Those who rule in accordance with the Tao
Do not control the world with weapons,
For those are apt to backfire.
Where armies settle,
Nothing but briars and thorns will grow.
Battles curse the land and salt the earth.
The best soldier does his job and then stops.
He uses strength, but does not force things.
He completes his task, but seeks no reward.
He does what must be done, and he does not falter.
He succeeds, but does not boast,
Overcomes, but does not conquer.
What is gained by force flourishes for a time,
And then it fades.
The unguided ends early.