(22.3) Chén Tài 陳泰 [Xuánbó 玄伯]

[Chén] Tài appellation Xuánbó. During Qīnglóng [233-237] he was appointed Scattered-Cavalry Attendant-Gentleman. During Zhèngshǐ [240-248] he was transferred to Moving Strike General, appointed Inspector of Bìngzhōu, increased to General Shaking Authority, sent with a Staff of Authority as Protector of the Xiōngnú Palace Gentleman-General, conciliated the foreign peoples, and deeply had authority through kindness. Many of the nobility in the capital sent him precious treasures to enable Tài to purchase servants, but Tài hung all these from the wall and did not even open the seals, and when he was summoned to the Secretariat, he returned all of them.

泰字玄伯。青龍中,除散騎侍郎。正始中,徙游擊將軍,為并州刺史,加振威將軍,使持節,護匈奴中郎將,懷柔夷民,甚有威惠。京邑貴人多寄寶貨,因泰市奴婢,泰皆挂之於壁,不發其封,及徵為尚書,悉以還之。

At the beginning of Jiāpíng [249-254] he succeeded Guō Huái as Inspector of Yōngzhōu and also appointed General Exerting Martiality. Shǔ General-in-Chief Jiāng Wéi led his army to along Qū mountain build two fortresses, sending Ivory Gate General Gōu Ān, Lǐ Xīn, and others to defend them and gather Qiāng and Hú hostages to plunder the borders of the prefectures.

嘉平初,代郭淮為雍州刺史,加奮威將軍。蜀大將軍姜維率眾依麴山築二城,使牙門將句安、李歆等守之,聚羌胡質任等寇偪諸郡。

General Attacking the West Guō Huái with Tài made plans on how to resist them, and Tài said: “Though Qū‘s fortresses are firm, they are far from Shǔ and across rugged terrain, and must rely on transported provisions. The Qiāng foreigners resent [Jiāng] Wéi’s conscription of them, and are certainly not yet willing to attach to him. Now if we besiege and take them, we can without bloodshed capture these fortresses. Though they may send rescue, the mountain paths are difficult, and are not land to transport troops.” [Guō] Huái followed Tài’s plan, and sent Tài to lead Protector of the Armies Suppressing Shǔ Xú Zhì, Administrator of Nán’ān Dèng Ài, and others to advance troops to besiege them, cut off their supply lines and surround the fortresses with moat water. [Gōu] Ān and the others challenged battle, but he would not agree. The officers and soldiers were surrounded and hard pressed, and rationed provisions and gathered snow [for water] to last through the days and moons.

征西將軍郭淮與泰謀所以禦之,泰曰:「麴城雖固,去蜀險遠,當須運糧。羌夷患維勞役,必未肯附。今圍而取之,可不血刃而拔其城;雖其有救,山道阻險,非行兵之地也。」淮從泰計,使泰率討蜀護軍徐質、南安太守鄧艾等進兵圍之,斷其運道及城外流水。安等挑戰,不許,將士困窘,分糧聚雪以稽日月。

[Jiāng] Wéi indeed came to the rescue, setting out from Niútóu “Oxhead” mountain, and with Tài opposed one another. Tài said: “Military Methods esteem to without battle defeat the enemy. Now if we cut off Niútóu, [Jiāng] Wéi will have no return route, and will become our prisoner.” He ordered the various armies to each hold to defenses and not do battle, and sent an envoy to inform [Guō] Huái, wishing to from the south cross the Bái river, follow the river east, while [Guō] Huái moved to Niútóu and cut off their return road, so that they could together capture [Jiāng] Wéi, and not only [Gōu] Ān and the others. [Guō] Huái agreed with this plan, and advanced the various armies to garrison by the Táo river. [Jiāng] Wéi was terrified and fled. [Gōu] Ān and the rest were isolated in the county, and so they all surrendered.

維果來救,出自牛頭山,與泰相對。泰曰:「兵法貴在不戰而屈人。今絕牛頭,維無反道,則我之禽也。」敕諸軍各堅壘勿與戰,遣使白淮,欲自南渡白水,循水而東,使淮趣牛頭,截其還路,可并取維,不惟安等而已。淮善其策,進率諸軍軍洮水。維懼,遁走,安等孤縣,遂皆降。


[Guō] Huái died [255], and Tài succeeded him as General Attacking the West, with Acting Staff of Authority to command Yōng’s and Liáng’s various army affairs. The year after next, Inspector of Yōngzhōu Wáng Jīng reported to Tài, saying that Jiāng Wéi and Xiàhóu Bà wished to take three routes toward Qíshān, Shíyíng, and Jīnchéng, and requested to advance troops to Chì, send the Liángzhōu army to Fūhǎn, and the various Armies Suppressing Shǔ toward Qíshān. Tài judged the rebels’ strength in the end was not enough to be divided in three routes, and moreover that military strength should not be divided and it was not yet suitable for the Liángzhōu [army] to cross the border, and replied to [Wáng] Jīng: “Considering the settlement of this question, we know their intended direction, and must join the strength of the east and west [armies] and only then advance.”

淮薨,泰代為征西將軍,假節都督雍、涼諸軍事。後年,雍州刺史王經白泰,云姜維、夏侯霸欲三道向祁山、石營、金城,求進兵為翅,使涼州軍至枹罕,討蜀護軍向祁山。泰量賊勢終不能三道,且兵勢惡分,涼州未宜越境,報經:「審其定問,知所趣向,須東西勢合乃進。」

At the time [Jiāng] Wéi and the others commanded several tens of thousands of men to Fūhǎn, focusing on Dídào. Tài ordered [Wáng] Jīng to advance and camp at Dídào, wait for his army to arrive, and then together plan to take them. Tài advanced his army to Chéncāng. It happened that the armies in [Wáng] Jīng’s command in the former Passes with the rebels fought and were unsuccessful, and [Wáng] Jīng at once crossed the Táo. Tài because [Wáng] Jīng was not defending and occupying Dídào knew there was a change, and sent five battalions at the front. Tài led the various armies and followed after them. [Wáng] Jīng had already with [Jiāng] Wéi battled, was greatly defeated, and with over 10,000 men returned to defend Dídào city, while the rest all fled and scattered. [Jiāng] Wéi followed up on the victory by besieging Dídào.

時維等將數萬人至枹罕,趣狄道。泰敕經進屯狄道,須軍到,乃規取之。泰進軍陳倉。會經所統諸軍於故關與賊戰不利,經輒渡洮。泰以經不堅據狄道,必有他變。並遣五營在前,泰率諸軍繼之。經巳與維戰,大敗,以萬餘人還保狄道城,餘皆奔散。維乘勝圍狄道。

Tài garrisoned Shàngguī, divided troops to defend vital points, and morning and night advanced. Dèng Ài, Hú Fèn, and Wáng Mì also arrived. He at once with [Dèng] Ài, [Wáng] Mì, and the rest divided to form three armies, and advanced to Lǒngxī. [Dèng] Ài and the others believed: “Wáng Jīng‘s elite troops were defeated and bloodied to the west, the rebel army is greatly flourishing. Soldiers following up on victory cannot be withstood, and if you General rely on hidden gathered troops, continue after a defeated army, the officers and soldiers will lose spirit, and the whole region right [west] of Lǒng will be wiped away. The ancients had a saying: ‘When a venomous snake bites the hand, the strong warrior cuts the wrist.’ Sūn-zǐ states: ‘There are troops that cannot be attacked, and ground that cannot be defended.’ This means to sacrifice the small to protect the large. Now the threat to the right [west] of Lǒng is greater than a venomous snake, and the land of Dídào is not said to must be defended. Jiāng Wéi’s troops are a sharp point to be avoided. It is better to hold to rugged terrain and defend, observe the fighting and wait for decline, and only then advance to rescue. This is the plan for success.”

泰軍上邽,分兵守要,晨夜進前。鄧艾、胡奮、王祕亦到,即與艾、祕等分為三軍,進到隴西。艾等以為「王經精卒破衄於西,賊眾大盛,乘勝之兵既不可當,而將軍以烏合之卒,繼敗軍之後,將士失氣,隴右傾蕩。古人有言:『蝮蛇螫手,壯士解其腕。』孫子曰:『兵有所不擊,地有所不守。』蓋小有所失而大有所全故也。今隴右之害,過於蝮蛇,狄道之地,非徒不守之謂。姜維之兵,是所辟之鋒。不如割險自保,觀釁待弊,然後進救,此計之得者也。」

Tài said: “Jiāng Wéi led light troops to penetrate deeply, precisely wishing to with us battle on open fields, and has obtained one battle’s victory. Wáng Jīng originally held to high walls and thick ramparts to obstruct their drive. Now he did battle, falling into the rebels’ plans. They defeated and drove away Wáng Jīng, and surround Dídào. If [Jiāng] Wéi relies on the prestige of his battle victory, advances his troops toward the east, occupies Lìyáng and accumulates grain and seed, sends troops to receive surrenders, recruit Qiāng and Hú, and to the east attack the Passes and Lǒng, spreading across the four prefectures, that would be our worst fear. But [Jiāng] Wéi relies on his troops following up on victory and is obstructed below the city, his dashing soldiers expend strength and lives, so those attacking and those defending can be switched, guest and host exchanged. Military books say: ‘Preparing siege engines require three moons, defending ramparts three moons and afterward.’ This is truly not for light troops penetrating far, and [Jiāng] Wéi’s craftiness and planning are not enough for this. Their army has traveled far, and their provisions and grain cannot keep up. This is the time for us to quickly advance and defeat the rebels, what is called a thunderbolt not yet heard, a natural opportunity. The Táo river region is their border, [Jiāng] Wéi and the rest are within it. Now if we occupy high and strong points, overlooking their positions, without battle they will certainly flee. Bandits cannot be tolerated, and sieges cannot be allowed to last. How can you sirs speak like that?”

泰曰:「姜維提輕兵深入,正欲與我爭鋒原野,求一戰之利。王經當高壁深壘,挫其銳氣。今乃與戰,使賊得計,走破王經,封之狄道。若維以戰克之威,進兵東向,據櫟陽積穀之實,放兵收降,招納羌、胡,東爭關、隴,傳檄四郡,此我之所惡也。而維以乘勝之兵,挫峻城之下,銳氣之卒,屈力致命,攻守勢殊,客主不同。兵書云『脩櫓(橨榅)〔轒轀〕,三月乃成,拒堙三月而後已』。誠非輕軍遠入,維之詭謀倉卒所辦。縣軍遠僑,糧穀不繼,是我速進破賊之時也,所謂疾雷不及掩耳,自然之勢也。洮水帶其表,維等在其內,今乘高據勢,臨其項領,不戰必走。寇不可縱,圍不可久,君等何言如此?」

Therefore he advanced the army over the Gāochéng mountain range, moving stealthily, in the night arriving atop a high mountain southeast of Dídào, greatly raised fire beacons, beating drums and blowing horns. Inside Dídào city the officers and soldiers saw rescue had arrived, and all gained morale. [Jiāng] Wéi previously said that the government rescue troops would first gather together and then set out, but the soldiers heard they had already come, and he said there was a strange change or secret plan, and high and low were all shaken and afraid. The army set out from Lǒngxī, following rugged mountain roads, and knew the rebels would certainly have prepared an ambush. Tài pretended to take the south road, and [Jiāng] Wéi indeed waited three days in ambush. (1) The army secretly traveled, and the troops set out from their south. [Jiāng] Wéi therefore followed the mountain in pursuit, Tài fought battle with them, and [Jiāng] Wéi retreated back.

遂進軍度高城嶺,潛行,夜至狄道東南高山上,多舉烽火,鳴鼓角。狄道城中將士見救者至,皆憤踊。維始謂官救兵當須眾集乃發,而卒聞已至,謂有奇變宿謀,上下震懼。自軍之發隴西也,以山道深險,賊必設伏。泰詭從南道,維果三日施伏。〔一〕定軍潛行,卒出其南。維乃緣山突至,泰與交戰,維退還。

  • (1) Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: This biography says: “he said that the government rescue troops would first gather together and then set out, but the soldiers heard they had already come, and he said there was a strange change or secret plan, and high and low were all shaken and afraid.” This means rescue came unexpectedly. If he did not know rescue arrived, then why did he set ambushing troops in rugged terrain to wait three days? To prepare ambush to wait is not to be said to be unaware. This speech is all in contradiction.

〔一〕 臣松之案:此傳云「謂救兵當須眾集,而卒聞已至,謂有奇變,上下震懼」,此則救至出於不意。若不知救至,何故伏兵深險乃經三日乎?設伏相伺,非不知之謂。此皆語之不通也。

The Liángzhōu army from Jīnchéng went south to Wògān slope. Tài with [Wáng] Jīng secretly planned a date to together set out toward [Jiāng Wéi’s] return route. [Jiāng] Wéi and the rest heard this, and therefore fled, and the officers and soldiers in the city were saved. [Wáng] Jīng sighed and said: “Our provisions were not enough for ten days. If not for this opportunity, the entire city would have been wiped out and the whole province lost.” Tài gave appreciation to the officers and soldiers, sending them back, and then prepared garrison defenses and repaired city walls, and then returned to Shàngguī.

涼州軍從金城南至沃干阪。泰與經共密期,當共向其還路,維等聞之,遂遁,城中將士得出。經歎曰:「糧不至旬,向不應機,舉城屠裂,覆喪一州矣。」泰慰勞將士,前後遣還,更差軍守,並治城壘,還屯上邽。


Previously, when Tài heard [Wáng] Jīng had been besieged, he believed if the provincial army officers and soldiers could be of one heart, they could defend the city, and [Jiāng] Wéi in the end would not be able to overcome them. He memorialized report and also advanced the army morning and night to quickly arrive back. All the commentators believed because [Wáng] Jīng fled north, the city could not defend itself, and if [Jiāng] Wéi could cut off the road to Liángzhōu, gather the people and foreigners of the four prefectures, occupy the rugged terrain of the passes and Lǒng, he would be able to destroy [Wáng] Jīng’s army and wipe out the right [west] of Lǒng, and therefore they must greatly gather troops from all directions and then go to attack. General-in-Chief Sīmǎ [Zhāo] Wén-wáng said: “In the past Zhūgě Liàng always had this ambition, but in the end was unsuccessful. Important matters and planning far ahead is not what [Jiāng] Wéi is capable of. Moreover, the city cannot be so quickly taken, it is only that provisions are few that is the danger. Having the [General] Attacking the West [Chén Tài] quickly going to the rescue is the best plan.”

初,泰聞經見圍,以州軍將士素皆一心,加得保城,非維所能卒傾。表上進軍晨夜速到還。眾議以經奔北,城不足自固,維若斷涼州之道,兼四郡民夷,據關、隴之險,敢能沒經軍而屠隴右。宜須大兵四集,乃致攻討。大將軍司馬文王曰:「昔諸葛亮常有此志,卒亦不能。事大謀遠,非維所任也。且城非倉卒所拔,而糧少為急,征西速救,得上策矣。」

Tài often when a region had a problem at once falsely made noise to stir up the realm, and afterward clearly and succinctly sent true report up of the matter, and his relay stations were not more than 600 lǐ [apart]. Sīmǎ [Zhāo] Wén-wáng said to Xún Yǐ: “Xuánbó is valorous and decisive, took on a region’s heavy burden, rescued a city about to fall, but did not request more troops, and also clearly and succinctly sent up report of the matter, so he is certainly able to handle the rebels. Commanders and Generals should all be like him!”

泰每以一方有事,輒以虛聲擾動天下,故希簡白上事,驛書不過六百里。司馬文王語荀顗曰:「玄伯沈勇能斷,荷方伯之重,救將陷之城,而不求益兵,又希簡上事,必能辦賊故也。都督大將,不當爾邪!」


Later [Chén] Tài was summoned as Secretariat Right Deputy-Director, with authority over selection and nominations, and also Attendant Internal and Merit Grandee. Wú General-in-Chief Sūn Jùn set out against the Huái and Sì [256]. Tài was appointed General Defending the Army with Acting Staff of Authority to command all military affairs north of the Huái, and Imperial Order that from Xúzhōu Supervisor of the Army below were included in Tài’s jurisdiction. [Sūn] Jùn retreated, the army returned, and he was transferred to Left Deputy-Director.

後徵泰為尚書右僕射,典選舉,加侍中光祿大夫。吳大將孫峻出淮、泗。以泰為鎮軍將軍,假節都督淮北諸軍事,詔徐州監軍已下受泰節度。峻退,軍還,轉為左僕射。

Zhūgě Dàn rebelled in Shòuchūn [257]. Sīmǎ [Zhāo] Wén-wáng led six armies to garrison Qiūtóu, and Tài managed established the general office [for Secretariat affairs]. Sīmǎ [Shī] Jǐng-wáng and Sīmǎ [Zhāo] Wén-wáng both were close friends with Tài, and Pèi-guó’s Wǔ Gāi also with Tài was friendly. [Sīmǎ Zhāo] Wén-wáng asked [Wǔ] Gāi: “How does [Chén Tài] Xuánbó compare to his father the Excellency of Works [Chén Qún]?” Gāi said: “In elegance and extensiveness and ability to take the duty of educating the realm, he is inferior; in enlightened leadership and establishing achievement and completing affairs, he is superior.”

諸葛誕作亂壽春,司馬文王率六軍軍丘頭,泰總署行臺。司馬景王、文王皆與泰親友,及沛國武陔亦與泰善。文王問陔曰:「玄伯何如其父司空也?」陔曰:「通雅博暢,能以天下聲教為己任者,不如也;明統簡至,立功立事,過之。」

Tài from beginning to end for his achievements accumulated a fief of 2600 households, and his junior relatives were given fief one was a precinct Marquis and two as Marquis Within the Passes.

泰前後以功增邑二千六百戶,賜子弟一人亭侯,二人關內侯。

Jǐngyuán first year [260] he died, and was posthumously titled Excellency of Works. Posthumous name Mù-hóu “Solemn Marquis.” (1)

景元元年薨,追贈司空。諡曰穆侯。〔一〕

  • Gān Bǎo’s Jìnjì states: When the Duke of Gāoguì village was killed, Sīmǎ [Zhāo] Wén-wáng held a meeting with the court ministers to plan their excuse. Minister of Ceremonies Chén Tài would not come, and his maternal uncle Xún Yǐ was sent to summon him. Yǐ arrived, and told him he must. Tài said: “The commentators of this age have always compared me with you. Now you uncle do not match me.” All his junior relatives inside and out together forced him, and shedding tears he entered [Court]. [Sīmǎ Zhāo Wén]-wáng took him to a private room, and said: “Xuánbó, what do you think I should do?” He answered: “Execute Jiǎ Chōng to apologize to the realm.” [Sīmǎ Zhāo] Wén-wáng said: “Think of something less extreme for me.” Tài said: “The only other thing I could say is more extreme than that. I do not know any less extreme.” [Sīmǎ Zhāo] Wén-wáng therefore did not ask again.
  • Wèishì Chūnqiū states: The Emperor had ended. Grand Tutor Sīmǎ Fú, Secretariat Right Deputy-Director Chén Tài rested the Emperor’s body on their lap, wailing with utmost mourning. At the time the General-in-Chief [Sīmǎ Zhāo] entered the Forbidden Chambers. Tài saw this and was more mournful, and the General-in-Chief also faced him and wept, saying: “Xuánbó, what do I do?” Tài said: “Only beheading Jiǎ Chōng is the least that can apologize to the realm.” The General-in-Chief after a long time said: “Think of something else.” Tài said: “How can you ask me to speak again?” Therefore he spat blood and died.
  • Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: according to the base biography, Tài was not the Minister of Ceremonies. It is unclear how Gān Bǎo became aware of this. Sūn Shèng modified Tài’s speech, though it was a small improvement. However in examining the speeches Shèng modified, all were not because they were differently heard, but to clarify the meaning, and often is inferior to the old. In common records the form of speech is like coming from the mouth. To improve style but violate the truth is assuredly what the superior gentleman would not do, and moreover how could they bear to ever pass on fabrications?
  • Ànbówùjì states: Chief of Tàiqiū Chén Shí, Shí’s son Minister Herald [Chén] Jǐ, Jǐ’s son Excellency of Works [Chén] Qún, Qún’s son Tài, four generations, during the Hàn and Wèi, two dynasties, all had great reputation, but their virtue gradually decreased. At the time people made a saying of this: “The Excellency shamed the Minister, the Minister shamed the Chief.”

〔一〕 干寶晉紀曰:高貴鄉公之殺,司馬文王會朝臣謀其故。太常陳泰不至,使其舅荀顗召之。顗至,告以可否。泰曰:「世之論者,以泰方於舅,今舅不如泰也。」子弟內外咸共逼之,垂涕而入。王待之曲室,謂曰:「玄伯,卿何以處我?」對曰:「誅賈充以謝天下。」文王曰:「為我更思其次。」泰曰:「泰言惟有進於此,不知其次。」文王乃不更言。魏氏春秋曰:帝之崩也,太傅司馬孚、尚書右僕射陳泰枕帝尸於股,號哭盡哀。時大將軍入于禁中,泰見之悲慟,大將軍亦對之泣,謂曰:「玄伯,其如我何?」泰曰:「獨有斬賈充,少可以謝天下耳。」大將軍久之曰:「卿更思其他。」泰曰:「豈可使泰復發後言。」遂嘔血薨。臣松之案本傳,泰不為太常,未詳干寶所由知之。孫盛改易泰言,雖為小勝。然檢盛言諸所改易,皆非別有異聞,率更自以意制,多不如舊。凡記言之體,當使若出其口。辭勝而違實,固君子所不取,況復不勝而徒長虛妄哉?案博物記曰:太丘長陳寔、寔子鴻臚紀、紀子司空群、群子泰四世,於漢、魏二朝並有重名,而其德漸漸小減。時人為其語曰:「公慚卿,卿慚長。」

His son Xún succeeded. Xún died and had no heirs. His younger brother Wēn continued the fief. During Xiánxī [264-265] the Five [Ranks of Nobility] were established, and due to Tài’s services to the previous dynasty, the fief of Wēn was changed to Viscount of Shèn. (2)

子恂嗣。恂薨,無嗣。弟溫紹封。咸熙中開建五等,以泰著勳前朝,改封溫為慎子。〔二〕

  • (2) According to the Chén clan registers: Qún’s descendants later declined in reputation and position. Chén’s grandson Zuǒ reached Inspector of Qīngzhōu. Zuǒ’s younger brother Tǎn was Minister of Justice. Zuǒ’s son Zhǔn was Grand Commandant with fief as Duke of Guǎnglíng prefecture. Zhǔn’s younger brothers Dài and Zhǐ and his younger cousin Kān all reached great positions. Zhǔn’s grandson Kuí appellation Líndào had reputation left [east] of the Jiāng, became West Palace Gentleman-General, and was posthumously General of the Guard.
  • [Translator’s Note: a descendant of Chén Zhǔn founded the short-lived southern Chén dynasty 557-589]

〔二〕 案陳氏譜:群之後,名位遂微。諶孫佐,官至青州刺史。佐弟坦,廷尉。佐子準,太尉,封廣陵郡公。準弟戴、徵及從弟堪,並至大位。準孫逵,字林道,有譽江左,為西中郎將,追贈衛將軍。

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