<Previous Section>
<Next Section>


Thus did king Wan act when he was eldest son and heir:--Thrice a day he made a visit in due form to king Kî. When the cock first crowed he dressed himself, and going to the outside of the bedroom, asked one of the servants of the interior who was in attendance how the king was and if he were well. When told that he was well, the prince was glad. At midday he repeated the visit in the same way; and so he did again in the evening 1. If the king were not so well as usual, the servant would tell the prince, and then his sorrow appeared in his countenance, and his walk was affected and disturbed. When king Kî took his food again, Wan recovered his former appearance. When the food went up (to the king), he would examine it and see if it were cold and hot as it ought to be 2. When it came down, he asked of what dishes the king had eaten. He gave orders to the cook that none of the dishes should go up again, and withdrew on receiving the cook's assurance accordingly 3.

King Wû acted according to the example (of Wan), not presuming to go (in anything) beyond it. When king Wan was ill, Wû nursed him without taking off his cap or girdle. When king Wan took a meal, he also took a meal; and when king Wan took a second, he did the same. It was not till after twelve days that he intermitted his attentions.King Wan said to Wû, 'What have you been dreaming?' 'I dreamt,' was the reply, 'that God gave me nine ling?' 'And what do you think was the meaning?' King Wû said, 'There are nine states in the west;--may it not mean that you will yet bring them all under your happy sway?' Wan said, 'That was not the meaning. Anciently they called a year ling. The age is also called ling. I am 100; and you are 90. I give you three years.' King Wan was 97 when he died, and king Wû was 93 4.

King Khang, being quite young, could not perform his part at the eastern steps 5. The duke of Kâu acted as regent, trod those steps, and administered the government. He illustrated the rules for the behaviour of a young heir in his treatment of Po-khin, that king Khang might thereby know the courses to be pursued by father and son, ruler and minister, old and young. When he committed an error, the duke punished Po-khin. This was the way in which he showed king Khang his duty as the son and heir.

So much on the way in which king Wan acted as son and heir.

In teaching the heir-sons (of the king and feudal princes), and young men (chosen from their aptitude) for learning 6, the subjects were different at different seasons. In spring and summer they were taught the use of the shield and spear; in autumn and winter that of the feather and flute:--all in the eastern school. The inferior directors of Music 7 taught the use of the shield aided by the great assistants. The flute masters taught the use of the spear, aided by the subdirectors, while the assistants regulated by the drum (the chanting of) the Nan 8.In spring they recited (the pieces), and in summer they played on the guitar,--being taught by the grand master in the Hall of the Blind 9. In autumn they learned ceremonies,--being instructed by the masters of ceremonies. In winter they read the book of History,--being instructed by the guardians of it. Ceremonies were taught in the Hall of the Blind; the book in the upper school.

All the rules about sacrificial offerings 10 and at the nourishing of the old begging them to speak (their wise counsels) 11 and the conversation at general reunions, were taught by the lower directors of Music in the eastern school.

The Grand director of Music taught how to brandish the shield and axe. He also delivered the graduated rules relating to conversations and the charges about begging the old to speak. The Grand perfecter (of Instruction) 12 discussed all about (these matters) in the eastern school.

Whenever a pupil was sitting with the Grand completer (of Instruction), there was required to be between them the width of three mats. He might put questions to him; and when he had finished, sit back on the mat near to the wall. While the instructor had not finished all he had to say on any one point, he did not ask about another.

In all the schools, the officer (in charge), in spring set forth offerings to the master who first taught (the subjects); and in autumn and winter he did the same 13.

In every case of the first establishment of a school the offerings must be set forth to the earlier sages and the earlier teachers; and in the doing of this, pieces of silk must be used.

In all the cases of setting forth the offerings, it was required to have the accompaniments (of dancing and singing). When there were any events of engrossing interest in a state (at the time), these were omitted.

When there was the accompaniment of music on a great scale, they proceeded immediately to feast the aged.

At all examinations in the suburban schools, the rule was to select the best and mark out the most talented. The pupils might be advanced for their virtue, or commended for something they had accomplished, or distinguished for their eloquence 14. Those who had studied minor arts were encouraged and told to expect a second examination 15. If they (then) had one of the three things (above mentioned), they were advanced to a higher grade, according to their several orders, and were styled 'Men of the schools.' They were (still, however,) kept out of the royal college 16, and could not receive the cup from the vase restricted to the superior students.

On the first establishment of schools (in any state), when the instruments of music were completed 17, offerings of silk were set forth; and afterwards those of vegetables 18. But there was no dancing and (consequently) no giving out of the spears and other things used in it. They simply retired and received visitors in the eastern school. Only one cup was passed round. The ceremony might pass without (parade of) attendants or conversation.

(All these things) belonged to the education of the young princes.

In the education of the crown princes adopted by the founders of the three dynasties the subjects were the rules of propriety and music. Music served to give the interior cultivation; the rules to give the external. The two, operating reciprocally within, had their outward manifestation, and the result was a peaceful serenity,--reverence of inward feeling and mild elegance of manners.

The Grand tutor and the assistant tutor were appointed for their training, to make them acquainted with the duties of father and son, and of ruler and minister. The former made himself perfectly master of those duties in order to exhibit them; the latter guided the princes to observe the virtuous ways of the other and fully instructed him about them. The Grand tutor went before them, and the assistant came after them. In the palace was the guardian, outside it was the master; and thus by this training and instruction the virtue (of the princes) was completed. The master taught them by means of occurring things, and made them understand what was virtuous. The guardian watched over their persons, and was as a stay and wings to them, leading them in the right way. The history says, 'Under the dynasties of Yü, Hsiâ, Shang, and Kâu, there were the master, the guardian, the Î, and the Khang, and there were appointed the four aides and the three ducal ministers. That these offices should all be filled was not so necessary as that there should be the men for them;'--showing how the object was to employ the able 19.

When we speak of 'a superior man' we intend chiefly his virtue. The virtue perfect and his instructions honoured; his instructions honoured and the (various) officers correct; the officers correct and order maintained in the state:--these things give the ideal of a ruler 20.

Kung-nî said, 'Formerly, when the duke of Kâu was administering the government, he did so while he (continued to) go up by the eastern steps. He (also) set forth the rules for a crown prince in (his dealing with) Po-khin, and it was thus that he secured the excellence of king Khang. I have heard it said, "A minister will sacrifice himself to benefit his ruler, and how much more will he swerve from the ordinary course to secure his excellence!" This was what the duke of Kâu did with ease and unconcern.

'Therefore he who knows how to show himself what a son should be can afterwards show himself what a father should be; he who knows how to show himself what a minister should be can afterwards show himself what a ruler should be; he who knows how to serve others can afterwards employ them. King Khang, being quite young, could not discharge the duties of the government. He had no means of learning how to show himself what the crown prince should be 21. On this account the rules for a crown prince were exhibited in (the treatment of) Po-khin, and he was made to live with the young king that the latter might thus understand all that was right between father and son, ruler and minister, elders and youngers 22.'

Take the case of the sovereign and his son and heir. Looked at from the standpoint of affection, the former is father; from that of honour, he is ruler. If the son can give the affection due to the father, and the honour due to the ruler, hereafter he will (be fit to) be the lord of all under the sky. On this account the training of crown princes ought to be most carefully attended to.

It is only in the case of the crown prince that by the doing of one thing three excellent things are realised; and it is with reference to his taking his place in the schools according to his age that this is spoken. Thus it is that when he takes his place in them in this way, the people observing it, one will say, 'He is to be our ruler, how is it that he gives place to us in the matter of years?' and it will be replied, 'While his father is alive, it is the rule that he should do so.' Thus all will understand the right course as between father and son. A second will make the same remark, and put the same question; and it will be replied, 'While the ruler is alive, it is the rule that he should do so;' and thus all will understand the righteousness that should obtain between ruler and minister. To a third putting the same question it will be said, 'He is giving to his elders what is due to their age;' and thus all will understand the observances that should rule between young and old. Therefore, while his father is alive, he is but a son; and, while his ruler is alive, he may be called merely a minister. Occupying aright the position of son and minister is the way in which he shows the honour due to a ruler and the affection due to a father. He is thus taught the duties between father and son, between ruler and minister, between old and young; and when he has become master of all these, the state will be well governed. The saying,finds its application in the case of the heir-son.

So much for the duke of Kâu's going up by the eastern steps.


1. If was the duty of a son to wait on his father twice a day,--at morning and night. King Wan showed his filial duty by paying king Kî a third visit.

2. According to the season.

3. According to the ordinary dates in Chinese chronology, king Wan was born in B.C. 1258, and named Khang (昌). King Ki died in 1185, when he was in his seventy-fourth year

4. It is difficult to understand and interpret the latter half of this paragraph. The Khien-lung editors say that, according to the ordinary accounts, king Wû was born when wan was fifteen years old, and there was an elder son, Yî-khâo, who died prematurely; whereas king Wû died at 93, leaving his son Sung (king Khang) only seven years old. 'Wan,' they said, 'must have married very early, and Wû very late.' They say also that they cannot understand the text that Wan gave to his son 'three years,' &c., and suppose that some erroneous tradition has here been introduced.

5. The king received his nobles at the top of the eastern steps. The phrase='in the government of the kingdom.'

6. These 'scholars' no doubt, were those of whose selection for the higher instruction we have an account in the fourth and other paragraphs of Section IV, Book III.

7. These are mentioned in the 'Royal Regulations,' though the title does not occur in the Kâu Lî. They are supposed to be the same as its 'music masters' (Yo Sze, Book XXII).

8. This clause about the 'drum' is perplexing to a translator. It destroys the symmetry of the paragraph. What we are to understand by the 'Nan' is also much disputed. I suppose the term should embrace the two Nan, or two first Books of the Shih, Part I. Compare the Shih II, vi,

9. The names of these different schools are also very perplexing; and I here give a note about them by Liû Khang of our eleventh century. 'Under the Kau dynasty they had its own schools and those of the three former dynasties; four buildings, all erected in proximity to one another. Most in the centre was the Pî Yung of Kâu itself. On the north of it was the school of Shun (the lord Yü); on the east that of Hsiâ; and on the west that of Shang. Those who were learning the use (in dancing) of the shield and spear, and of the plume and flute, went to the eastern school; those who were learning ceremonies went to that of Shang; and those who were learning history, to that of Shun. In the Pî Yung the son of Heaven nourished the old, sent forth his armies, matured his plans, received prisoners, and practised archery. When he came to the Pî Yung, they came from all the other three schools, and stood round the encircling water to look at him. There were also schools on the plan of Shun--the hsiang (庠)--in the large districts (the 鄉, containing 12500 families); others on the plan of Hsiâ--the hsü ( 序)--in the Kâu, or smaller districts (the 州 , containing 2500 families); and others still on the plan of Shang--the hsiâo (校 )--in the Tang (黨), or those still smaller (containing 500 families). These were all schools for young boys. The most promising scholars (in the family schools) were removed to the hsiang; the best in the hsiang, again to the hsü; and the best in the hsü, to the hsiâo. The best in these were removed finally to the great school (or college) in the suburbs (of the capital).' Such is the account of Liû Khang. Other scholars differ from him in some points; but there is a general agreement as to the existence of a system of graduated training.

10. Probably, not sacrifices in general, but offerings to sages, distinguished old men, &c.

11. This asking the old men to speak was a part of the festal nourishment of them.

12. I do not think this officer appears in the lists of the Kâu Lî. He seems to be named as giving the finishing touch to the training of the young princes.

13. No mention is made of summer; but, no doubt, there were then the same observances as in the other seasons,--a tribute to the merit of the past, and a stimulus to the students.

14. See paragraphs 2-4, pp. 231-233.

15. These minor arts, it is understood, were such as medicine and divination.

16. The name for this college here perhaps indicates that on reaching it, all from the other schools were 'on the same level.' The youths would appear to have passed into it with a festive ceremony. The 'suburban schools' were those in the note on p. 346, with the addition of the 'Eastern Kiâo' (東膠 ), which it is not easy to distinguish from 'the eastern school,' already mentioned.

17. 'Were completed,' should be, according to Khang-khang, 'were consecrated.' For the character in the text he would substitute that which we find in Mencius, I, i, 7, 4, applied to the consecration of a bell. Compare vol. iii, p. 323.

18. The ordinary offerings (see above, paragraph 9); but now a sequel to the offerings of silk. These two offerings, it is understood, were in the school on the west (the hsiang), and thence the parties officiating adjourned to that on the east (the hsü).

19. The Khien-lung editors seem to say that 'the Grand tutor' and 'the assistant tutor,' who had the charge of the young prince from his infancy, must have been ladies of the harem; so that, in fact, the government of a ruler's household was regulated after the model of the government of the state in his maturer years. There are no materials to illustrate the duties of the ministers who are called 'the Î and the Khang.'

20. Wû Khang thinks that the first three characters here should be translated--'The superior man (Kün-dze) says;' a sequel to 'The history says' of the preceding paragraph. He then proposes to suppress one of the virtues (德) that follow. But the structure of the whole will not admit this way of dealing with it. There is a play on the characters rendered 'a superior man' and 'a ruler,'--Kün-dze (君子) and Kun (君); like our English 'a noble man' and 'a noble,' 'a princely man' and 'a prince.'

21. His father being dead.

22. With reference to this paragraph, which, he thinks, appears here as from Confucius, Wû Khang says:--'When king Wû died, Khang was quite young. (His uncles of) Kwan and Zhâi sent their reports abroad, and the people of Yin planned their rebellion. Then the duke of Kâu left the capital, and dwelt in the east, and Po-khin went to his jurisdiction, and defeated the people of Hsü and the Zung. Three years afterwards the duke of Kâu returned, took the regency and made his expedition to the east,--it was impossible for Khang and Po-khin to be always together. Perhaps the duke made them keep so, while king Wû was alive; and the account in the text was an erroneous tradition.' To this the Khien-lung editors reply:--'Immediately on the death of king Wû, the duke of Kâu must have adopted the method described in the text. Thâi Kung was Grand master; the duke of Shâo, Grand guardian; and the duke of Kâu himself Grand tutor. They, no doubt, made Po-khin, Kün Khan, Lü Ki, Wang-sun Mâu, and others associate with the young king. In the winter of his first year, the duke removed to the eastern capital, while the other two continued in their places, and Po-khin was daily with Khang, and there was no change in the rules for a son and heir. Next year happened the storm which changed the king's views about the duke, who returned to the court. The third year saw the removal of the people of Yen, and Po-khin proceeded to his jurisdiction in Lû. But by this time king Khang's virtue and ability were matured. Wû's objections to the ordinary view of the text are without foundation.'

<Previous Section>
<Next Section>
IATHPublished by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia