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There was a visitor who had an interview with the Duke of Chou

There was a visitor who had an interview with the Duke of Chou. Meeting him at the door, the Duke of Chou said, "How are you going to instruct me?"

The man said, "Outside I would speak of externals; inside, of essentials. Shall I come in or not?"
The Duke of Chou said, "Please come in."

The guest said, "Standing, I would speak of i; sitting, of jên. Shall I sit or not?"

The Duke of Chou said, "Please take a seat."

The guest said, "Speaking distinctly will result in trouble; speaking softly, in not being heard. Shall I speak or not?"

The Duke of Chou said, "Yes, yes. I understand." And next day he mobilized troops and punished the princes of Kuan and Ts’ai.

Truly the visitor was good at giving counsel without speech, and the Duke of Chou was good at listening to counsel without speech. A person like the Duke of Chou may be called capable of listening to subtle discourse. Truly what the superior man tells others is subtle, and the aid he offers people in difficulty is indirect. The Ode says,

How would I dare not march?
It is only that I fear not being able to go on.

客有见周公者,应之于门曰:“何以道旦也?”客曰:“在外即言外,在内即言内,入乎?将毋?”周公曰:“请入。”客曰:“立即言义,坐即言仁,坐乎?将毋?”周公曰:“请坐。”客曰:“疾言则翕翕,徐言则不闻,言乎?将毋?”周公唯唯,旦也逾。明日兴师而诛管蔡。故客善以不言之说,周公善听不言之说,若周公可谓能听微言矣。故君子之告人也微,其救人之急也婉。《诗》曰:“岂敢惮行?畏不能趋。”

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