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to the student of Chinese. The classification adopted is probably as good as any which could be devised, yet no classification, however thorough and ingenious, is so helpful to the learner as full and intelligent notes, which draw attention to many particulars otherwise almost certain to elude observation. It is moreover, a mistake to place too much con- . fidence in a system of classification, to the injury of Indices. The usefulness of the volume would have been much increased, had the author made the index, as upon the title page it claims to be, "copious." In such a collection, to be certain of finding what is required, it is absolutely necessary to seize upon every prominent word in the sentence, and enter it upon the index. The labor of making the book would, it is true, be somewhat increased, but its value, when it is made, would be doubled. Such titles, for example, as Cats, Deer, Dragons, Dwarfs, Horses, Monkeys, Oxen, Phoenix, Rats, Stars, Thieves and Wine, would of course be expected in an index of Chinese proverbs; but what assignable reason could there be for omitting such equally indispensable heads as Brass, Ducks, Fathers, Gold, Heart, Jade, Mothers, Pigs, Sea, Silver, Temples, Wind, and many others ?*

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The infelicity would be diminished were the index complete as far as it goes, which is far from being the case. Why, for instance, should “Gambling is the source of robbery" (No. 1818) be omitted under Gambling, in an index in which Robbers, Robbery and Robbing find no place? Why should Nos. 275, 770, &c., in which Tiger is the prominent word be ignored under that head? No. 776 secures no notice either under Raven or Crow. Rising Early' is allowed a place in the index, but no reference there occurs to No. 161 ("who will rise early if he is to gain nothing by it ?") Doubtless these, and many other instances, are due to oversight, but it is an oversight which needlessly wastes the time of the reader. We remember, for example, recalling a sentence to the effect that the ugly daughter-in-law can not conceal her ugliness from her mother-in-law; and another declaring that the palest ink is better than the strongest memory. Daughter-inlaw, Mother-in-law, Ink and Memory are all lacking in the index, and the only entry under Ugliness is not to the purpose. In a new edition, which it is to be hoped may soon be called for, these inadvertencies should receive attention. The collection as a whole is far too valuable to be thrown aside because of these defects; it is, however, literally necessary either often to abandon the quest of lost sentences altogether, to compile a supplementary index, or to read the whole book through about once a year-which we have for some years cheerfully done --in order to remember where to find what is wanted. If the purely local pro verbs, which could be of interest only to a very limited number of readers, and the highly objectionable vulgar ones-which needlessly offend the good taste of all readers-had been omitted, sufficient space might have been gained for a truly "copious index," while the relinquishment of the vain pursuit of an Ignis Fatuus of literal and laborious rhyming-translations, would have afforded leisure for fuller notes and for useful annotations. For, what possible advantage, 'let us in the spirit of love inquire,' can the poor reader derive from flights of poetic fancy, such as the following:

"At each of the Chancellor's examinations, held twice in three years, Each literary, military, old, or young candidate appears." (No. 472). Or this: "Yearly examinations scare the B.A.;

Hay time scares the farmer in much the same way." (No. 473).

Or this: "Try you to defraud in customs and revenue;

The mandarins soon will try to be having you." (No. 1133).

Or, not to multiply citations, No. 2112,

"Wise statesmen are the produce of prosperous dynasties;

Aud children's children bless the home wherever virtue is." (!)


The value of Chinese proverbs has been well treated by Mr. Scarborough in his Introduction. To the observation of Sir John Davis there cited, that such sayings are of great value, inasmuch as they illustrate every grammatical law of the language, too little heed is frequently paid by students of Chinese. As helps to the study of the language, they have a function peculiarly their own. To a mere beginner, no doubt, they are of slight service, sometimes-as in parts of Mr. Wade's XVIII. §-tending rather to bewilder and confound, but when once a certain familiarity with the spoken language is attained, they become invaluable. The idioms are often strongly marked, easy to catch, and hard to forget-combined advantages in the study of the Chinese language of singular infrequency. Even more important, however, is their value as exhibitions of Chinese modes of thought. A familiarity with the manner in which the Chinese mind acts, is much rarer than a creditable command of the spoken language, and of the two, the former is perhaps the more difficult acquisition. To accept everything which is to be found in any Chinese proverb as a trustworthy exponent of Chinese character and thought, would be a mistake, for some sayings are ironical, and some flatly contradict others. But whatever the subject matter, or however extravagant the mode of expression, every Chinese proverb contributes something toward an apprehension of the point of view from which, and the lights in which a great and ancient family of mankind looks upon the tangled web of human life, and of the construction which the experience of ages has led them to put upon its practical problems. Chinese proverbs contain an almost complete chart of human nature, as the Chinese understand it, every shoal, rock, reef and quicksand distinctly laid down. If the Chinese themselves do not avoid these dangers, it is not for lack of admonition, and not for want of opportunity to ascertain the precise nature of the perils of human environment.


A proverb has been defined as the fruit of the longest experience expressed in the fewest words. It is a Universal Major Premise, from which it is natural for Orientals to reason. Hence, with many Asiatic races a proverb is itself an argument, and no solicitude is entertained. with regard to Undistributed Middles, or any other vices pertaining to a science of which nothing is known, and for which, were it known, nothing would be cared. It is sufficient that a generalization is condensed into a nutshell, in a sentence of arrowy brevity,' which goes

Take, for example, the following saying, which is somewhat in the vein of the Book of Ecclesiastes: 'He that builds bridges and repairs roads, will become blind in both eyes; He that commits murder and arson, will enjoy long life'



at once to the mark. Employed by the Chinese themselves in their happiest manner, many of their maxims resemble the diamond-compaet, solid, incisive, light-bearing. The most profound acquaintance with Chinese literature may coexist with contempt for or even ignorance of colloquial proverbs. A mere tyro in Chinese, may, however, grope stumble in the dark, yet if in the effort to express a meaning, he lean upon a proverbial staff, or hobble upon a proverbial crutch, he is almost certain to fix the attention of his auditors. That which commends itself to the Chinese in such a case, is the readiness not simply to adopt their forms of expression, but to enter into their modes of thought.


The student of Chinese soon ascertains that this language is remarkable for its' Homophony,' a quality which bears an euphonious name to denote a vicious thing. Homophony may be defined as that peculiarity of Chinese sounds, which, when they are heard, renders it difficult or impossible to determine what they mean. In Dr. Williams' Dictionary, for example, under the sound of Chi, (which, in accordance with his theory, he variously writes as Ki, Kih, Tsi, and Tsih, all of which in Pekingese are pronounced alike) are noted about 160 characters. Some of these are no doubt extremely rare, while many are met with only in books; but after all abatements upon this score, how is one to be certain when he hears the sound Chi, that any particular Chi is intended, and not some one of fifty other Chi sounds, either of which, for aught that he knows, may be as eligible as the one that happens first to come to mind? If the enclitic erh is appended, forming, by elision, the sound Chi 'rh (jeer), his uncertainty is not much diminished. For this new sound may be not only the product of Chi and erh, but it may likewise have resulted from the violent impact of Chin and erh (Chin 'rh), as well as from a union of Chih and erh, or it may perhaps prove to be the unelided sound Chich.

Do not tease us, kind Reader, by reminding us of the devices called Tones, which differentiate characters otherwise of the same sound. That Mariners should be able to discriminate the four cardinal, and all other intermediate points, by means of a magnetic compass, is well. But suppose it were found by experience to be a peculiarity of all binnacles made at Hamburg, that the Greenwich North became NorthEast, while in all Lisbon instruments the needle pointed only and always South-south-west, and in such as were produced in Baltimore East-by-north? Upon these terms it is to be feared that Naval Courts of Inquiry might be even more numerous than at present. Yet this supposititious case is perfectly analagous to daily experience of Chinese Tones. The Peking shang-p'ing, (high level) is high and level, while

eight miles distant the Tientsin shang-p'ing, is the lowest sound which can be uttered aloud. The hsia-p'ing in regions but a short distance from the Capital, is what its name does not imply, a distinct downward inflection, while in Peking it is not down, and is not level. Not only do tones vary in adjacent districts and towns, but the natives of certain cities, (Peking for instance) profess to determine by his tones alone from which particular quarter of the city a speaker comes, for his speech bewrayeth him.

If the spoken language were as confusing as from such data one would suppose it to be, perfect comprehension of strangers from a distance would be of the rarest. Great, however, as the embarassments undoubtedly are, they are relieved by the phrase-structure of the colloquial, and by other contrivances with which we have no present concern. Our only purpose is to set in a clear light the causes of the frequent difficulty in comprehending Chinese proverbs and other sayings -difficulties arising from homophony not only, but also those due to the employment of unusual idioms, to concise and inverted modes of expression, and to other causes not easily described. It is difficult to equal in English the compactness and force of a Chinese proverb at its best, and to surpass it, is quite out of the question. This is strikingly shown by the facility with which English proverbs may often be turned into Chinese without injury to the 'sense, shortness and salt.' For example: 'Out of the frying-pan into the fire' (XX). Rats desert a sinking ship' (), like the Chinese saying: 'When the water fails the fish fly' (K). Or take the familiar lines of Rabelais: "The Devil was sick, the Devil a monk would be; The Devil was well, the Devil a monk was he," which may be paraphrased: (鬼王患病、悔罪念經然後病好將經扔掉。)

On the other hand there are many Chinese sayings which it is impossible to put into good English without the use of modes of expression, which in comparison with the Chinese, seem clumsy and verbose. For example the following: (*7#,#*74. ) ‘The knowing ones not hard, the hard ones not knowing.' Mr. Scarborough himself might pause before rendering this even into hexameters. Yet the Chinese is limpid. 'Those who know how to do a thing, do not find it difficult; those who find it difficult, know not how to do it.' It is this quality of extreme condensation which renders exact translations of the Chinese Classics into Western languages, so laborious a task. In the Confucian Analects (Book 1. ch. vII.) Dr. Legge renders the four characters: (II) as follows: 'If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous.' In ch. IX. of the same book the characters: (

) are translated: Let there be a careful attention to perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice.' In the Great Learning (ch. x1.) the expression lao lao () is expanded into: 'Behave to the aged as the aged should be behaved to;' while in another place in the Analects (Book XVI. ch. x.) 33 Chinese characters when melted down into English fill up 136 words! There are many English proverbs which have almost exact counterparts in Chinese, and the same is true of some of the Maxims of Solomon. What, for example, could be more perfect than the correspondence between Ecclesiastes 1. 7. "All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full," and the Chinese saying: (Quoted in Doolittle, p. 489 and in Scarborough No. 2507) (1,17.)

It is related that many years ago, on the occasion of the examination of a student as to his progress in the language, the British Minister turned to him, and remarked: "Mr. Blank, you may say something in Chinese to the teacher." Mr. Blank, who was carefully loaded and primed for the occasion, turned to the teacher, and said "something in Chinese"-a something, however, which His Excellency did not understand. "What do you mean by that, sir ?" exclaimed the Minister. The student defended himself, and the teacher, who had replied intelligently, decided upon appeal that the words used were good Chinese. Whether this little tale is true or not, we have no means of knowing. That it might easily be true, is susceptible of proof as convincing as the demonstrations of Euclid. The Chinese language is a field of continental area. However skilful or scientific a traveler may be, however accurate the topographical and general knowledge which he may acquire of a country, that he should be acquainted with the caliber and direction of the hole of every field-mouse and ground lizard, is a physical impossibility. The mighty Dragon is no match for the native serpent’(强龍難壓地頭蛇)


"Full many a gem of purest ray serene,

The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear."

It is little to say that there are within this language dark unfathomed caves, filled with material more or less gemmeous, and of greater or less purity and serenity of ray, which the combined knowledge of all the Sinologues extant would not suffice to recognize at sight-no, not even were they reinforced by all the Sinologues that have ever existed on the planet. Nay, more; were it conceivable that the Chinese language had been invented out of hand, like a system of phonography, and the venerable inventor were still living, loaded with all the linguistic lore of ages-such are the necessities of the evolution of speech, and such its capacities for new development—that he must at

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