[Wáng] Sù appellation Zǐyōng. At eighteen years, he under Sòng Zhōng studied the Tàixuán, but even more explained it. (1) During Huángchū [220-226], he became Cavalier Yellow Gate Attendant Cadet. Tàihé Third Year , he was appointed Cavalier Regular Attendant.
- (1) Sù’s father [Wáng] Lǎng’s letter with Xǔ Jìng says: Sù was born in Kuàijī.
Fourth Year , Marshal-in-Chief Cáo Zhēn campaigned against Shǔ, and Sù sent up memorial: “Previous records have this: ‘A thousand lǐ sending provisions, soldiers have hungry look; gathering firewood then cooking, the armies in the night are not full.’ This speaks of army traveling on flat roads. So all the more for deeply penetrating rugged terrain, digging out roads and advancing, then this toil certainly will be a hundredfold. Now also moreover there is continued rain, the mountain slopes are steep and slippery, the armies are pressured and cannot extend, provisions unsupported and difficult to connect, this truly is what the army greatly dreads. One hears Cáo Zhēn setting out is already over a month but has gone halfway through the valleys, building roads labor, the battle soldiers all make. This is the rebels then being able to obtain leisure to wait for labor, then what the Military Schools dreaded. In speaking of previous generations, then in Wǔ-wáng attacking Zhòu, he sent out of the passes but again returned; in discussing recent affairs, then Wǔ [Cáo Cāo] and Wén [Cáo Pī] in campaigning against [Sūn] Quán, overlooked the Jiāng but did not cross. How was this not what is called following Heaven and knowing the times, to connect with changing situations? The countless people know Your Sagely Highness because of the rivers and rains have difficulty, and so rest and recuperate them, and in later days having quarrel, carrying on and employing them, then this is what is called ‘Pleased to oppose trouble, the people forget their dead.'” Therefore it was then ceased.
He also sent up memorial: “It is appropriate to observe ancient Rituals, to for the Great Ministers observe mourning, and offer sacrifices in the Ancestral Temple.” The matters were all enacted.
He also sent up memorial explaining government’s foundations: “Abolishing positions without affairs, decreasing salaries of the not urgent, stopping unnecessary expenditures, combining overlapping offices; enabling officials to certainly have duties, duties enact their affairs, affairs certain to receive salary, salary substitutes their plowing, this then was the ancients’ constant standard, and up to the present is what is appropriate. When officials are scant but salary generous, then the public families’ expenditures are few, and ambition to advance in office is encouraged. Each exhibits ability and strength, none helping one another. Presenting memorial to discuss, understanding examination by achievement, able to whether or not, selection in the Emperor’s heart. Therefore Táng [Yáo] and Yú [Shùn] established officials dividing duties, to extend orders to Excellencies and Ministers, each by their affairs, and afterward Pondering Dragon for accepting words, was like the present’s Secretariat. in sending out the internal Emperor’s commands and nothing more. Xià and Yīn cannot be understood in detail. The Gānshì states: ‘Six Matters’ people,’ explaining that the Six Ministers also managed affairs. The Zhōu Officials then were prepared, every five days holding Court, Excellencies and Minsiters and Grandees together advancing, and the Excellency over Scholars distinguished their positions. These records state: ‘Sitting and discussing principles, call them Kings and Dukes; making and enacting them, call them scholar officials.’ Reaching Hàn’s beginning, it imitated previous dynasties, and the Excellencies and Ministers all closely managed affairs and ascended Court. Therefore Gāozǔ [Liú Bāng] personally pursued the running away Zhōu Chāng, Wǔ-dì [Liú Chè] from afar could accept memorials from Jí Àn, Xuān-dì [Liú Xún] had the Excellencies and Ministers every five days have one Court meeting, Chéng-dì [Liú Ào] first installed a Secretariat of five men. From then there was decline, the Court’s Rites were therefore deficient. There can again be the ceremony of every five days meeting Court, to have the Excellencies and Ministers and Secretariat each with matters advance. Abolished Rites again restored, enlightens and declares sagely beginnings, and truly is what is called beautifully named and yet truly profound.”
During Qīnglóng, the Duke of Shānyáng passed away, who was Hàn’s Ruler. Sù sent up memorial: “In the past Táng abdicated to Yú, Yú abdicated to Xià, all to the end holding three years mourning, and afterward ascending the honor of Heaven’s Son. Therefore the Emperor’s title had no deficiency, and the ruler’s rites were yet maintained. Now the Duke of Shānyáng complied with Heaven’s Mandate, justly answered the people’s hopes, advancing abdicated to Great Wèi, withdrawing occupied guest’s position. The Duke’s reverence to Wèi, did not dare to not be of exhaustive integrity. Wèi’s treatment of the Duke, was exceptionally lofty and did not make him a subject. Then reaching his passing, the coffin’s regulations, the carriage’s and escort’s ornamentation, all are the same as for a King, and therefore far and near turn to your benevolence, believing it flourishing beauty. Moreover Hàn in assembling Emperor (dì) and Imperial (huáng) titles, title called Imperial Emperor (huángdì). Having difference is called Emperor (dì), without difference is called Imperial (huáng), then Imperial thus is slightly less. Therefore at Gāozǔ‘s time, the land cannot have two Rulers, and his father was alive and so called Imperial (huáng), to clearly show there was no doubt of two Rulers. All the more now in bestowing the end, it can use title of Imperial (huáng) to join with posthumous name.” Míng-dì did not follow proposal to call him Imperial, and therefore gave posthumous name as Hàn Xiào-Xiàn Huángdì “Filial and Worthy Imperial Emperor.” (1)
- (1) Sūn Shèng states: Cultivating in accord with Spirits is called Imperial (huáng), Virtue in accord with Heaven is called Emperor (dì). Therefore the Three Imperials began titles, and the Five Emperors were after them. In that case the Imperial as title, is more profound than Emperor. Sù saying it was lesser, was it not also wrong!
- Your Servant Sōngzhī believes: High Antiquity spoke of Imperial Imperial Lord Emperor (huáng huáng hòu dì), then spoke of the Three and Five, first Imperials and afterwards Emperors, truly like [Sūn] Shèng says. However the Hàn dynasties’ various Emperors, though they honored fathers as Imperials, in truth it was honoring but without position, high but without people [to govern], so comparing them to Emperors, can it not be said to be lesser! Wèi followed Hàn’s Rites, names and titles without changes. Xiào-Xiàn‘s perishing, how could it have distantly investigating ancient meanings? What Sù said, was just following Hàn Regulations to speak and that is all. Calling it wrong, then is ridiculing Hàn, and not criticizing Sù.
Later Sù was Regular Attendant with office as Confidential Documents Supervisor, and also Esteemed Literature Observer Libationer. During Jǐngchū [237-239], Palaces and Residences were greatly raised, the people lost farming business, at the time trust was not honest, and punishment and killing was hurried.
Sù thus memorialized: “Great Wèi carries on the Hundred Kings’ utmost, the born people are very little, shield and spear not yet creased, and truly it is the time appropriate to rest the people and bestow kindness on them in order to secure and quite near and far. The business of raising and amassing and resting weary people, is in reducing conscripted labor and attending to sowing and reaping. Now the Palaces and Residences are not yet complete, achievement and enterprise not yet finished, cart and canal transportation dispatched, transferring to present offering. Therefore conscripts are weary in their effort, farmers leave their fields, planters of grain are few, eaters of grain are many, old grain is then gone, new grain is not collected. This then is the possessor of the state’s great worry, and not long term strategy to prepare for the future. Now observing builders are thirty to forty thousand men, Jiǔlóng [Palace] can secure the Sagely Body, its inside sufficient to arrange Six Palaces, and Xiǎnyáng’s Hall, also is about to complete, only Tàijí and its front, the labor effort is yet great, the region increasingly cold, and disease often appears. Truly may Your Majesty send out virtuous sound, send down enlightened Imperial Order, deeply pitying the conscripts’ weary labor, generously sympathize with the countless peoples’ lack of support, choose those with food supplies, not urgent for employment, select their strong, to choose out and keep ten thousand men, to have them in one season serve, so all know their time of rest has a date, then none will not be pleased to finish work, laboring without complaint. Calculating one year having 3,600,000 workers, also it is not few. After one year is finished, rest for three more years. Dividing and sending the remainder, having them all then farm, is planning without end. Granaries will have overflowing grain, people will have abundant strength: By this the building achievements, what achievement would not be established? By this enacting of cultivation, what cultivation would not be completed? Faith in the people, is the state’s great treasure. Zhòngní states: ‘From the ancients all had death, the people do not trust the not established.’ The trifling small Jìn state, the weak and humble Chóngěr, wished to employ their people, first showed them faith, and therefore although they were originally about to surrender, they considered faith and returned, and employed he was able to in one battle become Overlord, and to the present met with praise. Previously the Imperial Chariot was about to visit Luòyáng, sending people to build camps, and managers ordered that when the camps were completed then they would be dismissed. But at the completion, again there was profiting of their achievement and strength, not by the times they were sent. Managers touring the camps for the profit in front of their eyes, not looking back at the substance of ordering the state. I your servant humbly believe from now afterward, if again there is sending of people, it is appropriate to make clear their orders, so sending is certainly by the times. If there another matter next, it is better to again send out, than to perhaps break faith. Overall Your Majesty overlooking the times in enacting punishments, all officials with crimes, are people that should die. However the masses of commoners do not know, and say it is too hurried. Therefore may Your Majesty when arresting officials expose their crimes, to judge their death, to have no corruption in the Palaces for the far and near to suspect. Moreover people’s lives are of utmost importance, difficult to live and easy to kill, and once breath is cutoff it cannot be restored, and therefore the sagely worthies heavily value it. Mèng Kē said that killing one without guilt to obtain the realm Under Heaven was what the benevolent would not do. Hàn’s time had one who violated Imperial path and startled the carriages and horses, Minister of Justice Zhāng Shìzhī memorialized to have him pay fine of gold, Wén-dì [Liú Héng] was bewildered by its lightness, and [Zhāng] Shìzhī said: ‘If at that time the Ascended had sent to execute him then it would be finished. Now it was sent down to the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice is the realm Under Heaven’s judge, all follow it, the realm Under Heaven’s use of law all from it decides severity, can the people but enact as its hands and feet?’ I your servant believe this was greatly failing this righteousness, not what a loyal minister should explain. The Minister of Justice is Heaven’s Son’s official, yet cannot thus lose justice, but Heaven’s son’s body, can it instead be deceived? This heavily valuing self, but lightly valuing the ruler, is the utmost of disloyalty. Zhōu-gōng said: ‘Heaven’s Son must be without joking words; words then are recorded, laborers recite it, scholars appraise it.’ Speaking yet not joking, so all the more in enacting it? Therefore Shìzhī’s words could not but be investigated, Zhōu-gōng’s warnings cannot but be law.”
He also explained: “The various birds and beasts and things without use, yet having the expenditure of cutting grain people, all can be abolished.”
The Emperor once asked: “In Hàn Huán-dì‘s time, Bǎimá Magistrate Lǐ Yún sent up letter that said: ‘Emperor 帝 is to examine 諦. This Emperor wishes to not examine.’ Why did he not die?”
Sù replied: “Only his words had integrity of opposing obedience. His fundamental meaning, all was wishing to devote whole heart, attending to storing and mending the state. Moreover the Emperor’s authority, surpasses thunder, killing one common fellow, is no different from crickets and ants. Generously forgiving it, can thus show tolerance of cutting words, spreading virtue across the world Under Heaven. Therefore I your servant believe killing him was not necessarily correct.”
The Emperor also asked: “Sīmǎ Qiān because of receiving punishment, inside harbored hidden cuts, in writing the Shǐjì wrongly disparaged Xiào-Wǔ [Liú Chè], causing people to gnash teeth [in anger].”
He answered: “Sīmǎ Qiān’s recording of events, did not falsely beautify, and did not hide evils. Liú Xiàng and Yáng Xióng admired his good narration, had abilities of good historians, and said it was a true record. Hàn Wǔ-dì heard of this narration of the Shǐjì, obtained Xiào-Jǐng [Liú Qǐ]’s and his own Basic Annals and read them, and therefore was greatly furious, and cut and threw it. To the present these two Annals are noted but without writing. Later encountering the Lǐ Líng affair, therefore he arrested [Sīmǎ] Qiān to the silkworm room [for castration]. This then means the hidden cuts were with Xiào-Wǔ, and not with the historian [Sīmǎ] Qiān.”
Zhèngshǐ Inaugural Year , he was sent out as Guǎngpíng Administrator. Excellency matters summoned him back, appointing him Consultant Cadet. Shortly afterward, he became Attendant Internal, promoted to Minister of Ceremonies. At the time General-in-Chief Cáo Shuǎng concentrated power, appointing and employing Hé Yàn, Dèng Yáng and others. Sù with Excellency Commandant Jiǎng Jì, Minister of Agriculture Huán Fàn discussed the time’s government, and Sù with stern expression said: “This group is simply Hóng Gōng and Shí Xiǎn’s sort, what else is there to say?” [Cáo] Shuǎng heard this, and warned Hé Yàn and the rest saying: “You should together be cautious! The Excellencies and Ministers are already comparing you sirs to the previous ages’ evil men.” In connection to an Ancestral Temple matter he was dismissed. Later he became Minisiter of Merits.
At the time there were two fish a chǐ [~23 cm] long, gathered at the Military Store’s room, and managers believe it an auspicious sign. Sù said: “Fish live in the depths but are high on a room, it is a thing of armored scales losing its place. Will the frontier officers have danger change of losing armor?” Afterward there indeed was the Dōngguān defeat. He was transferred to Hénán Intendant.
Jiāpíng Sixth Year , Wielding Staff simultaneously as Minisiter of Ceremonies, he presented Imperial Chariot, to welcome the Duke of Gāoguì village at Yuánchéng. That year, a white mist passed through the sky, and General-in-Chief Sīmǎ [Shī] Jǐng-wáng asked Sù the cause. Sù replied: “This is Chī Yóu’s banner, will the southeast have chaos? If you cultivate yourself to secure the common people, then the realm Under Heaven’s pleased and secure will return to virtue, and those seeking chaos will first be destroyed.”
Next year spring, Defending East General Guànqiū Jiǎn and Yáng Province Inspector Wén Qīn rebelled, and [Sīmǎ Shī] Jǐng-wáng said to Sù: “Huò Guāng was moved by Xiàhóu Shèng’s words, first heavily valuing Classicist scholars, and had good result. To secure the state and calm the ruler, what method should be used?”
Sù said: “In the past Guān Yǔ led Jīng Province’s armies, forcing surrender of Yú Jīn at Hànbīn, and therefore had ambition to head north to contest the realm Under Heaven. Later Sūn Quán attacked and captured the families and dependents of his officers and soldiers, and [Guān] Yǔ’s armies in one morning collapsed. Now the Huái’s south’s officers and soldiers’ fathers and mothers and wives and children all are at inner provinces, merely quickly go to resist and guard, to have them unable to advance, it will certainly be the situation of Guān Yǔ’s collapse.”
[Sīmǎ Shī] Jǐng-wáng followed this, and therefore defeated [Guànqiū] Jiǎn and [Wén] Qīn.
Later he was promoted to Internal Manger of the Army, added office as Cavalier Regular Attendant, increased in fief by 300, adding to the previous to 2200 households. Gānlù Inaugural Year  he died, and the disciples wearing mourning garments and headband were in the hundreds. He was posthumously appointed General of the Guard, posthumous name Jǐng-hóu “Resolute Marquis.” His son Yún succeeded, Yún died, had no sons, state abolished. Jǐngyuán Fourth Year , fief was given on Sù’s son Xún as Lánlíng Marquis. During Xiánxī [264-265], they established the Five Ranks, and for Sù’s proven merits for the previous Court, changed fief of Xún to Zhěng Viscount. (1)
- (1) Shìyǔ states: [Wáng] Xún appellation Liángfū, had erudition, and at Court was loyal and upright. He successively was Hénán Intendant, Attendant Internal, wherever he was he was praised. Thus his heart held to the public, and he had the integrity of not acting for himself. Gé Magistrate Yuán Yì gifted him a fine horse, but knowing of his greed for wealth, did not accept. [Yuán] Yì indeed due to embezzling funds was destroyed. He established two schools, esteeming and understanding the Five Classics, all by Xún established. He died at over forty years, and was posthumously Chariots and Cavalry General.
- Sù’s daughter was matched to Sīmǎ [Zhāo] Wén-wáng, she was Wén-Míng Huánghòu, and bore Jìn Wǔ-dì [Sīmǎ Yán] and Qí Xiàn-wáng [Sīmǎ] Yōu.
- Jìn Zhūgōng Zàn states: Xún’s brothers were eight men. Their notable ones were [Wáng] Qián appellation Gōngzǔ, who for achievement and ability met with praise, ranking reaching Secretariat, and his younger brother [Wáng] Kǎi, appellation Jūnfū, when young had talent and strength but his conduct was without restraint, with Minister of the Guard Shí Chóng was friendly, and both for heroism and extravagance were noted in the world, and in the end he was Rear General. [Wáng] Qián’s son [Wáng] Kāng and [Wáng] Lóng, also served as notable officials, and were by later generations heavily valued.
Previously, Sù was good with Jiǎ’s and Mǎ’s scholarship, but did not enjoy Zhèng’s, selected and gathered similarities and differences, and for the Shàngshū, Shī, Lúnyǔ, Sānlǐ, and Zuǒshì made explanations, and compiled and settled his father Lǎng’s composed Yìzhuàn, and all were arranged in the scholar offices. His discussions and edits on Court regulations, suburb sacrifices, Ancestral Temples, mourning organization, and severity, altogether were over a hundred piān. At the time Lè’ān’s Sūn Shūrán, (1) received study from Zhèng Xuán’s gate, and people appraised him as the Eastern Provinces’ Great Classicist. He was summoned to be Confidential Documents Supervisor, but did not accept. Sù compiled Shèngzhènglùn to ridicule the weaknesses of [Zhèng] Xuán, [Sūn] Shūrán edited and explained it, and composed for the Zhōuyì, Chūnqiū Lì, Máo Shī, Lǐjì, Chūnqiū Sānzhuàn, Guóyú, Ěryǎ various commentaries, and also commented documents of over ten piān.
- (1) Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: [Sūn] Shūrán with Jìn Wǔ-dì [Sīmǎ Yán] had the same name [Yán], and therefore is called by his appellation.
From Wèi’s beginning the scholar Dùnhuáng’s Zhōushēng Liè, (2) in Míng-dì‘s time Minister of Agriculture Hóngnóng’s Dǒng Yù and others, also successively commented various classics, all transmitted through the generations. (3)
- (2) Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: This man is surnamed Zhōushēng, named Liè. Hé Yàn’s Lúnyǔ Jíjiě includes Liè’s Yìlì. For his other writings, see Jìn Wǔ-dì‘s Zhōngjīngbù.
- (3) [Biographies of Dǒng Yù and other great scholars of the time; not translated here.]