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“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."3
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. 4
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,— 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 "2 man of the north, the south, the east, and the west.” 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 Loo, but in what special capacity we do not know. Pru
bably he continued to encourage the resort of court of Chow; and returns
inquirers to whom he communicated instruetion, 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 Tan,
He learns music; visits the
3 Le Ke, II. Pt. I. i. 10; Pt. II. iii. 30; Pt. I. i. 6. See also the discussion of those passages is Keang Yung's · Life of Confucius.' 4 Le Ke, II. Pt. I. i. 22.
See the Ts'un Ts'ew, under the 7th year of duke Ch'avu.TR AB F*.
made his appearance at the court of Loo, and discoursed in a wonderful mamer, at a feast given to him by the duke, about the names thich the most ancient sovereigns, from Hwang-te downwards, gave to their ministers. The sacrifices to the emperor Shaon-haou, the next in descent from Hwang-te, were maintained in Tan, 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.?
To the year 1.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 stond "+ firm, 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 mentionel in the conclusion of the last paragraph began to receive its fulfilment,” thongh 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 Măng He, died. Seventeen Vears before, he had painfully felt his ignorance of ceremonial observances, and had made it his subsequent business to make himself arquainted 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 Kóung Kew, who is thoroughly versed in it. He is a descendant of Sages, and though the line of his family was extinkuished in Sung, among his ancestors there were Fuh-foo Ho, who resigned the dukedom to his brother, and Ching Kaou-foo, who was
2 This rests on the respectable authority of Tso-kew Ming's annotations on the Tsóun Ts'ew, hi: I muest consider it apocryphal. The legend-writers have fashioned a journey to Tan. The inst bistorical 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 illne, Ip. 121-183) and Thornton (History of China, vol. I. pp. 151-215) have followed in his whe 3 Bila See the ' Family Sayings,' Le 辯樂解;
its fit; but the account Share given is not more credible than the chief of Tan's expositions. 4 Ana, II. iv.
5 The journey to Chow is placed by Sze-ma Tseen before Confucius' holding of his first uvial employments, and Choo Ile and most other writers follow him. It is a great error, and arixu frun a misunderstanding of the passage from the Lithupon the subject.
distinguished for his humility. Tsang Heih has observed that if sage men of intelligent virtue do not attain to eininence, distinguished men are sure to appear among their posterity. His words are now to be verified, I think, in Kóung K'ew. After my death, you must tell Ho-ke to go and study proprieties under him."6 sequence of this charge, Ho-ke,? Mang He's son, who appears in the Analects under the name of Mang E,8 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 hiin 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. Kingshuh represented the matter to the duke Ch'aou, who put a carriage and a pair of horses at Confucius' disposal for the expedition. 10
At this time the court of Chow was in the city of Lõ, 11 in the present department of Ho-nan of the province of the same name. The reigning emperor is known by the title of King, 12 but the sovereignty was little more than nominal. The state of China was then analogons 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.,-quarreled 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 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
6 See 左氏傳昭公七年 7何总 8孟懿子: 9南宮 敬叔 10 The makes King-shuh accompany Confucius to Chow. It is difficult to understand this, if King-shul were really a sun of Mang le who had died that year. 12 694 I (v.c. 518-475).
reader must have it clearly before hin, 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, 13 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 treasurykeeper. They met and freely interchanged their views, but no reliable account of their conversations has been preserved. In the Ith Book of the Le Ke, which is headed, “ The philosopher Tsăng 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 Kang what he had heard from him about “The Five Tes,” but we may hope their conversation turned also on inore important subjects. Sze-ma Ts'een, favourable to Laou-tsze, inakes 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.14 These are of no advantage to you. This is all whieh 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 runher may
be snared, the swimmer may be hooked, and the flyer may be shot by the arrow. But there is the dragon, I cannot tell how he mounts on the wind through the clouds, and rises to heaven. To-day I have seen Laou-tsze, and can only compare him to the dragon."
13 According to Sze-ma Tsócen, Tan was the posthumous epithet of this individual, whose
Le). name Urh(), and designation Pih-yang (100 ). 14 逸態 與汪志
15 See tho LC 5 =, and compare ile remarks attributed to Lagu-isce in the account of the K‘wng family wear the beginning.
While at Lò, Confucius walked over the grounds set apart for the great sacrifices to Heaven and Earth; inspected the pattern of the Hall of Light, built to give audience in to the princes of the empire; and examined all the arrangements of the ancestral temple and the court. From the whole he received a profound impression. “Now," said he with a sigh, “I know the
wisdom of the duke of Chow, and how the house of Chow attained to the imperial sway."16 On the walls of the Hall of Light were paintings of the ancient sovereigns from Yaou and Shun downwards, their characters appearing in the representations of them, and words of praise or warning being appended. There was also a picture of the duke of Chow sitting with his infant nephew, the king Shing, upon his knees, to give audience to all the princes. Confucius surveyed the scene with silent delight, and then said to his followers, “ Here you see how Chow became so great. As we use a glass to examine the forms of things, so must we study antiquity in order to understand the
present. In the hall of the ancestral temple, there was a metal statue of a man with three clasps upon his mouth, and his back covered over with an enjoyable homily on the duty of keeping a watch upon the lips. Confucius turned to his disciples and said, “Observe it, my children. These words are true, and commend themselves to our feelings."18
About music he made inquiries at Ch‘ang Hwang, to whom the following remarks are attributed :-"I have observed about Chung. ne many marks of a sage. His has river eyes and a dragon forehead, --the very characteristics of Hwang-te. His arms are long, his back is like a tortoise, and he is nine feet six inches in height,—the very seinblance of Tang the Completer. When he speaks, he praises the ancient kings. He moves along the path of humility and courtesy. He has heard of every subject, and retains with a strong memory. His knowledge of things seems inexhaustible.—Have ne not in him the rising of a sage ?"19
I have given these notices of Confucius at the court of Chow, more as being the only ones I could find, than because I put much faith in them. He did not remain there long, but returned the same year to Loo, and continued his work of teaching. His fame
16, 17, 18 See the , art. PEL M). 19 Quotcu by Keang Yung from The Family Sayings.