Liú Biǎo appellation Jǐngshēng was a Shānyáng Gāopíng man. From youth he was well known, and called one of the Eight Eminences. (1) He was over eight chǐ [~1.85m] tall, and his appearance was deeply imposing. As an official of the General-in-Chief he became North Army Central Captain.
- (1) Zhāng Fán’s Hànjì states: Biǎo with people of the same prefecture Zhāng Yǐn, Xuē Yù, Wáng Fǎng, Xuān Jìng, Gōngxù Gōng, Liú Zhī, and Tián Lín were eight friends, and some called them the Eight Watchers.
- Hànmò Míngshì Lù says: Biǎo with Rǔnán’s Chén Xiáng appellation Zhònglín, Fàn Pāng appellation Mèngbó, Lǔ-guó’s Kǒng Yù appelation Shìyuán, Bóhǎi’s Yuàn Kāng appellation Zhòngzhēn, Shānyáng’s Tán Fū appellation Wényǒu, Zhāng Jiǎn appellation Yuánjié, Nányáng Cén Zhì appellation Gōngxiào were eight friends.
- Xiè Chéng’s Hòuhànshū states: Biǎo received studies from the same prefecture’s Wáng Chàng. Chàng became Administrator of Nányáng, and his conduct was exceedingly frugal. Biǎo at the time was seventeen years, and went forward to remonstrate: “Extravagance not usurping superiors and frugality not exceeding inferiors is the way of the central mean. That is why Qú Bóyù was shamed to alone be a superior gentleman. If you governor do not follow the sage Kǒng’s enlightened teachings, and instead [Bó] Yí and [Shū] Qí’s final actions, that is only to show off how you separate yourself from the world!” Chàng answered: “Those who are economical but lose their way are rare. Moreover it can rectify customs.”
Líng-dì ended , and he succeeded Wáng Ruì as Inspector of Jīngzhōu. At the time east of the mountains soldiers rose up , and Biǎo also gathered troops and garrisoned Xiāngyáng. (2)
- (2) Sīmǎ Biāo’s Zhànlüè states:
- When Liú Biǎo first reached Jīngzhōu, south of the Jiāng the clan bandits were flourishing, Yuán Shù camped at Lǔyáng, and commanded all the armies of Nányáng. A man of Wú, Sū Dài, succeeded as Administrator of Chángshā, Bèi Yǔ became Chief of Huáróng, and each gathered troops and rebelled. When Biǎo first arrived, he alone on one horse entered Yíchéng, and with the Yánzhōng Lú men Kuǎi Liáng and Kuǎi Yuè, and Xiāngyáng man Cài Mào together made plans.
- Biǎo said: “The clan bandits are thoroughly flourishing, and the crowds do not join us. Yuán Shù relies on this, and disaster is now here! I wish to raise troops, but afraid they will not gather. How is this plan to be used?”
- [Kuǎi] Liáng said: “If crowds do not join it is because your benevolence is not enough. If those that join cannot be controlled it is because your justice is not enough. If you have benevolence and justice in principle and conduct, the people will submit like water flows down. Why worry about those who do not follow and ask about raising troops for a plan?
- Biǎo therefore asked [Kuǎi] Yuè. Yuè said: “Those governing in peace emphasize benevolence and justice. Those governing in chaos emphasize power and strategy. Armies are not in numbers but in obtaining men. Yuán Shù is valorous but not decisive. Sū Dài and Bèi Yǔ are both only fighting men, and not worth worrying about. The clan army leaders are mostly violent and cruel, and cause their subordinates to suffer. If one surpasses them in accomplishment and show they will provide great advantage, the crowds will certainly come. You sir must execute the unprincipled, and support and employ the rest, the entire province’s people will harbor happy hearts. When they hear of your flourishing virtue, they will certainly with their children on their backs arrive. Troops will gather and crowds attach. To the south occupy Jiānglíng, to the north defend Xiāngyáng, and Jīngzhōu’s eight prefectures can be gathered and settled. Though [Yuán] Shù and the rest come, there is nothing they can do.”
- Biǎo said: “Your [Kuǎi Liáng’s] gentle advice is Yōng Jì’s discussion, and your [Kuǎi Yuè’s] unique decisive plan is Jiù Fàn’s strategy.”
- Therefore he had [Kuǎi] Yuè send someone to entice the clan bandits, and those that came were fifty five men, and he beheaded them all. He attacked and took over their armies, and some were at once made personal retainers. Only Jiāngxià bandits Zhāng Hǔ and Chén Shēng held their armies and occupied Xiāngyáng. Biǎo therefore sent [Kuǎi] Yuè with Páng Jì to alone ride there and persuade them to surrender, and south of the Jiāng was all pacified.
Yuán Shù was at Nányáng, with Sūn Jiān as an allied follower, and wished to attack and capture Biǎo’s province, and sent [Sūn] Jiān to attack Biǎo. [Sūn] Jiān was by a stray arrow hit and killed, the army defeated, and [Yuán] Shù therefore could not overcome Biǎo.
Lǐ Jué and Guō Sì entered Cháng’ān, wished to ally with Biǎo to be their assistance, and therefore appointed Biǎo as General Defending the South, Governor of Jīngzhōu, fief as Marquis of Chéngwǔ, with Acting Staff of Authority. Heaven’s Son moved the capital to Xǔ . Though Biǎo sent envoy to present tribute, yet to the north he with Yuán Shào together allied. Internal Manager Dèng Xī remonstrated Biǎo, but Biǎo would not listen, (3) and [Dèng] Xī claimed illness and resigned, [not holding office] to the end of Biǎo’s life.
- (3) Hàn Jìn Chūnqiū states: Biǎo answered Xī: “Inside not neglecting tribute duties and outside not turning back against the alliance leader, this is how the realm Under Heaven attains justice. Why are you Internal Manager alone bewildered?”
Zhāng Jì led troops to enter Jīngzhōu’s border, attacked Rángchéng, and was by a stray arrow hit and died. The Jīngzhōu officials all offered congratulations. Biǎo said: “ [Zhāng] Jì out of desperation came, we as hosts did not show courtesy, and so it came to the meeting of blades points. This was not my intention as Governor. I as Governor will accept lamentations, but will not accept congratulations.” He sent people to give supplies to the army; the army heard this and was pleased, and therefore joined and followed him.
Administrator of Chángshā Zhāng Xiàn revolted against Biǎo, (4) and Biǎo besieged him for successive years but could not defeat him.
- (4) Yīngxióngjì states: Zhāng Xiàn was a Nányáng man. Previously he was Chief of Línglíng and Guìyáng, deeply obtained the hearts between the Jiāng and Xiāng [rivers], but his nature was willful and disobedient. Biǎo despised his personal conduct and was not very courteous. [Zhāng] Xiàn therefore harbored a grudge, and therefore revolted against Biǎo.
[Zhāng] Xiàn died of illness, and Chángshā set up his son [Zhāng] Yì. Biǎo therefore attacked and conquered [Zhāng] Yì. To the south he conquered Líng[líng] and Guì[yáng] and to the north he occupied the Hàn river, and his territory covered several thousands of lǐ, and his armored troops were over a hundred thousand. (5)
- (5) Yīngxióngjì states: The provincial borders’ various bandits were already wiped out. Biǎo therefore opened and established a scholarly office, extensively sought out classicist scholars, employing Qíwú Kǎi, Sòng Zhōng, and others to compile a Wǔjīng Zhāngjù “Five Classics Analysis,” saying it was definitive for thereafter.
Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] with Yuán Shào were locked together at Guāndù , and [Yuán] Shào sent someone to ask for assistance. Biǎo agreed to him but did not actually go, and also did not assist Tàizǔ, intending to defend within the Jiāng and Hàn [rivers] and observe for the realm Under Heaven’s changes.
Advisor Internal Cadet Hán Sōng and Camp Aide Liú Xiān advised Biǎo: “Powerful figures all fight, and these two heroes are locked together, so the duties to the realm Under Heaven are with you, General. If you General wish to establish yourself, rising up to seize on their failures is possible; if this is not so, then you undoubtedly must choose one to follow. You General gather an army of a hundred thousand, and securely sit and observe. To meet a worthy and yet not assist, ask for alliance and yet not do so, these two’s resentment will certainly gather against you General, and you General will not be able to stand neutral. By Lord Cáo’s enlightenment and wisdom, the realm Under Heaven’s worthy and eminent all join him, and he will certainly over Yuán Shào, and then afterward raise troops toward the Jiāng and Hàn, and we fear you General will not be able to resist. Therefore for you General the plan is better to lead the province to join Lord Cáo, and Lord Cáo will certainly give great importance and virtue to you General, so you will be able to for a long time enjoy comfort and prosperity, to pass down to your posterity. This is the absolutely safe plan.”
Biǎo’s chief General Kuǎi Yuè also urged this to Biǎo. Biǎo was suspicious, and therefore sent [Hán] Sōng to visit Tàizǔ to observe the situation. [Hán] Sōng returned, and deeply praised Tàizǔ’s authority and virtue, and advised Biǎo to send a son to enter [Court] as hostage. Biǎo suspected [Hán] Sōng of rebelling and speaking on behalf of Tàizǔ, was greatly furious, wishing to kill [Hán] Sōng. He interrogated and killed those who had accompanied [Hán] Sōng as escort, learned [Hán] Sōng had no ulterior intentions, and therefore stopped. (1)
- (1) Fùzǐ states:
- Previously Biǎo said to [Hán] Sōng: “Now the realm Under Heaven is greatly in chaos, and it is unknown who can settle it. Lord Cáo supports Heaven’s Son in the capital Xǔ. You on my behalf go observe the situation.”
- [Hán] Sōng replied: “Sages can shift allegiance, but the lesser must hold to allegiance. I am one who must hold to allegiance. In serving the lord, the lord and servant are settled, and to the death are held. Now my name is pledged to your list, accepting only your commands, General, and even crossing boiling water or treading fire, I die without complaint. The way I observe it, Lord Cáo reaches enlightenment, and will certainly bring relief to the realm Under Heaven. If you General are able to above obey Heaven’s Son and below join Lord Cáo, certain to receive benefit for a hundred generations and your Chǔ state to truly accept protection, you can send me. If your plans are not yet settled, and I am sent to the capital, and Heaven’s Son appoints me an official, then I would be Heaven’s Son’s servant, and only your former official and that is all. When with the lord I serve the lord, and then if I hold to Heaven’s Son’s commands, righteousness does not allow me to again for you General die. May you General heavily consider this, and do not turn against me.”
- Biǎo then sent him, and indeed it was as he said. Heaven’s Son appointed [Hán] Sōng as Palace Attendant, promoted to Administrator of Línglíng, and he returned to praise the Court’s and Lord Cáo’s virtues. Biǎo believed he harbored petrayal, held a great assembly with officials of several hundred men, sent troops to meet [Hán] Sōng, was exceedingly furious, and grasping Staff of Authority was about to behead him, repeatedly saying: “Hán Sōng you dare betray me?”
- Everyone was afraid, and wished to press [Hán] Sōng to apologize. [Hán] Sōng was unmoved, and said to Biǎo: “You General have turned on me, I have not turned on you General!” He explained what he had previously said.
- Biǎo was angry without end, and his wife lady Cài remonstrated him: “Hán Sōng is who Chǔ looks toward. Moreover his words are correct, and to execute him is without reason.”
- Biǎo therefore did not execute and only imprisoned him.
Though Biǎo had the outer appearance of scholarly refinement, yet his heart had many suspicions and jealousies, all of this sort.
Liú Bèi fled to Biǎo. Biǎo generously treated him, but could not employ him. (1)
- (1) Hàn Jìn Chūnqiū states: When Tàizǔ first campaigned against Liǔchéng, Liú Bèi advised Biǎo to send him to attack Xǔ, but Biǎo would not follow this. When Tàizǔ returned, he said to [Liú] Bèi: “I did not use your advice, and therefore lost this great opportunity.” [Liú] Bèi said: “Now the realm Under Heaven is divided, every day there are weapons, so in the coming of opportunities, how can it be the last? If you can respond to a later one, then this one is not worth regretting.”
Jiàn’ān thirteenth year , Tàizǔ campaigned against Biǎo. Before he arrived, Biǎo of illness died.
Previously, Biǎo and his wife favored the youngest son Cóng, wished to make him successor, and Cài Mào and Zhāng Yǔn were in this faction, so therefore the eldest son Qí was sent out as Administrator of Jiāngxià, and the crowds therefore acknowledged Cóng as the successor. Qí with Cóng therefore became estranged. (1)
- (1) Diǎnlüè states: Biǎo was ill, and Qí returned to visit for this illness. Qí by nature was compassionate and filial, and [Cài] Mào and [Zhāng] Yǔn feared if Qí met Biǎo, father and son would be reconciled, and he would change his intentions on the succession, so they said: “The General ordered you sir to support and overlook Jiāngxià, serve as the state’s eastern defense, and this appointment is critical. Now you disperse your armies and come, and will certainly be met with reprimands and anger, injure your father’s heart and aggravate his illness. This is not filial attentiveness.” Therefore they restrained him outside the door, and would not let him meet, and Qí wept and left.
[Kuǎi] Yuè, [Hán] Sōng, and East Department Official Fù Xùn and others advised Cóng to join Tàizǔ. Cóng said: “Now if I with you sirs occupy all the lands of Chǔ, defend my late father’s work, to observe the realm Under Heaven, how is this not possible?”
[Fù] Xùn replied: “Opposition or obedience have great reasons, strength and weakness have settled situations. To be a servant and yet resist the ruler, that is opposition. To newly declare a Chǔ to resist the entire state, that situation is untenable. To join with Liú Bèi to oppose Excellency Cáo, that is also untenable. These three points are all weaknesses, so to wish to oppose the advance of the ruler’s troops is the way to certain destruction. Are you General of the same sort as Liú Bèi?”
Cóngsaid: “I cannot compare.”
[Fù] Xùn said: “If in fact Liú Bèi is not enough to resist Excellency Cáo, then even defending the lands of Chǔ is not enough to preserve yourself. If in fact Liú Bèi is enough to resist Excellency Cáo, then [Liú] Bèi will not remain your subordinate. May you General have no doubts.”
Tàizǔ’s army arrived at Xiāngyáng, and Cóng led the province to surrender. [Liú] Bèi fled to Xiàkǒu. (2)
- (2) Fùzǐ states: [Fù] Xùn’s son Tì, was ornate and extensive, and had understanding of men. He was recruited to the Offices of the Excellencies, appointed Secretariat Gentleman, and afterward was a guest of Jīngzhōu, in for the achievement of the advising of Liú Cóng [to surrender] was bestowed title as Marquis Within the Passes. In the reign of Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] he was Palace Attendant, and during Tàihé [227-233] died. When [Fù] Xùn was at Jīngzhōu, he classified Páng Tǒng as Half a Hero and judged that Péi Qián in the end for pure conduct would be known. [Páng] Tǒng then joined Liú Bèi and met with favor just after Zhūgé Liàng, and [Péi] Qián’s rank reached Secretariat Director and had both good reputation and virtue. When he was at the Wèi Court, Wèi Fěng for ability and wisdom was heard of, but [Fù] Xùn said he would certainly rebel, and in the end it was as he said. [Fù] Xùn’s younger brother’s son Jiǎ separately has a Biography.
- Hàn Jìn Chūnqiū states: Wáng Wēi advised Liú Cóng: “Cáo Cāo has already received your surrender, General, and Liú Bèi has already fled, so he will certainly be relaxed and without preparations, and lightly travels with few escort advances. If you give me cavalry and infantry of several thousand, to seize opportunity out of danger, [Cáo] Cāo can be captured. With the capture of [Cáo] Cāo you can shake the realm Under Heaven, hold and like a tiger stride, and though the central plains are wide, you can spread through and settle it, and not only follow one victory’s achievement and defending for today and nothing more. This is the opportunity of a difficult encounter, and cannot be lost.” [Liú] Cóng woudl not accept this.
- Sōushénjì states: At the beginning of Jiàn’ān [196-220], a Jīngzhōu children’s rhyme said: “Within eight to nine years is first decline, in the thirteenth year there will be none left.” This meant that from Zhōngpíng [184-189] onward, Jīngzhōu alone was whole, and Liú Biǎo was Governor, the people also had abundance and happiness. Reaching Jiàn’ān eighth to ninth year [203-204] there first was decline. First decline meant Liú Biǎo’s wife died, and the various officers were all defeated and scattered. Thirteenth year nothing left meant that Biǎo would also die, and then it all be lost and broken. At that time in Huáróng there was a woman who called out and cried: “Jīngzhōu will have great disaster.” Her voice was very different from usual, so the county believed it was witch’s speech, bound and imprisoned her for over a month. Suddenly in the prison she wept and cried: “Liú [Biǎo of] Jīngzhōu today died.” Huáróng from the province [headquarters] was several hundred lǐ, and at once sent a horse and official to check, and Liú Biǎo indeed had died, and the county therefore let her out. Later she again sang and chanted: “Unexpectedly Lǐ Lì will become an important person.” Shortly afterward, Tàizǔ pacified Jīngzhōu, and appointed Zhuō-jùn’s Lǐ Lì appellation Jiànxián as Inspector of Jīngzhōu.
Tàizǔ appointed Cóng as Inspector of Qīngzhōu with fief as a Ranked Marquis. (1)
- (1) Wèi Wǔ Gùshì records the Order: “Chǔ has the Jiāng’s and Hàn’s mountains and rivers for rugged terrain, was last to submit and first to rise and with Qín fought for power. Jīngzhōu is this very land. Liú [Biǎo the General] Defending the South has for a long time employed its people. After he was gone, his various sons divided like a tripod, and though in the end it would be difficult for them to last yet it could be drawn out for a while. Inspector of Qīngzhōu [Liú] Cóng, has high heart and pure intentions, deep wisdom and broad consideration, dismisses glory to emphasize justice, scant to profit to favor virtue, belittles ambitions of ruling tens of thousands of lǐ, sets aside leading multitudes of armies, sincere in fair and honest form, teaches reputed acclaim, above glorifying his later father’s legacy, below supporting the immortal blessings of the Throne. Even Bào Yǒng’s departing Bìngzhōu and Dòu Róng’s leaving five prefectures are not enough to compare. Though he has fief as full Marquis and position over a province, yet he regrets receiving this favor considering it as as inappropriate for himself, and instead presents a letter asking to return to the province. Though supervising Inspectors are honored, their official salaries are not large. Now we accept his request, and memorialize [Liú] Cóng as Critical Consultant Official and Accompanying Advisor on Military Affairs.”
Kuǎi Yuè and the rest became Marquis, fifteen men.
[Kuǎi] Yuè became Minister of Merits. (2)
- (2) Fùzǐ states: [Kuǎi] Yuè was Kuǎi Tōng’s descendant, deep in understanding and sufficient in wisdom, an exceptional hero with impressive appearance. General-in-Chief Hé Jìn heard of his reputation, and summoned him as East Department Official. [Kuǎi] Yuè urged [Hé] Jìn to execute all the eunuch officials, but [Hé] Jìn was hesitant and indecisive. [Kuǎi] Yuè knew [Hé] Jìn would certainly be defeated, and asked to be sent out as Magistrate of Rǔyáng. He assisted Liú Biǎo in pacifying and settling within the borders, and [Liú] Biǎo from this became powerful and great. Written Imperial Order appointed him Administrator of Zhānglíng, with fief as Marquis of Fán precinct. When Jīngzhōu was pacified, Tàizǔ wrote a letter to Xún Yù that said: “I am not pleased to obtain Jīngzhōu, I am pleased to obtain Kuǎi Yìdù and that is all.” Jiàn’ān nineteenth year  he died. When he was near the end, he wrote a letter to Tàizǔ, to entrust his family. Tàizǔ wrote a reply letter that said: “The dead should live. The living are not worthy of it. You brought up little but did much. If you after you are gone you remain a spirit, you will also hear my words.”
[Hán] Sōng became Minister Herald. (3)
- (3) Xiānxián Xíngzhuàng states:[Hán] Sōng appellation Dégāo was a man of Yìyáng. From youth he was good at his studies, was poor but did not turn from integrity. He knew the world was about to be in chaos, did not answer the orders of the Three Excellencies, and with his good friends several men in seclusion lived in Lìxī mountain. When the Yellow Scarves rose up, Sōng fled to the south. Liú Biǎo compelled him to become his Camp Aide, then transferred to Advisor Palace Gentleman. Biǎo in the outskirts sacrificed to Heaven and Earth [an Imperial prerogative], and Sōng uprightly remonstrated and wold not follow, and gradually became disobedient. He was sent as envoy Xǔ, the matter is in the previous note. When Jīngzhōu was pacified, Sōng was ill, and at that time was appointed and awarded the Minister Herald’s seals and ribbons.
[Dèng] Xī became Attendant Internal. (4)
- [Dèng] Xī was a Zhānglíng man.
[Liú] Xiān became Secretariat Director. Of the rest many reached great office. (5)
- (5) Línglíng Xiānxián Zhuàn “Biography of Línglíng’s Past Worthies” states:
- [Liú] Xiān appellation Shǐzōng, was extensively learned with strong memory, was outstandingly good at discussing Huáng-Lǎo yán, and enlightened and studied the Hàn House’s classical stories. He was Liú Biǎo’s Camp Aide, presented message to Xǔ, and met Tàizǔ.
- At the time the guests gathered in a meeting, and Tàizǔ asked Xiān: “Why does Governor Liú sacrifice to Heaven?” [an Imperial prerogative]
- Xiān replied: “Governor Liú was entrusted as the Hàn House’s internal official, occupies the Governor’s position, but by misfortune the Ruler’s Principle is not yet settled, the various criminals block the roads, he holds jade and silk [tribute] but has no way to present it to the government, prepared letters and memorials but they do not reach through, and therefore he sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, to manifest and declare his utter sincerity.”
- Tàizǔ said: “Who are these various criminals?”
- Xiān said: “Raise your eyes and they all are.”
- Tàizǔ said: “Now I have fierce and valient warriors, infantry and cavalry a hundred thousand, accepted orders to cut down the guilty. Who dares not obey?”
- Xiān said: “Hàn’s principles are weak and broken and everyone haggard and withered, and there are no loyal and righteous warriors to assist and support Heaven’s Son, sooth and calm Within the Seas, and cause all lands to obey virtue, and instead they block with troops and emphasize restrictions, saying that if not for them, then Chī Yóu and Zhì Bó would again be present.”
- Tàizǔ was completely silent, and appointed Xiān Administrator of Wǔlíng. When Jīngzhōu was pacified, Xiān first joined the Hàn Secretariat, and later became Wèi state’s Secretariat Director. Xiān’s sister’s son of the same prefecture Zhōu Bùyí, appellation Yuánzhí, was a Línglíng man.
- Xiānxián Zhuàn says [Zhōu] Bùyí when young had extraordinary talent, intelligent and quick in communication. Tàizǔ wished to wed a daughter to him, but Bùyí did not dare accept. Tàizǔ’s favored son Cāngshū [Cáo Chōng], from the beginning had genius and wisdom, and it was said he with Bùyí could be companions. When Cāngshū died, Tàizǔ in his heart was envious of Bùyí, and wished to eliminate him. Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] remonstrated that this could not be. Tàizǔ said: “This man is not someone you can control.” Therefore he sent an assassin to kill him.
- Zhì Yú’s Wénzhāngzhì states: When Bùyí died he was seventeen years. He wrote essays in four articles.
- Shìyǔ states: Over eighty years after Biǎo died, it was during Jìn’s Tàikāng [280-289], and Biǎo’s tomb was dug up. Biǎo and his wife’s bodies looked as if they were living, and the fragrance was smelled within several lǐ.