a representation of God. The
projection and colouring of these were very fascination; and the
artist himself maintained that the Chinese could only paint flat
surfaces, consequently there was no projection or depression (relief)
in their pictures. We in our country, he said, paint both the light
and the dark, so that the result shows projection and depression. A
man's full face is light, and the side parts are dark. If the side
parts are coloured dark in a picture, the face will appear in relief.
Chiao acquired this art, and modified his style accordingly, but the
result was not refined and convincing. Lovers of antiquity would do
well not to adopt this method.

                             LIN TS-HS

                           A.D. 1785-1850.

  The famous Imperial Commissioner and Viceroy of Hupeh and Hunan,
  who seized and destroyed some ten million dollars' worth of
  foreign-owned opium and brought on war with Great Britain. For
  this he was recalled and disgraced, being subsequently banished to
  Ili. In 1845 he was restored to office, and once again rose to
  high rank. He was a fine scholar, a just and merciful official,
  and a true patriot. As "Commissioner Lin" he appeared for a time
  in Mme. Tussaud's collection of celebrities.

                      A LETTER TO QUEEN VICTORIA

The ways of God are without partiality; it is not permissible to
injure another in order to profit oneself. The feelings of mankind are
not diverse; for is there any one who does not hate slaughter and love
life? In your honourable nation, which lies 20,000 /li/ away,
separated by several oceans, these ways of God and feelings of mankind
are the same; there is no one who does not understand the distinctions
between death, life, profit, and injury. Our divine House reckons as
its family all within the Four Seas; and our great Emperor, as though
with the goodness of God, offers shelter to all alike, even distant
wilds and far off countries sharing with us in life and the means of

Now, ever since the restrictions on sea-borne trade at Canton were
relaxed--several decades back--and a free business intercourse
followed, the people of the Inner Land and the barbarian ships from
outside have been at peace in the enjoyment of their profits. It may
be added that rhubarb, tea, silk, etc., are among the most precious
products of the Middle Kingdom, and that if the Outside nations were
unable to obtain these, they would be deprived of the necessaries of
life. That our divine House, regarding all with equal goodness, allows
these goods to be sold without stint for export beyond the sea, and
extends its favours to sympathy with the foreigner, is solely to model
its own feelings upon those of God and Mother Earth. There is,
however, a class of treacherous barbarians who manufacture opium,
smuggle it in for sale, and deceive our foolish people, in order to
injure their bodies and derive profit therefrom. Formerly, smokers
were few in number; but of late the contagion has spread, and its
flowing poison has daily increased. In China, of those who are thus
involved, a great many are wealthy persons, but there are also among
the foolish masses some who cannot resist a whiff, and so injure their
lives; in all such cases the penalty is self-inflicted, and there is
really no room for pity. But ever since the great Ch`ing dynasty
united the empire, its aim has been to regulate manners and customs
with the view of rectifying the heart of man; how then can our House
allow those who live within the girdle of the Seas to poison
themselves at their own sweet will? Therefore, all who trade in or
smoke opium in the Inner Land will be most severely punished, and the
introduction and circulation of the drug will be for ever prohibited.

It appears that this particular form of poison is illegally prepared
by scoundrels in the tributary tribes of your honourable country and
in the devil-regions under your jurisdiction; but of course it is
neither prepared nor sold by your sovereign orders. Further, that it
is not all nations but only some which prepare this article; and that
you do not allow your own people to smoke, under severe penalties for
disobedience, evidently knowing what a curse it is and therefore
strictly prohibiting the practice. But better still than forbidding
people to smoke, would it not be to forbid the sale and also the
preparation of opium? Surely this would be the method of purifying at
the fountain-head. Not to smoke yourselves, but yet to dare to prepare
and sell to and beguile the foolish masses of the Inner Land--this is
to protect one's own life while leading others to death, to gather
profits for oneself while bringing injury upon others. Such behaviour
is repugnant to the feelings of human beings, and is not tolerated by
the ways of God.

In view of the dominion exercised by our divine House over Chinese and
barbarian alike, nothing would be easier than to put the guilty to
death; but in respectful sympathy with the sacred intelligence and
great leniency of our Emperor it is only fitting that orders should be
issued beforehand. Hitherto, it has not been customary to send written
communications to the princes of your honourable nation; and now, if
suddenly there came this stringent prohibition, you might try to plead
ignorance as an excuse. I now propose that we shall unite to put a
final stop to this curse of opium; in the Inner Land by prohibiting
its use, and in your dominions by prohibiting its preparation. As to
the stocks already prepared, your country must at once issue orders
that these shall be searched out and be consigned to the bottom of the
sea, and never again allow this poisonous thing to appear between
heaven and earth. Not only will the people of the Inner Land benefit
thereby, but also the people of your honourable nation--for since they
prepare it, who knows but that they smoke it?--if the manufacture is
forbidden, will not suffer injury from its use. Will not this plan
confer on both parties the blessings of perfect peace, and further
manifest the sincerity of the respectful conciliatoriness of your
honourable country? Having this clear perception of divine principles,
Almighty God will not send down calamities upon you; and being thus in
harmony with the feelings of mankind, you will receive the approbation
of our Holy Sages.

Further, inasmuch as under strict penalties smoking opium is now
forbidden in the Inner Land, even if prepared there will be no
opportunity of selling it and therefore no profit to be made, rather
than lose capital and toil in vain, why not direct one's energies into
another line of business? Also, all opium discovered in the Inner Land
will be totally destroyed by fire and burning oil; and if barbarian
ships again smuggle in opium, it will only remain to burn them
likewise, with the risk that they may have on board other goods, so
that jade and pebbles perish alike. Thus, there would be no profit,
with evident injury to self; a desire to injure others forestalled by
injury to self. Our divine House controls the myriad nations by a
spiritual majesty which is unfathomable; do not say that you were not
warned in time! And on receipt of this letter, make haste to reply,
stating the measures which have been adopted at all sea-ports for
cutting off the supply. Do not falsely colour the matter nor
procrastinate! Anxiously waiting; anxiously hoping.

                        2nd moon of the 19th year of Tao Kuang (1839).

                            TSNG KUO-FAN

                           A.D. 1811-1872.

  The famous statesman and general who was chiefly responsible for
  the suppression of the T`ai P`ing rebellion, fighting strenuously
  in the cause of the Manchus from 1853 to the fall of Nanking in
  1864. Ennobled as Marquis and raised to the rank of Viceroy, he
  lived incorruptible, and in spite of all the temptations to which
  a high Chinese official is exposed, died poor. "When his wardrobe
  was examined," says the memorial submitted to the Throne, "to find
  some suitable garments for the last rites, nothing new could be
  discovered. Every article of dress had been worn many times; and
  this may be taken as an example of his rigid economy for himself
  and in all the expenditure of his family." The Chinese government
  made provision for his family, and for the education of his
  brilliant son, afterwards popular Minister at the Court of St.
  James's and known as the Marquis Tsng.

                           A FAMILY LETTER

Brother Ch`ng and others,

On former occasions when I sent family letters, they took thirty-five
days to reach you. On the last occasion, a special messenger has not
reached you, even after forty days. The rebels being just now round
about Lo-p`ing and Jao-chou,[1] I fancy that a circuitous route has
been taken.

After the recapture of Hsiu-ning[2] on the 12th inst., Tso's[3] army
was divided into eight columns, and a small defeat was suffered at
Chia-lu, forcing a retreat upon Ching-chn. Luckily, however, the
rebels did not follow up their attack, and Tso obtained a few days'
grace for reorganization, the result being that the /moral/ of the men
was not greatly weakened.

Just now, Tso's troops are advancing upon Lo-p`ing and P`o-yang.
Pao's[4] troops, because of the critical state of Fu-chou and Chien-
ch`ang, were to have been sent to Kiangsi, first of all to secure the
general situation, and then to relieve the two cities in question; but
recently both P`o-yang and Ying-chn have been considered to be in
such danger that Pao's troops have been temporarily held back and were
not allowed to leave hurriedly for Kiangsi. As for Hu,[5] I fear that
the dogs of rebels have come down from Huang-chou[6] to attack
An-ch`ing,[7] and brother Yan's troops have been sent to join Pao's
troops in bringing aid to the north bank. On the various ranges in the
neighbourhood of Ch`i-mn,[7] the rebels managed, on the 23rd inst. to
capture two positions, so that for several months past there has not
been much leisure for supporting operations. Dangers have frequently
broken out; the foreign devils have been giving trouble in all
directions, and there is even talk of their threatening Ch`i-mn.
Thus, it seems to me that the present year will be full of
difficulties for us to deal with.

Well, ever since the winter of the 3rd year of Hsien Fng (1853) I
have devoted by body to my country's service, and I am willing to die
stretched on the battle-field, but not willing to die "beside the
window."[8] Such was my original ambition, and of late years, during
my career in the army, I have acted always to the best of my ability
and to the limit of my strength. I have nothing to be ashamed of, and
I shall close my eyes without regret.

It remains for the various members of my family, brothers and their
sons and their nephews, to bear in mind the eight words of their
grandfather: "Examine, value, early, sweep, books, vegetables, fish,
pork."[9] Also, with due reverence, bear in mind the three "Don't
believes" of the same grandfather:--

  Don't believe in genii of mountain, river, or tree!
  Don't believe in doctors and their drugs!
  Don't believe in priests of any faith!

In my own diary there are eight other fundamental principles:--

  In your studies, make teaching your aim.
  In verse or prose, make rhythm your aim.
  In serving parents, make their happiness your aim.
  In matters of health, make equanimity your aim.
  In your career, make restraint of language your aim.
  In home life, make getting up in good time your aim.
  In official life, make honesty your aim.
  In military life, make care for the people your aim.

These eight principles have all been carefully tested by me and found
to be suitable for application. My brother, you too should teach your
sons and nephews to bear them in mind. For no matter whether the times
may be at peace or in rebellion, your family rich or poor, if you can
adhere to the eight words of your grandfather and to the eight
fundamental principles which I have laid down, you cannot possibly
fail to be a man of the highest order. Whenever I write a letter home,
it is my duty to impress these points upon you, and also because of
the risks of military life, in anticipation of any thing that may

Personally, I am in good health; and although the men's pay is four
months in arrear, their /moral/ has not seriously weakened. I think we
can hold out, but it is impossible to say. The family must not give
way to anxiety.

                                 Dated 11th year of Hsien Fng (1861).

[1] In Kiangsi.

[2] In Anhui.

[3] Tso Tsung-t`ang, one of the greatest generals of modern times--in
    any country.

[4] Pao Ch`ao, who rose to the Commander-in-chief in Hunan.

[5] Hu Lin-i, another general who greatly distinguished himself
    against the T`ai P`ings.

[6] In Hupeh.

[7] In Anhui.

[8] That is, "in my bed." The allusion is to a visit by Confucius to a
    disciple who was dying. The Master went to the sick man's house,
    and grasped his hand through a window, beside which the patient's
    bed had been placed.

[9] Such is the literal meaning of the Chinese characters employed;
    their application may perhaps be elucidated by some surviving
    descendant of the great Viceroy.

                           CHANG CHIH-TUNG

                           A.D. 1835-1909.

  One of the most distinguished officials of modern times, popularly
  known as the Incorruptible, who raised himself by his learning and
  ability to the highest posts in the empire. In early life he
  showed great animosity to the foreigner, and declared that "these
  outer barbarians are as ravenous as wolves;" yet in the Boxer
  crisis in 1900, it was he who most materially assisted in saving
  European and American lives. His literary style was brilliant to a
  degree surpassed only, perhaps, in these days by Liang Ch`i-ch`ao.
  His chief work was on education, extracts from which are given


I have heard that those who wish to save us from the upheavals of the
present age, arrange their advice under three heads, to wit: (1) Keep
safe our State. (2) Keep safe our holy religion. (3) Keep safe our
Flowery stock. Now these three points are in reality connected by a
single thread, and that is /unanimity/. To keep safe our stock, we
must first keep safe our religion; to keep safe our holy religion, we
must first keep safe our State. How can the stock be preserved?
/Wisdom/ will preserve it; wisdom, which is another term for religion.
How can religion prevail? /Force/ can make it prevail; force, which is
another name for militarism. Thus it is that in a State which does not
command respect, religion will not obtain; and if the State be not
prosperous, the stock will not be held in honour. There is the
religion of Islam; it is not based upon right, yet because the Turks
are a fierce, cruel, and courageous race, the religion retains its
vitality. There is Buddhism; here we find an approximation to right,
yet because the Indians are an unwarlike race, Buddhism has lost its
hold. There is the "luminous" religion (Nestorianism) of Persia;
because the State was weak, the religion was changed. The ancient
religion of Greece may exist or it may not; the Roman Catholic and
Protestant religions prevail over six-tenths of the earth's surface, a
result which is due to powerful militarism. Our holy religion prevails
in the Middle Land, where for several thousand years it has undergone
no change. The Five Emperors and the Three Kings made clear the Way
(/Tao/) and handed down laws, adding the part of teacher to that of

The conflict of divers religions has been seen among ourselves for
over two thousand years. Confucianists and the followers of Mo Tzu
were in conflict, and so were the followers of Lao Tzu and
Confucianists. Chuang Tzu was a Taoist, yet he was in conflict with
other Taoists. Hsn Tzu was a Confucianist, yet he was in conflict
with other Confucianists. Under the T`ang dynasty (A.D. 618-905),
Confucianists and Buddhists were in conflict; and during the next two
hundred years Buddhists and the followers of Lao Tzu were in conflict.
The object of Confucianists in attacking any other faith is to
distinguish truth from falsehood; other religions attack one another
for the sake of establishing pre-eminence. In our days, the rights and
wrongs of these conflicts are clear. Confucius and Mencius have handed
down to us a holy religion which is absolutely unvarying and a perfect
standard of conduct, glowing brightly like the sun or moon in mid-sky;
embodying the pure law of God above with the fullest recognition of
human relationships; even in far-off lands, where customs are
different, there are none to say a word in its disfavour.


Students of the present day should begin by making themselves
acquainted with the Confucian Canon, in order to understand the aim of
the inspired rulers and teachers of old in establishing the religion
of the Middle Kingdom. They should examine the dynastic histories, in
order to appreciate the various epochs of government and rebellion, as
well as the manners and customs of the various parts of the empire.
They should hunt through the body of general literature, in order to
make themselves acquainted with the best examples of the learning of
the Middle Kingdom. After that, they may choose any line in western
learning which makes up for deficiencies in ours, and apply the same
accordingly; they may also adopt points from the governments of the
west which strengthen any weaknesses in our own government. Such
action will conduce only to our advantage, and not to our harm.

Western learning should be preceded by Chinese learning. In all
schools in foreign countries, there is a daily recitation from the
Canon of Jesus, in honour of the religion. In the elementary schools,
the study of the Latin language comes first, in honour of antiquity.
In geography, students are first familiarized with the maps of their
own country, and then proceed to the map of the whole world, thus
showing a proper sequence. The books used in these schools mostly set
forth the virtuous government of ancient rulers, and the songs sung in
public and in private life mostly glorify the strength and prosperity
of the nation, thus exhibiting a love of country. A scholar among us
who should be unacquainted with our Chinese learning, would be like a
man who did not know his own surname, like a horseman without a
bridle, or a boat without a rudder. The deeper his knowledge of
western learning, the more unfriendly would his attitude become
towards China. Even if he were a man of great learning and much
ability, of what use would such a man be in the government of his own

                       IN PRAISE OF THE MANCHUS

For the past two hundred and fifty years, the officials and people
within the boundaries of the Four Seas, daily marching between high
Heaven and Mother Earth, have been nourished in their growth by
unremitting care, down to the present day. If we compare the history
of China for the past two thousand years with the histories of western
countries for the past fifty years, have their governments shown the
generosity, the charity of heart, the loyalty, the sincerity of ours?
Although China is neither rich nor strong, nevertheless all her
people, rich, noble, poor, and humble alike, can pass their days in
comfort, and rejoice that they were born into this world. Now although
the countries of the west are flourishing, the sorrows of the masses,
their sufferings, and the poison of wrongs, which press them on all
sides without redress, cause them to watch their opportunity for
breaking out and murdering their sovereign or assassinating a
Minister, examples of which deeds are recorded every year. Thus we
know that their form of government is most certainly not equal to what
we have here in China.

                            YAN SHIH-K`AI


  A statesman with a singular record. He rose to the highest
  positions under the Manchu dynasty. His attitude towards the
  Boxers in 1900 was one which foreigners, saved thereby from what
  would probably have been a terrible massacre, must always remember
  with gratitude. He subsequently became a great favourite with the
  Empress Dowager; but in 1909, after attending a meeting of the
  Grand Council, he received an Edict which informed him that he
  "was unexpectedly suffering from an affection of the foot" and
  called upon him to resign. He obeyed at once, the explanation
  being that he had quarrelled with the Regent; and he remained in
  retirement until 1911, when he was recalled to deal with the
  revolutionaries. In 1912 he was elected President of the Republic,
  taking the oath given below. By 1915 he had engineered a movement
  in favour of himself as Emperor, which was disclosed and defeated
  principally by Ling Ch`i-ch`ao (q.v.); and after pretending to
  refuse, he actually fixed the date of his coronation for 9th
  February, 1916, and chose the style of his reign. But public
  opinion was too strong against him--the Chinese will forgive
  anything sooner than disloyalty--and the project was abandoned. He
  survived the disgrace only a few months.

                            A BROKEN OATH

                         [From a Photograph]

I hereby make oath and say:

With reference to the establishment of government by the people and
the various administrative measures to be drawn up, I am most anxious
to exert my utmost strength in spreading and supporting the republican
spirit; to scour out the flaws and filth of autocratic rule; to
observe the constitutional laws in accordance with the will of the
people; and to associate our State with peaceable and powerful
countries, so that the five great members[1] of our nation may one and
all derive happiness and profit therefrom. All these aims I swear to
follow up without change; and so soon as the National Assembly has
been called together and a President[2] has been duly elected for the
first term of this office, I will resign my position and will
reverently adhere with all sincerity to the oath which I now swear to
my countrymen.

                                            (/Signed/) YUAN SHIH-K`AI.

[1] Chinese, Manchus, Mongols, Mussulmans, and Tibetans.

[2] He himself was elected, with the consent of Sun Yat-sen,
    Provisional President in the South.

                           LIANG CH`I-CH`AO

  Born 1872. One of the most brilliant of the band of reformers who
  succeeded in establishing the Republic and later on in defeating
  the treacherous bid for monarchy by Yan Shih-k`ai. He has written
  extensively on politics, education, religion, and sociology, in a
  style which, for beauty and lucidity combined, may well rank with
  that of China's masterpieces. It has in fact been said that "his
  style displays so classical a finish that the Chinese often shed
  tears over his compositions, simply from admiration of their
  beauty. He has been Minister of Justice, and also of Finance,
  under the Republic; and in 1919 he attended the Peace Conference
  at Paris as delegate.

                             MY COUNTRY![1]

The greatest country in the greatest of the five continents of the
world,--which is it? My country, the Middle State, the Flowery Land!
The people who number one-third of the human race,--who are they? My
countrymen of the Middle State, the Flowery Land! Annals which extend
back without a break for over four thousand years,--of what country
are these? Of my country, the Middle State, the Flowery Land! My
country contains four hundred million inhabitants, who all speak what
is fundamentally the same language, and use the same script: of no
other country can this be said. Her ancient books hand down events
which have occurred during more than thirty centuries past: of no
other country can this be said.

Of old, there were five States: China, India, Persia, Egypt, and
Mexico. Of four of these the territory remains, but as States all four
have disappeared. Wandering over the deserted sites, you see only
traces of the ruins left by the ironclad horsemen, followers of
Mahomet, or the arenas where once warlike Caucasian tribes gloried in
the song and dance. But my country, the Middle State, the Flowery
Land, stands proudly alone, having survived, in one unbroken line,
ever increasing in size and brilliancy, down to the present day. And
in the future it will spread into a myriad branches, to be fused
together in one furnace. Ah, beautiful is my country! Ah, great are my
countrymen! Now, ere inditing a rough outline of their story, I must
purify myself thrice with perfume and the bath; then, looking up to
heaven, with many prostrations, thank God that I was born in this
lovely land, as one of the sons of this great people.

                      THE CIVILIZATION OF JAPAN

The reception of foreign learning by the Chinese people differs from
its reception by the Japanese. Japan is a small country, and moreover
possesses no learning which is really its own. Therefore, is such
learning arrives from without, the Japanese rush to it as though on
galloping horses, change as rapidly as echo follows sound, and in the
twinkling of an eye the whole nation is transformed. However, a
careful estimate of their capacity shows that they are really nothing
more than mere imitators; they are in no sense able to add anything of
their own or anything they may have themselves initiated. Now China is
not like that. China is a huge country with a learning of its own,
which has been handed down for several thousand years and which is so
well fortified by defences that foreign ideas do not easily find their
way in. Even if they do get in, for many--perhaps a hundred years
their influence will not succeed in rumpling the hair of one's head.
It is like throwing ink into water. If the water is in a foot-wide
bowl or in a ten-foot pool, the ink will very rapidly discolour it
all; but if the same ink is thrown into a mighty rushing river or into
the wide and deep ocean, can these be easily stained in the same way?
Again, although China is not receptive of foreign learning, from what
she does receive she makes a point of extracting all the excellences
and adapting these to her own advantage. She transmutes the substance
and etherializes its use, thus producing a new factor of civilization
which is altogether her own. Her blue is thus bluer than the original
indigo-blue of foreigners; her ice is colder than their water. Ah me!
Deep mountains and wide marshes give birth indeed to dragons; but the
footprints of our noble representative can never have been familiar to
the small-sized gentlemen of the Country of Dwarfs.

                             CHINA'S NEED

Just now, all China is under the influence of Yang Chu.[2] There are
those whose talk is of Confucius but whose deeds are of Yang; there
are others whose talk and deeds are both of Yang. The limit is reached
by those whose talk is of Mo Ti[3] but whose deeds are of Yang; and
there are even some who, recognizing neither Confucius, nor Yang, nor
Mo, carry out the principles of Yang amid those of no understanding.
Alas! Yang's teachings have been the ruin of China. They have indeed,
and the only way to save her is to turn to the teachings of Mo Ti; not
to the teachings of any other Mo but to the teachings of the real Mo,
Mo the philosopher.


"Without Liberty, better die." New words these! During the 18th and
19th centuries these words were the foundation on which States were
established by the various peoples in Europe and the Americas,--will
liberty in the same sense serve the purpose of the modern Chinese
nation? I reply that liberty connotes equal rights for all; it is an
important factor in human life, and there is no direction in which it
will fail to serve such a purpose. At the same time it should be noted
that a distinction must be made between real liberty, complete
liberty, partial liberty, the liberty of civilization, and the liberty
of savages. "Liberty! Liberty!" has gradually become the pious catch-
word of our callow youth of to-day. But the leaders of our "new
people" say, If China would forever enjoy the blessings of a complete
civilization and of a genuine liberty, it is necessary to begin by
defining exactly that in which liberty consists. Allow me then to
discuss this question.

Liberty is diametrically opposed to slavery. If we examine the
histories of the development of liberty in Europe and in the Americas,
we shall find that the struggle was confined to the four following
points: (1) administrative liberty, (2) religious liberty, (3)
national liberty, and (4) economic liberty. The object of the first
was to protect the people against their own government; of the second,
to protect members of a church against the church; of the third, to
protect one's own nation against foreign nations; and of the fourth,
to protect the people against the operations of Capital and Labour.
Administrative liberty may be further divided under three heads, the
respective objects being (1) to secure the liberty of the masses in
regard to officials, (2) to secure the liberty of the whole nation in
regard to the government in power, and (3) to secure the liberty of
colonies in regard to the mother country. The principles on which the
practice of liberty depends are no more than these.

Liberty means that every man shall be free, except that he may not
encroach upon the freedom of others. And since it is forbidden to each
individual to encroach upon the freedom of others, it follows that
such subjection of the individual is also a point of importance. How
can this be regarded as a drag on liberty? Liberty connotes the
freedom of the whole community and not the freedom of the individual.
In the early days of savagedom, individual liberty prevailed and the
liberty of the community did not exist; whereas in civilized times the
liberty of the community has predominated and the liberty of the
individual has decreased. These two statements are indisputable and
contain no shade of error. If the liberty of the individual is to be
accounted true liberty, then of the inhabitants of the world who enjoy
the blessings of liberty, none can be compared with the people of
China at the present day.

The gentry, bullies of the countryside, gobble up their poorer
neighbours like fish, and there are no means of resisting them;
traders abscond, leaving their debts unpaid, and those who have been
swindled have no means of redress. Now, it is open to all men to
become gentry or traders; it follows, therefore, that the liberty of
the community is also a point of importance. Is not this so? In the
highest classes there are men and women who make a perfect cesspool of
official life;--is this liberty? In the towns there are young and old
who look on opium as a necessary food;--is this liberty? In a
civilized State, there would be, for light offences of this kind, a
money fine, and for grave offences, sequestration of property. Other
points in like manner; but so many are they that, were I ten men, I
could not reckon them all up. Viewed in this light, I ask you, "who
are they who enjoy liberty,[4]--the people of China, or the people of
other nations?"

[1] "The biggest thing I have learned in writing the 'Outline' is the
    importance of Central Asia and China. They have been, and they are
    now still, the centre of human destiny."--H. G. Wells.

[2] Founder of the "selfish" school.

[3] Who taught the doctrine of "universal love."

[4] Here, the evils, not the blessings, of too much liberty.


  The proverbial philosophy of the Chinese is on a scale
  commensurate in every way with other branches of their voluminous
  literature. Most Western proverbs, maxims, household words, etc.,
  are to be found embedded therein; sometimes expressed in strictly
  identical terms, at other times differing only in point of local
  colour. Thus the Chinese say (e.g.)--

    One actor does not make a play.
    Out of the wolf's lair into the tiger's mouth.
    Prevention is better than cure.
    Better a living dog than a dead lion.
    As the twig is bent the tree's inclined.
    When the cat's away, the rats play.
    Better be a fowl's beak than a bullock's rump.
    It is the unexpected which always happens.
    Oxen till the fields, and rats eat the corn;
    Bees make honey, and men steal it, etc., etc.

  The name of these is legion. A full collection of such proverbs
  and sayings, gathered from the past four thousand years, would
  probably embrace all that is contained in Western literature in
  this sense, and leave a margin to the credit of China. The
  specimens which are given below have been taken at random and
  brought together without classification. In the majority of cases,
  the flavour of these will, I think, be found to be peculiarly

Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.

Three men's strength cannot prevail against Truth.

If you bow at all, bow low.

Pay attention to what a man is, not to what he has been.

A man thinks he knows, but a woman knows better.

If Fortune smiles,--who doesn't? If Fortune doesn't,--who does?

The host is happy when the guest has gone.

No medicine is as good as a middling doctor.

Great truths cannot penetrate rustic ears.

Better to jilt than be jilted: better to sin than to be sinned

A bottle-nosed man may be a teetotaler, but no one will think so.

Like climbing a tree to catch a fish [Mencius].

"Forbearance" is a rule of life in a word.

With money you can move the Gods; without it, you can't move a man.

Oblige, and you will be obliged.

Armies are maintained for years, to be used on a single day.

More trees are upright, than men.

Only imbeciles want credit for the achievements of their ancestors.

Long visits bring short compliments.

Deep people don't say shallow things.

A thousand pictures are not equal to one book.

You can't talk of ocean to a well-frog.

If you owe a man money, there is nothing like seeing him often.

A quack will kill a man without a knife.

Let the sovereign be thin so long as his subjects are fat.

Some study shows the need for more.

Better eighty per cent. ready money than cent. per cent. on trust.

The highest towers begin from the ground.

Medicine cures the man who is fated not to die.

If a man has money, he will find plenty who have scales.

Even the best artificial flowers have no smell.

A thousand soldiers are easier to be got than one general.

A thousand prescriptions are more readily forthcoming than a single

No needle is sharp at both ends.

Straight trees are felled first.

No image-maker worships the Gods. He knows what they are made of.

Half an orange tastes as sweet as a whole one.

Even the Yellow River is sometimes clear.

We love our own compositions, but other men's wives.

Don't pull up your shoe in a melon-field, nor adjust your hat under a
plum-tree (i.e., avoid the appearance of evil).

Free-sitters at the play always grumble most.

Laugh and keep young.

Happiness stands beside the ugly.

A good memory is not equal to bad ink.

With money--a dragon; without it--a worm.

He who has his back to a draught has his face to the grave.

Be quick over your work, but not over your food.

He who will only mount a unicorn will never ride a horse.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him; if you employ him, don't
suspect him [Confucius].

Men grow old and pearls yellow. There is no cure for age.

When a man is at peace, he is silent; as level water does not flow.

Whispered words are heard afar.

Ripe melons drop without plucking.

Better a dog in peace than a man in war.

The faults which a man condemns when out of office, he commits when

Losing money is begotten of winning.

One needn't devour a whole chicken to know the flavour of the bird.

There's sure to be fuel near a big tree.

Man combs his hair every morning. Why not his heart?

There is no thief like a family of five daughters.

There is something to be learnt from every book.

The sky covers no man in particular.

Dogs do not object to poor masters.

Have no friends not equal to yourself.

The tusks of the elephant are its own undoing.

The tongue is a sharp sword which slays though it draws no blood.

One man makes a road and another walks on it.

Don't break a vase for a shy at a rat.

Every one gives a shove to the tumbling wall.

Sweep the snow from your own doorstep.

You can't chop a thing as round as you can pare it.

One jibbing horse throws out the troop.

All language is not in books, nor all thoughts in language.

The men of old see not the moon of to-day; yet the moon of to-day is
the moon that shone on them.

He who rides a tiger, cannot dismount.

A stupid son is better than a clever daughter.

Politeness before force.

Life feeds upon adversity and sorrow. Death comes amid pleasure and
repose [Mencius].

If you can't draw a tiger, draw a dog.

One dog barks at something, and the rest bark at him.

You can't clap hands with one palm.

Cleanse your heart as you would cleanse a dish.

All that a man needs in this transitory life is a splint hat and a

A pretty woman entering a family has the ugly ones for her foes.

He who has seen little is astonished at much.

Shoes for the same foot must be worn by different people.

Draw your bow, but don't shoot.

One more good man on earth is better than an extra angel in heaven.

Don't take a pole-axe to kill a fowl [Confucius].

Don't make dumplings in a teapot.

Good or bad, 'tis the wine of my country.

  The virtuous man is his own arbitrator:
  The foolish man carries his suit into court.
  Man's heart is like iron:
  The law like a smelting-furnace.

In the market-place, money; in solitude, peace.

One man spreads a false report and a hundred report it as truth.

Gold is tested by fire; man, by gold.

The influence of good is all too little. The influence of bad is all
too much.

Man dies and leaves a name. The tiger dies and leaves a skin.

Those who have not tasted the bitterest of life's bitters, can never
appreciate the sweetest of life's sweets.

An angry fist cannot strike a smiling face.

It takes a rat to know a rat.

Extraordinary men are ordinary to God.

Man dreads fame as a pig dreads fat.

Wine can both make and mar.

You can't get ivory out of a dog's mouth.

He who is first is prince. He who comes after is minister only.

New-born calves don't fear tigers.

Money makes a blind man see.

For every man that Heaven creates, Earth provides a grave.

Man is God upon a small scale. God is man upon a large scale.

A near neighbour is better than a distant relation.

Women share adversity better than prosperity.

If a man keeps his mouth shut, his words become proverbial.

You can't wrap fire in a paper parcel.

Intimate talks leave us few friends.

Without Error, there could be no such thing as Truth.

  Note: Sir E. J. Reed, in his work on Japan, quietly includes as
  specimens of Japanese proverbs, etc., well-known quotations from
  Mencius and other Chinese authors, the truth being, of course,
  that all the high-class literature of Japan, its art, and its
  civilization, are essentially of Chinese origin.

  [Since writing the above paragraph in 1883, I have met with
  similar instances in overwhelming number. See "The XIX Century and
  After," February, 1905.]

[1] This was a /mot/ of the great and unscrupulous general, Ts`ao
    Ts`ao. It is in no sense a Chinese household word.


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