(40.6) Wèi Yán 魏延 [Wéncháng 文長]

Wèi Yán appellation Wéncháng was a Yìyáng man. As a bodyguard retainer he accompanied Xiānzhǔ [Liú Bèi] into Shǔ, repeatedly had battlefield achievements, and was promoted to Ivory Gate General. When Xiānzhǔ became King of Hànzhōng, he moved capital to Chéngdū, and was about to use an important officer to guard the Hàn river, and everyone discussed and believed it certainly must be Zhāng Fēi, and [Zhāng] Fēi also in his heart himself agreed. Xiānzhǔ then selected Yán as Commander of Hànzhōng and General Defending the Distant, with office as Hānzhōng Administrator, and the entire army was completely surprised.

魏延字文長,義陽人也。以部曲隨先主入蜀,數有戰功,遷牙門將軍。先主為漢中王,遷治成都,當得重將以鎮漢川,眾論以為必在張飛,飛亦以心自許。先主乃拔延為督漢中鎮遠將軍,領漢中太守,一軍盡驚。

Xiānzhǔ held a great meeting with the various ministers, and asked Yán: “Now you are entrusted with heavy responsibility; what do you occupying it wish to say?”

先主大會群臣,問延曰:「今委卿以重任,卿居之欲云何?」

Yán replied: “If Cáo Cāo raised the realm Under Heaven and came, I would ask to on the Great King’s behalf resist him; if a subordinate officer with a hundred thousand army arrived, I would ask to on the Great King’s behalf destroy them.” Xiānzhǔ praised it as excellent, and everyone was all impressed with his words.

延對曰:「若曹操舉天下而來,請為大王拒之;偏將十萬之眾至,請為大王吞之。」先主稱善,眾咸壯其言。

Xiānzhǔ claimed Imperial Title [221], and advanced his rank to General Defending North. Jiànxīng Inaugural Year [223] he was given fief as a capital precinct Marquis. Fifth Year [227], Zhūgě Liàng stationed at Hànzhōng, and again appointed Yàn as Front Division Commander, with office as the Chancellor’s Major and Liáng Province Inspector. Eighth Year [230], he sent Yán west to enter among the Qiāng. Wèi General Fèi Yáo and Yōng Province Inspector Guō Huái with Yán battled at Yángxī, Yán greatly defeated [Guō] Huái and the rest, and was promoted to Front Master of the Army and General-in-Chief Campaigning West, with Acting Staff, and advanced in fief to Marquis of Nánzhèng.

先主踐尊號,進拜鎮北將軍。建興元年,封都亭侯。五年,諸葛亮駐漢中,更以延為督前部,領丞相司馬、涼州刺史,八年,使延西入羌中,魏後將軍費瑤、雍州刺史郭淮與延戰于陽谿,延大破淮等,遷為前軍師征西大將軍,假節,進封南鄭侯。


Yán in every time he accompanied [Zhūgě] Liàng in setting out, at once wished to request troops of ten thousand men, to go on different road from [Zhūgě] Liàng and rejoin at Tóngguān, like Hán Xìn’s [traveling separately from Liú Bāng] former example, but [Zhūgě] Liàng always stopped him and would not agree. Yán always said [Zhūgě] Liàng was timid, and sighed in regret that his own [Wèi Yán’s] talent was not thoroughly employed [by Zhūgě Liàng]. (1) Yán both was good at caring for soldiers, and had valor surpassing others, and also by nature was boastful, and at the time all avoided and deferred to him. Only Yáng Yí did not accommodate Yán, and Yán because of this was of utmost indignation, and they were like water and fire.

延每隨亮出,輒欲請兵萬人,與亮異道會于潼關,如韓信故事,亮制而不許。延常謂亮為怯,歎恨己才用之不盡。〔一〕延既善養士卒,勇猛過人,又性矜高,當時皆避下之。唯楊儀不假借延,延以為至忿,有如水火。

Twelfth Year [234], [Zhūgě] Liàng set out north of Gǔkǒu, and Yán was the front line. From [Zhūgě] Liàng’s camp by ten lǐ, Yán dreamed atop his head grew a horn, asked about this to dream diviner Zhào Zhí, and [Zhào] Zhí lied to Yán: “A qílín has horns but does not use it, this is a sign of the bandits destroying themselves without battle.” He withdrew and told someone: “The word ‘horn’ 角, is a ‘knife’ 刀 with ‘use’ 用 below it. Atop the head using knife, this is extremely inauspicious.”

十二年,亮出北谷口,延為前鋒。出亮營十里,延夢頭上生角,以問占夢趙直,直詐延曰:「夫麒麟有角而不用,此不戰而賊欲自破之象也。」退而告人曰:「角之為字,刀下用也;頭上用刀,其凶甚矣。」

  • (1) Wèilüè states: Xiàhóu Mào was General Securing West, defending Cháng’ān, [Zhūgě] Liàng at Nánzhèng with his various subordinates discussed plans, and Yán said: “One hears Xiàhóu Mào is young, the ruler’s son-in-law, and timid and without planning. Now if I Yán lead elite troops of five thousand, carrying provisions of five thousand, directly from Bāozhōng setting out, following the Qínlǐng [mountain range] eastward, at Zǐwǔ turning north, without exceeding ten days we can arrive at Cháng’ān. [Xiàhóu] Mào will hear that I Yán suddenly arrived, and certainly ride ship and flee away. Cháng’ān’s inside will only have the Censorate and Jīngzhào administrator and that is all, and Héngmén Dǐgé [supply depot]’s and the scattered people’s grain are sufficient for thorough supply. For the east to gather together, it will take about twenty days, but if your Excellency from Xiégǔ comes, it will certainly be enough to arrive. In this way, then in one move everything from Xiányáng on west can be settled.” [Zhūgě] Liàng believed this dangerous, and not as good as securely following open road, to be able to pacify and obtain Lǒng’s right [west], to be completely certain to succeed and have no worries, and therefore did not use Yán’s plan.

〔一〕 魏略曰:夏侯楙為安西將軍,鎮長安,亮於南鄭與群下計議,延曰:「聞夏侯楙少,主婿也,怯而無謀。今假延精兵五千,負糧五千,直從褒中出,循秦嶺而東,當子午而北,不過十日可到長安。楙聞延奄至,必乘船逃走。長安中惟有御史、京兆太守耳,橫門邸閣與散民之穀足周食也。比東方相合聚,尚二十許日,而公從斜谷來,必足以達。如此,則一舉而咸陽以西可定矣。」亮以為此縣危,不如安從坦道,可以平取隴右,十全必克而無虞,故不用延計。


Autumn, [Zhūgě] Liàng was critically ill, and secretly with his Chief Clerk Yáng Yí, Major Fèi Yī, Protector of the Army Jiāng Wéi and the rest made decision to after his death withdraw the army, ordering Yán to cut the rear, and Jiāng Wéi after him; if Yán possibly did not follow orders, then the army was to itself set out. [Zhūgě] Liàng died, and it was kept secret and mourning not begun, [Yáng] Yí ordered [Fèi] Yī to go judge Yán’s intentions. Yán said: “Although the Chancellor is gone, I myself am still here. His office’s close officials and subordinates can lead the coffin back for burial, I myself can lead the various armies to strike the bandits. How can because of one man’s death we abandon the realm Under Heaven’s affairs? Moreover who am I, Wèi Yán, to be Yáng Yì’s subordinate, and be their officer cutting the rear?” Therefore he with [Fèi] Yī together made plans to remain, and ordered [Fèi] Yī to hand write and sign together with his own [Wèi Yán’s] name, to inform the subordinate officers. [Fèi] Yī deceived Yán saying: “I will on your behalf return to explain to Chief Clerk Yáng [Yí]. The Chief Clerk is a civil official, does not understand military affairs, and will certainly not disobey command.” [Fèi] Yī went out the gate and hurriedly on horse left, Yán was regretful, and pursued him but could not reach him. Yán sent someone to observe [Yáng] Yí and the rest, and therefore found they wished to follow [Zhūgě] Liàng’s established regulations, with the various camps one after the other lead the army back. Yán was greatly furious, and before [Yáng] Yí set out, led those he commanded to directly first return south, and wherever they passed they burned and cut off the plank roads. Yán and [Yáng] Yí each memorialized the other was rebelling, and within one day, the feather dispatches arrived. Hòuzhǔ [Liú Shàn] asked about this to Attendant Internal Dǒng Yǔn and Remaining Office Chief Clerk Jiǎng Wǎn, and [Jiǎng] Wǎn and [Dǒng] Yǔn both believed [Yáng] Yí and suspected Yán. [Yáng] Yí and the cut through mountains to connect roads, in both day and night traveling, and also followed Yán’s rear. Yán first arrived, occupied south of Gǔkǒu, and sent troops to oppose and strike [Yáng] Yí and the rest, and [Yáng] Yí and the rest ordered Hé Píng to at the front resist Yán. [Hé] Píng scolded Yán for first ascending: “His Excellency [Zhūgě Liàng] is dead, his body not yet cold, but you sort dare act like this!” Yán’s soldiers and army knew the wrong was on Yán, and none would follow his orders, and the army all scattered. Yán alone with his sons of several men fled, hurrying to Hànzhōng. [Yáng] Yí sent Mǎ Dài to pursue and behead them, presented the head to [Yáng] Yí, and [Yáng] Yí rose and personally stepped on it, saying: “Common slave, can you again do evil or not?” Therefore they exterminated Yán’s clan to the third degree. Previously, Jiǎng Wǎn lead the Night Guard’s various regiments to go to the trouble and went north, they had gone several tens of lǐ, when news of Yán’s death arrived, and he therefore returned.

秋,亮病困,密與長史楊儀、司馬費禕、護軍姜維等作身歿之後退軍節度,令延斷後,姜維次之;若延或不從命,軍便自發。亮適卒,祕不發喪,儀令禕往揣延意指。延曰:「丞相雖亡,吾自見在。府親官屬便可將喪還葬,吾自當率諸軍擊賊,云何以一人死廢天下之事邪?且魏延何人,當為楊儀所部勒,作斷後將乎!」因與禕共作行留部分,令禕手書與己連名,告下諸將。禕紿延曰:「當為君還解楊長史,長史文吏,稀更軍事,必不違命也。」禕出門馳馬而去,延尋悔,追之已不及矣。延遣人覘儀等,遂使欲案亮成規,諸營相次引軍還。延大怒,(纔)〔攙〕儀未發,率所領徑先南歸,所過燒絕閣道。延、儀各相表叛逆,一日之中,羽檄交至。後主以問侍中董允、留府長史蔣琬,琬、允咸保儀疑延。儀等槎山通道,晝夜兼行,亦繼延後。延先至,據南谷口,遣兵逆擊儀等,儀等令何平在前禦延。平叱延先登曰:「公亡,身尚未寒,汝輩何敢乃爾!」延士眾知曲在延,莫為用命,軍皆散。延獨與其子數人逃亡,奔漢中。儀遣馬岱追斬之,致首於儀,儀起自踏之,曰:「庸奴!復能作惡不?」遂夷延三族。初,蔣琬率宿衛諸營赴難北行,行數十里,延死問至,乃旋。

Considering Yán’s intentions were not to go north to surrender to Wèi but to return south, he only wished to remove and kill [Yáng] Yí and the rest. Ordinarily various officers are by nature not the same, and he hoped the time’s discussions would be that he certainly should succeed [Zhūgě] Liàng. His original intentions were like this. He did not rebel. (1)

原延意不北降魏而南還者,但欲除殺儀等。平日諸將素不同,冀時論必當以代亮。本指如此。不便背叛。〔一〕

  • (1) Wèilüè states: Zhūgě Liàng was ill, and said to Yán and the rest: “After I die, only thoroughly defend, and certainly do not again come here.” He ordered Yán to take over his [Zhūgě Liàng’s] matters, and secretly escort the coffin and go. Yán therefore hid it, went and reached Bāokǒu, and then began mourning. [Zhūgě] Liàng’s Chief Clerk Yáng Yí previously with Yán were not in harmony, and seeing Yán take over military affairs, was afraid he [Yáng Yí] would come to harm, and therefore spread word that Yán wished to lead the army to go north and submit, and then led his own army to attack Yán. Yán originally did not have these intentions, did not fight the army and fled, but they pursued and killed him.
  • Your Servant Sōngzhī believes: this overall are words of an enemy state’s rumors, and cannot but disagree in details with the base biography.

〔一〕 魏略曰:諸葛亮病,謂延等云:「我之死後,但謹自守,慎勿復來也。」令延攝行己事,密持喪去。延遂匿之,行至褒口,乃發喪。亮長史楊儀宿與延不和,見延攝行軍事,懼為所害,乃張言延欲舉眾北附,遂率其眾攻延。延本無此心,不戰軍走,追而殺之。臣松之以為此蓋敵國傳聞之言,不得與本傳爭審。

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