Cuì Yǎn appellation Jìguī was a Qīnghé Dōngwǔchéng man. When young he was simple and inarticulate, good at fencing, and favored military affairs. At twenty-three years, his village appointed him as Rectifier, and only then did he did he develop, studying the Lúnyǔ, and Hán [edition] Shī. At twenty nine years, he then with Gōngsūn Fāng and others from Zhèng Xuán received study. His studies were not yet complete, when Xúzhōu Yellow Scarves rebels attacked and ruined Běihǎi, and [Zhèng] Xuán with his followers arrived at Bùqí mountain to take refuge. At the time grain was in shortage, and [Zhèng] Xuán dismissed and apologized to all his students. Yǎn accepted the dismissal, but everywhere was flooded with bandits, and the western roads were cut off. Therefore he went around the countrysides of Qīng, Xú, Yǎn, and Yù [provinces], easty down to Shòuchūn, south toward the [Yángzǐ] river and [Póyáng] lake. From since he left home it was four years until he returned, and he studied music and books to amuse himself.
General-in-Chief Yuán Shào heard of and recruited him. At the time the soldiers were unrestrained, digging up graves, and Yǎn remonstrated: ‘In the past Sūn Qīng said ‘When soldiers are not morally educated, armored troops are unsuccessful, so that even Tāng Wǔ would not be able to win battle.’ Now the roads are covered in bones, the people have not seen virtue, it is appropriate to order the commanderies and counties to cover up the bones and bury the bodies, to show favor through sorrow and distress, and recall [Zhōu] Wén-wáng’s benevolence.” [Yuán] Shào appointed him Cavalry Commandant.
 Later [Yuán] Shào led troops to Líyáng, and after that to Yánjīn. Yǎn again remonstrated: “Heaven’s Son is at Xǔ, the people hope you will support and be obedient, so it is better to defend your borders and fulfill your office, in order to bring peace to the realm.” [Yuán] Shào did not listen, and therefore was defeated at Guāndù.
 When [Yuán] Shào died, his two sons [Tán and Shàng] fought each other, and in their fighting they wished to obtain Yǎn. Yǎn claimed illness and firmly declined, and therefore was considered to have committed a crime, and was held in prison, and relied on Yīn Kuí and Chén Lín to rescue him and obtain pardon.
Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] defeated the Yuán clan and took office as Governor of Jìzhōu, recruited Yǎn as Aide-de-Camp Advisor, and said to Yǎn: “Yesterday I checked the household registers, and see I can obtain a three hundred thousand person army, so this is a large province.”
Yǎn answered: “Now the realm Under Heaven is divided and ruined, the Nine Provinces broken and split, the two Yuán brothers against their own kin used weapons and war, and the whole Jì [province] region is ravaged with bones in its fields. It has not heard of the ruler’s and commander’s benevolent reputation coming forward, asking after its social customs, rescuing it from its utter misery, but instead hears calculations of armored troops, this is what is asked first. Is this what the province’s men and women should hope from your enlightened excellency?”
Tàizǔ changed his look and apologized to him. At the time all the retainers there lost color.
 Tàizǔ campaigned against Bìngzhōu, leaving Yǎn to tutor Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] at Yè. The heir [Cáo Pī] was about to go out to hunt, changing his clothes and carriage, and his intention was set on departing.
Yǎn sent letter remonstrating: “One hears that the matter of roaming the fields is what the Shū warned against; when Lǔ secretly watched fish, the Chūnqiū ridiculed it. These were the maxims of Zhōu[-gong] and Kǒng[-zǐ], the two classics illuminating righteousness. When Yīn reflected on Xià Hòu, the Shī appraised this as not remote; when Zǐ Mǎo did not listen to music, the Lǐ believed it to be envy. These also are examples for the recent, and cannot but be deeply studied. The Yuán clan was wealthy and strong, its noble sons free and wild, roaming about in extravagance, with no righteous reputation to be heard, the wise and noble gentlemen very soon had corrupted intentions, the fierce and robust warriors degenerated in their usefulness, and undoubtedly that is why though they had millions of followers, striding across the [Yellow] river’s north, they ended up with nothing. Now the state is ruined and worn, kindness and peace are not yet established, men and women are anxious for leadership, and what they wish for is virtue. Moreover Excellency [Cáo Cāo] personally leads soldiers and horses, superiors and subordinates all labor wretchedly, and you should observe this great principle, with caution act uprightly, think of the high strategy of governing the state, internally reflecting on close admonishments, externally raising up distant reputation, deeply only reserving yourself, to make yourself a treasure. But you instead dress in lowly clothes in anticipation for a rustic excursion, suddenly hurrying into rugged terrain, your intentions on the petty amusements of pheasants and hares, forgetting the heavy importance of the State Altars, this truly is the sorrow of those who take note. May you burn your feather screens and discard your hunting dress, to hold up to everyone’s expectations, and not order this old servant to commit a crime against Heaven.”
The heir replied: “Yesterday I received your commendable instructions, and its revealed kind lessons are many, wishing to have me burn feather screens and discard hunting dress. The feather screen is already destroyed, and the hunting dress also discarded. Later if there is anything like this, may you again instruct us all.”
 Tàizǔ became Chancellor, and Yǎn also managed affairs for the East and West Office [of the Chancellor] Departments. When he first joined the East Office, instructions were given [to him]: “You have he manner of Bóyí, the uprightness of Shǐyǔ, praising gentlement admire your reputation and become more pure, strong warriors esteem your name and become strict; this can be said that you are a model for others. Therefore join the East Office, and go fulfill its duties.”
 Wèi state was first established, and he was appointed to the Secretariat. At the time the Heir-Apparent was not yet established, and the Marquis of Línzī [Cáo] Zhí had genius and was favored. Tàizǔ was unsure, and with secret letters discussed the matter outside. Only Yǎn publicly answered: “One hears that by the principles of the Chūnqiū, install the son who is elder, and moreover the All-Purposes General [Cáo Pī] is benevolent and filial and intelligent, and should succeed by proper order. I to the death hold to this.”
[Cáo] Zhí was Yǎn’s elder brother’s daughter’s husband. Tàizǔ esteemed [that he dare answer] publicly, sighed in admiration, (1) and promoted him Central Commandant.
- (1) Shìyǔ states: [Cáo] Zhí’s wife wore embroidery, Tàizǔ had ascended a tower and saw her, and because this violated law, she was sent back home and ordered to suicide.
Yǎn’s in voice and appearance was tall and imposing, his eyebrows thin and eyes bright, his beard four chǐ [~92cm] long, he deeply had majesty and authority, the Court ministers looked to him with respect, and even Tàizǔ also respected and feared him. (1)
- (1) Xiānxián Xíngzhuàng “Backgrounds of Worthies” states: Yǎn was pure and loyal, elegant with far-reaching knowledge, encouraging upright principle, resolute and firm at Court. When the Wèi Clan first began, he was entrusted with judging and selecting talents, always fair and honest in comments, for over ten years. Of the various civil and military talents, many were by him discovered and promoted. Thus the Court was returned to esteem, and the realm Under Heaven praised his fairness.
Yǎn once recommended Yáng Xùn of Jùlù, saying that though his talent and ability were not sufficient, yet he was pure and held to principle, and Tàizǔ with respect recruited him. Later Tàizǔ became King of Wèi , and [Yáng] Xùn published memorial praising his campaign achievements, commending and narrating his splendid virtue. At the time some people laughed at [Yáng] Xùn acting superficially to seek favor, saying Yǎn had made a mistake in recommendation. Yǎn from [Yáng] Xùn obtained the memorial draft and read it, and wrote letter to [Yáng] Xùn: “Examining this memorial, it is quite good and that is all! In time, in time, in time there will be changes.”
Yǎn’s original meaning was that the commentators liked to criticize but did not seek out the truth. Someone reported that Yǎn in this letter was arrogant and complaining of the present regime and slanderous. Tàizǔ angrily said: “Proverb says: ‘a daughter was born and that is all.’ ‘That is all’ cannot be ‘quite good.’ ‘In time there will be changes’ in its meaning is impertinent.” Therefore he condemned to penal labor, sent someone to watch him, and it was reported that he had the appearance of not yielding. Tàizǔ ordered: “Though Yǎn met with punishment, yet he still communicated with his retainers, acting as if with market people, to his retainers blew his beard and glared [in anger], as if in resentment.” Therefore he ordered Yǎn to suicide. (2)
- (2) Wèilüè states: Someone obtained Yǎn’s letter, bound it to his head-cloth, and walked through the capital’s streets. At the time there was someone who by nature had grievances with Yǎn, from afar saw Yǎn’s name on the head-cloth, followed and read it, and therefore reported it. Tàizǔ believed Yǎn had secret resentment and slander, therefore arrested him, shaving his head and assigning him to penal labor. The one who reported Yǎn again reported on him saying: “Yǎn as a laborer blew his beard and glared [in anger]. His heart seems to be upset.” At the time Tàizǔ also agreed with this, and therefore wished to kill him. Therefore he sent a great official who understood his intentions to go communicate with Yǎn, ordering the official: “After three days there will be news.” Yǎn did not understand. After several days, the official therefore reported the Yǎn was alright. The Excellency [Cáo Cāo] angrily replied: “Does Cuī Yǎn certainly wish to force me to use blade on him?” The official informed Yǎn of this, and Yǎn apologized to the official and said: “I truly am foolish, and did not know the Excellency’s intentions had come to this!” Then he killed himself.
Previously Yǎn was friendly with Sīmǎ Lǎng. When Jìn Xuān-wáng [Sīmǎ Yì] was about to come of age, Yǎn said to [Sīmǎ] Lǎng: “Your younger brother is intelligent and wise, firm and decisive with outstanding step, probably not what you can match.” (1) [Sīmǎ] Lǎng believed this to be wrong, but Yǎn always maintained this belief.
- (1) Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: ‘Step’ can be ‘Special.’ I say this should be ‘outstandingly special.’
Yǎn’s younger cousin [Cuī] Lín when young had no reputation, and even of his relatives and clansmen many thought light of him, but Yǎn always said: “This can be said to be a big pot that is late to complete. In the end he will certainly go far.” When Zhuō-jùn’s Sūn Lǐ and Lú Yù first entered the military department, Yǎn also judged them: “Sūn is clever and upright, and can act simply and decisively. Lú is pure and sensible, and a hundred obstacles cannot stop him. Both are Excellency [Cáo]’s talents.” Later [Cuī] Lín, [Sūn] Lǐ, and [Lú] Yù all became close officials. When Yǎn’s friends Gōngsūn Fāng and Sòng Jiē died young, Yǎn cared for their orphans, treating them like his own sons. His reflective understanding and proper righteousness was all of this sort. (2)
- (2) Wèilüè states: In the time of Míng-dì [Cáo Ruì], Cuī Lín once with Excellency of Works Chén Qún together discussed the people of Jìzhōu, and [Cuī Lín] praised Yǎn as the foremost. [Chén] Qún used the appraisal “wise but could not preserve himself“ to disparage him. [Cuī] Lín said: “Great men still have chance encounters and that is all, so that people like you can even become esteemed!”
Previously, Tàizǔ by nature was envious, and those he could not bear, Lǔ-guó’s Kǒng Róng (1), Nányáng’s Xǔ Yōu (2) and Lóu Guī, all relied on old relations to not act with reverence and were executed. (3) But Yǎn was the most lamented for at the time, and to today it is considered an injustice. (4)
- (1) [Kǒng] Róng appellation Wénjǔ
- Xùhànshū “Continued History Book of Hàn” states:
- [Kǒng] Róng was Kǒng-zǐ’s twentieth generation descendant. His great-great-grandfather [Kǒng] Shàng was Administrator of Jùlù. His father [Kǒng] Zhòu was Commandant of Tàishān. Róng when young had extraordinary talent. At the time Intendant of Hénán Lǐ Yīng had great reputation, and ordered his doormen to be selective of the guests who passed, so that those who were not worthies of the present age or descendants of families he had associated with he would not meet. Róng was over ten years old, and wished to observe his [Lǐ Yīng]s conduct as a person, and therefore visited [Lǐ] Yīng’s gate, saying to the doormen: “I am a descendant of a family sir Lǐ associated with.” [Lǐ] Yīng met Róng, and asked him: “How were your esteemed ancestors involved with me?” Róng said: “Indeed. My ancestor Kǒng-zǐ with your ancestor sir Lǐ Lǎo[-zǐ] were of comparable virtue and righteousness and were teachers and friends to each other, so I am certainly a distant descendant of a family associated with yours.” Everyone seated was impressed with him, and all said: “This is a special boy.” Grand Internal Grandee Chén Wěi later arrived, those seated with him told [Chén] Wěi, and [Chén] Wěi said: “Those who are intelligent when small, when grown are also not necessarily special.” Róng replied: “It is just as you say. When you sir were in childhood, you must have been very intelligent!” [Lǐ] Yīng greatly laughed, looked back to him and said: “When the brilliant grow up, they will certainly have great talent.”
- Zhāng Jiǎn of Shānyáng for his internal uprightedness was by Regular Palace Attendant Hóu Lǎn hated, and [Hóu] Lǎn sent published orders down to the provinces and commanderies to arrest [Zhāng] Jiǎn. [Zhāng] Jiǎn was an old friend of Róng’s elder brother [Kǒng] Fóu, and fled to [Kǒng] Fóu. It happened that [Kǒng] Fóu had gone out, at the time Róng was sixteen years, and [Zhāng] Jiǎn because he [Róng] was young did not inform him. Róng knew [Zhāng] Jiǎn was a senior person, yet had a hard-pressed appearance, and said: “Can I alone cannot be your host?” and therefore kept him in the house and hid him. Later the matter leaked out, and the Chancellor of [Lǔ-]guó sent down secret orders to arrest at once, [Zhāng] Jiǎn fled and escaped, and so immediately Róng and [Kǒng] Fóu were arrested and sent to prison. Róng said: “The one who protected and accepted the fugitive was me. I should be held.” [Kǒng] Fóu said: “He came to ask for me, the crime is mine, not my younger brother. I should be held.” The brothers fought over who should get to die, the commandery and counties were doubtful and could not decide, and therefore sent up the matter, and written Imperial Order decided [Kǒng] Fóu would be held. Róng because of this had his reputation shake the far and near, and with Píngyuán’s Táoqiū Hóng and Chénliú’s Biān Ràng all were considered exceptional and were by later people advanced as exemplars. Róng in discussing reason could not match [Biān] Ràng and the rest, but his outstanding talent and widespread knowledge surpassed them.
- The Excellency Over the Masses and General-in-chief recruited and recommended him as a Highest Degree candidate, and gradually he was promoted to North Army Central Captain, Tiger Elite Internal Cadet General, to Chancellor of Běihǎi, at the time thirty-eight years. After the Yellow Scarves were suppressed, he rebuilt the cities and towns, raised schools, established asylums, recommended worthy talents, and made known Classicist scholars. He recommended Péng Qiú as fair and upright, Bǐng Yuán as with way, and Wáng Xiū as filial and incorruptible. He ordered Gāomì county to for Zhèng Xuán specially establish a village, with the name Zhènggōng village. Also if local people lacked descendants or if wandering travelers died there, all were given coffins and burials. A local commandery man Zhēn Xǐrán for filial conduct was well known, died young, and Róng hated never meeting him, and therefore ordered Pèishí county to establish an altar. His respect for the worthy was all of this sort. He was the commandery for six years, and Liú Bèi memorialized Róng as Inspector of Qīngzhōu.
- Jiàn’ān first year , he was recruited back [to the capital] to serve as Great Craftsman, promoted to Minister Treasurer. At every Court meeting discussion, he always was the leader of discussion, and all the ministers and senior officials all followed him and nothing more.
- Sīmǎ Biāo’s Jiǔzhōu Chūnqiū “Chronicles of the Nine Provinces” states:
- Róng was at Běihǎi, himself believed his intelligence were exceptional over others, his overflowing ability commanded the age, the grand talents of the time all could not compare to him, and also himself had great ambitions, and moreover wished to raise an army with glorious armor, to with the various worthies compete for achievements, from the sea to Dài [mountain] establish his base, unwilling to labor as an ordinary commandery administrator, or manage affairs as a regional official or attending meetings and nothing more. Instead those he appointed liked the strange and sought to be unique, all were frivolous and superficial talents. As for scholars who studied the ancients, he was falsely deferential, and though he was respectful to them, he did not discuss state affairs with them. Gāomì’s Zhèng Xuán, he praised as Lord Zhèng, and acted with a descendant’s respect. At high discussions and teachings, overflowing with officials, his speech and air were warm and elegant, and he could ponder while reciting aloud. In discussing matters he discovered the true, but it was difficult to act upon. He could only spread a wide net, but his own actions were very sparse. Rents and taxes were examined to be lacking, and in one morning he killed five Investigative Officials. Treacherous people and corrupt officials brought chaos to the government and market, and he also could not govern this.
- Yōuzhōu elite trops rebelled, reaching Xúzhōu, the troops reached below the walls, and the whole state was afraid. Róng went out to persuade them, ordering them to have no contrary intentions. Then with his Division Colonel he planned a night attack on Yōuzhōu, and the Yōuzhōu army was defeated, and he took over all their army. Shortly afterward, they again returned to rebellion and deserted. The Yellow Headscarves were about to arrive, Róng greatly gathered a drinking party with pure liquor, personally got on horse, resisted them above the Lái river. The bandits sent its upper division to resist Róng, and its two wings forded the river, until they reached his capital city. The city was captured, Róng could not enter it, and moved to Nán county, and his attendants gradually deserted. For successive years it became worse, the matter could not be saved, so he could not defend his four borders, and abandoned the commandery and left.
- Later he moved to Xúzhōu, as Chancellor of Běihǎi he returned as Inspector of Qīngzhōu, governing from the northern commandery frontiers, wishing to join with the east of the mountains, outside connecting to Liáodōng, obtain advantages of troops and horses, establish a base, and alone occupy one corner, not allying with anyone. At the time Cáo [Cāo], Yuán [Shào], and Gōngsūn [Zàn] were all lined up head to tail, his own troops did not reach several hundred, his grain did not reach ten thousand hú. Wáng Zǐfǎ and Liú Kǒngcí were argumentative and of little ability, but he trusted in them like his guts and heart. Zuǒ Chéngzǔ and Liú Yìxùn were pure and meaningful scholars, but could sit at banquets and nothing more, when speaking of the people’s hopes, could not miss. [Zuǒ] Chéngzǔ urged Róng to entrust himself with a strong state, but Róng did not listen and killed him. [Liú] Yìxùn deserted and fled. Therefore he was attacked by Yuán Tán, from spring to summer, the city had few and the enemy many, and arrows came like rain. However Róng leaned on his table and calmly sat, reading books and conversing as always. The city walls were broken and the army destroyed, he personally fled to the east of the mountains, and his household and family were by [Yuán] Tán captured.
- Zhāng Fán’s Hànjì “Annals of Hàn” states:
- Róng was at the commandery for eight years, and barely escaped alive. When the Emperor first moved the capital to Xǔ, Róng believed it was appropriate to follow the old systems, of settling the Ruler’s territory, maintaining the ministers’ departments as a thousand lǐ fief, and therefore asked the Excellencies and Ministers to send up letters to discuss this proposal. At the time the realm Under Heaven was still confused, Cáo [Cāo]’s and Yuán [Shào]’s struggle was not yet settled, so Róng’s proposal showed no understanding of the times. Also by nature he was impetuous and frank, all his life inclined to follow his intentions, and disrespected and ridiculed Tàizǔ.
- Tàizǔ installed a liquor prohibition, but Róng sent a letter mocking him: “Heaven has the Jiǔqí ‘liquor-banner’ star, Earth has the Jiǔquán ‘liquor spring’ commandery, Man has the virtue of excellent liquor. Therefore when Yáo did not drink a thousand goblets, he could not achieve saintliness. Moreover Jié and Zhòu by their lechery destroyed their state, so now you should order to prohibit marriage.” Though outside Tàizǔ was lenient, yet inside he could not be at ease. Censorate Grandee Chī Lǜ knew his wishes, and used the law to dismiss Róng from office. After over a year he was appointed Grand Central Grandee. Though he remained at home and lost authority, yet guests daily filled his gates. He loved talent and enjoyed liquor, and once sighed and said: “While sitting above a full crowd of guests, with a goblet of wine never empty, I have no worries.” Among the Tiger Elite Guard there was one who resembled Cài Yōng, and every time Róng was drunk, at once he summoned him to sit together and set: “Though there are no elder mature men, yet there are standards of punishments.” His favor of scholars was like this.
- Xùhànshū states:
- Grand Commandant Yáng Biāo with Yuán Shù were relatives by marriage, [Yuán] Shù usurped Imperial title, Tàizǔ with [Yáng] Biāo had disputes, and therefore used this to arrest [Yáng] Biāo, and was about to kill him.Róng heard of this, and without time to dress for Court went to meet Tàizǔ and said: “Excellency Yáng for accumulated generations was pure and virtuous, on all four sides greatly influencing. The Zhōushū says ‘Fathers and sons, elder and younger brothers, are not guilty of each others crimes,’ and moreover is this not the Yuán clan’s crime? The Yì‘s statement ‘Accumulated goodness is passed down’ is only deception of people and that is all.”
- Tàizǔ said: “It is the state’s intentions.”
- Róng said: “Suppose of Chéng-wáng wished to kill Shào-gōng, then could Zhōu-gōng say that he did not know? Now the reason why the realm Under Heaven’s tassel wearing scholars admire your enlightened excellency, is because your enlightened excellency is intelligent, benevolent, and wise, assisting the Hàn Court, promoting the upright and correcting the unjust, in order to reach harmony and prosperity and that is all. Now if you unexpectedly kill the innocent, then the realm Within the Seas will see and hear, and who would not be ill at ease? I Kǒng Róng am a son of Lǔ state, and tomorrow I will change my clothes and leave, and no longer go to Court.”
- Tàizǔ changed his mind, and therefore released [Yáng] Biāo.
- Wèishì Chūnqiū states:
- When Yuán Shào was defeated, Róng wrote letter to Tàizǔ that said: “[Zhōu] Wǔ-wáng overthrow Zhòu, and bestowed [Zhòu’s consort] Dájǐ on [his brother] Zhōu-gōng.” Tàizǔ because Róng was widely learned, believed this was recorded in the histories. Later he met and asked him, and [Kǒng Róng] answered: “Considering current matters, I thought it was appropriate and that is all.”
- Thirteenth year , Róng met Sūn Quán’s envoy, said mocking and slanderous words [about Tàizǔ], and met with execution. His two sons were eight years old, at the time playing chess, when Róng was arrested, they sat upright and did not rise. Their attendants said: “Your father has been seized, why do you not rise?” The two sons said: “When the nest is destroyed how are there eggs not destroyed?” Therefore they both were killed.
- Róng had high reputation and pure talent, and of the generation many mourned him. Tàizǔ feared the far and near would discuss it, and therefore his order said: “Grand Central Grandee Kǒng Róng has already admitted his guilt, yet of the people many follow his false reputation, and few verify the situation, to see that Róng is superficial and gaudy, likes to act contrary, and those dazzled by his deception, no longer investigate his chaotic behavior. This province’s local man reported that Píngyuán’s Mí Héng received and transmitted Róng’s doctrine, that people have no relation to fathers and mothers, like pots and utensils, only serving as container vessels, and also said that if encountering a famine, and if one’s father is not worthy, it is better to support and save other people. Róng violates nature and betrays principle, destroys human order and confuses reason, and though he was unrestrained in the market and at Court, yet I regret that this came so late. So because of these matters listed above, it is announced to the various armies Generals, Colonels, Officials and their subordinates, for all to see and hear.”
- Shìyǔ states:
- Róng’s two sons both were just changing milk teeth. Róng was arrested, looked back and said to his two sons: “Why do you not say goodbye?” The two sons both said: “If father has come to this, what is there to say goodbye for!” meaning that they would certainly all die together.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī believes that Shìyǔ’s is saying that Róng’s two sons would not say goodbye, knowing they would certainly all die together, understanding the situation. If it as Sūn Shèng says, it truly is not a good example. Eight year old small children, able to deeply understand disaster and fortune, intelligent to specially understand and outstanding to reach far, then as for the feelings of sorrow and joy, they should also surpass other men, so how could they see their father be arrested and yet not change their demeanor, play chess without rising, as if leisurely and carefree? In the past Shēn Shēng faced disaster and said he did not forget his father, and this feeling was not because he himself was about to die but the regret of abandoning his father. If a father in safety was honored like this, then how much so for one in hardship? [Sūn] Shèng believed this was a good anecdote, not the insulting of a person’s sons! So this was liking the strange and emotional, but not knowing his words violated reason.
- (2) Wèilüè states:
- [Xǔ] Yōu appellation Zǐyuǎn, when young with Yuán Shào and Tàizǔ was friendly. During Chūpíng [190-193] he followed [Yuán] Shào at Jìzhōu, and always sat in attendance commenting and suggesting. At the Guāndù campaign, he remonstrated [Yuán] Shào to not attack Tàizǔ, the story is in [Yuán] Shào’s Biography [SGZ 6]. [Yuán] Shào himself believed he was powerful, and insisted on using all his military strength. [Xǔ] Yōu knew he could not make plans [for Yuán Shào], and therefore deserted to join Tàizǔ. [Yuán] Shào was defeated and fled. When later they obtained Jìzhōu, [Xǔ] Yōu had achievements. [Xǔ] Yōu was overconfident in his services and merits, and at the time would joke with Tàizǔ, every time when they were seated, he had no restraint, even calling Tàizǔ by his childhood name, saying: “So-and-so [note: the historian is observing the taboo on the name unlike Xǔ Yōu], if you had not obtained me, you would not have obtained Jìzhōu.” Tàizǔ laughed and said: “You speak correctly.” However inside he resented him. Later he was traveling out Yè’s Eastern Gate, and turned back and said to his attendants: “If this guy had not obtained me, then he would not be able to go out through this gate.” Someone reported this, and therefore he was arrested.
- (3) Wèilüè states:
- Lóu Guī appellation Zǐbó, when young was involved with Tàizǔ for a long time. During Chūpíng [190-193] he was at Jīngzhōu’s north border gathering an army, and later joined Tàizǔ. Tàizǔ appointed him a chief General, but did not send him to managed troops, and he always sat together discussing and commenting. When the [Yellow] River’s north was pacified and settled, he followed to Jìzhōu. Later when Tàizǔ and his sons were going out, Zǐbó at the time also followed. Zǐbó turned back to say to his attendants: “This family of father and sons, seem today to be having fun.” Someone reported this. Tàizǔ believed this meant he had internal resentment, and therefore arrested and dealt with him.
- Wúshū states:
- Zǐbó when young had valorous aspirations, and always sighed and said: “A man in this age should gather tens of thousands of infantry with thousands of cavalry behind!” His colleagues laughed at him. Later for corruption he fled for his life, was arrested and about to die, was able to escape the prison, the authorities pursued closely, and Zǐbó therefore changed his clothes to be the same as the authorities, the officials did not discover this, and therefore he escaped. At the time the realm Under Heaven’s righteous troops rose up , and Zǐbó also gathered an army and joined Liú Biǎo. Later he joined Excellency Cáo, and therefore was employed, and was often involved with military and state great planning. Liú Biǎo died , and Excellency Cáo went toward Jīngzhōu. [Liú] Biǎo’s son [Liú] Cóng surrendered, and with his Staff went to welcome Excellency Cáo, the various Generals all suspected it was a trick, and Excellency Cáo asked Zǐbó. Zǐbó said: “The realm Under Heaven is disturbed, everyone is greedy for the ruler’s commands in order to make themselves important. Now he has come with his Staff, so he is certainly sincere.” Excellency Cáo said: “Very good.” Therefore the troops advanced. He favored and rewarded Zǐbó, whose house accumulated a thousand gold, and said: “Lóu Zǐbó’s wealth and happiness can compare to mine, only his power is not the same as mine!” In accompanying the defeat of Mǎ Chāo and others, Zǐbó’s achievements were many. Excellency Cáo always sighed and said: “Zǐbó‘s strategies, I cannot reach.” Later he was riding the same carriage with Xí Shòu of Nán-jùn, saw Excellency Cáo go out, and [Xí] Shòu said: “With a father and sons like this, how merry they are!” Zǐbó said: “When in this world, one should care for oneself, why instead look after another man!” [Xí] Shòu then reported him, and therefore he was executed.
- Yú Huàn states:
- The ancients had a saying: “Capturing birds is done with one small net, but spreading just one net in the end will not capture birds. Birds can fly far, and flying far is by the strength of six feathers, but without the assistance of all the feathers, then the flight cannot be far.” By this advice, the establishment of the Great Wèi, though they had accomplished ministers, yet it was not necessarily because of this sort of supporters.
- (4) Shìyǔ states: Yǎn’s elder brother’s grandson [Cuī] Liàng styled Shìwén for his unadorned nature was praised, and was appointed by Jìn as Secretariat and Minister Herald.
- Xún Chuò Jìzhōujì says that [Cuī] Liàng was Yǎn’s grandson.