Kang-Hsi's Sacred Edict
IN every affair retire a step, and you have an advantage.
Seeing men in haste, do not seek to overtake them.
Each grass blade has its drop of dew. The wild birds lay up no stores but Heaven and Earth are wide. Strange, indeed, if you cannot rest in the duties of your sphere.
If you reject the iron, you will never make the steel.
To starve is a small matter, to lose one's virtue is a great one.
Covet not an empty name.
The modest gain, the self-satisfied lose
The more unlikely I am to be successful, the more diligently will I study.
What have I to do with fate?
Teach children that in friendship one should be one, and two, two; there must be no deception.
Let the root be good, and the fruit shall' not be evil.
Culture in manners will make the blustering soldier view the Shi and Shu as his coat of mail.
Becoming manners shall bring back the lovely unity of ancient virtues.
Do you think that, by bearing with insulting persons, I shall fall into dishonor?
Should right principles be separated from right manners, they would no longer be right principles. But without sincerity manners are mere apish bowing and scraping.
Those who say conscience may be good enough, but it does not supply one with food, are fit materials for the cord and the bamboo.
Set not others at variance. Suppress slanders, and protect the innocent. Frame not indictments to defraud and oppress.
Maintain a love of harmony, that throughout your families the common speech shall be, "Let us help one another." Then shall the world be at peace.
Let young and old be as one body, their joys and sorrows as of one family.
Let the instructed Lead the way by example. Let the unity of the empire extend to myriad countries, and spread harmony through the world.
Though at the height of fame, you ought in the watches of the night to lay your hand on your breast and ask yourself, "Have I cause of shame or not?"