And they wept bitterly.

And they wept bitterly.

The Emperor turned angrily to Liu Tao, saying,

“You also have servants: Why can’t you bear with mine?”

And thereupon the Emperor called to the guards to eject Liu Tao and put him to death.

Liu Tao cried aloud, “My death matters nothing.

The pity is that Han Dynasty, after four centuries of reign, is falling fast!”

The guards hustled him away and were just about to carry out the

Emperor’s order when a minister stopped them, shouting,

“Strike not! Wait till I have spoken with His Majesty.”

It was the Minister of the Interior, Chen Dan. He went in to

the Emperor, to whom he said,

“For what fault is Counselor Liu Tao to be put to death?”

“He has vilified my servants and has insulted me,” said the Emperor.

“All the empire would eat the flesh of the eunuchs if they could,

and yet, Sire, you respect them as if they were your parents.

They have no merit, but they are created nobles. Moreover,

Feng Xu was in league with the Yellow Scarves.

Unless Your Majesty looks to it, the state will crumble!”

“There was no proof against Feng Xu,” replied the Emperor. “

About the Ten Eunuchs, are there none faithful among them?”

Chen Dan beat his forehead on the steps of the throne and did

not desist from remonstrance. Then the Emperor grew angry and

commanded his removal and imprisonment with Liu Tao.

That night Liu Tao and Chen Dan were murdered.

Then the eunuchs sent a forged edict to Sun Jian making

him Governor of Changsha, with orders to suppress

the rebellion of Ou Xing. In less than two months

Sun Jian reported the county all tranquil. For this he was created Lord of Wucheng.

Further, Liu Yu was made Imperial Protector of

Youzhou to move against Yuyang and suppress Zhang Ju and

Zhang Chun. Liu Hu of Daizhou recommended Liu Bei to Liu Yu. Liu Yu

welcomed Liu Bei and gave him rank of commander and sent him against

the rebels. He fought with and worsted them and entirely broke their spirit.

Zhang Chun was cruel, and his leaders turned against him. One of his officers

then slew him and brought in his head, after which the others submitted.

The other leader Zhang Ju saw that all was lost and killed himself.

“Noble Sir, save me!”

“Noble Sir, save me!” cried the inspector.

Now Liu Bei had always been kindly and gracious,

wherefore he bade his brother release the officer and go his way.

Then Guan Yu came up, saying, “Brother, after your magnificent services you only

got this petty post, and even here you have been insulted by this fellow.

A thorn bush is no place for a phoenix. Let us slay this fellow,

leave here, and go home till we can evolve a bigger scheme.”

Liu Bei contented himself with hanging the official seal about the inspector’s neck, saying,

“If I hear that you injure the people, I will assuredly kill you. I now spare your life, and I return to you the seal. We are going.”

The inspector went to the governor of Dingzhou and complained, and orders were issued

for the arrest of the brothers, but they got away to Daizhou and

sought refuge with Liu Hu, who sheltered them because of Liu Bei’s noble birth.

By this time the Ten Regular Attendants had everything in their hands,

and they put to death all who did not stand in with them. From every officer

who had helped to put down the rebels they demanded presents; and if

these were not forthcoming, he was removed from office. Imperial

Commanders Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun both fell victims to these intrigues and

were deprived from offices, while on the other hand the eunuchs

received the highest honors and rewards. Thirteen eunuchs were ennobled,

including Zhao Zhong* who was added to the rank of General of the Flying Cavalry;

Zhang Rang* possessed most of the prize farms around the capital.

The government grew worse and worse, and everyone was irritated.

Rebellions broke out in Changsha led by Ou Xing, and in Yuyang led by

Zhang Ju and Zhang Chun. Memorials were sent up in number as snow flakes in

winter, but the Ten suppressed them all. One day the Emperor was at a feast in

one of the gardens with the Ten, when Court Counselor Liu Tao

suddenly appeared showing very great distress. The Emperor asked what the matter was.

“Sire, how can you be feasting with these when the empire is at the last gasp?” said Liu Tao.

“All is well,” said the Emperor. “Where is anything wrong?”

Said Liu Tao, “Robbers swarm on all sides and plunder the cities.

And all is the fault of the Ten Eunuchs who sell offices and injure the

people, oppress loyal officials and deceive their superiors. All virtuous

ones have left the services and returned to their places, and are building and

guarding their positions. More regional offices have been sought than imperial

appointments. Central authority is being undermined by local interests. Misfortune is before our very eyes!”

At this the eunuchs pulled off their hats and threw themselves at their master’s feet.

“If Minister Liu Tao disapproves of us,” they said, “we are in danger.

We pray that our lives be spared and we may go to our farms.

We yield our property to help defray military expenses.”

Magistrate, what was your origin?

“Magistrate, what was your origin?”

Liu Bei replied, “I am descended from Prince Sheng of Zhongshan.

Since my first fight with the Yellow Scarves rebels at Zhuo County,

I have been in some thirty battles, wherein I gained some trifling merit. My reward was this office.”

“You lie about your descent, and your statement of services is false!” roared the inspector.

“Now the court has ordered the reduction of your sort of low class and corrupt officials.”

Liu Bei muttered to himself and withdrew. On his return to the magistracy, he took council with his secretaries.

“This pompous attitude only means the inspector wants a bribe,” said they.

“I have never wronged the people to the value of a single coin: Then where is a bribe to come from?”

Next day the inspector had the minor officials before him and forced them to bear witness that their

master had oppressed the people. Liu Bei time after time went to rebut this charge,

but the doorkeepers drove him away and he could not enter.

Now Zhang Fei had been all day drowning his sorrow in wine and had drunk far too much. Calling for

his horse he rode out past the lodging of the inspector, and at the gate saw a small

crowd of white-haired people weeping bitterly. He asked why.

They said, “The inspector has compelled the underlings to bear false witness against our

magistrate, with the desire to injure the virtuous Liu Bei. We came to

beg mercy for him but are not permitted to enter. Moreover, we have been beaten by the doorkeepers.”

This provoked the irascible and half intoxicated Zhang Fei to fury. His eyes opened

wide until they became circles; he ground his teeth; in a moment he was off his steed,

had forced his way past the scared doorkeepers into the building, and was in the rear apartments.

There he saw Imperial Inspector Du Biao sitting on high with the official underlings in bonds at his feet.

“Oppressor of the people, robber!” cried Zhang Fei. “Do you know me?”

But before the inspector could reply, Zhang Fei had had him by the hair and had

dragged him down. Another moment he was outside and firmly lashed to the

hitching post in front of the building. Then breaking off a switch from a willow tree,

Zhang Fei gave his victim a severe thrashing, only staying his hand when the tenth switch was too short to strike with.

Liu Bei was sitting alone, communing with his sorrow, when he heard a shouting before his door. He asked what the matter was.

They told him, “General Zhang Fei had bound somebody to a post and was thrashing him!”

Hastily going outside, Liu Bei saw who the unhappy victim was and asked Zhang Fei the reason.

“If we do not beat this sort of wretch to death, what may we expect?” said Zhang Fei.

Zhu Jun returned to Capital

Zhu Jun returned to Capital Luoyang,

was promoted to the General of the Flying Cavalry*,

and received the governorship of Henan. He did not forget those who had helped him to

win victory. Thus he reported the merits of Liu Bei and Sun Jian to the Throne.

Sun Jian, having influential friends and connections to support him, quickly got an appointment

to a post of Commander of Changsha and went to assume the new office. But Liu Bei,

in spite of Zhu Jun’s memorial, waited in vain for preferment, and the three brothers became very sad.

Walking along one day in the capital, Liu Bei met a court official, Zhang Jun, to whom

he related his services and told his sorrows. Zhang Jun was much surprised at

this neglect and one day at court spoke to the Emperor about it.

Said he, “The Yellow Scarves rebelled because the eunuchs sold offices and bartered ranks.

There was employment only for their friends, punishment only for their enemies.

This led to rebellion. Wherefore it would be well to slay the Ten Eunuchs and expose

their heads and proclaim what had been done throughout the whole empire.

Then reward the worthy. Thereby the land would be wholly tranquil.”

But the eunuchs fiercely opposed this and said Zhang Jun was insulting the Emperor,

and the Emperor bade the guards thrust Zhang Jun out.

However, the eunuchs took counsel together and one said, “Surely someone who

rendered some service against rebels resents being passed over.”

So they caused a list of unimportant people to be prepared for preferment by and by.

Among them was Liu Bei, who received the post of magistrate of the county of Anxi, to

which he proceeded without delay after disbanding his army and sending them home

to their villages. He retained two dozens or so as escort.

The three brothers reached Anxi, and soon the administration of the county was so

reformed and the rule so wise that in a month there was no law-breaking. The three

brothers lived in harmony, eating at the same table and sleeping on the same couch.

But when Liu Bei was in public sessions or in company of others,

Guan Yu and Zhang Fei would stand in attendance, were it even a whole day.

Four months after their arrival, there came out a general order for the reduction

of the number of military officers holding civil posts, and Liu Bei began to fear that

he would be among those thrown out. In due course the inspecting official, Du Biao

by name, arrived and was met at the boundary. But to the polite obeisance of Liu Bei,

he made no return, save a wave of his whip as he sat on his horse.

This made Guan Yu and Zhang Fei furious. But worse was to follow.

When the inspector had arrived at his lodging, he took his seat on the dais,

leaving Liu Bei standing below. After a long time he addressed Liu Bei.

All three being of one mind, next day

All three being of one mind, next day

“I am Guan Yu,” replied he. “I am a native of the east side of the river, but I have been a fugitive on the waters for some five years,

because I slew a ruffian who, since he was wealthy and powerful, was a bully. I have come to join the army here.”

then Liu Bei told Guan Yu his own intentions, and all three went away to Zhang Fei’s farm where they could talk over the grand project.

Said Zhang Fei, “the peach trees in the orchard behind the house are just in full flower. Tomorrow we will institute a sacrifice there and

solemnly declare our intention before Heaven and Earth, and we three will swear brotherhood and unity of aims and sentiments: Thus will we enter upon our GREat task.”

Both Liu Bei and Guan Yu gladly aGREed.

All three being of one mind, next day they prepared the sacrifices, a black ox, a white horse, and wine for libation. Beneath the smoke of the incense burning on the altar, they bowed their heads and recited this oath:

“We three——Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei——though of different families, swear brotherhood, and promise mutual help to

one end. We will rescue each other in difficulty; we will aid each other in danger. We swear to serve the state and save the people. We ask not the same day of birth, but we seek to die together. May Heaven, the all-ruling, and Earth, the all-producing, read our hearts. If we turn aside from righteousness or forget kindliness, may Heaven and Human smite us!”

they rose from their knees. The two others bowed before Liu Bei as their elder brother, and Zhang Fei was to be the youngest of the trio.

This solemn ceremony performed, they slew other oxen and made a feast to which they invited the villagers. Three hundred joined them, and all feasted and drank deep in the Peach Garden.

the next day weapons were mustered. But there were no horses to ride. This was a real grief. But soon they were cheered by the arrival of two horse dealers with a drove of horses.

“Thus does Heaven help us!” said Liu Bei.

Meanwhile Zhang Jue led his army into

Meanwhile Zhang Jue led his army into

Regent Marshal and Guardian of the Throne, He Jin, memorialized for general preparations against the Yellow Scarves, and an edict

called upon everyone to fight against the rebels. In the meantime, three Imperial Commanders——Lu Zhi, Huangfu Song, and Zhu Jun——marched against them in three directions with veteran soldiers.

Meanwhile Zhang Jue led his army into Youzhou, the northeastern region of the empire*. The Imperial Protector* of Youzhou was Liu

Yan, a scion of the Imperial House. Learning of the approach of the rebels, Liu Yan called in Commander Zhou Jing to consult over the position.

Zhou Jing said, “they are many and we few. We must enlist more troops to oppose them.”

Liu Yan aGREed, and he put out notices calling for volunteers to serve against the rebels. One of these notices was posted up in the county of Zhuo, where lived one man of high spirit.

This man was no mere bookish scholar, nor found he any pleasure in study. But he was liberal and amiable, albeit a man of few words,

hiding all feeling under a calm exterior. He had always cherished a yearning for high enterprise and had cultivated the friendship of humans of mark. He was tall of stature. His ears were long, the lobes touching his shoulders, and his hands hung down below his knees. His eyes were very big and prominent so that he could see backward past his ears. His complexion was as clear as jade, and he had rich red lips.

He was a descendant of Prince Sheng of Zhongshan whose father was the Emperor Jing*, the fourth emperor of the Han Dynasty. His

name was Liu Bei. Many years before, one of his forbears had been the governor of that very county, but had lost his rank for

remissness in ceremonial offerings. However, that branch of the family had remained on in the place, gradually becoming poorer and

poorer as the years rolled on. His father Liu Hong had been a scholar and a virtuous official but died young. The widow and orphan were left alone, and Liu Bei as a lad won a reputation for filial piety.

At this time the family had sunk deep in poverty, and Liu Bei gained his living by selling straw sandals and weaving grass mats. The

family home was in a village near the chief city of Zhuo. Near the house stood a huge mulberry tree, and seen from afar its curved

profile resembled the canopy of a wagon. Noting the luxuriance of its foliage, a soothsayer had predicted that one day a man of distinction would come forth from the family.

Emperor Huan paid no heed

Emperor Huan paid no heed to the good people of his court

Three Heroes Swear Brotherhood In The Peach Garden;One Victory Shatters The Rebels In Battlegrounds.

Domains under heaven, after a long period of division, tends to unite; after a long period of union, tends to divide. This has been so since antiquity. When the rule of the Zhou Dynasty weakened, seven

contending kingdoms sprang up*, warring one with another until the kingdom of Qin prevailed and possessed the empire*. But when Qin’s destiny had been fulfilled, arose two opposing kingdoms, Chu and Han, to fight for the mastery. And Han was the victor*.

the rise of the fortunes of Han began when Liu Bang the Supreme Ancestor* slew a white serpent to raise the banners of uprising,

which only ended when the whole empire belonged to Han (BC 202)。 This magnificent heritage was handed down in successive

Han emperors for two hundred years, till the rebellion of Wang Mang caused a disruption*. But soon Liu Xiu the Latter Han Founder restored the empire*, and Han emperors continued their rule for another two hundred years till the days of Emperor Xian, which were doomed to see the beginning of the empire’s division into three parts, known to history as The Three Kingdoms.

But the descent into misrule hastened in the reigns of the two predecessors of Emperor Xian——Emperors Huan and Ling——who sat in the Dragon Throne about the middle of the second century.

Emperor Huan paid no heed to the good people of his court, but gave his confidence to the Palace eunuchs*. He lived and died, leaving the scepter to Emperor Ling, whose advisers were Regent Marshal Dou

Wu and Imperial Guardian Chen Fan*. Dou Wu and Chen Fan, disgusted with the abuses of the eunuchs in the affairs of the state,

plotted the destruction for the power-abusing eunuchs. But Chief Eunuch Cao Jie was not to be disposed of easily. The plot leaked out, and the honest Dou Wu and Chen Fan were put to death, leaving the eunuchs stronger than before.

It fell upon the day of full moon of the fourth month, the second year, in the era of Established Calm (AD 168), that Emperor Ling

went in state to the Hall of Virtue. As he drew near the throne, a rushing whirlwind arose in the corner of the hall and, lo! from the

roof beams floated down a monstrous black serpent that coiled itself up on the very seat of majesty. The Emperor fell in a swoon. Those

nearest him hastily raised and bore him to his palace, while the courtiers scattered and fled. The serpent disappeared.

But there followed a terrific tempest, thunder, hail, and torrents of rain, lasting till midnight and working havoc on all sides. Two years

later the earth quaked in Capital Luoyang, while along the coast a huge tidal wave rushed in which, in its recoil, swept away all the

dwellers by the sea. Another evil omen was recorded ten years later, when the reign title was changed to Radiant Harmony (AD 178):

Certain hens suddenly crowed. At the new moon of the sixth month, a long wreath of murky cloud wound its way into the Hall of Virtue,

while in the following month a rainbow was seen in the Dragon Chamber. Away from the capital, a part of the Yuan Mountains collapsed, leaving a mighty rift in the flank.

Such were some of various omens. Emperor Ling, GREatly moved by these signs of the displeasure of Heaven, issued an edict asking his ministers for an explanation of the calamities and marvels.

Emperor Huan paid no heed

Emperor Huan paid no heed to the good people of his court

Three Heroes Swear Brotherhood In The Peach Garden;One Victory Shatters The Rebels In Battlegrounds.

Domains under heaven, after a long period of division, tends to unite; after a long period of union, tends to divide. This has been so since antiquity. When the rule of the Zhou Dynasty weakened, seven

contending kingdoms sprang up*, warring one with another until the kingdom of Qin prevailed and possessed the empire*. But when Qin’s destiny had been fulfilled, arose two opposing kingdoms, Chu and Han, to fight for the mastery. And Han was the victor*.

the rise of the fortunes of Han began when Liu Bang the Supreme Ancestor* slew a white serpent to raise the banners of uprising,

which only ended when the whole empire belonged to Han (BC 202)。 This magnificent heritage was handed down in successive

Han emperors for two hundred years, till the rebellion of Wang Mang caused a disruption*. But soon Liu Xiu the Latter Han Founder restored the empire*, and Han emperors continued their rule for another two hundred years till the days of Emperor Xian, which were doomed to see the beginning of the empire’s division into three parts, known to history as The Three Kingdoms.

But the descent into misrule hastened in the reigns of the two predecessors of Emperor Xian——Emperors Huan and Ling——who sat in the Dragon Throne about the middle of the second century.

Emperor Huan paid no heed to the good people of his court, but gave his confidence to the Palace eunuchs*. He lived and died, leaving the scepter to Emperor Ling, whose advisers were Regent Marshal Dou

Wu and Imperial Guardian Chen Fan*. Dou Wu and Chen Fan, disgusted with the abuses of the eunuchs in the affairs of the state,

plotted the destruction for the power-abusing eunuchs. But Chief Eunuch Cao Jie was not to be disposed of easily. The plot leaked out, and the honest Dou Wu and Chen Fan were put to death, leaving the eunuchs stronger than before.

It fell upon the day of full moon of the fourth month, the second year, in the era of Established Calm (AD 168), that Emperor Ling

went in state to the Hall of Virtue. As he drew near the throne, a rushing whirlwind arose in the corner of the hall and, lo! from the

roof beams floated down a monstrous black serpent that coiled itself up on the very seat of majesty. The Emperor fell in a swoon. Those

nearest him hastily raised and bore him to his palace, while the courtiers scattered and fled. The serpent disappeared.

But there followed a terrific tempest, thunder, hail, and torrents of rain, lasting till midnight and working havoc on all sides. Two years

later the earth quaked in Capital Luoyang, while along the coast a huge tidal wave rushed in which, in its recoil, swept away all the

dwellers by the sea. Another evil omen was recorded ten years later, when the reign title was changed to Radiant Harmony (AD 178):

Certain hens suddenly crowed. At the new moon of the sixth month, a long wreath of murky cloud wound its way into the Hall of Virtue,

while in the following month a rainbow was seen in the Dragon Chamber. Away from the capital, a part of the Yuan Mountains collapsed, leaving a mighty rift in the flank.

Such were some of various omens. Emperor Ling, GREatly moved by these signs of the displeasure of Heaven, issued an edict asking his ministers for an explanation of the calamities and marvels.

Spring only brings me grief and fatigue

Spring only brings me grief and fatigue

Wei Yingwu
TO MY FRIENDS LI DAN AND YUANXI
We met last among flowers, among flowers we parted,
And here, a year later, there are flowers again;
But, with ways of the world too strange to foretell,
Spring only brings me grief and fatigue.
I am sick, and I think of my home in the country-
Ashamed to take pay while so many are idle.
…In my western tower, because of your promise,
I have watched the full moons come and go.


Han Hong
INSCRIBED IN THE TEMPLE OF THE WANDERING GENIE
I face, high over this enchanted lodge, the Court of the Five Cities of Heaven,
And I see a countryside blue and still, after the long rain.
The distant peaks and trees of Qin merge into twilight,
And Had Palace washing-stones make their autumnal echoes.
Thin pine-shadows brush the outdoor pulpit,
And grasses blow their fragrance into my little cave.
…Who need be craving a world beyond this one?
Here, among men, are the Purple Hills


Huangfu Ran
SPRING THOUGHTS
Finch-notes and swallow-notes tell the new year….
But so far are the Town of the Horse and the Dragon Mound
From this our house, from these walls and Han Gardens,
That the moon takes my heart to the Tartar sky.
I have woven in the frame endless words of my grieving….
Yet this petal-bough is smiling now on my lonely sleep.
Oh, ask General Dou when his flags will come home
And his triumph be carved on the rock of Yanran mountain!


Lu Lun
A NIGHT-MOORING AT WUCHANG
Far off in the clouds stand the walls of Hanyang,
Another day’s journey for my lone sail….
Though a river-merchant ought to sleep in this calm weather,
I listen to the tide at night and voices of the boatmen.
…My thin hair grows wintry, like the triple Xiang streams,
Three thousand miles my heart goes, homesick with the moon;
But the war has left me nothing of my heritage —
And oh, the pang of hearing these drums along the river!


 

I challenge what may come

I challenge what may come

Cui Hao
PASSING THROUGH HUAYIN
Lords of the capital, sharp, unearthly,
The Great Flower’s three points pierce through heaven.
Clouds are parting above the Temple of the Warring Emperor,
Rain dries on the mountain, on the Giant’s Palm.
Ranges and rivers are the strength of this western gate,
Whence roads and trails lead downward into China.
…O pilgrim of fame, O seeker of profit,
Why not remain here and lengthen your days?


Zu Yong
LOOKING TOWARD AN INNER GATE
OF THE GREAT WALL
My heart sank when I headed north from Yan Country
To the camps of China echoing ith bugle and drum.
…In an endless cold light of massive snow,
Tall flags on three borders rise up like a dawn.
War-torches invade the barbarian moonlight,
Mountain-clouds like chairmen bear the Great Wall from the sea.
…Though no youthful clerk meant to be a great general,
I throw aside my writing-brush —
Like the student who tossed off cap for a lariat,
I challenge what may come.


Li Qi
A FAREWELL TO WEI WAN
The travellers’ parting-song sounds in the dawn.
Last night a first frost came over the river;
And the crying of the wildgeese grieves my sad heart
Bounded by a gloom of cloudy mountains….
Here in the Gate City, day will flush cold
And washing-flails quicken by the gardens at twilight —
How long shall the capital content you,
Where the months and the years so vainly go by?


Cui Shu
A CLIMB ON THE MOUNTAIN HOLIDAY
TO THE TERRACE WHENCE ONE SEES THE MAGICIAN
A POEM SENT TO VICE-PREFECT LU
The Han Emperor Wen bequeathed us this terrace
Which I climb to watch the coming dawn.
Cloudy peaks run northward in the three Jin districts,
And rains are blowing westward through the two Ling valleys.
…Who knows but me about the Guard at the Gate,
Or where the Magician of the River Bank is,
Or how to find that magistrate, that poet,
Who was as fond as I am of chrysanthemums and winecups?