reward. It operates under the influence of the Yin and the Yang. In spring and summer it is at rest. In autumn and winter it moves abroad. Push it, it does not advance. Raise it, it does not go up. Lower it, it does not go down. Whirl it around, it does not change position. Above, it cleaves the floating clouds; below, it cuts through the density of earth. One flash of this blade, and the princes of the empire submit. Such is the sword of the Son of Heaven."
At this the prince seemed absorbed in his reflections. Then he enquired, saying, "And what is the sword of the Princes?"
"The wise and brave," replied Chuang Tzŭ, "are its point. The incorruptible are its edge. The virtuous are its back. The loyal are its hilt. The heroic are its sheath. You may push this sword too, it will not advance. Raise it, it will not go up. Lower it, it will not go down. Whirl it around, it will not change position. Above, it models itself upon the round heaven, in order to keep in harmony with the sun, moon, and stars. Below, it models itself upon the square earth, in order to keep in harmony with the four seasons. It adapts itself to the wishes of the people, in order to diffuse peace on all sides. One flash of this blade is like a roaring clap of thunder. Between the boundaries of the State there is not left one but who yields and obeys the command of his prince. Such is the sword of the Princes."