Liber XXI



Lao Kun the master said: The adept in skill of soul Hath never an aim: the bungler's shame Is that he gropes a goal.

Who most possess the Teh Conceal their magick power; Who least possess exert their strength Seven times in every hour.

These, who cling fast to powers, Who guard them, and display Their magick art — they are not part Of Tao nor yet of Teh.

Men win not truth of Tao Because their minds are wried. The mind uncurbed, the self's perturbed, And loses tune of tide.

Lost, the external lures; They turn to seek it: then All things perplex, confuse, and vex Those miserable men.

Disordered thoughts arise; Body and mind grow sick. Disgrace and fear grow year by year To their climacteric.

Wild, they are tossed about Through life and death; they quiver, Sunk in sea-stress of bitterness, And lose the Tao for ever.

The true, the abiding Tao! Who understandeth hath; Who hath the Tao is here and now In silence of the path.

Slay space; then naught abides. Hold not thy holy hand! When naught gives back before the attack, Serene thy silence stand!

All's rest, devoid of mark; How should desires fix tooth? When they are past, thou surely hast The silence of the truth.

Flawless that truth and fixed, Yet apt to each appeal Nature and sense to influence — The magnet to the steel!

Oh! this true touch with all Elastic and exact That yet above their tides — The silence free from act!

He that hath this shall come Little by little, a breath, So floweth he now, to truth of Tao, Wherein he vanisheth.

Men style him lord of Tao, Yet he hath none to lord. Hid motive he of all that be: Enough for his reward!

He that can comprehend This doctrine may transmit This sacred Tao to men that vow Themselves to fathom it.

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