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Why was this time not before me or after me?

Mencius exercised his eloquence on King Hsüan of Ch’i, who was not pleased. Ch’un-yü K’un was in attendance. Mencius said, "Today I exhorted your ruler, but he was not pleased. I suppose that he does not know what good is?"

Ch’un-yü K’un said, "Master, it is only that you are really not good. Of old when Hu-pa played the cither, the fishes of the deep came out to listen; and when Po-ya played the lute, his six horses raised their heads from their feeding. If even fishes and horses know what is good, how much the more must a prince know it."

Mencius said, "Lightning and thunder occur and split bamboo, break trees, and convulse the empire, but they are not able suddenly to make the deaf have hearing. The brightness of sun and moon everywhere illumines the world, but it is not able suddenly to make the blind have sight. Now it is like this with your ruler."

Ch’un-yü K’un said, "Not so. Of old when I-fêng lived in Kao-shang, the people of Ch’i were fond of singing. When Ch’i Liang's wife grieved and wailed, people praised her voice. Truly, ‘There is no sound so faint as not to be heard, and no conduct so secret as not to show.' If you, Master, are living as a sage in Lu, how is it that the state of Lu is being dismembered?"

Mencius said, "If the sage is not employed, the result is ruin; how can there be only dismemberment? The fish large enough to swallow a boat does not dwell in a shallow pool, nor does the gentleman of capacity dwell in a polluted world. Just as plants, when winter comes, must wither, so have I too my seasons."

The Ode says,

Why was this time not before me?
Or why was it not after me?

Is this not said of one who encountered a time of withering?

孟子说齐宣王而不说。淳于髡侍,孟子曰:“今日说公之君,公之君不说,意者、其未知善之为善乎?”淳于髡曰:“夫子亦诚无善耳。昔者瓠巴鼓瑟,而潜鱼出听;伯牙鼓琴,而六马仰秣;鱼马犹知善之为善,而况君人者也。”孟子曰:“夫雷电之起也,破竹折木,震惊天下,而不能使聋者卒有闻;日月之明,遍照天下,而不能使盲者卒有见。今公之君若此也。”淳于髡曰:“不然。昔者、揖封生高商,齐人好歌;杞梁之妻悲哭,而人称咏。夫声无细而不闻,行无隐而不形。夫子苟贤,居鲁而鲁国之削,何也?”孟子曰:“不用贤,削何有也!吞舟之鱼不居潜泽,度量之士不居污世。夫蓻、冬至必雕,吾亦时矣。”《诗》曰:“不自我先,不自我后。”非遭雕世者欤!

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