Note that Needham uses the Yale romanization of 扁鹊 - Pien Chhüeh
Phang Hsüan said to the king of Cho-hsiang, ‘Have you not heard that Duke Wên of Wei asked the great physician, Pien Chhüeh , “of your three brothers, which is the best physician?” Pien Chhüeh answered “The eldest is the best, then the second, and I am the least worthy of the three.” Duke Wên said, “Might I hear about this?” Pien Chhüeh replied, “My eldest brother, in dealing with diseases, is attentive to the spirit (shên). Before [any symptoms] have formed, he has already got rid of it. Thus his fame has never reached beyond our own clan. My next brother treats disease when its signs are most subtle, so his name is unknown beyond our own village. As for myself, I use stone needles on the blood vessels, prescribe strong drugs, and fortify the skin and the flesh. Thus my name has become known among all the feudal lords.” ’
Here is the translated passage in (traditional) Chinese, copied from the Chinese Text Project page linked above:
A few thoughts:
- 可得聞邪 translated as "Might I hear about this?" is really cute. I don't know why I feel that way . . . something about picturing Duke Wen of Wei saying that line with an English accent...
- 未有形而除之 translated as "Before [any symptoms] have formed". The Chinese 未有形 literally reads as "Before having form". I wonder what led Needham (assuming this was his translation) to use the word 'symptoms' here?