Bào Xūn appellation Shūyè, was a Tàishān Píngyáng man, Hàn Colonel-Director of Retainers Bào Xuān’s ninth generation descendant. [Bào] Xuān’s descendants had some from Shàngdǎng move to Tàishān, and therefore live there. Xūn’s father [Bào] Xìn, in Líng-dì‘s time became Cavalry Commandant, and General-in-Chief Hé Jìn sent him east to recruit troops. Later he became Jìběi Chancellor, joined with Tàizǔ, and came to harm. The story is in Dǒng Zhuó’s biography [SGZ 6] and Wǔ-dì‘s Annals [SGZ 1]. (1) Jiàn’ān Seventeenth Year , Tàizǔ in memory of [Bào] Xìn’s achievements, memorialized to give fief to Xūn’s elder brother Shào as Marquis of Xīndū precinct, (2) and recruited Xūn as a Chancellor’s Official. (3)
- (1) Wèishū states: [Bào] Xìn’s father [Bào] Dān’s office reached Minister Treasurer Attendant Internal, and in the world for his scholarship and refinement was prominent. When young [Bào Xìn] had great integrity, was tolerant and generous and loving to others, firmly resolute and willful. General-in-Chief Hè Jìn recruited and appointed him Cavalry Commandant, sending him home to recruit troops, he obtained over a thousand men, returned to Chénggǎo but [Hé] Jìn had already come to harm. When [Bào] Xìn reached the capital, Dǒng Zhuó also had newly arrived. [Bào] Xìn knew [Dǒng] Zhuó would certainly create chaos, and urged Yuán Shào to attack [Dǒng] Zhuó, but [Yuán] Shào feared [Dǒng] Zhuó and did not dare set out. The story is in [Yuán] Shào’s biography [SGZ 6]. [Bào] Xìn therefore led his army back to his hometown, gathered infantry of 20,000, cavalry of 700, and heavy supply wagons of over 5000. That year, Tàizǔ had first raised troops at Jǐwú, and [Bào] Xìn with his younger brother [Bào] Tāo led troops to answer Tàizǔ. Tàizǔ with Yuán Shào memorialized [Bào] Xìn as Acting General Breaking Caitiffs, [Bào] Tāo as Supplemental General. At the time [Yuán] Shào’s army was most powerful, and many towering figures turned to him. [Bào] Xìn alone said to Tàizǔ: “One whose strategy is rare in this world, able to assemble heroes to dispel chaos and return to order, that is you. If it is another, then although they are strong they are certain to be destroyed. You are Heaven sent relief.” Therefore he deeply formed friendship, and Tàizǔ also was exceptionally close with him. At the Biàn river defeat, [Bào] Xìn was wounded, and [Bào] Tāo on the battle lines died. [Yuán] Shào seized Hán Fù’s position, and therefore occupied Jì Province. [Bào] Xìn said to Tàizǔ: “When treacherous ministers take advantage of quarrels, overturning the Ruling House, heroes exert integrity, and the realm Under Heaven turns in answer to them; this is righteousness. Now [Yuán] Shào is the Alliance leader, and therefore his power is concentrated, and he will himself create chaos, and this is again having a [Dǒng] Zhuó. If [you] restrict him, then [your] strength is not enough to control him, and one can only wait for misfortune, and what can bring relief? For now you can set up to the great Hé’s south, to wait for changes.” Tàizǔ agreed with this. Tàizǔ became Dōng prefecture Administrator, and memorialized [Bào] Xìn as Jìběi Chancellor. It happened that the Yellow Headscarves main horde entered the province’s borders, Liú Dài wished to with them battle, [Bào] Xìn stopped him, but [Liú] Dài would not listen, and was therefore destroyed. The story is in Wǔjì [SGZ 1]. Tàizǔ because the bandits depending on their success were becoming arrogant, wished to set up ambush troops to draw out and strike them at Shòuzhāng. First he with [Bào] Xìn went out to the battlefield, the rear infantry army had not yet arrived, when they suddenly encountered the bandits, and therefore were joined in battle. [Bào] Xìn fought to the death in battle, in order to save Tàizǔ, and Tàizǔ barely broke through encirclement to get out, and [Bào] Xìn therefore died. At the time he was forty one years. Although he encountered chaos and raised troops, his family’s foundations were in teaching and scholarship, he managed himself with utmost frugality, and generously cared for officers and soldiers, his residence had no surplus wealth, and soldiers because of this joined him.
- (2) Wèishū states: [Bào] Shào had his father’s manner, Tàizǔ praised him, added appointment as Cavalry Commandant, and Envoy Wielding Staff. [Bào] Shào died, and his son Róng succeeded.
- (3) Wèishū states: Xūn was pure and had high integrity, his name known in the world.
Twenty-second year , the Heir-Apparent was established, and Xūn became Internal Companion [to the Heir-Apparent]. He was transferred to Yellow Gate Attendant Cadet, and sent out as Wèi prefecture western division Commandant.
The Heir-Apparent’s lady Guō’s younger brother was a Qǔzhōu county official, embezzled government cloth, and by law was condemned to public execution in the market. Tàizǔ at the time was at Qiáo, the Heir-Apparent remained at Yè, and repeatedly hand wrote letter to plead for the crime. Xūn did not dare usurp authority, and followed the directives. Xūn previously was at the East Palace [serving the Heir-Apparent], abiding by the correct without disturbance, and the Heir-Apparent indeed could not be pleased, and reaching this incident, his anger grew extreme. It happened that the prefecture borders had troops overstay their leave, so he secretly ordered the Subaltern to memorialize to dismiss Xūn from office. Long after this, he was appointed Attendant Censor.
Yánkāng Inaugural Year , Tàizǔ passed away, the Heir-Apparent succeeded the King’s position, and Xūn became Attached Horse Commandant and simultaneously Attendant Internal.
Wén-dì received the abdication, and Xūn at every meeting explained: “Now what is urgent, is only the military and farming, and generously caring for the common people. The terrace pavilions and parks, should be for later.”
Wén-dì was about to go out hunting, Xūn stopped the chariot and sent up memorial: “I your servant have heard the Five Emperors and Three Kings, did not fail to understand foundations are in establishing teaching, and by filial piety governed the realm Under Heaven. Your Majesty is benevolent and sagely and compassionate, and have the same achievements as the ancients. I your servant hope in the continuation of the legacies of the previous dynasties, so that all generations may follow it. How can one amid darkness [time of mourning], deal with matters of galloping? I your servant dare death to be heard, and may Your Majesty examine it.”
The Emperor with his own hand destroyed the memorial and went hunting, in the middle of the road they paused, and he asked his attendants and ministers: “Hunting as merriment/[music], how does it compare the Eight Tones [i.e. music]?” Attendant Internal Liú Yè answered: “Hunting surpasses music/[is superior in merriment].” [note: depending on context 樂 can mean merriment or music]
Xūn opposed: “Music above connects to the deities, below harmonizes with human affairs, swells governance to reach cultivation, so all nations are nurtured. In shifting manners and changing customs, nothing is as good as music. Moreover hunting, exposes the Imperial Canopy in open field, harms living things, combs [one’s hair] with wind and washes it with rain, cannot it be at leisure time? In the past Lǔ [Duke] Yǐn watched fishing at Táng, and the Chūnqiū ridiculed him. Although Your Majesty believes it an [important] affair, I your servant humbly do not agree.”
Therefore he memorialized: “Liú Yè flatters and is not loyal, flattering and following the words of Your Majesty’s mistaken entertainments. In the past Liáng Qiūjù fetched flattery at Chuántái, such is [Liú] Yè’s speech. One requests managers to discuss the crime to purify the Imperial Temples.”
The Emperor was furious and changed color, stopped and returned, and promptly sent out Xūn as Right Internal Cadet General.
Huángchū Fourth Year , Secretariat Director Chén Qún and Deputy-Director Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng together nominated Xūn as Palace Rectifier; Palace Rectifier was Censorate Internal Assistant. The Emperor could not but employ him, and the officials were all afraid, and none were not respectful.
Sixth Year  Autumn, the Emperor wished to campaign against Wú, the various ministers greatly discussed, and Xūn face to face admonished: “The Ruler’s Army has repeatedly campaigned and have not yet had victories; this is because Wú and Shǔ like lips and teeth support each other, rely on defenses of mountains and rivers, and therefore have powers difficult to overcome. In former years the Dragon Boat floated, just apart from the southern bank, your Sagely Body encountered danger, and the officials and subordinates broke guts [in fear]. At the time the Ancestral Temples were almost overturned, to be a warning for a hundred generations. Now again there is laboring troops to attack the distant, daily expenses are a thousand gold, the central states are emptied and squandered, to have those crafty rebels play with authority; I your servant humbly believe it cannot be.” The Emperor increased his anger at him, and left transferred [demoted] Xūn to Managing Documents Enforcer Law.
The Emperor from Shòuchūn returned, camping at Chénliú prefecture’s border. The Administrator Sūn Yōng was met, and going out passed Xūn. At the time the camp ramparts were not yet finished, only setting up markers, and [Sūn] Yōng wrongly went not following the correct road, and the army camp Director Scribe Liú Yào wished to detain him. Xūn because the moats and ramparts were not finished, released him and did not cite it. The main army returned to Luòyáng, [Liú] Yào had a crime, Xūn memorialized to dismiss him, but [Liú] Yào secretly memorialized that Xūn had personally resolved [Sūn] Yōng’s matter. Imperial Order said: “Xūn calls a deer a horse; arrest and send him to the Minister of Justice.”
The Minister of Justice based on law commented: “Standard punishment is five years.”
The Three Offices differently answered: “According to law fine gold of two jīn.”
The Emperor was greatly furious and said: “Xūn has no way to live, but you all dare indulge him! Arrest the Three Offices on down to be investigated for treason, to be ten rats in the same hole [suffer punishment].”
Excellency Commandant Zhōng Yáo, Excellency over the Masses Huà Xīn, General-in-Chief Defending the Army Chén Qún, Attendant Internal Xīn Pí, Secretariat Wèi Zhēn, Interim Minister of Justice Gāo Róu and others together memorialized: “Xūn’s father [Bào] Xìn had achievements for Tàizǔ,” begging for Xūn’s crime. The Emperor would not accept, and therefore executed Xūn.
Xūn in personal conduct was cultivated, incorruptible and able to give out. On the day he died, his family had no surplus wealth. After twenty days, Wén-dì also passed away, and none did not for Xūn sigh in regret.