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Mencius. Book IV: Lî Lâu. Part II. Chapter XVIII.

Legge's summary: How Mencius explained Confucius's praise of water.

1. The disciple Hsü said, 'Chung-nî often praised water, saying, "0 water! 0 water!" What did he find in water to praise?'

2. Mencius replied, 'There is a spring of water; how it gushes out! It rests not day nor night. It fills up every hole, and then advances, flowing onto the four seas. Such is water having a spring! It was this which he found in it to praise.

3. 'But suppose that the water has no spring.-- In the seventh and eighth when the rain falls abundantly, the channels in the fields are all filled, but their being dried up again may be expected in a short time. So a superior man is ashamed of a reputation beyond his merits.'


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Translated by James Legge, published in 1861 and revised for publication in 1895. Prepared as etext by Stephen R. McIntyre. Noded by schist. Please msg schist if you have suggestions for useful hard-links.

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