Tso4 ta4 hsueh2
Make great learn
He who wrote The Great Learning
Tso see line 123.
Ta under one of its old forms looked very like the rude picture of a man. This gave rise to the following explanation:— Heaven is great, earth is great, and man too is great; therefore great is a picture of man.
Hsueh see line 11. [The Great Learning is Legge's translation of the title of a short treatise which teaches us "to illustrate virtue, to renovate the people, and to rest in the highest excellence." It is now the recognised rendering (Pere Zottoli "magna scientia," Eitel "Great Learning"), although the term really means "Learning for Adults," in which sense it was understood by the author of The Little Learning (line 113).]
Nai3 tseng1 tzu3
That Tseng philosopher
was the philosopher Tseng.
Nai see line 6.
Tseng see line 89.
Tzu see line 11. [This philosopher was 曾參 Tseng Ts'an, vulg. Tseng Shen, one of the most famous of the disciples of Confucius, B.C. 505—437. But it is by no means certain that he wrote The Great Learning, which was originally § 42 of the Book of Rites (line 136), being taken thence to form one of the Four Books by Chu Hsi (line 113).]
Tzu4 hsiu1 ch'i2
From cultivate order
Beginning with cultivation of the individual and ordering the family,
Tzu see line 93.
Hsiu is composed of 彡 shan feather ornamentation as radical, with 攸 yu to move in water, as phonetic. It means to embellish, to repair, and has been classed by K'ang Hsi under radical 人 jen man, though its congener 脩 hsiu dried meat, salary of teachers, appears correctly under radical 肉 ( 月 in combination) jou meat. The character 身 shen (line 90) is here understood from the text of The Great Learning, which Dr. Legge renders by "the person ;" but this is ambiguous, and destroys the numerical climax.
Ch'i originally meant the level of growing corn, of which the old form was a picture; hence to level, to regulate. The word 家 chia family (line 192) is here understood as above.
Chih4 p'ing2 chih4
Arrive balance govern
it goes on to government of one's own State and tranquillisation of the Empire.
Chih see line 94.
P'ing is composed of 于 yu (used for 於 line 35) and 八 pa to divide (line 88). It means even, smooth, etc., and with it is understood 天下 t'ien hsia beneath the canopy of heaven, the empire. The order of p'ing and chih is transposed for the jingle's sake.
Chih is composed of 水 shui water as radical, and 台 i to speak, I, to give (also read tax exalted) as phonetic, the latter being originally composed of 以[(line 8) over 口 k'ou mouth. How it comes to mean to govern, to cure, is somewhat obscure. With it is understood 國 kuo a State (line 155), in reference to which term it must be remembered that the work in question was written during the Feudal Age of China, when the country was split up into vassal States owning a nominal allegiance to a suzerain State. See also line 257.
San Tzu Ching >