Among birds the Phoenix, among fishes

the leviathan holds the chiefest place;

Cleaving the crimson clouds,

the Phoenix soars apace,

With only the blue sky above,

far into the realms of space;

But the grandeur of heaven and earth

is as naught to the hedge-sparrow race.

And the leviathan rises in one ocean

to go to rest in a second,

While the depth of a puddle by a humble

minnow as the depth of the sea is reckoned.

And just as with birds and fishes,

So too it is with man ;

Here soars a Phoenix,

there swims a leviathan.

Behold the philosopher, full of nervous


with a fame that never grows dim,

Dwelling complacently alone, – say,

what can the vulgar herd know of him?

Sung Yu, 4th cent. B.C.

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