Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/17

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Confucius (p. 275)! And even into the mouth of the Yellow Emperor (pp. 277-278), whose date is some twenty centuries earlier than that of Lao Tzŭ himself!!

Two centuries before the Christian era, an attempt was made to destroy, with some exceptions, the whole of Chinese literature, in order that history might begin anew from the reign of the First Emperor of united China. The extent of the actual mischief done by this "Burning of the Books" has been greatly exaggerated. Still, the mere attempt at such a holocaust gave a fine chance to the scholars of the later Han dynasty (A.D. 25-221), who seem to have enjoyed nothing so much as forging, if not the whole, at any rate portions, of the works of ancient authors. Some one even produced a treatise under the name of Lieh Tzŭ, a philosopher mentioned by Chuang Tzŭ, not seeing that the individual in question was a creation of Chuang Tzŭ's brain!

And the Tao-Tê-Ching was undoubtedly pieced together somewhere about this period, from recorded sayings and conversations of Lao Tzŭ.[1]

Chuang Tzŭ's work has suffered in like manner. Several chapters are clearly spurious, and many episodes have been interpolated by feeble imitators of an inimitable style.

The text, as it now stands, consists of thirty-three chapters. These are a reduction from fifty-three, which

  1. A curious parallelism will be found in Supernatural Religion, vol. i, p. 460:—

    "No period in the history of the world ever produced so many spurious works as the first two or three centuries of our era. The name of every Apostle, or Christian teacher, not excepting that of the great Master, was freely attached to every description of religious forgery."