THE ANALECTS (Sayings)
1.   Tsze-lu asked about government. The Master said, "Go
before the people with your example, and be laborious in their
He requested further instruction, and was answered, "Be
not weary in these things."
2.   Chung-kung, being chief minister to the head of the Chi
family, asked about government. The Master said, "Employ
first the services of your various officers, pardon small faults,
and raise to office men of virtue and talents."
Chung-kung said, "How shall I know the men of virtue and
talent, so that I may raise them to office?" He was
answered, "Raise to office those whom you know. As to those
whom you do not know, will others neglect them?"
3.   Tsze-lu said, "The ruler 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?"
The Master replied, "What is necessary is to rectify
"So! indeed!" said Tsze-lu. "You are wide of
the mark! Why must there be such rectification?"
The Master said, "How uncultivated you are, Yu! A
superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a
"If names be not correct, language is not in accordance
with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with
the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
"When affairs cannot be carried on to success,
proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music
do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When
punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how
to move hand or foot.
"Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the
names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he
speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man
requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."
4.   Fan Ch'ih requested to be taught husbandry. The Master
said, "I am not so good for that as an old husbandman."
He requested also to be taught gardening, and was answered,
"I am not so good for that as an old gardener."
Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master said, "A small man,
indeed, is Fan Hsu! If a superior man love propriety, the people
will not dare not to be reverent. If he love righteousness, the
people will not dare not to submit to his example. If he love
good faith, the people will not dare not to be sincere. Now, when
these things obtain, the people from all quarters will come to
him, bearing their children on their backs; what need has he of a
knowledge of husbandry?"
5.   The Master said, "Though a man may be able to recite
the three hundred odes, yet if, when intrusted with a
governmental charge, he knows not how to act, or if, when sent to
any quarter on a mission, he cannot give his replies unassisted,
notwithstanding the extent of his learning, of what practical use
6.   The Master said, "When a prince's personal conduct is
correct, his government is effective without the issuing of
orders. If his personal conduct is not correct, he may issue
orders, but they will not be followed."
7.   The Master said, "The governments of Lu and Wei are
8.   The Master said of Ching, a scion of the ducal family of
Wei, that he knew the economy of a family well. When he began to
have means, he said, "Ha! here is a collection!" When
they were a little increased, he said, "Ha! this is complete!"
When he had become rich, he said, "Ha! this is admirable!"
9.   When the Master went to Weil Zan Yu acted as driver of his
The Master observed, "How numerous are the people!"
Yu said, "Since they are thus numerous, what more shall
be done for them?" "Enrich them, was the reply.
"And when they have been enriched, what more shall be
done?" The Master said, "Teach them."
10.   The Master said, "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 government
would be perfected."
11.   The Master said, "'If good men were to govern a
country in succession for a hundred years, they would be able to
transform the violently bad, and dispense with capital
punishments.' True indeed is this saying!"
12.   The Master said, "If a truly royal ruler were to
arise, it would stir require a generation, and then virtue would
13.   The Master said, "If a minister make his own conduct
correct, what difficulty will he have in assisting in government?
If he cannot rectify himself, what has he to do with rectifying
14.   The disciple Zan returning from the court, the Master said
to him, "How are you so late?" He replied, "We had
government business." The Master said, "It must have
been family affairs. If there had been government business,
though I am not now in office, I should have been consulted about
15.   The Duke Ting asked whether there was a single sentence
which could make a country prosperous. Confucius replied, "Such
an effect cannot be expected from one sentence.
"There is a saying, however, which people have: 'To be a
prince is difficult; to be a minister is not easy.'
"If a ruler knows this,—the difficulty of being a
prince,—may there not be expected from this one sentence the
prosperity of his country?"
The duke then said, "Is there a single sentence which can
ruin a country?" Confucius replied, "Such an effect as
that cannot be expected from one sentence. There is, however, the
saying which people have: 'I have no pleasure in being a prince,
but only in that no one can offer any opposition to what I say!'
"If a ruler's words be good, is it not also good that no
one oppose them? But if they are not good, and no one opposes
them, may there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin
of his country?"
16.   The Duke of Sheh asked about government.
The Master said, "Good government obtains when those who
are near are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted."
17.   Tsze-hsia! being governor of Chu-fu, asked about
government. The Master said, "Do not be desirous to have
things done quickly; do not look at small advantages. Desire to
have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly.
Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being
18.   The Duke of Sheh informed Confucius, saying, "Among
us here there are those who may be styled upright in their
conduct. If their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear
witness to the fact."
Confucius said, "Among us, in our part of the country,
those who are upright are different from this. The father
conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the
misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this."
19.   Fan Ch'ih asked about perfect virtue. The Master said,
"It is, in retirement, to be sedately grave; in the
management of business, to be reverently attentive; in
intercourse with others, to be strictly sincere. Though a man go
among rude, uncultivated tribes, these qualities may not be
20.   Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What qualities must a man
possess to entitle him to be called an officer? The Master said,
"He who in his conduct of himself maintains a sense of
shame, and when sent to any quarter will not disgrace his
prince's commission, deserves to be called an officer."
Tsze-kung pursued, "I venture to ask who may be placed in
the next lower rank?" And he was told, "He whom the
circle of his relatives pronounce to be filial, whom his fellow
villagers and neighbors pronounce to be fraternal."
Again the disciple asked, "I venture to ask about the
class still next in order." The Master said, "They are
determined to be sincere in what they say, and to carry out what
they do. They are obstinate little men. Yet perhaps they may make
the next class."
Tsze-kung finally inquired, "Of what sort are those of
the present day, who engage in government?" The Master said
"Pooh! they are so many pecks and hampers, not worth being
taken into account."
21.   The Master said, "Since I cannot get men pursuing the
due medium, to whom I might communicate my instructions, I must
find the ardent and the cautiously-decided. The ardent will
advance and lay hold of truth; the cautiously-decided will keep
themselves from what is wrong."
22.   The Master said, "The people of the south have a
saying: 'A man without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a
"Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with
The Master said, "This arises simply from not attending
to the prognostication."
23.   The Master said, "The superior man is affable, but
not adulatory; the mean man is adulatory, but not affable."
24.   Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What do you say of a man
who is loved by all the people of his neighborhood?" The
Master replied, "We may not for that accord our approval of
him." "And what do you say of him who is hated by all
the people of his neighborhood?" The Master said, "We
may not for that conclude that he is bad. It is better than
either of these cases that the good in the neighborhood love him,
and the bad hate him."
25.   The Master said, "The superior man is easy to serve
and difficult to please. If you try to please him in any way
which is not accordant with right, he will not be pleased. But in
his employment of men, he uses them according to their capacity.
The mean man is difficult to serve, and easy to please. If you
try to please him, though it be in a way which is not accordant
with right, he may be pleased. But in his employment of men, he
wishes them to be equal to everything."
26.   The Master said, "The superior man has a dignified
ease without pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified
27.   The Master said, "The firm, the enduring, the simple,
and the modest are near to virtue."
28.   Tsze-lu asked, saying, "What qualities must a man
possess to entitle him to be called a scholar?" The Master
said, "He must be thus: earnest, urgent, and bland —among
his friends: earnest and urgent; among his brethren: bland."
29.   The Master said, "Let a good man teach the people
seven years, and they may then likewise be employed in war."
30.   The Master said, "To lead an uninstructed people to
war, is to throw them away."