Perfect timing

色斯舉矣,翔而後集。曰:「山梁雌雉,時哉時哉!」子路共之,三嗅而作。
Startled by a sudden movement, the bird flew off and then landed again. It is said: “The hen pheasant on the mountain bridge; what perfect timing, what perfect timing!” Zilu motioned towards the bird, which sniffed three times and flew away.

I can’t help wondering whether a bored scribe tacked on this passage to the end of Book 10 for his own amusement or to wake up the reader from their stupor after reading endless chapters on how a gentleman should conduct himself. It has absolutely nothing to do with the previous chapters in the book, and is either so corrupt or so ambiguous that it is virtually impossible to fully understand or translate.

Naturally, there are some commentators who see some deep philosophical meaning in this random encounter between Zilu and presumably Confucius with this hen pheasant out in the mountains. Others, however, may just see it as an excuse for publishing some pretty awful poetry.

Please note that this translation is speculative.

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