Dao De Jing 17
The one who ranks highest is scarcely known by the people;
The one who ranks second, they love & praise;
The one who ranks third, they fear;
The one who ranks fourth, they despise.
If you have no trust, no trust will be shown you in return.
The sage removes himself, as if his words are precious.
When the work is done & duties performed successfully, the people say: “We did this ourselves!”
Translation by John Hayes
The translation is is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Unlike with my original poetry & poetry translations, I don’t asset a copyright claim on my translation of the Dao De Jing. It may be freely used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.
Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Statue of a Taoist sage. 16th century. Photo by Wiki user BurgererSF, who makes it available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal PublicDomain Dedication.