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齊桓公雲：“寡人未得仲父極難，既得仲父甚易。”桓公不及堯、舜，仲父不及禹、 契，桓公猶易，堯、舜反難乎？以桓公得管仲易，知堯、舜得禹、契不難。夫易則少憂，少憂則不愁， 不愁則身體不臒。
舜承堯太平，堯、舜襲德。功假荒服，堯尚有憂，舜安〔而〕無事。故《 經》曰：“上帝引逸”，謂虞舜也。舜承安繼治，任賢使能，恭己無為而天下治。故孔子曰：“ 巍巍乎！舜、禹之有天下而不與焉。”夫不與尚謂之臒若腒，如德劣承衰，若孔子棲棲，周流應聘 ，身不得容，道不得行，可骨立〔皮〕附，僵仆道路乎？
《經》曰：“惟湛樂是從，時亦罔有克壽。”魏公子無忌為長夜之飲， 困毒而死。紂雖未死，宜贏臒矣。然桀、紂同行則宜同病，言其腴垂過尺餘，非徒增之，又失 其實矣。
或言武王伐紂，兵不血刃。”夫以索鐵伸鉤之力，輔以蜚廉、 惡來之徒，與周軍相當，武王德雖盛，不能奪紂素所厚之心；紂雖惡，亦不失所與同行之意。雖 為武王所擒，時亦宜殺傷十百人。今言“不血刃，”非紂多力之效，蜚廉、惡來助紂之驗也。
案武王之符瑞，不過高祖。武王有白魚、赤烏之佑，高祖有斷大蛇、老嫗哭 於道之瑞。武王有八 百諸侯之助，高祖有天下義兵之佐。武王之相，望羊而已；高祖之相，龍顏、隆准、項紫、美須髯， 身有七十二黑子。高祖又逃呂後於澤中，呂後輒見上有雲氣之驗，武王不聞有此。夫相多於望羊，瑞明 於魚烏，天下義兵並來會漢，助強於諸侯。
武王承紂，高祖襲秦，二世之惡，隆盛於紂，天下畔秦，宜多於殷。案高 祖伐秦，還破項羽，戰場流血，暴屍萬數，失軍亡眾，幾死一再，然後得天下，用兵苦，誅亂劇。 獨雲周兵不血刃，非其實也。言其易，可也；言不血刃，增之也。
案周取殷之時，太公《陰謀》之 書，食小兒丹，教雲亡殷，兵到牧野，晨舉脂燭。察《武成》之篇，牧野之戰，血流浮杵， 赤志千里。由此言之，周之取殷，與漢、秦一實也。而雲取殷易，兵不血刃，美武王之德， 增益其實也。凡天下之事，不可增損，考察前後，效驗自列。自列，則是非之實有所定矣。
孔子曰：“紂之不善，不若是之甚也。是以君子惡居下流，天下之惡皆歸焉。 ” 孟子曰：“吾於《武成》，取二三策耳。以至仁伐不仁，如何其血之浮杵也？” 若孔子言，殆〔且〕浮 杵；若孟子之言，近不血刃。浮杵過其實，不血刃亦失其正。一聖一賢，共論一紂，輕重殊稱，多少異 實。
飲酒有法，胸腹小大，與人均等。飲酒用千鍾，用肴宜盡百牛，百觚則宜用十羊。夫以千鍾百牛 、百觚十羊言之，文王之身如防風之君，孔子之體如長狄之人，乃能堪之。案文王、孔子之體，不能及防風、 長狄， 以短小之身，飲食眾多，是缺文王之廣，貶孔子之崇也。 案《酒誥》之篇，“朝夕曰祀茲酒”，此言文王戒慎酒也。朝夕戒慎，則民化之。外出戒慎之教，內飲酒 盡千鍾，導民率下，何以致化？承紂疾惡，何以自別？
且千鍾之效，百觚之驗，何所用哉？使文王、孔子因祭用酒乎？則受福胙 不能厭飽。因饗射之用酒乎，饗射飲酒，自有禮法。如私燕賞賜飲酒乎？則賞賜飲酒，宜與下齊。賜 尊者之前，三觴而退，過於三觴，醉酗生亂。文王、孔子，率禮之人也，賞賚左右，至於醉酗亂身：自 用酒千鍾百觚，大之則為桀、紂，小之則為酒徒，用何以立德成化，表名垂譽乎？
傳語曰：“紂沉湎於酒，以糟為丘，以酒為池，牛飲者三千人，為長夜之飲，亡其甲 子。”夫紂雖嗜酒，亦欲以為樂。令酒池在中庭乎？則不當言為長夜之飲。坐在深室之中，閉窗舉燭， 故曰長夜。令坐於室乎？每當飲者，起之中庭，乃複還坐，則是煩苦相藉，不能甚樂。令池在深室之中， 則三千人宜臨池坐，前俯飲池酒，仰食肴膳，倡樂在前，乃為樂耳。如審臨池而坐，則前飲害於肴膳，倡樂之作不得在前。夫飲食既不以禮，臨池牛飲，則其啖肴不復用杯，亦宜就魚肉而虎食。則知夫酒池牛飲，非其實也。
傳又言：紂懸肉以為林，令男女倮而相逐其間，是為醉樂淫戲無節度也。夫肉當內於 口，口之所食，宜潔不辱。今言男女倮相逐其間，何等潔者？如以醉而不計潔辱，則當其浴於酒中，而倮 相逐於肉間。何為不肯浴於酒中？以不言浴於酒，知不倮相逐於肉間。
或時紂沉湎覆酒，滂沲於地，即言以酒為 池。釀酒糟積聚，則言糟為丘。懸肉以林，則言肉為林。林中幽冥，人時走戲其中，則言倮相逐。 或時載酒用鹿車，則言車行酒、騎行炙。或時十數夜，則言其百二十。或時醉不知問日數， 則言其亡甲子。
秦始皇帝三十四年，置酒咸陽台，儒士七十人前為壽。仆射周青臣進頌始皇之德 。齊淳於越進諫始皇不封子弟功臣自為〔挾〕輔，刺周青臣以為面諛。始皇下其議於丞相李斯。李斯非 淳於越曰：“諸生不師今而學古，以非當世，惑亂黔首。臣請敕史官，非秦記皆燒之；非博士官所職， 天下有敢藏詩書、百家語、諸刑書者；悉詣守尉集燒之；有敢偶語詩書，棄市；以古非今者，族滅；吏 見知弗舉，與同罪。”始皇許之。
夫秦雖無道，無為盡誅荊軻之裏。始皇幸梁山之宮，從山上望見丞相李斯車騎甚 盛，恚，出言非之。其後左右以告李斯，李斯立損車騎。始皇知左右泄其言，莫知為誰，盡捕諸在旁 者皆殺之。其後墜星下東郡，至地為石，民或刻其石曰“ 始皇帝死，地分”。皇帝聞之，令禦史逐問 ，莫服，盡取石旁人誅之。
夫誅從行於梁山宮及誅石旁人，欲得泄言、刻石者，不能審知，故盡誅之。荊軻之閭 ，何罪於秦而盡誅之？如刺秦王在閭中，不知為誰，盡誅之，可也；荊軻已死，刺者有人，一裏之民，何 為坐之？
Chapter XXXIX. Exaggerations (Yü-tsêng).
The Records say that Sages toil and trouble for the world, devoting to it all their thoughts and energies, that this harasses their spirits, and affects their bodies. Consequently Yao is reported to have been like shrivelled flesh, and Shun like dried food, whereas Chieh and Chou had an embonpoint over a foot thick. One may well say that the bodies of Sages working hard for the world, and straining their minds for mankind, are weakened, and that they do not become stout or fat, but to say that Yao and Shun were like dried flesh or food, and that the embonpoint of Chieh and Chou measured over a foot is exaggerating.
Duke Huan of Ch`i said:---"Before I had got hold of Kuan Chung, I had the greatest difficulties, after I had got him, everything was easy." Duke Huan did not equal Yao and Shun, nor was Kuan Chung on a par with Yü and Hsieh.1 If Duke Huan found things easy, how could they have been difficult to Yao and Shun? From the fact that Duke Huan, having obtained the assistance of Kuan Chung, went on easily, we may infer that Yao and Shun after having secured the services of Yü and Hsieh cannot have been in difficulties. A man at ease has not many sorrows. Without sorrows he has no troubles, and if he is not troubled, his body does not wither.
Shun found perfect peace brought about by Yao, both carried on the virtues of the preceding generation and continued the pacification of the border tribes. Yao had still some trouble, but Shun could live at ease and unmolested. The Book of History says that the Supreme Ruler gave repose, 2 which refers to Shun, for Shun found peace everywhere, he continued the government, appointed intelligent officers, employed able men, and enjoyed a dignified repose, while the Empire was well administrated. Therefore Confucius exclaims:---"Grand were Shun and Yü who, possessing the Empire, did not much care for it." 3 In spite of this Shun is said to have been dried up like preserved meat, as though he had been lacking in virtue, and had taken over a state in decay like Confucius, who restlessly wandered about seeking employment, having no place to rest in, no way to walk, halting and tumbling down on the roads, his bones protruding.
Chou passed the whole night drinking. Sediments lay about in mounds, and there was a lake of wine. Chou was swimming in wine, stopping neither by day nor by night. The result must have been sickness. Being sick, he could not enjoy eating and drinking, and if he did not enjoy eating and drinking, his fatness could not attain one foot in thickness.
The Book of History remarks that debauchery was what they 4 liked, and that they could not reach a great age. 5 Prince Wu Chi of Wei6 passed his nights feasting, but these excesses proved such a poison to him, that he died. If Chou did not die, his extravagance ought at least to have shattered his system. Chieh and Chou doing the same, ought to have contracted the same sickness. To say that their embonpoint was over a foot thick is not only an exaggeration, but an untruth.
Of Chou there is further a record that his strength was such, that he could twist iron, and straighten out a hook, pull out a beam, and replace it by a pillar. This is meant to be illustrative of his great strength. 7 Men like Fei Lien and O Lai8 were much liked by him, and stood high in his favour, which is tantamount to saying that he was a sovereign very fond of cunning and strength, and attracted people possessing those qualities.
Now there are those who say that, when Wu Wang defeated Chou, the blades of his weapons were not stained with blood. When a man with such strength, that he could twist iron and straighten out hooks, with such supporters as Fei Lien and O Lai tried issues with the army of Chou,9Wu Wang, however virtuous he may have been, could not have deprived him of his natural abilities, and Chou, wicked though he was, would not have lost the sympathy of his associates. Although he was captured by Wu Wang, some ten or hundred people must have been killed or wounded at that time. If the blades were not stained with blood, it would contradict the report of Chou's great strength and the support he received from Fei Lien and O Lai.10
The auspicious portents of Wu Wang did not surpass those of Kao Tsu. Wu Wang saw a lucky augury in a white fish and a red crow, 11Kao Tsu in the fact that, when he cut a big snake in two, an old woman cried on the road. 12Wu Wang had the succour of eight hundred barons, Kao Tsu was supported by all the patriotic soldiers of the Empire, Wu Wang's features were like those of a staring sheep. 13Kao Tsu had a dragon face, a high nose, a red neck, a beautiful beard and 72 black spots on his body. 14 When Kao Tsu fled, and Lü Hou15 was in the marshes, she saw a haze over his head. 16 It is not known that Wu Wang had such an omen. In short, his features bore more auspicious signs than Wu Wang's look, and the portents were clearer than the fish and the crow. The patriotic soldiers of the Empire assembled to help the Han,17 and were more powerful than all the barons.
Wu Wang succeeded King Chou, and Kao Tsu took over the inheritance of Erh Shih Huang Ti of the house of Ch`in, which was much worse than that of King Chou. The whole empire rebelled against Ch`in, with much more violence than under the Yin dynasty. When Kao Tsu had defeated the Ch`in, he had still to destroy Hsiang Yü. The battle field was soaked with blood, and many thousands of dead bodies lay strewn about. The losses of the defeated army were enormous. People had, as it were, to die again and again, before the Empire was won. The insurgents were exterminated by force of arms with the utmost severity. Therefore it cannot be true that the troops of Chou18 did not even stain their swords with blood. One may say that the conquest was easy, but to say that the blades were not stained with blood, is an exaggeration.
When the Chou dynasty conquered the empire of the Yin, it was written in the strategical book of T`ai Kung19 that a young boy brought up [in the camp] Tan Chiao had said:---"The troops which are to destroy Yin have arrived in the plain of Mu.20 At dawn they carry lamps with fat." According to the "Completion of the War"21 the battle in the plain of Mu was so sanguinary, that the pestles 22 were swimming in the blood, and over a thousand Li the earth was red. After this account the overthrow of the Yin by the Chou must have been very much like the war between the Han and Ch`in dynasties. The statement that the conquest of the Yin territory was so easy, that the swords were not stained with blood is meant as a compliment to the virtue of Wu Wang, but it exaggerates the truth. All things of this world must be neither over- nor under-estimated. If we examine, how the facts follow one another, all the evidence comes forth, and on this evidence the truth or the untruth can be established.
People glorify Chou's force by saying that he could twist iron, and at the same time praise Wu Wang, because the weapons, with which he destroyed his opponent, were not blood-stained. Now, if anybody opposed his enemies with a strength that could twist iron and straighten out a hook, he must have been a match for Mêng Pên and Hsia Yü,23 and he who managed to defeat his adversary through his virtue without staining his swords with blood, must have belonged to the Three Rulers or to the Five Emperors.24 Endowed with sufficient strength to twist iron, the one could not be compelled to submission, whereas the other, possessing such virtue that his weapons were not reddened with blood, ought not to have lost one soldier. If we praise Chou's strength, Wu Wang's virtue is disparaged, and, if we extol Wu Wang, Chou's strength dwindles away. The twisting of iron and the fact that the blades were not covered with blood are inconsistent, and the praise bestowed simultaneously on the Yin and the Chou mutually clashes. From this incompatibility it follows that one proposition must be wrong.
Confucius25 said:---"Chou's wickedness was not so very great. Therefore the superior man hates to consort with base persons, for the faults of the whole world are laid to their charge." 26Mencius said:---"From the `Completion of the War' I accept but two or three paragraphs. If the most humane defeated the inhumane, how could so much blood be spilt, that clubs swam in it?" 27 The utterance of Confucius would seem to uphold the swimming of clubs, whereas the words of Mencius are very much akin to the assertion that the weapons were not stained with blood. The first overshoots the mark, the second falls short of it. Thus a Sage and a Worthy 28 pass a judgment on Chou, but both use a different weight, and one gives him credit for more than the other.
Chou was not as depraved as Wang Mang.29Chou killed Pi Kan,30 but Wang Mang poisoned the emperor P`ing Ti.31Chou became emperor by succession, Wang Mang usurped the throne of the Han. To assassinate one's sovereign is infinitely worse than the execution of a minister, and succession to the throne is quite different from usurpation. Deeds against which the whole people rose up, must have been worse than those of Chou. When the Han destroyed Wang Mang, their troops were exhausted at K`un-yang,32 the deaths numbering ten thousand and more. When the forces reached the Chien terrace, 33 the blood made all the foot-prints and ruts invisible. Consequently it cannot be true that, when the Chou conquered the Empire, the weapons were not even stained with blood.
It is on record that Wên Wang could drink a thousand bumpers of wine and Confucius a hundred gallons. We are to infer from this, how great the virtue of these Sages was, which enabled them to master the wine. If at one sitting they could drink a thousand bumpers or a hundred gallons, they must have been drunkards, and not sages.
In drinking wine there is a certain method, and the chests and stomachs of the Sages must have been of nearly the same size as those of others. Taking food together with wine, they would have eaten a hundred oxen, while drinking one thousand bumpers, and ten sheep would correspond to a hundred gallons. If they did justice to a thousand bumpers and a hundred oxen, or to a hundred gallons and ten sheep, Wên Wang must have been as gigantic as the Prince of Fang-fêng34 and Confucius like a Great Ti.35Wên Wang and Confucius did not equal the Prince of Fang-fêng or the Great Ti in length. Eating and drinking such enormous quantities with small bodies would be derogatory to the grandeur of Wên Wang, and undignified in Confucius. According to the Chapter "Chiu Kao,"36Wên Wang would say morning and evening:---"pour out this wine in libation." 37 This shows how careful Wên Wang was about wine. Because he was so careful morning and evening, the people were converted thereby. Had his advice to be careful only been for outside, while he himself emptied a thousand bumpers at home, the efforts to educate the people and his subjects would have been in vain. And how would he have distinguished himself from the depravity of Chou, whose successor he was?
Moreover, at what time should the thousand bumpers and the hundred gallons have been drunk? When Wên Wang and Confucius offered wine in sacrifice? Then the sacrificial meat would not have sufficed to satiate them. At the shooting-feast? At the shooting-feast there were certain recognised rules for drinking wine. 38 If at a private banquet they gave their guests wine to drink, they must have given to all their inferiors equally. The emperor would first take three cups, and then retire. Drinking more than three, he would have become intoxicated, and misbehaved himself. But Wên Wang and Confucius were men to whom propriety was everything. If they had given so much to their attendants, that they became drunk and disorderly, they themselves taking a thousand bumpers of wine or a hundred gallons, they would have been like Chieh and Chou or, to say the least, drunkards. How could they then have manifested their virtues and improved others, how acquired a name still venerated by posterity?
There is a saying that the virtuous do not become intoxicated. Seeing that the Sages possess the highest virtue, one has wrongly credited Wên Wang with a thousand bumpers and foolishly given a hundred gallons to Confucius.
Chou is reported to have been an incorrigible tippler. The sediments lay about in mounds. He had a Iake full of wine, 39 and filled three thousand persons with liquor like cattle. Carousing he made night day, and even forgot the date.
Chou may have been addicted to drink, but he sought pleasure. Had his wine-lake been in the court-yard, then one could not say that in carousing he made night day. This expression would only be correct, if he shut himself up in his rooms behind closed windows, using candle-light. If he was sitting in his rooms, he must have risen and gone to the court-yard each time he wished to drink, and then returned to his seat, an endless trouble, which would have deprived him of all enjoyment. Had the wine-lake been in the inner apartments, then the three thousand people must have been placed close to the lake. Their amusement would have consisted in bowing down to drink wine from the lake, and in rising to taste the dainty dishes, singing and music being in front of them. If they were really sitting quite close to the lake, their drinking in front would have interfered with their dining, and the concert could not have been in front. Provided that at the banquet they had thus unmannerly sucked wine from the lake like oxen, they would not have required any cups during the dinner, and would also have gulped down and devoured the food like tigers. From this we see that the wine-lake and the drinking like cattle are mere stories.
There is another tradition that Chou had made a forest by hanging up meat, and that he caused naked males and females to chase each other in this forest, 40 which would be drunken folly, and unrestrained debauchery. Meat is to be put into the mouth. What the mouth eats, must be clean, not soiled. Now, if, as they say, naked males and females chased each other among the meat, how could it remain clean? If they were drunk, and did not care, whether it was clean or not, they must have bathed together in wine, and then run naked one after the other among the meat. Why should they not have done this? Since nothing is said about their bathing in wine, we may be sure that neither did they chase each other naked among the meat.
There is another version to the effect that wine was being carried about in carts and roast-meat on horseback, and that one hundred and twenty days were reckoned one night. However, if the account about the wine-lake is correct, it cannot be true that the wine was transported in carts, and if the meat was suspended so, as to form a forest, the statement that roast-meat was carried about on horseback must be wrong.
It may have happened that, when Chou was flushed with drink, he overturned the wine, which spread over the floor, whence the story of the wine-lake. When the wine was distilled, the sediments were heaped up, therefore the tale that the sediments lay in mounds. Meat was hung up in trees, thence the report that a forest was made of meat. The shade and darkness of this forest may sometimes have been visited by people with the intention of doing things shunning the light of day, which led to the belief that they chased each other naked. Perhaps wine was transported once on a deer-carriage, 41 which would account for the story that wine was being carried about in carts, and roast-meat on horseback. The revelry may have extended once over ten nights, hence the hundred and twenty days. Perhaps Chou was intoxicated and out of his mind, when he inquired, what day it was. Then people said that he had forgotten dates altogether.
When Chou Kung42 invested K`ang Shu43 he spoke to him about Chou's wine drinking, 44 wishing that he should know all about it, and take a warning, but he did not mention the mounds of sediments, or the wine-lake, or the forest made of meat, or the revelries lasting far into the morning, or the forgetting of dates. What the Sages do not mention, is most likely unfounded.
As an instance of Chou's perversity it is recorded that he sucked wine from the wine-lake like an ox, together with three thousand people. The Hsia dynasty had a hundred (metropolitan) officials, the Yin two hundred, the Chou three hundred. The companions of Chou's Bacchanals were assuredly not common people, but officials, and not minor officials, but high ones. Their number never could reach three thousand. The authors of this report wished to disparage Chou, therefore they said three thousand, which is a gross exaggeration.
There is a report that the Duke of Chou45 was so condescending that with presents he called on simple scholars, living in poor houses, and inquired after their health. As one of the three chief ministers, a prop to the imperial tripod, 46 he was the mainstay of the emperor. Those scholars were persons of no consequence in their hamlets. That a prime minister should have flung away his dignity as supporter of the dynasty in order to do homage to common scholars, cannot be true. May be, that he treated scholars with courtesy and condescension, and was not haughty towards poor people, hence the report that he waited upon them. He may have raised a scholar of humble origin, and received him with his badge in hand. People then said that he came with presents and waited upon his family.
We have a tradition that Yao and Shun were so thrifty, that they had their thatched roofs untrimmed, and their painted rafters unhewn. Thatched roofs and painted rafters there may have been, but that they were untrimmed or unhewn, is an exaggeration. The Classic says, "I 47 assisted in completing the Five Robes." 48 Five Robes means the five-coloured robes. If they put on five-coloured robes, and at the same time had thatched roofs and painted rafters, there would have been a great discrepancy between the palace buildings and the dresses. On the five-coloured robes were painted the sun, the moon and the stars. Consequently thatched roofs and painted rafters are out of the question.
It is on record that Ch`in Shih Huang Ti burned the Books of Poetry and History, 49 and buried the Literati alive. This means that by burning the Books of Poetry and History he eradicated the Five Classics and other literary works. The Literati thus thrown into pits were those, they say, who had concealed the Classics and other works. When the books were burned, and the men thrown into pits, Poetry and History were extinguished. The burning of the Books of Poetry and History and the assassination of the Literati are indisputable. But the allegation that, for the purpose of destroying those books, the men were put to death, is not correct, and an exaggeration.
In the 34th year of his reign 50Ch`in Shih Huang Ti gave a banquet on the terrace of Hsien-yang.51 Seventy Literati came to wish him long life. The Pu-yeh,52Chou Ch`ing Ch`ên, delivered a speech, enlogising the emperor's excellence, whereupon Shun Yü Yüeh of Ch`i stepped forward, and reproached Ch`in Shih Huang Ti for not having invested his kinsmen and meritorious officials, to use them as his assistants. 53 He accused Chou Ch`ing Ch`ên of open flattery. Ch`in Shih Huang Ti directed the premier Li Sse to report on the matter. Li Sse blamed Shun Yü Yüeh, saying that the scholars did not care to learn the exigencies of modern times, but were studying antiquity with a view to condemn everything new, and to excite the masses. Li Sse proposed that the Historiographers be authorized to burn all the books except the Annals of Ch`in, and also to make an exception in favour of the officials in charge of the Imperial College. All the books on poetry, history, philosophy, 54 and jurisprudence, which people had dared to conceal, were to be brought to the governors and burned together. Those who perchance should dare to discourse on poetry and history, would be executed and publicly exposed. Should anybody hold up antiquity and decry the present time, he was to be destroyed together with his clan. Officials who saw or knew of such cases without interfering, were to suffer the same penalty. Ch`in Shih Huang Ti approved of it.
The next year, which was the 35th of the emperor's reign, the scholars in Hsien-yang spread all kinds of false rumours. Ch`in Shih Huang Ti had them tried by the censors. Those who gave information about their accomplices, and denounced others, got free themselves. 467 delinquents were all thrown into pits. 55
The burning of the Books of Poetry and History was the consequence of Shun Yü Yüeh's recriminations. The deaths of the literati were due to the rumours divulged by the scholars. Seeing 467 men perish in pits the chronicler went a step farther, stating that the literati were murdered for the purpose of doing away with poetry and history, and even saying that they were all thrown into pits. That is no true report but also a highly coloured one.
There is a tradition to the effect that "field by field were treated as Ching K`o's hamlet." They say that at the instigation of Prince Tan of Yen,56Ching K`o made an attempt on the life of the King of Ch`in.57 The latter afterwards caused the nine relations 58 of Ching K`o to be put to death. But his vindictive wrath was not yet appeased thereby, and he subsequently had all the inhabitants of Ching K`o's village killed, so that the whole village was exterminated. Therefore the expression "field by field." This is an exaggeration.
Although Ch`in was lawless, the king had no reason to exterminate the entire village of Ching K`o. Ch`in Shih Huang Ti once visited his palace on the Liang-shan.59 From its height he perceived that the carriages and the horsemen of his prime-minister Li Sse were very gorgeous. This made him angry, and he gave utterance to his disapproval. The attendants informed Li Sse, who forthwith diminished his carriages and men. Ch`in Shih Huang Ti thus became aware that his words had leaked out through the servants, but did not know who the culprit was. Thereupon he had all the persons near him arrested, and put to death. 60 Later on, a meteor fell down in Tung-chün,61 and when it touched the earth, became a stone. Some one engraved upon the stone the inscription:---"When Ch`in Shih Huang Ti's dies, the territory will be divided." When the Emperor heard about it, he ordered the censors to ask the people one by one, but nobody confessed. Then all persons found near the stone were seized and executed. 62
If the Emperor executed his attendants in the Palace on the Liang Mountain and all the persons near the stone, he destroyed them all, because he wished to find those who had divulged his words, or engraved the stone, but could not discover them. But what had the village of Ching K`o done to Ch`in to be exterminated? If the King of Ch in had been stabbed in the village, and the assailant was unknown, there might have been a wholesale execution. But Ching K`o was already dead, the would-be-assassin found, why then should all the villagers suffer for him?
During the 20th year of Ch`in Shih Huang Ti's reign Ching K`o, the envoy of Yen, attempted to assassinate him, but the King of Ch`in got wind of it, and caused Ching K`o to be torn to pieces as a warning. There is no mention of the entire destruction of his village. 63 Perhaps he gave orders to behead the nine relations of Ching K`o. If these were many, and living together in one hamlet, this hamlet may have been wiped out by their execution. People fond of exaggerations then said:---"field by field."
1. Yü and Hsieh were both ministers of Yao and Shun. Yü became emperor afterwards.
2. Shuking Part V, Bk. XIV, 5 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Pt. II, p. 455). The passage has been variously explained.
3. Analects VIII, 18.
4. The last emperors of the Hsia dynasty.
5. Quoted from the Shuking Part V, Bk. XV, 7 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Pt. II, p. 468).
6. Died 244 b.c.Wu Chi was a famous general of the Wei State, who inflicted some crushing defeats upon the armies of Ch`in. For some time he succeeded in checking the encroachments of Ch`in. It was not, until his later years, that he retired from public life, and gave himself up to debauchery.
7. The Shi-chi chap. 3, p. 10 likewise ascribes superhuman forces and extraordinary natural endowments to the last ruler of the Hsia dynasty.
8. Fei Lien and O Lai were two clever, but wicked consellors of King Chou. In the Shi-chi chap. 3, p. 11v. Fei Lien is called Fei Chung.
9. The Chou dynasty which overthrew the Shang or Yin dynasty. The name of King Chou Hsin of the Shang dynasty has the same sound, but is quite a different character.
10. According to the Shi-chi and the Shuking King Chou fled, when his troops had been routed by Wu Wang, and burned himself, dressed in his royal robes, in the palace. He was not caught by Wu Wang.
11. Cf. p. 130.
12. Cf. p. 178.
13. Wu Wang had large, staring sheep's eyes.
14. Cf. p. 305.
15. The wife of Han Kao Tsu.
16. Cf. p. 178.
17. The Han dynasty.
18. The Chou dynasty.
19. T`ai Kung Wang, the counsellor of Wu Wang, laid the plans of the campaign against the Yin dynasty.
20. This plain was situated in Honan.
21. This is the title of the 3d Book of the 5th Part of the Shuking. (Cf. Legge, Classics Vol. III, Pt. II, p. 315.)
22. With which the soldiers were pounding their rice.
23. Mêng Pên and Hsia Yü are both famous for their gigantic strength. The one could tear off the horns, the other the tail from a living ox. Both lived in the Chou epoch.
24. The legendary rulers accomplished everything by their virtues.
25. Analects XIX, 20. In our text of the Lun-yü these words are not spoken by Confucius himself, but by his disciple Tse Kung.
26. A good man avoids the society of disreputable people, for every wickedness is put to their account, even if they be innocent. Thus King Chou has been better than his name, which has become a by-word for every crime. Cf. p. 478.
27. Mencius Book VII, Pt. II, chap. 3. The most humane was Wu Wang.
28. In the estimation of the Confucianists Mencius is only a Worthy, not a Sage like Confucius.
29. Wang Mang the usurper reigned from 9 to 23 a.d.
30. Pi Kan was a relative of Chou. When he remonstrated with him upon his excesses, Chou caused him to he disembowelled.
31. 1-6 a.d.
32. A city in southern Honan.
33. A terrace near Chang-an-fu, where Wang Mang made his last stand.
34. A feudal prince of gigantic size said to have lived under the Emperor Yü, who put him to death. Cf. Han Fei Tse chap. 19, p. 11v.
35. Ti is a general name for northern barbarians. The Shuking, Hung-fan, , speaks of a Ti measuring over 50 feet, Ku Liang of three Ti brothers, of which one was so enormous, that his body covered 9 Mou.
36. I. e. "Announcement about wine." .
37. Cf. p. 121.
38. The shooting-feasts referred to are the competitions of archery, held in ancient times at the royal court, at the feudal courts, and at the meetings in the country. A banquet was connected with these festivities. Cf. Legge, The Li Ki (Sacred Books of the East Vol. XXVII) p. 57.
39. This wine-lake is mentioned in the Shi-chi chap. 3, p. 10v.
40. Quoted from the Shi-chi chap. 3, p. 11.
41. A royal carriage ornamented with deers.
42. Tan, Duke of Chou, a younger brother of Wu Wang.
43. K`ang Shu was the first prince of the Wei State (Honan), which he governed until 1077 b.c.
44. Cf. Shuking Part V, Book X, 11 (Legge, loc. cit. p. 408).
45. Chou Kung.
46. The sacrificial tripod is the emblem of royalty. The three chief ministers are likened to its three feet.
47. The Emperor Yü.
48. Quotation from the Shuking, Yi Chi Pt. II, Bk. IV, 8 (Legge Vol. III, Pt. I, p. 85). Modern commentators and Legge explain as "five land tenures," Wang Ch`ung as the Five State Robes worn by the Emperor and the officials, which are mentioned a few paragraphs before our passage (Legge, loc. cit. p. 80).
49. The Shiking and the Shuking.
50. 213 b.c.
51. Near Hsi-an-fu in Shensi.
52. An official title.
53. The abilition of feudalism was much disliked by the Literati.
54. The text says, the "discussions of the hundred authors," which means the writers on philosophy and science.
55. Various translations of this last passage have been proposed. Cf. Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. II, p. 181 Note 2.The foregoing narration is abridged from Shi-chi chap. 6, p. 21v et seq. Our text speaks of 467 scholars, whereas the Shi-chi mentions but 460 odd, and it uses the word "to throw into a pit" instead of the vaguer term . So perhaps Wang Ch`ung has not culled from the Shi-chi, but both have used the same older source.
56. A State in Chili.
57. In 227 b.c.Ching K`o made an unsuccessful attempt on Ch`in Shih Huang Ti's life, who at that time was still king of Ch`in. It was not before 221 that, having vanquished all the rival States, he assumed the imperial title.
58. All the ascendants and descendants from the great-great-grandfather to the great-great-grandson.
59. A mountain in the province of Shensi.
60. Quoted from Shi-chi chap. 6, p. 24.
61. A circuit or province comprising the south of Chili.
62. A quotation from Shi-chi chap. 6, p. 25v. Cf. p. 231.
63. The Shi-chi does not mention it.
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