(10.4) Appraisal [of Xún Yù 荀彧, Xún Yōu 荀攸, Jiǎ Xǔ 賈詡]

[Chén Shòu’s] Appraisal states:

Xún Yù was pure and refined reaching elegance, had the air to assist Kings, but could only foresee future events, and was unable to fulfill his ambitions. (1)

評曰:荀彧清秀通雅,有王佐之風,然機鑒先識,未能充其志也。〔一〕

  • (1) Of the commentators of the time, many ridicule [Xún] Yù for helping the Wèi Clan, and so overthrowing the Hàn’s reign, saying the change in place between master and servant [Hàn and Wèi] was truly because of [Xún] Yù. Though later he took moral position to oppose it, there was nothing that could be done to change course. His achievements were against righteousness, and he recognized this and was remorseful. Chén [Shòu] in this appraisal is also of the same opinion as these present views. Your Servant Sōngzhī believes that these words truly have not understood [Xún Yù’s] far reaching thinking. How could [Xún] Yù have not known Wèi ’s [Cáo Cāo’s] ambition, that he was not the declining Hàn’s loyal servant? Indeed at that time the Ruler’s power was already declined, the weakening already severe, powerful figures looking on like tigers, people harboring treacherous hearts, so without the ability to resist the chaos and planning to force obedience, then the Hàn House’s fall would have been even more sudden and the common people would have suffered terribly. If one wishes to assist the heroes of the time and restore order, if not this man [Xún Yù] then who else could do it? Therefore governing in disaster is like treating urgent illness, like saving the body. Breaking through obstacles like rescue ships to commoners, the extension of the Liú clan’s rule by two generations, how are these not Master Xún’s foundational planning and benevolence and mercy reaching the distant? And when the hegemony was already powerful, the destruction of Hàn already obvious, then he sacrificed his life, to show his true nature, preserving great righteousness at that time, and announcing his honest heart down for a hundred generations; this can be said to be bearing heavy load down a long road, and righteous ambition and conduct established. To say that it was not fulfilled, this is almost slander!

〔一〕 世之論者,多譏彧協規魏氏,以傾漢祚;君臣易位,實彧之由。雖晚節立異,無救運移;功既違義,識亦疚焉。陳氏此評,蓋亦同乎世識。臣松之以為斯言之作,誠未得其遠大者也。彧豈不知魏武之志氣,非衰漢之貞臣哉?良以于時王道既微,橫流已極,雄豪虎視,人懷異心,不有撥亂之資,仗順之略,則漢室之亡忽諸,黔首之類殄矣。夫欲翼讚時英,一匡屯運,非斯人之與而誰與哉?是故經綸急病,若救身首,用能動于嶮中,至于大亨,蒼生蒙舟航之接,劉宗延二紀之祚,豈非荀生之本圖,仁恕之遠致乎?及至霸業既隆,翦漢跡著,然後亡身殉節,以申素情,全大正於當年,布誠心於百代,可謂任重道遠,志行義立。謂之未充,其殆誣歟!

Xún Yōu and Jiǎ Xǔ almost developed flawless strategies, were capable of adapting to and judging changes, second only to [Zhāng] Liáng and [Chén] Píng! (2)

荀攸、賈詡,庶乎算無遺策,經達權變,其良、平之亞歟!〔二〕

  • Your Servant Sōngzhī believes that the structure of arranged biographies should be organized together by similarities. Zhāng [Liáng] Zǐfáng was a noble and lofty scholar, and truly not of the sort as Chén Píng. However Hàn’s strategic ministers were only [Zhāng] Liáng and [Chén] Píng and no others. If they were not arranged together, then others would have no place to attach, and therefore previous historians combined them, and this was appropriate. The Wèi Dynasty had a great many of the same sort as [Jiǎ] Xǔ. That [Jiǎ] Xǔ was not placed with the chapter of Chéng [Yù] and Guō [Jiā] but was arranged with the two Xún was a mistake in classification. Moreover comparing [Xún] Yōu and [Jiǎ] Xǔ in their personal conduct is like comparing moonlight to a candle! Their light may be the same, but their origins are different. Now this appraisal of Xún [Yōu] and Jiǎ [Xǔ], speaking of them together, is a great mistake in how distinguishing should be done.

〔二〕 臣松之以為列傳之體,以事類相從。張子房青雲之士,誠非陳平之倫。然漢之謀臣,良、平而已。若不共列,則餘無所附,故前史合之,蓋其宜也。魏氏如詡之儔,其比幸多,詡不編程、郭之篇,而與二荀並列;失其類矣。且攸、詡之為人,其猶夜光之與蒸燭乎!其照雖均,質則異焉。今荀、賈之評,共同一稱,尤失區別之宜也。

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