The Library

The Analects of Confucius


Confucius, in his village, looked simple and sincere, and as if he
were not able to speak.
When he was in the prince's ancestral temple, or in the court, he
spoke minutely on every point, but cautiously.
When he was waiting at court, in speaking with the great officers of
the lower grade, he spoke freely, but in a straightforward manner;
in speaking with those of the higher grade, he did so blandly, but
When the ruler was present, his manner displayed respectful
uneasiness; it was grave, but self-possessed.
When the prince called him to employ him in the reception of a
visitor, his countenance appeared to change, and his legs to move
forward with difficulty.
He inclined himself to the other officers among whom he stood,
moving his left or right arm, as their position required, but
keeping the skirts of his robe before and behind evenly adjusted.
He hastened forward, with his arms like the wings of a bird.
When the guest had retired, he would report to the prince, "The
visitor is not turning round any more."
When he entered the palace gate, he seemed to bend his body, as if
it were not sufficient to admit him.
When he was standing, he did not occupy the middle of the gateway;
when he passed in or out, he did not tread upon the threshold.
When he was passing the vacant place of the prince, his
countenance appeared to change, and his legs to bend under him, and
his words came as if he hardly had breath to utter them.
He ascended the reception hall, holding up his robe with both his
hands, and his body bent; holding in his breath also, as if he dared
not breathe.
When he came out from the audience, as soon as he had descended
one step, he began to relax his countenance, and had a satisfied look.
When he had got the bottom of the steps, he advanced rapidly to his
place, with his arms like wings, and on occupying it, his manner still
showed respectful uneasiness.
When he was carrying the scepter of his ruler, he seemed to bend his
body, as if he were not able to bear its weight. He did not hold it
higher than the position of the hands in making a bow, nor lower
than their position in giving anything to another. His countenance
seemed to change, and look apprehensive, and he dragged his feet along
as if they were held by something to the ground.
In presenting the presents with which he was charged, he wore a
placid appearance.
At his private audience, he looked highly pleased.
The superior man did not use a deep purple, or a puce color, in
the ornaments of his dress.
Even in his undress, he did not wear anything of a red or reddish
In warm weather, he had a single garment either of coarse or fine
texture, but he wore it displayed over an inner garment.
Over lamb's fur he wore a garment of black; over fawn's fur one of
white; and over fox's fur one of yellow.
The fur robe of his undress was long, with the right sleeve short.
He required his sleeping dress to be half as long again as his body.
When staying at home, he used thick furs of the fox or the badger.
When he put off mourning, he wore all the appendages of the girdle.
His undergarment, except when it was required to be of the curtain
shape, was made of silk cut narrow above and wide below.
He did not wear lamb's fur or a black cap on a visit of condolence.
On the first day of the month he put on his court robes, and
presented himself at court.
When fasting, he thought it necessary to have his clothes brightly
clean and made of linen cloth.
When fasting, he thought it necessary to change his food, and also
to change the place where he commonly sat in the apartment.
He did not dislike to have his rice finely cleaned, nor to have
his mince meat cut quite small.
He did not eat rice which had been injured by heat or damp and
turned sour, nor fish or flesh which was gone. He did not eat what was
discolored, or what was of a bad flavor, nor anything which was
ill-cooked, or was not in season.
He did not eat meat which was not cut properly, nor what was
served without its proper sauce.
Though there might be a large quantity of meat, he would not allow
what he took to exceed the due proportion for the rice. It was only in
wine that he laid down no limit for himself, but he did not allow
himself to be confused by it.
He did not partake of wine and dried meat bought in the market.
He was never without ginger when he ate. He did not eat much.
When he had been assisting at the prince's sacrifice, he did not
keep the flesh which he received overnight. The flesh of his family
sacrifice he did not keep over three days. If kept over three days,
people could not eat it.
When eating, he did not converse. When in bed, he did not speak.
Although his food might be coarse rice and vegetable soup, he
would offer a little of it in sacrifice with a grave, respectful air.
If his mat was not straight, he did not sit on it.
When the villagers were drinking together, upon those who carried
staffs going out, he also went out immediately after.
When the villagers were going through their ceremonies to drive away
pestilential influences, he put on his court robes and stood on the
eastern steps.
When he was sending complimentary inquiries to any one in another
state, he bowed twice as he escorted the messenger away.
Chi K'ang having sent him a present of physic, he bowed and received
it, saying, "I do not know it. I dare not taste it."
The stable being burned down, when he was at court, on his return he
said, "Has any man been hurt?" He did not ask about the horses.
When the he would adjust his mat, first taste it, and then give it
away to others. When the prince sent him a gift of undressed meat,
he would have it cooked, and offer it to the spirits of his ancestors.
When the prince sent him a gift of a living animal, he would keep it
When he was in attendance on the prince and joining in the
entertainment, the prince only sacrificed. He first tasted everything.
When he was ill and the prince came to visit him, he had his head to
the east, made his court robes be spread over him, and drew his girdle
across them.
When the prince's order called him, without waiting for his carriage
to be yoked, he went at once.
When he entered the ancestral temple of the state, he asked about
When any of his friends died, if he had no relations offices, he
would say, "I will bury him."
When a friend sent him a present, though it might be a carriage
and horses, he did not bow.
The only present for which he bowed was that of the flesh of
In bed, he did not lie like a corpse. At home, he did not put on any
formal deportment.
When he saw any one in a mourning dress, though it might be an
acquaintance, he would change countenance; when he saw any one wearing
the cap of full dress, or a blind person, though he might be in his
undress, he would salute him in a ceremonious manner.
To any person in mourning he bowed forward to the crossbar of his
carriage; he bowed in the same way to any one bearing the tables of
When he was at an entertainment where there was an abundance of
provisions set before him, he would change countenance and rise up.
On a sudden clap of thunder, or a violent wind, he would change
When he was about to mount his carriage, he would stand straight,
holding the cord.
When he was in the carriage, he did not turn his head quite round,
he did not talk hastily, he did not point with his hands.
Seeing the countenance, it instantly rises. It flies round, and by
and by settles.
The Master said, "There is the hen-pheasant on the hill bridge. At
its season! At its season!" Tsze-lu made a motion to it. Thrice it
smelt him and then rose.