17 Lesson 16 – 雞鳴狗盗

雞鳴狗盗 (《史記》)

jī míng gǒu dào  (shǐ jì)

齊湣王二十五年復卒使孟嘗君入秦,昭王即以孟嘗君為秦相。 人或說秦昭王曰:“孟嘗君賢而又齊族也。今相秦,必先齊而後秦,秦其危矣! ”  於是秦昭王乃止,囚孟嘗君,謀欲殺之。孟嘗君使人抵昭王幸姬求解。幸姬曰: “妾願得君狐白裘。”  此時孟嘗君有一狐白裘,直千金,天下無雙,入秦獻之昭王,更無他裘。孟嘗君患之,遍問客,莫能對。最下坐有能為狗盜者,曰:“臣能得 狐白裘。” 乃夜為狗以入秦宮臧中,取所獻狐白裘至,以獻秦王幸姬。幸姬為言昭王,昭王釋孟嘗君。孟嘗君得出,即馳去,更封傳,變名姓以出關。夜半至函谷 關。秦昭王後悔出孟嘗君,求之已去,即使人馳傳逐之。孟嘗君至關。關法雞鳴而出客,孟嘗君恐追至,客之居下坐者,有能為雞鳴,而雞盡鳴,遂發傳出。出如食 頃,秦追果至關,已後孟嘗君出,乃還。始孟嘗君列此二人於賓客,賓客盡羞之,及孟嘗君有秦難,卒此二人拔之 ; 自是之後,客皆服。


齐愍王二十五年复卒使孟尝君入秦,昭王即以孟尝君为秦相。 人或说秦昭王曰:“孟尝君贤而又齐族也。今相秦,必先齐而后秦,秦其危矣! ”  于是秦昭王乃止,囚孟尝君,谋欲杀之。孟尝君使人抵昭王幸姬求解。幸姬曰: “妾愿得君狐白裘。”  此时孟尝君有一狐白裘,直千金,天下无双,入秦献之昭王,更无他裘。孟尝君患之,遍问客,莫能对。最下坐有能为狗盗者,曰:“臣能得 狐白裘。” 乃夜为狗以入秦宫臧中,取所献狐白裘至,以献秦王幸姬。幸姬为言昭王,昭王释孟尝君。孟尝君得出,即驰去,更封传,变名姓以出关。夜半至函谷 关。秦昭王后悔出孟尝君,求之已去,即使人驰传逐之。孟尝君至关。关法鸡鸣而出客,孟尝君恐追至,客之居下坐者,有能为鸡鸣,而鸡尽鸣,遂发传出。出如食 顷,秦追果至关,已后孟尝君出,乃还。始孟尝君列此二人于宾客,宾客尽羞之,及孟尝君有秦难,卒此二人拔之 ; 自是之后,客皆服。

 

Lesson 16 vocabulary

齊湣王 Qí  Mǐnwáng King Min of Qi (r. BCE 313-284)
finally
孟嘗君 Mèng Cháng Jūn Lord of Mengchang (Tian Wen)
to enter
昭王 Zhāo Wáng King Zhao of Qin (r. BCE 306-251)
immediately
xiàng minister [c.f. xiang: mutually, to each other]
huò someone
説 (说) shuì to persuade [c.f. shuō, theory, explanation]
certainly
wēi to be in danger
qiú to imprison
謀 (谋) móu to plan
to intend to
to go to
xìng favorite
concubine
jiě to release
jūn you (respectful)
qiú fur robe
yuàn to wish
zhí to be worth [c.f. zhi zhí 值]
天下 tiān xià the world, China
雙 (双) shuāng a pair
xiàn to present
gèng in addition; to change
huàn to worry, to be concerned
遍 (徧) biàn everywhere
traveler, retainer, protégé
no one
zuò seat
dào thief; to steal
wéi to act as, to imitate
gōng palace
zàng treasury [c.f. cáng: to hide]
yán to speak to
釋 (释) shì to release
馳 (驰) chí to hasten
fēng seal
封傳 fēng zhuàn passport
xìng surname
關 (关) guān customs barrier, pass
夜半 yè bàn midnight
函谷關 Hán Gǔ Guān Han Gu Pass
huǐ to regret
後悔 hòu huǐ to regret
chū to get out; to let out
chí to ride
  zhuàn post horse
zhú to pursue
rule, law
雞 (鸡) rooster
traveler
to occupy
jìn without exception, exhaustively
發 (发) to open
as it were
食頃 shí qǐng the duration of time it takes to eat a meal
guǒ indeed
shǐ previously
liè to rank
賓客 bīn kè retainer, protégé
xiū to be ashamed; to humiliate
難 (难) nàn trouble, difficulty
to pull out, to rescue
from [c.f. 從]
to submit, to accept

Commentary on lesson 16:

Younger sons of feudal rulers were often prominent ministers in their own right, often taking the title of “lord”. During the early third century BCE, a number of these lords were particularly famous for their acts of daring-do and their generosity in rewarding their warrior-retainers (the atmosphere was not unlike that found in Japanese samurai movies). The Lord of Mengchang was one such lord; though the younger son of the king of, he travelled through other kingdoms, often hiring out his services. This excerpt comes from the lord’s biography in the 史記

1.1: This is a standard way of indicating chronology of events in historical writing: “In the twenty-fifth year of the reign of King Min…” The Lord of Mengchang had previously visited Qin, hence the phrase “again finally.” Who sent him is unclear in the narrative.

The verb 以…為 can also refer to making somebody something, literally, “he took the Lord of Mengchang and made him a minister.” Probably best translated as “he appointed the Lord of Mengchang minister.”

1.2: Another “modal” use of 其’ see note to 1.4 in lesson 13 above.

This text is an excellent review of all of the various functions of; you might make a list of its appearances and pay careful attention to how it is used in each case.

Grammar Note 15

In Grammar Note 14 we saw, by inserting 所 suǒ we can turn a simple sentence, such as 梟逢 鳩 xiāo féng jiū  “owl meets a dove,” into a noun parse梟所逢 xiāo suǒ féng  “what owl met.” In Grammar Note 15 we look a little more systematically at some ways of augmenting such phrases and then making them components of new, more elaborate sentences.

  1. First, let’s note that梟所逢 xiāo suǒ féng , 虎所求hǔ suǒ qiú  etc. aren’t themselves minimal noun phrases. The minimal noun phrase capable of functioning as such in the sentence would be 所逢  suǒ féng “what was met,” 所求  suǒ qiú  “what was sought.”  These minimal forms are always translatable as passive. An example we’ve seen was 所謂 suǒ wèi “what is called”  in Lesson 11 (twice).  It follows that梟xiāo placed before 所逢 suǒ féng isn’t exactly the actor of an action ( as in the underlying sentence梟逢 鳩 xiāo féng jiū, but something more like the agent of a passive. In other words, we might better translate梟所逢 xiāo suǒ féng  as “what was met by the owl” and 虎所求 hǔ suǒ qiú  as “what was sought by the tiger.”

What we need to catch, here, is a difference of form, not meaning. In meaning , “ what the owl met”  hardly differs from “what was met by the owl.”  But the form – the syntax, the way words combine with and replace each other – is different, and the same is true of as actor in the sentence 梟逢 鳩 xiāo féng jiū compared to its use as agent of the passive in the phrase梟所逢 xiāo suǒ féng.  For now you need to recognize and grasp two formal peculiarities of the agent before所 suǒ:

(1) It is frequently followed by 之 zhī. Thus:

梟之所逢 The owl’s that-which-was-met (= what was met by the owl)
xiāo zhī  suǒ féng
虎之所求 The tiger’s that-which-was-sought (= what was sought by the tiger)
hǔ zhī  suǒ qiú

In each case, the meaning is no different from that of the same phrase without the 之 zhī.

(2) In each of the above sentences the agent (and, if present, the 之 zhī  which follows it) can be replaced by the possessive or attributive pronoun 其 qí “his, her its, their”:

其所逢 his that-which-was-met (= what was met by him)
qí  suǒ féng

and likewise in  其所求  qí  suǒ qiú, 其所釋   qí  suǒ shì, etc.

Note that 其 qí can never stand by itself as actor but in these uses is always and only an agent followed by 所 suǒ.  The use of attributive其 qí as agent consists with the use of a noun as agent followed by attributive之 zhī .

Note also that what precedes所 suǒ need not be an agent but may be some other sort of subject (topic), for example setting the scene in time or place.  Thus besides

秦軍所射之乳母 the wet-nurse who was shot by the Qin army
Qín jūn suǒ shè zhī rǔ mǔ

we may have

澤中所射之乳母 the wet-nurse who was shot in the marsh
zé zhōng suǒ shè zhī rǔ mǔ
  1. Noun phrases of the kinds mentioned, followed by之 zhī , can in their entirety serve as modifiers.  The resulting construction, including the element modified, is still a noun phrase (as it must be, because of the nominalizing 之 zhī ).  Examples are:
梟所逢之鳩 the dove that was met by the owl
xiāo suǒ féng zhī jiū
其所逢之鳩 the dove that was met by it
qí  suǒ féng zhī jiū
虎所求之狐 the fox that was sought by the tiger
hǔ suǒ qiú zhī hú
其所求之狐 the fox that was sought by it
qí  suǒ qiú zhī hú

As in any other case, construction like 之鳩zhī jiū are replaceable with 者 zhě.   Thus:

虎所求之狐  becomes 虎所求者       and

其所求之狐  becomes 其所求者

(Note that there is no meaningful difference between 虎所求者 hǔ suǒ qiú zhě and 虎所求 hǔ suǒ qiú.)

  1. Noun phrases with 所 suǒ of the kinds we have considered, preceded or not by an agent or other subject, and followed or not by an element which they modify, can as a whole enter sentence as subject or predicate.

subject:

虎所求之獸, 狐也 the animal sought by the tiger was the fox
hǔ suǒ qiú zhī shòu, hú yě

predicate:

虎食其所求之獸 the tiger ate the animals sought by him
hǔ shí qí suǒ qiú zhī shòu

The above are augmented forms; the minimal forms would be:

所求, 狐也 what was sought was the fox
 suǒ qiú, hú yě
虎食所求 the tiger ate what was sought
hǔ shí suǒ qiú

 

Grammar Note 16

  1. 所以 suǒ yǐ

In modern Chinese所以 suǒ yǐ means “therefore”.  This is not a classical usage and it doesn’t appear until the Han dynasty or thereafter.  The classical equivalents are 是以shì yǐ or  故 gù.

所以 suǒ yǐ as used in classical texts has quite a different sense, and is best thought of as a variant of 所 suǒ.  The meaning of 所suǒ is “that which”.  The meaning of 所以 suǒ yǐ is “that with which” (the way in which), or “that for which” (the reason why).

While 所 suǒ and所以 suǒ yǐ are related, they are not interchangeable, as can be seen from the following pairs:

a. 王 之 所 王, 國 也 what the king rules is a state
wáng zhī suǒ wàng, guó yě
b. 王 之 所以 王, 道 也 what the king rules with is the Dao
wáng zhī suǒ yǐ wàng, dào yě
c. 臣所去, 親戚也 what we left was our relatives
     chén suǒ qù, qīn qì yě
d. 臣所以去親戚而事君者, 徒慕君之高義也 the reason why we left our relatives and served you was just that we admired your exalted righteousness
    chén suǒ yǐ qù qīn qì ěr shì jūn zhě, tú mù jūn zhī gào yì yě

 

  1. 且 qiě
且庸人尚羞之,況於將相乎 Even a common person would find it shameful; how much more [shameful it is]
 qiě yōng rén shàng xiū zhī, kuàng yú jiàng xiàng hū

且 qiě here has the relatively uncommon meaning “even” (cf. modern Chinese 尚且 shàng qiě.)

A parallel sentence occurs in Mencius 2B.2:

管仲且不可召, 而況不為管仲者乎? Even Guan Zhong could not be summoned; how much less someone
Guǎn Zhòng qiě bú kě zhāo, ěr kuàng bù wéi Guān Zhǒng zhě hū

 

 

 

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Introduction to Classical Chinese by Patrick Hanan; David Lattimore; Judith Zeitlin; Margaret Baptist Wan; Anthony George; Xiaofei Tian; Regina Llamas; Hu Hsiao-chen; Liu Lening; Paul Rouzer; Shang Wei; Andrew Schonebaum; and Kong Mei is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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