THE ANALECTS (Sayings)
1.   Yang Ho wished to see Confucius, but Confucius would not go
to see him. On this, he sent a present of a pig to Confucius,
who, having chosen a time when Ho was not at home went to pay his
respects for the gift. He met him, however, on the way.
Ho said to Confucius, "Come, let me speak with you."
He then asked, "Can he be called benevolent who keeps his
jewel in his bosom, and leaves his country to confusion?"
Confucius replied, "No." "Can he be called wise,
who is anxious to be engaged in public employment, and yet is
constantly losing the opportunity of being so?" Confucius
again said, "No." "The days and months are passing
away; the years do not wait for us." Confucius said, "Right;
I will go into office."
2.   The Master said, "By nature, men are nearly alike; by
practice, they get to be wide apart."
The Master said, "There are only the wise of the highest
class, and the stupid of the lowest class, who cannot be changed."
3.   The Master, having come to Wu-ch'ang, heard there the sound
of stringed instruments and singing.
Well pleased and smiling, he said, "Why use an ox knife
to kill a fowl?"
Tsze-yu replied, "Formerly, Master, I heard you say,
'When the man of high station is well instructed, he loves men;
when the man of low station is well instructed, he is easily
The Master said, "My disciples, Yen's words are right.
What I said was only in sport."
4.   Kung-shan Fu-zao, when he was holding Pi, and in an
attitude of rebellion, invited the Master to visit him, who was
rather inclined to go.
Tsze-lu was displeased. and said, "Indeed, you cannot go!
Why must you think of going to see Kung-shan?"
The Master said, "Can it be without some reason that he
has invited ME? If any one employ me, may I not make an eastern
5.   Tsze-chang asked Confucius about perfect virtue. Confucius
said, "To be able to practice five things everywhere under
heaven constitutes perfect virtue." He begged to ask what
they were, and was told, "Gravity, generosity of soul,
sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. If you are grave, you will
not be treated with disrespect. If you are generous, you will win
all. If you are sincere, people will repose trust in you. If you
are earnest, you will accomplish much. If you are kind, this will
enable you to employ the services of others.
6.   Pi Hsi inviting him to visit him, the Master was inclined
Tsze-lu said, "Master, formerly I have heard you say,
'When a man in his own person is guilty of doing evil, a superior
man will not associate with him.' Pi Hsi is in rebellion, holding
possession of Chung-mau; if you go to him, what shall be said?"
The Master said, "Yes, I did use these words. But is it
not said, that, if a thing be really hard, it may be ground
without being made thin? Is it not said, that, if a thing be
really white, it may be steeped in a dark fluid without being
"Am I a bitter gourd? How can I be hung up out of the way
of being eaten?"
7.   The Master said, "Yu, have you heard the six words to
which are attached six becloudings?" Yu replied, "I
"Sit down, and I will tell them to you.
"There is the love of being benevolent without the love
of learning; —the beclouding here leads to a foolish simplicity.
There is the love of knowing without the love of learning; —the
beclouding here leads to dissipation of mind. There is the love
of being sincere without the love of learning; —the beclouding
here leads to an injurious disregard of consequences. There is
the love of straightforwardness without the love of learning; —the
beclouding here leads to rudeness. There is the love of boldness
without the love of learning; —the beclouding here leads to
insubordination. There is the love of firmness without the love
of learning; —the beclouding here leads to extravagant conduct."
8.   The Master said, "My children, why do you not study
the Book of Poetry?
"The Odes serve to stimulate the mind.
"They may be used for purposes of self-contemplation.
"They teach the art of sociability.
"They show how to regulate feelings of resentment.
"From them you learn the more immediate duty of serving
one's father, and the remoter one of serving one's prince.
"From them we become largely acquainted with the names of
birds, beasts, and plants."
The Master said to Po-yu, "Do you give yourself to the
Chau-nan and the Shao-nan. The man who has not studied the Chau-nan
and the Shao-nan is like one who stands with his face right
against a wall. Is he not so?"
9.   The Master said, "'It is according to the rules of
propriety,' they say. 'It is according to the rules of
propriety,' they say. Are gems and silk all that is meant by
propriety? 'It is music,' they say.—'It is music,' they say. Are
hers and drums all that is meant by music?"
10.   The Master said, "He who puts on an appearance of
stern firmness, while inwardly he is weak, is like one of the
small, mean people; —yea, is he not like the thief who breaks
through, or climbs over, a wall?"
11.   The Master said, "Your good, careful people of the
villages are the thieves of virtue."
12.   The Master said, To tell, as we go along, what we have
heard on the way, is to cast away our virtue."
13.   The Master said, "There are those mean creatures! How
impossible it is along with them to serve one's prince!
"While they have not got their aims, their anxiety is how
to get them. When they have got them, their anxiety is lest they
should lose them.
"When they are anxious lest such things should be lost,
there is nothing to which they will not proceed."
14.   The Master said, "Anciently, men had three failings,
which now perhaps are not to be found.
"The high-mindedness of antiquity showed itself in a
disregard of small things; the high-mindedness of the present day
shows itself in wild license. The stern dignity of antiquity
showed itself in grave reserve; the stern dignity of the present
day shows itself in quarrelsome perverseness. The stupidity of
antiquity showed itself in straightforwardness; the stupidity of
the present day shows itself in sheer deceit."
15.   The Master said, "Fine words and an insinuating
appearance are seldom associated with virtue."
16.   The Master said, "I hate the manner in which purple
takes away the luster of vermilion. I hate the way in which the
songs of Chang confound the music of the Ya. I hate those who
with their sharp mouths overthrow kingdoms and families."
17.   The Master said, "I would prefer not speaking."
Tsze-kung said, "If you, Master, do not speak, what shall
we, your disciples, have to record?"
The Master said, "Does Heaven speak? The four seasons
pursue their courses, and all things are continually being
produced, but does Heaven say anything?"
18.   Zu Pei wished to see Confucius, but Confucius declined, on
the ground of being sick, to see him. When the bearer of this
message went out at the door, the Master took his lute and sang
to it, in order that Pei might hear him.
19.   Tsai Wo asked about the three years' mourning for parents,
saying that one year was long enough.
"If the superior man," said he, "abstains for
three years from the observances of propriety, those observances
will be quite lost. If for three years he abstains from music,
music will be ruined. Within a year the old grain is exhausted,
and the new grain has sprung up, and, in procuring fire by
friction, we go through all the changes of wood for that purpose.
After a complete year, the mourning may stop."
The Master said, "If you were, after a year, to eat good
rice, and wear embroidered clothes, would you feel at ease?"
"I should," replied Wo.
The Master said, "If you can feel at ease, do it. But a
superior man, during the whole period of mourning, does not enjoy
pleasant food which he may eat, nor derive pleasure from music
which he may hear. He also does not feel at ease, if he is
comfortably lodged. Therefore he does not do what you propose.
But now you feel at ease and may do it."
Tsai Wo then went out, and the Master said, "This shows
Yu's want of virtue. It is not till a child is three years old
that it is allowed to leave the arms of its parents. And the
three years' mourning is universally observed throughout the
empire. Did Yu enjoy the three years' love of his parents?"
20.   The Master said, "Hard is it to deal with who will
stuff himself with food the whole day, without applying his mind
to anything good! Are there not gamesters and chess players? To
be one of these would still be better than doing nothing at all."
21.   Tsze-lu said, "Does the superior man esteem valor?"
The Master said, "The superior man holds righteousness to be
of highest importance. A man in a superior situation, having
valor without righteousness, will be guilty of insubordination;
one of the lower people having valor without righteousness, will
22.   Tsze-kung said, "Has the superior man his hatreds
also?" The Master said, "He has his hatreds. He hates
those who proclaim the evil of others. He hates the man who,
being in a low station, slanders his superiors. He hates those
who have valor merely, and are unobservant of propriety. He hates
those who are forward and determined, and, at the same time, of
The Master then inquired, "Ts'ze, have you also your
hatreds?" Tsze-kung replied, "I hate those who pry out
matters, and ascribe the knowledge to their wisdom. I hate those
who are only not modest, and think that they are valorous. I hate
those who make known secrets, and think that they are
23.   The Master said, "Of all people, girls and servants
are the most difficult to behave to. If you are familiar with
them, they lose their humility. If you maintain a reserve towards
them, they are discontented."
24.   The Master said, "When a man at forty is the object
of dislike, he will always continue what he is."