"Those of preeminent wisdom and purity
knew this Tao intuitively from their birth,
and so possessed it.
Those of the second rank—the men of virtue—approached it nearly,
and eulogised it.
Those of the third rank—who were still
above the commonalty—stood in awe of it.
Those of the lowest rank held it in light esteem.
Their belief in it was superficial, or imperfect;
while there were even some who did not believe in it at all.
The first spoke only with forethought and calculation,
as though honouring their words.
When their public labours were achieved,
and affairs progressed unimpeded, the people all said,
"This is our natural and spontaneous condition.""
- Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 17
"A leader is best
When people barely know that he exists,
Not so good when people obey and acclaim him,
Worst when they despise him.
'Fail to honor people,
They fail to honor you;'
But of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will all say, 'We did this ourselves.'"
- Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 17
"In the highest antiquity people scarce knew
That rulers existed among them; In the next age attachment and praise for them grew, In the next people feared they might wrong them; And then in the next age the people despised The rulers whom fate set above them, For when faith by the rulers no longer is prized, The people no longer can love them. Those earliest rulers! what caution they had In weighing the words they were using; How successful their deeds! while the people all said We are what we are by our choosing."
- Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 17
"With the highest rulers -
Those below simply know they exist.
With those one step down -
They love and praise them.
With those one further step down -
They fear them.
And with those at the bottom -
They ridicule and insult them.
Who does not trust enough
will not be trusted.
Hesitant and undecided!
Like this is his respect for speaking.
He completes his tasks and finishes his affairs
Yet the common people say,
"These things all happened by nature."
- Translated by Bram den Hond, Chapter 17
功成事遂百姓皆謂我自然. - Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 17
t'ai shang hsia chih yu chih.
ch'i tz'u ch'in erh yü chih.
chi tz'u wei chih.
ck'i tz'u wu chih.
hsin pu tsu yen yu pu hsin yen.
yu hsi ch'i kuei yen.
kung ch'êng shih sui pai hsing chieh wei wo tzu jan.
- Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 17
"Of great rulers the subjects do not notice the existence.
To lesser ones people are attached; they praise them.
Still lesser ones people fear, and the meanest ones people despise.
For it is said: 'If your faith be insufficient, verily, you will receive no faith.'
How reluctantly the great rulers considered their words!
Merit they accomplished; deeds they performed; and the hundred families thought: 'We are independent.' "
- Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 17
"Of the best ruler,
The people only know he exists.
Next comes one the love and praise.
Next comes one they fear.
Next comes one they abhor.
When you are lacking in trust,
Others have no trust in you.
Of the work of one who is short with his words,
The hundred families say,
We have done it ourselves!"
- Translated by Herrymoon Maurer, 1985, Chapter 17
"Acerca de los antiguos todo lo que se sabe es que existían.
Los sucesores fueron amados y alabados, y los siguientes fueron temidos.
Los que vinieron después aborrecidos.
Sí no te tienes plena confianza, otros te serán infieles.
Entonces las palabras rituales estaban medidas.
El mérito de las obras tenía plenitud.
Todo el mundo decía:
"Estamos en armonía con nosotros mismos"."
- Translation from Logia Medio Dia, 2015, Capítulo 17
"In ancient times
The people knew that they had rulers.
Then they loved and praised them,
Then they feared them,
Then they despised them.
The rulers did not trust the people,
The people did not trust the rulers.
The rulers were grave, their words were precious.
The people having finished their work,
and brought it to a successful issue, said:
"We affirm the Self.""
- Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 17
A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes over 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter. Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization. Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, and other resources for that Chapter. Each webpage includes a Google Translate drop down menu at the top that enables you to read the webpage in over 100 languages.
Chapter 17, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter Indexing for the Tao Te Ching
English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index
Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
Taoism: A Selected Reading List
Concordance to the Tao Te Ching (2018 Project)
One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey