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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.



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