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1. 定公問:「一言而可以興邦,有諸?」孔子對曰:「言不可以若是其幾也。

2. 人之言曰:『為君難,為臣不易。』

3. 如知為君之難也,不幾乎一言而興邦乎!」

4. 曰:「一言而喪邦,有諸?」孔子對曰:「言不可以若是其幾也,人之言曰:『予無樂乎為君。唯其言而莫予違也。』

5. 如其善而莫之違也,不亦善乎!如不善而莫之違也,不幾乎一言而喪邦乎!」


1. The duke Ting asked whether there was a single sentence which could make a country prosperous. Confucius replied, 'Such an effect cannot be expected from one sentence.

2. 'There is a saying, however, which people have --"To be a prince is difficult; to be a minister is not easy."

3. 'If a ruler knows this,--the difficulty of being a prince,--may there not be expected from this one sentence the prosperity of his country?'

4. The duke then said, 'Is there a single sentence which can ruin a country?' Confucius replied, 'Such an effect as that cannot be expected from one sentence. There is, however, the saying which people have--"I have no pleasure in being a prince, but only in that no one can offer any opposition to what I say!"

5. 'If a ruler's words be good, is it not also good that no one oppose them? But if they are not good, and no one opposes them, may there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin of his country?'

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