White jade scepter

Nan Rong constantly repeated a refrain from the poem “white jade scepter”. Confucius gave him his elder brother’s daughter in marriage.

Nan Rong was first mentioned in Chapter II of Book 5 of the Analects in which Confucius gave him the hand of his niece because: “In a well-governed state, he will not be overlooked for an official position. In a badly-governed state, he will avoid punishment and disgrace.”

The refrain that Nan Rong is repeating can be found in Ode 256 in the Book of Songs. It provides  further  evidence showing why Confucius considered Nan Rong as a good catch for his niece: he is very cautious in the way he acts and speaks.

A flaw in the white jade scepter can be polished away
But a flaw in words is irreparable

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *