(49.2) Tàishǐ Cí 太史慈 [Zǐyì 子義]

Tàishǐ Cí appellation Zǐyì was a Dōnglái Huáng man. When young he was studious, and served the prefecture as a Memorial Department Scribe. It happened that the prefecture with the province had discord, wrong and right were not yet distinguished, and the one that first reported was taken as good. At the time the province’s report had already gone, the prefecture Administrator was afraid to be after it, and sought someone who could be the envoy. Cí was twenty one years, was selected to go, and morning and night he went on the road, reached Luòyáng, visited Public Carriage Gate, saw the provincial official was first and wished to ask to deliver.

太史慈字子義,東萊黃人也。少好學,仕郡奏曹史。會郡與州有隙,曲直未分,以先聞者為善。時州章已去,郡守恐後之,求可使者。慈年二十一,以選行,晨夜取道,到洛陽,詣公車門,見州吏始欲求通。

Cí asked him: “You wish to deliver report?”

The official said: “Indeed.”

He asked: “Is the report here?”

[The official] said: “On the carriage.”

Cí said: “The report’s addressee has no mistakes? Fetch it to check it.”

The official yet did not know he was a Dōnglái man, and therefore fetched the report. Cí already in advance harbored a knife, and then cut and destroyed it.

慈問曰:「君欲通章邪?」吏曰:「然。」問:「章安在?」曰:「車上。」慈曰:「章題署得無誤邪?取來視之。」吏殊不知其東萊人也,因為取章。慈已先懷刀,便截敗之。

The official jumped and greatly cried: “Someone destroyed my report!”

Cí immediately went into the carriage, and with him said: “If you had not shown the report to me, I also would not have therefore been able to destroy it. This is only good and bad fortune and that is all, and I cannot alone receive this punishment. How about staying silent and together going out and leaving, and be able to survive and easily flee, no need to together be punished.”

The official said: “You for your prefecture destroyed my report, already obtaining your wishes, why do you wish to also flee?”

Cí answered: “Previously I received the prefecture’s dispatch, merely to come observe if the report had been sent or not yet and that is all. I went too far, and so destroyed the report. Now returning, I also fear I for this will meet with reprimands and anger, and therefore also wish to go with you.”

吏踴躍大呼,言「人壞我章」!慈將至車閒,與語曰:「向使君不以章相與,吾亦無因得敗之,是為吉凶禍福等耳,吾不獨受此罪。豈若默然俱出去,可以存易亡,無事俱就刑辟。」吏言:「君為郡敗吾章,已得如意,欲復亡為?」慈答曰:「初受郡遣,但來視章通與未耳。吾用意太過,乃相敗章。今還,亦恐以此見譴怒,故俱欲去爾。」

The official believed Cí’s words, and that day they together went. Cí then with him went out of the city, and therefore escaped back to send the prefecture’s report. The province’s party heard this, and again sent official to send report, but the manager because he had a report therefore did not again observe and consider, and the province suffered the fault. Because of this he became well known, but was by the province’s party hated, feared he would receive misfortune from them, and therefore fled to Liáodōng.

吏然慈言,即日俱去。慈既與出城,因遁還通郡章。州家聞之,更遣吏通章,有司以格章之故不復見理,州受其短。由是知名,而為州家所疾,恐受其禍,乃避之遼東。


Běihǎi Chancellor Kǒng Róng heard and was impressed with him, and repeatedly sent someone to ask after his mother, and also deliver food gifts. At the time [Kǒng] Róng because the Yellow Headscarves were plundering and violent, went out to garrison Dūchāng, and was by the the bandit Guǎn Hài besieged. Cí from Liáodōng returned, his mother said to Cí: “You with Kǒng [Róng of] Běihǎi have not yet met each other, but after you left, he provided for and gave relief with eager diligence, surpassing those of old friends, and now he is by bandits besieged, and you should to to him.” Cí remained for three days, and alone walked directly to Dūchāng.

北海相孔融聞而奇之,數遣人訊問其母,并致餉遺。時融以黃巾寇暴,出屯都昌,為賊管亥所圍。慈從遼東還,母謂慈曰:「汝與孔北海未嘗相見,至汝行後,贍恤殷勤,過於故舊,今為賊所圍,汝宜赴之。」慈留三日,單步徑至都昌。

At the time the encirclement was not yet thick, and in the night he saw a gap, and was able to enter and meet [Kǒng] Róng, and therefore requested troops to go out and cut through the bandits. [Kǒng] Róng would not listen, wishing to wait for outside rescue. It had not yet arrived, but the siege daily pressed. [Kǒng] Róng wished to report emergency to Píngyuán Chancellor Liú Bèi, of the people in the city none could get out, and Cí personally asked requested to go.

時圍尚未密,夜伺閒隙,得入見融,因求兵出斫賊。融不聽,欲待外救。未有至者,而圍日偪。融欲告急平原相劉備,城中人無由得出,慈自請求行。

[Kǒng] Róng said: “Now the bandit’s encirclement is very thick, and everyone says it cannot be done. Though your will is strong, is it not truly difficult?”

Cí answered: “In the past your governorship poured out will for my aged mother, my aged mother was moved by the treatment, and sent me to attend to your governorship’s emergency, assuredly because I am worth having, and coming can certainly be of benefit. Now everyone says it cannot be, if I also say it cannot be, how is it the righteousness of your governorship’s affection and care, and the intention of my aged mother sending me? The matter is already urgent, may your governorship have no doubts.”

[Kǒng] Róng therefore agreed to this.

融曰:「今賊圍甚密,眾人皆言不可,卿意雖壯,無乃實難乎?」慈對曰:「昔府君傾意於老母,老母感遇,遣慈赴府君之急,固以慈有可取,而來必有益也。今眾人言不可,慈亦言不可,豈府君愛顧之義,老母遣慈之意邪?事已急矣,願府君無疑。」融乃然之。

Therefore he orderly went with rushes and food, waited for light, and then with quiver and bow mounted horse, leading two riders to follow him, each made a target and carried it, opening door and directly going out. The outside encirclement’s gathered people below were all shocked, and troops and horses together went out. Cí led horse to below the city gates within the moat, set up the carried targets one of each, went out and shot them, and when shooting them finished, he directly entered the gates. The next morning it was again like this. Of the people below the encirclement some rose and some laid down, Cí again set up targets, shot them and finished, and again entered the gates. The next morning he again went out like this, and no one rose, and therefore he whipped horse and directly charged through the encirclement and galloped and went. By the time the bandits were aware, Cí had gone and already passed them, and also shot and killed several men, all at the bow string shot falling, and therefore none dared pursue.

於是嚴行蓐食,須明,便帶鞬攝弓上馬,將兩騎自隨,各作一的持之,開門直出。外圍下左右人並驚駭,兵馬互出。慈引馬至城下塹內,植所持的各一,出射之,射之畢,徑入門。明晨復如此,圍下人或起或臥,慈復植的,射之畢,復入門。明晨復出如此,無復起者,於是下鞭馬直突圍中馳去。比賊覺知,慈行已過,又射殺數人,皆應弦而倒,故無敢追者。

Therefore he arrived at Píngyuán, and persuaded [Liú] Bèi: “I Cí am Dōnglái’s lowly man, with Kǒng [Róng of] Běihǎi’s family am not bone and flesh kin, and also not of his hometown associates, but specially for reputation and ambition became friendly with him, and have the righteousness of dividing up disasters and sharing in misfortunes. Now Guǎn Hài is violent and chaotic, [Kǒng Róng of] Běihǎi is besieged, and I am destitute without support, and danger is in mornings and evenings. As you have benevolent and righteous reputation, and are able to rescue another’s emergency, therefore [Kǒng Róng of] Běihǎi ponders, turning neck and relying on admiration, sending me to brave bare blades, charge through the double encirclement, and through ten thousand deaths personally entrust to you, only for you to save him.”

遂到平原,說備曰:「慈,東萊之鄙人也,與孔北海親非骨肉,比非鄉黨,特以名志相好,有分災共患之義。今管亥暴亂,北海被圍,孤窮無援,危在旦夕。以君有仁義之名,能救人之急,故北海區區,延頸恃仰,使慈冒白刃,突重圍,從萬死之中自託於君,惟君所以存之。」

[Liú] Bèi with restrained appearance answered: “Kǒng [Róng of] Běihǎi knows in the world there is Liú Bèi!” Immediately he sent elite troops of 3000 men to accompany Cí. The bandits heard troops had arrived, broke encirclement and scattered and fled. [Kǒng] Róng then was saved, and increased his impression and honoring of Cí, saying: “You are my young friend.” The matter was completed, and he returned to inform his mother, and his mother said: “I am pleased you by this repaid Kǒng [Róng of] Běihǎi.”

備斂容答曰:「孔北海知世閒有劉備邪!」即遣精兵三千人隨慈。賊聞兵至,解圍散走。融既得濟,益奇貴慈,曰:「卿吾之少友也。」事畢,還啟其母,母曰:「我喜汝有以報孔北海也。」


Yáng Province Inspector Liú Yáo with Cí were of the same prefecture, Cí from Liáodōng returned, and had not yet with him met each other. He temporarily crossed the Jiāng, reaching Qū’ē and met [Liú] Yáo, had not yet left, when it happened that Sūn Cè arrived. Someone advised [Liú] Yáo that he could use Cí as his Chief General, but [Liú] Yáo said: “If I employed Zǐyì, would Xǔ [Shào] Zǐjiāng not laugh at me?” He only sent Cí as a scout to observe severity. At the time he alone with one rider soldier encountered [Sūn] Cè. [Sūn] Cè’s following riders were thirty, all of Hán Dāng, Sòng Qiān, and Huáng Gài’s group. Cí then went forward and fought, and happened to with [Sūn] Cè be facing. [Sūn] Cè stabbed Cí’s horse, and grabbed and obtained the hand halberd on the back of Cí’s neck, and Cí also obtained [Sūn] Cè’s helmet. It happened that the two party’s troops and riders both each came, and therefore they separated and scattered.

揚州刺史劉繇與慈同郡,慈自遼東還,未與相見,暫渡江到曲阿見繇,未去,會孫策至。或勸繇可以慈為大將軍,繇曰:「我若用子義,許子將不當笑我邪?」但使慈偵視輕重。時獨與一騎卒遇策。策從騎十三,皆韓當、宋謙、黃蓋輩也。慈便前鬥,正與策對。策刺慈馬,而攬得慈項上手戟,慈亦得策兜鍪。會兩家兵騎並各來赴,於是解散。


Cí was about to with [Liú] Yáo together take refuge in Yùzhāng, but he fled to Wúhú, fleeing through the mountains, and declared himself Dānyáng Administrator. At the time [Sūn] Cè had already pacified and settled from Xuānchéng on east, only Jīng on west’s six counties were not yet submitted. Cí therefore advanced to station at Jīng county, establishing garrison and office, and greatly was by Shānyuè joined. [Sūn] Cè personally attacked and suppressed. Therefore he was taken prisoner and brought, [Sūn] Cè then released his bonds, and grabbing his hand said: “Do you recall the time at Shéntíng? If you at the time had captured me what would have happened?”

Cí said: “I cannot judge.”

[Sūn] Cè greatly laughed and said: “In today’s affairs, I will with you share in them.” (1)

慈當與繇俱奔豫章,而遁於蕪湖,亡入山中,稱丹楊太守。是時,策已平定宣城以東,惟涇以西六縣未服。慈因進住涇縣,立屯府,大為山越所附。策躬自攻討,遂見囚執。策即解縛,捉其手曰:「寧識神亭時邪?若卿爾時得我云何?」慈曰:「未可量也。」策大笑曰:「今日之事,當與卿共之。」〔一〕

Then he was appointed as Commander Below the Gates, returned to Wú to train troops, and was appointed Breaking Charge Internal Cadet General. Later Liú Yáo died at Yùzhāng, and the soldiers and army of over 10,000 men had no one to join, and [Sūn] Cè ordered Cí to go comfort and secure them. (2)

即署門下督,還吳授兵,拜折衝中郎將。後劉繇亡於豫章,士眾萬餘人未有所附,策命慈往撫安焉。〔二〕

Those around him said: “Cí will certainly go north and not return.”

[Sūn] Cè said: “If Zǐyì abandons me, whom can he join?” He held farewell dinner and sent him off at Chāng Gate, holding arm and taking leave saying: “At what time can you return?”

[Tàishǐ Cì] answered: “Not more than sixty days.” Indeed in that time he returned. (3)

左右皆曰:「慈必北去不還。」策曰:「子義捨我,當復與誰?」餞送昌門,把腕別曰:「何時能還?」答曰:「不過六十日。」果如期而反。〔三〕

  • (1) Wúlì says: Cí at Shéntíng in battle was defeated, and was by [Sūn] Cè captured. [Sūn] Cè previously had heard his reputation, and immediately released his bonds and invited him to meet, to consult and ask on advancing and capturing methods. Cí answered: “I am a defeated army’s commander, and not sufficient to discuss matters.” [Sūn] Cè said: “In the past Hán Xìn settled plans at Guǎngwǔ, and today I Cè decide doubts with the benevolent, why do you decline?” Cí said: “The provincial army is newly defeated, the soldiers lose heart, and if they scatter, it is difficult to again unite them; I wish to go out and announce grace and calm and gather them, but fear it is not in accord with your honor’s intentions.” [Sūn] Cè upright knelt [a sign of respect] and said: “This truly is my original heart’s hope. Tomorrow at noon, I will hope for your return.” The various officers were all doubtful, and [Sūn] Cè said: “Tàishǐ Zǐyì is Qīng Province’s famed scholar, takes faith and righteousness as foremost, and to the end will not cheat me.” The next day, he greatly invited the various officers, carefreely setting up drink and food, setting up pole to watch the shadow [to mark time], and at noon Cí arrived, [Sūn] Cè was greatly pleased, and always with him discussed various military affairs.
  • Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: Wúlì says that Cí at Shéntíng in battle was defeated, was by [Sūn] Cè obtained, and this with the base biography is greatly different, and one suspects it is an error.
  • Jiāngbiǎozhuàn states: [Sūn] Cè asked Cí: “One hears that you in the past for the Administrator robbed the province’s report, attended to [Kǒng Róng] Wénjǔ, visited to request from [Liú Bèi] Xuándé, all with ardent righteousness, as the realm Under Heaven’s wise scholar, but those entrusted did not yet obtain your person. In shooting hook and cutting sleeve, the ancients did not resent. I am one who understands you, do not worry about things not being as you wish.” He sent out instructions: “Dragons wishing to soar, first must ascend small trees.”

〔一〕 吳歷云:慈於神亭戰敗,為策所執。策素聞其名,即解縛請見,咨問進取之術。慈答曰:「破軍之將,不足與論事。」策曰:「昔韓信定計於廣武,今策決疑於仁者,君何辭焉?」慈曰:「州軍新破,士卒離心,若儻分散,難復合聚;欲出宣恩安集,恐不合尊意。」策長跪答曰:「誠本心所望也。明日中,望君來還。」諸將皆疑,策曰:「太史子義,青州名士,以信義為先,終不欺策。」明日,大請諸將,豫設酒食,立竿視影。日中而慈至,策大悅,常與參論諸軍事。臣松之案;吳歷云慈於神亭戰敗,為策所得,與本傳大異,疑為謬誤。江表傳曰:策問慈曰:「聞卿昔為太守劫州章,赴文舉,請詣玄德,皆有烈義,天下智士也,但所託未得其人。射鉤斬袪,古人不嫌。孤是卿知己,勿憂不如意也。」出教曰:「龍欲騰翥,先階尺木者也。」

  • (2) Jiāngbiǎozhuàn states:
  • [Sūn] Cè said to Cí: “Governor Liú [Yáo] previously reproached me for serving the Yuán clan in attacking Lújiāng, and this thinking was quite rustic, his reason and forgiveness not sufficient. Why is this? My late father’s troops on hand were over several thousand men, and completely at [Yuán Shù] Gōnglù’s discretion. My ambition is in establishing affairs, and could not but bend my intentions to [Yuán Shù] Gōnglù, in order to ask for my former troops, and the second time going I only obtained over 1000 men and that is all. Yet he ordered me to attack Lújiāng, and at the time the matter was forced, and I could not but go. However afterward he did not observe a servant’s integrity, himself abandoning it to do evil and usurpation matters, and my remonstrants of him were not followed. A man uses righteousness in dealings, and with this great reason, could not but leave, and my dealings with [Yuán Shù] Gōnglù being cut off were from beginning to end like this. Now Liú Yáo has died, and I regret I could not during his lifetime with him together discuss and debate. Now his son is at Yùzhāng, and one does not know Huà [Xīn] Zǐyú treats him, and if their former retainers again depend on and follow him or not. You are their province’s man, and in the past also accompanied in matters, and can go observe his son, and also announce my intentions to their retainers. For retainers happy to come then let them with you together come, and for those not happy to come then comfort and console them. Also observe how [Huà Xīn] Zǐyú’s governorship and regulations appear, and inspect of Lúlíng’s and Póyáng’s people are close and attached to him or not. Your troops on hand, you should decide how many you will command, following your own wishes.”
  • Cí answered: “I Cí had an unpardonable crime, but you General have judgment like Huán and Wén, and your treatment surpasses hopes. The ancients repaid life with death, for the time with thorough integrity, only at death did it afterward end. Now all are resting troops, so troops should not be many, and I will command several tens of men, and it will be enough to go and return.”

〔二〕 江表傳曰:策謂慈曰:「劉牧往責吾為袁氏攻廬江,其意頗猥,理恕不足。何者?先君手下兵數千餘人,盡在公路許。孤志在立事,不得不屈意於公路,求索故兵,再往纔得千餘人耳。仍令孤攻廬江,爾時事勢,不得不為行。但其後不遵臣節,自棄作邪僭事,諫之不從。丈夫義交,苟有大故,不得不離,孤交求公路及絕之本末如此。今劉繇喪亡,恨不及其生時與共論辯。今兒子在豫章,不知華子魚待遇何如,其故復曲復依隨之否?卿則州人,昔又從事,寧能往視其兒子,並宣孤意於其部曲?部曲樂來者便與俱來,不樂來者且安慰之。并觀察子魚所以牧禦方規何似,視廬陵、鄱陽人民親附之否?卿手下兵,宜將多少,自由意。」慈對曰:「慈有不赦之罪,將軍量同桓、文,待遇過望。古人報生以死,期於盡節,沒而後已。今並息兵,兵不宜多,將數十人,自足以往還也。」

  • (3) Jiāngbiǎozhuàn states: [Sūn] Cè first sent Cí, and the commentators were confused, and said Cí could not yet be trusted, some saying he was with Huà [Xīn] Zǐyú of the same province, and feared he would stay with them to make plans, some suspecting Cí would go west to join Huáng Zǔ, or find road to return north, and many said sending hm was a wrong plan. [Sūn] Cè said: “You sir’s speech is all wrong, and my judgement of this is detailed. Although Tàishǐ [Cí] Zǐyì has aura of valor and guts of fierceness, however he is not an unrestrained sort of man. His heart has scholarly practice, his ambitions hold to morality and righteousness, he honors heavily keeping promise, and one whose thoughts can understand him, to the death he will not betray. You sirs do not again worry.” Cí from Yùzhāng returned, and commentators then began to agree. Cí met [Sūn] Cè and said: “Huà [Xīn] Zǐyú has excellent virtue, but is not talented in planning, and has no other schemes, guarding his own and nothing more. Also Dānyáng’s Tóng Zhī himself seizes Lúlíng, falsely claiming he has Imperial Order letter making him Administrator. Póyáng’s people’s commanders separately establish clan divisions, blocking with troops to protect borders, and do not receive [Huà Xīn] Zǐyú’s sent Chief Clerk, saying: ‘We are a separately established prefecture, waiting for Hàn to send a true Administrator to come, and will only welcome him and that is all.’ [Huà Xīn] Zǐyú not only cannot pacify Lúlíng and Póyáng, close to Hǎihūn there is a Shàngliǎo rampart, with five to six thousand families together joining and gathering to form clan squads, only transporting tax grain and cloth to the prefecture and that is all, sending someone for one man cannot even obtain that, and [Huà Xīn] Zǐyú also only watches and nothing more.” [Sūn] Cè clapped hands and greatly laughed, and so had ambition to conquer. Shortly afterward he therefore settled Yùzhāng.

〔三〕 江表傳曰:策初遣慈,議者紛紜,謂慈未可信,或云與華子魚州里,恐留彼為籌策,或疑慈西託黃祖,假路還北,多言遣之非計。策曰:「諸君語皆非也,孤斷之詳矣。太史子義雖氣勇有膽烈,然非縱橫之人。其心有士謨,志經道義,貴重然諾,一以意許知己,死亡不相負,諸君勿復憂也。」慈從豫章還,議者乃始服。慈見策曰:「華子魚良德也,然非籌略才,無他方規,自守而已。又丹楊僮芝自擅廬陵,詐言被詔書為太守。鄱陽民帥別立宗部,阻兵守界,不受子魚所遣長吏,言『我以別立郡,須漢遣真太守來,當迎之耳』。子魚不但不能諧廬陵、鄱陽,近自海昏有上繚壁,有五六千家相結聚作宗伍,惟輸租布於郡耳,發召一人遂不可得,子魚亦睹視之而已。」策拊掌大笑,(仍)〔乃〕有兼并之志矣。頃之,遂定豫章。


Liú Biǎo’s cousin’s son [Liú] Pán had valor, and repeatedly plundered to Ài and Xī’ān various counties. [Sūn] Cè therefore divided from Hǎihūn’s and Jiànchāng’s left and right six counties, to appoint Cí as Jiànchāng Commandant, with headquarters at at Hǎihūn, and also commander over the various officers to resist [Liú] Pán. [Liú] Pán was cut off and did not again plunder.

劉表從子磐,驍勇,數為寇於艾、西安諸縣。策於是分海昏、建昌左右六縣,以慈為建昌都尉,治海昏,并督諸將拒磐。磐絕跡不復為寇。


Cí was seven chǐ seven cún [~1.78 m] tall, with beautiful beard, muscular arms, good at shooting, and his shots did not miss target. Once he accompanied [Sūn] Cè in suppressing Mábǎo bandits, a bandit in their camps atop the towers went and cursed, with their hands holding the tower beams, Cí drew bow and shot it, the arrow pinning the hand to the beam, and of the encirclement outside’s ten thousand people none did not praise it. His accuracy was like this. Excellency Cáo heard his reputation, and sent Cí a letter, with a box sealed it, when opening and examining it there was nothing said, only containing a Dāngguī [‘should return’] plant. Sūn Quán managed affairs, and as Cí was able to control [Liú Pán], therefore entrusted him with the south’s affairs. At forty one years, Jiàn’ān Eleventh Year [206] he died. (1) His son [Tàishǐ] Xiǎng’s office reached Yuè Cavalry Colonel. (2)

慈長七尺七寸,美鬚髯,猿臂善射,弦不虛發。嘗從策討麻保賊,賊於屯裏緣樓上行詈,以手持樓棼,慈引弓射之,矢貫手著棼,圍外萬人莫不稱善。其妙如此。曹公聞其名,遺慈書,以篋封之,發省無所道,而但貯當歸。孫權統事,以慈能制磐,遂委南方之事。年四十一,建安十一年卒。〔一〕子享,官至越騎校尉。〔二〕

  • (1) Wúshū states: Cí was facing death, and sighed and said: “A man living in the world, should wear a seven chǐ [~1.6m] sword, to ascend Heaven’s Son’s steps. Now my ambition is not yet realized, how can I die?” [Sūn] Quán deeply mourned and lamented for him.

〔一〕 吳書曰:慈臨亡,歎息曰:「丈夫生世,當帶七尺之劍,以升天子之階。今所志未從,奈何而死乎!」權甚悼惜之。

  • (2) Wúshū states: Xiǎng appellation Yuánfù, successively was Secretariat and Wú prefecture Administrator.

〔二〕 吳書曰:享字元復,歷尚書、吳郡太守。

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