The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:33 am

No objections on my end and I'll be happy to edit it in the notes
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby silver.nick » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:14 pm

(Continuing 235 AD)
8. The t'ing- yu Kao Jou sent up a memorial saying(1):

"[The two rebels are sly; They have been plotting secretly. They plan to use arms; failing in this, they are helpless. We must keep and nourish our generals and repair our arms and weapons; thus may we wait for them at our ease. But you have recently been erecting palaces, so that high and low are harassed with toil. If Wu and Shu are made aware of our weakness, they will exchange plots and unite their forces to come forward jointly and hasten to their deaths. This will not be an easy matter for us.]"

"Of old, Han Wen[-Ti], to spare the means of livelihood of ten households, abstained from building a small terrace for his amusement; (2) [Huo] Ch'u-P'ing, worried over the Hsiung-nu affliction, found no time for building his residence. The present situation is such that it is not merely a matter of incurring an expense of a hundred units of gold or worrying over calamity from the northern barbarians (3). It would be all right to complete roughly the work now underway, sufficient for the purpose of court banquets. When that work is finished, the people may be allowed to take care of their tillage. After the two regions are conquered, the work may be undertaken again in all ease. In accordance with the Institutions of the Chou, the Son of Heaven had one hundred and twenty women, including his consort and secondary consorts, a number of inmates for the harem which can be said to be indeed quite abundant (4). But i have presumed to hear that the inmates of your harem exceed this number. That your heir does not flourish is probably due to this fact. Stupid as I am, I am of the opinion that it would be proper for you to select the virtuous ones to make up the number of the court ladies and send all the rest back to their own homes, and furthermore, that you ought to nourish your energy, esteeming the quiet life. Then would it be possible to bring about the state of 'Ye locusts, winged tribes!"(5)

The Emperor replied, "[I am aware of your loyalty and sincerity, bent on the well-being of the royal house.] Your words are excellent; you may have me hear more of them."

9. At this time, the law against hunting (in the imperial park) was severe and strict. Those who hunted deer in the imperial enclosure (2) were put to death and their property confiscated; any one who was able to inform against them was given liberal rewards. (Kao) Jou again sent up a memorial, saying (3) : "[There has never been a sage King who did not make it his business to extend agriculture, nor who did not augment resources by frugal expenditures. For when agriculture is extended, grain will be heaped up, when expenditures are frugal, wealth will be stored. With wealth stored and grain heaped up, there has never been a case of disaster or worry. In ancient times, when a single man did not till his land, (the entire land) suffered from famine; when a single woman did not weave, (the entire land) suffered from cold.] In recent times the people have been put to task by all kinds of corvee, reducing the number of those who could till their farm lands in person. Recently (4) too there is an interdiction on hunting. Hordes of deer wreak havoc and eat up the crops, so that their ravages are inflicted everywhere and the damages are innumerable. The people indeed take measures against them but their strength does not suffice to ward them off. In the region of Ying-yang (5), several hundred li in circumference, the year's harvest has not been reaped at all. [The lives of the people are certainly pitiable.] At this moment, those who produce wealth are very few, while the ravages of deer are exceedingly great. Should there be warfare and bad crops, we shall be without means to cope with the situation. I would wish Your Majesty to [think of what the former sages have thought and take pity on the plight of farmers,] permit the people to catch the deer and abolish the interdiction. The people would then be rescued for all time; there would be none who would not rejoice." (6)

10. The Emperor also wished to level down the hill Po-mang and ordered a terrace built on it so he would have a view of Meng-chin (1). The wei-yu(2) Hsin P'i admonished him, saying, "The nature of heaven and earth is to keep what is high high and what is low low. If now you reverse these natures, is it not contrary to them? Besides it will spend human labor, and the people cannot bear up under the toil. Should the nine streams overflow and cause flood calamity, how can we ward it off if the hills and mounds are all demolished?"

At this the Emperor desisted.

11. The shao-fu Yang Fu sent up a memorial saying (1): "[I have heard that when an enlightened Sovereign is above, all his subjects exhaust their words (for his benefit). Yao and Shun were of sage virtue; they sought to have their faults pointed out and asked for advice. The great Yu was assiduous in his work; he made it a duty to have his palace lowly and mean (2). Meeting with drought, Ch'eng-T'ang attributed the blame to himself. The example of King Wen of Chou acted on his wife, and was felt by all the clans and states (3). Han Wen(-Ti) personally practiced frugality and wore black garments (4). These are all men who were able to make their renown illustrious (5) and leave their plans to their descendants (6). I observe: (7) ]Your Majesty has succeeded to the great work of the Emperor Wu (i.e, Cao Cao) in founding the dynasty, and follows the great line of the Emperor Wen's (i.e., Cao Pi's) accomplishments. You should bend your thoughts to equaling the sage and talented of antiquity in their good rule, and keep in mind the wicked government of later ages, how lax and extravagant (8).

["The so-called good rule means to adhere to frugality and appreciate the strength of the people; the so-called wicked government means to indulge one's desires and act according to whim. I presume Your Majesty has examined the reasons why at the beginning of a new dynasty there is brilliance and clarity, and why in its last days there is decline, weakness, even extinction. If one studies the changes at the end of the Han dynasty, one can indeed be moved and take warning from them.]

"If in the past, Emperors Huan and Ling had not discarded the regulations (9) of Emperor Kao-Tsu and the reverence and frugality of Emperors Wen and Ching, how could T'ai-Tsu (i.e. Cao Cao), be he ever so divinely martial, have found opportunity to exercise his powers(10)? If such were the case how could Your Majesty find yourself in such an exalted position?"

"Now, Wu and Shu are not yet conquered, and the army is on the frontiers. [I would wish Your Majesty to think thrice before acting, and take your coming out and going in seriously, so as to derive lessons from the past for the future. My words seem to be of little importance, but prosperity and fall is a serious matter. Recently it has rained heavily, and there have also been such severe thunder and lightning as to kill birds and sparrows. The spirits of heaven and earth take the royal personage as their own son; when there is anything amiss in the government, they manifest calamities. To subdue the self, to accuse one's own self inwardly is what the sage noted down (11). I hope Your Majesty (12) will take percautions while things are yet shapeless, will be prudent while things are still budding, and emulate Han Emeror Hsiao-Wen who sent out the women of Hui-Ti so they could be married. Your recent levies of young girls will not be savory among the distant people; you oght to take this matter up later.]

"As for the various building and repair projects, I hope Your Majesty will see that they are executed economically (13).

["The Shu says, 'The nine classes of his kindred all became harmonious; he united and harmonized the myriad states (14)'. In all matters one ought to think of what is proper so that one follows the golden mean. One should exert one's mind and counsel toward economy. Only after Wu and Shu are conquered can the high be at ease and the low rejoice, the nine classes of kindred be glad. Only thus will the spirits of your ancestor be happy. 'Even Yao and Shun were still solicitous about this (15).' Now, you ought to open up your great trust throughout the empire, in order to put the people at ease and manifest example of those afar."]

The Emperor replied to him graciously (16).
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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby silver.nick » Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:37 pm

12 [Yang] Fu sent up another memorial, saying (1):

"Yao valued his grass-thatched house, so that the myriad states enjoyed peace. Yu lived in a low, mean house, so the people of the empire rejoiced in their own occupations. Coming down to Yin and Chou, the hall was raised to three feet and was measurable by nine mats, and that was all.

["Sage Emperors and enlightened Kings of antiquity never made their palaces too high or too handsome, lest the people be exhausted of their wealth and energy.]

Chieh made bejewelled rooms and ivory corridors; Chou exhausted the resources of his palace to make the terrace Lu-T'ai. In the end they lost their dominions. king Ling of Ch'u built the terrace of Chang-hua, and personally suffered disaster thereby (2). Ch'in Shih-Huang(-Ti) built the O-pang palace; [disaster fell upon his sons and the empire revolted;] the house perished in two generations. There has never been one who, not measuring the strength of the myriad people, gave free rein to his desires and yet did not perish. Your Majesty should take as models (3) Yao, Shu, Yu, T'ang, Wen, and Wu, take as profound warnings Cheih of Hsia, Chou of Yin, Ling of Ch'u, and (Shih)-Huang of Ch'in.

["The exalted (heaven) is high above and watches over the virtue of the Sovereign. You must be prudent to keep the heaven-conferred position and continue the line of your ancestors. Their great work, high and soaring, you must always be afraid of losing. You do not revere them, nor desist (from indulgences) day or night to show respect and pity to the people.]

"Instead you exult and indulge in your pleasures, minding only to [lavish and] ornament your palaces and terraces (4). inevitably there will be the disaster of fall of destruction (5).

["The I says, '(The topmost line, divided, shows) its subjects with his house made large, but only serving as a screen to his household. When he looks at his door, it is still, and there is nobody about it (6).' A royal personage takes the whole world as his house; the passage means that the disaster due to enlarging his private house will go to the extent of having nobody in the house. At present, the two rebels are united in their plot to endanger our dynasty. Our army of a hundred thousand men rushes hither and thither, east and west; there is not a single day's leisure along the frontiers. Farmers are obliged to give up their occupation, and the people show the face of hunger. Your Majesty, however, does not take this to his heart, but builds palaces without ceasing. Should it be the case that I myself might be preserved though the state perish, I would not ask it.]

"The Sovereign is the head, and his ministers constitute his legs and arms (7); their preservation or destruction is as of a single body, and their interests are identical."

["The Hsiao Ching says, '(Anciently,) if the Son of Heaven had seven ministers who would remonstrate with him, although he had not right methods of government, he would not lose his possession of the kingdom (8).']

Faint in heart though I am, dare I lose sight of the meaning of 'remonstrating ministers'? If my language were not sharp and to the point, it would not be sufficient to move Your Majesty, and if Your Majesty does not need my words, I fear that the lineage of your ancestors will fall to the ground.

"Should my death serve towards mending the situation in the least, the day I die will be as good as the year when I began to live. Respectfully knocking at the coffin and having purified myself, in prostration I await the punishment of severest death."

When the memorial was presented, the Emperor (9), moved by his loyal language, replied with his own hand.

13. The Emperor once was wearing a cap and silken gown with half sleeves (1). [Yang] Fu asked the Emperor, "What sort of court garment (2), in the eyes of propriety, is this?" The Emperor remained silent and did not answer. From then on, the Emperor would not see [yang] Fu without having put on court dress (3).

14. [Yang] Fu further sent up a memorial requesting dismissal of those harem women who had not received imperial favors. he then summoned an official of the yu-fu and asked him about the number of the harem women. The official, sticking to an ancient regulation, said, "This matter is of an intimate nature, I cannot devulge it." In anger, [yang] Fu administered the official a hundred blows, saying in accusation, "If the State does not stand in intimacy with the Nine Ministers, must it be intimate with petty officials?"

The Emperor feared him the more (1).

15. The san-chi ch'ang-shih Chiang Chi sent up a memorial saying (1):

"[Your Majesty ought to restore the former lineage and glorify the work transmitted you; this is certainly no time for you to rule with a sense of security. There are at present, indeed, twelve provinces, but the population does not exceed that of a large-sized chunin Han times. The two rebels have not yet been crushed, and troops are permanently quartered along the frontiers. We have been tilling land and at the same time fighting battles; deprivation of marital life has gone on for years. Ancestral temples, palaces, our business, all are being built on nothing. Those occupied in farming and silk production are few, while those who have to be clothed and fed are many. The most urgent thing at present is to stop waste, so the people will not reach the limit of exhaustion. In case of flood or drought, a people tired and worn out will be of no use to the state, even if it number a million. In employing the people, spare time from agriculture should be utilized, but the necessary time for it must not be taken from them. A Sovereign bent on accomplishing a great work must first measure the strength of the people, and (both) exercise and rest it.]

"Anciently, (2) Kou-Chien nourished the yet unborn in order to draw service from them; King Chao soothed the sickly (to aid him in) vengeance. Therefore (the latter) with his weak (kingdom of) Yan subdued the powerful Ch'i and (the former) with his worn-out Yueh exterminated the strong Wu. Now our two enemies are strong and powerful; if you do not eliminate them in your time, the task will fall on the coming hundred generations (3). If you, with your sage insight and divine martial endowment, will give up what is of remote importance and apply your mind exclusively to the campaign against the rebels, I do not consider the thing difficult.

16. The chung-shu shih-lang Wang Chi of Tung-lai sent up a memorial saying:

"I have heard that the ancients compared people with water, saying, 'Water is what floats a boat, but is also what capsizes the boat (2).'

[Therefore those who are above the people ought to take warning and be fearful; for, at ease, the people wil have an easy sentiment, and under toil, they will think of difficulty. It is because of this that the former Kings acted with simplicity and frugality, so that they did not bring about any trouble.]

"[Anciently (3)] Yen Yuan said that Tung-Yeh-Tzu had strained his horse to the limit of its strength, yet would have it advance without cease; and that he would defeat in his purpose (4). At present, the corvee is toilsome and hard, and men and women are separated from each other. I would wish Your Majesty to look deeply into the defect (5) of Tung-Yeh(-Tzu) and heed the comparison drawn between the boat and the water; to stop rushing and galloping (6) till our strength is used up and levying labor until the people are worn out.

"Of old, from the founding of the Han dynasty to the time of Emperor Hsiao Wen, there were feudal lords bearing the same surname (as the Emperor). But Chia I worried about this and said, 'A fire is placed at the base of a heap of firewood on which one sleeps; and one calls it safe! (7)' At present, the invading hosts are not yet exterminated and powerful generals head their troops. If they (the generals) are recalled, there will be no way to meet the enemy. Yet they are being let alone too long; this is not an easy matter to bequeath to posterity. If you, in this flourishing time, do not make it your business to eliminate the calamity, and if your descendants happen to be weak, there will be frat danger for the dynasty itself. If Chia I were to come to life again, (his lament) would be even more profound and keen."

The Emperor ignored all this (8).

17. The tien-chung-chien, who was superintending the architectural work, unwarrantedly arrested the lan-t'ai ling-shih(a Censor); the yu-p'u-i Wei Chen memorialized the throne to have the former tried (1). The Emperor said, "I am very concerned that the palaces have not yet been completed. How is it that you would try him (2)?"

[Wei] Chen said (3), "The ancient institution, the law against mutual encroachment of offices (4), is not directed against assiduity in state affairs. Its reason is that what is gained is small and what is lost is great. It has been corroborated in my supervision of officials. Should we let this case go (5), I fear that the various officials will encroach upon each other so far as to bring ruin to our whole undertaking (6)."

18. The shang-shu Sun Li of Tso-chun persistently appealed to have the work stopped (1). The Emperor said in an edict, "I respectfully accept your advice (2), and will send the people away." The superintendent of the work, however, memorialized (3) that if they were kept one month more, the work would be brought to completion. [Sun] Li came straight to the site of construction and, without sending another memorial, dismissed the people, saying it was by imperial edict. The Emperor admired him for it and did not reprimand him (4).

19. The Emperor indeed was not able to accept all the honest admonitions of his ministers, but in each case he showed them magnanimous tolerance.
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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby silver.nick » Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:33 am

A quick note.. due to x-mas and issues with family and the like, I haven't been able to update this as much as I would have liked, and the book is due back (yesterday, actually). So, I will have to wait until it is returned across the state, and then I can rerent it, and then I will continue to post more. Happy Holidays all. :)

20. Autumn, seventh month (Aug. 2-30) The palace Ch'ung-hua-tien in Luo Yang caught fire (1). The Emperor asked Kao-T'ang Lung, who was shih-chung and concurrently t'ai-shih-ling (2,) "What bad omen is this?(3) Is there any way of exorcising it in the Rites?"

He answered(4), "[Calamities occur in manifest of warning. Only by means of conforming to the Rites and cultivating virtue will it be suppressed.] The Commentary to the I says, 'When those who are not frugal and those below are not temperate, the fire of retribution will burn down their houses.' Further it says, 'When the Sovereign makes his terrace high, heavenly fire will cause conflagration (5).' This indicates that because the Sovereign is bent on embellishing his palaces and is not aware of the people's exhaustion, Heaven responds with drought and fire breaks out from the lofty palace. [Heaven on high is prespicacious and intentionally gives your Majesty warning; Your Majesty should augment and revere the Way of man in order to reply to the wishes of Heaven. Of old, in the time of T'ai-Wu, mulberries grew in the Court; in the time of Wu-Ting, a young pheasant roosted on the tripod of the State. Both became fearful when they were told of these calamities; they retired and cultivated their virtue. Three years had elapsed when distant barbarians came to them to offer tribute. So they were called Chung-Tsung and Kao-Tsung respectively. This is a clear precedent from the past. According to the former divination, the conflagrations always occur as warnings about terraces and pavilions, as well as palaces. Now, your palaces have to be enlarged merely because the inmates of your harem are too numerous. Therefore you ought to make a selection, retaining those who are virtuous, as in the institutions of Cou, and dismissing the rest. If you do this, it will be like Tsu-I's admonishing of Kao-Tsung and Kao-Tsung's enjoying the far-reaching appellation (i.e., 'Exalted Ancestor')."]

The Emperor asked (Kao-T'ang) Lung, "I have heard that Han Wu-Ti built palaces on a large scale after the terrace of Po-liang caught fire, as a means of exorcism (7). What does that mean?"

He answered (8), "[I have heard that after Po-liang in the Western Capital caught fire, it was a shaman from Yueh who proposed the idea by which the palace of Chien-chang was built to exorcise the omen of conflagration.] This was something done by a shaman of the barbarian Yueh (9), not an illuminating teaching of sages of worthies. The Wu-hsing chih says that after the conflagration of the Po-liang, there was the black-magic case of Chiang Ch'ung (10). In accordance with what the (Wu hsing) chih says, the Yueh shaman and the Chien-chang palace did not exorcise anything.

["Confucious said, "Calamities are responsive acts and sympathetic influences for the warning of the Sovereign; therefore the sage-like Sovereign, when he sees a calamity, reproves himself and, in retirement, cultivates virtue in order to make it disappear and restore (normality).' (11)]

"For the moment, you ought to dismiss and scatter the people engaged in the work. In regulating your palaces, you should follow simplicity and temperance; [internally make them adequate for protection against wind and rain, externally adequate for practice of ceremonies]. And clear off the place where the fire occurred, do not dare to build anything new there. Then (12) auspicious plants sha-p'u and chia-ho are sure to grow there [to requite Your Majesty for your virtue of reverence and respect]. As for tiring the people's strength and exhausting their wealth, that is not what will bring about auspicious signs and make the distant people attach themselves to you (13).

21. Eighth month On the day Keng-wu (Sept. 23), the imperial son [Cao] Fang was appointed Prince of Ch'i, and [Cao] Hsun was appointed Prince of Ch'in (1). Having no son of his own, the Emperor had adopted the two princes; the matter being kept secret in the palace, there was no one who knew of their provenience (2). Some said [Cao] Fang was a son of [Cao] K'ai, Prince of Jen-ch'eng (3).

22. On the day ting-ssu (Aug. 10) the Emperor returned to Luo Yang.

23. The Emperor ordered the Ch'ung-hua-tien rebuilt, and renamed it Chiu-lung[-tien] (Palace of Nine Dragons) (1). The water of Ku-shui was led to flow before the Palace of Nine Dragons (2); a "jade well" and embellished balustrade were made, the "toad" gorging down the water and the "divine dragon" spurting it out. He had the po-shih Ma Chun of Fu-feng (3) make a south-pointing instrument and puppets propelled by water power. [At the beginning of the New Yeah huge animals, fishes and dragons were constructed; equestrain entertainments were displayed nearby. All in accordance with precedents of the Han Western Capital, screens were built outside of Chang-ho and various other gates.(4)]
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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Erdrick » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:28 am


Wow- I haven't seen CoTK since I was holing up in the University of Michigan stacks many, many moons ago...

Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to type these out.

Truly, a monumental task!!
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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby plunged » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:02 pm

continueing 235 AD from indention 24 on page 477.

24. The Ling-hsiao-ch'üeh was just being built when magpies nested in its roof. The Emperor asked KAO-T'ANG LUNG[1] 高棠隆 about this. He replied, "The Shih says,[2] 'The nest is the magpie's; The dove dwells in it.' This is a symbol that the palaces[3] cannot be completed and a man of another surname is to be master of them; this is only a warning from high Heaven. Now, it is the Way of Heaven that it has no partiality, but favors good men.

["You cannot but take profound precaution, you cannot but think deeply. The last rulers of Hsia 夏 and Shang 商 merely succeeded to an inheritance; they did not respectfully obey the bright commands of high Heaven, but instead followed slander and flattery, threw virtue away and indulged in...

page 478:

...their desires. Hence their sudden destruction.]

"T'AI-WU and WU-TING 武丁 saw calamities and became fearful; [they respectfully obeyed Heaven's warning.] Hence Heaven let fall its blessing on them.[4] If you now dismiss the hundred works, [finding sufficiency in frugality,] increase and revere virtuous rule, [act in accordance with the standard of an Emperor, eliminate what the whole world suffers from and institute what the myriads of people may benefit from,] then the Three Kings will be increased in number to become Four and the Five Emperors to become Six.[5] How can it be limited to turning disaster into blessing, as was the case with the Shang 'Ancestors?'[6]

["Having the honor of being an intimate official of yours, if only I could bring prosperity and blessing to your sage person and effect peace and security for the dynasty, (the day) I were burnt to ash and my family annihilated would be as good as the year I began life. Could I, fearing the disaster of incurring your wrath, let Your Majesty not hear the truth?]"

The Emperor changed countenance at this.[7]

25. The Emperor was by nature severe and precipitous.[1] Officials superintending the building of his palaces who overpassed the time-limit, the Emperor interrogated in person, and while their words were still in their mouths, their heads and bodies were sundered.[2]

WANG SU 王肅, san-chi ch'ang-shih and concurrently pi-shu-chien, sent up a memorial saying:[3]

["Our Great Wei is heir to the lineage of a hundred kings. The populations is small, and shields and lances are not yet laid down. Surely it is a time when you ought to give the people rest and thus benefit them, and let near and far enjoy peace and quiet. Now, in order to be able to store provisions and rest the people, you must eliminate corvée and be assiduous in agriculture.]

"At present, palaces are not completed, [the work is not brought to an end, provisions are transported from place to place so that supplies may flow in. And so adult males are worn with heavy work, and farmers have to leave their lands; those who sow grain are few and those who eat it are many. Old stocks are no more and new crops do not follow them. This is a great calamity for the state, not the best of measures to be taken in precaution against emergency!]

"At present there are thirty to forty thousand men engaged in the...

Page 479:[4] Chiu-lung(-tien) is adequate for the comfort of your sage person, and can easily house the ladies of the Six Palaces. [Furthermore the palace Hsien-yang(-tien) is about to be completed.] But as for T'ai-chi(-tien),[5] there is yet much work ahead. [It is nearing the coldest season; diseases and epidemics may break out.] I would wish that Your Majesty[6] [emit gracious words and issue and illustrious edict taking deep pity on the fatigue of the men on corvée and honestly sympathizing with the myriads of the people for the dearth of their livelihood/] Put to work those who are regularly fed at state expense;[7] for work that is not pressing, pick then thousand able-bodies ones and retain them, shifting them every year; if they are all told a definite date for shift, there will be none who will not gladly go to work without murmuring at all. I calculate that there will be three million and six hundred thousand men working in a year, which is not a small numer. The work planned for completion in a year ought to be prolonged to last three years. The remainder of the men should all be sent away to work on their lands.

"This is a plan that will last. [Let the granaries overflow with millet and the people enjoy abundant resources. If you start work under such circumstances, can there be any work that cannot be achieved? If you exercise your influence under such circumstances, can there be any influence that cannot be exercied?]

"The faith of the people is a great treasure for the state. [Confucius said, 'From of old, death has been the lot of all men; but if the people have no faith (in their rulers), there is not standing (for the state).'[8] Unimportant was the state of Chin, and unsignificant was CHUNG-ÊRH 重?; but when he wished to draw service out of his people, he first demonstrated that they could have faith in him. It was because of this that the people of Yüan 原, about to surrender, offered their allegiance to him when they knew how much faith they could have in him;[9] thus, with a single battle he became a hegemon and has been praised to this day.

"Formerly, when the imperial carriage was about the travel to Lo-yang the people were levied to build encampments were built, they would be sent away. But after the encampments were completed, they found how advantageous it was to have their service, and did not send them away immediately. The officials in charge knew nothing beyond the advantages of the moment; they showed no consideration whatever of the great principle of ruling a state.

Page 480:

"Stupid as I am, I am of the opinion that from now on, when there rise occasions for utilizing the people, it ought to be clearly proclaimed that there are definite time-limits. With work to be undertaken in sequence,[11] it is better to levy the people afresh than to make them lose faith.

"All the punishments Your Majesty has meted our extemporaneously have been on officials who have been actually committed crimes and men who deserve to be put to death. But the multitude, who are ignorant, will say that it was all offhand. Therefore I would wish Your Majesty to hand down the cases to the officials in charge. who will expose their crimes and sentence them to death; do not let your palaces be sullied and those far and near become suspicious. Human life, furthermore, is a serious matter; it is difficult to give life, easy to kill. The breath of life, once broken, will not continue. Therefore the sages and worthies laid stress on it. MÊNG K'O 孟軻 said that the benevolent man will not put to death one innocent person in order to win the empire.[12]

"Of old, the Han WÊN-TI 文帝 wished to put to death a man who trespassed on the imperial progression. But the t'ing-yü CHANG-SHIH-CHIH 张释之 said,[13] 'If Your Majesty had put the man to death on the spot, there would be nothing to it. Now you have handed down the case to the t'ing-yü. The t'ing-yü is one who deals quitable justice to the empire;[14] he must not violate it.'[15]

"I consider that in this he greatly missed the mark, for it was not what a loyal minister should have set forth to his Sovereign. A t'ing-yü is an official subordinate to the Son of Heave, who himself should not lose sight of quitable justice. This being so, should the Son of Heaven ever be led astray to commit errors? Thus he laid more weight on himself than on his own Sovereign; he was extremely disloyal.[16] [The Duke of Chou said, 'The Son of Heaven does not joke; whatever he says, the historiographer will write it down, the Court musicians will chant it, and the gentlemen of the land will speak of it.'[17] Since one should not joke in words, how much less so in actions! Therefore the words of (CHANG) SHIH CHIH] you cannot but examine; [the remonstrance of the Duke of Chou, you cannot but follow.]"[18]
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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby plunged » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:59 pm

26. (TS'AO) KUN (曹) 袞, 'Reverent' Prince of Chung-shan 中山, was sick. He commanded his subordinate officials:[1] "[Though of meager virtue, I have received much favor from the Emperor. Now I am about to die. I am fond of frugality, but the Emperor has illustriously honored me with titles--a permanent institution for the empire. On the day I...

Page 481:

...breathe my last, in everything, from the encoffining to the burial, the imperial command is to be strictly obeyed. Of old CHÜ YÜAN, a ta-fu of Wei 衛, was buried at P'u-yang ?陽; looking at his tomb, I always reminded myself of his good fame. I wish to have my hair and teeth under the protection of his good spirit. My tomb is to be made at that place without fail.] A man is not permitted to die in the hands of the women,[2] so build quickly an eastern hall."

"When the hall was completed, [he named it 'Hall for Consummation of Wishes';] sick as he was, he was carried to it and stayed there.

He then spoke to his heir-apparent: "In your youth you have become a prince;[3] you know only of pleasure, and are not acquainted with suffering.[4] [Not knowing suffering,][5] you are sure to commit faults of arrogance and extravagance.[6]

["In your relations with the ministers of state, practice courtesy; even if the man be not a minister of state, but is an aged man, you still ought to return to bowing. Serving your elder brothers with respect, and compassionately treat your younger brothers with benevolence.]

"Should one of your brothers commit a wicked deed, you ought to visit him on your knees and remonstrate with him.[7] If he does not accept your remonstrance, then admonish him with tears. If he does not mend his ways even after you have thus admonished him, then tell the matter to his mother. If he still persists in not mending his ways,[8] you should report the matter in a memorial to the Emperor, at the same time renouncing your state and territory. It is better to keep yourself intact, in poverty and humble position, than to risk disaster by trying to preserve the favors you enjoy. For the latter would be a great crime. As for petty faults, you should cover them up.

["Alas! My boy, be prudent in cultivating your person; observe the Emperor's commands with loyalty and sincerety; serve your grandmother with filial piety and reverence. Within the treshold of your house, obey the command of your grandmother; outside it, take instruction from the Prince of P'ei 沛. Never be remiss in your though; thus you will console my spirit.]"[9]

27. Winter, tenth month. On the day chi-yu (Oct. 1), [TS'AO] KUN died.

28. Eleventh month. On the day ting-yu (Dec. 19), the Emperor went to Hsü-ch'ang 許昌.

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29. (a) In this year, the tz'ŭ-shih (Governor) of Yu-chou 幽州, WANG HSIUNG 王祥, had HAN LUNG 韓龍, a man of strong muscle, assassinate the Hsien-pei K'O-PI-NÊNG 軻比能.[1]

(b) From now on,[2] his tribes scattered and attacked each other; the stronger fled afar and the weaker submitted. The frontiers then became peaceful.[3]

30. (a) The stream of Liu-ku-k'ou in Chang-yeh[-chün] overflowed and threw up a treasure stone,[1] bearing emblems and resembling a divine tortoise in appearance. It stood west of the river. There were on it the figures of seven stone horses as well as phoenixes, unicorns, white tigers, bullocks, semi-circular jade pendants, the Eigth Trigrams, constellations, and comets. There were also the characters 大?曹 ta t'ao TS'AO. In an edict the Emperor had the appearance of the stone proclaimed throughout the empire, and held it to be an auspicious sign.

(b) The Magistrate of Jên[-hsien], YÜ CHO 于?, showed the thing to CHANG CH'IEN 張? of Chü-lu and asked him about it.[2] [CHANG] CH'IEN privately told [YÜ] CHO, "Divinities acquaint us with the future and do not revert to the past. First, auspicious signs[3] appear; then they are followed up by changes in the dynasty. Now the Han dynasty has long perished[4] and Wei has succeeded to it. How can auspicious signs[5] occur after the event? The import of this stone lies in the present; it is an omen[6] for the future."

31. The Emperor sent a man to barter horses for round and unround pearls,[1] lapis lazuli and tortoise-shells[2] in Wu. The Sovereign of Wu[3] said, "These are things which I do not use and uet I can have horses by means of them.[4] Do I have any love for them?"[5]

And he dispensed them all.[6]
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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Jordan » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:32 pm

silver "Nick." Michigan. Hmmm...

Seems like I missed a lot. I didn't realize this thread had been updated at all since Liang Shuo left. More importantly, I have Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms temporarily thanks to Inter Library loan. I think I'll be continuing where we left off.

I'm not gonna bother with notes. I might later on, but it's too much to type up for now. I also do things a bit differently. I try to change things from Wade-Giles to Pinyin where I can. Rarely, although sometimes, I also bracket off things with notes for myself. From now on if I do that, I'll be using these: { }


Fourth Year of Qinglong (236 AD)
Shu: Fourteenth Year of Jianxing
Wu: Fifth Year of Jiahe

1. Spring. Wu minted Big Coins (daqian), one equivalent to five hundred.

2. Third Month (April 24-May 22). Zhang Zhao of Wu died; he was eighty-one. Zhang Zhao was of dignified and solemn appearance, and awe-inspiring carriage; from the Sovereign of Wu down, everybody in the state feared him.

3. Summer, fourth month (May 23-June 21). The Sovereign of Han reached Jian. Ascending the embankment Guanfan, he viewed the flow of the Wen [River?]. After ten days he returned to Chengdu.

4. Fu Jian, chieftain of the Di of Wudu, begged to surrender to Han. His younger brother dissented and, leading four hundred households, came to surrender to Wei.

5. On the day yi-mao (July 4), Dong Zhao, the Constant Lord of Luoping, died.

6. Winter, tenth month. On the day chi (ji?)-mao (October 25), the Emperor returned to his palace in Luoyang.

7. On the day jia-shen (October 30), a comet appeared in the constellation da chen. On the day yi-yu (December 1), it also appeared in the east. Gaotang Long offered his memorial, “Whenever Emperors and Kings moved their capitals and set up new cities, they first of all fixed the seats of the spirits of Heaven and Earth, and the Altars of Land and Grain; they took care of the matter reverently.

'When a superior man, [high in rank], is about to engage in building, the ancestral temple should have his first attentions, the stables and arsenal the next, and the residences last.' At present, the seats of the spirits of the Circular Mound, the Square Pond, the southern and Northern Suburbs, the Mingtang and the Altars of Land and Grain are not yet fixed; the institution of the Ancestral Temple, furthermore, is not in accordance with the Rites.

In spite of this, Your Majesty embellishes the residences; the gentry and their people miss their proper work. Outsiders all say that expenditures on the female inmates of the palace are almost equal to what the army and the government spend, that the people are in intolerable straits and all are disoriented and irate. The Shu (book) says, 'Heaven hears and sees as our people hear and see; Heaven brightly approves and displays its terrors, as our people brightly approve and would awe.' When the multitude sings the Sovereign's virtue, he makes hortatory use of the Five Happinesses; when the people are angry and sigh, he makes the awing use of the Six Extermities.

This means that Heaven's rewards and punishments are being meted out in accordance with the sayings of the people and in conformity to the heart of the people.

Therefore, in government the primary business is to put the people at ease; for only then does the good rule of antiquity extend from Earth to Heaven. This has always been so, from antiquity to the present.

Now, by unembellished rafters and low-roofed edifices, Tang (i.e. Yao), Yü, Shun and the Great Yü left an august model for posterity; by jade terraces and jeweled rooms, Gui (i.e. Jie) of Xia and Xin (i.e. Zhou) of Shang violated Heaven. At present the palace buildings are too luxurious. The appearance of the comet is very clear.

The comet first appeared in the constellations of fang and xin, then violated the Imperial Throne by appearing in the constellation of ziwei. This shows that august Heaven cherishes a paternal affection for Your Majesty, and so instructs Your Majesty to take warning. The zodiacal signs are, first to last, in the exalted positions; they are sincerely and indefatigably bent on awakening Your Majesty. This is the sincere admonition of a loving father; Your Majesty should take the attitude of a filial son who reverently obeys, thus becoming a model for the world and giving a clear demonstration to posterity. You must not neglect it, else Heaven's ire will redouble.”

8. Gaotang Long admonished earnestly many times more, and the Emperor was quite annoyed. Lu Yü, a shizhong said, “I heave heard that when a Sovereign is enlightened, his officials are straight-forward. Sage Kings of antiquity were afraid that they might not be told of their faults. Therefore there was the drum [to be struck] by those who dared to offer admonitions. We officials attending Your Majesty all hold that in this we are not equal to Gaotang Long. Gaotang Long, a Confucian scholar, has the reputation of being straightforward without curb. Your Majesty ought to tolerate him.”

The Emperor was assauged.

9. On February 7, 237, Chen Qun, the Calm Lord of Yingyin died.

10. Chen Qun had set forth his admonitions to the throne, many a time. But each time he sent a sealed memorial to the throne, he would burn the draft copies, so that the people of his day as well as his sons and younger brothers had no means of knowing the contents. Some critics slandered himn, saying that while occupying his high position he held his hands together and kept silent. During the Chenghi period, the Emperor commanded the editing of the memorials handed in by his officials, under the title Ming Chen Zou Yi (Memorials and Discussions by Famous Officials). The officials of the Court then saw Chen Qun's admonitions, and all sighed in admiration.

11. Master Yüan writes, “Some asked whether the late Yang Fu, the shaofu, was not a loyall official; for seeing his Sovereign's fault, he would burst out in anger and arouse him, never abstaining from mentioning it when he spoke to other people. Is this not a case of 'the minister of the King serving loyally and faithfully, and not with a view to his own advantage?' My reply is, 'Indeed, he can be called a straightforward gentleman; as to his being loyal, I do not know.' For a benevolent man's love of other people is called loyalty when applied to his Sovereign, filialty when applied to his parents. Loyalty and filialty are fundamentally identical. Therefore, one whose benevolence and love is perfect will repeat his admonition if his Sovereign or parents, having committed a fault, do not listen to his admonitions. He speaks of it because he cannot help it, but he cannot bear to spread it. Now, he is a subject of his Sovereign, but seeing that his Sovereign has deviated from the right path, he does his best to ridicule the fault, thereby spreading abroad his badness. He can be called a straightforward official; he still is not a loyal official. The late Chen Qun, the sigong, was different: he would talk and discuss all day and never mention his sovereign's faults; he sent in tens of memorials to the throne, yet outsiders did not know of their contents. The superior man says that Chen Qun thus proves himself a great hearted man.”

12. On the day yi-wei (February 9, 237), the Emperor went to Xuchang

13. The Emperor had commanded each high minister of state to recommend a man with talent combined with virtue. Sima Yi recommended Wang Chang of Taiyuan, zishi of Yanzhou.

14. As a man, Wang Chang was prudent and magnanimous. He named his elder brother's sons Mu (Silence) and Chen (Gravity), his own sons Hun (Harmony) and Shen (Profundity). He wrote a letter to exhort them, saying: “I have named you with the four qualities, thereby hoping you will all think of the names and their significance, and not dare to go against them...For things that are accomplished prematurely will soon perish; if they are done late, they will have a good end. Plants that bloom in the morning will wither in the evening; pines and cypresses flourish and do not perish even in the coldest winter. Therefore, the superior man takes warning from the case of the youth of the village of Que...For, by being able to bend, one unbends; by being able to give one takes; by being able to be weak, one is strong; there is seldom failure. Now blame and praise are the source of all like and dislike, the springs of calamity and fortune. Therefore the sage was prudent on this matter.

Confucius said, 'In my dealings with men, whose evil do I blame, whose goodness do I praise, beyond what is proper? If I do sometimes exceed in praise, there must be ground for it in my examination of the individual.' He also said, 'Zigong was in the habit of comparing men together. Si must have reached a high pitch of excellence! I have not leisure for this.' He was a sage of virtue, yet he was thus; should a mediocre man frivolously blame or praise?...When some one blames us, we then should retire and examine ourselves. If there is in us any act worthy of blame, then his words are right; if there is no act that deserves blame, then his words are wanton. If his words are right, we should not hate him. If he is wanton, there is no harm to us, so that we have no cause for requital. The saying is, 'There is nothing like a double fur coat for protection against the cold, and nothing like self-cultivation for stopping slander. These words are true...'
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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Jordan » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:55 pm

First Year of Jingchu (237 AD)
Shu: Fifteenth Year of Jianxing
Wu: Sixth Year of Jiahe

1. Spring, first month. On the day of renchen (February 6), Shanqi Xian {???} reported the appearance of a yellow dragon.

2. Gaotang Long held that it was because Wei had obtained the influence of “earth,” that the auspicious sign, the yellow dragon, had appeared, and that the calendar should be altered and the color of the court garments changed, so that its rule might be divinely brilliant and the people have their sight and hearing changed. The Emperor followed this proposal.

3. Third month (April 13-May 12). The Emperor issued an edict changing his reign title; the current month became the fourth month, middle of summer. For the color of court garments, yellow was fixed, and in the offering of sacrifices, white was to be used; in this the principle of “earth” was followed. He further renamed the Taihe Calendar, calling it the Jingchu Calendar.

4. Fifth month. On the day of chisi (May 14), the Emperor returned to Luoyang

5. On the day of qizhou, a general amnesty was given.

6. Sixth month. On the day wu-shen (June 22), there was an earthquake in the capital.

7. On the day chi-hai, the shangshu ling Chen Jiao was appointed situ, and the shangshu zuobuyi Wei Chen [was appointed] sigong.

8. On the day of dingwei, Wei-yang in Weixing [-jun] and An-fu and Shangyong in Xi[-jun], were detached to form Shangyong[-jun]: Xijun was discontinued. Xi[-xian] became a part of Weixing[-jun]

9. The officials in charge memorialized the throne to make Wu Huangdi (Cao Cao) the “Grand Ancestor (Taizu) of Wei; to make Wen Huangdi (Cao Pi) the “Founder” (Gaozu) of Wei; to make the [reigning] Emperor the “Meritorious Ancestor” (Liezu) of Wei; and to preserve the temples of these three ancestors for myriad of generations to come, destroying all the other four temples—all just as in the Zhou institution of altering the order of the spirit tablets of Hou-Chi, Wen and Wu.

10. Sun Sheng discoursed on this as follows: “Canonization serves to display virtue, temples to preserve memory. Both of these become prominent only after the death of the persons in question. By this means the origin is traced and the end rounded up, to be shown to the people of the land. There never has been a case of fixing ancestors beforehand, or of causing oneself to be prematurely honored and renowned while still alive. Because of extravagant interment, Hua Yuan and Yue Ju were reproved; for offering condolence in anticipation, the King of Zhou erred in matters of propriety. So, the various officials of Wei were lacking in correction.”

11. Autumn, seventh month. On the day ding-mao (July 11), Chen Jiao, Correct Lord of Dongxiang, died.

12. Gongsun Yuan frequently used abusive language of Wei to guests in his country. The Emperor wished to carry out a punitive campaign against him and for this purpose appointed the Cishi (Governor) of Jingzhou, Guanqiu Jian of Hedong, to be Cishi of Yuzhou.

Guanqiu Jian sent up a memorial saying: “Since Your Majesty's accession to the throne, there has been nothing worth writing down. Wu and Shu, relying on their natural strongholds, cannot easily be subdued. Perhaps we may take the soldiers useless against them, to conquer Liaodong.”

The guanglu dafu Wei Zhen said, “What Guanqiu Jian sets forth is all a petty scheme of the Warring States, not the business of a royal personage. Wu has been invading our borders for many years, and if yet we put aside our armor and rest our soldiers, not attempting a punitive campaign, it is because the people are weary. Gongsun Yuan, born and reared on the other side of the sea, has succeeded to his patrimony in the third generation; on the outside he soothes the Rong barbarians, inside he trains his men for warfare. In spite of this, Guanqiu Jian proposes to make a distant expedition with a detachment of troops; arriving in the morning, he will have to retreat in the evening. I know the recklessness of it!”

13. The Emperor did not listen to him, but had Guanqiu Jian lead the various troops as well as the Xianbei and Wuhuan and take up a position on the southern border of Liaodong. The Emperor sent a sealed edict to summon Gongsun Yuan. In the end, Gongsun Yuan arose in an armed rebellion, meeting Guanqiu Jian at Liaosui. It so happened that it rained for more than ten days and the water of Liaosui rose greatly. Guanqiu Jian fought him, but was unsuccessful and withdrew his troops to Youbeiping

14. Gongsun Yuan then proclaimed himself King of Yan. He adopted the reign title Shao-han. He appointed officials for his government, sent an envoy to the Shanyu of the Xianbei to confer on him the royal seal, enfeoffed border peoples, and seduced the Xianbei, so that they would invade and trouble the northern regions (of China, on the northern border of Wei).

15. In Han [i.e. Shu-Han], the Empress Zhang passed away.

16. Ninth Month (September 7-October 6), Jizhou, Yanzhou, Xuzhou and Yuzhou were heavily flooded.

17. The fu-ren (first class concubine) Guo of Xiping was in favor with the Emperor, whose love for the Empress Mao was slackened. The Emperor had a party in his rear garden, inviting his concubines from cairen up; he enjoyed a most pleasant private entertainment.

The furen Guo asked that the Empress be invited, but the Emperor did not consent, at the same time prohibiting his attendants from divulging it. However, the Empress knew about it. The next day she said to the Emperor, “Was yesterday's party in the northern garden pleasant?” The Emperor thought that his attendants had divulged it to her and put more than ten of them to death.

On the day geng-chen (September 22), the Emperor commanded the Empress to commit suicide. Nevertheless, he honored her with the canonization Tao (Lamented). In the tenth month, on the day Gui-zhou (October 25), he buried her at the mausoleum of Minling. He promoted her younger brother, Mao Ceng.

18. Winter, tenth month (September 7-October 4). The Emperor, following the advice of Gaotang Long, took Weisushan, south of Luoyang, and made it Yuanqiu. The edict issued on this occasion reads: “Emperors and Kings, having received their mandate, all revere Heaven and Earth to glorify the divinites, and offer sacrifices to their ancestors to illumine their achievements. Hence, when the records from former generations become known, the institution of sacrifice to the ancestors will become complete. Of old, at the beginning of the Han, a time succeeding to the destruction of learning by the Qin, fragments were picked up and patched together, and thus the Suburban Sacrifices were pieced out. From the time of the Sacrifices to the Spirit of Earth in Ganchuan and to the Five Spirits at Yonggong, the myriad divinites have not been regulated. Hence the instituion is irregular, now this and now that. For more than four hundred years the Suburban Sacrifices have been in discuse, and that which ought to have been reinstated from antiquity is missing. The Cao trace their lineage from Emperor Shun. From now on, Huang-Huangdi Tian shall be sacrificed to at Yuanqiu paired with our primordial ancestory Shun. Huang-Huang Houdi shall be sacrificed to at Fangqiu, paired with Shun's consort Yi. The spirit of Huangtian shall be sacrificed to at the Southern Suburb, paired with Wudi (Cao Cao). The Spirit of Huangdi shall be sacrificed to at the Northern Suburb, paired with the Empress Xuan, Consort of Wudi.

19. The zhufu of Lujiang, Lü Xi, secretly sent an emissary to Wu requesting that their troops come; he intended to open the city gate, acting as a traitor from within. The Sovereign of Wu sent the Wei Jiang Jun Quan Zong to command the Qian Jiang Jun Zhu Huan, etc., and proceed to him. When they arrived the affair had leaked out, and the Wu troops returned.

20. Zhuge Ke, having come to Danyang, dispatched instructions to the chief officials of the towns belonging to the four districts. He ordered them to defend their own borders and put their troops in good shape. The people of the plain who had submitted were ordered to live in military settlements. The various generals were to be posted with their troops at important positions. Ramparts and walls were to be repaired. Arms were not to be exchanged (with the Shanyue). When the crops matured, the troops were to be released to reap them, leaving no seed behind. The old grain having been consumed and the new crop not yet harvested, and with the people of the plain living in settlements, there was nothing at all for the Shanyue to take in. Thus the people of the Shanyue were reduced to starvation and gradually came out to surrender. Zhuge Ke then sent further instructions: “Since the mountain people (note: Shan=mountain) have left their evil life behind and submitted, they shall all be soothed. If they migrate to other xian (counties), they should not be held under suspicion and apprehended.”

The head official of Qiuyang, Hu Kang, got hold of Zhou Yi, a man who had submitted. This Zhou Yi had been a bad man, but being hard pressed, he tardily came out, secretly harboring intent to revolt. Hu Kang had him bound and sent him to the prefect, Zhuge Ke. On the ground that Hu Kang had disobeyed his instructions, Zhuge Ke put him to death as a lesson for others, and reported this case to the throne.

Hearing that Hu Kang was charged for having arrested a man and was hence put to death, the people were convinced that the government had no intentions other than to make them come out. Therefore they came out, old and young leading each other. The limit of time and the number of men were both as originally counted on. Zhuge Ke took ten thousand men to himself and distributed the remainder (thirty thousand men) among his subordinate generals. The Sovereign of Wu commended his achievements. He appointed Zhuge Ke Weibo Jiangjun and enfeoffed him as Lord of Duxiang (or Buxiang?). He transferred him and stationed him at Huankou in Lujiang.

21. In this year the Emperor moved all the drums and drumsticks, bronze camels and bronze men, and the dew-basin from Chang'an to Luoyang. The dew basin broke, and the sound could be heard tens of li away. The bronze men were too heavy to be carried off, so they were left behind at Bacheng.

He furthermore levied copper on a large scale and cast two bronze men, called Wengzhong, and placed them as a pair outside the Sima Men (Gate of the Sima's office). He further cast a yellow dragon and a phoenix, the dragon forty feet high and the phoenix more than thirty feet high. Both were placed in front of the inner palace.

He constructed an artificial hill at the northwest corner of the garden Fangling Yuan; he had the Ducal and other Ministers and all the officials carry earth on their backs (to make the artificial hill). Pine trees, bamboos, various other trees and famous herbs were planted on its top. Mountain fowls and various beasts were caught and kept there.

22. The Situ Junyi Yuan Dong Xun [of Hedong] sent up a memorial, remonstrating with the Emperor: “I have heard that upright gentlemen of antiquity spoke out their minds for the sake of the state, not fearing death and perishment. So Zhou Chang compared Han Gaozu with Jie and Zhou. Liu Fu compared the Empress Chao with a maid-servant. Loyal and upright by nature, they went ahead and did not shrink in the face of drawn swords and boiling water; they did so because they loved the empire on behalf of the Sovereigns of their time.

Since the Jian'an period (196-220 AD), the people have been killed on the battlefields, sometimes not a soul being left in a family; if there are any survivors, they are orphans, the aged, and children. If your palaces at present are too small and need extension, it should still be done gradually, and not interfere with the time needed for tilling the land.

Going still further, you have made useless things: the yellow dragon, phoenix, the Jiulong[-dian], the dew-basin, the artificial hill and ponds; all of these are things that sage and enlightened Sovereigns would not do. Besides, they demand three times more work than your palaces. The Three Ducal Ministers and nine Ministers of State, the Shizhong and Shangshu, are the most respected of the Empire. Yet knowing well that what you do is wrong, they dare not to utter a word against you, because you are still young and they are afraid of incurring your vehement wrath. Now, Your Majesty shows honor to your numerous officials: you make them distinguished with headgear, clothe them in embroidered garments, carry them in beautiful carriages. They are different from the common people; yet you make them dig holes and lift earth; their faces are dirty and dusky, their bodies are sullied and their feet covered with filth, their headgear and garments are in tatters. By this the respectability of the state is damaged—all from prizing the useless. This is indeed very wrong.

“Confucius said, 'A prince should employ his ministers according to the rules of propriety; ministers should serve their prince with faithfulness.' Without faithfulness and without rules of propriety, how can a state stand on its feet?

When princes do not act as princes, nor ministers as ministers, and there is no exchange of thoughts between high and low, and minds are dissatisfied, the result is that the principles of yin and yang do not harmonize, calamities occur frequently, and the wicked rabble take the opportunity to rise up. Who is there who will speak out these words on behalf of Your Majesty? Or who will dare to incur the wrath of the august personage, toying with death?

I am well aware that once my words are out, death will be my certain lot, yet I compare my own person to a single hair of an ox. If living, I serve no purpose, then what loss can there be in my death? With the writing-brush in the hand, I weep and take leave of this world. I have eight sons, who will have to be taken care of by Your Majesty after my death. Having washed and purified myself, I submit this memorial, waiting your command.”

When the memorial was brought in, the Emperor said, “Is Dong Xun not afraid of death? The official in charge memorialized to have him arrested, but the Emperor's orders were to leave him alone.

23. Gaotang Long sent up a memorial saying, “Of old, King Jing of Zhou did not emulate the bright virtue of Kings Wen and Wu and neglected the sage institutions of the Duke of Zhou. Having minted the Big Coins, he went on to cast large bells. Duke Mu of Shan remonstrated with him, but he would not listen to him; the Musician Zhou Jiu advised him, but he did not follow him. He persisted in error, never mending himself, and thus the influence of the Zhou declined. The good historians recorded this as a warning for all time.

Nowadays, mean men are fond of speaking of the extravagance and luxury of the Qin and Han, thereby tempting your sage mind. To make vessels that can bring the state to ruin will waste labor and expenditure, only causing damage to virtuous rule; this is not the way for effecting harmony of rites and music or securing the blessings of the divinities.”

The Emperor did not listen to him.

24. Gaotaing Long again sent up a memorial saying, “The great virtue of Heaven and Earth is giving life; the great treasure of a sage is his position. How should the position be kept? By means of benevolence. How are people to be collected together? By means of wealth. This being so, the people are the foundation of the state. Grain and silk are the life of the people. Grain and silk cannot grow without assistance from the supernatural, nor can they be produced without human effort. Therefore, an Emperor tills the land in person to encourage agriculture, and an Empress attends to the mulberry leaves to make clothes. In this way is the August Creator (Shangdi) brilliantly served and blessing is reverently sought.

Of old, during the era of Tang (Yao), when fate had calamities fall on the Earth, the inundating waters seemed to assail the heaven. Kun was commisioned to control them, but the work was unaccomplished. So Wenming (Kun's son Yu) was given the charge. Following the course of the hills, he hewed down the woods. From beginning to end, it took twenty two years. Never was calamity heavier than this, nor was any work ever of such a long duration. Yet Yao and Shun, Sovereign and Subject, did nothing but take their seat facing south. When Yu divided the land into nine provinces, all the officials were given employment, each with distinction of rank. The superior and inferior ones were distinguished by five habiliments and five decorations.

At present, the need is not as great as at that time, yet the Ducal Ministers and other ministers of state do manual labor in the company of servants. When this is reported to the barbarians of the four quarters, it will not be a credit; when it is recorded for posterity to history, it will not be good fame.

Therefore, one who rules over a state takes his lesson from his own body and derives his model from the external world; thus he sends forth warmth and gives nourishment. Hence it is said, 'How much more should the happy and courteous sovereign be the parents of the people.'

At present, high and low are toiling, diseases and famine are working their ravages. Those who till the land are few, and there has been continuous famine. The people cannot live through the year. You must take pity and relieve their plight to rescue them from their distress.

As far as I can observe from what is written in ancient books, there has never been a case where the mutual action of Heaven and man has failed. So wise Kings of antiquity stood in fear of the bright commandment of high Heaven, and complied with the course, normal or abnormal, of the yin and the yang. Prudent and cautious, they always feared to go counter to it, the result being that their rule continued and their lineage was prolonged. But coming to later days, stupid Sovereigns and licentious Kings did not prize the precedents of their former Kings, nor accept honest remonstrances; they carried out their desires and neglected with seeming impunity the warnings given them by unusual physical phenomena. They all courted disaster and risked dangers, and went so far they were overthrown. So unmistakable is the way of Heaven.

Permit me next to continue my discourse with the Way of man. The six emotions and five sentiments are shared by all men; desires and righteousness are part of them. When one is about to act, they contend for supremacy in the mind. If desires are stronger than one's character, one will be reckless beyond control; if one is not directed by sincere sentiment, one will be wanton without bounds. What our mind desires is what it deems good or beautiful. But the good and the beautiful cannot be realized without human effort, which cannot subsist without grain and silk. If the Sovereign's desires are boundless, men will not be able to bear the toil, and there will not be enough things to satisfy his demands. With toil and demand interacting, troubles will naturally occur. In other words, without lessening one's desires, there will be no inducing of satisfaction.

Confucius said, 'If a man take no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.' From this point of view, the institutions of Rites are by no means arbitrary distinctions; they are meant to keep harm away and bring about good rule.

Now, Wu and Shu are not mere barbarian hordes on the northern desert, nor are they mere bandits. They have taken their position on defiles and navigate streams; they possess soldiers in large numbers; their rulers have proclaimed themselves Emperors and would vie for hegemony with our China Proper. If some one were to come and report that both Sun Quan and Liu Chan are ruling virtuously, tread the path of simplicity and frugality, have reduced taxation, do not devote their minds to things they like, always ask the aged and worthy for advice, and follow earnestly what the Rites dictate—would not your Majesty, hearing of it, be distressed. Would you not be vexed that, because of this, they could not be easily subdued and exterminated, but remain a source of anxiety for the state?

If, however the informer were to tell you, 'These two rebels both practice wickedness, they indulge in luxury without limit, making their soldiers and people toil and increasing collections and taxation, so that the people below cannot bear it and groaning is increasing day by day'--hearing of this, would your Majesty not burst out in anger that they harass your innocent people, and resolve to punish them speedily? And then, would you not take advantage of their exhaustion and easily take them?

Furthermore, the First Emperor did not lay a foundation for virtue, but built the O-pang palace; he did not worry over the trouble within the screen of his own court, but constructed the Great Wall. When the Sovereign and his ministers planned these projects, they were bent on setting up a work for the coming myriad generations, so that his descendants might enjoy dominion over the Empire permanently. Could they have expected that one day a single man could emit a loud cry and overthrow the dynasty? Therefore I am of the opinion that the Sovereigns of the past, had they known that what they were doing would be certain to end in fall, would not have done it.

A Sovereign that brings his dynasty to its fall believes in his time that he is not going to fall, but still he eventually goes to his fall. A worthy and sage-like Sovereign considers that he might fall, and so eventually is spared from fall.

Of old, Han Wendi, who is known as a worthy Sovereign, personally practiced frugality, benefited and nourished his subjects. Yet Jia Yi compared the Empire with a man hanged by his feet, saying that there was one matter about which he could wail bitterly, two about which he could shed tears, and three about which he could heave a heavy sigh.

At present, the Empire is worn out. The people have not a picul of grain, and the state has not stored one year's revenues; outside there are powerful enemies, so that the Six Armies are exposed along the frontiers, and internally you have undertaken construction works, with the result that the provinces and prefectures are in an uproar. If there is an invasion, I am afraid those who are now engaged in construction work will not be able to pour out their lives to reach the court of the enemy.

Furthermore, the salaries of the generals and their subordinate officials have been more or less reduced, amounting to only one-fifth compared with former times. Those granted leave of absence are not given stipdends, and those formerly exempted from paying taxes have to pay half sum now. Thus the government revenues are more than doubled, while expenditures are less than one third of those in earlier times. Yet the government's finances are always deficient; even beef is always being issued as payment. If we probe into the matter, all the extra expenditures can be found (i.e. in the building of palaces).

Now, salaries and gifts, distributed in the form of grain and silk, are means for the Sovereign to show kindness to the people and to nourish them, means of keeping them alive. By dispensing with them at present, you are depriving of their lives. And, to lose things which one has already obtained—this is the fountainhead of complaint.

According to the Zhouli, the Ministry of Heaven took charge of the Nine Kinds of Revenues to supply the expenditures of the Nine Measures. There were definite revenues and also definite expenditures, these two items never infringing on each other, so that the disbursements were sufficient. When disbursements were sufficient, the remainder of the tribute was allotted for the personal use of the King. Furthermore, when superior personages laid out expenditures the matter had to be examined by the accountant-general.

At present, those who sit with you in the court to rule over the Empire are, first, the Three Ducal Ministers and Nine Ministers of State, and, then, your intimate officials of the government. They are all in your confidence and they ought to conceal nothing from you. If, observing your extravagance or economy, they dare not speak to you, but obey you blindly and run hither and thither at your behest, always fearing that they might not please you, they are your ministers in name only, not assistants with backbone.

Of old, Li Su instructed the Second Qin Emperor, 'A Sovereign who does not indulge his wildest desires is to be called one fettered and shackled by his Empire.' The Second Emperor adopted this advice, with the result that the Qin Empire was overthrown and Li Su as well as his entire family exterminated. Therefore the historiographer Sima Qian criticized him for not having given a correct admonition and not having warned him for the sake of the world.”

Having read the memorial, the emperor said to the Zhongshu Jianling, “This memorial of Gaotang Long makes me afraid.”

25. The Shangshu Wei Ji sent up a memorial saying: “The changing of one's sentiments and polishing up of one's character cannot be done forcibly. It is not easy for a subject to speak of it to his Sovereign, and it is difficult as well for the Sovereign to accept it. Furthermore, what human beings are fond of is riches and honors; what they dislike is poverty and death. But these four things are in the hands of the Sovereign; if he likes an individual, that individual will have riches and honors. If he dislikes him, there will be poverty and death. Those who comply with his desires are liked, those who contradict him are disliked. It is for this reason that subjects all vie to be compliant and avoid contradicting him. Except a man who would let his family be ruined for the sake of perfecting his Sovereign, will any one incur his wrath and touch upon sore spots in order to propose one idea or discuss one view? If your Majesty remains at watchful attention, the true sentiments of your subjects will be made manifest.

At present, many of those who would advise are inclined to please your ear. Speaking of your rule, they compare Your Majesty with Yao and Shun; speaking of your campaigns, they compare the two rebels with badgers and mice. But I hold a different view.

Of old, in the time of Han Wendi, the feudal lords were powerful; Jia Yi sighed repeatedly and said the situation was most precarious. It is more so now.

The land within the four seas is divided into three. Numerous worthy men are exerting their utmost for their masters. Those who come to surrender to us are not willing to say that they have renounced a wicked path to join the right one, but that they are compelled by urgent circumstances. In other words, the situation is not different from the separate dominions of the Six States. At present, along the stretch of a thousand li, the land is uninhabited, and the neglected people are in distress. If Your Majesty does not pay attention to this, the country will be so exhausted it will be hard to revive it.

“According to the Rites, the vessels used by the Son of Heaven were always decorated with gold and jade, and for food he had the Eight Delicacies laid before him; but in times of bad harvest, he would decrease the number of dishes and put on simpler garments. This shows that lavish or frugal standards depended on the abundancy or scarcity of the time.

At the time of Wu Huangdi (Cao Cao), the ladies of the palace lived on one kind of meat dish, their dresses were not brocaded or embroidered, their sitting mats were devoid of frills, and their vessels were neither painted red nor lacquered. It follows that he was able to conquer the Empire and leave it as a legacy to his descendants. All these were things Your Majest saw in person. As for present duty, Sovereign and subjects, high and low, should use the calculating sticks and check the treasury and storehouses so that expenditures will match revenues, and think deeply on the method by which Goujian caused his people to multiply. Even so, it is to be feared lest this be inadequate. Yet the amount of golden and silver wares manufactured in the Shangfang (Palace Workshop) increases more and more. Work and corvee never cease; luxury is increasingly prized day by day; and the palace treasury reserve is daily diminishing.

Of old, Han Wudi believed in the way of immortality, saying he had to get some dew drops from above the clouds so that he might eat pulverized jade; and so he set up an Immortal's Palm to receive dew drops that might fall from on high. Your Majesty, enlightened and broad, always ridiculed him. Now the Emperor Wudi sought his object, dew drops, yet he is ridiculed. Your Majesty, however, does not even search for dew drops, yet you set up the dew basin idly. It serves no purpose, for you have no object, but only wastes work. All these are things it would be well for you to think over and dispense with.”

26. At that time there was an edict that daughters and soldiers already married to officials or common civilians were to be taken and mated with soldiers. It was permissible to ransom them by substitutes. Furthermore, selection was to be made of those with pretty faces and hair for the Imperial harem. The Taizi Sheren, Zhang Mao, of the State of Pei, sent up a letter in protest, saying:

“In prostration, I observe in the edict that all the daughters of soldiers married to non-soldiers are to be taken and mated to soldiers. This indeed is an appropriate measure to meet the exigency of the time, but it is not a good one for right government. Allow me to discuss the matter.

Your Majesty is a Son of Heaven; the officials and people on the other hand are your sons. According to the Rites, gifts to the superior and inferior are distributed on the same day; it is because there is a distinction between high and low. Officials are high personages and soldiers are inferior ones. Now, you would take from one to give to the other; this is no different from robbing an elder brother of his wife to marry her to the younger brother, which is partiality on the part of the parents in showing their affection.

Then again, the edict says that it is allowable to bring in substitutes, who ought to be of the same age and beauty as the wives in question. Hence, the rich come to bankruptcy and the poor contract loans, buying substitutes at high prices to ransom their own wives. Under the pretext of finding mates for the soldiers, district officials deliver the women to the Imperial harem, distributing only the ugly ones among the soldiers. Those who get wives will not necessarily be happy, those who lose their wives will be certain to be dejected; on one hand, they are distressed, on the other they are worried—either way they will not be contented.

Now any Sovereign who rules over the Empire and yet cannot win the heart of the people, is seldom secure from danger. Furthermore, our armies are on the frontiers, hundreds of thousands of men; the daily expenditures do not stop at a thousand units of gold. All the revenues of the whole Empire are not sufficient to supply this war. Yet in the palace there are supernumerary girls, and gifts to the families of your consorts and the Empress are without measure. Both within and without there are expenditures, the total sum of which amounts to half of that of the armies.

Of old, Han Wudi, taking to the way of the immortals and believing in magicians, dug out a lake and raised an artificial hill. Thanks to the fact that the Empire at that time was unified, there was no one who dared to stand against him. It has already been forty or fifty years since decline set in. Horses are never relieved of their saddled and soldiers never divest themselves of armor. After each battle, blood flows on the gore-stained fields; the sounds of wailing have not ceased.

Powerful hordes are at our borders, plotting danger for the House of Wei. Your Majesty is not wary or fearful, does not prize frugality, does not think of putting the empire at ease, but is bent on luxury and extravagance. The Zhong Shangfang (Central Palace Workshop) is manufacturing exclusively objects of fancy to dazzle the eye; in the rear garden a basin to receive dew drops is erected. These indeed please the ear and the eye, but are enough to make our enemies exult.

Alas, to give up the frugality of Yao and Shun and to emulate Han Wudi in extravagance! I presume not to compliment Your Majesty for it.

I would wish Your Majesty to issue a gracious edict, eliminating one and all the things that have no benefit and are harmful, and using the expenditures saved from the things thus eliminated to make gifts to soldiers whose parents, wives and children are suffering from hunger and cold. You ought to inquire about the people's ailments and do away with the things they resent; replenish granaries, repair arms and weapons, and rule the Empire with reverence and sincerity. If you act thus, the Wu rebel will submit himself to be bound and the Shu barbarian will plead to be put to death; before you undertake a punitive campaign against them, they will submit of themselves. The path to peace can be anticipated, with a definite time. Your Majesty, then, need not belabor your will on the other side of the sea; your armies will enjoy peaceful sleep, and your troops will be without care.

At present, the various Ducal Ministers are tongue-tied. But I dare not abstain from offering you my blind advice; because some time ago, when I sent up my admonition and the San-Ji transmitted my letter with my Ting Jian Pian (Discourse on Listening to Admonitions), Your Majesty said, 'Excellent' and promoted me to be Taizi Sheren. In that letter I censured ministers who are unable to admonish their Sovereign. If now, when there is something about which I ought to admonish you, I should abstain from doing so, then my former letter would turn out to be false and I myself be one who cannot speak.

I am now fifty years old; always fearful that I may not be able to requite the state to the very end of my life. I ignore the safety of my own person and boldly make myself heard. I beg Your Majesty to take notice.”

The Emperor did not listen to him.

27. Seriously ill, Gaotang Long dictated and sent up a memorial saying: “The philosopher Zeng being ill, Meng Jing went to ask how he was. Zeng said to him, 'When a bird is about to die, its notes are mournful. When a man is about to die, his words are good.'

I am chronically ill, my disease increases without ever diminishing. I am always afraid I may die all too suddenly, without demonstrating my loyal sentiments. My sincerity is not less than the philosopher Zeng's. I hope Your Majesty will pay a little attention to it.

You ought to amend your past faults entirely, opening the way for future posterity with one stroke, so that spirits and men will respond to you, foreign people come to submit to you, the four auspicious animals bring their felicitous signs, and the celestial bodies shine brilliantly. Thus you may become a match for the Three Kings and supersede the five Emperors; this is not merely becoming a successor to the throne and following existing institutions.

I am always vexed that Sovereigns, though they all think of continuing the rule of Yao, Shun, Tang and King Wu of Zhou, nevertheless follow in the wake of Jie, Zhou and Kings Yu and Li {the notorious despots of antiquity}—that though they all laugh at the misguided and licentious Sovereigns of declining days who brought their dynasties to ruin, they nevertheless do not rise to the model of Yu, Xia, Yin and Zhou. {the sages of antiquity}

Alas! Acting as you do, in pursuit of what you would bring about, is like climbing a tree in search of fish, like boiling water to make ice—it is clear that you will not attain your object!

I have observed of the Empire during the time of the Three Dynasties that sages and worthy men succeeded one another for a period of several hundred years. There was not a foot of land that did not belong to them, not one man who was not their subject.

The myriad states all enjoyed repose and the nine provinces of China were well ordered. They had no use for the gold of Lu-Tai and the grain of Ju-qiao and as ever they sat facing south. What accounts for all this?

But Gui, Jie, Xin and Zhou indulged their desires; august Heaven was wrathful and their states went to ruin. Zhou's severed head was hung on the white banner and Jie was banished to Mingtiao. Tang and Wu were both Emperors. Are rulers different from men? Every Emperor is a descendent of illustrious kings.

Furthermore in the time of the Six States, the land was prosperous. The Qin united it, but did not cultivate the virtue of the sages. Instead, they built the palace of O-pang and constructed the Great Wall. They ruled over China and their sway extended to the hundred barbarian tribes; the whole world was trembling and fearful, people walked in the street with watchful eyes. They thought that their House was on a strong foundation, that their glory and magnificence would last forever. How could they anticipate that their dynasty would crumble down in two generations!

In recent times, Han Xiaowu, succeeding to the prosperity of Wendi and Jingdi, subdued the barbarians without and raised palaces within. For more than ten years the Emprie was in tumult. But he believed the shaman from Yue; he murmured against Heaven and showed anger toward it. He built the palace of Jianchang, with its thousand gates and ten thousand doors. In the end he brought about Jiang Chong's case of black magic; the result was that there was estrangement within the palace, father and son destroying each other. This disaster continued for several generations.

I observed that during the Huangchu period (220-226 AD), Heaven manifested warning signs. A strange bird settled in a swallow's nest, talons on its beak and its breast red. This was an important omen for the House of Wei. You must be wary of the falcon-like minister within the screen of your own Court. You ought to select the various feudal princes, and make them rulers over their states and commanders of troops; they should be stationed here and there like chessmen, to protect the Imperial domain and guard the Imperial house.

Formerly, when the Zhou moved to the East, Jin and Zheng served for them to rely on; during the troubles of the Lu in Han times, the lord of Zhuxu served as a prop. These are clear examples from former dynasties.

Now Great Heaven has no affections—it helps only the virtuous. If the people sing your virtuous rule, then the dynasty will be prolonged; but if those below have complaint, then Heaven will recall the mandate and entrust it to an abler hand. From this point of view the Empire is the empire of the people of the empire, not your Majesty's alone.

I am attacked by the hundred ailments and my strength is lessening. I shall be carried in a carriage to my village home. Should I fail to regain my health, I shall replay your kindness, assuming that the spirits of the dead retain consciousness.”

The Emperor thanked him in an edict written in his own hand. He [Gaotang Long] died soon afterward.

28. Chen Shou in his Commentary says: “As for Gaotang Long, his learning was bright, his aims were directed towards rectifying his Sovereign; taking the opportunity of calamity he set forth his warning, which he expressed from his sincere and honest heart. Loyal indeed was he! But he went so far as to insist that the calendar be changed and that Yu (Emperor Shun) be made the ancestor of the Wei. May we not say that his good intentions carried him beyond his own convictions?”

29. The Emperor deeply disliked men of superficial elegance. He said to the Libu Shangshu Lu Yu, “In selecting officials, do not employ those who are famous. For fame is like a mud-pie. It cannot be eaten.”

Lu Yu replied, “Fame is not a sufficient standard for obtaining extarodinary men, but suffices for getting the ordinary officer. The usual gentleman becomes famous only after holding the teachings in awe and craving goodness, and should not be despised. This stupid servant is not competent to recognize extraordinary men. It devolves then on the official in charge to take fame as his standard and follow the routine, only he must check the result. Hence the ancient saying, 'They will set forth, and you will receive, their reports; you will make proof of them severally by their merits.'

At present, the regulations for examining officials are in disuse and officials are appointed or dismissed in accordance with praise and blame. Hence, truth and falsity are intermingled, emptiness and reality are confused.”

The Emperor accepted his advice.

30. The Emperor commanded the Sanji Changshi Liu Shao to draft the regulations for examining officials. Liu Shao wrote Regulations for Examining Officials by the Du-guan in seventy-two items, and further wrote his Explanations in one section. The Emperor had them sent down to the hundred officials for discussion.

The Sili Jiaoyu Cui Lin said, “In the Zhou Guan (or Zhou Li) the institution of examining officials is given in detail. But beginning with King Kang, it became neglected. This proves that the regulations for examining officials depends on men. Can the defects of these regulations at the end of the Han dynasty lie in the fact that the officials in charge were not strict in their duties? At present, military expeditions are made continually and without notice. If this item is also entered among the laws and proclaimed throughout the Empire, it will have to be now augmented, now relaxed, without constancy. Uniformity will be difficult. Furthermore, it would be like raising the supporting ropes of a net when the ten thousand openings of the mesh are not yet strung, or shaking a fur coat by the lapel before the mass of hairs is set in order. When Gao Yao served Yu and Yi Yin served under the Yin, all who were devoid of virtue disappeared.

“The Five Emperors and Three Kings were not necessarily of the same mould, yet they all brought order out of chaos. The Yi says: “With the attainment of such ease and such freedom from laborious effort, the mastery is got of all principles under the sky.' Our Taizu (Cao Cao) set up laws in accord with the specific needs of his time and left them to us of today. He did not worry about not following ancient models. He thought that what he had to do, assuming the present system to be not too lax and loose, was to stick to one principle and not deviate from it.

If only our ministers are competent to do their duty and 'be a pattern to all the princes,' who is there who will dare not be serious? What need is there for us to examine officials?”

31. The Huangmen Shilang Du Shu said: “The Shu says, 'You will make proof of them severeally by their merits' and 'after three examinations the undeserving were degraded, and the deserving promoted.' This certainly is a grand institution for Emperors and Kings. To let the able be invested with their office and the deserving receive their emoluments is like Wu Huo's lifting a thousand jun and Liang Luo's picking out the feet of the splendid steed.

But, having passed through the six dynasties, the regulations on examining officials and merits are not manifest; having gone through the hands of seven sages, the records for examining them have not been transmitted. My explanation is that this is because those regulations can be followed in rough outline but their details can hardly be adopted.

The saying has it: 'It is only man who brings order, no law can bring order.' If laws could ever be relied one exclusively, Tang (Empero Yao) and Yu (Emperor Shun) need not have had Ji and Qi as their assistants, Yin and Zhou would not have prized the help of Yi Yin and Lu Shang. At present, those who memorialize for the examination set forth the laws of Zhhou and Han and bring the ideas of Jing Fang to culmination. They indeed can be said to have grasped the fundamentals of examination. But as means for heightening customs of mutual politeness and introducing august rule, they are not, in my opinion, all too perfect.

If we wish to let the provincial officials examine candidates, the four classifications must be followed. After they have proved their worth in deeds, they should be accepted and then employed on trial in government offices as lower officials close to the people. Those who in accordance with their merits are eventually promoted to be the chief officials of prefectures would have their ranks raised and receive enfeoffment. This is the most urgent matter that these men should be made relative to examining officials.

I am of the opinion that these men should be made personally prominent and their words be accepted, so that the laws on examining provincial officials may become complete. When these laws are completely implemented, rewards and punishments should be meted out punctually and without fail.

“As for the Ducal Ministers and other Ministers of State, as well as high officials of the Court, they also should be examined in their different duties. The Three Ducal Ministers of antiquity discussed the Way in their seats; the high officials of the court proffered advice and filled in deficiencies. There was no good deed that they did not record, no fault that they did not point out. The Empire being a big thing and state affairs multifarious, the light of a single intelligence cannot shine everywhere. Therefore the Sovereign serves as the head and his ministers as legs and arms; this indicates clearly that they form a single body and are complete when they are together. Therefore the ancients said that the timber for the ancestral temple is not from the branch of a single tree, nor is the work of an Emperor or King done through a single man's counsel. Seen from this point of view, can any minister induce a happy rule merely by attending to his duty and taking charge of official examinations?

“Further, even friendship between two common people stress trustworthiness. Once an oath is taken, they would tread fire and water; moved by friendship that understands and appreciates, they expose their innermost hearts. For the sake of name and fame, they abide by their principles. How much more so, then, when it concerns those who wear girdles and stand in the Court, whose ranks are those of the Ministers of State. Is what they stress merely the trust of a common man? Is what moves them merely friendship that understands and appreciates? Is it a mere matter of name and fame? Those who receive emoluments and are entrusted with important duties do not limit their ambition to lifting their enlightened Sovereign above Tang and Yu; they also wish to place themselves by the side of Ji and Qi. Therefore, the ancients did not worry if their minds were not completely applied to inducing good rule, but they took it to heart if they were insufficiently conscious of their own importance. It is indeed the Sovereign who made them so. The Sovereigns of Tang and Yu gave their trust to Ji, Qi, Gui and Long and urged them to accomplish their work; when crimes were committed, they held Kun a prisoner until death and banished the four criminals.

Now, Ministers of State serve your enlightened commands in person, and work under your very eyes. Those who apply their minds for the State day and night, who have distinguished themselves through reverence and assiduity, who as officials do not bend before position and power, who abide by equity and do not flatter their intimates, who abide at court with upright words and deeds—these, being a perspicacious Sovereign, you can yourself observe. As for those who think themselves superior by receiving their undeserved emoluments, or consider themselves wise by keeping silent, who as officials do not aim higher than evading reproof; who never forget the preservation of their persons while standing at court; who stay at court by unexceptional action and cautious words—being a perspicacious Sovereign, you can yourself notice these too.

Suppose one serves honestly and assiduously, preserving his person and protecting his position, without any crime that might get him dismissed or banished, yet finds himself in a suspicious position. While impartial judgment on him has not yet been made, private criticism is circulating. Even if Confucius were to examine him, he would not be able to probe completely this single man of ability. How much less, then, will a common man be able to do so.

Scholars nowadays derive their teaching from Shang Yang and Han Fei, and advise you with the Legalist teachings. They vie with each other in considering the Confucian school impractical and useless for the world. This is a fad of the gravest evil, and something which the founder of a dynasty must beware.”

32. The Sigong Yuan Fu Jia of Bodi said, “I observe with regard to Liu Shao's treatise on examining the merits of officials that he intends, indeed, to restore the texts from past dynasties about promoting and dismissing. But those regulations are gone for good. What remains in outline are the Zhou institutions by which, externally, feudal lords were enfeoffed to serve as protection for the nine domains, and internally, various officials were appointed to administer duties of six functions. Each state had a definite tribute and each office had a definite standard. The hundred offices were charged with uniform functions and the four classes of the people were engaged in different occupations. Therefore it was possible to arrange the examination of officials of promotion and dismissal.

Our Great Wei continues the lineage of a hundred Kings. It is successor to the violent rule of Qin and Han, but all the defective aspects of their institutions have not been adopted. Since the Jian'an and down to the Qinglong period, the divine prowess of our Emperors has brought order to chaos and laid a foundation for the Imperial line. The wicked are wiped out and the remnants of the rebels are being mowed down; battle flags are furled and unfurled ay after day. In administration of state afffairs as well as in carrying out military campaigns, both makeshift and regular laws are used. The hundred officials and the horde of functionaries are employed in the army and in the state without distinction. Appropriate measures are taken in accordance with the needs of the time.

Therefore if we apply ancient usages to the present time, things will be confused and purports will be found to be different. It is difficult to execute the scheme. The reason is that in making laws we must be farsighted. If they are not appropriate to the laws at hand or competent to cope with the business of the time, they cannot be handed down to the future.

Now, instituting offices and dividing functions, so that the life of the people will be ordered and regulated, is a primary necessity. Checking names with reality, to rectify extant statutes, is secondary matter. If we attend to the unimportant before the important is fixed, to hastening the examination of officials before the general policy of the state is made manifest, I am afraid that (the proposed measure) will not be adequate to distinguish between the able and the stupid, or to clarify the difference between the deserving and the undeserving.

When the ancient Kings selected men of talent, they made a point of taking their conduct in their own home districts as standard, and seeing to their virtue in the schools. With deeds complete, one was called worthy; with virtue cultivated, one was called able. The villages' elders offered the worthy and able to the King, who received them respectfully, appointing the worthy to serve as provincial officials and the able as court officials. Such was the ancient Kings' principle of recruiting the talented. At present, the people of the nine provinces are not recommended along with those of the metropolis for the positions of the Six Ministers; the duty of selecting the talented devolves exclusively on the Libu. If candidates are examined with regard to their external appearance, the really talented may not necessarily be picked out. If only those who have slight merits are given employment, those with virtuous conduct will not find a chance. In this matter, the examination will not exhaust men of talent. As for epitomizing the great principle of the King and discoursing on the norm of the state, the scope is too broad and the meaning is too deep to do so in detail.”

The matter was debated for a long time without any decision; in the end the proposal was not adopted.

33. {33. contains a long commentary by Sima Guang. For brevity and for the sake of my sleep, I am going to leave this out for now and maybe insert it later}

34. Some time before this, the Youbuyi Wei Zhen was in charge of selecting officials. The Zhonghu Jun Jiang Ji sent a letter to Wei Zhen saying, “The Sovereign of Han [Gaozu] treated a fugitive [Han Xin] as his First General (shangjiang), and King Wu of Zhou promoted a fisherman [Lü Wang also known as Lü Shang] as his Grand Preceptor (taishi)--a mere commoner and servant can climb to the position of a prince or a Duke. What need to follow the letter of the law and give employment only after examination?”

Wei Zhen said, “Not so. You think to identify Mu-ye with the reigns of Kings Cheng and Kang and compare the cutting down of the serpent with the reigns of Emperors Wen and Jing; you are inclined to unorthodox appointments, and would open up a flood of eccentric elections. You are going to make the Empire rise up in tumult and chaos!”

35. When Lu Yu discussed men and selected them for appointment, he always put their character and conduct in the foreground and only afterwards spoke of their talent. The Huangmen Lang Li Feng of Feng Yi once questioned Lu Yu about this. Lu Yu said, 'Talent is for doing good; hence a great talent accomplishes a great good, a small talent a small good. If a man is known for his talent and yet cannot do good, then his talent is a useless thing.' Li Feng submitted to his words.


I've noticed that oftentimes, a new part will begin with "On the day of Dingmao" and stuff like that. Is this dating related to the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches or am I confusing those with something else?

Also I've probably done a poor job converting from Wade-Giles to Pinyin at times, so please feel free to correct me on these and other errors.
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Re: The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Jordan » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:03 pm


Bonus!: The Wu officers' protests against attacking Gongsun Yuan. Liang Shuo left these out of his section on AD 233.


12. Lu Xun sent up a memorial saying, “Relying on his steep terrain and fortified positions, Gongsun Yuan has detained our envoys and has not presented us with fine horses. He indeed deserves our ire! The barbarous tribes disturb our bright great land—they are not imbued with your royal sway. These fugitives who like birds resort to uncivilized regions, would offer resistance to the royal army, going so far as to cause Your Majesty to rise majestic in wrath. You would trouble your august person to sail lightly over the sea, and disregarding danger, risk mishap. At present the empire is in a turbulence like that of clouds; masses of heroic men contend like tigers, men of strength and spirit strive with raised voices and wide open eyes.

“With divine martial spirit, Your Majesty has become heir to the time. You have put Cao Cao to rout at Wulin, defeated Liu Bei at Yiling, and captured Guan Yu in Jingzhou. These three men were heroes of the age, yet you crushed their strength. Wherever is your Majesty's sage-dominion, the myriad li bend like grass. You are on the point of conquering and tranquilizing the whole of China, to rule with your great Counsel. Yet now you will not bear a minor vexation and pour out your thunderous wrath! In this you disregard the warning against 'sitting below the overhanging roof of a house' and treat your august person lightly. This is something that puzzles me. I have heard that one who goes ten thousand li does not stop walking in the middle of the road; one who plans to win the land within the four seas does not concern himself with trifles and jeopardize the great plan. A strong enemy is on our borders; there are still those who have not submitted; yet Your Majesty would ride on a raft to undertake a distant expedition, which will surely provide opportunity for our enemies. You will blame yourself after disaster has come, but regret then will be too late. If the great affair is speedily accomplished, Gongsun Yuan will submit on his own before we send an expedition against him. Now you set your heart on the masses and horses of Liaodong; must you throw away your foundation in Jiangdong, secure enough to last through thousands of generations, and feel no regret for it? [I beg you to rest the Six Armies and put the greater enemy in awe, to conquer China as early as possible and so leave behind your brilliance for the future.”

13. Xue Song sent up a memorial saying, “A sovereign is the head of the myriad states and the one on whom the whole world depends for its life. Therefore, when he stays, double gates are made and the clapper is struck to guard against the untoward; when he travels, the road is cleared and the leather drum is beaten to enhance his majestic air. Thus the boon of his absolute safety is secured and the hearts of the people within the four seas are tranquilized. Of old, when Confucius, dissatisfied with the time, muttered something about getting upon a raft and floating on the sea, Ziyu was glad, but he was rebuked for not exercising his judgment upon matters; when Han Yuandi wished to ride in a boat, Xue Guangde begged to cut his own throat to sprinke the imperial carriage with his blood. For water and fire are most dangerous; they are not something Sovereigns should go through. The saying is, 'The son from the house which has one thousand pieces of gold does not sit below an overhanging roof.' How much more should this be the case with the august person of a Sovereign.' Now, Liaodong is but a small country of the Mo barbarians, without fortification of walled cities and moats; their weapons are trifling and dull, and like dogs and sheep they do not have any government.

If you go, you will certainly catch them alive, even as your illustrious edict would have it. But the corner of earth they inhabit is cold and barren. No grains grow there; the people are acucustomed to saddled horses, always roving here and there. Whent hey suddenly hear of the arrival of our large forces, knowing they are no match for us they will be startled like birds and beasts, and flee far away on their mounts. Not a single man or solitary horse will be seen. Although we may take the territory, devoid of human beings, there will be no profit in keeping it. This is the first point of inadvisability of the proposed expedition.

Furthermore, the great waves are deep and wide, and there is the hardship of passing Chengshan. Sea voyages are uncertain, wind and waves being unavoidable. In a twinkling moment, men and ships are separated. Even one with the virtue of a Yao and a Shun may exercise his human brain in vain; even the courage and strength of a Meng Ben and Xia Yu are to no purpose. This is the second point of inadvisability.

Still again, dense fog will cover the ships above, and salt water steam below them; legs will easily become swollen and the disease will become infectious. There are scarcely any sailors exempt from this calamity. This is the third point of inadvisability.

Heaven has given rise to Your Majesty's divine sagacity, and has manifested its will through auspicious signs. You should take advantage of the time to quell disturbances and cause your people to prosper. At present, the disobedient rebels are about to be exterminated and the land within the seas is about to be tranquilized. Now, you are acting contrary to the imperative plan and seek the most dangerous hazards; you neglect the solid footing of the nine Provinces of China and exult in the wrath of a day. Not only is this not a weighty counsel for tranquilizing the dynasty, but there has not been such a precedent since the creation of the world. This is indeed why the flock of officials are in uncomfortable positions, neither relishing their food nor sleeping at ease on their mats.

I hope Your Majesty will be master of your thunder-like and awe-inspiring majesty and suppress your majestic wrath, that you will follow the safe way by going by the bridge and keep away from the danger of walking on ice. Then will your subjects be blessed and the Empire will have cause for felicitation.

14. Lu Mao sent up a memorial saying: “I have heard that in controlling distant barbarians, a sage Sovereign holds only a nominal suzerainty and does not exercise a constant sway over them. Thus when such domains were instituted in antiquity, they were called 'wild domains,' which means that they were between being and non-being—inconsistent--and could not be kept. Now Gongsun Yuan is an insignificant thing among the Eastern Barbarians, cast away at the far corner of the sea; though he has a human face, he is no different from birds and beasts. The reason our state did not cherish our goods and treasures but gave them to him, far away, was not that he had any virtue we wanted to commend, but to induce his stupid mind to give us horses. That Gongsun Yuan in his arrogance and treachery relied on the distance between him and us to betray your command is only a normal attitude of the wild Mo barbarians; what is there in it for us to wonder at greatly? Of old, the various Han Emperors also paid keenest attention to the handling of the foreign barbarians, sending envoys one after another and scattering goods which filled the Western Regions. Now and then they showed respect and obedience; but envoys were also killed and goods plundered in innumerable instances. Now, Your Majesty, unable to bear your vexation, wished to cross the great sea and tread on their land in person. The numerous officials foolishly criticize; I presume to feel uneasiness at this. Why?

Our Northern enemies (i.e. Wei) border on our land; if given a chance, they will seize the opportunity to make inroads upon us. The reason we sent our men across the sea to seek for horses, thereby showing our attention to Gongsun Yuan, was that we wished to cope with the immediate urgency and to eliminate the source of all our troubles. But you would throw away the fundamental and run after the unessential, cast aside the near at hand and take care of the remote. Because of your vexation you would alter the plan; out of irritation you would mobilize the masses. This is just the sort of thing the insurgents (i.e. Wei) are glad to hear of, and is not the best of plans for the great Wu.

Furthermore, the art of students of war is to fatigue the enemy with labor, and to wait for the toiling enemy while remaining at ease. When we awake to the grave consequences, there will be great difference between gain and loss.

Then again, the sea coast of Liaodong is far distant from where Gongsun Yuan is; if we land on the coast, our forces will have to be divided into three sections—the strong to be sent ahead, the inferior to keep guard on the ships, and the still more inferior to transport provisions. Our forces may be large in number, but they can hardly be employed in their entirety. Besides, while carrying the provisions and plodding along far into hostile territory, our men will be intercepted everywhere, for the insurgents have plenty of horses in their land. If Gongsun Yuan is merely playing a trick on us and has not cut off his relation with the northern enemy, when we start on the expedition they will help each other as closely as lips and teeth. In that case we will be alone with no one to rely on. But if in fear and panic he flees far away, it will not be easy to exterminate him quickly. Should your heavenly punishment be delayed in that northernmost region, the mountain barbarians will seize the advantage to rise up in rebellion. I am afraid yours is not a far-sighted plan for the permanent security of the state.”

The Sovereign of Wu did not approve.

Lu Mao sent another memorial: “Arms indeed were employed in former generations to punish the unruly and awe the barbarians of the four frontiers. But such campaigns were made only after the wicked men of the land had been eliminated and the empire was enjoying peace; then the matter was discussed in the Ancestral Temple as a secondary measure. But in times when China was in tumult and the Nine Domains were partitioned among hostile powers, the ancients sank the root deep and consolidated the foundation, spared their strength and husbanded their expenditures. They made it their business to nourish their own states and awaited defects in the neighboring ones. They never at such times threw away what was near at hand to take care of what was afar, for the result would have been to wear out the army.

Of old, when Yu Tuo rebelled and proclaimed himself Emperor, the time happened to be one of peace, with the people enjoying prosperity. Yet Han Wendi held that the distant expedition would not be easy; he only rearranged his armies and exhorted him. At present, the wicked powers are not exterminated and the territory is in alarm. Even were there the disorders of Chi Yu and Gui-fang, you must be moderate in accordance with the necessity of the time. You should not make Gongsun Yuan your first consideration. I hope your Majesty will control your awe-inspiring majesty and use foresight, give a temporary rest to the Six Armies and remain profound and silent, making plans for the future. Then will the empire felicitate itself.”

The Sovereign of Wu thereupon desisted.
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