(14.4) Liú Yè 劉曄 [Zǐyáng 子揚]

Liú Yè appellation Zǐyáng was a Huáinán Chéngdé man, Hàn Guāng-Wǔ’s son the King of Fùlíng [Liú] Yán’s descendant.


His father [Liú] Pǔ and mother Xiū bore [Liú] Huàn and Yè. When [Liú] Huàn was nine years and Yè seven years, their mother was severely ill. Facing the end, she warned [Liú] Huàn and Yè: “[Liú] Pǔ’s servant, has the nature of doing harm to others. After I die, I fear he will certainly cause chaos to the family. When you are grown up if you can deal with him, then I will have no regrets.” When Yè was thirteen years, he said to his elder brother [Liù] Huàn “Our later mother’s words can be enacted.” [Liú] Huàn said: “It can.” Yè at once entered the house and killed the servant, and immediately went out to pay respects to [his mother’s] tomb. Inside the residence was greatly alarmed, and informed [Liú] Pǔ. [Liú] Pǔ was furious, and sent someone to pursue Yè. Yè returned and bowed and apologized: “Following my late mother’s commands, I dare receive the punishments for acting without authority.” [Liú] Pŭ in his heart was impressed with him, and therefore did not blame him.


Rǔnán’s Xǔ Shào had reputation for understanding people, was in exile in Yángzhōu, and appraised Yè as having ability to assist the age.


Of Yáng[zhōu]’s troops many reckless and cruel, with the sort as Zhèng Bǎo, Zhāng Duō, Xǔ Qián, each gathering personal armies. [Zhèng] Bǎo was the most brave and resolute, his ability and power surpassed others, and the whole region feared him. He wished to force the common people to relocate across the Jiāng, and because Yè was from a high family and a man of reputation, wished to force Yè to announce and direct this plan. Yè at the time was over twenty years, inside his heart he was worried, but he could not yet act.


It happened that Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] sent envoy to the province, to investigate the situation, and Yè went to meet, to discuss the current state of affairs, asking the officer to return with him, and stay for a few days. [Zhèng] Bǎo indeed led several hundred men to present oxen and wine to come welcome the envoy, and Yè ordered his family servant to have the crowd be seated outside the doors, and for them set up wine and food, while drinking with [Zhèng] Bǎo inside. He secretly gathered a strong fighter, to act as a goblet pourer to kill [Zhèng] Bǎo. [Zhèng] Bǎo by nature did not enjoy wine, and observing him he was very aware, and therefore the goblet pourer did not dare act. Yè therefore personally drew the sword at his belt to kill [Zhèng] Bǎo, beheaded and took the head to command the army, saying: “Excellency Cáo has an order: those who dare resist, will suffer the same punishment as [Zhèng] Bǎo.” The army was all startled, and fled back to the camp.


The camp had commanders and elite troops of several thousand, and fearing that they would rebel, Yè at once rode a precious horse, leading his family servants several men, to visit [Zhèng] Bǎo’s camp gates, calling out to the leading commanders, describing the potential disasters and fortunes, and all bowed head and opened the gates to let Yè inside. Yè consoled and calmed them, and all were pleased and submitted, electing Yè as their leader.


Yè observed that the Hàn House was gradually declining, that he himself was of a cadet branch, and did not wish to lead troops, and therefore entrusted his followers to Administrator of Lújiāng Liú Xūn. [Liú] Xūn was confused about the reason for this, and Yè said: “[Zhèng] Bǎo had no law and order, his army by nature only took money as its benefit, but I have no resources, and if I wish to control them, they will definitely harbor resentment and be difficult to lead for long. Therefore I entrust them with you and that is all.”


At the time [Liú] Xūn’s troops were strong between the Jiāng and Huái. Sūn Cè hated this, and sent envoy with humble expression and generous gifts, sending letter to persuade [Liú] Xūn: “Shàngliáo’s clans and peoples, repeatedly cheat our state, and we have been resented them for years. Attacking them, the road is inconvenient, but we hope your powerful state can dispatch them. Shàngliáo is very abundant, and obtaining it can enrich your state. I ask that you send troops as external aid.” [Liú] Xūn trusted this, and also obtained [Sūn] Cè’s sent pearls and gems and silk, and was very pleased. Outside and inside all gave congratulations, but only Yè alone did not. [Liú] Xūn asked the reason, and the answer was: “Though Shàngliáo is small, its city walls are firm and its moats deep, attacking is difficult and defending easy, and cannot in ten days be finished, so the troops will be weary outside and the state will be empty inside. [Sūn] Cè will take advantage of the absence to attack us, and those left behind cannot defend alone. Then you General advancing cannot overcome the enemy, and retreating have no where to return to. If the army certainly goes out, then disaster will have arrived now.” [Liú] Xūn did not follow this, and led troops to attack Shàngliáo, and [Sūn] Cé indeed attacked from behind. [Liú] Xūn was destitute and cut-off, and therefore fled to Tàizǔ.


Tàizǔ reached Shòuchūn. At the time Lújiāng’s borders had a mountain bandit Chén Cè, with an army of several tens of thousand men, overlooking rough terrain and defending. Before this time the subordinate officers sent had been killed, with none able to capture or overcome them. Tàizǔ asked his subordinates: “Can they be attacked or not?”


Everyone said: “The mountain bandits are high and the creeks and valleys are deep and narrow. Defending is easy and attacking difficult. Also removing them is not worth the costs, and capturing them is not worth the gains.”


Yè said: “[Chén] Cè and the rest are small things, because of the chaos they fled to rugged terrain, and then only relied on each other for strength, and must be subdued by one of rank with prestige and authority. The previously sent subordinate officers had few resources, and the central states were not yet pacified, and therefore [Chén] Cè dared to occupy rugged terrain to defend. Now the realm Under Heaven is nearly settled, and the last to submit are the first to be executed. Fearing death and seeking reward, everyone knows of this, and therefore the lord of Guǎngwǔ [Lǐ Zhǒchē] made plans for Hán Xìn, saying his reputation was sufficient to first make sound and afterward hold true and have the neighboring states submit. Moreover with your enlightened excellency’s virtue, campaigning east and west, first offering rewards, facing them with the great army, now on the day of announcement, as the army gates open the enemy will themselves scatter.”


Tàizǔ laughed and said: “What you say will soon happen!”


Therefore he sent fierce Generals at the front, the main army at the rear,, they arrived and overcame [Chén] Cè, as Yè had judged. Tàizǔ returned, and recruited Yè as Granary Officer to the Excellency of Works. (1)


  • Fùzǐ states: Tàizǔ recruited Yè with Jiǎng Jì, Hú Zhì and others, five men, and all were famed scholars of Yángzhōu. Every time these men stopped to rest on journeys, never once did they not converse, and so they met with great reputation; inside they discussed states and cities, past worthies, and the appropriate ways to defend against enemies, move the army, advance and retreat, outside they judged the enemy’s changes, the true situation, methods of warfare, morning and night without end. But Yè alone lied down in the carriage, to the end not saying a word. [Jiǎng] Jì was bewildered and asked him, and Yè answered: “Answering the enlightened ruler must have vitality; can vitality be studied to be obtained?” When they met Tàizǔ, Tàizǔ indeed asked them about Yángzhōu’s past worthies, the circumstances of the enemies. The four men fought to answer, each speaking right after each other, and when they met again like this, Tàizǔ was always affable and pleased, but Yè to the end did not say a word. The four men laughed at him. Later at the meetings Tàizǔ stopped asking when he had no more questions, and Yè therefore used other topics to stir up Tàizǔ, and Tàizǔ went along with it to the end. It was like this three times.  The reason for this was that different topics brought vitality, and when alone he was able to use all his ability, and so was not suitable for conversation stead with others. Tàizǔ then understood his intentions, and after leaving, appointed the four men as Magistrates, but recruited Yè for a trusted aide appointment. Every time he was doubtful of something, at once he wrote to ask Yè, up to several tens of times in one night.

〔一〕 傅子曰:太祖徵曄及蔣濟、胡質等五人,皆揚州名士。每舍亭傳,未曾不講,所以見重;內論國邑先賢、禦賊固守、行軍進退之宜,外料敵之變化、彼我虛實、戰爭之術,夙夜不解。而曄獨臥車中,終不一言。濟怪而問之,曄答曰:「對明主非精神不接,精神可學而得乎?」及見太祖,太祖果問揚州先賢,賊之形勢。四人爭對,待次而言,再見如此,太祖每和悅,而曄終不一言。四人笑之。後一見太祖止無所復問,曄乃設遠言以動太祖,太祖適知便止。若是者三。其旨趣以為遠言宜徵精神,獨見以盡其機,不宜於猥坐說也。太祖已探見其心矣,坐罷,尋以四人為令,而授曄以心腹之任;每有疑事,輒以函問曄,至一夜數十至耳。

[215] Tàizǔ campaigned against Zhāng Lǔ, and transferred Yè to be his registrar. When they reached Hànzhōng, the mountains were severe and difficult to ascend, and the army’s provisions were exhausted. Tàizǔ said: “This is a strange state and that is all, what can be done about it? Our army has few provisions, it is better to quickly return.” then himself leading the return, ordering Yè to command the rear’s various armies, and afterward set out. Yè judged that [Zhāng] Lǔ could be overcome, and as the supply lines could not be maintained, if they set out, the army still would not be completely secure, and sent rider to inform Tàizǔ: “It is better to commit to attacking.” Therefore they advanced troops, greatly sending out crossbows to shoot their camps. [Zhāng] Lǔ fled away, and Hànzhōng was therefore pacified.


Yè advanced to advise: “Your enlightened excellency with five thousand infantry sought to punish Dǒng Zhuó, to the north destroyed Yuán Shào, to the south campaigned against Liú Biǎo, of the Nine Provinces and Hundred Prefectures, you have gained eight out of ten, your authority shakes all Under Heaven, your power stirring beyond the seas. Now you have gained Hànzhōng, and the Shǔ people watch in anticipation, have lost the guts to resist, and using this to advance, Shǔ can be sent message and be settled. Liú Bèi is outstanding among men, has ability but is slow, since his taking of Shǔ the days have been few, and the Shǔ people are not yet attached to him. Now you have defeated Hànzhōng, and the Shǔ people are shaken and afraid, and their power will overturn itself. With your excellency’s divine brilliance, and to because of their overturning pressure them, there is nothing that cannot be overcome. But if there is small delay, Zhūgě Liàng is brilliant in government and will become their Minister, Guān Yǔ and Zhāng Fēi are valorous and dominating over the army and become their Generals, and the Shǔ people will be settled, rely on difficult terrain to defend, and then they cannot be attacked. Now if you do not take them, you will certainly regret it.” Tàizǔ did not follow this, (1) and the main army therefore returned. Yè from Hànzhōng returned, became Traveling Army Chief Clerk, simultaneously leading the army.


  • Fùzǐ states: They remained seven days, and a surrendered Shǔ man said: “In Shǔ in one day there are ten alarms, and though [Liú] Bèi beheads them he cannot calm them.” Tàizǔ went to ask Yè: “Now can they still be attacked or not?” Yè said: “Now they are already partially settled, and cannot be attacked.”

〔一〕 傅子曰:居七日,蜀降者說:「蜀中一日數十驚,備雖斬之而不能安也。」太祖延問曄曰:「今尚可擊不?」曄曰:「今已小定,未可擊也。」

Yànkāng first year [220], Shǔ General Mèng Dá led his army to surrender. [Mèng] Dá had good appearance and ability and perceptiveness, and Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] deeply employed and favored him, sending [Mèng] Dá to become Administrator of Xīnchéng, and also Cavalier Regular Attendant.


Yè believed: “[Mèng] Dá only thinks in temporary gains, and relies on and thinks well of his abilities, and will certainly not be grateful or hold to righteousness. Xīnchéng borders Wú and Shǔ. If there is a change, it will create misfortune for the state.”


Wén-dì did not change, and later [Mèng] Dá in the end rebelled and was defeated. (2)


  • Fùzǐ states: Previously, in Tàizǔ’s time, Wèi Fěng had great reputation, and from the Ministers down all wholeheartedly admired and befriended hem. Later when Mèng Dá left Liú Bèi to submit to Wén-dì, of the commentators most praised him as the same sort as Yuè Yì [who famously left Yān for Zhào]. Yè in one meeting of [Wèi] Fěng and [Méng] Dá both said they would certainly rebel, and in the end it was as he said.

〔二〕 傅子曰:初,太祖時,魏諷有重名,自卿相以下皆傾心交之。其後孟達去劉備歸文帝,論者多稱有樂毅之量。曄一見諷、達而皆云必反,卒如其言。

Huángchū Inaugural Year [220], Yè became Palace Attendant, bestowed with rank as Marquis Within the Passes. Imperial Order asked the various ministers to discuss if Liú Bèi would take revenge for Guān Yǔ by attacking Wú or not. The commentators all said: “Shǔ is only a small state, of their famed Generals there was only [Guān] Yǔ. [Guān] Yǔ is dead and their army defeated, their state’s interior disturbed and afraid, and they have no ability to again set out.”


Yè alone said: “Though Shǔ is small and weak, yet [Liú] Bèi’s desire is to use military authority to make himself powerful, and he will certainly use his army to make a show that he has abundance. Moreover Guān Yǔ and [Liú] Bèi, though their relationship was ruler and servant, their closeness was like father and son. With [Guān] Yǔ did if he cannot raise his army to take revenge on the enemy, it will not be enough to fulfill [the promise to stay together from] beginning to end.”


Later [Liú] Bèi indeed set out with troops to attack Wú. Wú raised the entire state to resist him, and also sent an envoy to declare vassalage [to Wèi]. The Court Ministers all gave congratulations, but only Yè said: “Wú is cut off beyond the Jiāng and Hàn, and has no intention to remain subjects for long. Though Your Majesty has virtue equal to that of Yú, but the enemy’s nature, is not moved by it. Because of difficulties they ask to become subjects, so it is certainly difficult to trust. They were pressured outside and exhausted inside, and only after that sent this envoy and that is all, and we can because of their weakness, attack and take them. One day letting go of the enemy, is a misery for many ages, and cannot but be considered.”


[Liú] Bèi’s army was defeated and retreated, Wú’s gifts and veneration changed and ceased, and the Emperor wished to raise armies to attack them. Yè believed: “They have newly obtained their ambitions, superiors and subordinates are of the same will, and they defend the rivers and lakes. It will certainly be difficult to finish.”


The Emperor did not listen. (1)


  • Fùzǐ states:
    • Sūn Quán sent envoy to ask to surrender, and the Emperor asked Yè about this. Yè answered: “[Sūn] Quán has no reason to ask to surrender, and certainly has an internal emergency. [Sūn] Quán previously attacked and killed Guān Yǔ, taking Jīngzhōu’s four prefectures. [Liú] Bèi is furious, will certainly greatly raise armies to attack him. Outside are strong enemies, his armies’ hearts are not at ease, and he also fears the central states will take advantage of this quarrel and attack him, and therefore he dejectedly asks to surrender, first to hold back the central states’ troops, second to then borrow the central states’ aide, in order to strengthen his army and cause doubt in his enemies. [Sūn] Quán is good at using troops, make strategies knowing changes, and this strategy certainly came from this. Now the realm Under Heaven is divided in three, and our central states have eight out of ten. Wú and Shǔ each defends one province, depending on mountains and rivers, and in emergencies rescue each other; this is the small state’s advantages. Now they have returned to attacking each other, and this is Heaven destroying them. It is appropriate to greatly raise armies, cross the Jiāng to attack their interior. With Shǔ attacking their exterior, we attacking their interior, Wú’s destruction will not be more than a month. When Wú is destroyed than Shǔ is alone. Even if they take half of Wú, Shǔ assuredly cannot last long, and moreover Shǔ would obtain their exterior, and we would obtain their interior!”
    • The Emperor said: “If a man declares himself subject and surrenders and I attack him, it will cause doubt in the hearts of those in the realm Under Heaven who wish to submit, and they will certainly be afraid because of it, and this disaster cannot be! Cannot I accept Wú’s surrender, and attack Shǔ’s rear?”
    • He answered: “Shǔ is far and Wú is near, and also if they year the central states are attacking it, they will then return their army, and that cannot be stopped. Now [Liú] Bèi is already angry, and therefore raises troops to attack Wú, and if he hears we are attacking Wú, he will know Wú will certainly be destroyed, and certainly be happy and advance to divide with us Wú’s territory, and certainly not change his plans to restrain his anger and rescue Wú, and this is certain.”
    • The Emperor did not listen, and therefore accepted Wú’s surrender, and was about to appoint [Sūn] Quán as King of Wú. Yè again advanced to say: “This cannot be. The Former Emperor campaigned and fought, gaining eight[-tenths] of the realm Under Heaven, his authority shaking all Within the Seas, Your Majesty accepted the abdication and ascended, your virtue joining with Heaven and Earth, your reputation reaching distantly everywhere, and this is true power, not what I your servant’s flattering words. Though [Sūn] Quán has heroism and ability, he was formerly only Hàn’s General of Elite Cavalry and Marquis of Nánchāng and that is all, his rank light and power low. The people have hearts in awe of the central states, and cannot be made to achieve his scheme. If one cannot but accept his surrender, he can advanced in his General’s rank, with fief as a Marquis of a hundred thousand households, but cannot be made a King. The rank of King is only one step away from Heaven’s Son, and their Rites and Clothes and Chariots can be confused with each other. If he is only a Marquis, the people south of the Jiāng do not have a relationship of ruler and subject with him. I believe this is a false surrender, so to give fief to him, increase his rank and title, settle him as ruler with subjects, is to give wings to a tiger. When [Sūn] Quán receives rank as King, and after defeating Shǔ’s troops, outside he will give respectu and tribute to our central states, to let his state’s interior all hear of it, but inside he will give no respect to anger Your Majesty. Your Majesty will become angry and raise troops to punish him, and then he will tell his people: ‘I bowed myself to the central states, not begrudging precious treasures, swiftly sending tribute, not daring to fail in the subject’s respect, but without reason they attack us, certainly wishing to destroy our state, and enslave our people and sons and daughters to be servants and concubines.’ Wú’s people will have no opportunity but to believe his words. Believing his words they will be furious, and superior and subordinate will be of the same heart, and battle hard ten fold.” Again he did not follow this, and therefore appointed [Sūn] Quán as King of Wú.
    • [Sūn] Quán’s General Lù Yì [Xùn] greatly defeated Liú Bèi, killing his troops of over eighty thousand men, and [Liú] Bèi only barely escaped. [Sūn] Quán outside sent ever increasingly inferior tribute, and inside acted disobedient, indeed as Yè had said.

〔一〕 傅子曰:孫權遣使求降,帝以問曄。曄對曰:「權無故求降,必內有急。權前襲殺關羽,取荊州四郡,備怒,必大興師伐之。外有彊寇,眾心不安,又恐中國承其釁而伐之,故委地求降,一以卻中國之兵,二則假中國之援,以彊其眾而疑敵人。權善用兵,見策知變,其計必出於此。今天下三分,中國十有其八。吳、蜀各保一州,阻山依水,有急相救,此小國之利也。今還自相攻,天亡之也。宜大興師,徑渡江襲其內。蜀攻其外,我襲其內,吳之亡不出旬月矣。吳亡則蜀孤。若割吳半,蜀固不能久存,況蜀得其外,我得其內乎!」帝曰:「人稱臣降而伐之,疑天下欲來者心,必以為懼,其殆不可!孤何不且受吳降,而襲蜀之後乎?」對曰:「蜀遠吳近,又聞中國伐之,便還軍,不能止也。今備已怒,故興兵擊吳,聞我伐吳,知吳必亡,必喜而進與我爭割吳地,必不改計抑怒救吳,必然之勢也。」帝不聽,遂受吳降,即拜權為吳王。曄又進曰:「不可。先帝征伐,天下兼其八,威震海內,陛下受禪即真,德合天地,聲暨四遠,此實然之勢,非卑臣頌言也。權雖有雄才,故漢驃騎將軍南昌侯耳,官輕勢卑。士民有畏中國心,不可彊迫與成所謀也。不得已受其降,可進其將軍號,封十萬戶侯,不可即以為王也。夫王位,去天子一階耳,其禮秩服御相亂也。彼直為侯,江南士民未有君臣之義也。我信其偽降,就封殖之,崇其位號,定其君臣,是為虎傅翼也。權既受王位,卻蜀兵之後,外盡禮事中國,使其國內皆聞之,內為無禮以怒陛下。陛下赫然發怒,興兵討之,乃徐告其民曰:『我委身事中國,不愛珍貨重寶,隨時貢獻,不敢失臣禮也,無故伐我,必欲殘我國家,俘我民人子女以為僮隸僕妾。』吳民無緣不信其言也。信其言而感怒,上下同心,戰加十倍矣。」又不從。遂即拜權為吳王。權將陸議大敗劉備,殺其兵八萬餘人,備僅以身免。權外禮愈卑,而內行不順,果如曄言。

Fifth year [224] the Emperor visited Guǎnglíng Sìkǒu, ordering Jīng and Yángzhōu’s various armies to together advance. At a meeting with the ministers he asked: “Will [Sūn] Quán himself come or not?”


Everyone said: “Your Majesty personally campaigns, [Sūn] Quán is terrified, and will certainly raise his whole state to resist. He also does not dare entrust his main army to his subordinates, and will certainly personally command and come.”


Yè said: “He will say that Your Majesty wishes wishes to use ten thousand chariots to draw him out, while sending separate Generals to cross the rivers and lakes, and certainly will reign in troops to wait for changes, and will not move.”


The Imperial Chariot stopped for several days, [Sūn] Quán indeed did not arrive, and the Emperor therefore led back the army. He said: “Your plan was correct. In considering how I may destroy the two rebel [states], one cannot only know their situation and nothing more.”


[226] Míng-dì [Cáo Ruì] ascended, and advanced his rank to Marquis of Dōng precinct, with a fief of 300 households. Imperial Order said: “Majestic ancestors are why esteeming filial conduct is rewarded. Recalling foundations and respecting beginnings are how sincere teachings spread and cultivate. Therefore Chéng Táng, Wén, succeeded in founding Shāng and Zhōu, and the meaning of the Shī and Shū is to posthumously honor Jì and Qì, and songs praise the matters of Sōng and Jiāng Yuán, enlightening the origin and development of splendid virtue, of how to receive the Mandate to prosper. From when our Wèi House succeeded Heaven’s order, the gaining of recognition was with Gāo Huáng [Cáo Téng] and Tài Huáng-dì [Cáo Sòng], and the grand achievement with Wǔ Huáng [Cáo Cāo] and Wén Huáng-dì [Cáo Pī]. Even Gāo Huáng’s father was a solitary scholar, immersed in cultivation and virtuous and modest, conduct moving spirits, this is the fortune given the universe, the origin of enlightenment and intelligence. But his spirit is remote, his title not noted, and this is not what is said to be esteeming filial action and emphasizing foundations. So it is ordered that the Excellencies and Ministers down are to meet and discuss a posthumous title.”


Yè commented: “You Sagely Emperor as a filial descendant wish to honor your ancestors, and this is truly without compare. But the counting of close and distant relations, the descent of far and near, all have their ritual order, therefore cutting off personal feeling, overcoming and achieving public law, is the example for ten thousand ages. The reason the Zhōu Kings honored their first ancestor Hòu-jì was because he in assisting Táng had achievement, and therefore his name was in sacrificial registers. Up to the beginning of the Hàn clan, the system of giving posthumous title, was to not go past the father. If upper comparing to the Zhōu house, then the Great Wèi gaining recognition began with Gāo Huáng, if lower discussing the Hàn clan, then the ritual granting of posthumous title does not reach the grandfather. This truly is the accomplished method of past ages, and now is clearly understood. Your Majesty’s filial consideration from within comes, and truly is without end already, but a ruler’s actions must be recorded, and therefore must be cautious of ritual and regulation. In the setting of posthumous title, it should begin with Gāo Huáng and nothing more.”


Secretariat Wèi Zhēn agreed with Yè’s commentary, and the matter was therefore put into practice.


Administrator of Liádōng Gōngsūn Yuān seized his father’s younger brother’s rank, taking office by his own action, and sent envoy to memorialize the situation. Yè believed: “The Gōngsūn clan was employed in Hàn’s time, and then for generations succeeded each other in office, on water blocked by sea, on land obstructed by mountains, and therefore the wild foreigners are cut off distantly and hard to control, and their generations of power have grown long. Now if they are not punished, later there will certainly be trouble. If they harbor treacherous plans and obstruct with troops, and afterward we seek to punish them, the matter will be difficult. It better to use the new enthronement, with its factions and opposition, to first act before he is aware, with troops face him, offer rewards and recruitment, so that without toiling the army it can be settled.” Later [Gōngsūn] Yuān indeed rebelled.


Yè at Court, did not make plans with others at the time. Someone asked him the reason, and Yè answered: “The Wèi House has just ascended and is very new, the wise know the Mandate, but of the commoners some are not yet harmonious. I am for Hàn a cadet, for Wèi a trusted aide, scarcely associate and rarely follow, so as to not make mistakes.”


Tàihé sixth year [232], because of illness he was appointed Grand Central Grandee. After a while, he became Minister Herald, was in office two years and then resigned, and again became Grand Central Grandee, and died. Posthumous name Jǐng-hóu “Visionary Marquis.” His son Yǔ succeeded. (1)


  • Fùzǐ states: Yè did matters for Míng Huáng-dì [Cáo Ruì], and also greatly met with close importance. The Emperor was about to campaign against Shǔ, and the Court ministers inside and out all said: “It cannot be.” Yè entered to with the Emperor comment, and thus said: “It can be attacked.” He went out and with the Court ministers spoke, and thus said: “It cannot be attacked.” Yè had guts and wisdom, and what he said all came true. Central Manager of the Army Yáng Jì, was the Emperor’s close minister, and also gave importance to Yè, and in arguing that they could not campaign against Shǔ was the most firm, and every time he from the inner chambers came out, at once he passed Yè, and Yè explained the reasons it could not be. Afterward [Yáng] Jì accompanied the Imperial Chariot to Tiānyuān pond, the Emperor discussed the matter of campaigning against Shǔ, [Yáng] Jì sternly remonstrated. The Emperor said: “You are only a book scholar, how can you understand military matters!” [Yáng] Jì modestly apologized: “I your Servant began at the end of the Classicist scholars, Your Majesty investigated, selected me from among the crowds, set me above the Six Armies, and my smallest thoughts, I do not dare not thoroughly speak. My words are truly insufficient to use, Palace Attendant Liú Yè was the former Emperor’s strategic minister, and always says that Shǔ cannot be attacked.” The Emperor said: “Yè said to me that Shǔ can be attacked.” [Yáng] Jì said: “Yè can be summoned to explain.” Imperial Order summoned Yè who arrived, the Emperor asked Yè, and to the end he did not speak. Later he met alone, and Yè reproached the Emperor: “Attacking a state, is a critical plan. When I your Servant am involved in a critical plan, I am always afraid that while asleep I will leak out things and increase my crimes, so how can I dare speak of it with others? Military matters are a crafty path. When military matters are not yet begun, do not betray its secrecy. Your Majesty has clearly revealed it, and I fear the enemy state has already heard of it.” Therefore the Emperor apologized to him. Yè went out, and reproached [Yáng] Jì: “When a fisher encounters a great fish, he sets net and follows it, waits to trap and afterward reins it in, and then it cannot but be gained. A ruler of men’s authority, how can it be like a great fish! You are an honest and upright servant, and therefore your plans are not enough to use, and cannot but thoroughly think over.” [Yáng] Jì also apologized to him. Yè could respond to changes and maintain both sides like this. Someone slandered Yè to the emperor: “Yè is not completely loyal, and is good at waiting to see your Highness’s intentions and then quickly agreeing with it. Your Majesty can test Yè’s words, all using the opposite of your intentions to ask him, and if he opposes all that is asked, then Yè is always in agreement with your Holiness’s intentions. If with every question he all agrees, Yè’s situation will certainly be unable to be hid.” The Emperor followed this advice to test him, and indeed it was like this situation, and from then on they were estranged. Yè therefore suffered insanity, was sent out as Minsiter Herald, and in anxiety died. Proverb states: “Cunning deception does not match unvarnished truth.” This can be believed. With Yè’s enlightened wisdom and effective planning, if he had resided in virtue and righteousness, acted with loyalty and integrity, then among the ancient’s greatest worthies, how could he not but add to them? Alone relying on talent and wisdom, not interacting with the generation’s scholars, inside not devoting his heart to the matters of the Ascended, outside destitute by common situations, and in the end he was unable to preserve himself in the realm Under Heaven. How can it not be pitied!

〔一〕 傅子曰:曄事明皇帝,又大見親重。帝將伐蜀,朝臣內外皆曰「不可」。曄入與帝議,因曰「可伐」;出與朝臣言,因曰「不可伐」。曄有膽智,言之皆有形。中領軍楊暨,帝之親臣,又重曄,持不可伐蜀之議最堅,每從內出,輒過曄,曄講不可之意。後暨從駕行天淵池,帝論伐蜀事,暨切諫。帝曰:「卿書生,焉知兵事!」暨謙謝曰:「臣出自儒生之末,陛下過聽,拔臣群萃之中,立之六軍之上,臣有微心,不敢不盡言。臣言誠不足采,侍中劉曄先帝謀臣,常曰蜀不可伐。」帝曰:「曄與吾言蜀可伐。」暨曰:「曄可召質也。」詔召曄至,帝問曄,終不言。後獨見,曄責帝曰:「伐國,大謀也,臣得與聞大謀,常恐眯夢漏泄以益臣罪,焉敢向人言之?夫兵,詭道也,軍事未發,不厭其密也。陛下顯然露之,臣恐敵國已聞之矣。」於是帝謝之。曄見出,責暨曰:「夫釣者中大魚,則縱而隨之,須可制而後牽,則無不得也。人主之威,豈徒大魚而已!子誠直臣,然計不足采,不可不精思也。」暨亦謝之。曄能應變持兩端如此。或惡曄于帝曰:「曄不盡忠,善伺上意所趨而合之。陛下試與曄言,皆反意而問之,若皆與所問反者,是曄常與聖意合也。復每問皆同者,曄之情必無所逃矣。」帝如言以驗之,果得其情,從此疏焉。曄遂發狂,出為大鴻臚,以憂死。諺曰「巧詐不如拙誠」,信矣。以曄之明智權計,若居之以德義,行之以忠信,古之上賢,何以加諸?獨任才智,不與世士相經緯,內不推心事上,外困於俗,卒不能自安於天下,豈不惜哉!

His youngest son Táo, also had high ability but weak conduct, and his office reached Administrator of Píngyuán. (2)


  • Wáng Bì Zhuàn states: Huáinán man Liú Táo, was good at discussing diplomacy, and was in his time esteemed.
  • Fùzǐ states: [Liú] Táo appellation Jìyě, had good reputation, and was great at debate. In Cáo Shuǎng’s time he became Selection Division Gentleman, and Dèng Yáng’s followers praised him as like Yī [Yīn] and Lǚ [Shàng]. At the time, this man’s intentions were high and lofty, and he said to [Xiàhóu] Xuán: “Zhòngní was not a sage. How can this be known? The wise plan for the state; the realm Under Heaven is crowded with fools, as if playing with a ball in the palm, and unable to obtain the realm Under Heaven.” [Xiàhóu] Xuán because of these words was greatly bewildered, and did not again in detail debate with him, and said to him: “The realm Under Heaven’s nature, changes and is not constant. Now I see your lowliness!” When [Cáo] Shuǎng was defeated, he returned to his hometown, and therefore apologized for his mistaken words.
  • Gān Bǎo’s Jìnjì states: Guànqiū Jiǎn rebelled. The General-in-Chief [Sīmǎ Shī] asked Táo about this, and Táo answered in opposition. General-in-Chief angrily said: “Your whole life you and I discussed the realm Under Heaven’s affairs, but why today you are not thorough?” Therefore he sent him out as Administrator of Píngyuán, and also pursued and killed him.

〔二〕 王弼傳曰:淮南人劉陶,善論縱橫,為當時所推。傅子曰:陶字季冶,善名稱,有大辯。曹爽時為選部郎,鄧颺之徒稱之以為伊呂。當此之時,其人意陵青雲,謂玄曰:「仲尼不聖。何以知其然?智者圖國;天下群愚,如弄一丸于掌中,而不能得天下。」玄以其言大惑,不復詳難也。謂之曰:「天下之質,變無常也。今見卿窮!」爽之敗,退居里舍,乃謝其言之過。干寶晉紀曰:毌丘儉之起也,大將軍以問陶,陶答依違。大將軍怒曰:「卿平生與吾論天下事,至于今日而更不盡乎?」乃出為平原太守,又追殺之。

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