HOW YEN-TZU WOULD NOT DIE WITH HIS PRINCE

[Twenty-fifth year of Duke Hsiang: — In the fifth moon, in summer, Ts’ui of the Ch’i state, slew his prince. — Annals.]

Duke Chuang committed adultery with Ts’ui-tzu’s wife, and Ts’ui-tzu slew him. Thereupon Yen-tzu planted himself at the door of the latter’s house.

“Are you going to die with your prince,” cried his attendants. “Was he my prince only?” asked Yen-tzu, “that I alone should die,” “Will you flee the country?” said the attendants. “Was his death my crime, that I should flee? asked Yen-tzu. “Will you then go home?” enquired the attendants. “Where,” said Yen-tzu, “is there a home for him whose master is dead? It is not enough for a prince to be merely above the people; the commonwealth is in his hands. It is not enough for a minister merely to draw his pay; the commonwealth is his trust. Therefore, when the prince dies for the commonwealth, his minister dies with him; when the prince flees, his minister flees also. But if a prince dies or flees in consequence of matters which concern only himself, who, save his own private associates, can be expected to share his fate? Besides, if some one else, under obligations similar to my own, slays the prince, why should I die, why flee, why go home?”

By-and-by, the door was opened and Yen-tzu went in; and, pillowing the corpse upon his lap gave vent to tears. He then arose, and striking the ground three times with his heel, went out. People advised Ts’ui-tzu to put him to death; but Ts’ui-tzu replied, “He is a popular man, and to leave him in peace will be to win over the people.”

Ts’ui now placed another duke upon the throne, and became his chief minister, Ch’ing Feng being appointed minister of the Left. And when the people were taking the oaths of allegiance in the State temple, beginning, “May those who are not true to Ts’ui and Ch’ing ,” Yen-tzu, looking up to heaven, sighed and said, ”May I, in whatsoever I do not submit to those who are loyal to the prince and true to the commonwealth, be answerable to God!” He then smeared his lips with the blood.

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