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Duke Huan of Ch’i condescends to cotton-clothed gentleman

Duke Huan of Ch’i, wishing to see the Hsiao-ch’ên Chi, thrice went to him without being granted an interview. His attendants said, "The office of hsiao-ch’ên is the lowest in the state. Having thrice gone to him without being granted an interview, Your Highness may properly desist."
Duke Huan said, "Alas, what sort of talk is this? I have heard that a gentleman in cotton clothes who does not desire riches and honour will stand on his dignity toward the ruler of a state of ten thousand chariots, and that the ruler of a state of ten thousand chariots who does not love jên and i will stand on his dignity toward a cotton-clothed gentleman. It is all right if our master does not desire riches and honour, but for me not to love jên and i is not all right." When he went for the fifth time, he was granted an interview.
On hearing of this the feudal lords of the empire said, "If Duke Huan condescends even to a cotton-clothed gentleman, how much the more can a prince of the realm expect!" And they led one another to his court; there were none who did not come. Such were the means whereby Duke Huan assembled the feudal lords and by which he united and rectified the empire.
The Ode says,
To an upright virtuous conduct,
All in the four quarters of the State render obedient homage.
齐桓公见小臣,三往不得见。左右曰:“夫小臣、国之贱臣也,君三往而不得见,其可已矣!”桓公曰:“恶!是何言也!吾闻之:布衣之士不欲富贵,不轻身于万乘之君;万乘之君不好仁义,不轻身于布衣之士。纵夫子不欲富贵,可也,吾不好仁义、不可也。”五往而得见也。天下诸侯闻之,谓桓公犹下布衣之士,而况国君乎!于是相率而朝,靡有不至。桓公之所以九合诸侯,一匡天下者、此也。《诗》曰:“有觉德行,四国顺之。”

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