(The infant's) bones are weak and its sinews soft, but yet its grasp is firm.As a young schoolboy, I had a keen fascination for Elmer's Glue. Like an infant, the liquid glop was soft and pliable. It was easy to spread...and smear. You could squirt it into the small cracks or huge depressions. It certainly didn't appear like it could hold ANYTHING together.
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~
His bones are soft, his muscles weak,
But his grip is firm.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~
Their bones are weak, tendons are soft
But their grasp is firm
~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~
A baby has soft bones
and weak muscles,
but a firm grip.
~ Ron Hogan rendition, from Beatrice.com, 2004 ~
But once it had the opportunity to set, it was golly darn strong. I can remember deciding that a certain project wasn't quite the way I wanted it, but once the glue set, I couldn't get the darn thing apart! So, I cursed that infernal adhesive!
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