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COMPENDIUM OF LEARNING FOR CHILDREN (EXCERPT)
by Cheng Dengji (Years unknown, Ming Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

In recruiting learned scholars,
do not aim for perfection of character;
In employing people of skill,
use the right talent in the right way.

Those who do good deeds,
will be remembered well.
Those who do evil deeds,
shall go down in history in disgrace.

The act of overthinking everything
is no different from fearing that
the sky will fall;
The act of overestimating one’s strength
is no different from chasing after the sun.

Youth is no more, we must cherish time;
Time waits for no one, ambitious ones,
Seize your opportunities to rise.

It takes no ambition to own a shelter and land;
Only a genius can turn the world upside down.

Fabrications founded upon nothing
are unexpected troubles;
Standing firm and independent
is a pillar rock in midstream.

To succeed after failing:
a loss at sunrise and a gain at sunset.
To give up right before success:
to fall short due to lack of a final effort.

── from Youxue Qionglin (Compendium of Learning for Children)