Miscellaneous essays Traduits et annotés



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3 378-343 B. C.

4 In Shantung, near Kiao-chou.

5 In the T‘ai-an prefecture of Shantung.

6 This story is told in full in the Shi-chi chap. 46, p. 7v. (Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. V, p. 243). In addition to the governor of O, all the sycophants about him were thrown into a cauldron and boiled.

7 Analects XIII, 24 [Couvreur].

1 About these men see Vol. I, p. 501, Note 2.

2 Cf. Vol. I, p. 169.

Vol. I, p. 364, Note 5.

3 A noble in Ch‘i, whose descendants, later on, became dukes of Ch’i. He died about 460 B. C.

4 He came to the throne in 496 B. C.

5 On Mount Kuei-chi he had been surrounded by the king of Wu, and had to sue for peace.

1 See above p. 131, Note 1.

2 The noise thus made probably served to produce the crow.

Cf. the biography of Mêng Ch‘ang in the Shi-chi chap. 75, p. 4v.

3 See Vol. I, p. 378.

4 Cf. chap. XXXII.

1 The Five Notes of the Chinese musical scale.

The drum plays an important part in Chinese music.

2 The teacher has to inculcate them.

3 Quotation from the Liki, Hsio-chi (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVIII, p. 90) [Couvreur], but with slight alterations.

4 The Taoists despise external merit.

5 This expression is nowhere explained, the Appendix to the Pei-wên-yün-fu merely cites this passage. [] means an ulcer on the legs, but what is a ‘hare ulcer’ ? From the opposition to [][] we may infer that it is some small disease, perhaps only an excoriation, which the Germans call ‘wolf’.

1 The Han-shu has the first reading.

State in Shansi.

2 Han Wu Ti, 140-87 B. C.

3 A circuit in northern Honan.

4 Shou Wang filled both posts, that of a [] tu-wei, military governor and of a tai-shou, civil governor.

5 The income of a military governor was of 2 000 piculs and that of a civil one the same amount.

6 So far the text literally agrees with the biography of Shou Wang in the Ch‘ien Han-shu chap. 64a, p. 13v.

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 114.

2 One yi of gold equal to 20 ounces.

3 For a more detailed account see Vol. I, p. 503.

1 His second attempt to assassinate the viscount Hsiang of Chao having failed, he asked permission to pass his sword through the cloak of the viscount, which was granted him. Having thus revenged his master, Earl Chih, symbolically, he committed suicide. See also Vol. I, p. 358, Note 1.

2 King P‘ing of Ch’u, who had put to death the father and elder brother of Wu Tse Hsü (Wu Yuan). The latter fled to Wu, inveighed the prince of this State to an expedition against Ch’u, which was vanquished. As victor Wu Tse Hsü caused the grave of King P‘ing to be opened and his corpse to be publicly flogged.

3 Cf. Vol. I, p. 235.

4 Kuan Lung Fêng, a minister of Chieh Kuei, who remonstrated with him and therefore was put to death.

For having dared to object to the excesses of Chou, the last emperor of the Yin dynasty, Pi Kan had a similar fate as Kuan Lung Fêng. Cf. Vol. I, p. 485, Note 6.

The ancestor of the Chou dynasty.

5 Minister of Shun.

6 Minister of Shun.

T‘ang and were the territories of Yao and Shun.

Allusion to Analects X, 18.

1 An officer of Ch‘i, 6th century B. C., who died 493 B. C.

2 These sentiments savour a good deal of Taoism.

1 On a small sheet of water one knows exactly the course one has taken but not on the ocean where east and west become uncertain.

2 Great virtue becomes visible by contrast and shines forth when there is wickedness all around.

3 Cf. Analects XI, 5 [Couvreur]. Nan Jung, to whom Confucius married the daughter of his elder brother. He used to repeat the lines of the Shiking ‘A flaw in a white sceptre-stone may be ground away ; but for a flaw in speech nothing can be done’. See Legge, Classics Vol. I, p. 238, Note 5.

4 Cf. Analects V, I [Couvreur]. To Kung Yeh Ch‘ang Confucius gave his daughter to wife.

5 See Vol. I, p. 66, Note 2.

6 Vol. I, p. 499, Note 2.

7 See Vol. I, p. 168, Note 2.

1 The grandfather of Wên Wang, founder of the Chou dynasty, who removed his capital in consequence of the constant raids of barbarian tribes.

2 Virtues, as it were, are luxuries ; to practise them, people must at least be provided with the necessities of life. The state of morality, to a great extent, depends on purely economical conditions.

3 I only found one Yuan Ch‘ang whom Wang Ch‘ung may have in view, a contemporary of his who, during the reign of Ho Ti, 89-105 B. C., was appointed general.

4 The same as the K‘un-lun. The Yellow River is believed to have its source in Mount K‘un. See also Vol. I, p. 254.

5 Old name of the Poyang Lake.

6 Now capital of Kiangsi Province.

7 Allusion to Analects VI, 9 [Couvreur].

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 133.

2 Two hermits of Ch‘u met by Confucius. See Analects XVIII, 6 [Couvreur].

3 Cf. p. 53, Note 2 and Vol. I, p. 427.

4 The philosophy of Confucius, and in a still higher degree that of Mê Ti, propounds altruism, the Taoism, indifference and self-cultivation.

5 Worthies in the Confucian sense.

6 War chariots by the number of which the military power of a State was gauged.

See above p. 137 and Vol. I, p. 358.

1 A minister of Chao who intended to assassinate Han Kao Tsu. This plan was discovered, and Kuan Kao with all his accomplices and relations to the third degree, were executed. Cf. Vol. I, p. 117 and Shi-chi chap. 8, p. 32r. (Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. II, p. 391 and 392).

Virtue and self-sacrifice are easier for persons with a strong constitution than for weak ones. They have more courage and feel bodily pain much less.

1 A hard word, but true, even of many of our philologists.

2 One of the Three Heroes to whom the accession of the Han dynasty is due. See p. 119, Note 6.

3 An old adage which was used by Fan Li, minister of Yüeh, 5th cent B. C. Cf. Vol. I, p. 310, and also by Han Hsin, when he was seized and arraigned for high-treason.

4 Cf. Vol. I, p. 380, Note 5.

5 Han Hsin’s plan to seize the Empress Hou and the heir-apparent having been divulged, he was decapitated, and his whole family exterminated in B. C. 196.

1 A high officer of Wên Ti, B. C. 179-157.

2 Both were raised to the rank of marquis.

3 See p. 62, Note 3.

4 Confucius met this woman near the T‘ai-shan, while proceeding to Ch‘i. He sent Tse Lu to question her, and was told that formerly her husband’s father had been devoured by a tiger, then her husband, and last her son. Confucius then said to his disciples, ‘Remember this my children. Oppressive government is more terrible than tigers’. Liki (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 190) [Couvreur] and the Family Sayings of Confucius, where Tse Kung takes the place of Tse Lu.

1 A distinguished scholar and poet of the 2nd cent. B. C.

2 The philosopher Yang Hsiung. Elsewhere (Vol. I, pp. 81 and 88) Wang Ch‘ung deals more generously with him.

See above p. 141, Note 6.

3 Perfect purity is not required to be a Worthy. Tse Lu was one in spite of his covetousness.

4 On the contrary. Confucius commends him and calls him a Worthy. See Analects VII, 14 [Couvreur] and XVI, 12 [Couvreur].

1 Quoted almost literally from Huai Nan Tse XVIII, 17r. Another parallel passage is furnished by Lieh Tse IV, 4v [Couvreur], but its wording is somewhat different and fuller, so that it may have been the archetype for Huai Nan Tse. There the questioner is Tse Hsia, who inquires about four disciples, adding Tse Chang.

2 Mencius Book VII, Part II, 37 [Legge][Couvreur].

3 Quoted from the Shiking Part II, Book III, 2 ; but transposed (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 70).

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 362, Note 1.

See Vol. I, p. 73, Note 3.

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 74, Note 6 and Tso-chuan, Duke Ting 8th year (Legge, Classics Vol. V, Part II, p. 769 seq.) [Couvreur].

2 If, according to the opinion of Kuan Tse, the words of a superior man attract so many people, that they fill rooms and halls, then the effect produced on the hearers would be a criterion of truth. In that case the utterances of all the people ought to fill the whole world to be trustworthy. That is impossible, consequently the principle of Kuan Tse cannot be right.

1 See Vol. I, p. 467, Note 7.

2 One of the Three Heroes of the Han time, cf. Vol. I, p. 305, Note 2. On one occasion, being appointed by the village elders to distribute sacrificial meats at the local altar, he performed this duty with such impartiality, that the elders wished he might manage the affairs of the empire in a similar manner.

This phenomenon happened after 480 and before Duke Ching’s death in 451 B. C.

1 The astrologer of the court, cf. Vol. I, p. 158, Note 1.

Huai Nan Tse repeats : […] ‘three maxims of a superior man’.

1 Huai Nan Tse : ‘through each mansion it will move seven Li’.

2 Quoted with some few alterations from Huai Nan Tse XII, 11v. See also Vol. I, p. 328, Note 5.

The same story is related in the Shi-chi chap. 38, p. 15v. (Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. IV, p. 245), but more condensed, and the end is omitted. The planet passes through three degrees.

3 In the year 516 B. C.

4 A counselor of the duke of Ch‘i.

Shiking Part III, Book I, 2 (Legge, Classics Vol. IV, Part II, p. 433) [Couvreur].

1 A lost Ode.

2 Quotation from the Tso-chuan, Duke Chao 26th year (Legge, Classics Vol. V, Part II, p. 718) [Couvreur, p. 417]. This event is also recorded in the Shi-chi chap. 32, p. 19v. (Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. IV, p. 76), but in quite a different way, especially Yen Tse uses other arguments.

3 Cf. p. 161.

1 Their wisdom and sageness did not enable them to understand foreign languages.

1 The small foot of the Chou time.

2 Man.

3 They are not bad, but not very good.

1 In the later Chou epoch the king was much too weak to punish feudal lords either himself or by deputy.

2 The exceptional phenomenon was either due to luck or merit, but not to the duke’s listening to the counsel of Tse Wei.

3 This great fire took place in B. C. 524, and is described in the Tso chuan, Duke Chao 18th year [Couvreur].

4 A great officer of Lu.

1 Sincerity and earnestness of purpose are supposed to move Heaven and cause phenomenal changes.

2 Quotation from Huai Nan Tse XII, 22r. See also Vol. I, p. 112.

1 For the last character, Giles No. 6229, (Giles 6228) = Broussonetia papyrifera should be written.

2 Cf. Vol. I, p. 328, Notes 1 and 2.

3 They were non-Chinese States requiring interpreters to offer their submission.

4 The same legend is referred to in the Preface to the Shuking, 22 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 6), in the Bamboo Annals [Biot], and in the Shi-chi chap. 3, p. 7r. [Chavannes] and chap. 28, p. 2r. [Chavannes]. But in all these texts the phenomenon is said to have happened under the reign of T‘ai Mou, 1637-1563 B. C. who consulted his minister Yi Chih. In the Shi-chi the two trees got a circumference of two spans in one evening.

1 Which is fixed beforehand.

2 See p. 3, Note 1.

3 The queer ditty portending the duke’s disaster had developed, so to speak, and become realised as naturally as leaves blossom, and water flowing from a spring swells and grows.

4 This seems to be a mistake. The Shi-chi writes king Li (Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. I, p. 282). He reigned from 878-828 B. C., king Yu from 781-771.

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 321.

2 This must be king Yu, whose favourite Pao Sse became.

3 That is not quite correct. The Hsia dynasty came to a close in B. C. 1766.

See Vol. I, p. 230, Note 5.

4 The Five Sages are : Yao, Shun, Yü, T‘ang, and Wên Wang.

Ten Worthies are mentioned in Chinese literature but for more recent times, and we do not know whom Wang Ch‘ung had in view.

The last ruler of the Hsia dynasty.

1 Cf. chap. XXVIII.

2 See chap. XXVIII.

3 Pheasants cannot be looked upon as inauspicious because they hide among wild plants, as men do not become so, by living in a cottage and in the country.

1 They are not to be taken for bad omens.

2 Cf. Vol. I, p. 486, Note 3.

3 Wild tribes in the West and the North.

4 Cf. p. 122, Note 2. The homage of this chieftain to the Duke of Lu was, on the contrary, believed to be a good augury.

’ See Vol. I, p. 505, Note 2, where this people is called [a][b]instead of [a][c]

5 A Han general of the 1st cent. B. C. who conquered Ssechuan and proclaimed himself emperor of Shu, and took white as his imperial colour.

1 This theory is explained and combatted in the chapter ‘On Reprimands’ in Vol. I, p. 119 seq.

2 Five harvests being foreboding the ruin of a State, the not ripening of cereals ought to be a lucky augury ; conversely, an impending calamity affects the grain, so that is does not ripen. Then its not ripening is a bad augury as well. Such contradictions should have shown Wang Ch‘ung the futility of such researches.

See Vol. I, p. 244, Note 3. The passage is quoted from Huai Nan Tse VIII, 5r.

All these plants pass for suspicious portents.

1 576-559 B. C.

This story is referred to in the Hsin-hsü of Liu Hsiang (T‘ai-P‘ing-yü-lan).

1 Quoted from Huai Nan Tse VII, 8v. See also Vol. I, p. 352, Note 1. Huai Nan Tse has the following conclusion : ‘He did not change countenance. Then the dragon dropped its ears, wagged its tail, and fled’.

2 The site is not certain. It was either in the prefecture of K‘ai-fêng-fu (Honan) or in Ts‘ao-chou-fu (Shantung). The battle took place in B. C. 632. Cf. Ch‘un-ch‘iu, Duke Hsi 28th year [Couvreur].

3 A comet.

4 I. e., the stick or the tail of the comet was turned towards the kingdom of Ch‘u.

5 An officer of Chin.

6 Cf. Vol. I, p. 189, Note 6.

1 See Vol. I, p. 272, Note 2.

2 Wang Ch‘ung reckons the distance at 60 000 Li. Vol. I, p. 275.

3 We are not told how this is possible.

1 Wang Ch‘ung conceives heaven as something solid, a firmament. Vol. I, pp. 257 and 509.

2 Cf. chap. XVI.

3 In Honan, west of Huai-ch‘ing-fu.

4 The commentary to Huai Nan Tse says that Yang-hou means the marquis of Yang viz. of Ling-yang, whose territory was contiguous to the river and whose spirit could cause big waves, the marquis having been drowned in the river.

It is derived from Huai Nan Tse VI, 1v.

1 Quotation from Huai Nan Tse VI, 1v. See also Vol. I, p. 89, Note 6.

2 A chapter of the Shuking [Legge][Couvreur].

3 Cf. Vol. I, p. 277, Note 3.

4 Viz. their penchant for wind or rain, which only manifests itself when the moon approaches them.

1 See Vol. I, p. 257.

2 Taking the character [] in the acceptation of degree, not of solar mansion.

3 See above p. 152 seq.

4 Which according to the view of many scholars may work wonders.

5 Like Duke Ching of Sung who is believed to have caused Mars to pass through three solar mansions.

6 The east point.

7 Whereas in fact it was rising. This conjecture is not very plausible.

8 Cf. Shi-chi chap. 83, p. 9v. and Vol. I, p. 117.

1 Vol. I, p. 117, Notes 5 and 6.

1 The Pei-wên-yün-fu cites this passage. See also Vol. I, p. 115, Note 4.

2 Vol I, p. 142, Notes 1 and 2.
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