They do not presume to wear robes other than those appointed by the laws of the ancient kings 2; nor to speak words other than those sanctioned by their speech; nor to exhibit conduct other than that exemplified by their virtuous ways. Thus none of their words being contrary to those sanctions, and none of their actions contrary to the (right) way,
from their mouths there comes no exceptionable speech, and in their conduct there are found no exceptionable actions. Their 'words may fill all under heaven, and no error of speech will be found in them. Their actions may fill all under heaven, and no dissatisfaction or dislike will be awakened by them. When these three things--(their robes, their words, and their conduct)--are all complete as they should be, they can then preserve their ancestral temples 1:--this is the filial piety of high ministers and great officers.
It is said in the Book of Poetry 2,
469:2 The articles of dress, to be worn by individuals according to their rank, from the sovereign downwards, in their ordinary attire, and on special occasions, were the subject of attention and enactment in China from the earliest times. We find references to them in the earliest books of the Shû (Part 11, Books iii, iv). The words to be spoken, and conduct to be exhibited, on every varying occasion, could not be so particularly described; but the example of the ancient kings would suffice for these, as their enactments for the dress.
470:1 Their ancestral temples were to the ministers and grand officers what the altars of their land and grain were to the feudal lords. Every great officer had three temples or shrines, in which he sacrificed to the first chief of his family or clan; to his grandfather, and to his father. While these remained, the family remained, and its honours were perpetuated.
470:2 See the Shih, III, iii, ode 6, stanza 4.