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In nourishing the aged, (Shun), the lord of Yü, used the ceremonies of the drinking entertainment; the sovereigns of Hsiâ, those at entertainments (after) a reverent sacrifice or offering 1; the men of Yin, those of a (substantial) feast; and the men of Kâu cultivated and used all the three.

Those of fifty years received their nourishment in the (schools of the) districts; those of sixty, theirs in the (smaller school of the) state; and those of seventy, theirs in the college. This rule extended to the feudal states. An old man of eighty made his acknowledgment for the ruler's message, by kneeling once and bringing his head twice to the ground. The blind did the same. An old man of ninety employed another to receive (the message and gift for him).

For those of fifty the grain was (fine and) different (from that used by younger men). For those of sixty, flesh was kept in store. For those of seventy, there was a second service of savoury meat. For those of eighty, there was a constant supply of delicacies. For those of ninety, food and drink were never out of their chambers. Wherever they wandered (to another place), it was required that savoury meat and drink should follow them.

After sixty, (the coffin and other things for the mourning rites) were seen to be in readiness, (once) in the year; after seventy, once in the season; after eighty, once in the month; and after ninety; every day they were kept in good repair. But the bandages, sheet, and coverlets and cases (for the corpse) were prepared after death.

At fifty, one begins to decay; at sixty, he does not feel satisfied unless he eats flesh; at seventy, he does not feel warm unless he wears silk; at eighty, he does not feel warm unless there be some one (to sleep) with him; and at ninety, he does not feel warm even with that.

At fifty, one kept his staff always in his hand in his family; at sixty, in his district; at seventy, in the city; at eighty, (an officer) did so in the court. If the son of Heaven wished to put questions to (an officer) of ninety, he went to his house, and had rich food carried after him.

At seventy, (an officer) did not wait till the court was over (before he retired); at eighty, he reported every month (to the ruler's messenger) that he was still alive; at ninety; he (had delicate food sent) regularly to him every day.

At fifty, a (common) man was not employed in services requiring strength; at sixty, he was discharged from bearing arms along with others; at seventy, he was exempted from the business of receiving guests and visitors; and at eighty, he was free from the abstinences and other rites of mourning.

When one was fifty, he received the rank (of a Great officer) 2; at sixty, he did not go in person to the college; at seventy, he retired from the service of the government; and in mourning, he used only the dress of sackcloth (without adopting the privations of the mourning rites).

(Shun), the lord of Yü, nourished the aged (who had retired from the service) of the state in (the school called) the higher hsiang, and the aged of the common people (and officers who had not obtained rank) in (the school called) the lower hsiang. The sovereigns of Hsiâ nourished the former in (the school called) the hsü on the east, and the latter in (that called) the hsü on the west. The men of Yin nourished the former in the school of the right, and the latter in that of the left. The men of Kâu entertained the former in (the school called) the eastern kiâo, and the latter in (what corresponded to) the hsiang of Yü. This was in the suburb of the capital on the west 3.

The lord of Yü wore the hwang cap in sacrificing (in the ancestral temple), and the white robes in nourishing the aged. The sovereigns of Hsiâ used the shâu cap in sacrificing, and the upper and lower dark garments of undress in nourishing the aged. During the Yin, they used the hsü cap in sacrificing, and the upper and lower garments, both of white thin silk, in nourishing the aged. During the Kâu dynasty, they used the mien cap in sacrificing, and the dark-coloured upper and lower garments in nourishing the aged.

The kings of the three dynasties 4, in nourishing the old, always had the years of those connected with them brought to their notice. Where (an officer) was eighty, one of his sons was free from all duties of government service; where he was ninety, all the members of his family were set free from them. In cases of parties who were disabled or ill, and where the attendance of others was required to wait upon them, one man was discharged from those duties (for the purpose). Parties mourning for their parents had a discharge for three years. Those mourning for one year or nine months had a discharge for three months. Where an officer was about to move to another state, he was discharged from service for three months beforehand. When one came from another state, he was not required to take active service for a round year.

One who, while quite young, lost his father was called an orphan; an old man who had lost his sons was called a solitary. An old man who had lost his wife was called a pitiable (widower); an old woman who had lost her husband was called a poor (widow). These four classes were the most forlorn of Heaven's people, and had none to whom to tell their wants; they all received regular allowances.

The dumb, the deaf, the lame, such as had lost a member, pigmies, and mechanics, were all fed according to what work they were able to do.

On the roads, men took the right side and women the left; carriages kept in the middle. A man kept behind another who had a father's years; he followed one who might be his elder brother more closely, but still keeping behind, as geese fly after one another in a row. Friends did not pass by one another, when going the same way. (In the case of an old and a young man, carrying burdens,) both were borne by the younger; and if the two were too heavy for one, he took the heavier. A man with grey hair was not allowed to carry anything, though he might do it with one hand.

An officer of superior rank, of the age of sixty or seventy, did not walk on foot. A common man, at that age, did not go without flesh to eat.

A Great officer, (having land of his own), was not permitted to borrow the vessels for sacrifice; nor to make vessels for his own private use before he had made those for sacrifice.

A space of one lî square contained fields amounting to 900 mâu 5. Ten lî square were equal to 100 spaces of one lî square, and contained 90,000 mâu. A hundred lî square were equal to 100 spaces of ten lî square, and contained 9,000,000 mâu. A thousand lî square were equal to 100 spaces of 100 lî square, and contained 900,000,000 mâu.

From mount Hang 6 to the southernmost point of the Ho was hardly 1000 lî. From that point to the Kiang was hardly 1000 lî. From the Kiang to mount Hang in the south was more than 1000 lî. From the Ho on the east to the eastern sea was more than 1000 lî. From the Ho on the east to the same river on the west was hardly 1000 lî; and from that to the Moving Sands 7 was more than 1000 lî. (The kingdom) did not pass the Moving Sands on the west, nor mount Hang on the south. On the east it did not pass the eastern sea, nor on the north did it pass (the other) mount Hang. All within the four seas, taking the length with the breadth, made up a space Of 3000 lî square, and contained eighty trillions of mâu 8.

A space of 100 lî square contained ground to the amount of 9,000,000 mâu. Hills and mounds, forests and thickets, rivers and marshes, ditches and canals, city walls and suburbs, houses, roads, and lanes took up one third of it, leaving 6,000,000 mâu.

Anciently, according to the cubit of Kâu, eight cubits formed a pace. Now, according to the same, six cubits and four inches make a pace. One hundred ancient mâu were equal to 146 of the present day and thirty paces. One hundred ancient lî were equal to 121 of the present day, sixty paces, four cubits, two inches and two-tenths.

A space of 1000 lî square contained 100 spaces of 100 lî square each. In this were constituted thirty states of 100 lî square, leaving what would have been enough for other seventy of the same size. There were also constituted sixty states Of 70 lî square, twenty-nine of 100 lî square, and forty spaces of 10 lî square; leaving enough for forty states of 100 lî square, and sixty spaces of 10 lî square. There were also constituted a hundred and twenty states of 50 lî square, and thirty of 100 lî square, leaving enough for ten of the same size, and sixty spaces of 10 lî square.The famous hills and great meres were not included in the fiefs; and what remained was assigned for attached territories and unoccupied lands. Those unappropriated lands were taken to reward any of the princes of acknowledged merit, and what was cut off from some others (because of their demerit) became unappropriated land.

The territory of the son of Heaven, amounting to 1000 lî square, contained 100 spaces of 100 lî square each. There were constituted nine appanages of 100 lî square, leaving ninety-one spaces of the same size. There were also constituted twenty-one appanages of 70 lî square, ten of 100 lî, and twenty-nine spaces of 10 lî square; leaving enough for eighty of 100 lî square, and seventy-one of 10 lî. There were further constituted sixty-three appanages of 50 lî square, fifteen of 100 1î, and seventy-five spaces of 10 lî, while there still remained enough for sixty-four appanages of 100 lî square, and ninety-six spaces of 10 lî each.

The officers of the lowest grade in the feudal states received salary sufficient to feed nine individuals; those of the second grade, enough to feed eighteen; and those of the highest, enough for thirty-six. A Great officer could feed 72 individuals; a minister, 288; and the ruler, 2880.In a state of the second class, a minister could feed 216; and the ruler, 2160.A minister of a small state could feed 144 individuals; and the ruler, 1440.In a state of the second class, the minister who was appointed by its ruler received the same emolument as the minister of a small state.

The Great officers of the son of Heaven acted as 'the three inspectors.' When they were inspecting a state, their salary was equal to one of its ministers, and their rank was that of a ruler of a state of the second class. Their salaries were derived from the territories under the chiefs of regions 9.

The chiefs of regions, on occasion of their appearing at the court of the son of Heaven, had cities assigned them for purification 10 within his domain like those of his officers of the chief grade.

The (appointed) heir-sons 11 of the feudal princes inherited their states. Great officers (in the royal domain) did not inherit their rank. They were employed as their ability and character were recognised, and received rank as their merit was proved. Till their rank was conferred (by the king), (the princes) were in the position of his officers of the chief grade, and so they ruled their states, The Great officers of the states did not inherit their rank and emoluments.

The six ceremonial observances were:--capping; marrying; mourning rites; sacrifices; feasts; and interviews. The seven lessons (of morality) were:--(the duties between) father and son; elder brother and younger; husband and wife; ruler and minister; old and young; friend and friend; host and guest. The eight objects of government were:--food and drink; clothes; business (or, the profession); maintenance of distinctions; measures of length; measures of capacity; and definitely assigned rules 12.


1. The commentators make this to have been a Barmecide feast, merely to show respect for the age; and Callery, after them, gives for the text: 'La dynastie des Hsiâ faisait servir un repas qu'on ne mangeait point.' But Ying-tâ's authorities adduced to support this view do not appear to me to bear it out. See the commencing chapter of Book X. Section ii, where all this about nourishing the aged is repeated.

2. See Book X, Section ii, I. This was, say the Khien-lung editors, a lesson against forwardness in seeking office and rank, as retirement at seventy was a lesson against cleaving to these too long.

3. It is wearisome to try and thread one's way through the discussions about the schools, called by all these different names. One thing is plain, that there were the lower schools which boys entered when they were eight, and the higher schools into which they passed from these. But in this paragraph these institutions are mentioned not in connexion with education, but as they were made available for the assembling and cherishing of the aged. They served various purposes. A school-room with us may do the same, occasionally; it was the rule in ancient China that the young should be taught and the old ministered to in the same buildings.

4. Hsiâ, Shang or Yin, and Kâu.

5. See note as to the size of the mâu on page 218.

6. See notes on pages 217, 218. I have said below '(the other) mount Hang;' but the names, or characters for the names, of the two mountains are different in Chinese.

7. What is now called the desert of Gobi.

8. As it is in the text =80 x 10000 x 100000 x 10000 x 100000 mâu. A translator, if I may speak of others from my own experience, is much perplexed in following and verifying the calculations, in this and the other paragraphs before and after it. The Khien-lung editors and Wang Thâo use many pages in pointing out the errors of earlier commentators, and establishing the correct results according to their own views, and I have thought it well to content myself with simply giving a translation of the text.

9. See page 212, paragraph 2, and note 1, page 213.

10. The text says, 'Cities for bathing and washing the hair;' but preparing by mental exercises for appearing before the king is also intimated by the phrase.

11. A son, generally the eldest son by the wife proper, had to be recognised by the king before he could be sure of succeeding to his father.

12. See page 230, paragraph 1.

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