Above others, and yet free from pride, they dwell on high, without peril; adhering to economy, and carefully observant of the rules and laws, they are full, without overflowing. To dwell on high without peril is the way long to preserve nobility; to be full without overflowing is the way long to preserve riches. When their riches and nobility do not leave their persons, then they are able to preserve the altars of their land and grain, and to secure the harmony of their people and men in office 4:--this is the filial piety of the princes of states.
It is said in the Book of Poetry 1,
468:4 In the Chinese Repository we have for this:--'They will be able to protect their ancestral possessions with the produce of their lands;' 'They will make sure the supreme rank to their families! But it is better to retain the style of the original. The king had a great altar to the spirit (or spirits) presiding over the land. The colour of the earth in the Centre of it was yellow; that on each of its four sides differed according to the colours assigned to the four quarters of the sky. A portion of this earth was cut away, and formed the nucleus of a corresponding altar in each feudal state, according to their position relative to the capital. The prince of the state had the prerogative of sacrificing there. A similar rule prevailed for the altars to the spirits presiding over the grain. So long as a family ruled in a state, so long its chief offered those sacrifices; and the extinction of the sacrifices was an emphatic way of describing the ruin and extinction of the ruling House.
469:1 See the Shih, II, v, ode i, stanza 6.