Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

eral good of society. The third were ca-s ancient law to save the dignity even of the lumnious falsehoods, clothed in the garb of criminal; hence it does not speak in distruth, in concerns of importance affecting tinct terms of crimes committed by a tae. the mass of mankind. The fourth unpar- foo, but employs a sort of allegory. Thus, donable offence was vengeance cruelly in. Aagrant debauchery, on the part of such a flicted, the result of hatred long cloaked minister, or any act unworthy of his station, under the semblance of friendship. The is veiled under this decent figure: the vases last was the uttering contradictory state and utensils used in sacrifices are in a filthy ments, in the same matter, according to and improper condition; or, the cloths in the dictates of self-interest. “Each of the place of sacrifice are torn and stained. these crimes,” said he, “merits exemplary Even where the faults are more directly punishment, and Shaou has been guilty of adverted 10, the terms are moderated. them all.”

Thus, insubordination and cabals against Confucius carried the punishment of this the government, in a minister, are mi dly great criminal into effect with all its ter characterized as not fulfilling with exactirors; he was present at the execution, and tude the duties of a public functionary; the directed that the corpse should be publicly infringement of any known law or custom, exposed for three days. This wholesome is said to be conducting himself in an exexample was attended with salutary results, traordinary manner. Great officers were and it proves that the habitual tenderness nevertheless punished according to the of the philosopher was not the fruit of magnitude of their offences; they proweakness or timidity. The right-minded nounced their own sentence, when their part of the court applauded his firmness crimes were established, and became their and justice, and the people saw that they own executioners. A tae-fao, convinced of could confidently look to him as their fear. his culpability, cited himself before judges less protector against oppression. A harm- named by the sovereign, was his own acless satire, ridiculing the dress of Confu-cuser, sentenced himself, and applied for cius, was all the opposition he experienced permission to die. The judges, after exhortfrom the minister's partisans, and even ing him to humility and repentance, prothe writer of the satire, in the end, be- ceeded to take the commands of the king. came one of the warmest encomiasts of On their return, the culprit, dressed in his measures.

mourning, his head covered with a white His disciples, however, thought they cap, appeared at the door of the tribunal, saw, in the act and in the mode of execut- bearing the sword of execution in his hands. ing it, a formal violation of ancient rules. Falling on his knees, with his face turned The early monarchs, they argued, enacted towards the north, he awaited the result that those who held the rank of tae.foo of his application. “Our master,” one of were not subject 10 the same penal law as the judges would say, “has graciously other criminals. The ancient regulations consented to your request: do what you purported that these high function ries think proper!" The criminal then slew should not undergo capital punishment at himself with the sword. In time, howthe hand of the public executioner; that ever, these ministers committed offences “it is sufficient that their crimes be made too openly to admit of these discreet disapparent to them, that they be made sensi- guises being observed. The people were ble of their degradation, and their punish not only the victims but the witnesses of ment may be left to themselves.” In re their guilt. The simplicity of ancient reply, Confucius gave the following expo- gulations gave way to the demands of pubsition of the ancient law, so characteristic lic justice and the very spirit of the ancient of a simple and virtuous age, which de. law, which would be violated by a slavish ad. velopes some singular traits of the criminal herence to its letter. Shaou-chang-maou code of early China. “This law,” he ob. was guilty, in the face of the world, of the served, “does not exempt from punish. five unpardonable crimes; and by subject. ment those tae.foo who commit offences ing him to this public and ignominious punishable in other men ; it presumes, in late, I have repaired, in some sort, the misdeed, that individuals, who are intrusted chievous effects of his evil example, by with the correction of others, will not showing that no rank or station, however merit the penalty they inflict upon male. high, affords impunity to crime. In making factors; but, should they have the misfor. Shaou's life the sole expiation of his deep tune to do so, it provides that their mode gui I have been, perhaps, too lenient. of punishment shall not degrade their rank The law has prescribed for rebellion against and office. It was the aim and spirit of the heaven and earth, extermination to the

fifth generation; to the fourth, for resistance his heart, they would discern a severe to superiors and magistrates; to the third, struggle between his own inclination for for frequent crimes against the natural law; privacy and a sense of duty to his country. to the second, for abolition of the worship I have formed the design," he added, "of of the shin and kwei (spirits); and for mur. reforming all the various branches of govern. der, or the procuring the death of another ment, by the co-operation of the respective unjustly, death without mercy.”

functionaries of the state, to effect which I The administration of Confucius (for the must possess their confidence and goodtitle of his office, ta-sze-kaou,“great arbiter will. If I were to appear to them in the of affairs,” implies that he was at the head repulsive garb of an austere sage, I should of the administrative government), gave a disgust them; they would regard me as new complexion to public morals. The hiding pride under the mask of modesty; grandees desisted froin cabals, and attend. I should be met by hypocrisy on their part, ed to their official duties; crimes became and all my plans would be traversed and every day more rare, and the complaints of defeated. the people insensibly subsided. All his The attention of Confucius was not con: reforms were based upon ancient institu- fined to home policy. He demanded from tions, which silenced cavil

. His public de the king of Tse (B. C. 496) the restitution portment was so full of suavity, that none of three frontier towns, which had been were offended; and his judgments were so wrested from the state of Loo. To adjust sound, that those who suffered from his this affair, an interview between the kings arbitration never sought to know the rea was proposed by the minister of Tse, to sons upon which it was founded. His re. which the king of Loo consented. Confagulations are said to have become a dead cius, suspecting some treachery, insisted letter, because the increasing order and that the king should be accompanied by a obedience of the people soon rendered it military force, including some hundreds of unnecessary to invoke them. At his levees, armed chariots, which encamped at a short when he received the inferior ministers and distance from the place of meeting. The grandees, he displayed a cheerfulness of interview of the two princes was condueted manner, a vivacity of discourse, and even a with great splendor and magnificence. The tone of voice, totally different from bis tent, which resembled a palace, contained ordinary character, being reputed the grav- two thrones, with steps for the ministers and est man in the kingdom.. Tsze.loo, his grandees of each court. The king of Loo disciple, reminding him that one of his sat on the left (the place of honor), because maxims was, that the wise man should be he was descended from Chow-kung, the always the same, neither depressed at dis. brother of Woo-wang, whereas the state of asters nor rejoicing in prosperity, insinuat- Tse was founded by Tae-kung, the lutor of ed that, in the good humor be evinced now the emperor Woo. These niceties of etithat he was a great minister, there was quette were adjusted to the satisfaction of some conflict between his doctrines and Confucius. He observed, however, that the his practice. Confucius, however, remark- troops of Tse were augmenting in numbers, ed that the just medium he inculcated in upon which he brought those of Loo Dearer, human affairs was between pride and arro- and stationed a party close at hand. These gance, on the one hand, and pusillanimity precautions were not superfluous : it apand c'espair, on the other; that the votary peared that one of the ministers of Tse bad of wisdom should maintain a tranquil equi. concerted a stratagem, to get the king of librium of soul, whatever might be the Loo into their power, and compel him to events of life, convinced that what are submit to their terms. In furtherance of called happiness and misery are not within this scheme, a set of barbarous dancers, the control of those who are their patients, called Lae-e, were introduced by the king and that the interval of a few days, or even of Tse, to entertain his royal brother. They hours, often transported us from the gulf rushed in, to the number of three hundred, of misfortune to the pinnacle of felicity. waving strange flags, and armed with Provided our outward signs of grief or swords and pikes, which they clashed in a satisfaction are not real emotions of exulta- frenzied manner, making a wild uproar with tion or sorrow, produced by the circum- drums and other discordant instruments. stances in which we happen to be placed, Before the crisis took place, Confucius, inthere is nothing censurable in their exhibi- dignant at'such an exhibition, approached tion; and, although superficial observers the kings, observing, “Your majesties have might imagine that his behavior resulted not come hither to be spectators of sech a from gratified ambition, if they could read scene as this, but to conclude a treaty of amity. You are both Chinese ; why do you citizen had contrived to secure to himself not have national dances and music? Com. the exclusive sale of meat. His vast capital mand these indecent and barbarous mum. enabled him to pay ready money, and even mers to retire ; their tumultuous conduct is to make advances, to the needy owners of catsuspicious." This requisition could not be tle; he became by degrees the proprietor resisted, and the scheme consequently fail. of all the pasturages in the vicinity of the ed. The treacherous minister then brought city; he bought cheaply but he sold dear. forward a company of Chinese comedians, The ordinary food of the people of Loo, whom he had tutored for his purpose, who and of China in general, consisted of boiled played a piece representing the debauche- rice, seasoned with salt herbs; yet someries of a certain queen of Loo. His aiın limes even the inferior classes gave feasts was to fascinate the king of Loo by their and entertainments, at which animal food voluptuous language and gestures. Confu- was indispensable. The monopolist thus cius, interrupting the play, sternly address- exacted a tax from every individual in the ed the king of Tse thus: “You have decity, and his revenue was consequently clared you regard the king my master as a enormous. Confucius sent for this indivi. brother; whoever, therefore, insults one dual, and gave him to understand that he insults both. Our troops are, for the same knew the source of his unjust gains, for reason, at your service, and I will give which he richly merited public punishment; them orders to avenge the affront just of. but he made this equitable proposal to him: fered to you.” Then, with a loud voice, “Restore,” said he, “to the public what be called the party he had placed near, to you have stolen from the public. I will whom he said, pointing to the actors, put you in a way to do this without incur“These wretches have dared to offer an ring disgrace. "Reserve so much only of outrageous insult to their majesties; put your property as will suffice to support you them to death." The order was instantly in ease and respectability, and place the obeyed. The king of Tse and his ministers residue at my disposal for the purposes of were in the utmost perturbation, and, be the state. Make no attempt to justify yourfore they recovered from it, Confucius had self, or to change my purpose : it will be prevailed upon the king of Loo to retire to vain. I give you a few days to think of the the army. The king of Tse thought it ne matter." The monopolist, who believed cessary to make a public apology to his he had secured impunity by the bribes he royal brother, and the towns were restored. had distributed amongst the magistrates,

The authority and influence, which Con- found he had to deal with a man who was fucins had now established, enabled him to neither to be corrupted, duped, nor intimireduce the power of the three ta.foo, or dated; he accordingly closed with the progreat officers of state, who had become posal. formidable to the prince, and could there. In the course of his judicial duties, he fore tyrannize over the people. Like the held public audiences of the supreme court, vassals of the empire, they had rendered at which causes were summarily adjudged themselves almost independent in their in the presence of the people. Upon one estates, a few having actually built for of these occasions, a father accused his son tresses, a stretch of presumption which, of a flagrant breach of filial duty, and inConfucius remarked, was lille short of voked the full penalty of the law upon him. open rebellion. The king readily gave his Confucius, to the surprise of the court and consent to a measure which tended to re- audience, instead of condemning the son, store the legitimate rights of the crown, committed both father and son to prison and Confucius, availing himself of a law for three months. At the end of this space, which prescribed the height of city-walls he summoned them before him, and asked and the nature of defences, despatched his the father of what he accused his son. The military disciple, Tze-loo, whom he had in- parent quickly exclaimed, “He is innotroduced into public employment, with di. cent; is either of us be guilty, it is I, who rections to cut down the walls to the legal accused my son in anger !". "I thought height, and to destroy the towers of these so," observed Confucius calmly ; "go, and ta-foo. He, moreover, restrained the powers train your son in his duty; and, young of the other ministers within the exact man, remember, that filial piety is the basis bounds assigned by law.

of all moral obligations." This decision Amongst the many anecdotes related of provoked much discussion : Ke-sun, a the manner in which Confucius dealt with mir and one of the philosopher's disabuses and malpractices, his treatment of a ciples, asked why he, who held that the monopolist deserves mention. A wealthy whole fabric of government rested upon the doctrine of filial piety, and who upheld | source, are themselves the source of sucthe ancient maxim, that a disobedient son ceeding generations. The first duty of deserved death, should capriciously over- mankind is, gratitude to heaven; the look such an offence? His answer was ir- second, gratitude to those from whom we refragable. "My intention was,” said sprung. It was to inculcate, at the same Confucius, “that three classes of persons time, this double obligation, that Füh-he might deduce practical lessons from that established the rites in honor of heaven case; namely,-children who failed in re- and of ancestors, requiring that, immespect towards their parents,-parents who diately after sacrificing to the Shang-te, neglected the education of those to whom homage should be rendered to our prothey had given birth,—and, lastly, persons genitors. But as neither the one nor the filling judicial posts, who mighi perceive other was visible by the bodily organs, he the danger of precipitate judgments on ac- sought emblems of them in the material cusations dictated by passion. Had I acted heavens.* The Shang.te is represented upon the hasty charge of an irritated parent, under the general emblem of the visible I should have punished the son wrongfully, firmament, as well as under the particular and plunged father and family in misery: symbols of the sun, the moon, and the A judge, who chastises indiscriminately all earth, because by their means we enjoy who appear to have violated the law, is not the gifts of the Shang-te. The sun is the less cruel than a general who should put source of life and light; the moon illumi. to the sword all the inhabitants of a town nates the world by night. By observing he has taken by assault. The offences of the course of these luminaries, mankind the inferior classes are often the result of are enabled to distinguish times and seaignorance, and lack, therefore, the main sons. The ancients, with the view of coningredient of guilt. To punish such of. necting the act with its object, when they fenders rigorously is equivalent to con- established the practice of sacrificing to the demning the innocent. A strict execution Shang.ie, fixed the day of the winter solof the laws should fall upon the great and stice, because the sun, after having passed those in authority, whose guilty example through the twelve palaces assigned appais pernicious, and who fail to instruct their rently by the Shang-te as its annual resi. inferiors. To be indulgent towards the dence, began its career anew, to distribute former, and severe towards the latter, is blessings throughout the earth. After repugnant to justice and right reason. evincing, in some measure, their obliga• Punish even with death those who de- tions to the Shangote, to whom, as the serve chastisement,' says the ancient book; universal principle of existence, they owed .but do not forget that he is no criminal life and all that sustains it, the hearts of who has committed an offence without the sacrificers turned, with a natural imknowing it to be such. Let us begin, pulse, towards those by whom the life they therefore, by instructing the people, and enjoyed had been successively transmitted we may then let loose the rigor of the to them; and they founded a ceremonial law against those who, in spite of know. of respect to their honor, as the comple. ledge, fail in their social duties."

ment of the solemn worship due to the Ke-sun was so impressed with the jus- Shang-te. The Chow princes have added tice of these remarks, that he resolved to another rite, a sacrifice to the Shang-te in appoint no magistrate who was not capable the spring season, to render thanks to him of instructing the people ; and he filled up for the fruits of the earth, and to implore the first vacancy with the philosopher's him to preserve them.” After describing celebrated disciple, Tsze-loo.

various existing forms of sacrifice, he conIn one of the discourses which the king, tinued: “ Thus, under whatever denomiTing-kung, had with Confucius, happening nation our worship is paid, whatever be the to touch upon the customs of high anti- apparent object, and of what kind soerer quity, he inquired why the ancient empe- be its external forms, it is invariably the rors, in their sacrifices, had connected an. Shang-te to whom it is addressed; the cestors with the Teen. The answer of the philosopher (presuming that M. Amiot's * ". There is a difference in the mode of worshiptranslation from the Kea-yu, or familiar ping the Shang.te," observes Confucius, " by the sayings of Confucius, be, as we believe it, The son of heaven,' or snpreme ruter on earth, faithful) is extremely curious.

when he sacrifices to the Shang-te, represents the “ The Teen,” said he, “is the universal whole body of the people; bis prayers are ado principle and prolific source of all things. nation. The other sovereigns represent only that

dressed in the name and on the behalf of the Our ancestors, who sprung from this portion of the nation confided to their rule."

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

From the Asiatic Journal.

Shang.te is the direct and chief object of parison be allowed, I might apply it to illustrate our veneration.'

the imagery of a poem. The powers of fancy A more rational exposition of natural may be brought from foreign lands-from Itatheology, and one more repugnant to the find ihem in connection with the flowers of our

lian gardens, or Eastern valleys-but we must notion of atheism, which is vulgarly im.

own fields, and the trees of our own woods, puted to the Confucian school, it is hardly There should be a home-feeling in the picture. possible to expect from an individual who An English coltage ought to glimmer through lived two thousand three hundred years an Eastern grove ; and a green churchyard, ago, and who had had no intercourse with with its hillocks and monitory rhymes, may other civilized nations.

touch the heart through the myrtles of Attica, or the walks of Vallembrosa. Milton, with consummate skill, has shed a domestic interest over his happy Garden. And so it should always be; even in the Elysium of poetical fancy, we must

recognise our own sun, and our own stars: UPON THE USE OF ORIENTAL IMAGES IN

Largior hic campos ælher et lumine vestit
POETRY.

Purpureo.

This is the secret of the popularity of Gray, If there is a farine of invention in the land, lins,' has won for himself a more abiding home

who, with less fancy and less splendor than Colis the eloquent remark of the poet Young, in in the hearts of the many, though he may not in one of his neglected prose-treatises, we must, so high a degree awaken the wonder and adlike the brethren of Joseph, travel into a distant miration of the few. country for food; we must visit the rich and

Pliny* mentions a Latin tragic writer, who remote ancients. A great genius, however, he

always terminated any friendly dispute upon a thinks, may live at home. But with the excep: passage in his plays, hy exclaiming, “I appeal tion of Shakspeare-and he travelled for his to the people." The Greek sculptors and paintplots,--we do not find that genius has ever lived at home with any advantage. It has wandered altered them in accordance with the public crit

ers, not only exhibited their productions, but along the shore of Time, and diligently collecticism. It may not be uninteresting to give a ed the costly fragments which the tide of years few examples of this

feeling in later times. Mirolls in. Homer's is the only lamp whose mys chael Angelo said to a sculptor, who was anxterious lustre we are incompetent to explain ; ious to let in a favorable light upon his perand Criticism, which was first conducted over formance, “ Do nol trouble yourself unnecessathe wave

rily; the light of the public square will best put By the clear light of the Mæonian star, its merits to the test." There is an anecdote,

not dissimilar, told of Annibal Caracci. Having is unable to ascertain even the age in which it observed that a picture by Domenichino-the rose.

flagellation of St. Andrew-powerfully affected It' genius travels, however, it always returns an old woman, who gazed with apparent indifto its birth-place; if it is led onward by Hope, terence upon a martyrdom by Guido-Caracci it is brought back by Memory. The Iliad was immediately awarded the palin to the former. a national story; so was the Æneid ; so was the great composer Handel informed Lady the Lusiad; so, in a certain sense, were the Luxborough, -Shenstone's pleasant correspondromance of Ariosto and the solenin visions of ent—that the hints of his very best songs had Dante. The poem of Milion was not so much been suggested by the sounds of London cries national, as universal ; not so much addressed in the street. Undoubtedly, there is in every to one people, as to the world. But it is occa- hosom a lively sympathy with familiar objects. sionally felt

, in reading his wonderful works, Prices mentions a picture by Nicholas Poussin, that he travelled 100 lar; that he lived too long in the Orleans collection-the infant Moses examong those “ remote and rich ancients; and posed on the Nile. The figures are painted with that, in listening to

extraordinary beauty and force; the face of the

mother, averted in agony; the departing father Their golden trumpet of eternal praise,

clasping his drapery; the elder boy clinging to he forgot sometimes the simple music of his na bim, with terror marked in each feature-all tive land.

strike the beholder with horror and sadness. In Huinbolilt observed, near Atures, some old this absorption of human interest, the exquisite trees, decorated with every color and blossom ; back-ground of the picture is forgotten-with its the yellow canisteria ; the blue-flowered bigno- wood scenery and architectural inagnificence. nia; but close by their side grew mosses pre- But the object of these remarks was to direct cisely resembling those of Europe. If the com- the attention of poetical minds to a source of

illustrations, from which few writers have drawn * Father Amiot remarks upon the terms in this the assistance which it is capable of supplying. passage, that " the expressions Tëen anel Shang-lo If we glance at the great productions of modern are often synonymous, and denote the Being who is above all; anıl that the word Teen is also used * To Celer. B. vii., Lett. xvii. in a sense purely material, signifying only the t Oct. 16, 1748 sky.'”

| Essays on the Picluresque, T. ii., P. 360.

« AnteriorContinuar »