Verily, the ancient wise-men were entitled to be masters,
because they were subtle, profound and thoughtful.
I cannot explain their way of wisdom,
so I will venture to illustrate it:
so cautious they were,
like a boat crossing a river in winter.
so reluctant they were,
like a country fearful of its neighbours in the four directions of the compass.
so reverent they were,
like simple guests in a rich mansion.
so elusive they were,
like water trickling under a frosted stream.
so simple they were,
like hemp rope.
so wild they were,
like a valley cloistered in the mountains.
so obscure they were,
like muddled waters.
Who can the disturbance quiet,
and gradually distil it to clarity?
He is akin to the masters.
Who keeps with the way of things,
and does not crave to be satiated?
He is like the ancients.