持而盈之,不如其己。揣而銳之,不可長保。

1. It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to carry it when it is full. If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.

金玉滿堂,莫之能守。富貴而驕,自遺其咎。功遂身退,天之道。

2. When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them safe. When wealth and honours lead to arrogancy, this brings its evil on itself. When the work is done, and one's name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.

Legge's Comments

運夷; but I cannot give a satisfactory rendering of this title. The teaching of the chapter is, that fulness and complacency in success are contrary to the Dao.

The first clauses of the two sentences in par. 1, 持而盈之, 揣而銳之 = 盈而持之, 銳而揣之, are instances of the 'inverted' style not uncommon in the oldest composition. 'The way of Heaven' = 'the Heavenly Dao' exemplified by man.