תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

In B.C. 493, Ch'in was much disturbed by attacks from Wo0,292 large State, the capital of which was in the present department of Soo-chow, and Confucius determined to retrace his steps to Wei. On the way he was laid hold of at a place called P‘00,21 which was held by a rebellious officer against Wei, and before he could get away, he was obliged to engage that he would not proceed thither. Thither, notwithstanding, he continued his route, and when Tszekung asked him whether it was right to violate the oath he had taken, he replied, “It was a forced oath. The spirits do not hear such."22

The duke Ling received him with distinction, but paid no more attention to his lessons than before, and Confucius is said then to have uttered his complaint, “ If there were any of the princes who would employ me, in the course of twelve months I should have done something considerable. In three years

the

governinent would be perfected."23

A circumstance occurred to direct his attention to the State of Tsin, 24 which occupied the southern part of the present Shan-se, and extended over the Yellow river into Ho-nan. An invitation came to Confucius, like that which he had formerly received from Kung-shan Fuh-jaou. Peih Heih, an officer of Tsin, who was holding the town of Chung-mow against his chief, invited him to visit him, and Confucius was inclined to go. Tsze-loo was always the mentor on such occasions. He said to him, “Master, I have heard

you say, that when a man in his own person is guilty of do. ing evil, a superior man will not associate with hiin. Peih Heih is in rebellion; if you go to him, what shall be said ?" Confucius replied, “Yes, I did use those words. But is it not said that if a thing be really hard, it may be ground without being made thin; and if it be really white, it may be steeped in a dark fluid without being made black? Am I a bitter gourd ? Am I to be hung up out of the way of being eaten ? "25

These sentiments sound strangely from his lips. After all, he did not go to Peih Heih; and having travelled as far as the Yellow river that he might see one of the principal ministers of Tsin, he heard of the violent death of two men of worth, and returned to 20

21 il 22. This is related by Sze-ma Toʻcen, FL FLEŠ, p. 7, and also in the Family Sayings. I would fain believe it is not truc. The wonder is, that no Chinese critic should have set about disproving it.

24

1

23. Ana, XII. x.

25 Ana, XVII. vii.

Wei, lamenting the fate which prevented him from crossing the stream, and trying to solace himself with poetry as he had done on leaving Loo. Again did he communicate with the duke, but as ineffectually, and disgusted at being questioned by him about military tactics, he left and went back to Ch‘in.

He resided in Ch‘in all the next year, B.C. 491, without anything occurring there which is worthy of note. 26 Events had transpired in Loo, however, which were to issue in his return to his native State. The duke Ting had deceased B.C. 494, and Ke Hwan, the chief of the Ke family, died in this year. On his deathbed, he felt remorse for his conduct to Confucius, and charged his successor, known to us in the Analects as Ke K'ang, to recall the sage;

but the charge was not immediately fulfilled. Ke K'ang, by the advice of one of his officers, sent to Ch'in for the disciple Yen K'ew instead. Confucius willingly sent him off, and would gladly have accompanied hin. “Let me return!” he said, “Let me return !"27 But that was not to be for several years yet.

In B.C. 490, accompanied, as usual, by several of his disciples, he went frona Ch'in to Ts-ae, a small dependency of the great fief of Ts'oo, which occupied a large part of the present provinces of Hoonan and Hoo-pih. On the way, between Ch'in and Ts'ae, their provisions became exhausted, and they were cut off somehow from obtaining a fresh supply. The disciples were quite overcome with want, and Tsze-loo said to the master, “ Has the superior man indeed to endure in this way?” Confucius answered him, “The superior man may indeed have to endure want; but the mean man, when he is in want, gives way to unbridled license. "28 According to the “ Family Sayings," the distress continued seven days, during which time Confucius retained his equanimity, and was even cheerful, playing on his lute and singing:29 He retained, however, a strong inpression of the perils of the season, and we find him afterwards recurring to it, and lamenting that of the friends that were with him in Ch'in and Ts-ae, there were none remaining to enter his door. 30

Escaped from this strait, he remained in Ts'ae over B.C. 489, and in the following year we find him in Shě, another district of

26 T8o-k'ew Ming, indeed, relates a story of Confucius, on the report of a fire in Loo, telling whose ancestral temple had been destroyed by it. 27 Ana, V. xxi. 28 Ana. XV. i. 2, 3. 29 家語卷二,在危二十篇 30 Ana. XI. ii.

Ts'oo, the chief of which had usurped the title of duke. Puzzled about his visitor, he asked Tsze-loo what he should think of him, but the disciple did not venture a reply. When Confucius beard of it, he said to Tsze-loo, “Why did you not say to him,—He is simply a man who in his eager pursuit of knowledge forgets his food, who in the joy of its attainment forgets his sorrows, and who does not perceive that old age is coming on ? "31 Subsequently, the duke, in conversation with Confucius, asked him about government, and got the reply, dictated by some circumstances of which we are ignorant, “Good government obtains, when those who are near are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted."32

After a short stay in Shě, according to Sze-ma Ts'een, he returned to Ts-ae, and having to cross a river, he sent Tsze-loo to inquire for the ford of two men who were at work in a neighbouring field. They were recluses, -men who had withdrawn from public life in disgust at the waywardness of the times. One of them was called Ch'ang-tseu, and instead of giving Tsze-loo the information he wanted, he asked him, “Who is it that holds the reins in the carriage there?” “It is K‘ung Kew.” “Kóung Kew of Loo?” “Yes," was the reply, and then the man rejoined, “ He knows the ford."

Tsze-loo applied to the other, who was called Këě-neih, but got for answer the question, “Who are you, Sir?" He replied, “ I am Chung Yew.” “ Chung Yew, who is the disciple of Kóung Kew of Loo?” “Yes," again replied Tsze-loo, and Këě-neih addressed hiin, “Disorder, like a swelling flood, spreads over the whole empire, and who is he that will change it for you? Than follow one who merely withdraws from this one and that one, had you not better follow those who withdraw from the world altogether?” With this he fell to covering up the seed, and gave no more heed to the stranger. Tsze-loo went back and reported what they had said, when Confucius vindicated his own course, saying, “It is impossible to associate with birds and beasts as if they were the same with us. If I associate not with these people,—with mankind, with whom shall I associate? If right principles prevailed through the empire, there would be no use for me to change its state."33

About the same time he had an encounter with another recluse, who was known as “The madman of Ts'oo."

“The madman of Ts‘oo." He passed by the

31 Ana. VII. xviii.

32 Ana. XIII. xvi.

33 Ana, XVIII. vi.

earriage of Confucius, singing out “O Fung, O Fung, how is your virtue degenerated! As to the past, reproof is useless, but the future may be provided against. Give up, give up your vain pursuit." Confucius alighted and wished to enter into conversation with him, but the man hastened away. 34

But now the attention of the ruler of Ts'oo-king, as he styled himself-was directed to the illustrious stranger who was in his dominions, and he met Confucius and conducted him to his capital, which was in the present district of E-shing, in the department of Sëang-yang, 35 in Hoo-pih. After a time, he proposed endowing the philosopher with a considerable territory, but was dissuaded by his prime minister, who said to him, “Has your majesty any officer who could discharge the duties of an ambassador like Tsze-kung? or any one so qualified for a premier as Yen Hwuy? or any one to compare as a general with Tsze-loo? The kings Wăn and Woo, from their hereditary dominions of a hundred le, rose to the sovereignty of the empire. If Kóung K'ew, with such disciples to be his ministers, get the possession of any territory, it will not be to the prosperity of Ts'oo ?36 On this remonstrance the king gave up his purpose, and when he died in the same year, Confucius left the State, and went back again to Wei. The duke Ling had died four years before, soon after Confucius

had last parted from him, and the reigning duke, known to us by the title of Ch‘uh,37 was his grandson, and was holding the principality against his own father. The relations between them were rather complicated. The father had been driven out in consequence of an attempt which he had instigated on the life of his mother, the notorious Nan-tsze, and the succession was given to his son. Subsequently, the father wanted to reclaim what he deemed his right, and an unseemly struggle ensued. The duke Ch‘uh was conscious how much his cause would be strengthened by the support of Confucius, and hence when he got to Wei, Tsze-loo could say to him, “The prince of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government;—what will you consider the first thing to be done ? "38 The opinion of the philosopher, however,

35 襄陽府宣城縣 36 Sce the 史記孔子世 F p. 10.

B.C. 489.

37 l: 38 Ana. XIII. iii. In the notes on this passage, I have given Choo He's opinion as to the time when Tsóze-loo made this remark. It seems more correct, however, to refer it to Confucius' return to Wei from Ts'oo, as is done by Keang Yung.

34 Ana. XVII, v.

[ocr errors]

From his return to Loo to his death. B.C. 483-478.

was against the propriety of the duke's course, 39 and he declined taking office with him, though he remained in Wei for between five and six years. During all that time there is a blank in his history. In the very year of his return, according to the “Annals of the Empire,” his most beloved disciple, Yen Hwuy died, on which occasion he exclaimed, “ Alas! Heaven is destroying me! Heaven is destroying me !"40 The death of his wife is assigned to B.C. 481, but nothing else is related which we can connect with this long period.

9. His return to Loo was brought about by the disciple Yen Yew, who, we have seen, went into the service of Ke K‘ang, in B.C. 491.

In the year B.C. 483, Yew had the conduct of some military operations against Tse, and

being successful, Ke K‘ang asked him how he had obtained his military skill;—was it from nature, or by learning? He replied that he had learned it from Confucius, and entered into a glowing eulogy of the philosopher. The chief declared that he would bring Confucius home again to Loo. “If you do so,” said the disciple, "see that you do not let mean men come between you and him.” On this K‘ang sent three officers with appropriate presents to Wei, to invite the wanderer home, and he returned with them accordingly.

This event took place in the 11th year of the duke Gae, who succeeded to Ting, and according to Kóung Foo, Confucius' descendant, the invitation proceeded from him. We may suppose that while Ke K'ang was the mover and director of the proceeding, it was with the authority and approval of the duke. It is represented in the chronicle of Tso-kóew Ming as having occurred at a very opportune time. The philosopher had been consulted a little before by K'ung Wăn,4 an officer of Wei, about how he should conduct a feud with another officer, and disgusted at being referred to on such a subject, had ordered his carriage and prepared to leave the State, exclaiming, “The bird chooses its tree. The tree does not chase the bird.” Kéung Wăn endeavoured to excuse himself, and to prevail on Confucius

39 Ana, VII, xiv, 40 Ana, XI, viii, In the notes on Ana, XI. vii. I have adverted to the chronological difficulty connected with the dates assigned respectively to the deaths of Yen Hwuy and Confucius' own son, Le. Keang Yung assigns Hwuy's death to B.C. 481.

1 Se the 史記孔子世家 2 京公 3 See Keang Yung's memoir, in loc, 4 FL F, the same who is mentioned in the Analects, V. xiv.

« הקודםהמשך »