The Prince was too astonished to reply; and after a while Hsü Wu Kuei continued, "I will try to explain to your Highness how I judge of dogs. The lowest in the scale will eat their fill and then stop, like a cat. Those of the middle class are as though staring at the sun. The highest class are as though they had parted with their own individuality.
"But I do not judge of dogs as well as I judge of horses. I judge of horses as follows. Their straightness
- In running.
must be that of a line. Their curve must be that of an arc. Their squareness, that of the square. Their roundness, that of the compasses.
- One commentator applies all this to the shape of the animals.
These are the horses of the State. They are not equal to the horses of the Empire. The horses of the Empire are splendid. They move as though anxious to get along, as though they had lost the way, as though they had parted with their own individuality. Thus, they outstrip all competitors, over the unstirred dust, out of sight!"
The Prince was greatly pleased and smiled. But when Hsü Wu Kuei went out, Nü Shang asked him, saying, "What can you have been saying to his Highness? Whenever I address him, it is either in a pacific sense, based upon the Canons of Poetry, History, Rites, and Music; or in a belligerent