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in history by the name of Fang-shfi‘. Fang-slid gave birth to Po-hsiaz, and from him came Shfi-liang Héha, the father of Confucius. Héh appears in the history of the times as a soldier of great prowess and daring bravery. In the year B. C. 562, when serving at the siege of a place called Péh-yang‘, a party of the assailants made their way in at a gate which had purposely been left open, and no sooner were they inside than the portcullis was dropped. Héh was just entering ; and catching the massive structure with both his hands, he gradually by dint of main strength raised it and held it up, till his friends had made their escape. Thus much on the ancestry of the sage. Doubtless he could trace his descent in the way which has been indicated up to the imperial house of Yin, nor was there one among his ancestors during the rule of Chtu to whom he could not refer with satisfaction. They had been ministers and soldiers of Sung and Lu, all men of worth, and in Chang K'ao, both for his humility and literary researches, Confucius might have special complacency. 2. Confucius was the child of Shfi-liang Heh’s old age. The soldier had married in early life, but his wife brought him only From his birth daughters,—to the number of nine, and no son. By 13513553,?“ a concubine he had a son, named Mang-p'i, and also 3-C- 551—5“ Po-ni‘, who proved a cripple, so that, when he was over seventy years, Héh sought a second wife in the Yen family 6, from which came subsequently Yen Hui, the favourite disciple of his son. There were three daughters in the family, the youngest being named Chang-tsai". Their father said to them, ‘ Here is the commandant of Tsfiu. His father and grandfather were only scholars, but his ancestors before them were descendants of the sage sovereigns. He is a man ten feet high“, and of extraordinary prowess, and I am very desirous of his alliance. Though he is old and austere, you need have no misgivings about him. Which of you three will be his wife 7.’ The two elder daughters were silent, but Chang-teal said, ‘Why do you ask us, father? It is for you to determine.’ ‘Very well,’ said her father in reply, ‘you will do.’ Chang-tsai, accordingly, became Héh’s wife, and in due time gave
See, on the length of the ancient foot, Ana. VIII. vi, but the point needs a more sifting investigation than it has yet received.
birth to Confucius, who received the name of Ch'ifi, and was subsequently styled Chung-nil. The event happened on the twenty-first day of the tenth month of the twenty-first year of the duke Hsiang, of Lfl, being the twentieth year of the emperor Ling, B. (1. 552 2. The birth-place was in the district of Teen 3, of which Héh was the governor. It was somewhere within the limits of the present department of Yen—chAu in Shan-tung, but the honour of being the exact spot is claimed for two places in two difl'erent districts of the department. The notices which we have of Confucius's early years are very scanty. When he was in his third year his father died. It is related of him, that as a boy he used to play at the arrangement of
l Z m, i E, The legends say that Chang-tsai, fearing lest she should not
have a son, in consequence of her husband's age, privately ascended the Ni-ch'iu hill to pray for the boon, and that when she had obtained it, she commemorated the fact in the names— Ch'ifi and Chung-ni. But the cripple, Ming-p'i, had previously been styled Po-ni. There was some reason, previous to Confucius's birth, for using the term ni in the family. As might be expected, the birth of the sage is surrounded with many prodigious occurrences. One account is, that the husband and wife prayed together for a son in a dell of mount Ni. As Chingtsai went up the hill, the leaves of the trees and plants all erected themselves, and bent downwards on her return. That night she dreamt the black Ti appeared, and said to her, ‘You shall have a son, a sage, and you must bring him forth in a hollow mulberry tree.’ One day during her pregnancy, she fell into a dreamy state, and saw five old men in the hall, who called themselves the essences of the five planets, and led an animal which looked like a small cow with one horn, and was covered with scales like a dragon. This creature knelt before Chang-tsai, and cast forth from its mouth a slip of jade, on which was the inscription,—‘The son of the essence of water shall succeed to the decaying ChAu, and be a throneless king.’ Chang-tsai tied a piece of embroidered ribbon about its horn, and the vision disappeared. When Bob was told of it, he said, ‘ The creature must be the Ch'i-lin.’ As her time drew near, Chang-tsai asked her husband if there was any place in the neighbourhood called ‘ the hollow mulberry tree.’ He told her there was a dry cave in the south hill, which went by that name. Then she said, ‘ I will go and be confined there.l Her husband was surprised, but when made acquainted with her former dream, he made the necessary arrangements. On the night when the child was born, two dragons came and kept watch on the left and right of the hill, and two spirit-ladies appeared in the air, pouring out fragrant odours, as if to bathe Chang-tsai ; and as soon as the birth took place, a spring of clear warm water bubbled up from the floor of the cave, which dried up again when the child had been washed in it. The child was of an extraordinary appearance ; with a mouth like the sea, ox lips, a dragon's back, &c. &c. On the top of his head was a remarkable formation, in consequence of which
he was named Ch‘ifi, Etc. See the E ['55, Bk. lxxviii.—Sze-ma Ch‘ien seems to make Confucius to have been illegitimate, saying that Heh and Miss Yen cohabited in the wilderness ( E1 él Chiang Yung says that the phrase has reference simply to the disparity of their ages.
’ Ste-ma Ch'ien says that Confucius was born in the twenty-second year of duke Hsiang, ac. 550. He is followed by Chu Hsi in the short sketch of Confucius's life prefixed to the
Lun Yii, and by ‘The Annals of the Empire' 1&3 % *8 i), published with
imperial sanction in the reign of Chis-ch'ing. (To this latter work I have generally referred for my dates.) The year assigned in the text above rests on the authority of Kl'i-liang and Kung-yang, the two commentators on the Ch'un-Ch'iu. With regard to the month, however, the tenth is that assigned by Ku-liang, while Kung-yang names the eleventh.
3 Teen is written up, %, Pm, and
sacrificial vessels, and at postures of ceremony. Of his schooling we have no reliable account. There is a legend,_ indeed, that at seven he went to school to Yen P‘ing-chung‘, but it must be rejected as P‘ing-chung belonged to the State of Ch'i. He tells us himself that at fifteen be bent his mind to learning't; but the condition of the family was one of poverty. At a subsequent period, when people were astonished at the variety of his knowledge, he explained it by saying, ‘ When I was young, my condition was low, and therefore I acquired my ability in many things; but they were mean matterss.’
When he was nineteen, he married a lady from the State of Sung, of the Chien-kwan family‘, and in the following year his son Li was born. On the occasion of this event, the duke Chao sent him a present of a couple of carp. It was to signify his sense of his prince’s favour, that he called his son Li (The Carp), and afterwards gave him the designation of Po-yii‘ (Fish Primus). No mention is made of the birth of any other children, though we know, from Ana. V. i, that he had at least one daughter. We know also, from an inscription on her grave, that he had one other daughter, who died when she was quite young. The fact of the duke of his sending him a gift on the occasion of Li’s birth, shows that he was not unknown, but was already commanding public attention and the respect of the great.
It was about this time, probably in the year after his marriage, that Confucius took his first public employment, as keeper of the stores of grain“, and in the following year he was put in charge of the public fields and lands‘. Mencius adduces these employments in illustration of his doctrine that the superior man may at times take office on account of his poverty, but must confine himself in such a case to places of small emolument, and aim at nothing but the discharge of their humble duties. According to him, Confucius, 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 about1.' It does not appear whether these offices were held by Confucius in the direct employment of the State, or as a dependent of the Chi 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 instructions 2. All that he re365$“; 121,: quired, was an ardent desire for improvement, and “tiers-3X5“ 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. 527, 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 Lu. But here a dimculty 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 Tsau :—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 meantime 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
' Mencius, V. Pt. H. v. 4. ’ Ana. VII. vii. ’ Ana. VII. viii.
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 twenty-seven 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 be 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 afi'ection 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 sway that would break forth on every side till it transformed the empire.
4. When the mourning for his mother was over, Confucius remained in Lfl, but in what special capacity we do not know.
Probably he continued to encourage the resort of
He learns mu- . . . . .
sic; visits the inquirers to whom he commumcated instruction, and 22‘3" .qurigmié pursued his own researches into the history, literature, c_ 526_5n_ and institutions of the empire. In the year B. c. 525,
the chief of the small State of T'an 8, made his appearance at the court of Lu, 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-ti downwards, gave to their
1 Li Chi, II. Sect. I. i. 10; Sect. II. iii. 30; Pt. I. i. 6. See also the discussion of those passages in Chiang Yang's ‘Life of Confucius.’ ’ Li Chi, II. Sect. I. i. 23. ‘ See the