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Chinese Text Project
Show translation:[None] [English]

《漁父 - The Old Fisherman》

English translation: James Legge [?]
Books referencing 《漁父》 Library Resources
1 漁父:
孔子遊乎緇帷之林,休坐乎杏壇之上。弟子讀書,孔子絃歌鼓琴,奏曲未半。有漁父者下船而來,須眉交白,被髮揄袂,行原以上,距陸而止,左手據膝,右手持頤以聽。曲終而招子貢、子路,二人俱對。客指孔子曰:「彼何為者也?」子路對曰:「魯之君子也。」客問其族。子路對曰:「族孔氏。」客曰:「孔氏者何治也?」子路未應,子貢對曰:「孔氏者,性服忠信,身行仁義,飾禮樂,選人倫,上以忠於世主,下以化於齊民,將以利天下。此孔氏之所治也。」又問曰:「有土之君與?」子貢曰:「非也。」「侯王之佐與?」子貢曰:「非也。」客乃笑而還行,言曰:「仁則仁矣,恐不免其身,苦心勞形以危其真。嗚乎,遠哉其分於道也。」
The Old Fisherman:
Confucius, rambling in the forest of Zi-wei, stopped and sat down by the Apricot altar. The disciples began to read their books, while he proceeded to play on his lute, singing as he did so. He had not half finished his ditty when an old fisherman stepped down from his boat, and came towards them. His beard and eyebrows were turning white; his hair was all uncombed; and his sleeves hunc, idly down. He walked thus up from the bank, till he got to the dry ground, when he stopped, and, with his left hand holding one of his knees, and the right hand at his chin, listened. When the ditty was finished, he beckoned to Zi-gong and Zi-lu, who both responded and went to him. Pointing to Confucius, he said, 'Who is he?' Zi-lu replied, 'He is the Superior Man of Lu.' 'And of what family is he?' 'He is of the Kong family.' 'And what is the occupation of this Mr. Kong?' To this question Zi-lu gave no reply, but Zi-gong replied, 'This scion of the Kong family devotes himself in his own nature to leal-heartedness and sincerity; in his conduct he manifests benevolence and righteousness; he cultivates the ornaments of ceremonies and music; he pays special attention to the relationships of society; above, he would promote loyalty to the hereditary lords; below, he seeks the transformation of all classes of the people; his object being to benefit the kingdom: this is what Mr. Kong devotes himself to.' The stranger further asked, 'Is he a ruler possessed of territory?' 'No,' was Zi-gong's reply. 'Is he the assistant of any prince or king?' 'No;' and on this the other began to laugh and to retrace his steps, saying as he went, 'Yes, benevolence is benevolence! But I am afraid he will not escape (the evils incident to humanity). By embittering his mind and toiling his body, he is imperilling his true (nature)! Alas! how far removed is he from the proper way (of life)!'

2 漁父:
子貢還,報孔子。孔子推琴而起曰:「其聖人與!」乃下求之,至於澤畔,方將杖拏而引其船,顧見孔子,還鄉而立。孔子反走,再拜而進。客曰:「子將何求?」孔子曰:「曩者先生有緒言而去,丘不肖,未知所謂,竊待於下風,幸聞咳唾之音,以卒相丘也!」客曰:「嘻!甚矣子之好學也!」孔子再拜而起曰:「丘少而修學,以至於今,六十九歲矣,無所得聞至教,敢不虛心!」
The Old Fisherman:
Zi-gong returned, and reported (what the man had said) to Confucius, who pushed his lute aside, and arose, saying, 'Is he not a sage?' and down the slope he went in search of him. When he reached the edge of the lake, there was the fisherman with his pole, dragging the boat towards him. Turning round and seeing Confucius, he came back towards him and stood up. Confucius then drew back, bowed to him twice, and went forward. 'What do you want with me, Sir?' asked the stranger. The reply was, 'A little while ago, my Master, you broke off the thread of your remarks and went away. Inferior to you, I do not know what you wished to say, and have ventured here to wait for your instructions, fortunate if I may but hear the sound of your words to complete the assistance that you can give me!' 'Ah!' responded the stranger, 'how great is your love of learning!' Confucius bowed twice, and then rose up, and said, 'Since I was young, I have cultivated learning till I am now sixty-nine years old; but I have not had an opportunity of hearing the perfect teaching; dare I but listen to you with a humble and unprejudiced mind?'

3 漁父:
客曰:「同類相從,同聲相應,固天之理也。吾請釋吾之所有而經子之所以。子之所以者,人事也。天子、諸侯、大夫、庶人,此四者自正,治之美也,四者離位而亂莫大焉。官治其職,人憂其事,乃無所陵。故田荒室露,衣食不足,徵賦不屬,妻妾不和,長少無序,庶人之憂也;能不勝任,官事不治,行不清白,群下荒怠,功美不有,爵祿不持,大夫之憂也;廷無忠臣,國家昏亂,工技不巧,貢職不美,春秋後倫,不順天子,諸侯之憂也;陰陽不和,寒暑不時,以傷庶物,諸侯暴亂,擅相攘伐,以殘民人,禮樂不節,財用窮匱,人倫不飭,百姓淫亂,天子有司之憂也。今子既上無君侯有司之勢,而下無大臣職事之官,而擅飭禮樂,選人倫,以化齊民,不泰多事乎?且人有八疵,事有四患,不可不察也。非其事而事之,謂之摠;莫之顧而進之,謂之佞;希意道言,謂之諂;不擇是非而言,謂之諛;好言人之惡,謂之讒;析交離親,謂之賊;稱譽詐偽以敗惡人,謂之慝;不擇善否,兩容頰適,偷拔其所欲,謂之險。此八疵者,外以亂人,內以傷身,君子不友,明君不臣。所謂四患者,好經大事,變更易常,以挂功名,謂之叨;專知擅事,侵人自用,謂之貪;見過不更,聞諫愈甚,謂之很;人同於己則可,不同於己,雖善不善,謂之矜。此四患也。能去八疵,無行四患,而始可教已。」
The Old Fisherman:
The stranger replied, 'Like seeks to like, and (birds) of the same note respond to one another - this is a rule of Heaven. Allow me to explain what I am in possession of, and to pass over (from its standpoint) to the things which occupy you. What you occupy yourself with are the affairs of men. When the sovereign, the feudal lords, the great officers, and the common people, these four classes, do what is correct (in their several positions), we have the beauty of good order; and when they leave their proper duties, there ensues the greatest disorder. When the officials attend to their duties, and the common people are anxiously concerned about their business, there is no encroachment on one another's rights. Fields running to waste; leaking rooms; insufficiency of food and clothing; taxes unprovided for; want of harmony among wives and concubines; and want of order between old and young - these are the troubles of the common people. Incompetency for their charges; inattention to their official business; want of probity in conduct; carelessness and idleness in subordinates; failure of merit and excellence; and uncertainty of rank and emolument: these are the troubles of great officers. No loyal ministers at their courts; the clans in their states rebellious; want of skill in their mechanics; articles of tribute of bad quality; late appearances at court in spring and autumn; and the dissatisfaction of the sovereign: these are the troubles of the feudal lords. Want of harmony between the Yin and Yang; unseasonableness of cold and heat, affecting all things injuriously; oppression and disorder among the feudal princes, their presuming to plunder and attack one another, to the injury of the people; ceremonies and music ill-regulated; the resources for expenditure exhausted or deficient; the social relationships uncared for; and the people abandoned to licentious disorder: these are the troubles of the Son of Heaven and his ministers. Now, Sir, you have not the high rank of a ruler, a feudal lord, or a minister of the royal court, nor are you in the inferior position of a great minister, with his departments of business, and yet you take it on you to regulate ceremonies and music, and to give special attention to the relationships of society, with a view to transform the various classes of the people: is it not an excessive multiplication of your business? And moreover men are liable to eight defects, and (the conduct of) affairs to four evils; of which we must by all means take account. To take the management of affairs which do not concern him is called monopolising. To bring forward a subject which no one regards is called loquacity. To lead men on by speeches made to please them is called sycophancy. To praise men without regard to right or wrong is called flattery. To be fond of speaking of men's wickedness is called calumny. To part friends and separate relatives is called mischievousness. To praise a man deceitfully, or in the same way fix on him the character of being bad, is called depravity. Without reference to their being good or bad, to agree with men with double face, in order to steal a knowledge of what they wish, is called being dangerous. Those eight defects produce disorder among other men and injury to one's self. A superior man will not make a friend of one who has them, nor will an intelligent ruler make him his minister. To speak of what I called the four evils: To be fond of conducting great affairs, changing and altering what is of long-standing, to obtain for one's self the reputation of meritorious service, is called ambition; to claim all wisdom and intrude into affairs, encroaching on the work of others, and representing it as one's own, is called greediness; to see his errors without changing them, and to go on more resolutely in his own way when remonstrated with, is called obstinacy; when another agrees with himself, to approve of him, and, however good he may be, when he disagrees, to disapprove of him, is called boastful conceit. These are the four evils. When one can put away the eight defects, and allow no course to the four evils, he begins to be capable of being taught.'

4 漁父:
孔子愀然而歎,再拜而起曰:「丘再逐於魯,削跡於衛,伐樹於宋,圍於陳、蔡。丘不知所失,而離此四謗者何也?」客悽然變容曰:「甚矣子之難悟也!人有畏影惡跡而去之走者,舉足愈數而跡愈多,走愈疾而影不離身,自以為尚遲,疾走不休,絕力而死。不知處陰以休影,處靜以息跡,愚亦甚矣!子審仁義之間,察同異之際,觀動靜之變,適受與之度,理好惡之情,和喜怒之節,而幾於不免矣。謹修而身,慎守其真,還以物與人,則無所累矣。今不修之身而求之人,不亦外乎!」
The Old Fisherman:
Confucius looked sorrowful and sighed. (Again) he bowed twice, and then rose up and said, 'I was twice driven from Lu. I had to flee from Wei; the tree under which I rested was cut down in Song; I was kept in a state of siege between Chen and Cai. I do not know what errors I had committed that I came to be misrepresented on these four occasions (and suffered as I did).' The stranger looked grieved (at these words), changed countenance, and said, 'Very difficult it is, Sir, to make you understand. There was a man who was frightened at his shadow and disliked to see his footsteps, so that he ran to escape from them. But the more frequently he lifted his feet, the more numerous his footprints were; and however fast he ran, his shadow did not leave him. He thought he was going too slow, and ran on with all his speed without stopping, till his strength was exhausted and he died. He did not know that, if he had stayed in a shady place, his shadow would have disappeared, and that if he had remained still, he would have lost his footprints: his stupidity was excessive! And you, Sir, exercise your judgment on the questions about benevolence and righteousness; you investigate the points where agreement and difference touch; you look at the changes from movement to rest and from rest to movement; you have mastered the rules of receiving and giving; you have defined the feelings of liking and disliking; you have harmonised the limits of joy and anger: and yet you have hardly been able to escape (the troubles of which you speak). If you earnestly cultivated your own person, and carefully guarded your (proper) truth, simply rendering to others what was due to them, then you would have escaped such entanglements. But now, when you do not cultivate your own person, and make the cultivation of others your object, are you not occupying yourself with what is external?'

5 漁父:
孔子愀然曰:「請問何謂真?」客曰:「真者,精誠之至也。不精不誠,不能動人。故強哭者雖悲不哀,強怒者雖嚴不威,強親者雖笑不和。真悲無聲而哀,真怒未發而威,真親未笑而和。真在內者,神動於外,是所以貴真也。其用於人理也,事親則慈孝,事君則忠貞,飲酒則歡樂,處喪則悲哀。忠貞以功為主,飲酒以樂為主,處喪以哀為主,事親以適為主,功成之美,無一其跡矣。事親以適,不論所以矣;飲酒以樂,不選其具矣;處喪以哀,無問其禮矣。禮者,世俗之所為也;真者,所以受於天也,自然不可易也。故聖人法天貴真,不拘於俗。愚者反此,不能法天而恤於人,不知貴真,祿祿而受變於俗,故不足。惜哉!子之早湛於人偽,而晚聞大道也!」
The Old Fisherman:
Confucius with an air of sadness said, 'Allow me to ask what it is that you call my proper Truth.' The stranger replied, 'A man's proper Truth is pure sincerity in its highest degree - without this pure sincerity one cannot move others. Hence if one (only) forces himself to wail, however sadly he may do so, it is not (real) sorrow; if he forces himself to be angry, however he may seem to be severe, he excites no awe; if he forces himself to show affection, however he may smile, he awakens no harmonious reciprocation. True grief, without a sound, is yet sorrowful; true anger, without any demonstration, yet awakens awe; true affection, without a smile, yet produces a harmonious reciprocation. Given this truth within, it exercises a spiritual efficacy without, and this is why we count it so valuable. In our relations with others, it appears according to the requirements of each case: in the service of parents, as gentle, filial duty; in the service of rulers, as loyalty and integrity; in festive drinking, as pleasant enjoyment; in the performance of the mourning rites, as sadness and sorrow. In loyalty and integrity, good service is the principal thing; in festive drinking, the enjoyment; in the mourning rites, the sorrow; in the service of parents, the giving them pleasure. The beauty of the service rendered (to a ruler) does not require that it always be performed in one way; the service of parents so as to give them pleasure takes no account of how it is done; the festive drinking which ministers enjoyment does not depend on the appliances for it; the observance of the mourning rites with the proper sorrow asks no questions about the rites themselves. Rites are prescribed for the practice of the common people; man's proper Truth is what he has received from Heaven, operating spontaneously, and unchangeable. Therefore the sages take their law from Heaven, and prize their (proper) Truth, without submitting to the restrictions of custom. The stupid do the reverse of this. They are unable to take their law from Heaven, and are influenced by other men; they do not know how to prize the proper Truth (of their nature), but are under the dominion of ordinary things, and change according to the customs (around them): always, consequently, incomplete. Alas for you, Sir, that you were early steeped in the hypocrisies of men, and have been so late in hearing about the Great Way!'

6 漁父:
孔子又再拜而起曰:「今者丘得遇也,若天幸然。先生不羞而比之服役,而身教之。敢問舍所在,請因受業而卒學大道。」客曰:「吾聞之:可與往者與之,至於妙道;不可與往者,不知其道,慎勿與之,身乃無咎。子勉之!吾去子矣,吾去子矣。」乃刺船而去,延緣葦間。
The Old Fisherman:
(Once more), Confucius bowed twice (to the fisherman), then rose again, and said, 'That I have met you to-day is as if I had the happiness of getting to heaven. If you, Master, are not ashamed, but will let me be as your servant, and continue to teach me, let me venture to ask where your dwelling is. I will then beg to receive your instructions there, and finish my learning of the Great Way.' The stranger replied, 'I have heard the saying, "If it be one with whom you can walk together, go with him to the subtlest mysteries of the Dao. If it be one with whom you cannot walk together and he do not know the Dao, take care that you do not associate with him, and you will yourself incur no responsibility." Do your utmost, Sir. I must leave you, I must leave you!' With this he shoved off his boat, and went away among the green reeds.

7 漁父:
顏淵還車,子路授綏,孔子不顧,待水波定,不聞拏音,而後敢乘。子路旁車而問曰:「由得為役久矣,未嘗見夫子遇人如此其威也。萬乘之主,千乘之君,見夫子未嘗不分庭伉禮,夫子猶有倨敖之容。今漁者杖拏逆立,而夫子曲要磬折,言拜而應,得無太甚乎?門人皆怪夫子矣,漁人何以得此乎?」孔子伏軾而歎曰:「甚矣由之難化也!湛於禮義有間矣,而樸鄙之心至今未去。進!吾語汝。夫遇長不敬,失禮也;見賢不尊,不仁也。彼非至人,不能下人,下人不精,不得其真,故長傷身。惜哉!不仁之於人也,禍莫大焉,而由獨擅之。且道者,萬物之所出也,庶物失之者死,得之者生;為事逆之則敗,順之則成。故道之所在,聖人尊之。今漁父之道,可謂有矣,吾敢不敬乎!」
The Old Fisherman:
Yan Yuan (now) returned to the carriage, where Zi-lu handed to him the strap; but Confucius did not look round, (continuing where he was), till the wavelets were stilled, and he did not hear the sound of the pole, when at last he ventured to (return and) take his seat. Zi-lu, by his side in the carriage, asked him, saying, 'I have been your servant for a long time, but I have never seen you, Master, treat another with the awe and reverence which you have now shown. I have seen you in the presence of a Lord of ten thousand chariots or a Ruler of a thousand, and they have never received you in a different audience-room, or treated you but with the courtesies due to an equal, while you have still carried yourself with a reserved and haughty air; but to-day this old fisherman has stood erect in front of you with his pole in his hand, while you, bent from your loins in the form of a sounding-stone, would bow twice before you answered him - was not your reverence of him excessive? Your disciples will all think it strange in you, Master. Why did the old fisherman receive such homage from you?' Confucius leant forward on the cross-bar of the carriage, heaved a sigh, and said, 'Difficult indeed is it to change you, 0 You! You have been trained in propriety and righteousness for long, and yet your servile and mean heart has not been taken front you. Come nearer, that I may speak fully to you. If you meet one older than yourself, and do not show him respect, you fail in propriety. If you see a man of superior wisdom and goodness, and do not honour him, you want the great characteristic of humanity. If that (fisherman) did not possess it in the highest degree, how could he make others submit to him? And if their submission to him be not sincere, they do not attain to the truth (of their nature), and inflict a lasting injury on their persons. Alas! there is no greater calamity to man than the want of this characteristic; and you, 0 You, you alone, would take such want on yourself. Moreover, the Dao is the course by which all things should proceed. For things to fail in this is death; to observe it, is life. To oppose it in practice is ruin; to conform it, is success. Therefore wherever the sagely man finds the Dao, he honours it. And that old fisherman to-day might be said to possess it - dared I presume not to show him reverence?'

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