I am indebted to The New Republic for reminding me of the many words of wisdom of the Chinese sage Lao Tzu via a splendid review in its current edition of the recently published Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology edited and translated by David Hinton.
To give but one example:
Never bestow honorsThis book review is one of those rare ones that has had me off and ordering so I can read the full version of Hinton's translation of the High T'ang poet Li Po's "Drinking Alone Beneath the Moon" from which these lines come:
and people won't quarrel.
Never prize rare treasures
and people won't steal.
Never flaunt alluring things
and people won't be confused.
Among the blossoms, a single jar of wine. No one else here, I ladle it out myself.
Raising my cup, I toast the bright moon,
and facing my shadow makes friends
though moon has never understood
and shadow only trails along behind me.
I sing, and moon rocks back and forth;
I dance, and shadow tumbles into pieces.
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 475 pp., $US45