Of the best rulers
The people (only) know that they exist;
The next best they love and praise;
The next they fear;
And the next they revile.
When they do not command the people’s faith,
Some will lose faith in them,
And then they resort to oaths!
But (of the best) when their task is accomplished, their work done,
The people all remark, “We have done it ourselves.”

Lao-tzu (604?-531? BC) Chinese philosopher, poet [also Lao-tse, Laozi]
The Wisdom of Laotse, ch 17 (1948) [tr. Lin Yutang]

Alt. trans. [Tao-te Ching tr. Wing-Tsit Chan]:
"The best are those whose existence is merely known by the people.
The next best are those who are loved and praised.
The next are those who are feared. And the next are those who are reviled.
The great rulers accomplish their task; they complete their work.
Nevertheless their people say that they simply follow Nature."

Added on 28-Feb-08 | Last updated 6-Apr-17
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