(40.5) Liú Yǎn 劉琰 [Wēishuò 威碩]

Liú Yǎn, appellation Wēishuò, was a Lǔ-guó man. When Xiān-zhǔ was at Yùzhōu, he was recruited as an advisor. As was of the same clan surname [Liú], was distinguished and accomplished, and skilled in debate, he was treated very well, and accompanied everywhere, always as a guest. When Xiān-zhǔ settled Yìzhōu [214], he was appointed Administrator of Gùlíng.


When Hòu-zhǔ was enthroned [223], he was given fief as Marquis of Dū village, his rank was second only to Lǐ Yán, and he was appointed Minister of the Guard, Internal Master of the Army, and General of the Rear, later promoted to General of Chariots and Cavalry. However he did not understand state government, and only commanded over a thousand troops, so the Chancellor [Zhūgě] Liàng ridiculed him as nothing more than a spectating commentator. His chariots and clothes and food and drink were said to be extravagant and wasteful, and he was attended on by several tens of maidservants, all of whom could sing and recited for him the Lǔlíngguāngdiàn fù.


Jiànxīng tenth year [232] he quarreled with General of the Front Wèi Yán, boasted of his own abilities, and so was relieved of his command by Liàng. [Liú] Yǎn wrote a letter of apology to Liàng: “I am by nature empty and incapable, originally had little learning in moral conduct, and also have the deficiency of overindulging in wine. Since the time of the Former Emperor, I have received many and confused instructions, and so have fallen apart. Through my confusion a wise lord can see that my whole heart is with the state, and that I am willing to go through filth, all to provide assistance, and fulfill my duties even to this day. Recently I was intoxicated, and spoke wrongly. Your compassionate favor endured this, and did not send me to face judgment, and through this protected me and saved my life. Though I will certainly restrain myself and correct my wrongs to the death, I shall also swear by the divine spirits. If I cannot follow this pledge, I shall have no face to meet anyone.”


Therefore Liàng sent Yǎn back to Chéngdū to his official position as before.


Yǎn forgot his determination and became muddled and confused. Twelfth year [234] first moon, Yǎn’s wife the Lady Hú entered court to pay respects to the dowager-empress [for the New Year], and the dowager-empress ordered the Lady Hú to stay, and so only after a month did she leave. As the Lady Hú was very beautiful, Yǎn suspected she and Hòu-zhǔ had had an affair, beat the lady Hú five hundred times, even used his shoe to beat her in the face, and afterward expelled her from his house. Lady Hú reported Yǎn, and Yǎn was sent down to prison. The official commented: “You are not someone to beat one’s wife. A face is not the place to receive a shoe’s tread.” Yǎn was publicly executed. After this the wives and mothers of the chief ministers no longer entered court for celebrations.


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