Philosopher poem by Bai Juyi, Medieval Chinese Poet
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The Philosopher

Lao Tzu
Lao Tsu

This is a poem by Bai Juyi, written in China about 800 AD, during the late T'ang Dynasty. It's about the famous philosopher Lao Tsu.

"Those who speak know nothing;
Those who know are silent."
These words, as I am told,
Were spoken by Lao Tsu.

If we are to believe that Lao Tsu
Was himself one who knew,
How did he happen to write a book
Five thousand words long?

(adapted from a translation by Arthur Waley)

Learn by Doing - Write a poem

More about Bai Juyi
Song of Everlasting Sorrow
The Grain-Tax (a poem)
Chinese Literature
Ancient China
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To read more of Bai Juyi's poetry:

Links to more of Bai Juyi's poems

Chinese literature
Ancient China

Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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