(22.5) Xú Xuān 徐宣 [Bǎojiān 寶堅]

Xú Xuān appellation Bǎojiān was a Guǎnglíng Hǎixī man. He fled the chaos to the Jiāng’s east, but declined to serve Sūn Cè, and returned to his home prefecture. With Chén Jiǎo together he restored law and order. The two men were of comparable reputation but privately did not get along, but both were valued by the Administrator Chén Dēng, and with Dēng joined their hearts with Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo].

徐宣字寶堅,廣陵海西人也。避亂江東,又辭孫策之命,還本郡。與陳矯並為綱紀,二人齊名而私好不協,然俱見器於太守陳登,與登並心於太祖。

Hǎixī and Huáipǔ two counties’s people rebelled, Commandant Wèi Mí and Magistrate Liáng Xí in the night fled to Xuān’s house, and he secretly helped them escape. Tàizǔ sent Commander of the Army Hù Zhì to come suppress the rebels, but as his troops were few he did not advance. Xuān secretly met and reproached him, informed on the current situation, and [Hù] Zhì therefore advanced and defeated the rebels.

海西、淮浦二縣民作亂,都尉衛彌、令梁習夜奔宣家,密送免之。太祖遣督軍扈質來討賊,以兵少不進。宣潛見責之,示以形勢,質乃進破賊。

Tàizǔ recruited him as an Excellency of Works staff official, sent him out as Magistrates of Dōngmín and Fāgān, promoted to Administrator of Qí-jùn, and entered [Court] as Commander Beneath the Gates, and followed to Shòuchūn.

太祖辟為司空掾屬,除東緡、發干令,遷齊郡太守,入為門下督,從到壽春。

At the time Mǎ Chāo rebelled, the main army campaigned west, and Tàizǔ met his officials in staff and said: “Now we are about to campaign far away, but this region is not yet settled, and will become a worry to the rear, so it is suitable to find one of great honesty and virtue to defend and govern it.” Therefore he appointed Xuān as Left Protector of the Army, to remain and govern the various armies. He returned and became the Chancellor’s East Department Official, and was sent out as Administrator of Wèi-jùn.

會馬超作亂,大軍西征,太祖見官屬曰:「今當遠征,而此方未定,以為後憂,宜得清公大德以鎮統之。」乃以宣為左護軍,留統諸軍。還,為丞相東曹掾,出為魏郡太守。

Tàizǔ ended at Luòyáng [220], and the various ministers all entered the Palace Hall and mourned. Someone said could change all the city Administrators to employ [only] Qiáo and Pèi men. Xuān sternly said: “Now those far and near are united and men all harbor and seek integrity. Why only employ those of Qiáo and Pèi and so break the hearts of those in vigil?” Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] heard this and said: “This is what is said to be a servant of the State Altars.”

太祖崩洛陽,群臣入殿中發哀。或言可易諸城守,用譙、沛人。宣厲聲曰:「今者遠近一統,人懷效節,何必譙、沛,而沮宿衛者心。」文帝聞曰:「所謂社稷之臣也。」

When the Emperor ascended, he became Censorate Internal Deputy with fief as Marquis Within the Passes, transferred to Colonel of the City Gates, within the moon was promoted to Colonel-Director of Retainers, transferred to Cavalier Regular Attendant. He accompanied to Guǎnglíng, the Six Armies boarded ships, the wind and waves violently rose, and the Emperor’s ship turned back. Xuān was ill at the rear, rode the waves and came forward, and of the officials none were before him. The Emperor was impressed with him and appointed him to the Secretariat.

帝既踐阼,為御史中丞,賜爵關內侯,徙城門校尉,旬月遷司隸校尉,轉散騎常侍。從至廣陵,六軍乘舟,風浪暴起,帝船回倒,宣病在後,陵波而前,群寮莫先至者。帝壯之,遷尚書。


When Míng-dì [Cáo Ruì] was enthroned [226], he was made Marquis of Jīnyáng precinct with a fief of 200 households. Internal Manager of the Army Huán Fàn recommended Xuān, saying: “I your Servant hears that when rulers employ men, they judge circumstance in learning ability. In times of conflict, strategy and tactics is first. After settlement, loyalty and righteousness is the head. That is why Jìn Wén[-gōng] followed Jiù Fàn’s plan but rewarded Yōng Jì’s words, (1) [Hàn] Gāozǔ used Chén Píng’s wisdom but entrusted the future to Zhōu Bó. I have met Secretariat Xú Xuān. His conduct is honest and considerate, and his character maintains uprightness and clarity. He is refined and unique, is not confined to worldly customs, true and difficult to move, and has the integrity of the State Altars. He has served in the provinces and commanderies, and in all places was competent. Now there is an opening for Servant-Shooter, and Xuān can be entrusted with later affairs. In bearing the civil officer’s burden, none is more suitable than Xuān.” The Emperor therefore appointed Xuān as Left Deputy-Direcotr, later increased to Attendant Internal Merit Grandee.

明帝即位,封津陽亭侯,邑二百戶。中領軍桓範薦宣曰:「臣聞帝王用人,度世授才,爭奪之時,以策略為先,分定之後,以忠義為首。故晉文行舅犯之計而賞雍季之言,〔一〕高祖用陳平之智而託後於周勃也。竊見尚書徐宣,體忠厚之行,秉直亮之性;清雅特立,不拘世俗;確然難動,有社稷之節;歷位州郡,所在稱職。今僕射缺,宣行掌後事;腹心任重,莫宜宣者。」帝遂以宣為左僕射,後加侍中光祿大夫。

  • (1) Lǚshì Chūnqiū states: Previously Jìn Wén-gōng was about to with the men of Chǔ battle at Chéngpú, and summoned Jiù Fàn and asked him: “The Chǔ are many and we are few, what can we do?” Jiù Fàn answered: “I your Servant have heard that rulers of many rituals are deficient in culture and rulers of many battles are deficient in trickery. You lord can also trick them and nothing more.” Wén-gōng told Jiù Fàn’s advice to Yōng Jì, and Yōng Jì said: “In draining a pond to get fish, how can one not obtain fish? But next year there will be no fish. In burning a marsh to make farm fields, how can one not capture beasts? But next year there will be no beasts. In the way of trickery, though now it can be successful, afterward it cannot be repeated, and it is not the way for the long term.” Wén-gōng used Jiù Fàn’s advice, and defeated the men of Chǔ at Chéngpú. However in bestowing rewards, Yōng Jì was the highest. His attendants remonstrated him: “The achievement at Chéngpú was due to Jiù Fàn’s planning. You lord used his advice but placed him after [in ranking], how can this be?” Wén-gōng said: “Yōng Jì’s advice is the benefit for a hundred generations. Jiù Fàn’s advice is a matter for one time. How can a matter for one time be before [in ranking] the benefit of a hundred generations?”

〔一〕 呂氏春秋曰:昔晉文公將與楚人戰於城濮,召咎犯而問曰:「楚眾我寡,奈何而可?」咎犯對曰:「臣聞繁禮之君,不足於文,繁戰之君,不足於詐,君亦詐之而已。」文公以咎犯言告雍季,雍季曰:「竭澤而漁,豈不得魚,而明年無魚。焚藪而田,豈不得獸,而明年無獸。詐偽之道,雖今偷可,後將無復,非長術也。」文公用咎犯之言,而敗楚人於城濮。反而為賞,雍季在上。左右諫曰:「城濮之功,咎犯之謀也。君用其言而後其身,或者不可乎!」文公曰:「雍季之言,百代之利也;咎犯之言,一時之務也。焉有以一時之務,先百代之利乎?」

When the Imperial Chariot visited Xǔchāng, he remained to manage all affairs. The Emperor returned, and the Registrar presented a written report. An Imperial Order said: “How is my opinion different from the Servant-Shooter [Xú Xuān]?” and indeed he did not look at it.

車駕幸許昌,總統留事。帝還,主者奏呈文書。詔曰:「吾省與僕射何異?」竟不視。

The Specialists Director Zuò Wěi came under investigation, and Xuān sent up memorial explaining authority and punishments for great crimes, and also remonstrated that construction of palaces was exhausting the people’s strength, and the Emperor for all these hand-wrote Imperial Order answers and praise.

尚方令坐猥見考竟,宣上疏陳威刑大過,又諫作宮殿窮盡民力,帝皆手詔嘉納。

Xuān said: “At seventy there is the custom of carriages. Now I am already sixty-eight, and can retire.” Therefore he firmly cited illness and resigned his position, but the Emperor to the end would not accept.

宣曰:「七十有縣車之禮,今已六十八,可以去矣。」乃固辭疾遜位,帝終不許。

Qīnglóng fourth year [236] he died. His final will ordered plain clothing and head-cloth, and restrained time of mourning. An Imperial Order said: “Xuān’s truly served in affairs, direct and known inside and out, successively serving Three Courts, just and resolute, had the integrity to be entrusted with my special orders, and can be said to be a stone pillar servant. I always wished to rely on him like a supporting terrace, but did not have time to ascend it. What a pity that his great life was not longer! He is posthumously titled General of Chariots and Cavalry, and buried by the Rites of an Excellency.”

青龍四年薨,遺令布衣疏巾,斂以時服。詔曰:「宣體履至實,直內方外,歷在三朝,公亮正色,有託孤寄命之節,可謂柱石臣也。常欲倚以台輔,未及登之,惜乎大命不永!其追贈車騎將軍,葬如公禮。」

Posthumous name Zhēn-hóu “Pure Marquis.” His son Qīn succeeded.

諡曰貞侯。子欽嗣。

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