In which I rewrite Chapter 33 of the Daodejing

知人者智,
自知者明。
勝人者有力,
自勝者強。

知足者富。
強行者有志。
不失其所者久。
死而不忘者壽。

If you know others you are smart;
If you know yourself you are wise.
If you conquer others you are tough;
If you conquer yourself you are strong.

If you know what is enough you are rich.
If you act forcefully you are strong-willed
If you accept your place you are secure.
If you die and are not forgotten you are long-lived.

Nothing is right about chapter 33. The rhyme scheme is AB CB CC CD, which suggests that either the first and last line or the last four lines were tacked on. The parallelism is weak, with lines of 4, 4, 5, 4, 4, 5, 6, and 6 syllables in that order. The first two couplets are parallel (or almost) and lines 1 and 2 and lines 3 and 4 contrast with one another, but the next two couplets are neither parallel nor contrastive. Much of the chapter consists of truisms which have no real connection to the rest of the DDJ and may be antithetical to it. I salvaged what I could from the chapter and ended up with what is probably a fragment, since it lacks a rhyme for 知足者富:

自知者明。
自勝者強。
知足者富.

So I added a line:

自知者明。*ng
自勝者強。*ng
知止者得。*tək.
知足者富。*pəkh

If you know yourself you are wise.
If you conquer yourself you are strong.
If you know when to stop you gain.
If you know what is enough you are rich.

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Published in: on September 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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