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as keeper of stores, said, "My calculations must all be right:—that is all I have to care about;" and when in charge of the public fields, he said, " The oxen and sheep must be fat and strong and superior :—that is all I have to care about." 1 It does not appear whether these offices were held by Confucius in the direct employment of the State, or as a dependent of the Ke family in whose jurisdiction he lived. The present of the carp from the duke may incline us to suppose the former.
3. In his twenty-second year, Confucius commenced his labours as a public teacher, and his house became a resort for young and inquiring spirits, who wished to learn the doctrines of antiquity. However small the fee his pupils were able to afford, he never refused his
Commencement of his , . 2 i n .1 . i j
labours as a teacher. The instructions. All that he required, was Bec'53o^-526.molher' an ardent desire for improvement, and some degree of capacity. "I do not open up the truth," he said, "to one who is not eager to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is not anxious to explain himself. When I have presented one corner of a subject to any one, and he cannot from it learn the other three, I do not repeat my lesson."3
His mother died in the year B.C. 528, and he resolved that her body should lie in the same grave with that of his father, and that their common resting-place should be in Fang, the first home of the K'ung in Loo. But here a difficulty presented itself. His father's coffin had been for twenty years, where it had first been deposited, off the road of The Five Fathers, in the vicinity of Tsow :—would it be right in him to move it? He was relieved from this perplexity by an old woman of the neighbourhood, who told him that the coffin had only just been put into the ground, as a temporary arrangement, and not regularly buried. On learning.this, he carried his purpose into execution. Both coffins were conveyed to Fang, and put in the ground together, with no intervening space between them, as was the custom in some States. And now came a new perplexity. He said to himself, "In old times, they had graves, but raised no tumulus over them. But I am a man, who belongs equally to the north and the south, the east and the west. I must have
something by which I can remember the place." Accordingly he raised a mound, four feet high, over the grave, and returned home, leaving a party of his disciples to see everything properly completed. In the mean time there came on a heavy storm of rain, and it was a considerable time before the disciples joined him, "What makes you so late?" he asked. "The grave in Fang fell down," they said. He made no reply, and they repeated their answer three times, when he burst into tears, and said, "Ah! they did not make their graves so in antiquity."1
Confucius mourned for his mother the regular period of three years,—three years nominally, but in fact only twentyseven months. Five days after the mourning was expired, he played on his lute but could not sing. It required other five days before he could accompany an instrument with his voice.2
Some writers have represented Confucius as teaching his disciples important lessons from the manner in which he buried his mother, and having a design to correct irregularities in the ordinary funeral ceremonies of the time. These things are altogether "without book." We simply have a dutiful son paying the last tribute of affection to a good parent. In one point he departs from the ancient practice, raising a mound over the grave, and when the fresh earth gives way from a sudden rain, he is moved to tears, and seems to regret his innovation. This sets Confucius vividly before us,^a man of the past as much as of the present, whose own natural feelings were liable to be hampered in their development, by the traditions of antiquity which he considered sacred. It is important, however, to observe the reason which he gave for rearing the mound. He had in it a presentiment of much of his future course. He was " a man of the north, the south, the east, and the west." He might not confine himself to any one State. He would travel, and his way might be directed to some "wise ruler," whom his counsels would conduct to a benevolent way that would break forth on every side till it transformed the empire.
4. When the mourning for his mother was over, Confucius
1 Le Ke, II. Pt. I i. 10; Pt. II. iii. 30 j Pt. I. i. 6. See also the discussion of those passages in Keang Yung's "Life of Confucius." - Le Ke, II. Pt. L i. 22.
remained in Loo, but in what special capacity we do not
know. Probably he continued to enHe learns music; visits the ii . /» .
court of chow i aid returns courage the resort of inquirers to ^cm—sn whom he communicated instruction,
and pursued his own researches into the history, literature, and institutions of the empire. In the year B.C. 524, the chief of the small state of T'an1 made his appearance at the court of Loo, and discoursed in a wonderful manner, at a feast given to him by the duke, about the names which the most ancient sovereigns, from Hwang-te downwards, gave to their ministers. The sacrifices to the Emperor Shaou-haou, the next in descent from Hwang-te, were maintained in T'an, so that the chief fancied that he knew all about the abstruse subject on which he discoursed. Confucius, hearing about the matter, waited on the visitor, and learned from him all that he had to communicate.2
To the year B.C. 523, when Confucius was twenty-nine years old, is referred his studying music under a famous master of the name of Seang. He was approaching his 30th year when, as he tells us, "he stood firm,"3 that is, in his convictions on the subjects of learning to which he had bent his mind fifteen years before. Five years more, however, were still to pass by before the anticipation mentioned in the conclusion of the last paragraph began to receive its fulfilment,4 though we may conclude from the way in which it was brought about that he was growing all the time in" the estimation of the thinking minds in his native State.
In the 24th year of Duke Ch'aou, B.C. 517, one of the principal ministers of Loo, known by the name of MangHe, died. Seventeen years before he had painfully felt his ig
i See the Ch'un Ts'ew, under the 7th year of Duke Ch'aou.
'This rests on the respectable authority of Tso-k'ew Ming's annotations on the Ch'un Ts'ew, but I must consider it apocryphal. The legend-writers have fashioned a journey to Pan. The slightest historical intimation becomes a text with them, on which they enlarge to the glory of the sage. Amiot has reproduced and expanded their romancings, and others, such as Pauthier (Chine, pp. 121—183) and Thornton (History of China, vol. i. pp. 151—215) have followed in his wake. 3 Ana. II. iv.
4 The journey to Chow is placed by Sze-ma Ts'een before Confucius' holding of his first official employments, and Choo He and most other writers follow him. It is a great error, and has arisen from a misunderstanding of the passages from Tso-K'ew Ming upon the subject.
norance of ceremonial observances, and had made it his subsequent business to make himself acquainted with them. On his deathbed, he addressed his chief officer, saying, "A knowledge of propriety is the stem of a man. Without it he has no means of standing firm. I have heard that there is one K'ung Kew, who is thoroughly versed in it. He is a descendant of Sages, and though the line of his family was extinguished in Sung, among his ancestors there were Fuh-foo Ho, who resigned the dukedom to his brother, and Ching K'aou-foo, who was distinguished for his humility. Tsang Heih has observed that if sage men of intelligent virtue do not attain to eminence, distinguished men are sure to appear among their posterity. His words are now to be verified, I think, in K'ung K'ew. After my death, you must tell Ho-ke to go and study proprieties under him." In consequence of this charge, Ho-ke, MSng He's son, who appears in the Analects under the name of Mang E,1 and a brother, or perhaps only a near relative, named Nan-kung King-shuh, became disciples of Confucius. Their wealth and standing in the State gave him a position which he had not had before, and he told King-shuh of a wish which he had to visit the court of Chow, and especially to confer on the subject of ceremonies and music with Laou Tan. King-shuh represented the matter to the Duke Ch'aou, who put a carriage and a pair of horses at Confucius' disposal for the expedition.
At this time the court of Chow was in the city of Lo, in the present department of Ho-nan of the province of the same name. The reigning emperor is known by the title of King, but the sovereignty was little more than nominal. The state of China was then analogous to that of one of the European kingdoms, during the prevalence of the feudal system. At the commencement of the dynasty, the various States of the empire had been assigned to the relatives and adherents of the reigning family. There were thirteen principalities of greater note, and a large number of smaller dependencies. During the vigorous youth of the dynasty, the emperor or lord paramount exercised an effective control over the various chiefs, but with the lapse of time there came weakness and decay. The chiefs—corresponding
somewhat to the European dukes, earls, marquises, barons, &c,—quarrelled and warred among themselves, and the stronger among them barely acknowledged their subjection to the emperor. A similar condition of things prevailed in each particular State. There were hereditary ministerial families, who were continually encroaching on the authority of their rulers, and the heads of those families again were frequently hard pressed by their inferior officers. Such was the state of China in Confucius' time. The reader must have it clearly before him, if he would understand the position of the sage, and the reforms which, we shall find, it was subsequently his object to introduce.
Arrived at Chow, he had no intercourse with the court or any of the principal ministers. He was there not as a politician, but an inquirer about the ceremonies and maxims of the founders of the dynasty. Laou Tan, whom he had wished to see the acknowledged founder of the Taouists, or Rationalistic sect, which has maintained its ground in opposition to the followers of Confucius, was then a treasury-keeper. They met and freely interchanged their views, but no reliable account of their conversation has been preserved. In the 5th Book of the Le Ke, which is headed, "The philosopher Tsang asked," Confucius refers four times to the views of Laou-tsze on certain points of funeral ceremonies, and in the " Family Sayings," Book xxiv, he tells Ke Wang what he had heard from him about "The Five Te," but we may hope their conversation turned also on more important subjects. Sze-ma Ts'een, favourable to Laou-tsze, makes him lecture his visitor in the following style :—" Those whom you talk about are dead, and their bones are mouldered to dust; only their words remain. When the superior man gets his time, he mounts aloft; but when the time is against him, he moves as if his feet were entangled. I have heard that a good merchant, though he has rich treasures deeply stored, appears as if he were poor, and that the superior man whose virtue is complete, is yet to outward seeming stupid. Put away your proud air and many desires, your insinuating habit and wild will. These are of no advantage to you. This is all which I have to tell you." On the other hand, Confucius is made to say to his disciples, "I know how birds can fly, how fishes can swim, and how animals can run. But the runner may be