Sacred Texts  Confucianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Book of Filial Duty, by Ivan Chen, [1908], at

No. II

Affection shown in tasting Soups and Medicines

The Emperor Wên of the Han dynasty, the third son of his father, Kao Tsu, was appointed

p. 35

[paragraph continues] Prince over the country of Tai. His own mother, Po, was Queen-dowager, and Wên was constant in his attendance on her. She was ill for three years, during which time his eyelids did not close, nor was the girdle of his dress unloosed; and she took none of the soups and medicines prepared for her till he had tasted them. This benevolence and filial affection was heard of throughout the empire.

Wên received direction to go and arrange the imperial sacrifices, and requested his mother to accompany him to the royal domains. Morning and evening he visited her in her own apartments, and handed her the fragrant dishes. If the provisions had lost their flavour, he was vexed; and when tasting the medicines he commanded perfect silence. The live-long night his girdle was not loosed, nor for three years were his eyelids closed. By as much as his animal spirits were exhausted, by so much the more did his heart become fixed on the subject of its affection; and for a long time his thoughts were not distracted. Such filial love and virtue so moved upon Heaven's kind regard, that it wrought upon his father to confer the throne upon him as his patrimony.

Next: No. III: Gnawing her Finger pained his Heart