of LAO TSZE (B.C. 604)
Translation by Charles A. Mackintosh
I got it from Levzion

1. The way to which mankind may hold
Is not the eternal way.
Eternal truths cannot be told
In what men write or say.

2. The name that may be named by man
Is not the eternal name
That was before the world began
Or human language came.

3. In that the namable took root,
The tree of fire and force,
Which, having blossomed and borne fruit,
Returns then to its source.

4. Who warms his body at that fire,
Sees nothing but its smoke;
But he who puts aside desire,
The flame's self may invoke.

5. These two things are the same in source
But different in name;
Who solves this mystery has recourse
To that from, whence be came.

6. Beauty, delighting in display,
Becomes sheer ugliness;
And so it is that goodness may
Seem greater, but be less.

7. The holy man prepares the plot
But does not claim the yield,
He quickens, but possesses not,
Acts, but remains concealed.

8. He merits much, but does not ask
That any grant that same;
He finds his pleasure in the task,
And fears to find it fame.

9. Not ever boasting of his worth,
No one desires to dim;
Not prizing treasures of the earth,
No one will steal from him.

10. All thoughts that kindle to desire,
His mind has long refused,
And, since he does not feed that fire,
His heart is unconfused.

11. When such a one governs the land,
Self-seeking finds surcease.
The crafty dare not raise a hand;
The people dwell in peace.

12. God is quite empty, but profound:
The father, and the seed;
The radiant sky; the dusty ground;
The doer, and the deed.

13. How calm He is, how calm and still!
I know not whence He came;.
He was before the word of will
That gave the Lord his name.

14. Were heaven troubled with desire,
Would it be long before
The worlds were cast into the fire
Like temple dogs of straw?

15. And if the holy man refused
To toil save for a price,
Would not his heart become confused,
Corrupting his advice?

16. Standing upon the mountain steep
How low the valley seems!
And yet, because it lies so deep,
It gathers all the streams.

17. The valley-spirit cannot fall
Because it lies so low;
And yet it is the base of all,
And to it all things flow.

I8. Earth's bulk, and heaven's awful curve
How can they so endure?
Neither has selfish ends to serve,
And so their strength is pure.

19. So it is with the holy one
Who keeps his spirit meek;
All things that he desires are done,
Who serves but does Dot seek.

20. Goodness and water are the same
In that each often runs
Through lowly spots, unknown to fame,
Which the self-seeker shuns.

21. Goodness, when great, is lowly still;
It makes commotion cease;
In giving, goodness shows good will;
In government, brings peace;

22. In business, brings ability;
In perfect time it moves;
Going in all humility,
Therefore no one reproves.

23. Who grasps too much is likely foiled;
Who schemes too hot, grows cold;
That hall is certain to be spoiled
Which brims with gems and gold.

24. The rich and high who have the flaw
Of pride1 invite decay.
To do the deed and then withdraw -
That is the Godlike way.

25. Who knows himself as One, no less,
Cannot be torn apart;
Who concentrates his tenderness,
May purify his heart.

26. Who loves the people he would lead,
Will not proclaim his power,
But act, and quicken them, and feed
As heaven feeds the flower.

27. The thirty spokes within the wheel
Unite upon - a hole;
Yet, but for that which none can feel
How could the carriage roll?

28. From damp clay molded into place,
A vessel may be wrought;
And yet, but for its empty space,
Its value would be naught.

29. Thou wood and tile may build a hall
And roof it with a dome,
It is the space within the wall,
That makes the hall a home.

30. And so, from vessel, hall, and wheel,
This truth we may deduce:
To what existence renders real,
Its opposite gives use.

31. If all the colors are combined,
All notes together sound,
Such light the human eye will blind,
Such noise the ear confound.

32. When all the testes together blend,
The taste is wholly bad.
All sensual pleasures have an end,
Excess but drives men mad.

33. Who would be wise in word and deed,
And free from sensual strife,
Permits each sense to serve his need,
But not to rule his life.

34. Who seeks for favor, fears to fail;
Who gains it, fears disgrace:
How like the body, quick to ail,
Is lofty rank and place!

35. Who sits upon the Peacock Throne,
Keeping his person pure,
And rules the empire as his own
Body, shall be secure.

36. How colorless is God, and clear,
Our eyes see nothing real;
We listen, but we do not hear;
We grasp, but do not feel.

37. We cannot analyze this thought -
These mysteries that blend;
In the beginning there was naught,
And shall be at the end.

38. Beginning's self did not begin;
No ending can there be.
Who holds fast to these truths shall win
To immortality.

39. The ancient masters, those of yore,
Were subtle and profound.
How few can understand their lore,
Which I strive to expound!

40. How cautious they! Like men who cross
Thin ice to reach firm land.
How hesitant! As fearing loss
From foes on every hand.

41. And how reserved! Like gentle guests.
And how elusive they!
Like snow that falls on Summer's breasts,
And swiftly melts away.

42. How simple! Like the unhewn wood.
How empty! Like the vale.
And how obscure! The troubled flood,
Compared, seems clear and pale.

43. But who can quiet the troubled streams?
And who can stir the stilled?
Who follows on where wisdom gleams
Cares nothing to be filled.

44. Devoid of worry, fear, and doubt
Traps set for foolish feet;
He is not filled, and so, without
Renewal, grows complete.

45. Who seeks the rest of perfect peace,
Must know the nameless name,
Whence all things rise, and bloom, end cease,
Returning whence they came.

46. According thus with destiny,
The eternal light grows strong.
Without that light, one can but be
Forever in the wrong.

47. He shall no longer fear decay,
Who holds this wisdom sure;
For, though his body pass away,
Himself shall still endure.

48. The subjects of the truly wise
Perceive no government,
But live as though from cloudless skies
Rained order and content.

49. The lesser rulers are held dear,
Their subjects call them wise;
Still lesser ones, the people fear;
And lesser still, despise.

50. So tenderly those great ones wrought
The service of the throne;
The hundred families each thought
"We rule ourselves alone."

51. When the great wisdom is denied,
Justice must take its place.
When justice in its turn has died,
Prudence must meet the case.

52. When family chords fall out of tune,
Then filial piety comes.
Loyalty and allegiance soon
Follow the warlike drums.

53. Abandon all your saintliness;
Your prudence put aside
Then you may rule and truly bless
And serve the countryside I

54. Go, set aside your justice stern,
And your benevolence,
So that the people may return
To simple commonsense I

55. Abandon smartness, give up greed;
All thought of self resist;
So all shall have all that they need,
And thieves no more exist

56. Hold fast to that which shall endure;
Let your desires be few;
Show yourself simple, and be pure;
And all shall flow to you!

57. Abandon learning, and your mind
Will not be vexed by doubt.
Though tight the net of words may bind,
How surely Truth Blips out!

58. To seek all good, all evil spurn,
Love peace, and flee from strife:
Is that not all the wisest learn,
And not from book. - from life?

59. The multitudes of men are gay,
Oh, harken how they sing,
As though upon a festal day
To welcome back the spring.

60. The holy man alone is sad;
As, by the temple wall,
One fears to find the omen bad,
Or not received at all.

61. Ah', he is like a little child,
A moment after birth,
Who has not ever wept or smiled
Nor recognized the earth.

62. Forlorn is he, forlorn indeed,
And utterly alone.
Others have plenty for their need,
Naught has he for his own.

63. While common folk are bright, so bright,
How ignorant he seems!
When others wit glows keen and ugh
How dull his wisdom gleams!

64. Desolate, like the empty sea;
Adrift, no place to moor;
All others have utility,
He rustic, and a boor!

65. How far he differs from the rest,
This child of time and chance,
Who lies upon the mother's breast,
To seek his sustenance!

66. Great virtue is the shade of God;
God, whom all thought eludes;
Yet all that lives upon the sod
That deep, obscure, includes.

67. In Him abides the spirit pure
Whose faith shall never fall;
Eternally He shall endure,
Heeding the good of all.

68. They that are crooked shall be straight
The empty find their fill;
The crushed ones shall recuperate;
The worn with strength re-thrill.

69. They that have little shall receive,
And they whose wealth is great,
Shall lose their surplus to relieve
The more unfortunate.

70. He who embraces unity,
All men should imitate;
Not self-displaying, he may be
Enlightened, free, and great.

71. Not self-approving, who is more
Approved than such as he?
Who does not seek to go before,
Leader of all shall be.

72. Disdaining disputatious talk,
None leads him into strife.
This is the path that all must walk,
To lead the perfect life.

73. Great violence cannot last for long;
The cloudburst and the gale,
Though heaven and earth have made them strong,
How shortly must they fail!

74. If heaven and earth cannot sustain
Their violence for a day;
How foolish is that man, and vain,
Who gives his passions play I

75. Those who accomplish each affair
In God's all-gentle guise,
Shall find companions everywhere
As virtuous and wise.

76. From whom good fortune seems to flee
In work as well as play,
On every side, others shall see
Unfortunate as they!

77. The virtuous seek the virtuous out;
The grieving, them that grieve;
And he whose faith is lost in doubt,
No faith shall ho receive.

78. He who displays his wit to all,
Displays himself a fool;
Asserting self invites a fall,
And gets it, as a rule.

79. On self-approval, plainly seen
By others, anger thrives;
Who yields to it, is counted mean;
Self-seekers stunt their lives.

80. Like one whose bloated body shows
He loves his food too much;
Or one upon whose person grows
The wen that none will touch,

81. Self-seeking fools are shunned and left
Alone by all mankind.
Not so the holy one, bereft
Of self in heart and mind.

82. Before the earth in space was spun
Beneath the heaven's feet,
There was a mighty spirit, One,
Calm, wondrous and complete.

83. Changeless, yet moving; from its womb
All things came into birth;
This is the mystic bride and groom,
Maker of heaven and earth.

84. Its name I know not, and none knows.
Its nature, God, I call;
From whence all came, to which all goes
The heart and home of all.

85. Man's simple standard is the earth;
Earth's standard, Heaven's throne;
Heaven's standard, God who gave it birth
God's standard is His own.

86. Rest conquers motion; at the heart
Of lightness there is mass.
And so the wise one sits apart
As pleasures come and pass.

87. How is it when the earthly lord
Delights in joy alone?
Shall he not perish by the sword,
Or, surely, lose his throne?

88. The skillful traveler leaves no trail
To draw foes on his track;
Good speakers logic does not fail;
Good reckoners need no rack.

89. Good treasurers need not bolt nor bar
To keep their treasures sound;
Though all may know just where they arc
By none may they be found.

90. The holy and enlightened mind
That knows all things have worth,
And knows no outcast humankind,
May serve and save the earth. -

91. Whose purpose wealth can never turn,
Nor multitudes confound,
Though he may yet have much to learn
His wisdom is profound.

92. The Empire's river, vast, divine,
Is he in whose pure soul
Manhood and womanhood combine
Into a childlike whole.

93. The Empire's model he shall be,
Who knows both bad and good;
With him all virtue shall agree,
All things be understood.

94. The Empire's valley is that one
Who knows fame, but can see
Ills shame; and when his time is done
Turns to simplicity.

95. The holy man who has recourse
To this calm peace of mind,
Becomes a pure and powerful force
To serve all humankind.

96. The Empire is divine; who take
And mold it as they choose,
May mar, indeed, but never make;
May take, but ever lose.

97. This has been said of humankind:
"Some humble, others bold,
Some strong, some weak, cruel or kind,
Some warm, and others cold."

98. Who may attempt to rule, and sway
Into a common cause,
Save he who in the Godlike way
Lets virtues be their laws?

99. War when you must, and only then,
Nor put your faith in war;
War wastes the Empires wealth of men,
Then famine wastes far more.

100. Be resolute, but do not thrust
Your weapon to its length;
Be resolute because you must,
But not to prove your strength.

101. Things thrive and prosper and grow old
And shortly pass away;
Thus end all things that do not hold
To God and to His way.

102. In war, even the victors lose
No less than the subdued;
So, the superior man will choose
Content and quietude.

103. When he must fight, he will not fly;
Winning, will not rejoice;
He does not love to see men die,
And hear the widow's voice.

104. Who loves the battle, and to kill,
And wastes the world with strife,
Shall not for long obtain his will,
But surely lose his life.

105. As streams and creeks unite and flow
In rivers to the sea,
God's mighty functions we may know
Towards all things that be.

106. Unnameable, devoid of harm,
Presuming not to press;
Yet, His simplicity and calm
The world dare not suppress.

107. If kings and princes held Him fast
Homage all things would pay,
The people would find peace at last,
Disorder die away.

108. When out of God, good order came,
After creation's storm;
The nameless had acquired a name,
The namable, a form.

109. Dealing with forms, mankind may learn
Just how far they may go,
And when to stop, and when to turn,
Avoiding danger so.

110. Who sums his fellows up at sight
Brings wonder to their eyes;
But he who sums himself aright,
Alone is truly wise.

111. Who would grind others into dust,
Great power and strength will need;
But he who conquers his own lust
Performs the greater deed.

112. What wealth is in a happy face!
What vigor comes with will!
The enduring loses not his place;
Dies, but continues still.

113. God's spirit is on every side,
All things does He pervade;
In Him ten thousand things abide,
By Him all things were made.

114. Nourishing all - below, above -
He does not play the lord,
But spends Himself in perfect love,
And asks for no reward.

115. The holy man who never needs
The spurs of wealth and fame,
Shall leave a record of good deeds
Greater than any name.

116. The whole wide world will come in quest
Of him who holds this truth,
Which gives men peace and perfect rest
And sempiternal (eternal) youth.

117. When, from the wayside hotel, streams
Music and savory scent,
The traveler steps; but wisdom seems
Tasteless, and mute, and spent.

118. Who finds it, may not recognize,
And so pass on his way;
But he whose heart is truly wise,
Remains with it for aye.

119. Only the greater can grow less,
Only the strong grow weak;
And he who falls to humbleness
Once was not quite so meek.

120. He who is peaceful as a child
And weak, need fear no wrong;
Thus is it that the meek and mild
Conquer the hard and strong.

121. As fish, when drawn up from the sea
Soon perish on the shore;
So should the people never be
Seduced from peace to war.

122. If kings and princes exercised
A non-assertive sway,
All evils soon would be revised,
For that is God's good way.

123. In Godlike, calm simplicity
Nothing remains undone,
And thus the people all might be
To calm contentment won.

124. The fires of lust would leave their hearts
And set their souls at rest;.
Only when all desire departs
May all the world be blest.

125. Inferior virtue never can
Forego its virtuous claim;
Virtue, in the superior man,
Knows nothing of the name.

126. Such virtue walks in God's own ways,
Asserts not, nor pretends;
Not virtuous because it pays
Or helps in making friends.

127. Benevolence is that good will
Which works without reward;
How unlike justice - quick to kill,
Dependent on the sword!

128. Propriety lays down its rules,
And then has swift recourse
To justice and to sharp-edged tools,
Its rulings to enforce.

129. Propriety is last of all;
Next justice stands arrayed;
Good will succeeds to virtue's fall;
And virtue is God's shade.

130. Tradition is of God the flower,
But leads to ignorance;
For surely that shall lose its power,
Whose power does not advance.

131. Therefore the holy man eschews
The bud, the flower, the fruit;
External things he will refuse,
Returning to the root.

132. In unity is greatest strength,
It makes the heavens pure;
Through it, minds become souls at length
In it, earth shall endure.

133. Through unity, the valley gains
Repletion for its fields,
And gathers to itself the rains
To multiply its yields.

134. Through unity, ten thousand things
Were called to life and breath;
Through unity, the ancient kings
Controlled both life and death.

135. Without it, heaven might be rent;
And earth might bend awry;
Minds unensouled be impotent;
And valleys soon run dry.

136. Who will not take eternal life,
How may he hope to live?
And what can kings expect but strife.
Who ask more than they give?

137. The nobles and the kings depend
Upon the commonweal;
For he who'd reach his journey's end
Needs more than just one wheel.

138. Who knows his origin and stem
In unity alone,
Will heed not praising as a gem
Nor scorning as a stone.

139. In nothingness is God's great force,
From that, existence came;
And thence, ere He turns to His source,
All things with form and name.

140. Superior men who hear of it,
Walk in the Godlike way;
And average men, of lesser wit,
Strive, but oft disobey.

141. But when the inferior man, the fool,
Takes the book in his hands,
He demonstrates by ridicule
How much he understands.

142. It does not deal with lusts of earth
Such as all fools perceive,
So only men of genuine worth,
May know it and believe.

143. Therefore it's written that God's light
Seems darkness twice distilled;
And he who leans upon His might,
Seems weak and feeble-willed

144. When he has done his simple best
He asks for no reward,
But acts as humbly as a guest
And does not play the lord.

145. His virtue is so circumspect
Who puts in God his trust,
That lesser men can but suspect
How he conceals their lust.

146. Who shows perfection to the less
Can but expect their hate,
For, otherwise, they must confess
Themselves not quite so great.

147. Yet only God's self can impart
Completion to the soul,
And some day every human heart
Shall comprehend the whole.

148. From God was the eternal name,
And thence the Two had birth,
And then the Trinity, whence came
All things in heaven and earth.

149. Sustained by earth1 encompassed round
By heaven serene and pure;
And yet it is the soundless sound
That renders all secure.

150. Those who are truly fit to reign
Are neither harsh nor proud;
For gain is loss, and loss is gain
To one who wears a shroud.

151. How very ancient is this truth
Which I propound once morel
And yet it has eternal youth
Because it is the law.

152. The weakest thing in all the world
Is water; yet its play,
Between the rocky ledges whirled,
Grinds the hard rock away.

153. Water does not assert its might,
But follows flow and fall;
Just so, who lives in wisdom's light
Shall serve and conquer all.

154. Which is the nearer - self or name?
Which dearer - self or gold?
And shall we count these things the same-
That which we lose, and hold?

155. When aged people have great wealth,
Either they squander all,
Or thieves and robbers come by stealth
To break the treasure hall.

156. Who works not for a stated goal,
Or to avoid a hell,
Shall lose his life and find his soul
In joy of working well.

157. Perfection is not yet complete,
Or all would cease to be;
Yet, even then, all would repeat
Throughout eternity.

158. The straightest lines resemble curves;
Great skill is never shown;
And he whom eloquence most serves,
Never lets it be known.

159. Behold how motion conquers cold,
And quietude conquers heat;
Just so the clear and pure behold
All things beneath their feet.

160. When men accept God for their needs
And each has all he asks,
Race horses, and more warlike steeds,
Shall fall to menial tasks.

161. His sin is greatest who is rent
By passion and desire;
The greatest woe is discontent,
And greed the hottest fire.

162. Who takes contentment to his breast
Shall find it pure and whole,
And know the bliss of perfect rest,
In an enlightened soul.

163. In God, I may prognosticate
The world and all its ways,
Yet never pass beyond my gate,
Nor through my window gaze.

164. The further that the traveler goes
In strange, exotic lands,
The less he sees, the less he knows,
The less he understands.

165. And so the holy man remains,
And does not travel far;
His wisdom, not for human brains,
Embraces every star.

166. Because he knows the soul of things
Their forms he need not meet.
He does not labor, yet he brings
That which makes all complete.

167. Increase will follow learnedness,
But, fed from heaven's store,
The holy man grows less and less,
And so grows more and more.

168. Arrived at non-assertion's goal,
The throne may be his ward;
For none is fit to rule the whole
Who loves to play the lord.

169. The saint does more than stand aside
From passion and from strife;
The circle of his heart is wide,
Including all with life.

170. Those who are good he greets with good,
And greets the bad the same;
For thus is goodness understood
By those who know its name.

171. The faithful, and the faithless too,
He meets with faith serene;
For that is how they always do,
Who know what faith may mean.

172. The nobles treat him with respect,
He treats each like a child,
Anxious, indeed, and circumspect,
But tolerant and mild.

173. Thirteen roadways run through life
To thirteen doors of death;
Homeward, from foolish fears and strife,
We float on failing breath.

174. Why does man die? Because he lives
Intensely, with desire.
It is intensity that gives
His flesh to feed that fire.

175. I understand that one whose life
Is based on perfect good,
Shall walk in safety through fierce strife,
Or danger-haunted wood.

176. He does not fear the shining blade,
Nor the fierce beast of prey;
Of mortal stuff he is not made,
So none may touch or slay.

177. God quickens, and then virtues feed;
Reality gives form;
And force completes; thus all things heed
Virtue and virtue's norm.

178. None orders the ten thousand things
To join in virtue's praise;
And so spontaneously it springs
From love of virtue's ways.

179. To quicken things, but not to own;
To make, but not to claim;
To raise, but not to seize the throne:
That is eternal fame.

180. When the world turns to its youth,
Then God is recognized
As the world -mother, and this truth
Is understood and prized.

181. As one who knows his mother, so
In turn she knows her son;
She quickens him and helps him grow,
And guards till life is done.

182. Who sets aside desire, and rests
(Closing the gates of sense)
Calmly upon the mother's breasts,
Encounters no offense.

183. But he who gives himself to talk,
And meddles with affairs,
Throughout his life shall seem to walk
Down dim and dangerous stairs.

184. True wisdom brings humility;
The tender are the strong:
Who practices these truths shall be
Preserved from every wrong.

185. What little knowledge I possess
Keeps me secure in grace;
In self-assertion growing less,
Seeking not praise nor place.

186. How broad this mighty roadway seems!
But people love the lanes
That lead them down beside the streams
Of pleasures and of pains.

187. When palaces become immense,
The fields are bare of sheaves.
To glory in the lusts of sense -
This is the pride of thieves!

188. The tree no storm-wind can uproot
Is planted in deep earth.
The treasure none can ever loot
Is that of greatest worth.

189. His sons and grandsons shall not cease
To hold his name in awe,
Who walks upon the way of peace,
And keeps the perfect law.

190. Who walks alone in wisdom's beam,
His virtue is not small.
But, ah', his virtue is supreme
Who holds it out to all.

191. It is the way of man to test
The unknown by the known;
By his own heart he weighs his guest,
Ranks countries by his own.

192. He who has God within his heart
Is like a little child:
Supremely strong in every part,
Yet tender, soft, and mild.

193. The poisoned sting, the fang, the beak,
Strike not, nor seize, nor tear;
His grasp, although his bones be weak,
Is firm beyond compare.

194. He does not yield to passion's gusts,
But keeps his person pure;
He loves indeed, but never lusts,
And so he shall endure.

195. Who has the perfect harmony,
Knows the eternal light;
But he who has it not, shall be
Plunged in perpetual night.

196. They talk the most who know the least
One who is truly wise
Does not presume to play the priest,
But shuts his mouth and eyes.

197. He is not moved by love or hate,
By favor or disgrace;
To loss he is inviolate,
And so he holds his place.

198. With rectitude one rules the states;
With craftiness one leads
The army; but who serves and waits,
Performs the greater deeds.

199. The more their rulers ring them round
With rule and law and act,
The poorer are the people found
In spirit and in fact.

200. States which are best prepared for war
Are certain to conflict.
There is the least regard for law,
Where laws are harsh and strict.

201. The holy man will never try
To rule with sword or rod;
Content to set his standard high;
lie leaves the rest to God.

202. A prying government will do
The people endless harm;
He is the wiser ruler, who
Governs in peace and calm.

203. Misery rests on happiness,
And under that again -
Although the foolish cannot guess -
Lie misery and pain.

204. Thus everything in life depends
Upon its own reverse;
As enemies depend on friends,
And prose depends on verse.

205. And good on bad, as bad on good;
As courage rests on fear:
Only the rash and reckless could
Presume to interfere.

206. The holy man will never feel
Impatient to improve,
Because he knows the mighty wheel
Must turn in its own groove.

207. To govern men is God's affair;
And what presumptuous clod,
In awful arrogance, shall dare
To take the place of God?

208. Indeed he has a mighty task
Who governs his own soul,
And shall such imperfection ask
The right to rule the whole?

209. Practicing virtue, truth, and thrift,
Himself, and every day;
Thus only may he hope to lift
Another on the way.

210. Those rulers who sincerely wish
Their service not to fail,
Will govern as one fries small fish,
And neither gut nor scale.

211. Who governs in the holy name,
And not with idle talk,
Shall keep the country's demons tame,
Nor shall its specters walk.

212. And neither shall the sages, then,
Incite rebelliousness;
But demons, ghosts, and holy men
Shall join to serve and bless.

213. A great state, one that lowly flows,
Becomes the empire's wife;
Because, through quietude, she knows
And rules her husband's life.

214. Through lowliness towards small states,
The great state conquers all;
Just as great ones, forcing their fates,
Are conquered by the small.

215. So some adopt their lowliness
Because they wish the name;
Others are lowly by duress,
But conquer just the same.

216. A great state should desire no more
Than to unite and feed.
A smaller state, avoiding war,
Must serve the people's need.

217. But so that both may do their tasks,
The greater one must bend;
Not proudly, but as one who asks
The right to serve a friend.

218. The universe finds joy and health
In him who walks God's way;
He is the good man's greatest wealth,
The bad man's surest stay.

219. With cunning words, a man may sell
That which is poor or bad;
Had he been honest, who can tell
What gain he might have had?

220. If any man be found with sin,
Shall he be held as naught?
And yet that is the custom in
The Emperor's own court.

221. Better than justice, swift to kill,
And urging men to strife,
It is to do the Father's will,
And speak the word of life.

222. Why did the ancients prize that word?
Because, when sinners craved
To hear it, it was always heard,
And so were sinners saved.

223. Asserting self invites a fall;
Keep yourself safe from such;
Learning to magnify the small,
And make the little much.

224. With perfect love and virtue, woo
The one who proffers hate.
Learn to begin what you must do
Before it grows too great.

225. Remember that the greatest task,
That conquers human will,
Was tiny once, and did not ask
Vast wisdom or much skill.

226. The wise man will not play the great,
Thus greatness will achieve;
For self-assurance tempts ill fate,
And braggarts none believe.

227. Regarding nothing as too light
To need his utmost skill,
All difficulties fade from sight,
And he attains his will.

228. Things still at rest need not be feared,
They may be kept content;
And that which has not yet appeared,
Is easy to prevent.

229. What is still feeble may be burst
Asunder with a touch;
What is still scant may be dispersed
Before it grows too much.

230. Anticipate the thing to be,
And so prevent the deed.
Remember that the stoutest tree
Came from a tiny seed.

231. With brick on bricks, and tile on tiles,
One builds a massive wall.
The journey of a thousand miles
Begins with one footfall.

232. What common people undertake
Tires them before they begin.
They only mar what they would make
And lose what they would win.

233. Who does not guard his enterprise
Until he gains his goal,
Often is taken by surprise
That robs him of the whole.

234. The wise man limits his desires,
And does not mount too high;
But kindles his domestic fires
Where multitudes pass by.

235. He helps indeed, with mind and hands,
When nature's will is clear;
But otherwise he understands
And does not interfere.

236. The ancient ones who ruled of yore,
And knew whereof they spoke,
Said: "Do not cast the sacred lore
Among the common folk.

237. "Much knowledge will corrupt the heart,
When partly understood,
And so the people grow too smart,
But neither wise nor good.

238. "Ruling with smartness is a curse,
He who would serve and bless
His country's people, might do worse
Than just to rule them less."

239. Who rules according to this plan
Has virtue most profound;
Modeling on the holy man,
He too, shall be renowned.

240. Through valleys deep, great rivers flow
To swell the deeper sea;
And it, because it lies so low,
Greatest of all may be.

241. And so the holy man who seeks
To serve his people's needs
Must keep beneath them when he speaks,
Behind them when he leads.

242. Because he seems no more than they,
The people will not hate,
But mark his wisdom and obey
And strive to emulate.

243. Striving with no one, no one can
Confront him with the sword.
The world will always praise that man
Who asks for no reward.

244. A man must differ to be great;
What greatness is expressed
By him who shares the common fate,
And follows all the rest?

245. I have three treasures which I prize:
Compassion first, then thrift,-
And third, not daring to arise
However much I lift.

246. Who has compassion can be brave,
And who has thrift can give;
The life one does not seek to save,
Enables one to live.

247. Those who are brave but never kind,
Generous but always poor,
Ambitious, not of modest mind:
These shall not long endure.

248. Compassion is victorious
When driven to attack;
And in defense it is glorious
Even when driven back.

249. The greatest warriors often hate
The very thought of strife.
Who takes up weapons to be great,
Shall surely lose his life.

250. Re shall excel who never strives,
Who strives shall not excel.
He who would govern others lives
Must govern his own well.

251. And that employer is most wise
Who follows heaven's plan,
In learning how to utilize
The worth of every man.

252. A famous general once observed:
"Act not the host in war,
But act the guest, and he reserved;
Accomplish, then withdraw."

253. Who dares to hold his foemen light,
Commits the worst of sins; -
For when matched armies meet and fight
Compassion always wins.

254. How easy are these words I speak,
How simple to achieve!
Yet, through the world, in vain I seek
For one who can believe.

255. That which is more than deed and word,
No one can comprehend;
What wonder that I am not heard,
Or, being heard, !

256. Therefore the holy man confides
But little in his kind;
Dresses in wool, and deeply hides
His jewels in his mind.

257. To know that which is never shown,
Is spiritual wealth;
But not to know what may be known,
Is madness and ill health.

258. Yet only those who know their need
Are anxious to be pure;
And so ill health will often lead
The sinner to the cure.

259. When people lose the sense of fear,
The dreadful shall befall;
But life is neither sad nor drear
To one who lives it all.

260. The wise man will observe his heart,
And yield not to displays;
Endeavoring to play his part,
He will not seek for praise.

261. Daring is deadly; courage leads
To life, serene and calm;
Yet both of these contain the seeds
Of benefit and harm.

262. The heavenly reason never strives,
Yet is its purpose pure.
Though it speaks not, nor seems alive,
Its victory is sure.

263. The net of heaven is vast, so vast;
Its meshes wide, so wide;
And yet it gathers all things fast,
And none is left outside.

264. If folk were not afraid to die,
What mandarin or lord
Could hope to subjugate them by
Threats of the blade and cord?

265. If, knowing death's illusion well,
We let folks fear it still;
And, notwithstanding, some rebel,
Shall we, too, dare to kill?

266. When human beings arrogate
The right to judge and slay,
They but usurp the power of fate
Which none but God may sway.

267. So tightly binds the mystic mesh
That winds about the whole;
The sword that wounds another's flesh,
Pierces his judge's soul.

268. The people hunger when the lords
Demand too great a tax;
And they rebel when bars and cords
Are brothers to the axe.

269. Be not so strict in ruling life;
Let God pursue His course.
For striving leads only to strife,
And force arouses force.

270. Man during life is tender, warm;
But dead is stiff and cold.
So is it, too, with every form
That all the kingdoms hold.

271. Thus the hard, the strong, the great,
Are like to things of death;
The tender and the delicate
Are brothers of the breath.

272. The greater human greatness grows,
The greater is its fall.
The truly great remain below;
The tender conquer all.

273. As one who stretches on a bow,
So are the heavenly fates;
The proud and lofty they bring low,
The low they elevate.

274. From those who have too much, they take
Wherewith to help along
Those who have little. But men make
The weak support the strong.

275. Yet wealth is only good to spend,
And strength to help the weak.
Re shall be greatest in the end
Who served but did not seek.

276. How delicate the; flowing stream,
And yet it wears away
The rugged nock, the hardened beam,
With little more than spray.

277. And so in life, the weak are those
Who win the greater prize:
A truth that everybody knows,
Yet no one ever tries.

278. Who makes his country's sin his ow's,
We hail as our high priest;:
And who will for her curse atone,
We crown him at the feast.

279. The wise man, dealing with mankind,
Gives more than his full tale;
But wipes the matter from his mind,
If others chance to fail.

280. He knows that broken faith may lead
To hatred and sharp blame,
Which when the wounds have ceased to bleed,
Leaves things not quite the same.

281. And so the holy man attends .
His duty, not his due;
And him the heavens will befriend
In all that he may do.

282. In a small country with few folk
Let rulers hide their power;
Let people grieve at death, not joke,
Nor try to flee the hour.

283. Though they have carriages and boats,
They shall not hide away.
Though they have swords and armored coats,
They shall not fight nor slay.

284. So was it in the ancient days,
So let it be once more.
Let us return to simple ways,
Forgetting greed and war

285. Let man find pleasure in his food,
And comfort in his home;
Knowing his country to be good,
He shall not wish to roam.

286. True words often are hard to bear,
And pleasant words untrue;
And so the sage will never dare
To force his teachings through.

287. And yet he will not hoard them, for
None knows as well as he,
The more he gives away, the more
His own supply shall be.

288. He will not argue, then, nor strive,
And yet will never cease
His toil, till everyone alive
Has seen and known GOD'S PEACE.

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