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古之帝王建鴻德者，須鴻筆之臣褒頌紀載，鴻德乃彰，萬世乃聞。問說《書》者：“‘欽明文 思’以下，誰所言也？”曰：“篇家也。”“篇家誰也？”“孔子也。”然則孔子鴻筆之人也。“自衛反魯，然後樂 正，《雅》、《頌》各得其所也。”鴻筆之奮，蓋斯時也。
表德頌功，宣褒主上，《詩》之頌言，右臣之典也。舍其家而觀他人之室，忽其父而稱異人之 翁，未為德也。漢，今天下之家也；先帝、今上民臣之翁也。夫曉主德而頌其美，識國奇而恢其功，孰與疑暗不 能也？
孔子稱“大哉！堯之為君也！唯天為大，唯堯則之。蕩蕩乎民無能名焉”！或年五十 擊壤於塗，或曰：“大哉！堯之德也。”擊壤者曰： “吾日出而作，日入而息，鑿井而飲，耕田而食，堯何 等力？”孔子乃言“大哉！堯之德”者，乃知堯者也。
夜舉燈燭，光曜所及，可得度也；日照天下，遠近廣狹，難得量也。浮於淮、濟，皆知曲折；入 東海者，不曉南北。故夫廣大從橫難數，極深，揭曆難測。漢德酆廣，日光海外也。知者知之，不知者不知漢盛也 。
宣帝之時，畫圖漢列士，或不在於畫上者，子孫恥之。何則？父祖不賢，故不畫圖也。夫頌言，非 徒畫文也。如千世之後，讀經書不見漢美，後世怪之。故夫古之通經之臣，紀主令功，記於竹帛；頌上令德，刻 於鼎銘。文人涉世，以此自勉。漢德不及六代，論者不德之故也。
諡者，行之跡也。諡之美者，成、宣也；惡者，靈、曆也。成湯遭旱，周宣亦然。然而 成湯加“成”，宣王言“宣”，無妄之災，不能虧政，臣子累諡，不失實也。由斯以論堯，堯亦美諡也，時亦 有洪水，百姓不安，猶言堯者，得實考也。夫一字之諡，尚猶明主，況千言之論，萬文之頌哉？ 船車載人，孰與其徒多也？素車樸船，孰與加漆采畫也？然則鴻筆之人，國之船車、采畫也。
弦歌為妙異之曲，坐者不曰善，弦歌之人，必怠不精。何則？妙異難為，觀者不知善也。聖 國揚妙異之政，眾臣不頌，將順其美，安得所施哉？今方〔技〕之書在竹帛，無主名所從生出，見者忽然，不卸服 也。如題曰“〔某〕甲某子之方，”若言“已驗嘗試，”人爭刻寫，以為珍秘。
古今聖王不絕，則其符瑞亦宜累屬。符瑞之出，不同於前，或時已有，世無以知，故有 《講瑞》。俗儒好長古而短今，言瑞則渥前而薄後。《是應》實而定之，漢不為少。漢有實事，儒者不稱；古有虛美 ，誠心然之。信久遠之偽，忽近今之實。斯蓋三增九虛所以成也，《能聖》《實聖》，所以興也。
從門應庭，聽堂室之言，什而失九，如升堂窺室，百不失一。《論衡》之人在古荒流之地，其遠 非徒門庭也。 日刻徑重千里，人不謂之廣者，遠也。望夜甚雨，月光不暗，人不睹曜者，隱也。聖者垂日月之明，處在中州。隱於百 里，遙聞傳授，不實。形耀不實，難論。得詔書到，計吏至，乃聞聖政。是以褒功失丘山之積，頌德遺膏腴之美。使 至台閣之下，蹈班、賈之跡，論功德之實，不失毫釐之微。
Chapter XXI. The Necessity of Eulogies (Hsü-sung).
The rulers and sovereigns of antiquity having accomplished memorable deeds, wanted some able pen to eulogise and chronicle their achievements. Thus their deeds were made public, and all ages heard of them. If we ask the commentators of the Shuking who said the words following the passage ["He was reverential, intelligent, accomplished, and thoughtful"], 1 they will reply:---the editor, and who is the editor?---Confucius. Consequently the able writer is Confucius.2 [It was after his return from Wei to Lu3 that he arranged the Odes, when the festive songs and panegyrics got their places. 4 ] His great literary activity falls in this time.
Some maintain concerning the Shang-shu (Shuking) that shang means superior: 5 ---what the superiors have done is written down by the inferiors. And who are these inferiors? The officers. Ergo the officers commit to writing the actions of the superiors.
If we inquire of the scholars why rites are said to be instituted 6 and songs to be composed, 7 their reply will probably be that the rites are instituted by the superiors and therefore called institutions, whereas songs being composed by the inferiors are, on that account, termed compositions. When the empire enjoys perfect peace, panegyrics and tunes are composed. At present there is universal peace throughout the empire; might panegyrics, odes, songs, and tunes be composed? The scholiasts would not know it and deserve to be called pedants.
In view of the inscription on the tripod of K`ung K`ui8 of Wei the officers of Chou admonished one another, and because the emperor Hsiao Hsüan Ti praised the prefect of Ying-ch`uan,9Huang Pa10 for his excellent service and bestowed a hundred pounds of gold on him, the Han officers exerted themselves in the administration. Thus a ruler of men praises his officers, and the officers should extol their sovereign. That is in accordance with propriety.
When under Shun the empire was at peace, K`uei11 sang the virtue of Shun. The kindness of King Hsüan12 was so perfect, that the Shiking extols his doings. Lord Shao13 performed his duties in such a way, that in Chou they sang the song on the sweet-pear tree. 14 Thus there are 31 eulogies of Chou, 5 of Yin, and 4 of Lu, 40 in all in which the poets sing the praises of exalted persons. 15 Whence it is plain that subjects should eulogise their sovereigns.
The scholars contend that the Han have no sage emperors, and that their administration has not brought about universal peace. In our chapter entitled "Praise of the Han Dynasty" 16 we have shown that the Han have holy emperors, and that their government has led to perfect peace, and in the chapter "Further Remarks on the State" 17 we have investigated into the excellence of the Han and found out that it is extraordinary and far surpassing that of all the other dynasties.
To illustrate virtue, and praise merits, and to extol and panegyrise rulers, is nothing more than the eulogistic allusions of the Shiking and a duty of noble officers. It cannot be accounted virtue, should somebody forget his own family and look to other people's houses, or despise his own father, and speak in high terms of the old gentlemen of strangers. The Han are the family now embracing the whole world, and compared to the present sovereign, people and officers, the former emperors are like the old gentlemen. To know the virtue of a monarch and praise his excellence, to see the greatness of a State and glorify its deserts is much better than to doubt and suspect them of incapacity.
[Confucius said, "Great indeed was Yao as a sovereign; it is only Heaven that is grand, and only Yao corresponded to it. The people could find no name for it."] 18 Some one of fifty was beating clods of earth on the road. An observer remarked, "Grand indeed is the virtue of Yao!"---The man who was playing with earth replied, "At sunrise I begin my work, and at sunset I take my rest. I dig a well to drink, and labour my field to eat. What sort of energy does Yao display?" 19 ---Confucius by saying "Great indeed was the virtue of Yao" showed that he knew him. To be coeval with a sage and not to know the holy ruler, is like being blind and incapable of distinguishing between green and yellow, and to know such a holy ruler, but not to praise him, is like being dumb and unfit to discourse on right and wrong.
The present blind and dumb literati are no more gifted than the people of T`ang beating the earth. Confucius and the man of T`ang who spoke of Yao's greatness were both aware of his virtue. It was paramount, and by inquiring how Yao's capacity was, the peasant beating the earth proved his ignorance of his virtue. 20
When at night a candle is lifted the space illuminated by its light may be measured, but when the sun shines over the world the places near and far, big and small reached by its rays are hard to be limited. Navigating on the Huai and the Chi,21 all people know their windings and turnings, but on the Eastern Sea they cannot make out north and south. The square-mensuration of very great planes offers many difficulties, and great depths are hard to be fathomed by wading through with tucked-up clothes. The excellence of the Han is as extensive 22 as the sunlight reaching beyond the ocean. The knowing know it, whereas the unintelligent have no idea of their grandeur.
The Han writers mostly go back as far as the Yin and Chou dynasties, and the various scholars working together all treat of other matters and have not a word of praise for the Han dynasty, which the Lun-hêng has. The State eulogies in the Shiking are called eulogies of Chou; they bear a resemblance to the Han eulogies offered by Tu Fu and Pan Ku.23
Under the reign of Hsüan Ti portraits were painted of the entire body of Han officers. If some were left out, their descendants, later on, felt abashed that their ancestors had not been found worthy to be painted. A eulogy is much more than a simple picture. If after many generations people conversant with classical literature will find there nothing in praise of the Han dynasty, later ages must wonder at this omission. Formerly, officers well versed in the Classics were in the habit of recording the glorious feats of their rulers on bamboo and silk and of engraving encomiastic inscriptions regarding their illustrious virtue on tripods. Contemporaries of literary abilities would exert themselves on this behalf. If the fame of the Han falls short of that of the Six Reigns, it is owing to the incompetence of those writers.
The earth has elevations and depressions, whence there are high and low places. But by means of picks and spades one may level the ground. All generations reading the Classics dealing merely with the Five Emperors and the Three Rulers, no notice being taken of the events of the Han era, must imagine that these sovereigns 24 are far superior to those of the Han dynasty. But one may use arguments as picks and spades and, by diminishing the grandeur of the Five Emperors and Three Rulers, 25 fill up the baseness of the house of Han, which is more than levelling, for the Han thus will become exalted and those rulers abased.
Ponds and lakes there are of various kinds and of different sizes, and their depths may be measured by immerging poles. The Han have swayed the empire no less than all the other dynasties, and by a thorough investigation their respective merits and demerits may be ascertained. In default of long poles the depths cannot be measured, and without the arguments of the Lun-hêng we do not learn to know the real state of these dynasties. If the Han, being the last of all these dynasties, be contrasted with their predecessors in point of virtue, they can be compared like ponds and lakes, but unless there be a clever writer, it is inevitable that a mediocre scribbler takes his place who admires antiquity and disparages the present, and we may expect that the Han will not barely not come up to the other dynasties, but be ranked below them.
A posthumous title is a trace left by a man's actions. Good titles are Ch`êng and Hsüan, bad ones, Ling and Li.26Ch`êng T`ang met with a drought and King Hsüan of Chou likewise, yet Ch`êng T`ang got the epithet Ch`êng and King Hsüan was called Hsüan.27 These pernicious calamities could not affect their government, and the officials in appending the posthumous designations did not depart from truth. From this point of view Yao is also a good title. 28 In his time there was also the Great Flood, and the people were not at ease, still his case having been thoroughly examined, he was given the name of Yao. Even the one word of a posthumous title should be illustrative of its bearer, how much more ought this to be required of discourses containing many hundred words, or of eulogies numbering many thousands. Ships and carts carry people, but how can they equal the number of pedestrians, and how can simple carts and unadorned ships compete with those covered with polish and beautifully painted? Excellent writers are the polish and adornments of the State-ship and the State-cart. 29
Without strong husbandmen the crops do not grow, and unless a State possess vigorous writers its virtues remain hidden and are not made public. The ever-flowing virtue of the Han is lost among the many generations, because the vigorous writers among the literati do not record it. It is true that from Kao Tsu downward the books written discuss this subject:
Sse-Ma Hsiang-Ju of the Han time published a work on the hill sacrifice, but this book is very short and incomplete. Sse-Ma Ch`ien wrote on the time from Huang Ti till Hsiao Wu Ti,30Yang Tse Yün described the period from Hsüan Ti to Ai Ti and P`ing Ti,31Ch`ên P`ing Chung wrote on Kuang Wu Ti, and Pan Ku composed a eulogy on Hsiao Ming Ti. The merits and achievements of the house of Han may well be learned therefrom. Our reigning Lord, after his accession, has not yet found a panegyrist, therefore the author of the Lun-hêng has done his best for this purpose, whence originated the chapters:---Equality of the Ages, Praise of the Han Dynasty, Further Remarks on the State, and Ominous Signs Investigated. 32
Without clouds and rain, a dragon cannot soar to heaven. Great writers are the clouds and the rain of a State; they carry in their records the virtue of the State, and transmit its fame, that it is still illustrious after numberless generations. Does this greatness not rise even higher than the sky?
The earth of the city-wall is nothing but common soil which men have used their strength to ram down and raise near the moat. The great achievements of a State are loftier than a city-wall, and the strength of the gentlemen of the pen is greater than that of the rammers.
The brilliant virtue and the success of a holy ruler should, at all events, be praised and put on record; how can the current of these records suddenly be drained and exhausted?
When somebody has won laurels, either those who extol him hit the truth, or they would fain praise him, but cannot express themselves, or what they say is bad, and they are reluctant to speak their mind freely. Which of these three classes of people deserves the prize? The epoch of the Five Emperors and the Three Rulers was particularly prosperous in this respect. During the time of Hsiao Ming Ti, plenty of lucky presages appeared together, and there was no lack of officers and functionaries, but of all encomiasts of the State only men like Pan Ku may be said to have praised it properly. Should we not rather use high-flown panegyrics, to make the virtue of the Han illustrious among all generations, that its emperors shine like sun and moon, than be ineloquent or speak badly and improperly? 33
When Ch`in Shih Huang Ti travelled to the south-east and ascended Mount Kuei-chi, Li Sse composed a laudatory stone-inscription recording the excellent deeds of the emperor, and when the latter reached Lang-yeh he did the same. 34Ch`in was a depraved State, but in these stone-inscriptions the era was so embellished, that the readers must have taken it for the age of Yao and Shun, whence the necessity of eulogies becomes obvious. At present, we are not short of talents like Li Sse who might take part in the ascent of Mount Kuei-chi and pass over the terraces of Lang-yeh.
When musicians play beautiful airs on the guitar, and the audience does not applaud, the musicians become apathetic and lose their enthusiasm, because exquisite music is very difficult to play, and yet the spectators do not appreciate it. When a wise State keeps an excellent administration, and officialdom withholds its praise, but hopes to benefit by it, it will not be carried on. Now we possess many recipe books written on bamboo and silk which do not give the name of the inventor by whom the recipes were issued. The public does not use and overlooks them. If, however, it is stated in the headings that a recipe is that of Mr. So-and-so, and that it has already been tested, then those willing to try it will compete in copying the recipes and carving them in wood, and will regard them as a hidden treasure.
In the capital memorials are written, and in the provinces reports are drafted in order to recommend officials, praising them for their skill and their abilities. The publication of these memorials and reports induces the officials to virtue and honesty, because in the memorials their conduct is divulged, and through the reports their talents are exhibited. If the virtue of the State, in spite of its gloriousness, does not meet with applause, so that the holy State of the Great Han enjoys but scanty fame, the fault lies with the common scholars who do not make correct statements.
In ancient and modern times there has been no want of holy emperors, and the corresponding auspicious signs have also been very numerous. These signs must not, of necessity, be identical with former ones, and sometimes they had already appeared, but people ignored it. The ordinary scholars explaining omens are prone to magnify antiquity and detract from the present, and in speaking of omens they over-estimate the past and depreciate later ages. This should be changed, and the Han no more be slighted. When the Han have some real good things, those scholars do not mention them, conversely, they fervently believe in every imaginary excellent quality of antiquity. They trust in falsehoods, provided they be old and far away, and they despise truth, in case it be near and modern. This is the reason why the three chapters on Exaggerations and the nine on Falsehoods 35 were written and those "How to become a Sage" 36 and on "True Sagehood" 37 originated.
The Literati in their praise of the sages overshoot the mark, and when they contrast them with those of the Han, the latter do not come up with them, not because they do not equal them, but in consequence of the statements of the Literati which make it impossible. As a matter of fact, the Han are difficult to be equalled, under whom the crops ripen and the years pass in peace, owing to the influence of holy emperors thus successful in their efforts.
The chapter "Periods of Government" 38 is an effusion for the Han. Order has its fixed time, and disorder has its period. To be able to change disorder into order, is excellent, and only an excellent man possesses this faculty. In the first year of Chiench`u39 , a pernicious air arrived just at the time of a sage. The emperor through his virtue succeeded in averting the calamity. 40 Therefore in the chapters "On the Rain Sacrifice" and "Gentle Drums" 41 the sudden changes referred to are brought about by the good auguries of the Han dynasty.
Calamitous changes sometimes take place during the age of a sage, there being either a drought or an inundation. These calamities have been discussed with reference to the Han. The Ch`unch`iu period left a method for them which the Lun-hêng has explained.
If a person be turned from the gate to the court and listen to what is spoken in the hall and the inner rooms, he will miss nine words out of ten. If, however, he ascend the hall and peep into the rooms, he will not lose one word out of a hundred. The author of the Lun-hêng is living in an old desolate place at a greater distance (from the capital) than that between the gate and the courtyard. 42 In a quarter of an hour the sun traverses several thousand Li, yet people do not consider it far by reason of the great distance. When, on the fifteenth, there is much rain during the night, the light of the moon is not extinguished, but its splendour is not seen, being overshadowed. The holy emperor sheds the light of the sun and moon, but since he lives in the central province, and is concealed within a hundred Li, the reports about him that transpire and are heard afar, are not reliable. His glorious appearance not being well known, it is hard to discourse on it. Only when imperial edicts are issued, or a chi-li43 arrives, one learns something about his holy government. These are the reasons why the difference between the encomiums of his merits and reality are mountain high, and the eulogies on his excellence lack profusion and elegance. Only those at the foot of the throne who walk in the steps of Pan Ku and Chia Yi, can properly chaunt the praise of the emperor's attainments without omitting any smaller detail.
Wu Wang erected a tumulus for Pi Kan, and Confucius illustrated the three ways of amassing merit. The excellence of the great Han dynasty is not merely like that of Pi Kan or that acquired in the three ways. When on a highway a sign-post indicating the State is put up under which the road passes, all those looking at this post know their way exactly. The virtue of the Han is conspicuous, but nothing has as yet been said equivalent to such a sign-post, therefore their extensive virtue does not yet shed its lustre on the ages.
1. Quoted from the Shuking, Yao-tien 1 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 15).
2. The words following the above passage are generally regarded as forming part of the original merely edited by Confucius. But we find nearly the same words:--- in the Preface to the Shuking which is attributed to Confucius.
3. In 483 b.c. when Confucius was already 69 years of age.
4. Quotation from the Analects IX, 14.
5. Various explanations of the term shang in Shang-shu have been proposed by Chinese critics. It is said to mean the "highest" i. e., the most venerable book or the book of the "highest antiquity" (cf. Legge, loc. cit. Note). Wang Ch`ung here takes it to signify the book treating of sovereigns.
8. A noble of the Wei State, 5th cent. b.c., who took a leading part in a revolution in Wei, which cost Tse Lu his life. The tripod with the inscription was conferred upon him by the duke. The encomiastic inscription, eulogising the ancestors of the recipient, is given in the Liki, Chi-t`ung p. 66r. (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVIII, p. 252).
9. A circuit in Anhui.
10. Huang Pa was first thrown into prison by the emperor, but then re-instated and highly honoured. He died in b.c. 51. See Giles, Bibl. Dict. No. 865.
11. A minister of Shun and director of State music. Cf. p. 257.
12. 827-782 b.c.
13. The duke of Shao, Wu Wang's brother.
14. Shiking, Part I, Book II, Ode 5 (Legge, Classics Vol. IV, Part I, p. 26).
15. These 40 odes form Part IV of the Shiking. The term eulogy is given a different meaning by modern commentators viz. "songs for the ancestral temple" or "sacrificial odes." See Legge, Shiking Part II, p. 569, Notes.
16. Chap. XVIII.
17. Chap. XIX.
18. Analects VIII, 19.
19. Cf. p. 187. Legge in his Prolegomena to the Shiking p. 13 adduces the words of the peasant as the "song of the peasants in the time of Yao."
20. I think that the question of the peasant has not this purport. He only means to say that he does not care for Yao in the least. In the "song of the peasants" this idea is more clearly brought out:---.
21. Rivers in Honan and Shantung.
22. . Wang Ch`ung here and elsewhere uses in the sense of .
23. Cf. p. 198.
24. , or as they are called below:---.
25. , or as they are called below:---.
26. On posthumous titles see Vol. I, p. 162, 208.
27. means "to expand, to propagate" scl. civilisation, consequently HsüanWang is the Civilising King.
28. signifies "high, eminent, lofty."
29. The people are the pedestrians, the rulers, those riding in the State-cart, and their panegyrists are compared to the adornments of this cart.
30. In the Shi-chi.
31. 73 b.c.-1 a.d. The work alluded to was perhaps the Yang Hsiung fu shihêrh p`ien mentioned in the Catalogue of the Han-shu chap. 30, p. 32v.
32. Vol. I, chap. XXXVIII and Vol. II, chap. XVIII-XX.
33. We do not appreciate panegyrists and their bombastic and coloured descriptions, but want true historians.
34. See the reproductions and translations of Ch`in inscriptions in Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. II, p. 544 seq.
35. Books IV-VIII of the Lun-hêng (Chinese text).
37. . Both chapters are lost.
38. Chap. II.
39. 76 a.d.
40. Cf. p. 211.
41. Chap. XXX and XXXI.
42. Wang Ch`ung probably refers to some place in Chekiang province of which he was a native.
43. . This seems to have been an official charged with the annual revision of the archives.
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