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Mencius. Book I: King HÛi of Liang. Part I. Chapter IV.

Legge's summary: A continuation of the former chapter, carrying on the appeal, in the last paragraph, on the character of king Hû's own government.

1. King Hûi of Liang said, 'I wish quietly to receive your instructions.'

2. Mencius replied, 'Is there any difference between killing a man with a stick and with a sword ?' The king said, 'There is no difference!

3. 'Is there any difference between doing it with a sword and with the style of government? 'There is no difference,' was the reply.

4. Mencius then said, 'In your kitchen there is fat meat; in your stables there are fat horses. But your people have the look of hunger, and on the wilds there are those who have died of famine. This is leading on beasts to devour men.

5. 'Beasts devour one another, and men hate them for doing so. When a prince, being the parent of his people, administers his government so as to be chargeable with leading on beasts to devour men, where is his parental relation to the people?'

6. Chung-nî said, 'Was he not without posterity who first made wooden images to bury with the dead? So he said, because that man made the semblances of men, and used them for that purpose:-- what shall be thought of him who causes his people to die of hunger?'


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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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