人之初 性本善 性相近 习相远
Men at their birth,
are naturally good.
Their natures are much the same;
their habits become widely different.
苟不教 性乃迁 教之道 贵以专
If follishly there is no teaching,
the nature will deteriorate.
The right way in teaching,
is to attach the utmost importance
昔孟母 择邻处 子不学 断机杼
Of old, the mother of Mencius
chose a neighbourhood
and when her child would not learn,
she broke the shuttle from the loom.
窦燕山 有义方 教五子 名俱扬
Tou of the Swallow Hills
had the right method
He taugh five son,
each of whom raised the family reputation.
养不教 父之过 教不严 师之惰
To feed without teaching,
is the father's fault.
To teach without severity,
is the teacher's laziness.
子不学 非所宜 幼不学 老何为
If the child does not learn,
this is not as it should be.
If he does not learn while young,
what will he be when old ?
玉不琢 不成器 人不学 不知义
If jade is not polished,
it cannot become a thing of use.
If a man does not learn,
he cannot know his duty towards his neighbour.
为人子 方少时 亲师友 习礼仪
He who is the son of a man,
when he is young,
should attach himself to his teachers and friends;
and practise ceremonial usages.
香九龄 能温席 孝於亲 所当执
Hsiang, at nine years of age,
could warm (his parent\'s) bed.
Filial piety towards parents,
is that to which we should hold fast.
融四岁 能让梨 弟於长 宜先知
Jung, at four years of age, \'Y\')
could yield the (bigger) pears.
To hehave as a younger brother towards elders,
is one of the first things to know.