The Ch'un Ts'ew/Prolegomena/I/Appendix I

The Ch'un Ts'ew  (1872)  by Confucius, translated by James Legge
Prolegomena, Chapter I, Appendix I




The first year of duke Yin, par. 1.

It was the [duke's] first year, the spring, the king's first month.

The Chuen of Kung-yang says:—

‘What is meant by ? The first year of the ruler.

What is meant by (spring)? The first season of the year.

What is meant by (the king)? It means king Wăn.

Why does [the text] first give “king,” and then “first month ?” [To show that] it was the king's first month.

Why does it [so] mention the king's first month ?

To magnify the union of the kingdom [under the dynasty of Chow].

Why is it not said that the duke came to the [vacant] seat? To give full expression to the duke‘s mind.

In what way does it give full expression to the duke’s mind? The duke intended to bring the State to order, and then restore it to Hwan.

What is meant by restoring it to Hwan?

Hwan was younger, but nobler [than the duke by birth]; Yin was grown up, but lower [than Hwan by birth]. The difference between them in these respects, however, was small, and the people of the State did not know [their father's intention about the succession]. Yin being grown up and a man of worth, the great officers insisted on his being made marquis. If he had refused to be made so, he did not know for certain that Hwan would be raised to the dignity; and supposing that he were raised to it, he was afraid that the great officers might not give their assistance to so young a ruler. Therefore the whole transaction of Yin’s elevation was with a view [in his mind] to the elevation of Hwan.

But since Yin was grown up and a man of worth, why was it not proper that he should be made marquis?

Among the sons of the wife proper, the succession devolved on the eldest, and not on the worthiest and ablest. Among a ruler's sons by other ladies of his harem, the succession devolved on the noblest, and not on the eldest.

In what respect was Hwan nobler [in rank] than Yin?

His mother was of higher position [than Yin's mother].

Though the mother was nobler, why should the son be [also] nobler?

A son was held to share in the nobility of his mother; and a mother shared in the [subsequent] nobility of her son.’


[ Chinese text ]

The Chuen of Kuh-lëang says:—‘Although there was nothing to be recorded [under the first month], it was necessary to specify it;—its being the commencement [of the rule] required this attention to be paid to it.

Why is it not said that the duke came to the [vacant] seat? To give full expression to the duke’s mind.

In what way does this give full expression to the duke’s mind? It tells that Yin did not himself care to be duke.

What is meant by saying that he did not himself care to be duke? That he intended to resign the marquisate to Hwan.

Was it correct in him [to wish] to resign it to Hwan?

It was not correct.

The Ch‘un Ts‘ëw gives full expression to men’s excellent qualities, but does not do so to their evil;—why should it give such expression to [the intention of] Yin which was not correct?

With a view to show detestation of Hwan.

How does that detestation of Hwan appear?

Yin intended to resign in his favour, and yet Hwan murdered him;—showing Hwan‘s wickedness. Hwan murdered him, and yet Yin would have resigned in his favour;—showing Yin’s goodness.

If Yin was thus good, why do you say that he was not correct?

In the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw, what is righteous is held to be noble, and not what is [merely] kind. It would lead forward in the [straight] path, and not in the crocked. A filial son tries to display the excellent qualities of his father, and not the evil ones. The father was not correct, but perverse, in seeking to give the State to Hwan. Notwithstanding, he overcame this perversity of mind, and the State was given [at last] to Yin; but Yin had fathomed the purpose of their father, and thereon would have given the State to Hwan;—carrying out their father’s wickedness. That there should be elder brother and younger brother is in the order of Heaven. A man receive his sonship from his father; and a feudal prince receives his rank from the king. To disannul the order of Heaven, and forget his ruler and father in order to do a small kindness, is what is called walking in a small path. Looking at Yin, we may say that he could make light of a State of a thousand chariots, but could not tread the way that is right.’



The eleventh year of duke Hwan, par. 4.

The people of Sung seized Chae Chung of Ch‘ing.


[ Chinese text ]

The Chuen of Kung-yang says:—

‘Who was Chae Chung?

The chief minister of Ch‘ing.

Why is he not mentioned by his name?

Because of his worth.

What worthiness was there in Chae Chung?


The Chuen of Kuh-lëang says:—

[people] here means the duke of Sung.

Why is he designated (the people, or one of the people)?

To condemn him.’