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 saw that the advice

Zhu Jun saw that the advice was good

and followed it. As predicted the rebels ran out,

led by Han Zhong. The besiegers fell upon them as they fled, and Han Zhong was slain.

The rebels scattered in all directions. But the other two rebel chieftains, Zhao Hong and

Sun Zhong, came with large reinforcements, and as they appeared very strong, the imperial

soldiers retired, and the new body of rebels reentered Wancheng.

Zhu Jun encamped three miles from the city and prepared to attack. Just then there arrived a

body of horse and foot from the east. At the lead was one general with a broad open face, a body

as an alert tiger’s, and a torso as a lofty bear’s. His name was Sun Jian. He was a native

of Fuchun in the old state of Wu, a descendant of the famous Sun Zi the Strategist*.

When he was seventeen, Sun Jian was with his father on the River Qiantang and saw a party of

pirates, who had been plundering a merchant, dividing their booty on the river bank.

“We can capture these!” said he to his father.

So, gripping his sword, he ran boldly up the bank and cried out to this side and that

as if he was calling his men to come on. This made the pirates believe the soldiers

were on them and they fled, leaving their booty behind them. He actually killed

one of the pirates. In this way be became known and was recommended for office.

Then, in collaboration with the local officials, he raised a band of one thousand and

helped to quell the rebellion of one Xu Chang, who called himself the Sun Emperor

and had ten thousand supporters. The rebel’s son Xu Hao was also slain with his father.

For this Sun Jian was commended by Imperial Protector Zang Min in a memorial to the

Throne, and he received further promotion to the post of

magistrate of Yandu, then of Xuyi, and then of Xiapi.

When the Yellow Scarves rebellion began, Sun Jian gathered together the youths of his

village, some of the merchant class, got a troop of one thousand five hundred of

veteran soldiers and took the field. Now he had reached the fighting area.

Zhu Jun welcomed Sun Jian gladly and ordered him to attack the south gate of Wancheng.

The north and the west gates were simultaneously attacked by Liu Bei and Zhu Jun, but the

east gate was left free to give the rebels a chance of exit. Sun Jian was the first to mount the

wall and cut down more than twenty rebels with his own sword. The rebels ran,

but the leader Zhao Hong rode directly at Sun Jian with his spear ready to thrust. Sun Jian

leaped down from the wall, snatched away the spear and with it knocked Zhao Hong from

the horse. Then Sun Jian, mounting Zhao Hong’s horse, rode hither and thither, slaying as he went.

The rebels fled north. Meeting Liu Bei, they declined to fight and scattered.

But Liu Bei drew his bow, fitted an arrow, and shot their leader Sun Zhong, who fell to

the ground. The main army of Zhu Jun came up, and after tremendous slaughter,

the rebels surrendered. Thus was peace brought to the ten counties about the Nanyang area.

the seer made no reply,

the seer made no reply,

and again and again Cao Cao pressed the question.

then Xu Shao replied, “In peace you are an able subject; in chaos you are a crafty hero!”

Cao Cao GREatly rejoiced to hear this.

Cao Cao graduated at twenty and earned a reputation of piety and integrity. He began his career as

Commanding Officer in a county within the Capital District. In the four gates of the city he guarded,

he hung up clubs of various sorts, and he would punish any breach of the law whatever the rank of the

offender. Now an uncle of Eunuch Jian Shuo* was found one night in the streets with a sword and was

arrested. In due course he was beaten. Thereafter no one dared to offend again, and Cao Cao’s name

became heard. Soon he became a magistrate of Dunqiu.

At the outbreak of the Yellow Scarves, Cao Cao held the rank of General and was given command of five

thousand horse and foot to help fight at Yingchuan. He just happened to fall in with the newly defeated

rebels whom he cut to pieces. Thousands were slain and endless banners and drums and horses were captured,

together with huge sums of money. However, Zhang Ba and Zhang Lian got away; and after an interview with

Huangfu Song, Cao Cao went in pursuit of them.

Meanwhile Liu Bei and his brothers were hastening toward Yingchuan, when they heard the din of battle and saw

flames rising high toward the sky. But they arrived too late for the fighting. They saw Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun to whom they told the intentions of Lu Zhi.

“the rebel power is quite broken here,” said the commanders, “but they will surely make for Guangzong to join Zhang Jue. You can do nothing better than hasten back.”

the three brothers thus retraced their steps. Half way along the road they met a party of soldiers escorting a

prisoner in a cage-cart. When they drew near, they saw the prisoner was no other than Lu Zhi, the man

they were going to help. Hastily dismounting, Liu Bei asked what had happened.

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.

I sit here alone, mourning for us both.

I sit here alone, mourning for us both.

Liu Zongyuan
FROM THE CITY-TOWER OF LIUZHOU
TO MY FOUR FELLOW-OFFICIALS AT ZHANG,
DING, FENG, AND LIAN DISTRICTS
At this lofty tower where the town ends, wilderness begins;
And our longing has as far to go as the ocean or the sky….
Hibiscus-flowers by the moat heave in a sudden wind,
And vines along the wall are whipped with slanting rain.
Nothing to see for three hundred miles but a blur of woods and mountain —
And the river’s nine loops, twisting in our bowels….
This is where they have sent us, this land of tattooed people —
And not even letters, to keep us in touch with home.


Liu Yuxi
THOUGHTS OF OLD TIME AT WEST FORT MOUNTAIN
Since Wang Jun brought his towering ships down from Yizhou,
The royal ghost has pined in the city of Nanjing.
Ten thousand feet of iron chain were sunk here to the bottom —
And then came the flag of surrender on the Wall of Stone….
Cycles of change have moved into the past,
While still this mountain dignity has commanded the cold river;
And now comes the day of the Chinese world united,
And the old forts fill with ruin and with autumn reeds.


Yuan Zhen
AN ELEGY I
O youngest, best-loved daughter of Xie,
Who unluckily married this penniless scholar,
You patched my clothes from your own wicker basket,
And I coaxed off your hairpins of gold, to buy wine with;
For dinner we had to pick wild herbs —
And to use dry locust-leaves for our kindling.
…Today they are paying me a hundred thousand —
And all that I can bring to you is a temple sacrifice.


Yuan Zhen
AN ElEGY II
We joked, long ago, about one of us dying,
But suddenly, before my eyes, you are gone.
Almost all your clothes have been given away;
Your needlework is sealed, I dare not look at it….
I continue your bounty to our men and our maids —
Sometimes, in a dream, I bring you gifts.
…This is a sorrow that all mankind must know —
But not as those know it who have been poor together.


Yuan Zhen
AN ELEGY III
I sit here alone, mourning for us both.
How many years do I lack now of my threescore and ten?
There have been better men than I to whom heaven denied a son,
There was a poet better than I whose dead wife could not hear him.
What have I to hope for in the darkness of our tomb?
You and I had little faith in a meeting after death-
Yet my open eyes can see all night
That lifelong trouble of your brow.

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!