Among his own country folk Confucius wore a homely look, like one
Source: The Sayings Of Confucius
1. Among his own country folk Confucius wore a homely look, like one
that has no word to say.
In the ancestral temple and at court his speech was full, but
2. At court he talked frankly to men of low rank, winningly to men of
high rank. When the king was there, he looked intent and solemn.
3. When the king bade him receive guests, his face seemed to change
and his legs to bend. He bowed left and right to those beside him,
straightened his robes in front and behind, and swept forward, with
arms spread like wings. When the guest had left, he brought back word,
saying, The guest is no longer looking.
4. As he went in at the palace gate he stooped, as though it were too
low for him. He did not stand in the middle of the gate, or step on
When he passed the throne, his face seemed to change and his legs to
bend: he spake with bated breath. As he went up the hall to audience,
he lifted his robes, bowed his back, and masked his breathing till it
seemed to stop. As he came down, he relaxed his face below the first
step and looked pleased. From the foot of the steps he swept forward
with arms spread like wings; and when he was back in his seat, he
looked intent as before.
5. When he carried the sceptre, his back bent, as under too heavy a
burden; he lifted it no higher than in bowing and no lower than in
making a gift. His face changed, as it will with fear, and he dragged
his feet, as though they were fettered.
When he offered his present his manner was formal; but at the private
audience he was cheerful.
6. The gentleman was never decked in violet or mauve; even at home he
would not wear red or purple.
In hot weather he wore an unlined linen gown, but always over other
With lamb-skin he wore black, with fawn, white, and with fox-skin,
yellow. At home he wore a long fur gown, with the right sleeve short.
His nightgown was always half as long again as his body.
In the house he wore thick fur, of fox or badger.
When he was not in mourning there was nothing missing from his girdle.
Except for sacrificial dress, he was sparing of stuff.
He did not wear lamb's fur, or a black cap, on a mourning visit.
At the new moon he always put on court dress and went to court.
7. On his days of abstinence he always wore linen clothes of a pale
colour; and he changed his food and moved from his wonted seat.
8. He did not dislike well-cleaned rice or hash chopped small. He did
not eat sour or mouldy rice, bad fish, or tainted flesh. He did not
eat anything that had a bad colour or that smelt bad, or food that
was badly cooked or out of season. Food that was badly cut or served
with the wrong sauce he did not eat. However much flesh there might
be, it could not conquer his taste for rice. To wine alone he set no
limit, but he did not drink enough to muddle him. He did not drink
bought wine, or eat ready-dried market meat. He never went without
ginger at a meal. He did not eat much.
After a sacrifice at the palace he did not keep the flesh over-night.
He never kept sacrificial flesh more than three days. If it had been
kept longer it was not eaten.
He did not talk at meals, nor speak when he was in bed.
Even at a meal of coarse rice, or herb broth, or gourds, he made his
offering with all reverence.
9. If his mat was not straight, he would not sit down.
10. When the villagers were drinking wine, as those that walked with a
staff left, he left too.
At the village exorcisms he put on court dress and stood on the east
11. When sending a man with enquiries to another land, he bowed twice
to him and saw him out.
When K'ang gave him some drugs, he bowed, accepted them, and said, I
have never taken them; I dare not taste them.
12. On coming back from court after his stables had been burnt, the
Master said, Is anyone hurt? He did not ask about the horses.
13. When the king sent him cooked meat, he put his mat straight, and
tasted it first; when he sent him raw flesh, he had it cooked, and
offered it to the spirits; when he sent him a live beast, he kept it
When he ate in attendance on the king, the king made the offering, he
tasted things first.
When he was sick and the king came to see him, he lay with his head to
the east, with his court dress over him and his girdle across it.
When he was called by the king's bidding, he walked, without waiting
for his carriage.
14. On going into the Great Temple he asked about everything.
15. When a friend died, who had no home to go to, he said, It is for
me to bury him.
When friends sent him anything, even a carriage and horses, he never
bowed, unless the gift was sacrificial flesh.
16. He did not sleep like a corpse. At home he unbent.
Even if he knew him well, his face changed when he saw a mourner. Even
when he was in undress, if he saw anyone in full dress, or a blind
man, he looked grave.
To men in deep mourning and to the census-bearers he bowed over the
Before choice meats he rose with changed look. At sharp thunder, or a
fierce wind, his look changed.
17. When mounting his carriage he stood straight and grasped the cord.
When he was in it, he did not look round, or speak fast, or point.
18. Seeing a man's face, she rose, flew round and settled. The Master
said, Hen pheasant on the ridge, it is the season, it is the season.
Tzu-lu went towards her: she sniffed thrice and rose.
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