“No-business (wushi) ”
Dao de jing
The more prohibitions and taboos there are in the world,
The poorer the people will be.
The more sharp instruments in the hands of the common people,
The darker the days for the state,
The more wisdom hawked among the people,
The more that perverse things will proliferate.
The more prominently the laws and statutes are displayed,
The more widespread will be the brigands and thieves.
Hence in the words of the sages:
We do things noncoercively
And the common people develop along their own lines;
We cherish equilibrium
And the common people order themselves;
We are the non-interfering in our governance
And the common people prosper themselves;
We are objectless in our desires
And the common people are of themselves like unworked wood.
“The nameless and what is named”
Dao de jing
Wawy-making (dao) that can be put into words is not really way-making,
And naming (ming) that can assign fixed reference to things is not really naming.
The nameless (wuming) is the fetal beginnings of everything that is happening (wanwu),
While that which is named is their mother.
Thus, to be really objectless in one’s desires (wuyyu) is how one observes the mysteries of all things,
While really having desires is how one observes their boundaries.
These two– the nameless and what is named –emerge from the same source yet are referred to differently.
Together they are called obscure.
The obscurest of the obscure,
They are the swining gateway of manifold mysteries.
Dao de jing
With the most excellent rulers, their subjects only know that they
The next best are the rulers they love and praise,
Next are the rulers they hold in awe,
And the worst are the rulers they disparage…
With all things accomplished and the work complete
The common people say, “We are spontaneously like this.”
Dao de jing
Not promoting those of superior character
Will save the common people from becoming contentious.
Not prizing property that is hard to come by
Will save them from becoming thieves.
Not making a show of what might be desired
Will save them from becoming disgruntled.
It is for this reason that in the proper governing by the sages:
They empty the hearts-and-minds of the people and fill their stomachs,
They weaken their aspirations and strengthen their bones,
Ever teaching the common people to be unprincipled in their knowing
And objectless in their desires.
They keep the hawkers of knowledge at bay.
It is simply in doing things noncoercively
That everything is governed properly.
Dao de jing
Sages really think and feel immediately (wuxin). They take the thoughts and feelings of the common people as their own.
Dao de jing
The heavens are lasting and the earth enduring.
The reason the world is able to be lasting and enduring
Is because it does not live for itself.
Thus it is able to be long-lived.
It is on this model that the sages withdraw their persons from contention
yet find themselves out in front,
Put their own persons out of mind yet find themselves taken care of.
Isn’t it simply because they are unselfish that they can satisfy their own needs?
The Seven Stages of Man
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts. His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwilling to school. And then the lover, sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, seeking the bubble reputation. Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, in fair round belly with good capon lined, with eyes severe and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws and modern instances, an d so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts into the lean and slippered Pantaloon with spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose, well-saved, a world too wide for his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, turning again toward childish treble, pipes and whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Sonnet LXVI “Tired with all these, for restful death I cry”
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm’d in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac’d,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d,
And strength by limping sway disabled
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly–doctor-like–controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tir’d with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
Sonnet XII “When I do count the clock that tells the time”
When I do count the clock that tells the time
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night,
When I behold the violet past prime
And sable curls all silvered o’er with white,
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard;
Then of thy beauty do I question make
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defense
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
Sonnet XVIII “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Sonnet CXLVI “Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth”
Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth
Foolâ€™d by these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy bodyâ€™s end?
Then soul, live thou upon thy servantâ€™s loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
So shall thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
And Death once dead, there â€™s no more dying then.
Sonnet CXVI “Let me not to the marriage of true minds”
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Sonnet LV “Not marble, nor the gilded monuments”
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lover’s eyes.
Sonnet LX “Like as the waves make toward the pebbled shore”
Like as the waves make toward the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end,
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crowned,
Crooked eclipses ‘gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
Sonnet LXV “Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea”
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.