Chinese Language Learning – Let’s do a Classical Chinese quiz ! See how much you can get !

信義行於君子,而刑戮施於小人。刑入於死者,乃罪大惡極,此又小人之尤甚者也。寧以義死,不苟幸生,而視死如歸,此又君子之尤難者也。

  方唐太宗之六年,錄死囚三百餘人,縱使還家,約其自歸以就死,是君子之難能,期小人之尤者以必能也。其囚及期,而卒自歸無後者,是君子之所難,而小人之所易也,此豈近於人情哉?

  或曰:「罪大惡極,誠小人矣。及施恩德以臨之,可使變而為君子;蓋恩德入人之深,而移人之速,有如是者矣。」

  曰:「太宗之為此,所以求此名也。然安知夫縱之去也,不意其必來以冀免,所以縱之乎?又安知夫被縱而去也,不意其自歸而必獲免,所以復來乎?夫意其必來而縱之,是上賊下之情也;意其必免而復來,是下賊上之心也。吾見上下交相賊,以成此名也,烏有所謂施恩德,與夫知信義者哉?不然,太宗施德於天下,於茲六年矣。不能使小人不為極惡大罪,而一日之恩,能使視死如歸,而存信義,此又不通之論也。」

  「然則,何為而可?」曰:「縱而來歸,殺之無赦;而又縱之,而又來,則可知為恩德之致爾;然此必無之事也。若夫縱而來歸而赦之,可偶一為之爾。若屢為之,則殺人者皆不死,是可為天下之常法乎?不可為常者,其聖人之法乎?是以堯舜三王之治,必本於人情;不立異以為高,不逆情以干譽。」

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>信義行**於**君子,而刑**戮施**於小人。

>!Trust and righteousness are exercised amongst Gentlemen and punishment is posed on jerks. !<

於:>!at/in/to/from/for/than/✅amongst !<

戮:>!✅kill/✅✅death penalty!<

施:>!✅exert/✅pose/give!<

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>刑入**於**死**者**,**乃**罪大惡極,此又小人之**尤甚**者也。

>!Punishment which reaches to death are for those who committed the most heinous crimes. And this is the zenith of jerks.!<

於:>! at/in/✅to/from/for/than/among!<

者:>! ✅the people who/✅ the fact that!<

乃 : >!✅is /then/unexpected/you!<

尤:>!✅very/blame !<

甚:>!very/✅exceed/✅✅unduly!<

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>**寧以**義死,不**苟幸生**,而視死如**歸**,此又君子**之**尤難**者**也。

>!Rather dying out of justice and not cowardly wishing for survival, regarding death as normal as returning home. This, also, is something very difficult for gentlemen.!<

寧:>! ✅rather/don’t!<

以:>!✅by/with/✅because of /in order to!<

苟: >!if the very least/ ✅cowardly muddle along!<

幸 : >!luck/ ✅wish !<

生:>!be born/ give birth to/ raw/✅ live/✅✅survive!<

歸: >!return!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

者 :>! ✅the people who/ ✅✅the fact that!<

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>**方**唐太宗**之**六年,錄死囚三百餘人,**縱**使**還**家,**約其**自**歸以就**死。

>!At the sixth year of 唐太宗, 300ish death rows were recorded and allowed to go home. And they were dated to return to the prison and for execution.!<

方:>!✅ when/square/side!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

縱:>! ✅lax/✅indulged/even if!<

歸=還>!=return!<

約:>! frugal/ ✅date/ ✅appointment/ restrict !<

其: >!✅he she it they/ one’s/ should!<

以:>!by/with/because of /✅in order to!<

就: >!✅attain/ achieve/ ✅go to!<

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>**是**君子**之**難能,**期**小人**之**尤**者以**必能也。

>!This is to expect the jerk of jerks to do what is difficult even for gentlemen.!<

是:>!This!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

期 : >!✅expect/date!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

者:>! ✅the people who/ the fact that!<

以:>!✅by/✅with/because of /✅in order to!<

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>其囚**及期**,而**卒**自歸無**後者**,是君子**之所**難,而小人**之**所易也,此**豈**近**於**人**情哉**?

>!When the agreed date was due, those prisoners finally returned without delay. This (return to the prison and die) is what gentlemen would find difficult and those jerks (prisoners) easily did it. How would this be close to the normality of human!?!<

及:>! attain/ arrives/ extend to/✅ until!<

期:>! expect/✅date!<

卒: >!✅finally/ soldier!<

後:>! back/rear/✅ late!<

者:>! ✅the people who/ the fact that!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

所: >!✅what/who/where/place!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

豈:>! how!<

於: >!at/in/✅to/from/for/than/among!<

情:>! feelings/emotions/✅situations!<

哉: >!lament!<

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>**或曰**:「罪大惡極,**誠**小人矣。**及施恩德以臨之**,可使變而**為**君子;**蓋**恩德入人**之**深,而移人**之速**,有如是**者矣**。」

>!Someone said,” Those who committed heinous crimes are indeed jerks! Until (the emperor) posed on them with grace and virtue, it is possible to have them turned into gentlemen. Probably grace and virtue could enter deeply in people’s heart and swiftly change them. Thus, such could occur.”!<

或: >!or/maybe/✅someone!<

曰=>!say!<

誠:>!sincere/✅indeed!<

及: >!attain/ arrives/ extend to/✅ until!<

施:>!✅exert/✅pose/give!<

恩=>!grace/huge favour!<

德=>!virtue!<

以:>!by/with/because of /✅in order to!<

臨:>!face!<

之:>!’s/✅referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

為: >!to do/ as /✅to be/✅✅to become!<

蓋:>!cover/✅probably!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

速=>!fast!<

者:>! the people who/ ✅the fact that!<

矣:>!✅lament/already!<

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>曰:「太宗之**為**此,**所以求**此**名**也。**然安**知**夫**縱**之去**也,不**意其**必來**以冀免**,**所以**縱**之**乎?

>!(The author) said,” The emperor did this is to seek such(converting jerks into gentlemen by the emperor’s grace and virtue) fame. However how could one know the person who letting the prisoners go (i.e. the emperor), is not expecting the prisoners to return in order to wish for amnesty, and therefore let them go? !<

為: >!✅to do/ as / to become!<

所以:>! the reason why/ the factor causing/✅ is to/therefore!<

求:>!beg/✅seek!<

名:>!name/✅fame!<

然:>!being the case/✅however!<

安:>!how!<

夫>!: speaking of/✅that/ ✅the person (who) /those (who)!<

之: >!’s/✅referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

去:>! ✅leave/ get rid of!<

意 : >!meaning/ ✅guess!<

其:>! ✅he she it they/ one’s/ should!<

以:>!by/with/because of /✅in order to!<

冀: >!hope!<

免: >!✅ free from(crime)/✅ ✅ spare!<

所以: >!the reason why/ the factor causing/is to/✅ therefore!<

之: >!’s/ ✅referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

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>又安知**夫被**縱而去也,不意**其**自歸而必獲免,所以復來乎?

>!And how could one know those being freed (i.e. the prisoners), are not expecting that they must be spared if they return, and therefore did so?!<

夫: >!speaking of/✅that/ the person (who) /✅ those (who)!<

被: >!passive!<

其:>! ✅he she it they/ one’s/ should!<

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>**夫**意其必來而縱之,是上**賊**下之情也;意其必免而復來,是下賊上之心也。

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>!Speaking of guessing they must return and thus let them go, this is the emperor conjecturing the prisoners’ thought; guessing he must spare us and thus return, this is the prisoners guessing the emperor’s heart.!<

夫:>!✅ speaking of/that/ the person (who) / those (who)!<

賊:>! theft/✅guess conjecture gamble!<

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>吾見上下交相賊,**以**成此名也,**烏**有**所謂**施恩德,與**夫**知信義者哉?

>!I only see the emperor and the prisoners playing mind games with one another, in order to achieve and acquire fame, where on earth is the so-called “exercising grace and virtue” and those who are truthful and righteous !<

以:>!by/with/because of /✅in order to!<

烏=>!何:what/✅how/✅where/why!<

夫: >!speaking of/✅that/ the person (who) /✅ those (who)!<

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>不**然**,太宗施德於天下,**於茲**六年矣。不能使小人不為極惡大罪,而一日之恩,能使視死如歸,而存信義,此又不通之論也。

>!If that is not the case, then why the emperor, having exercising virtue to the world for 6 years from/till now, was not able to stop jerks from committing heinous crimes. And just for a one-day grace, all in a sudden, it made the prisoners courageous enough to neglect death just to uphold trust and righteousness. That doesn’t make sense.!<

然:>!✅being the case/however!<

於 : >!at/in/to/✅from/for/than/among!<

茲:>!✅here/hereby/✅now/this!<

矣:>!lament/✅already!<

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>「**然則**,**何為**而可?」曰:「縱而來歸,殺**之**無**赦**;而又縱**之**,而又來,則可知為恩德**之**致**爾**;**然**此必無**之**事也。

>!That is the case, then what is doable. They author said,” Divide the prisoners into two batches, let the first go home and kill them when they return. If the second batch still manage to return after knowing the death of their predecessors. Then, we can know that is due to grace and virtue. However this is impossible.!<

然:>!✅being the case/however!<

則:>! rule/✅then!<

何: >!✅what/where/how/when!<

為:>! ✅to do/ as / to become!<

之:>! ‘s/ ✅referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

赦=>!spare!<

之:>! ‘s/ ✅referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

爾 :>! you/nothing but that/✅ that being the case!<

然:>!being the case/✅ however!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

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>**若夫**縱而來歸而赦**之**,可偶一**為之爾**。若**屢為之**,**則**殺人**者**皆不死,**是**可**為**天下**之**常法乎?

>!As for letting them go home and spare them when they return, this could only be done once in a while, nothing more. If done frequently, then killers won’t die(receive death penalty). Could this be the universal/constant law of the world?!<

若夫=>! as for!<

之=>!prisoners: ‘s/ ✅referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

為:>! ✅to do/ as / to become!<

之=>!the act of sparing prisoners: ‘s/ ✅referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

爾 :>! you/✅ nothing but that/that being the case!<

屢=>!many times!<

為: >!✅to do/ as / to become!<

之=>!the act of sparing prisoners: ‘s/ ✅referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

則: >!rule/✅then!<

者 :>! ✅the people who/ the fact that!<

是:>!This!<

為: >!to do/ as / ✅ to be /✅ to become!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

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>不可**為**常**者**,**其**聖人**之**法乎?**是以**堯舜三王**之**治,必本**於**人情;不**立**異**以為**高,不逆情**以干**譽。」

Should something that is not universal and constant be the law of the saint? Therefore, the governance of the 3 great kings must base on human/common sense. They wouldn’t implant/ establish unconventionality to self-proclaim high moral virtue. They wouldn’t go against the grain to fish for fame.

為: >!to do/ as / ✅ to be / to become!<

者 :>! the people who/ ✅the fact that!<

其: >!he she it they/ one’s/ ✅should!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

是以:>! this by= by this= therefore!<

之:>!✅’s/referring to the previous noun/to go to!<

於:>!at/in/to/✅from(on)/for/than/amongst !<

立:>!stand/✅establish!<

以為 :>!think/✅regard something as!<

以:>!by/with/because of /✅in order to!<

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Extra challenge!

Can you think of any synonyms to replace the following word?

於:>!乎!< >! when 乎 is used in the middle of a sentence it serves the purpose of 於, eg 超乎想像=超於想像!<

戮=kill:>!殺!< >!殛!< >!誅!<

尤:>!殊!<

方=when:>!當!< >!適!< >!逢!< >!值!< >!時!<

卒=finally:>!終!< >!竟!<

誠=indeed:>!實!< >!真!< >!洵!< >!諒!<

速:>!疾!< >!遄!< >!急!< >!迅!< >!捷!<

冀:>!庶!< >!庶幾!< >!望!< >!希!< >!願!<

其=that:>!厥!<

何:>!烏!< >!胡!< >!奚!< >!安!< >!曷!<



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4 Comments

  1. Long_May_sHe_Reign22 May 13, 2022
  2. BrazilianPalantir May 13, 2022
  3. sunbun12345 May 13, 2022
  4. K31k0_2 May 13, 2022
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