Wáng Lǎng appellation Jǐngxīng was a Dōnghǎi Tán man. As he was conversant in the Classics, he was appointed Palace Gentleman, then sent out as Chief of Zīqiū. His teacher was Grand Commandant Yáng Cì. Cì died , and he resigned his post in order to mourn. He was nominated as xiàolián “filial and incorrupt” and recruited to the office of the Excellencies, but he did not accept. Inspector of Xúzhōu Táo Qiān recommended Lǎng as màocái “abundant talent.” At the time the Hàn Emperor [Liú Xié] was at Cháng’ān , soldiers East of the Passes rose up, Lǎng became Qiān’s Internal Manager, and with Aide-de-Camp Zhào Yù and others advised Qiān: “The essentials of the Chūnqiū is that seeking support from vassal lords cannot compare to diligently serving the King. Now Heaven’s Son is faraway in the western capital, and it is appropriate to send an envoy to receive the ruler’s command.” Qiān therefore sent Yù to present memorial to Cháng’ān. Heaven’s Son praised his intentions, and appointed Qiān General Calming the East. Yù became Administrator of Guǎnglíng and Lǎng became Administrator of Kuàijī. (1)
- (1) Lǎng Jiāzhuàn “Family Biography of [Wáng] Lǎng” states: Kuàijī formerly offered sacrifices to Qín Shǐhuáng, carved a wooden image, and with Xià Yǔ shared a Temple. Lǎng arrived and took office, and believed that [Qín Shǐhuáng] was a ruler without virtue, and should not receive sacrifice, and therefore abolished it. He resided in the prefecture for four years, and was gave kindness and love to the people.
Sūn Cè crossed the Jiāng and plundered the territory . Lǎng’s Merit Officer Yú Fān believed they could not resist, and it was not as good as fleeing. Lǎng himself believed that as a Hàn official, he should defend the city, and therefore raised troops and with Cè battled, was utterly defeated, and retreated by sea to Dōngyě. Cè also pursued and attacked, and greatly defeated him. Lǎng therefore went to Cè [to surrender]. Cè because [Wáng Lǎng] was scholarly and refined, scolded but did not harm him. (2)
- (2) Xiàndì Chūnqiū “Chronicles of Xiàn-dì” states: Sūn Cè led his army like the Mǐn and Yuè to attack Lǎng. Lǎng on a boat went by sea, wishing to flee to Jiāozhōu, was by troops pressured, and therefore went to the army to surrender. Cè sent an order by envoy to scold Lǎng: “I ask the rebel former Administrator of Kuàijī Wáng Lǎng: Lǎng received the state’s favor and became a minister, so why does he not repay that kindness, and instead block with troops and rely on resistance? Our great army goes on punitive campaign, you luckily evaded destruction, but did not withdraw, instead again gathering many followers, to garrison and reside at the prefecture border, forcing us to go far and toil to for the ruler punish, to the end not understanding obedience. When captured you say you surrender, hoping to deceive and cheat, in order to keep your head. If this is not so, then write an answer.” Lǎng declared himself captured prisoner, and answered the envoy: “I am of trifling ability, wronged the Court for personal reasons, received rank and did not yield it, and so unexpectedly fell into crime. Previously I met a campaign, and fearing death sought to escape. Because I have governed men, as a result my life has sudden changes. Also I was pursued by your great troops, and was frightened and fled north. My followers fell ill and suffered, and have all died out. Alone with my elderly mother together we rode one cart. Stray arrows were flying, so we abandoned the cart and was captured, and bowing my head to the ground I surrender amid the campaigning army. I am anxious and confused and cannot explain, and declare myself surrendered prisoner. Because previously I was bewildered and confused, I was remonstrated and ashamed and afraid. I am foolish and shallow and worn and cowardly, afraid of your authority and alarmed. Also I had no good introduction, and so did not earlier myself submit. During the defeat and flight, I was then alive captured and submitted. I am light and my crimes heavy, and death cannot make up for my faults. I extend my neck for reins, stretch my legs for restraint bonds, ready to hear your words and in all things obey commands.”
Though he fled and moved in poverty and danger so that in the mornings one could not plan for the evening, yet he cared for and gave relief to relatives and old friends, divided to them much and took from them little, and his actions were righteous and very well known.
Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] memorialized to recruit him, so Lǎng from Qū’ē wandered across rivers and seas, and after accumulated years arrived. (1)
- (1) Lǎng was summoned but had not arrived. Kǒng Róng wrote a letter to Lǎng: “At present the roads are divided by blocked passes, news is cut off, and recalling this increases melancholy. Previously I saw your writing and memorials, and knew that you sought the crime of Tāng Wǔ as your own legacy, yourself fleeing to the eastern frontier like the punishment of Gǔn, and without finishing reading, my tears are already flowing. The ruler above is lenient and benevolent, esteems virtue and forgives faults. Lord Cáo assists the government, thinks of worthies and seeks to establish them. His writings and letters are repeatedly sent down, eagerly soliciting. I know you have oared ship to cross the sea, stopping at Guǎnglíng, not thinking of Huáng Xióng’s outstanding loftiness and depth. Talk and laughter has its time, may you exert and care for yourself!”
- Hàn Jìn Chūnqiū “Chronicles of Hàn and Jìn” states: When Sūn Cè had first obtained Lǎng, he reprimanded and had him yield. He sent Zhāng Zhāo to privately ask Lǎng [to join him], but Lǎng vowed to never bow. Cè was furious but did not dare harm him, and had him remain at Qū’ē. Jiàn’ān third year  Tàizǔ memorialized to summon Lǎng, and Cè sent him. Tàizǔ asked him: “How did Sūn Cè come so far?” Lǎng said: “Cè’s valor crowns the whole age, and he has incredible talented men to support his great ambition. Zhāng [Zhāo] Zǐbù is one the people look toward, and he faces north toward [Sūn Cè, as a subject would his ruler]. Zhōu [Yú] Gōngjǐn is a hero of the Jiāng and Huái, flexing arms and serving as his General. His plans are successful, what he plots is not small, and in the end he will become a great rebel to the realm Under Heaven. He is not another one who is a dog bandit and nothing more.
He was appointed Critical Grandee, and Advisor to the Army of the Excellency of Works. (2)
- (2) Lǎng Jiāzhuàn of states: Lǎng when young with the Pèi-guó famed scholar Liú Yáng became friends. Yáng became Magistrate of Jǔ, at thirty years died, and therefore in later generations was rarely heard of. Previously, Yáng because the Hàn House was gradually declining, knew that Tàizǔ had heroic ability, was afraid he would harm Hàn, and wished to eliminate him but never had an opportunity. When Tàizǔ was honored, he sought [Liú Yáng’s] son and heir with great urgency. The son was frightened and distressed, but had nowhere to run or hide. Though Yáng’s relatives and old friends were many, none dared hide him. Lǎng had then been away for many years, but when he from Kuàijī returned, he yet repeatedly sought to resolve the situation. Tàizǔ eventually pardoned him, and Yáng’s family because of this was saved.
When Wèi state was first established , he became Libationer to the Army and Administrator of Wèi-jùn, and was promoted to Minister Treasurer, Minister of Ceremonies, and Grand Judge [Minister of Justice]. In affairs he was forgiving, and when crimes were in doubt he was lenient in sentencing. Zhōng Yáo was perceptive in law, and both of them for their managing of prisoners met with praise. (3)
- (3) Wèilüè “Summary of Wèi” states: Tàizǔ invited him to a meeting together, and teased Lǎng: “We cannot imitate the pressed rice you had in the past at Kuàijī to make your food.” Lǎng looked up and sighed and said: “It is suitable that it should be difficult to do.” Tàizǔ asked: “What do you mean?” Lǎng said: “The me of the past could not press but pressed. Now you wise lord of today can press but do not press.” Tàizǔ asked Lǎng about Sūn Quán declaring himself subject and sending tribute. Lǎng answered: “Sūn Quán in previous letters, from his craftiness he suppressed bandits to make up for his previous faults, and later declares himself subject to show he has no second motives. Fanged beasts bending knees, speaking birds calling happily, pearls and southern gold and distant treasures will certainly arrive. Emotions are seen from words and effects are known from achievements. The three rivers and five lakes are to be governed by Wèi, western Wú and eastern Yuè are to be changed to people of the state. Yān and Yǐng will be taken, and the gates of Jīng will themselves open. The requisite situation for rolling up Bā and Shǔ is already complete. Value rest and celebration, and the varied masses will mutually follow. At the time of fulfilling orders, wield and grasp staff to strike. Emotions are raised, and words are difficult to convey.”
When Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] became King , he was promoted to Censorate Grandee with fief as Marquis of Ānlíng precinct.
He sent up a memorial advising the education of people and reduction of punishments:
“Since the rising of troops it has been over thirty years, the Four Seas are overthrown and capsized, all the states are destroyed and weary. Relying on the Former King [Cáo Cāo] cutting down and removing bandits and rebels, supporting and raising the orphaned and young, so it came that civilization again had law and order. Gathering up the countless people in these lands of Wèi, to grant to the rustic inside, fowls cry and dogs bark, spreading to all four borders, commoners in happiness, joyful to encounter the rise of peace.
“Now the distant bandits are not yet obedient, and the conscription of soldiers and weapons is not yet at rest, and truly if it is ordered to again remove this it would be sufficient to comfort the distant people, while good government would be sufficient to spread virtue and favor, have all north-south roads repaired, the four people abundant and splendid, then it would certainly return to the previous times with their wealth and peaceful days. The Yì praises orders and laws, the Shū makes known rewards and punishments. When one man has celebration, the countless peoples depend on him, and this is the saying of caution in law and punishment.
“In the past State Chancellor Cáo [Shēn?] trusted in punishment, and employed mild and leisurely officials that disliked managing imprisonment. If those that manage imprisonment understand situations, then there are no persecuted prisoners; if those full grown and strong obtain robust soil, then there are no people suffering hunger or famine; if the poor and elderly are supported and fed from granaries, then there are no dead from starvation; if marriage has its appropriate time, then men and women have no resentments of complaints and neglect; if the pregnant are certain to protected, then the pregnant have no sorrow of injury; if the newborn are certain to be cared for, then the children there are none who are not raised; if the grown are afterward conscripted, then the young have no thought of abandoning their homes, if the elderly do not engage in warfare, then the elderly do not suffer defeats. Use medicine to treat illness, leniency and song to cheer industry, authority and punishment to restrain the strong, kindness and benevolence to give relief to the weak, and relief and aide to support the exhausted. After ten years, teenagers will certainly fill the streets. After twenty years, victorious soldiers will certainly fill the plains.”
When Wén-dì ascended, his office was changed to Excellency of Works and he was advanced in fief to Marquis of Yuèpíng village. (1)
- (1) Wèi Míngchén Zòu “Memorials of Wèi’s Famed Ministers” records Lǎng’s Memorial on Reducing Expenses: “The Imperial Order asking what is suitable to increase or decrease must be speaking of the matters of the eastern capital. Concerning the western capital’s great sacrifices at Yúnyáng and Fényīn, there are 1500 followers at the sacrifices to Heaven platform, entering Āfáng Palace, abstaining [from meat, wine, etc.] for 100 days, raising sacrificial animals for five years, oxen require 3000, heavy jade require 7000; these objects are placed on patterned silks on ranked mats, virgin girls tread and dance in connection; fermented wine requires three hours to complete, musicians require 3400 supporting preparers; the Inner Palace beauties in number near 1000, the Scholars-Officials and Academicians and their followers are over 7000 men; the Palace Stables have all different horses numbering over 60,000, and outside herdsman lead and raise 30,000 with horses making up one-tenth; the Metal Mace Bearer has following riders 600 and walking soldiers in equal number; the Minister of Ceremonies in handling tombs and visits has 1000 chariots, the Grand Official bestowing official slave servants 6000, Cháng’ān city has governing officials 3000, including 2000-dàn [salary officials] and those managing crimes and punishments in 25 prisons. Government affairs are many, inspiring authority is complex, much more than the Three Dynasties, and must have more thorough Rituals. That it has reached this extravagance is mostly from inheritance from the Qín. It both violates the foundations of the honesty of cocoon and chestnut [rituals] and the direction of the simplicity of sweeping the ground [rituals], and also loses the instruction of substituting pledges and decreasing complexity and of avoiding grandness and following restriction. How, in this present time of flourishing and enlightenment, a time of following the examples of Yáo and Shùn, a government of reducing extravagance and acting with frugality, of orders to remove complexity and esteem saving, of teachings to be thorough in deciding punishments and careful in applying penalties, is this not what should be hoped for and admired? And the Resting Temple day is the sacrificial ceremony with the greatest sacrifices, the prefectures and states both establish the laws of Ancestral Temples, with specficiation of numbers of the officials from the staff of the Chancellor and Censorate Secretary following, and this organization, was both repeatedly changed before the times of Āi [Liú Xīn -7- -1] and Píng [Liú Kàn -1 – 5], and not used after Guāng-Wǔ [Liú Xiù 25-57]. In sincere reference for a memorial of a plan for modifications, the [sacrifices to] Heaven and Earth and the Five Emperors, the Six Exemplars, the Ancestral Temple, the State Altars, are already due to the inheritance of the sacred lands of the previous dynasties. For [sacrifices to] Heaven and Earth sweep the ground and offer libation, and for the rest all use the Altar with equal rank. The Brilliant Hall is for sacrifices to God Above, the Spirit Terrace is for observing Heaven’s Patterns [astronomy], the Rule of Harmony is for cultivating Ritual and Music, the Imperial Academy is for gathering the Classicist groves, the High Sacrifice is for prayers for rest and good omens, and also for inquiring for the best time for affairs and supporting teaching. Learning from the ancients and former peoples, opening and increasing the blessings of the Throne, in old times all were at the state’s brightened [south] side, along with tall and illustrious buildings, enough to practice [ritual] feasts and shooting, and look upon the clouds. Though the Seven Outskirts are for honored sacrifices and esteemed services, yet they all have doors and rooms and seating, and are enough to take shelter from wind and rain. It is possible to wait for an end of military affairs and years of abundance to gradually make repairs. In former times the soldiers of the Five Camps of Elite Tiger Winged Forest, along with guard troops added together, though they were ten thousand men, some were junior relatives of merchants and lazy travelers, and some were blunt and unlearned men of agriculture and fields; though they were in placed in military regulations, they did not emphasize military affairs or battle, and did not train, and also hoped for the chance to plunder, so what was said and what was true were not in agreement, and it was difficult to prepare for emergencies. There was alarm and only afterward soldiers were conscripted, the army went and only afterward provisions were sent, or then troops were already long garrisoned and yet the camps did not farm and did not repair weapons and equipment, there were no stored supplies, and if one side had an urgent feathered dispatch then the other three sides were all panicked and disturbed. These were also the faults of recent times of the Hàn and cannot become a model. At present civilization is calm, and only Bā-Shǔ is outside control [Wú was nominally surrendered at this time]. Though we cannot yet set down weapons and armor and release horses and dismiss troops, it is suitable to react to abundant years to then focus army and government on agricultural affairs. Officials and soldiers and small and great, must together diligently sow and reap. When stopping [from battle] complete and develop fields, when moving [to battle] complete and prepare the Six Armies, to decrease violence and forced labor, and provide clothes and food. The Yì says: ‘Using happiness to employ the people, the people forget their labor; using happiness to oppose disasters, the people forget death.’ Now is the time to use that. With provisions and livestock for food, the brave for power, then though when having glorious authority and yet the army has not yet moved, the barbarians outside control will certainly return to bow and change to return to use. If the fear of authority is effective, then without battle things can be settled, so worthy it is to be far from facing troops and only afterward establishing authority, meeting blades and only afterward completing achievement. If the treacherous and vicious do not reform, continuing to be lost without turning back, though they with oppression use their people, relying on our Great Wèi sending order to answer with troops, afterward we will advance with the army of first song and later dance and music campaign, face the enemy with the crowds of halberds and arrows and cheerful service, cut down the decayed and destroy the withered, and it would not be worthy speaking of.”
At the time the Emperor was inclined to going out on tour and to hunt, and sometimes late at night returned to the Palace. Lǎng sent up a memorial: “The residence of the ruler, outside employs surrounding defenses and inside has important forbidden gates. When going out then set up troops and only afterward leave the curtains, give notice and only afterward walk out the courtyard, spread the banner and only afterward board the carriage, clean the streets only afterward welcome the carriage, prepare arrangements and only afterward turn the wheels, ready the household and only afterward rest and stop. All this is to demonstrate the highest prestige, handle affairs with vigilance and caution, and this is the ways and teachings passed down. In recent days the Imperial Carriage goes out to face and hunt tigers, in the afternoon going, and at twilight returning. This is in violation of the normal ways of secure travel, and not the utmost caution of the Imperial Chariots.”
The Emperor replied: “Reading this memorial, even Wèi Jiàng speaking of worry and admonishment to mock Jìn Dào and [Sīmǎ] Xiāngrú explaining ferocious beasts to warn Hàn Wǔ cannot compare with you. But considering now that the two bandits [Wú and Shǔ] are not yet destroyed, the commanders go far on campaign, therefore it is the time to enter wild plains to practice weapon preparations. As for the warning of returning at night, there is already an Imperial Order to officials to make preparations.” (2)
- (2) Wáng Lǎng’s Collected Works records when Lǎng was Grand Judge and sent up a memorial: “Registrar Zhāng Dēng of Zhào-jùn in the past was Registrar of his home county, the Black Mountain bandits besieged the prefecture, and Dēng with county Chief Wáng Juàn led officials and soldiers 72 men to go to the relief, with the bandits fought battle, and the officials and soldiers were scattered and fled. Juàn was in danger of coming to harm, and Dēng with his own hand cut down one bandit, and by this saved Juàn’s life. He also protected Chief Xià Yì who was by the Supervisor falsely accused. Dēng personally received the beating to handle Yì’s crime. With righteousness he saved two gentlemen. It is suitable to praise his special ability. Tàizǔ because emergencies were many did not have the leisure to reward what was narrated. At the beginning of Huángchū [220-226], Lǎng again with Grand Commandant Zhōng Yáo together signed and memorialized this story, both praising Dēng as hardworking in office. An Imperial Order said: “Dēng’s loyalty and righteousness is clear and proven, and in office he has merit and diligence. Though his fame and position are low, his uprightness should be made known. To bring in a nearby appointment in dining and obtain this official, now Dēng is appointed Director of Grand Offices.
Previously, at the end of Jiàn’ān [196-220], Sūn Quán began sending envoys declaring himself vassal, and against Liú Bèi faced troops [in battle] An Imperial Order commented: “Should we dispatch an army to with Wú together conquer Shǔ or not?”
Lǎng commented: “The army of Heaven’s Son is as important as Huà and Dài [mountains], and truly should support the dazzling Heavenly authority by not moving like the mountains. Supposing if Quán personally with the Shǔ bandits are locked in stalemate, waging battle for many days, wisdom equal and strength matched, warfare unable to be quickly decided, then the army should rise to decide the situation, and afterward it is appropriate to select a cautious General, hold the bandit rebels’ critical points, judging the times and only after acting, choosing the field and only then moving, and in one move there would be no remaining problems. Now Quán’s army has not yet moved, so to assist Wú’s army is to be unable to advance the campaign. Moreover, rain and rivers are about to become heavy and flood, and it is not the time to march and move the armies.” The Emperor accepted this plan.
During Huángchū [220-226], pelicans gathered at Língzhī pond. An Imperial Order had the Excellencies and Ministers nominate solitary superior gentlemen. Lǎng recommended Grandee Official Yáng Biāo, and moreover claimed illness and wished to yield his position to Biāo. The Emperor therefore appointed Biāo an official with rank next after the Three Excellencies.
An Imperial Order said: “We sought worthies from you sir but have not yet obtained them. You then suddenly claimed illness, so not only were worthies not obtained, further it began a precedent for losing worthies, increasing the danger of jade and tripod [the state] being overturned. Is it not that to remain at home and go out with such words is not good, and be seen as disobedience by superior gentlemen? You sir must not resign.” Lǎng therefore rose [and returned to office].
Sūn Quán was asked to send his son Dēng to enter as an Attendant, but he did not arrive. At the time the Imperial Chariot moved to Xǔchāng and greatly prepared garrison-farms, wishing to raise an army for an eastern campaign.
Lǎng sent up a memorial: “In the past the southern Yuè maintained friendship, Yīng Qí entered Court as Attendant [and political hostage], and then became senior successor and returned to rule his state. Kāng Jū was arrogant and crafty, his intentions did not agree with his words. The Capital Protector memorialized to suggest that it was suitable to have him send a son as Attendant, and by this he was dismissed as lacking courtesy. Moreover in the disaster of Wú Bì, Méng sent his son to Court, and in the rebellion of Wěi Xiāo he also did so in spite of his son. Travelers hear that word that Quán has sent his son and yet he has not arrived. The Six Armies impose severe restrictions, and I your Servant fears the common men cannot cannot yet complete your Sagely Edicts, and will say the state is indignant that [Sūn] Dēng has fled to remain, and that is the reason for mobilizing the army. If the army is sent and Dēng then comes, then those we have moved is great, while those that have been moved is small, and this would not be something to celebrate. If they are arrogant and fierce, and indeed have no intention of sending [Sūn Dēng], then I fear the other public opinion will be that it is not broad, and he will remain at their land. I your Servant modestly believe it is suitable to to order separate campaigns for the various officers, each understanding prohibitions, cautiously defending their divisions. Outside demonstrate fierce authority, inside develop agriculture, to allow us to hold position like a mountain, calm and tranquil as a deep pool, so that power cannot move us, and plans cannot measure us.”
At the time the Emperor had prepared the army and thereupon went. Quán’s son did not arrive. The Imperial Chariot overlooked the Jiāng but returned. (1)
- (1) Wèishū “[History] Book of Wèi” states: When the Imperial Chariot returned, an Imperial Order to the Three Excellencies: “Three generations of Generals was what the Dào school feared. To recklessly use soldiers in dishonorable war from ancient times was warned against. Moreover for successive years there were flood and drought, the people are worn and tired, but meritorious workers increase at the front, conscripted labor increase from the past, advances cannot destroy the rebels, retreats do not give peace to the people. Negligence is above and awareness below, and therefore confusion and knowledge are reversed, the way is lost but not far, there are mistakes but they can be corrected, and it can be said it is not too late. Now the commanders are to rest, let [Liú] Bèi perch on high, [Sūn] Quán submerge behind deep pools, excise and abandon, and cast aside plans against the outside. The Imperial Chariot is to within this moon and week arrive at Qiáo. The armies about the Huái and Hàn [rivers] are also each to return, and before the last moon return west.”
When Míng-dì ascended  he was advanced in fief to Marquis of Lánlíng, increased the fief by 500, adding with the previous to 1200 households. He was sent to Yè to inspect the tomb of Wén’s Zhāo empress [Lady Zhēn] and saw that of the commoners some did not have enough.
At the time there were building of barracks and repairs of Palaces. Lǎng sent up a memorial:
“Since Your Majesty ascended, gracious Imperial Edicts have repeatedly been issued, and of the common people none are not pleased. I your Servant soon accept orders to travel north, and on the return journey on the road, heard that many were conscripted labor, and those who could obtain exemptions and reductions were very many. One hopes Your Majesty will again remain vigilant in days and afternoons, to plan to control the bandits.
“In the past Dà Yǔ wished to remove a great misfortune of the realm Under Heaven, and therefore first kept an inferior Palace, was frugal in clothes and food, so was able to in the end gain the Nine Provinces and assistance of all Five Domains.
“Gōujiàn wished to increase the border to Yù’ér, (1) and slay Fūchāi at Gūsū, and therefore also reduced himself and house, restraining his house to give benefit to the state, and so was able to unite the Five Lakes and engulf the Three Rivers, and take authority over the central states, settling hegemony over civilization.
- (1) Yù’ér is a place name of a garrison next to the Wú border.
“Hàn Wén [Liú Héng -180-157] and Jǐng [Liú Qǐ -157-141] also wished to expand their ancestor’s enterprise, and increase the esteem of their great lineage, and therefore were able to remove their wish for a hundred gold terrace, and manifest frugality with coarse black clothes, inside reducing great offices and not accepting tribute, outside reducing conscription and taxes and supporting farming and silk production, so that they were able to praised for prosperity and peace, so there were few punishments and wrongs. The reason Xiào-Wǔ [Liú Chè -141-87] was able to exert his military strength and expand his outer borders, was truly because his grandfather and father raised and gathered sufficient resources, and therefore he was able to then complete his great achievement.
“Huò Qùbìng was a General of middle ability, but as the Xiōngnú were not yet destroyed, he would not manage a household.
“One to illuminate and bring relief to the distance must omit the near, and those managing outside affairs must simplify the inside. From Hàn’s founding and restoration, it was always after metal and hide [armor] were laid down, and only then that Fèngquē had plentiful structures and Déyáng was also raised.
“Now the front of Jiànshǐ is sufficient to arrange Court meetings, the rear of Chónghuá is sufficient to use to arrange Inner Officials [the harem], Huálín and Tiānyuān are sufficient for tours and feasts, and if moreover if first completed is the Watchtower over the Palace Gates, it will cause it to be sufficient to arrange for those presenting tribute from distant peoples, and repairing city walls and moats will cause it to be sufficient to use for cut off paths and complete state defenses. The rest altogether must wait for prosperous years. In the meantime diligently attend to plowing and farming as business, practice military preparations as matters, and then the state will have no complaints or neglects, the population can grow and rest, the people are satisfied and troops strong, and the bandits fight and do not submit, but it is not sufficient yet to take them, and it is not there yet.”
He was promoted to Excellency over the Masses.
At the time repeatedly Imperial sons were lost, and yet visits to those in the Rear Palace [the harem] were few. Lǎng sent up a memorial:
“In the past Zhōu Wén[-wáng] at fifteen begat Wǔ-wáng, and then enjoyed the blessing of ten sons, and by this expanded the posterity of all the Jī [clan]. Wǔ-wáng was already old when he begat Chéng-wáng, and Chéng-wáng therefore had few brothers. These two Kings each cultivated sagely virtue, had no mutual wrongs, and considering the blessings of their descendants they cannot be compared. In births there are the early and the late, and in wombs there are [those that produce] many and few. Your Majesty has virtue and blessing like those two sages, but the seasons have exceeded the time of Jī Wén[-wáng] raising Wǔ[-wáng], and yet sons have not yet been raised up in the orchids of the forbidden rooms, the cadet Kings are not yet numerous in the many rooms of the Lateral Courts. Considering the example of Chéng-wáng, though it is not yet considered late, taking the example of Bóyì would not be considered early.
“In the Zhōu Rites there were Six Palaces and the Inner Officials [harem women] were 120 women. The various Classics frequently advise that 12 be the limit. Up to the end of Qín and Hàn, some had thousands and hundreds as their number. Therefore even though in the inner places there are many, yet the times of visiting the apartments are very rare, this is the meaning of “all these males,” and truly is of importance, not only broad affairs. This old servant is already declining, and hopes this state may have the same blessings as Xuānyuán’s 5 times 5 [25 sons], or at least Zhōu Wén’s 2 times 5 [10 sons], to serve as support.
“Moreover the young ones often suffer bedclothes that are too warm, too warm leading to them being unable to move and having soft skin and weak body, and therefore they are difficult to protect, and easy to lead to sorrow. If it is always ordered that young ones have hemp clothes, that is not so thick, then it will certainly all protect a strong nature, and they will certainly be as long lived as the southern mountains.”
The Emperor answered:
“Words of the loyal are trustworthy and speech of the caring are deep. You sir have both toiled and thought carefully, and also with your own hand written with reason, three times again given virtuous word, and I am pleased without measure. Our heir is not yet established, and this is your worry, but I have received these words, and think of your good admonishment.”
Lǎng wrote on the Yì, Chūnqiū, Xiàojīng, Zhōuguānzhuàn, presented a memorial discussing the writings, and each were passed on through the ages. (1)
- (1) Wèilüè states: Lǎng was originally named Yán, later changed to Lǎng.
- Wèishū states: Lǎng had high ability and wide learning, but by nature was orderly and generous, often with awe-inspiring manner, respectful and frugal and economical, and at his own wedding presented gifts and would not receive them. He always ridiculed the worldly who had reputation for liking to give and yet did not provide relief to the poor and lowly, and therefore used his wealth to first provide for emergency relief.
Tàihé second year  he died, posthumous name Chéng-hóu “Accomplished Marquis.” His son Sù succeeded. Previously Wén-dì divided Lǎng’s fief to give fief to one son as a full Marquis, but Lǎng instead asked the fief instead go to his elder brother’s son Xiáng.