《三字经》[Elementary Chinese; translated by Herbert A. Giles (Shanghai, 1910)]

001. 人之初,性本善。Men at their birth are naturally good. 
003. 性相近,习相远。Their natures are much the same; their habits become widely different.
005. 苟不教,性乃迁。If foolishly there is no teaching, the nature will deteriorate. 
007. 教之道,贵以专。The right way in teaching, is to attach the utmost importance to thoroughness.
009. 昔孟母,择邻处。Of old, the mother of Mencius chose a neighbourhood; 
011. 子不学,断机杼。and when her child would not learn, she broke the shuttle from the loom.
013. 窦燕山,有义方。Tou of the Swallow Hills had the right method.
015. 教五子,名俱扬。He taught five sons, each of whom raised the family reputation.
017. 养不教,父之过。To feed without teaching is the father's fault. 
019. 教不严,师之惰。To teach without severity is the teacher's laziness.
021. 子不学,非所宜。If the child does not learn, this is not as it should be. 
023. 幼不学,老何为。If he does not learn while young, what will he be when old?
025. 玉不琢,不成器。If jade is not polished, it cannot become a thing of use. 
027. 人不学,不知义。If a man does not learn, he cannot know his duty towards his neighbour.
029. 为人子,方少时。He who is the son of a man, when he is young
031. 亲师友,习礼仪。should attach himself to his teachers and friends, and practise ceremonial usages. 
033. 香九龄,能温席。Hsiang, at nine years of age, could warm (his parents') bed. 
035. 孝于亲,所当执。Filial piety towards parents, is that to which we should hold fast.
037. 融四岁,能让梨。Jung, at four years of age, could yield the (bigger) pears. 
039. 弟于长,宜先知。To behave as a younger brother towards elders, is one of the first things to know. 
041. 首孝弟,次见闻。Begin with filial piety and fraternal love, and then see and hear . 
043. 知某数,识某文。Learn to count, and learn to read.
045. 一而十,十而百。Units and tens, then tens and hundreds, 
047. 百而千,千而万。hundreds and thousands, thousands and tens of thousands.
049. 三才者,天地人。The Three Forces are Heaven, Earth, and Man. 
051. 三光者,日月星。The Three Luminaries are the sun, the moon and the stars.
053. 三纲者,君臣义。The Three Bonds are (1) the obligation between sovereign and subject, 
055. 父子亲,夫妇顺。(2) the love between father and child, (3) the harmony between husband and wife.
057. 曰春夏,曰秋冬。We speak of spring and summer, we speak of autumn and winter.
059. 此四时,运不穷。These four seasons revolve without ceasing.
061. 曰南北,曰西东。We speak of north and south, we speak of east and west.
063. 此四方,应乎中。These four points respond to the requirements of the centre.
065. 曰水火,木金土。We speak of water, fire, wood, metal and earth. 
067. 此五行,本乎数。These five elements have their origin in number. 
069. 曰仁义,礼智信。We speak of charity of heart and of duty towards one's neighbour, of propriety, of wisdom, and of truth. 
071. 此五常,不容紊。These five virtues admit of no compromise.
073. 稻粱菽,麦黍稷。Rice, spiked millet, pulse, wheat, glutinous millet and common millet.
075. 此六谷,人所食。These six grains are those which men eat.
077. 马牛羊,鸡犬豕。The horse, the ox, the sheep, the fowl, the dog, the pig. 
079. 此六畜,人所饲。These six animals are those which men keep.
080a 惟牛犬,功最著。Especially of the ox and dog is the merit most conspicuous;
080c 能耕田,能守户。one can plough the fields, the other can guard the house.
080e 昧天良,屠市肆。It is to obscure your natural goodness of disposition, to kill them and expose them for sale.
080g 戒物食,免罪处。Beware of eating them, and so avoid being punished.
081. 曰喜怒,曰哀惧。We speak of joy, of anger, we speak of pity, of fear, 
083. 爱恶欲,七情具。of love, of hate, and of desire. These are the seven passions. 
085. 匏土革,木石金。The gourd, earthenware, skin, wood, stone, metal, 
087. 与丝竹,乃八音。silk, and bamboo, yield the eight musical sounds.
089. 高曾祖,父而身。Great great grandfather, great grandfather, grandfather, father and self, 
091. 身而子,子而孙。self and son, son and grandson,
093. 自子孙,至元曾。from son and grandson, on to great grandson and great great grandson. 
095. 乃九族,而之伦。These are the nine agnates, constituting the kinships of man.
097. 父子恩,夫妇从。Affection between father and child, harmony between husband and wife, 
099. 兄则友,弟则恭。friendliness on the part of elder brothers, respectfulness on the part of younger brothers,
101. 长幼序,友与朋。precedence between elders and youngers, as between friend and friend,
103. 君则敬,臣则忠。respect on the part of the sovereign, loyalty on the part of the subject.
105. 此十义,人所同。These ten obligations are common to all men.
107. 凡训蒙,须讲究。In the education of the young, there should be explanation and elucidation, 
109. 详训诂,名句读。careful teaching of the interpretations of commentators, and due attention to paragraphs and sentences.
111. 为学者,必有初。Those who are learners must have a beginning. 
113. 小学终,至四书。The "Little Learning" finished, they proceed to the "Four Books".
115. 论语者,二十篇。There is the Lun Yü, in twenty sections. 
117. 群弟子,记善言。In this, the various disciples have recorded the wise sayings of Confucius.
119. 孟子者,七篇止。The works of Mencius are comprised in seven sections. 
121. 讲道德,说仁义。These explain the WAY and the exemplification thereof, and expound charity and duty towards one's neighbour.
123. 作中庸,子思笔。The "Chung Yung" was written by the pen of Tz{BR}u-ss{BR}u; 
125. 中不偏,庸不易。"Chung" (the middle) being that which does not lean towards any side, "Yung" (the course) being that which cannot be changed.
127. 作大学,乃曾子。He who wrote "The Great Learning" was the philosopher Tsêng. 
129. 自修齐,至平治。Beginning with cultivation of the individual and ordering of the family, it goes on to government of one's own State and tranquillisation of the Empire.
131. 孝经通,四书熟。When the "Classic of Filial Piety" is mastered, and the "Four Books" are known by heart. 
133. 如六经,始可读。The next step is to the "Six Classics", which may now be studied.
135. 诗书易,礼春秋。The "Books of Poetry", of "History" and of "Changes", the "Rites of the Chou Dynasty", the "Book of Rites", and the "Spring and Autumn Annals",
137. 号六经,当讲求。are called the Six Classics, which should be carefully explained and analysed.
139. 有连山,有归藏。There is the "Lien shan" system, there is the "Kuei tsang",
141. 有周易,三易详。and there is the system of Changes of the Chou Dynasty; such are the three systems which elucidate the Changes.
143. 有典谟,有训诰。There are the Regulations, the Counsels, the Instructions, the Announcements, 
145. 有誓命,书之奥。the Oaths, the Charges; these are the profundities of the Book of History.
147. 我周公,作周礼。Our Duke of Chou drew up the Ritual of the Chou Dynasty, 
149. 著六官,存治体。in which he set forth the duties of the six classes of officials, and thus gave a settled form to the government.
151. 大小戴,注礼记。The Elder and the Younger Tai wrote commentaries on the Book of Rites. 
153. 述圣言,礼乐备。They published the holy words, and Ceremonies and Music were set in order.
155. 曰国风,曰雅颂。We speak of the "Kuo feng", we speak of the "Ya" and of the "Sung".
157. 号四诗,当讽咏。These are the four sections of the Book of Poetry, which should be hummed over and over.
159. 诗既亡,春秋作。When odes ceased to be made, the "Spring and Autumn Annals" were produced. 
161. 寓褒贬,别善恶。These "Annals" contain praise and blame, and distinguish the good from the bad.
163. 三传者,有公羊。The three commentaries upon the above, include that of Kung-Yang, 
165. 有左氏,有彀梁。that of Tso, and that of Ku-Liang.
167. 经既明,方读子。When the classics are understood, then the writings of the various philosophers should be read. 
169. 撮其要,记其事。Pick out the important points in each, and take a note of all facts.
171. 五子者,有荀杨。The five chief philosophers are Hsün, Yang, 
173. 文中子,及老庄。Wên Chung Tz{BR}u, Lao Tz{BR}u and Chuang Tz{BR}u.
175. 经子通,读诸史。When the Classics and the Philosophers are mastered, the various histories should then be read, 
177. 考世系,知终始。and the genealogical connections should be examined, so that the end of one dynasty and the beginning of the next may be known.
179. 自羲农,至黄帝。From Fu Hsi and Shên Nung on to the Yellow Emperor, --
181. 号三皇,居上世。these are called the Three Rulers, who lived in the early ages.
183. 唐有虞,号二帝。T'ang and Yu-Yü are called the Two Emperors. 
185. 相揖逊,称盛世。They abdicated, one after the other, and theirs was called the Golden Age.
187. 夏有禹,商有汤。The Hsia dynasty had Yü; and the Shang dynasty had T'ang;
189. 周文武,称三王。the Chou dynasty had Wên and Wu;-- these are called the Three Kings.
191. 夏传子,家天下。Under the Hsia dynasty the throne was transmitted from father to son, making a family possession of the empire. 
193. 四百载,迁夏社。After four hundred years, the Imperial sacrifice passed from the House of Hsia.
195. 汤伐夏,国号商。T'ang the completer destroyed the Hsia Dynasty and the dynastic title became Shang. 
197. 六百载,至纣亡。The line lasted for six hundred years, ending with Chou Hsin. 
199. 周武王,始诛纣。King Wu of the Chou Dynasty finally slew Chou Hsin. 
201. 八百载,最长久。His own line lasted for eight hundred years; -- the longest dynasty of all.
203. 周辙东,王纲堕。When the Chous made tracks eastwards, the feudal bond was slackened; 
205. 逞干戈,尚游说。the arbitrament of spear and shields prevailed; and peripatetic politicians were held in high esteem.
207. 始春秋,终战国。This period began with the Spring and Autumn Epoch, and ended with that of the Warring States. 
209. 五霸强,七雄出。Next, the Five Chieftains domineered, and the Seven Martial States came to the front. 
211. 嬴秦氏,始兼并。Then the House of Ch'in, descended from the Ying clan, finally united all the States under one sway. 
213. 传二世,楚汉争。The throne was transmitted to Erh Shih, upon which followed the struggle between the Ch'u and the Han States.
215. 高祖兴,汉业建。Then Kao Tsu arose, and the House of Han was established. 
217. 至孝平,王莽篡。When we come to the reign of Hsiao P'ing, Wang Mang usurped the throne.
219. 光武兴,为东汉。Then Kuang Wu arose, and founded the Eastern Han Dynasty. 
221. 四百年,终于献。It lasted four hundred years, and ended with the Emperor Hsien.
223. 魏蜀吴,争汉鼎。Wei, Shu, and Wu, fought for the sovereignty of the Hans. 
225. 号三国,迄两晋。They were called the Three Kingdoms, and existed until the Two Chin Dynasties.
227. 宋齐继,梁陈承。Then followed the Sung and the Ch'i dynasties, and after them the Liang and Ch'ên dynasties 
229. 为南朝,都金陵。These are the southern dynasties, with their capital at Nanking.
231. 北元魏,分东西。The northern dynasties are the Wei dynasty of the Yüan family, which split into Eastern and Western Wei,
233. 宇文周,兴高齐。the Chou dynasty of the Yü-wen family, with the Ch'i dynasty of the Kao family.
235. 迨至隋,一土宇。At length, under the Sui dynasty, the empire was united under one ruler.
237. 不再传,失统绪。The throne was not transmitted twice, succession to power being lost.
239. 唐高祖,起义师。The first Emperor of the T'ang dynasty raised volunteer troops. 
241. 除隋乱,创国基。He put an end to the disorder of the House of Sui, and established the foundations of his line.
243. 二十传,三百载。Twenty times the throne was transmitted in a period of three hundred years. 
245. 梁灭之,国乃改。The Liang State destroyed it, and the dynastic title was changed. 
247. 梁唐晋,及汉周。The Liang, the T'ang, the Chin, the Han, and the Chou,
249. 称五代,皆有由。are called the Five Dynasties, and there was a reason for the establishment of each. 
251. 炎宋兴,受周禅。Then the fire-led House of Sung arose, and received the resignation of the house of Chou. 
253. 十八传,南北混。Eighteen times the throne was transmitted, and then the north and the south were reunited. 
254a 辽与金,帝号纷。Under the Liao and the Chin dynasties, there was confusion of Imperial titles;
254c 逮灭辽,宋犹存。when the Liao dynasty was destroyed, the Sung dynasty still remained.
254e 至元兴,金绪歇。When the Yüan dynasty arose, the line of the Chin Tartars came to an end,
254g 有宋世,一同灭。and the House of Sung was destroyed together with it.
254i 并中国,兼戎翟。It united the Middle Kingdom, and attached to the empire the tribes of the north and west.
254k 明太祖,久亲师。The founder of the Ming dynasty was for a long time engaged in warfare.
254m 传建文,方四祀。He transmitted the throne to Chien Wên only four years,
254o 迁北京,永乐嗣。when the capital was transferred to Peking, and Yung Lo succeeded the latter.
254q 逮崇祯,煤山逝。At length Ch'ung Chêng died on the Coal Hill.
254a 辽于金,皆称帝。The Liao Tartars and the Chin Tartars all took the Imperial title.
254c 元灭金,绝宋世。The Yüans (Mongols) destroyed the Chin Tartars, and put an end to the House of Sung.
254e 莅中国,兼戎翟。They governed the Middle Kingdom, and also the wild tribes of the north and west;
254g 九十年,国祚废。after ninety years their mandate was exhausted.
254i 太祖兴,国大明。Then T'ai Tsu arose, his dynasty being known as Ta Ming.
254k 号洪武,都金陵。He took as his year-title Hung Wu, and fixed his capital at Chin-ling (Nanking).
254m 逮成祖,迁燕京。At length, under the Emperor Ch'êng Tsu, a move was made to Swallow City (Peking).
254o 十七世,至崇祯。There were seventeen reigns in all, down to and including Ch'ung Chêng.
254q 权奄肆,寇如林。The hold on the people was relaxed, and rebels sprang up thick as forests.
254s 至李闯,神器终。Then came Li Ch'uang, and the Imperial regalia were destroyed.
254u 清太祖,应景命。The founder of the Ch'ing or Pure dynasty responded to the glorious summons;
254w 靖四方,克大定。he tranquillised the four quarters (N.S.E. and W.), and achieved the final settlement of the empire.
255. 廿二史,全在兹。The Twenty-two Dynastic Histories are all embraced in the above. 
257. 载治乱,知兴衰。They contain examples of good and bad government, whence may be learnt the principles of prosperity and decay.
259. 读史书,考实录。Ye who read history must study the State Annals, 
261. 通古今,若亲目。whereby you will understand ancient and modern events, as though having seen them with your own eyes. 
263. 口而诵,心而惟。Recite them with the mouth, and ponder over them in your hearts. 
265. 朝于斯,夕于斯。Do this in the morning; do this in the evening.
267. 昔仲尼,师项橐。Of old, Confucius took Hsiang T'o for his teacher. 
269. 古圣贤,尚勤学。The inspired men and sages of old studied diligently nevertheless. 
271. 赵中令,读鲁论。Chao, President of the Council, studied the Lu text of the "Lun Yü". 
273. 彼既仕,学且勤。He, when already an official, studied, and moreover with diligence.
275. 披蒲编,削竹简。One opened out rushes and plaited them together; another scraped tablets of bamboo. 
277. 彼无书,且知勉。These men had no books, but they knew how to make an effort.
279. 头悬梁,锥刺股。One tied his head to the beam above him; another pricked his thigh with an awl. 
281. 彼不教,自勤苦。They were not taught, but toiled hard of their own accord. 
283. 如囊萤,如映雪。Then we have one who put fireflies in a bag, and again another who used the white glare from snow. 
285. 家虽贫,学不缀。Although their families were poor, these men studied unceasingly.
287. 如负薪,如挂角。Again, there was one who carried fuel, and another who used horns as pegs. 
289. 身虽劳,犹苦卓。Although they toiled with their bodies, they were nevertheless remarkable for their application. 
291. 苏老泉,二十七。Su Lao-ch'üan, at the age of twenty-seven,
293. 始发愤,读书籍。at last began to show his energy and devote himself to the study of books.
295. 彼既老,犹悔迟。Then, when already past the age, he deeply regretted his delay. 
297. 尔小生,宜早思。You little boys should take thought betimes.
299. 若梁灏,八十二。Then there was Liang Hao, who at the age of eighty-two, 
301. 对大廷,魁多士。made his replies in the great hall, and came out first among many scholars. 
303. 彼既成,众称异。When thus late he had succeeded, all men pronounced him a prodigy. 
305. 尔小生,宜立志。You little boys should make up your minds to work.
307. 莹八岁,能咏诗。Jung at eight years of age, could compose poetry. 
309. 泌七岁,能赋棋。Pi, at seven years of age, could make an epigram on "wei-ch'i".
311. 彼颖悟,人称奇。These youths were quick of apprehension, and people declared them to be prodigies. 
313. 尔幼学,当效之。You young learners ought to imitate them. 
315. 蔡文姬,能辨琴。Ts'ai Wên-chi was able to judge from the sound of a psaltery. 
317. 谢道韫,能咏吟。Hsieh Tao-yün was able to compose verses.
319. 彼女子,且聪敏。They were only girls, yet they were quick and clever. 
321. 尔男子,当自警。You boys ought to rouse yourselves. 
323. 唐刘晏,方七岁。Liu Yen of the T'ang dynasty, when only seven years of age, 
325. 举神童,作正字。was ranked as an "inspired child", and was appointed a Corrector of Texts. 
327. 彼虽幼,身己仕。He, although a child, was already in an official post. 
329. 尔幼学,勉而致。You young learners strive to bring about a like result. 
331. 有为者,亦若是。Those who work will also succeed as he did. 
333. 犬守夜,鸡司晨。The dog keeps guard by night; the cock proclaims the dawn. 
335. 苟不学,曷为人。If foolishly you do not study, how can you become men? 
337. 蚕吐丝,蜂酿蜜。The silkworm produces silk, the bee makes honey. 
339. 人不学,不如物。If man does not learn, he is not equal to the brutes.
341. 幼而学,壮而行。Learn while young, and when grown up apply what you have learnt;
343. 上致君,下泽民。influencing the sovereign above; benefiting the people below.
345. 扬名声,显父母。Make a name for yourselves, and glorify your father and mother,
347. 光于前,裕于后。shed lustre on your ancestors, enrich your posterity.
349. 人遗子,金满嬴。Men bequeath to their children coffers of gold;
351. 我教子,惟一经。I teach you children, only this book. 
353. 勤有功,戏无益。Diligence has its reward; play has no advantages, 
355. 戒之哉,宜勉力。Oh, be on your guard, and put forth your strength.