许渊冲，生于江西南昌。从事文学翻译长达六十余年，译作涵盖中、英、法等语种，翻译集中在中国古诗英译，形成韵体译诗的方法与理论，被誉为“诗译英法唯一人” ，北京大学教授，翻译家。在国内外出版中、英、法文著译六十本，包括《诗经》、《楚辞》、《李白诗选》、《西厢记》、《红与黑》、《包法利夫人》、《追忆似水年华》等中外名著。2014年8月2日许渊冲荣获国际翻译界最高奖项之一的“北极光”杰出文学翻译奖 ，系首位获此殊荣亚洲翻译家。
The divine law may be spoken of,
but it is not the common law.
Things may be named,
but names are not the things.
In the beginning heaven and earth are nameless;
when named, all things become known.
So we should be free from desires
in order to understand the internal
mystery of the divine law;
and we should have desires
in order to observe its external manifestations.
Internal mystery and external manifestations
come from the same origin,
but have different names,
They may be called essence.
The essential of the essence
is the key to the understanding of all mysteries.
If all men in the world know what is fair,
then it is unfair.
If all men know what is good,
then it is not good.
For "to be" and "not be" co-exist,
There cannot be one without the other:
without "difficult", there cannot be "easy";
without "long", there cannot be "short";
without "high", there cannot be "low";
without sound, there can be no voice;
without "before", there cannot be "after";
The contrary complement each other.
Therefore the sage does everything without interference,
teaches everyone without persuasion,
and lets everything begin uninitiated
and grow unpossessed.
Everything is done without being his deed,
and succeeds without being his success.
Only when success belongs to nobody
does it belong to everyone.
Honor on man
as that none would contend for honor.
Value no rare goods
so that none would steal or rob.
Display nothing desirable
lest people be tempted and disturbed.
Therefore the sage rules
by purifying people's soul,
filing their bellies,
weakening their wills
and strengthening their bones.
He always keeps them knowledgeless
so that the clever dare not interfere.
Where there is not interference,
there is order.
The divine law is formless,
its use is inexhaustible.
It is endless,
whence come all things
where the sharp is blunted,
the knots are united,
the glare is softened,
all look like dust.
it seems to exist.
I do not know when it came;
it seems to exist before God.
Heaven and earth are ruthless,
they treat everything as straw or dog.
The sage is ruthless,
he treats everyone as straw or dog.
Are not heaven and earth
like a pair of bellows?
Empty, it won't be exhausted;
Forced, more air will come out.
If more is said than done,
it would be better to take the mean.
The vale spirit never dies,
it is the mysterious womb.
The door to the mysterious womb
is the origin of heaven and earth.
It lasts as if it ever existed;
when used, it is inexhaustible.
Heaven and earth exist for ever.
The reason why their exist so long
is not that they want to exist;
where there is no want,
to be and not be are one.
Therefore for the sage
the last becomes the first,
the out becomes the in.
As he is selfless,
all becomes his self.
The highest good is like water
Water benefits everything by giving
without taking or contending.
It likes the place others dislike,
so it follows closely the divine law.
The place should be low,
the mind broad,
the gifts kind,
the speech trustworthy,
the rule sound,
the deed well-done,
the action timely.
a man is blameless.
Don't hold your fill
but refrain from excess.
A whetted and sharpened sword
cannot be sharp for ever.
A houseful of gold and jade
cannot be safeguarded.
Arrogance of wealth and power
will bring ruin.
Withdrawal after success
conforms to the divine law.
Can body and soul united
Can the controlled breath be
softened as a baby's?
Can the purified mental mirror be
free from blemish?
Can a people-loving ruler not interfere in the state affairs?
Can the lower doors not open and close
as the upper doors in the heaven?
Is it possible to understand and make
understand without knowledge?
Give life and make live,
but lay no claim,
benefit but do not interfere,
lead but do not rule,
Such is the mysterious virtue.
Thirty spokes radiate from a hub.
When there is nothing in the hub,
the wheel can roll.
Turn clay to make a vessel.
the vessel can be used.
Build a room with doors and windows.
the room can be used as dwelling.
When there is something, it is beneficial;
When empty, it is useful.
The fiver colors may confuse the eye.
The five sounds may deafen the ear.
The five tastes may spoil the palate.
Riding and hunting may madden the mind.
Rare goods may tempt one to do evil.
Therefore the sage satisfies the belly rather than the eye.
He prefers the former to the latter.
Praise and blame disturb the mind;
Fortune and misfortune affect the body.
Why is the mind disturbed?
Praise and blame are like ups and downs.
The mind is troubled with rise and fall.
So is it troubled by praise and blame.
How can fortune and misfortune affect the body?
Because we have a body.
If we had not a body,
how can we be affected?
If you value the world as your body,
then the world may confide in you.
If you love the world as your body,
then the world may be entrusted to you.
What cannot be seen is invisible,
What cannot be heard is inaudible,
What cannot be touched is intangible.
These there, unfathomable,
blend into one.
Up, it is not bright;
down, it is not dark.
Like a nameless endless string,
it ends in nothing.
It is a formless form,
an image of nothing.
It seems to be and not to be.
Before it, you cannot see its front;
after it, you cannot see its rear.
Ruling over the present with the law of the past,
you can know the beginning of antiquity.
Such is the rule of the divine law.
The ancients followed the divine law,
subtle, delicate, mysterious, communicative,
too deep to be understood.
Not objectively understood,
it can only be subjectively described.
The ancients were circumspect as crossing a frozen river,
watchful as fearful of hostile neighbors,
reserved as an unacquainted guest,
softened as melting ice,
natural as uncarved block,
vacant as a vale,
and obscure as a muddy stream.
Who could calm the turbid water?
It could be slowly turned clean.
Who could stir the stale water?
It could be slowly revived.
Those who follow the divine law
will not be full to the brim.
Only those who do not go to excess
can renew what is worn out.