Four Analects, Five Translations

by Mark Chmiel

1.1

The Master said, “To learn, and at due times to practice what one has learned, is that not also a pleasure? To have friends come from afar, is that not also a joy? To go unrecognized, yet without being embittered, is that not also to be a noble person?”
—Irene Bloom

The Master said, To learn and rehearse it constantly, is this indeed not a pleasure? To have friends come from afar, is this indeed not a delight? Others do not know him, yet he feels no resentment, is he indeed not a superior man?
—Daniel K. Gardner

The Master said: “To learn, and then, in its due season, put what you have learned into practice—isn’t that still great pleasure? And to have a friend visit from somewhere far away—isn’t that still a great joy? When you’re ignored by the world like this, and yet bear no resentment—isn’t that great nobility?
—David Hinton

He said: Study with the seasons winging past, is not this pleasant?
To have friends coming in from far quarters, not a delight?
Unruffled by men’s ignoring him, also indicative of high breed.
—Ezra Pound

The Master said, To learn and at due times to repeat what one has learnt, is that not after all a pleasure? That friend should come to one from afar, is this not after all delightful? To remain unsoured even though one’s merits are unrecognized by others, is that not after all what is expected of a gentleman?
—Arthur Waley


2.4

The Master said, “At fifteen, my heart was set upon learning; at thirty, I had become established; at forty, I was no longer perplexed; at fifty, I knew what is ordained by Heaven; at sixty, I obeyed; at seventy, I could follow my heart’s desires without transgressing the line.”
— Irene Bloom

The Master said, At fifteen, I set my mind-and-heart on learning. At thirty, I stood on my own. At forty, I had no doubts. At fifty, I knew heaven’s decree. At sixty, my ears were in accord. At seventy, I followed the desires of my mind-and-heart.
—Daniel K. Gardner

The Master said: “At fifteen I devoted myself to learning, and at thirty stood firm. At forty I had no doubts, and at fifty understood the Mandate of Heaven. At sixty I listened in effortless accord. And at seventy I followed the mind’s passing fancies without overstepping any bounds.”
—David Hinton

He said: At fifteen I wanted to learn.
At thirty I had a foundation.
At forty, a certitude.
At fifty, knew the orders of heaven.
At sixty was ready to listen to them.
At seventy could follow my own heart’s desire without overstepping the t-square.
—Ezra Pound

The Master said, At fifteen I set my heart upon learning. At thirty, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground. At forty, I no longer suffered from perplexities. At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of Heaven. At sixty, I heard them with a docile ear. At seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.
—Arthur Waley

7.21

The Master said, “Walking along with three people, my teacher is sure to be among them. I choose what is good in them and follow it and what is not good and change it.”
— Irene Bloom

The Master said, Walking in a group of three, I am sure to have teachers. I pick out the good points and follow them and the bad points and change them in myself.
—Daniel K. Gardner
The Master said: “Out walking with two companions, I’m sure to be in my teacher’s company. The good in one I can adopt in myself; the evil in the other I change in myself.”
—David Hinton
He said: three of us walking along, perforce one to teach me, if he gets it right, I follow, if he errs, I do different.
—Ezra Pound

The Master said, Even when walking in a party of no more than three, I can always be certain of learning from those I am with. There will be good qualities that I can select for imitation and bad ones that will teach me what requires correction in myself.
—Arthur Waley

15.23

Zigong asked, “Is there one word that one can act upon throughout the course of one’s life?” The Master said, “Reciprocity (shu)—what you would not want for yourself, do not do to others.”
— Irene Bloom

Zigong asked, Is there one world that can be practiced for the whole of one’s life? The Master said, That would be “empathy” perhaps: what you do not wish yourself do not do unto others.
—Daniel K. Gardner

Tzu-Kung asked saying, Is there any single saying that one can act upon all day and every day? The Master said, Perhaps the sating about consideration: ‘Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.’
—David Hinton

Tze-kung asked if there were a single verb that you could practice thru life to the end. He said: Sympathy, what you don’t want (done to) yourself, don’t inflict on another.
—Ezra Pound

Tzu-Kung asked saying, Is there any single saying that one can act upon all day and every day? The Master said, Perhaps the saying about consideration: ‘Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.’
—Arthur Waley

 

Irene Bloom, Sources of Chinese Tradition, v.1 [Columbia]
Daniel K. Gardner, The Four Books [Hackett]
David Hinton, The Analects [Counterpoint]
Ezra Pound, Confucius:The Unwobbling Pivot, The Great Digest, The Analects [New Directions]
Arthur Waley, The Analects [Everyman’s Library]

 

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