Of lord shang

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Un document produit en version numérique par Pierre Palpant,

collaborateur bénévole

Courriel : ppalpant@uqac.ca

Dans le cadre de la collection : « Les classiques des sciences sociales» 
dirigée et fondée par Jean-Marie Tremblay,
professeur de sociologie au Cégep de Chicoutimi

Site web : http ://www.uqac.ca/Classiques_des_sciences_sociales/

Une collection développée en collaboration avec la Bibliothèque

Paul-Émile-Boulet de l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

Site web : http ://bibliotheque.uqac.ca/

Un document produit en version numérique par Pierre Palpant, collaborateur bénévole,

Courriel : ppalpant@uqac.ca

à partir de  :

The book of Lord Shang,

par J. J.-L. DUYVENDAK (1889-1954)

Éditions Arthur Probsthain, Londres, 1928, 346 pages. Réimpression par Chinese Materials Center, San Francisco 1974.

Polices de caractères utilisée : Times, 10 et 12 points.

Mise en page sur papier format LETTRE (US letter), 8.5’’ x 11’’.

[note : un clic sur @ en tête de volume et des paragraphes, et en fin d’ouvrage, permet de rejoindre la table des matières.]
Édition complétée le 30 septembre 2005 à Chicoutimi, Québec.





  1. Shang Yang and the rise of Ch’in.

  2. The Life of Shang Yang [in the Shih-chiin the Ch’in-ts’ê].

  3. Historical criticism of the Life.


  1. Shang Yang’s economics.

  2. Shang Yang’s system of rewards and punishments.


  1. The Makers of the School of Law.

  2. The original ideas of Shang tzŭ.

  3. Further ideas of the Book of Lord Shang.

  4. Influence of the School of Law.


  1. History of the text.

  2. Authenticity of the text.

Appendix I. A lost paragraph.

Appendix II. List of references.

  1. The Reform of the Law

  2. An Order to Cultivate Waste Lands

  3. Agriculture and War

  4. The Elimination of Strength


  1. Discussion about the People

  2. The Calculation of Land

  3. Opening and Debarring


  1. The Unification of Words

  2. Establishing Laws

  3. The Method of Warfare

  4. The Establishment of Fundamentals

  5. Military Defence

  6. Making Orders Strict

  7. The Cultivation of the Right Standard


  1. The Encouragement of Immigration

  2. Compendium of Penalties [lost]

  3. Rewards and Punishments

  4. Policies


  1. Within the Borders

  2. Weakening the People

  3. [Lost]

  4. External and Internal Affairs

  5. Prince and Minister

  6. Interdicts and Encouragements

  7. Attention to Law

  8. The Fixing of Rights and Duties

  9. [Lost]

  10. [Lost]

  11. [Lost]


Tibi tua



p.VIII This book gives a complete translation of the work known in Chinese as Shang chün shu, and the title, which I have chosen, is a literal rendering of the Chinese designation of the book (101). The Lord of Shang held high office in the state of Ch’in between 359 and 338 B.C., and the book which bears his name is regarded as belonging to the School of Law. In order to ascertain how far the connection of his name with the book is justified, it has been necessary to study his life, and for a right understanding of the ideas of the book, its relation to the principles of the School of Law have had to be examined. This has been done in the Introduction. I should, however, point out that this aims neither at giving a complete historical study of the Life of Shang Yang, nor at making a complete systematic study of the principles of the School of Law ; both would have far exceeded the scope of an introduction, where naturally the attention should be centred around the man and the book named after him.

Shang Yang and the Book have long been execrated in China. The opinion of a scholar like Su Tung p’o (1036 1101) p.IX may be regarded as representing the general point of view. This distinguished author and poet says (102) that the name of Shang Yang

« is in the world like fly specks ; speaking about him befouls the mouth and tongue, writing about him sullies the paper ; when his methods are applied in the world, ruin of the state, misery of the people, destruction of the family and loss of one’s own life follow one after the other.

This would seem enough to keep anyone from attempting a translation ! In modern times, however, opinion has altered considerably. Chang Ping lin devotes an article (103) to him and his judgment is, on the whole, favourable. It is true, he says, that Shang Yang used very severe methods, but these were necessary in his days and he was just to all. He was

« like a bamboo frame which keeps a bow straight, and one could not get him out of his straightness.

He con­tinues, that criticism on his measures in the rough times in which Shang Yang lived, is like wanting to wait for a hungry man till you can give him fine food, and forbidding him to eat coarse food which might keep him alive !

In Liang Ch’i-ch’ao’s Collected Works (104) an essay on p.X Shang Yang by Mai Mêng hua is inserted, which praises him as being a Chinese Lycurgus or Solon. The author tries to exculpate him from the charge that he rejected all morality, and points out that as a statesman and law giver he did very important work.

Miura, in his Chung kuo lun li-hsüeh shih, also discusses Shang Yang ; though he praises him as a capable politician, he criticizes him for his too great stress on war and agriculture, his rejection of morality and his severe punishments.

Finally, Dr. Kuo cheng Wu, while assigning to Shang Yang “a most dazzling place in the galaxy of Chinese political philosophers” because of “the originality in his thought and the practicability of his schemes”, yet renders “a decisive verdict against Shang Yang’s system” (105).

All these discussions of Shang Yang and his book have, so far, been very uncritical. I have therefore found it necessary to devote a good deal of attention both to historical and to literary criticism ; it is hoped that the result of these studies, while divesting Shang Yang perhaps of some of his romantic glamour, will be a contribution towards under­standing the origin and development of the School of Law.

Apart from the interest which they have for Sinologues, the ideas of the Chinese Legalists certainly deserve the attention also of Western Jurists. They are concerned with similar problems as have occupied the minds of Western philosophers of law, though these are approached with a different back­ground and are seen from a different angle. History of law p.XI will no doubt profit from a study of a development of ideas of law, which have not been affected by Greek philosophy, Roman conceptions, or Christian ideals. I have, in this book, generally refrained from making comparisons, as isolated comparisons have little value and are often misleading, and besides, not being a Jurist, it would have led too far afield. I have, however, tried to discuss the material in such a way that a Jurist will easily see the salient points.

This is the first translation in any language of the Book of Lord Shang. Some summary of its contents has been given in earlier works, notably by Ivanov in the introduction to his Russian translation of Han Fei-tzû (106), and by Forke in his monumental history of ancient Chinese philosophy (107), which is an invaluable vademecum for the student of Chinese thought. While the present book was in the press, there appeared in English, Dr. Kuo cheng Wu’s work (108), which I have just mentioned, and which also contains a summary of the Book of Lord Shang.

While my translation keeps as closely as possible to the original, and tries to preserve the original character of the style, I have endeavoured not to give a dead translation, which would leave to the reader the task of finding a clue to many a sententious and enigmatic phrase. Translation is re interpretation of thought, and should never be a mechanical rendering of words, least of all in the case of Chinese. A translation into a Western language acquires therefore more clearness, and preciseness of expression than the original p.XII possesses, as Chinese characters have a far wider connotation than the English words by which they are rendered, and verbs and nouns are not differentiated. The word [], lit. “one­ness”, for example, in order to be clear, has had variously to be translated by “to unify, to make uniform, to con­centrate, unity, uniformity, concentration, singleness of purpose”, etc.

The text of the Book of Lord Shang is very corrupt, and presents in many places almost insurmountable difficulties. The very best of contemporary scholars, like Wang Hsien ch’ien, Wang K’ai-yün, Chang Ping-lin, Yen Fu, K’ang Yu wei, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao, all are said to complain of the difficulty of the Book of Lord Shang (109). I have therefore been obliged to devote more attention to matters of textual criticism than is usual in other translations from the Chinese, where the text is better established. I have been fortunate enough, through the great kindness of the well-­known historian, Mr. Ku Chieh kang, to obtain the best Chinese edition of the Book, published in 1915 by Wang Shih jun (110). When, during a visit to Peking in 1926, I mentioned to Mr. Ku my intention of publishing a translation of this book, that scholar drew my attention to this edition, which I had seen nowhere, and even presented me with his own copy of it. I have much pleasure in expressing my sincere gratitude to him.

For my study of the School of Law I have derived much p.XIII benefit from Liang Ch’i-ch’ao’s publications on the subject, viz. his Chung kuo fa li-hsüeh fa ta shih lun and his Hsien­ ch’in cheng chih ssŭ hsiang shih. A French translation (111) of that part of the latter book, which deals with the Law School, reached me while the present work was being prepared.

I am indebted to Mr. Yen Fu ch’ing for his assistance in various matters, especially for his help in preparing the Chinese index (112)1.


* *



Shang Yang in History

1. Shang Yang and the rise of Ch’in.


p.1 The name of Shang Yang is connected with the phenomenal rise of the state of Ch’in. In little more than a century, that state, from being an insignificant and backward country on the far western borders of China, where, separated as it was, by a belt of highlands, it took little part in the life of Chinese civilization, rose to such a commanding position, that it swallowed up the various feudal states and put an end to the existence of the Chou dynasty, which had been tottering for a long time. The Ch’in dynasty (113), which was then founded, although it was short lived, made a deep and lasting mark on Chinese history. Its first Emperor, Shih huang ti, was a powerful personality, who made a clean sweep of the institu­tions of the past. With him the ancient history of China closes and a new era begins.

Historians have marvelled at this success. Ssŭ ma Ch’ien writes (114) :

« It would not have succeeded but for the advantage of its position, which was difficult of approach and well defended, and had it not been favoured by its configuration ; it would seem that it was aided by Heaven.

p.2 In the famous essay of the young and brilliant scholar Chia I (115) on the “Mistakes of Ch’in” (116), the reasons for Ch’in’s greatness and fall are analysed. It is shown that the methods which served Ch’in to reach its aims were not altered when the­ whole empire had been unified under its sway ; how the reign of Ch’in Shih huang ti was tyrannical and severe and how he thereby estranged all sincere people and surrounded himself with flatterers. Chia I begins the account of Ch’in’s rise with the period of Shang Yang, who first introduced the measures, which were calculated to make Ch’in into a powerful country. The whole passage is worth quoting.

« Duke Hsiao of Ch’in based himself on the strongholds of the Hsiao and Hsien passes (117) ; he held the territory of the province of Yung (118) ; Prince and Ministers kept a close guard and watched the House of Chou. He cherished the idea of rolling the empire up like a mat, of lifting up the whole world in his arms and of tying up the four seas in a sack ; moreover he had the intention of swallowing up the eight wild countries. At this time the Lord of Shang (119) assisted him ; in the interior he fixed models and measures (120), gave his attention to farming and weaving, and made the necessary preparations for defence and attack ; p.3 abroad he extended the territory in an uninterrupted way from west to east (121) and fought with the feudal lords. Hereupon the people of Ch’in, with folded hands (122), obtained the land, beyond the west River.

Another interesting testimony we find in a section of the Hsin hsü by Liu Hsiang (first century B.C.) which has only been preserved in P’ei Yin’s commentary on the Shih-chi (123). It says :

« Duke Hsiao of Ch’in defended the strongholds of the Hsiao Mountains and the Hsien ku Pass, in order to extend the territory of Yung chow (124). In the East he annexed Ho hsi (125) and in the North he occupied the Shang chün (126). His state became rich and the army strong and he dominated all the feudal lords. The House of Chou came under his control, and from all quarters of the Empire congratulations were addressed to Ch’in as the leader of the fighting states. Ch’in thereupon became so strong that in six generations it annexed all the feudal states ; this likewise was the result of the plans p.4 laid by the Lord of Shang. Indeed the Lord of Shang worked with his whole person and had only one thought. He was entirely devoted to the public weal and did not think of him­self ; at home, he caused the people to be active in the work of agriculture and weaving, in order to enrich the state, and abroad, to attach importance to the rewards for fighting, so as to encourage brave soldiers ; his laws and orders were enacted rigorously ; in the capital he did not flatter nobles and favourites, and in the province he was impartial with regard to those who were distant, with the result that, when his orders were issued, forbidden actions stopped, when his laws were published, crime ceased. Therefore, although the Shu ching says (127) : “Without deflection, without partiality”, and the Ode says (128) :

The way of Chou was like a whetstone,

And straight as an arrow,

in the Law of Ssŭ ma (129), which exhorts brave soldiers, and in Hou chi (130) of the Chou dynasty, who encourages agriculture, there is nothing to change this conception and this is the way by which the feudal states have been annexed.

Therefore Sun Ch’ing (131) says :

« To conquer for four genera­tions is not luck, but calculation. However, without faith the feudal lords fear but do not love.

Now with regard to the Lords Protector like Duke Huan of Ch’i and Wen of Chin, p.5 Huan did not break the covenant of Ko (132) and Wen did not violate the term set at Yüan (133), so that the feudal lords feared their power but also loved and trusted them ; they saved tottering states and continued extinct dynasties and thus the four corners of the Empire came within their power. All this was due to the plans laid down by Kuan Chung and Chiu Fan (134).

Now the Lord of Shang repudiated the old favours of Prince Ang (135) and disregarded good faith in his relations with Wei, taking by deceit the masses of the three armies. Therefore the feudal lords feared his power but did not love and trust him. Now supposing Duke Hsiao had met men like Huan of Chi and Wen of Chin, who would have obtained the leader­ship of the feudal states, who would have set about to unite the princes of the feudal states and who would have driven the armies of the Empire to attack Ch’in, then Ch’in would have been ruined. There being no Huan or Wen in the Empire, p.6 Ch’in succeeded in annexing all the feudal states. Wei Yang at first thought that he knew the virtues of a Lord Protector or King (136), but really his actions do not bear comparison (with men like Huan and Wen).

Of old, Shao (137) of the Chou family exercised a virtuous government, and when he had died, the later generations still thought of him. This is the meaning of the Ode “The umbrageous sweet pear tree” (138) ; for he had rested under that pear tree and later generations, remembering his virtue, could not bear to hew it down. How much less would they have harmed his person ! When Kuan Chung obtained the three hundred families of the city of the Po family, there was not a word of resentment (139). But now Wei Yang in the interior made a cruel use of the punishments of sword and saw and abroad he was deeply steeped in killing by means of the war axe. Whosoever used paces more than six feet p.7 long was punished (140), and whosoever threw ashes on the Street incurred bodily punishment. One day he sentenced criminals, more than seven hundred men, on the brink of the Wei river, so that the water of the Wei became entirely red (141), and the Sound of crying and weeping stirred up heaven and earth ; the discontent and hatred which he heaped up was like a mountain, and when he fled, he could bide nowhere, was received nowhere, and he died and was torn to pieces by chariots, and his whole family was exterminated without even leaving their name.

This was indeed far from the way of a helper of a Lord Protector or a King ! However, that King Hui killed him was also wrong. He could have assisted him and been useful. Suppose Wei Yang had practised a magnanimous and equitable law, had added to that a measure of grace, and in his announcements had kept faith, he might perhaps have become an assistant of a Lord Protector.

2. The Life of Shang Yang.


From the foregoing it will be clear that the Lord of Shang, apart from his supposed connection with the Book, is a person of considerable interest in history. I propose therefore to p.8 give his biography in full, first as it is given in the Shih-chi (142), and then in the short form of the Chan kuo ts’ê (143). Thereafter we shall discuss the authenticity of these stories.

A. The Biography of the Lord of Shang (144) in the Shih-chi

The Lord of Shang was one of the descendants, by a concubine, of the family of Wei. His name was Yang, and his family name was Kiung sun (145). His ancestors had, originally, the surname of Chi. In his youth, he was fond of the study of criminal law ; he served Kung shu Tso (146), the p.9 Minister of Wei, and became chung shu tzŭ (147). Kung shu Tso knew that he was capable, but before presenting him at court, it so happened that (Kung shu) Tso fell ill. King Hui (148) of Wei went personally to inquire after his illness and said :

— Your illness is too serious not to speak about it : what provision should be made in future for the altar of the soil and grain (149) ?

Kung shu Tso said :

— My chung shu tzŭ, Kung sun Yang, though young still in years, has talent. May the King be pleased to listen to him in all state affairs.

The King was silent. When the King was on the point of leaving, Tso bade everyone go out, and laid :

— If Your Majesty will not listen to Yang, nor employ him, then You should put him to death and not allow him to leave the country.

The King assented and departed. Kung shu Tso called Yang, and taking leave of him said :

— To day, the King inquired of me who could be appointed councillor, and I mentioned you. From the King’s appearance. I believe he did not agree with my suggestion. I then placed the interest of the King before that of the subject, and there­fore said to the King, that if he were not going to employ Yang he should kill him, and the King agreed to my suggestion. You had better leave as soon as possible or else you will be p.10 arrested.

Yang replied :

— If the King does not act on your words to appoint me, how should he act on your words to kill me ?

In the end he did not leave.

As soon as King Hui had left, he said to his entourage :

— It is regrettable that Kung shu is so ill ! He desires me to employ Kung sun Yang as state councillor — is this not absurd (150) ?

As soon as Kung shu had died, Kung sun Yang heard that Duke Hsiao of Ch’in had issued an order, inviting the capable men throughout the country, in order to restore the heritage of Duke Mu, and to recover the occupied territory in the east (151). He, thereupon, went westward to p.11 Ch’in and through Ching Chien (152), a favourite of Duke Hsiao, obtained an interview with Duke Hsiao. When Duke Hsiao received Wei Yang, they talked for a long time about affairs, but Duke Hsiao repeatedly fell asleep and did not listen. At the conclusion of the interview, he was angry with Ching Chien, saying :

— This guest of yours is a good for nothing, how should he deserve to be employed ?

Ching Chien reproved Wei Yang, who replied :

— I talked to the Duke about the Way of the Emperors, but his interest was not awakened.

After five days he (Ching Chien) again requested that Yang be given an audience. At this second interview between Yang and Duke Hsiao, although, there was an improvement, yet he did not strike the Princes attention. When it was over, Duke Hsiao again reproved Ching Chien, who in turn reproved Yang. The latter said :

— I talked to the Duke about the Way of the Kings, but I did not get my argument home.

He (Ching Chien) requested that Yang be again given an audience, and when Yang was received by Duke Hsiao, the latter liked him, without, however, employing him. At the conclusion, when he had gone, Duke Hsiao said to Ching Chien :

— Your guest is an interesting man to talk to !

Yang said :

— I spoke to the Duke of the Way of the Lords Protector and he was inclined to make use of it. If indeed he will have another interview with me, then I shall know.

When Wei Yang had another interview with Duke Hsiao, the Duke, in talking with him, did not himself notice that his (Wei Yang’s) knees had advanced on to his mat. He talked with him several days without being tired of it. Ching Chien said :

— How have p.12 you made such an impression upon our Prince ? He is extraordinarily pleased with you.

Yang replied :

— When I talked to the Prince of the Way of the Emperors and Kings and made comparisons between the Three Dynasties, the Prince said :

« This takes a long time and is a distant ideal. I cannot wait ! Besides, capable princes have always made their fame shine through the world, during their own lifetime, how can one anxiously wait several thousand years, in order to become an emperor or king ? »

« When, therefore, I spoke to the Prince of the methods of making a state powerful, he was greatly delighted with them. However, as far as virtue is concerned, it is difficult to compare them with those used by the Yin and Chou dynasties.

As soon as Duke Hsiao employed Wei Yang, the latter desired to alter the laws, but the former feared that the Empire might find fault with him (153), whereupon Wei Yang said (154) :

— He, who hesitates in action, obtains no fame ; he who hesitates in affairs, gains no merit. Moreover, he who conducts himself as an outstanding man, is, as a matter of course, disapproved of by the world, and he, who has thoughts of independent knowledge, is certainly despised by the p.13 people. The stupid do not even understand an affair, when it has been completed, but the vise see it before it has sprouted. One cannot let the people share in the thoughts about the beginning of an affair, but they should be allowed to share in the rejoicings over its completion. He, who is concerned about the highest virtue is not in harmony with popular ideas ; he, who accomplishes a great work, does not take counsel with the multitude. Therefore, a sage, if he is able thereby to strengthen the state, does not model himself on antiquity, nor, if he is able thereby to benefit the people, does he adhere to established rites.

Duke Hsiao expressed his approval, but Kan Lung said :

— Not so. A sage teaches without changing the people, and a wise man obtains good government, without altering the laws. If one teaches in accordance with the spirit of the people, success will be achieved without effort ; if one governs holding on to the law, officials will be well versed in it and the people will live quietly by it.

Wei Yang replied :

— What Lung holds is the point of view of the man in the street. Ordinary people abide by the old customs and scholars are immersed in the study of what is reported (from antiquity). These two kinds of people are all right for filling offices and for maintaining the law ; but they are not the kind, who can take part in a discussion, which goes beyond the law. The Three Dynasties have attained supremacy by different rites, and the five Lords Protector have attained their protector­ships by different laws. A wise man creates laws, but a foolish man is controlled by them ; a man of talent reforms rites, but a worthless man is enslaved by them.

Tu Chih said :

— Unless the advantage be a hundredfold, one should not reform the law ; unless the benefit be tenfold, one should not alter an instrument. In taking antiquity as one’s example, one makes no mistakes, and in following established rites, one commits no offence.

Wei Yang replied :

— There is more than one way to govern the world, and there is no necessity to imitate antiquity, in order to take appropriate measures for the state. Therefore, T’ang and Wu succeeded in attaining supremacy without following antiquity, and the Hsia and Yin dynasties perished, without rites having been altered. Those, who acted counter to antiquity, should not be condemned, nor should those, who followed established rites, merit much praise.

Duke Hsiao said :

— Excellent !

He made Wei Yang Tso shu chang (155). Finally he fixed the mandate by which the laws were altered. He ordered the people to be organized into groups of fives and tens mutually to control one another and to share one another’s punishments (156). Whoever did not denounce a culprit would be cut in two ; whoever denounced a culprit would receive the same reward as he, who decapitated an enemy ; whoever concealed a culprit would receive the p.15 same punishment as he, who surrendered to an enemy. People, who had two males or more (in the family), without dividing the household, had to pay double taxes (157). Those, who had military merit, all received titles from the ruler (158), according to a hierarchic ladder. Those, who had private quarrels, were punished according to the severity of their offence. Great and small had to occupy themselves, with united force, with the fundamental occupations of tilling and weaving, and those who produced a large quantity of grain or silk, were exempted from forced labour. Those, who occupied themselves with secondary sources of profit, and those who were poor through laziness, were taken on as slaves. Those of the princely family, who had no military merit, could not be regarded as belonging to the princely clan. He made clear the distinctions between high and low, and between the various ranks and degrees, each according to its place in the hierarchy. He apportioned fields, houses, servants, concubines, and clothes, all differently, according to the families. Those, who had merit, were distinguished by honours ; while those who had no merit, though they might be rich, had no glory whatever.

When the mandate was already drawn up, but still unpublished, fearing that the people would not believe it, he placed a pole of 30 feet near the south gate of the capital, and having summoned the people, said that he would give p.16 ten ounces of gold to anyone, who could remove it to the north gate. The people thought it strange, but there was no one who dared move it. Thereupon, he said that he would give fifty ounces of gold to anyone who would remove it. There was one man, who removed it, and forthwith he gave him the fifty ounces of gold, to make it clear that he deceived no one.

Finally the mandates were published. When they had been enforced upon the people for the term of a year, the people of Ch’in, who came to the capital and at first said that the laws were not appropriate, could be counted by the thousand. Then, the Crown Prince infringed the law. Wei Yang said :

— It is owing to the infringements by the highly placed, that the law is not carried out. We shall apply the law to the Crown Prince ; as, however, he is Your Highness’s heir, we cannot subject him to capital punishment. Let his tutor, Prince Ch’ien, be punished and his teacher, Kung sun Chia (159), be branded.

The following day, the people of Ch’in all hastened into (the path of) the law. When it had been in force for ten years, the people of Ch’in greatly rejoiced : things dropped on the road were not picked up (160) ; in the mountains there were no robbers ; families were self­-supporting, and people had plenty ; they were brave in public warfare and timid in private quarrels, and great p.17 order prevailed throughout the countryside and in the towns. From among those of the people of Ch’in, who had at first said that the mandates were inappropriate, some came to say that the mandates were appropriate. Wei Yang said :

— These are all disorderly people ; they should be banished to the frontiers.

Thereupon, none of the people dared to discuss the mandates.

Then was Yang appointed Ta liang tsao (161), and at the head of an army he laid siege to An i in Wei, and conquered it (162). After a lapse of three years, he built pillars for the issuing of mandates and constructed a palace at Hsien yang (163). Ch’in moved its capital from Yung (164) thither, and an order was issued p.18 forbidding fathers and sons, elder and younger brothers from living together in the same houses (165) ; the small cities, villages and towns were to be combined into districts, hsien (166), over which he placed officials called prefects, ling, and assistants, ch’eng, altogether thirty one districts. In order to obtain arable land he opened up the longitudinal and horizontal paths (167) and the border country, and the fu and shui taxes were p.19 equalized (168) ; he standardized weights, scales, and measures of quantity and length. After the orders had been in force for four years, Prince Ch’ien (169) again infringed the law, and his nose was sliced off as punishment. After five years the people of Ch’in were rich and strong, and the Son of Heaven sent a present of sacrificial meat to Duke Hsiao, and all the feudal lords congratulated him (170). In the following year, Ch’i (171) beat the army of Wei at Ma ling and captured their p.20 crown prince, Shen, and killed their general, P’ang Chüan. In the following year, Wei Yang counselled Duke Hsiao as follows :

— The relations between Ch’in and Wei are like a man with a disease in his stomach and heart (172). If Wei does not annex Ch’in, Ch’in will annex Wei. For what is the situation ? Wei occupies the country west of the mountain passes and has its capital in An I (173) ; it has the Yellow River as frontier in common with Ch’in, but it alone usurps all the advantages of the country east of the mountains. If it is successful, then it will come westward to invade Ch’in, but if it suffers reverses, it will still keep its territory in the east. Now considering, on the one hand, the ability and wisdom of Your Highness, and the prosperous state of the country, and on the other hand, the fact that Wei, in the past year, has suffered severe defeats from Ch’i, and that all the feudal lords have defected from it, we should avail ourselves of this time to attack Wei. If Wei is unable to withstand Ch’in, it will certainly move its capital eastward, and if it does so, Ch’in will be able to rely on the natural strength of the river and mountains, so that in an easterly direction, we shall p.21 be able to control the feudal lords (174). This is an undertaking worthy of an ancient emperor or king !

Duke Hsiao con­sented and sent Wei Yang, at the head of an army, to attack Wei, while Wei sent Prince Ang at the head of its army to engage him in battle. When the armies were opposite each other, Wei Yang sent a letter to the general of Wei, Prince Ang, saying :

— Originally, I had friendly relations with you, and now we are the generals of two different countries ; it is unbearable that we should fight each other, and so I suggest that we have a personal interview, make an alliance with music and drinking, and desist from war, so that Ch’in and Wei may have peace.

Prince Ang agreed to the proposal ; they met and made an alliance, and when all was over, sat drinking, when suddenly armed soldiers, hidden by Wei Yang, sprang forward and captured Price Ang. Following up this advantage, they attacked his army and completely destroyed it and then returned to Ch’in (175).

p.22 King Hui of Wei, his army having been repeatedly beaten by Ch’i and Ch’in, being depleted of resources within the state and daily becoming weaker, was afraid, and sent a messenger to cut off the territory, west of the river, and to cede it to Ch’in, so as to make peace. Wei thereupon left An i and removed its capital to Ta liang (176). King Hui of Liang ( =Wei) said :

— I regret that I did not follow the advice of Kung shu Tso (177).

p.23 When Wei Yang had defeated Wei, on his return to Ch’in, he was awarded fifteen cities in Shang (178), as fief, and was called the Lord of Shang. When Lord Shang had been Chancellor of Ch’in for ten years, the majority of the members of the princely family and of the nobility bore him a grudge. Chao Liang (179) went to see Lord Shang, who said :

— I have had the privilege of having been introduced to you by Meng Lan­-kao (180). May I now ask to have your intercourse (181) ?

Chao Liang replied :

— I dare not hope for this. K’ung Ch’iu has said : « Where able men are promoted, a virtuous ruler comes to the front, but where men of no merit are assembled, a king of the whole empire will pass into the background (182). » I am a man of no merit and, therefore, I dare not receive your commands. I have heard it said that to occupy a position for which one is not qualified, is called “being covetous of position”, and to have a reputation, to p.24 which one is not entitled, is called “being covetous of fame”. If I were to listen to your idea, then I fear I should be one, who covets both position and fame. Therefore, I dare not listen to your instructions.

Lord Shang said :

— Do you not approve of the way in which I govern Ch’in ?

Chao Liang replied :

— He, who hearkens with the inner ear, is a man of quick hearing, he who turns his eyes inwards, is a man of clear vision, and he who conquers himself is said to be strong. Shun of Yü (183) had a saying : « He who humbles himself is superior. » The best thing for Your Lordship would be to follow the Way of Shun of Yü. There is no need to ask me.

Lord Shang laid :

— Formerly, the Jung and Ti barbarians of Ch’in, in their teaching, knew no difference between father and son, and they lived together in the same room. Now I have altered and regulated their moral teaching and have made distinctions between men and women. On a grand scale I have constructed pillars for the publication of mandates, and have arranged things in the same way as they are in Lu and Wei. Seeing how I govern Ch’in and comparing me with Wu ku ta fu (184), which of us do you think the abler ?

p.25 Chao Liang replied :

— The skins of a thousand sheep are not worth the armpit of one fox ; the silent approval of a thousand men is not worth the frank word of one scholar. Wu wang became great because of the frank counsels of his ministers ; Chou of the Yin dynasty perished because of the silence of his flatterers. If Your Lordship does not really disapprove of Wu wang, then I should like to ask permission to speak sincere words, during a whole day, without suffering punishment therefor.

Lord Shang said :

— There is a saying : Pleasing words are adorned, direct words are real ; bitter words are medicine, sweet words cause disease. If you are really willing to set forth, for a whole day, your sincere views, it will be medicine to me. I want to serve you as my master, how can you then still further excuse yourself ?

Chao Liang replied :

— Wu ku ta fu was a rustic from Ching (185). When he heard of the ability of Duke Mu of Ch’in, he desired to see him, but as he had no travelling money, he sold himself to a stranger from Ch’in (186), wore a coarse shirt and fed oxen. After the lapse of a year, Duke Mu heard about it and raised him from beneath the mouths of oxen and placed him above the people. No one in the state of Ch’in dared feel offended at this. When he had been minister of Ch’in for six or seven years, in the east he had conquered Cheng, three times he had established a prince in Chin, and once he had saved the Ching state p.26 from disaster (187). He issued his instructions within the borders of his fief, with the result that even the people of Pa (188) brought tribute ; he showed his favours to the feudal lords and even the eight tribes of the Jung barbarians came to submit (189). Yu yü (190), hearing about it, knocked at the barrier and wished to see him.

The way in which Wu ku ta fu was councillor of Ch’in was, that, when he was tired, he did not sit in a carriage, in summer he did not spread out a sunshade, when he travelled in the country he did not have carts or mounts following him, nor men carrying shields and lances. His merits were preserved in the stores and granaries (191), and his virtuous conduct was displayed to later generations. When Wu ku ta fu died, the men and women of Ch’in shed tears, the children stopped singing, the threshers ceased to chant, while wielding their flails. Such was the virtue of Wu ku ta fu (192).

Now, as for you, you have been received by the Prince, because you had the favourite, Ching Chien, as your patron ; therein lies nothing to give you a claim to fame. As councillor of Ch’in, you do not concern yourself over the people, but p.27 you grandly build pillars for the publication of mandates ; therein lies nothing that gives you a claim to merit. You punished and branded the tutor and teacher of the Crown Prince, you afflict and wound the people with severe punish­ments — this piles up hatred and breeds disaster. Reforming the people, by instructing them, goes deeper than the mere issuing of commands ; making the people imitate the good example of the ruler is more expeditious than issuing mandates. Your Lordship takes improper measures and makes external alterations, but there is nothing that can lay claim to the name of instruction. Moreover, your Lordship sits with your face to the south (193) and calls yourself “I, who am alone” (194) and daily you restrain the nobles of Ch’in more. The Shih-ching says (195) :

Look at a rat, it has its limbs — but a man shall be without ceremonial behaviour ! A man who has no ceremonial behaviour, how is it that he does not die at once.

Looking at it from the point of view of this ode, there is nothing which gives you a claim to long life. Already for eight years has Prince Ch’ien (196) bolted his door and has not gone out. Your Lordship has also killed Chu Kuan (197) and branded Kung sun Chia. The ode says (198) :

He who obtains men’s favour, flourishes, he who loses men’s favour, collapses.

p.28 In all these matters there is nothing that gives you a claim to having obtained the favour of men ! Whenever your Lordship goes out, tens of carriages follow behind, the escorting carriages bear arms, and men of great strength and “with ribs joined together” (199) act as the third on the war­ chariots (200), men, who carry spears and bear halberds and lances, run alongside the carriages (201). Whenever one of these precautions should fail, your Lordship would certainly not go out. The Shu ching says (202) :

He who relies on virtue, prospers, but he who relies on force, perishes.

Your Lord­ship’s peril is like that of the morning dew. Do you still expect that your years will be prolonged and that your age will be increased ! Why then do you not return your fifteen cities, and water your garden in a rustic spot, encourage the King (203) of Ch’in to bring to the front the scholars from their mountain peaks and grottoes, to nourish the old, to maintain the orphans, to respect fathers and elder brothers, to give rank to those who have merit and to honour those who have virtue, in order to have peace, to a slight extent. Your Lordship will still covet the riches of Shang and Yü, enjoy the privilege of instructing the state of Ch’in and accumulate the hatred of the people. But if the King of Ch’in should, of a morning, leave his guests (204) and no longer stand in the Court, how p.29 slight would be the chance that the state of Ch’in would maintain your Lordship ! You would perish in no more time than is needed to lift up a foot !

The Lord of Shang did not follow this counsel, and, five months later, Duke Hsiao of Ch’in died, and the Crown Prince was set up as his successor (205). The partisans of Prince Ch’ien accused the Lord of Shang of planning a rebellion. Lictors were sent to arrest him, but he had fled to a place in the passes (206). When he desired to lodge at an inn, the innkeeper, not knowing that he was Lord Shang, said :

— According to the law of the Lord of Shang, whoever shall receive at his inn guests, who cannot be identified, will be punished (207).

The Lord of Shang heaved a sigh, saying :

— Alas, that the worthlessness of the law should reach such a point !

He left and went to Wei, but the people of Wei, who hated him for having tricked Prince Ang and for having defeated the hosts of Wei, refused to receive him (208). When the Lord of Shang p.30 wished to go to another country, the people of Wei said :

— The Lord of Shang is a rebel of Chin ; as Ch’in is a powerful country, when its rebels come to Wei, we have no choice but to send them back.

Thereupon, Lord Shang was forced to re enter Ch’in.

As soon as the Lord of Shang had re entered Ch’in, he hastened to the cities of Shang, and, combining with his followers, raised an army in these cities and marched to attack Cheng. Ch’in sent an army, which attacked the Lord of Shang and slew him at Min ch’ih (209) in Cheng. King (210) Hui of Ch’in had him torn to pieces by chariots (211) as an expiatory punishment, saying :

— Let no one rebel like Shang Yang !

Thereupon, he exterminated the family of the Lord of Shang (212).

The Great Astrologer (213) says : « The Lord of Shang was naturally, in character, a hard and cruel man. When we find in his story that he tried to impress Duke Hsiao by the methods of the Emperors and Kings (we may be sure that) what he held forth was frivolous talk and did not represent his real nature. Further, after having succeeded in obtaining employment through the introduction of a favourite, he punished Prince Ch’ien, betrayed the Wei general, Ang, and p.31 did not follow the advice of Chao Liang, all of which facts show clearly that the Lord of Shang was a man of little favour. I have read the books on “Opening and Debarring” (214) and on “Agriculture and War” (215), which are in keeping with the deeds he did. There is reason enough why he should have finally left a bad reputation in Ch’in.

B. The Record of Shang Yang in the Chin ts’ê (216)

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