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He does not devour the soft, or eject the powerful.

King Chuang of Ch’u attacked and defeated Chêng. The Earl of Chêng advanced with bared body, holding in his left hand an ox-tail tufted banner and in his right grasping a sacrificial knife with bells, and said to King Chuang, "I am devoid of goodness. Because of my behaviour toward your subjects on the frontier, I have met with a Heaven-sent disaster and have caused you, Prince of a great state, to have the overwhelming disgrace of coming from afar to this place."

King Chuang said, "It was the words of Your Highness' bad subjects in their intercourse with us that gave me the opportunity of viewing Your Highness' jade countenance, and this is the insignificant reason which has brought us to this pass." Taking his signal staff King Chuang signalled to his attendants to remove the camp of Ch’u's army seven li.

The general Tzŭ-chung proffered an objection, "Nan-ying is several thousand li distant from Chêng. Among the Great Officers there have been several casualties, and among the camp laborers several hundreds have been killed. Now to win a victory and not to have it—is this wasting the strength of the people and of your servants or not?"

King Chuang said, "I have heard that of old, if the cups did not leak and the leather garments were not worn out, it was because one had not gone outside his own borders. Through this the superior man shows that he holds li to be important but despises property; that he wants the men but not their territory. When a man offers submission, it is inauspicious not to desist. Should I try to establish myself in the empire by inauspicious means, disaster would overwhelm me. How can I take their territory?"

Meanwhile those Chin had sent to help Chêng arrived and requested that Ch’u give battle. King Chuang assented. The general Tzŭ-chung proffered an objection, "Chin is a powerful state. They have had only a short way to come, and their troops are fresh, while Ch’u's army is long since worn out. May Your Highness not consent to fight."
King Chuang said, "It is not possible. If I should flee before the strong but attempt to overawe the weak, I would have no way to establish myself in the empire." In the end he turned his troops back to meet the intruders from Chin. King Chuang took a drumstick and beat with it. The army of Chin was severely defeated, so that of the officers and men who fled and struggled for boats, the fingers cut off by those who already had taken possession of the boats could be gathered by the double-handfuls.
King Chuang said, "Alas, we two rulers are not on good terms, but of what crime are the people guilty?" Whereupon he withdrew Chu's army to let the invaders from Chin escape.

The Ode says,

He does not devour the soft,
Or eject the powerful.

楚庄王伐郑,郑伯肉袒,左把茅旌,右执鸾刀以进,言于庄王曰:“寡人无良边陲之臣,以干大褐,使大国之君沛焉,远辱至此。”庄王曰:“君子不令臣交易为言,是以使寡人得见君之玉面也,而微至乎此。”庄王受节,左右麾楚军,退舍七里。将军子重进谏曰:“夫南郢之与郑,相去数千里,大夫死者数人,厮役者数百人,今克而弗有,无乃失民臣之力乎!”庄王曰:“吾闻:古者杅不穿,皮不蠹,不出于四方,以是君子之重礼而贱财也,要其人,不要其土,人告以从而不舍,不祥也。吾以不祥立于天下,灾及吾身,何取之有?”既、晋之救郑者至,曰:“请战。”庄王许之。将军子重进谏曰:“晋、强国也,道近兵锐,楚师奄罢,君其勿许。”庄王曰:“不可。强者、我避之,弱者、我威之,是寡人无以立乎天下也。”乃遂还师,以逆晋寇。庄王援桴而鼓之,晋师大败,士卒奔者争舟,而指可掬也。庄王曰:“噫!吾两君不相好,百姓何罪?”乃退楚师,以佚晋寇。《诗》曰:“柔亦不茹,刚亦不吐。”

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