(22.2) Chén Qún 陳群 [Chángwén 長文]

Chén Qún appellation Chángwén was a Yǐngchuān Xǔchāng man. His grandfather Shí, father Jǐ, and father’s younger brother Chén each had famous reputation. (1) When Qún was a child, Shí was always very impressed with him, and said to his clansmen and elders: “This child will certainly cause our clan to thrive.”

陳群字長文,潁川許昌也。祖父寔,父紀,叔父諶,皆有盛名。〔一〕群為兒時,寔常奇異之,謂宗人父老曰:「此兒必興吾宗。」

  • (1) Shí appellation Zhònggōng, Jǐ appellation Yuánfāng, Chén appellation Jìfāng.
  • Wèishū states: Shí’s virtue dominated at that time. Jǐ and Chén both had important reputations at the time. Shí was Chief of Tàiqiū, suffered the Partisan Proscription, lived in seclusion at Jīng mountain, and far and near took him as an exemplar and teacher. Líng-dì ended [189], Hé Jìn controlled the government, sought to employ all the famous scholars of the realm Under Heaven, and summoned Shí, wising to appoint him a Military Advisor, but he plead age and illness and so did not violate his integrity. Chén served in the office of the Excellency of Works, and died young. Jǐ served as Chancellor of Píngyuán, Palace Attendant, Minister Herald. He compiled books of several tens of scrolls, and at the time he was called Chén-zǐ. When Shí died, Excellency of Works Xún Shuǎng and Minister Charioteer Director Hán Róng both wore [mourning clothes of] linen and hemp and followed the [mourning] rites expected off one’s descendants. From all four directions arrived several thousand chariots as escort, and from Guō Tài of Tàiyuán and others there were none who did not go to their gates.
  • Fùzǐ states: Shí died, the realm Under Heaven lamented, and those gathered at his tomb were 30,000 men, and those wearing mourning garments of hemp were in the hundreds.
  • Xiānxián Xíngzhuàng states: General-in-Chief Hé Jìn sent retainers to present lamentations and sacrifices at the shrine, giving posthumous name as Wén-Fàn Xiānsheng “Civil and Exemplary Mister.” At the time, Shí’s and Jǐ’s renown was both widespread, and Chén was also joined with them, so that at the time they were called the Three Gentlemen. Every time the central office summoned them summoned them for orders, they came at the same time, lambs and goose gathered, and officials interacted. The people of Yùzhōu all made portraits of Shí, Jǐ, and Chén.

〔一〕 寔字仲弓、紀字元方,諶字季方。魏書曰:寔德冠當時,紀、諶並名重於世。寔為太丘長,遭黨錮,隱居荊山,遠近宗師之。靈帝崩,何進輔政,引用天下名士,徵寔,欲以為參軍,以老病,遂不屈節,諶為司空掾,早卒。紀歷位平原相、侍中、大鴻臚,著書數十篇,世謂之陳子。寔之亡也,司空荀爽、太僕令韓融並制緦麻,執子孫禮。四方至者車數千乘,自太原郭泰等無不造門。傅子曰:寔亡,天下致弔,會其葬者三萬人,制縗麻者以百數。先賢行狀曰:大將軍何進遣屬弔祠,諡曰文範先生。于時,寔、紀高名並著,而諶又配之,世號曰三君。每宰府辟命,率皆同時,羔鴈成群,丞掾交至。豫州百姓皆圖畫寔、紀、諶之形象。

Kǒng Róng of Lǔ-guó had high talent but arrogance, and his age was between Jǐ and Qún. First he befriended Jǐ, but later befriended Qún and thereafter bowed to Jǐ, and for this he gained reputation. Liú Bèi oversaw Yùzhōu, and recruited Qún as his Camp Aide. At the time Táo Qiān died of illness [194], Xúzhōu welcomed [Liú] Bèi, and [Liú] Bèi wished to go. Qún advised [Liú] Bèi: “Yuán Shù grows stronger. Now if you go east he will certainly fight with you. If Lǚ Bù attacks your rear General, then though you General may obtain Xúzhōu, your affairs will certainly be unsuccessful.” [Liú] Bèi then went east and fought with Yuán Shù. [Lǚ] Bù indeed attacked Xiàpī and sent troops to assist [Yuán] Shù, greatly defeated [Liú] Bèi’s army, and [Liú] Bèi regretted not using Qún’s words.

魯國孔融高才倨傲,年在紀、群之間,先與紀友,後與群交,更為紀拜,由是顯名。劉備臨豫州,辟群為別駕。時陶謙病死,徐州迎備,備欲往,群說備曰:「袁術尚彊,今東,必與之爭。呂布若襲將軍之後,將軍雖得徐州,事必無成。」備遂東,與袁術戰。布果襲下邳,遣兵助術,大破備軍,備恨不用群言。

He was nominated as Abundant Talent, sent out as Magistrate of Zhè, could not go, and so he followed Jǐ in taking refuge in Xúzhōu. When Lǚ Bù was destroyed [198], Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] summoned Qún to be the Excellency of Work’s Left Department Official. At the time Wáng Mó of Lè’ān and Zhōu Kuí of Xiàpī were recommended, and Tàizǔ recruited them. Qún protested, believing [Wáng] Mó and [Zhōu] Kuí were of inferior virtue and in the end would certainly fail, but Tàizǔ did not listen. Later [Wáng] Mó and [Zhōu] Kuí both turned traitor and were executed, and Tàizǔ for this apologized to Qún.

舉茂才,除柘令,不行,隨紀避難徐州。屬呂布破,太祖辟群為司空西曹掾屬。時有薦樂安王模、下邳周逵者,太祖辟之。群封還教,以為模、逵穢德,終必敗,太祖不聽。後模、逵皆坐姦宄誅,太祖以謝群。

Qún recommended Chén Jiǎo of Guǎnglíng and Dài Qián of Dānyáng, and Tàizǔ employed them. Later the Wú people rebelled, and [Dài] Qián loyally died in the trouble. [Chén] Jiǎo later became an important minister. At the time Qún was said to understand people. He was sent out as Magistrate of Xiāo, Zàn, and Chángpíng. His father died and he resigned his position. Later he was by an official [in the department of the] Excellency over the Masses recommended as High Ranking and became a Censorate Attendant Managing Documents, and was transferred to Advisor to the Army of the Chancellor.

群薦廣陵陳矯、丹陽戴乾,太祖皆用之。後吳人叛,乾忠義死難,矯遂為名臣,世以群為知人。除蕭、贊、長平令,父卒去官。後以司徒掾舉高第,為治書侍御史,轉參丞相軍事。

When Wèi state was founded [213] he was promoted to Censorate Internal Deputy.

魏國既建,遷為御史中丞。


At the time Tàizǔ discussed restoring mutilation penalties. The order said: “How can one obtain a superior gentleman who understands reason from ancient times to now, and employ them to judge this matter? In the past Minister Herald Chén [Jǐ] believed that death penalties could contribute to benevolence and kindness, and so argued thus. Can the Censorate Internal Deputy [Chén Qún] explain his father’s argument?”

時太祖議復肉刑,令曰:「安得通理君子達於古今者,使平斯事乎!昔陳鴻臚以為死刑有可加於仁恩者,正謂此也。御史中丞能申其父之論乎?」

Qún answered: “I your servant’s father Jǐ believed that Hàn abolished mutilation punishments and increased whipping, originally to increase benevolence and sympathy but instead the dead increased in number, what is called ‘naming as light but is in fact heavy.’ ‘Naming as light’ then makes it easy to violate [law], ‘is in fact heavy’ then is harming the people. The Shū states: “Only observe the Five Punishments, to achieve the Three Virtues.” The writes of laws of cutting off nose, amputating feet, destroying toes, so as  to assist government and aid teaching, to punish evil but stop killing. Moreover killing a man as recompense for death, is in accord with ancient standards; as for harming a man, to destroy their body and yet be reduced to cutting of hair, this is not reasonable. If using ancient standards, to send the depraved to be sent down to the silkworm room [for castration], the thieves to amputate their foot, then forever there will be no depravity released or thieves breaking through walls. Those matters of three thousand [years ago, the Five Punishments], though they cannot be all restored, if a few of these, are timely for concerns, it is appropriate to first implement them. Those crimes that Hàn laws killed for, were what benevolence could not reach, the rest below death can be given [mutilation] punishments. In this way, then those punished can still with the living interact. Now the laws of whipping to death instead of using [mutilation] punishments that do not kill, is to make heavy men’s limbs but light of men’s lives.”

群對曰:「臣父紀以為漢除肉刑而增加笞,本興仁惻而死者更眾,所謂名輕而實重者也。名輕則易犯,實重則傷民。書曰:『惟敬五刑,以成三德。』易著劓、刖、滅趾之法,所以輔政助教,懲惡息殺也。且殺人償死,合於古制;至於傷人,或殘毀其體而裁翦毛髮,非其理也。若用古刑,使淫者下蠶室,盜者刖其足,則永無淫放穿窬之姦矣。夫三千之屬,雖未可悉復,若斯數者,時之所患,宜先施用。漢律所殺殊死之罪,仁所不及也,其餘逮死者,可以刑殺。如此,則所刑之與所生足以相貿矣。今以笞死之法易不殺之刑,是重人支體而輕人軀命也。」

At the time Zhōng Yáo and Qún made the same argument, Wáng Lǎng and most other commentators believed it was not feasible. Tàizǔ greatly liked Yáo’s and Qún’s argument, but as military affairs had not ceased, in consideration of the majority opinion the matter was postponed.

時鍾繇與群議同,王朗及議者多以為未可行。太祖深善繇、群言,以軍事未罷,顧眾議,故且寢。


Qún was transferred to Internal Attendant, designate Chancellor’s East and West Department Official. At Court was without fixed standards, elegant and with reputation, and did not against principle deceive people. Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] was at the East Palace, deeply venerated and respected him, treating him with the courtesy of interacting with friends, always sighing and saying: “From since I gained [my own Yán] Huí, the gate men daily become closer.”

群轉為侍中,領丞相東西曹掾。在朝無適無莫,雅杖名義,不以非道假人。文帝在東宮,深敬器焉,待以交友之禮,常歎曰:「自吾有回,門人日以親。」

When he succeeded the King’s throne, he gave fief on Qún as Marquis of Chāngwǔ precinct, moved him to Secretariat. The method of the Regulation of Nine Ranks Official Men, was by Qún established. Reaching to the ascension of the Imperial Throne, he was promoted to Secretariat Deputy Director, added Internal Attendant, moved to Secretariat Director, advanced in noble rank to Marquis of Yǐng village. The Emperor campaigned against Sūn Quán, reached Guǎnglíng, sending Qún as Designate Central Manager of the Army. The Emperor returned, gave Acting Staff of Authority, as Regional Commander of the Navy. Returned to Xǔchāng, appointing Qún as General-in-Chief Defending the Army, Designate Central Protector of the Army, managing Secretariat affairs. The Emperor was lying ill, Qún with Cáo Zhēn, Sīmǎ Xuān-wáng, and others together received Legacy Imperial Order to assist the government.

及即王位,封群昌武亭侯,徙為尚書。制九品官人之法,群所建也。及踐阼,遷尚書僕射,加侍中,徙尚書令,進爵穎鄉侯。帝征孫權,至廣陵,使群領中領軍。帝還,假節,都督水軍。還許昌,以群為鎮軍大將軍,領中護軍,錄尚書事。帝寢疾,群與曹真、司馬宣王等並受遺詔輔政。

Míng-dì succeeded the throne, advanced in fief to Marquis of Yǐngyīn, increased fief by five hundred, adding with the previous to 1300 households, with General-in-Chief Campaigning East Cáo Xiū, General-in-Chief of the Central Army Cáo Zhēn, General-in-Chief Assisting the Army Sīmǎ Xuān-wáng together opening office. Shortly afterward he became Excellency of Works, again managing Secretariat affairs.

明帝即位,進封潁陰侯,增邑五百,并前千三百戶,與征東大將軍曹休、中軍大將軍曹真、撫軍大將軍司馬宣王並開府。頃之,為司空,故錄尚書事。


At the time, the Emperor first administered the government. Qún sent up a memorial: “The Shī says: ‘Ceremony and punishments like Wén-wáng, all countries have faith.’ It also states: ‘Punishments to wife, reaching to brothers, to govern to family and country.’ The way from the near begins, and then transforms and accords through the realm Under Heaven. From since the tragic chaos onward, shields and spears are not yet stored, the common people do not know the foundation of the ruler’s teachings, and fear of decline is already severe. Your Majesty faces flourishing Wèi’s greatness, carrying on the Two Founders’ enterprise, the realm Under Heaven wishes and hopes for attaining governance, only by lofty virtue spreading and transforming, kindness and sympathy for the common masses, then the masses of people enjoy fortune. Ministers sounding alike, right and wrong mutually confused, are the state’s great misfortune. If not in harmony then there are enemy factions, if there are enemy factions then there is slander and acclaim without reason, slander and acclaim without reason then true and false are not known, it cannot be not deeply guarded against, to cut it off at its source.”

是時,帝初蒞政,群上疏曰:「詩稱『儀刑文王,萬邦作孚』;又曰『刑于寡妻,至于兄弟,以御于家邦』。道自近始,而化洽於天下。自喪亂已來,干戈未戢,百姓不識王教之本,懼其陵遲巳甚。陛下當盛魏之隆,荷二祖之業,天下想望至治,唯有以崇德布化,惠恤黎庶,則兆民幸甚。夫臣下雷同,是非相蔽,國之大患也。若不和睦則有讎黨,有讎黨則毀譽無端,毀譽無端則真偽失實,不可不深防備,有以絕其源流。」

During Tàihé, Cáo Zhēn memorialized wishing to by several paths campaign against Shǔ, following Xié valley to enter. Qún believed: “Tàizǔ in the past arrived at Yángpíng to attack Zhāng Lǔ, greatly collecting beans and wheat to increase army provisions, [Zhāng] Lǔ was not yet taken but the food was already exhausted. Now there is no reason, and moreover Xié valley is obstructed and rugged, difficult to advance or retreat, transport is certain to meet with raiding and cutting off, increasing remaining troops to defend the important, then decreases battle troops, this cannot be not carefully considered.” The Emperor followed Qún’s comments. [Cáo] Zhēn again memorialized to follow Zǐwǔ road. Qún again explained its inconveniences, together with words on calculations of military expenses. Imperial Order with Qún’s comments was sent down to [Cáo] Zhēn, [Cáo] Zhēn according to it then went. It happened that it continuously rained for accumulated days, Qún also believed it was appropriate to send Imperial Order for [Cáo] Zhēn to return, and the Emperor followed this.

太和中,曹真表欲數道伐蜀,從斜谷入。群以為「太祖昔到陽平攻張魯,多收豆麥以益軍糧,魯未下而食猶乏。今既無所因,且斜谷阻險,難以進退,轉運必見鈔截,多留兵守要,則損戰士,不可不熟慮也」。帝從群議。真復表從子午道。群又陳其不便,并言軍事用度之計。詔以群議下真,真據之遂行。會霖雨積日,群又以為宜詔真還,帝從之。


Later the Imperial daughter [Cáo] Shū died, and posthumous title was bestowed as Yì-gōngzhǔ “Admirable Princess” of Píngyuán.

後皇女淑薨,追封諡平原懿公主。

Qún sent up a memorial: “[Whether life is] long or short is fate, [whether one] survives or perishes is decided. Therefore sagely men regulated the Rites, both to repress and to convey [emotion], in order to reach balance. Fáng’s tombs had limits no not working [for mourning], and Yíng and Bó had souls that did not return. A great man moves together with Heaven and Earth, passes down without end, and great virtue does not remain idle, and is in action a paragon of learning as a result. For early death below eight years, the Rites does does not make preparations, and moreover it was not yet even the phase of a moon, and yet is with the Rites of mature person sent off, and additionally it is ordered to establish mourning, causing the Court to wear mourning white clothes, from mourning to night  weeping and looking, and since from ancient times there has never been anything like this. And further you yourself go to look upon the tomb, and in person convey [mourning]. One hopes Your Majesty will restrain this without benefit and even harmful matter, only have the various ministers send off the burial, and beg the Imperial Chariot to not go, and this is the utmost hope of all states. One hears the Imperial Chariot wishes to visit Móbēi, but in reality has arrived at Xǔchāng. The Two Palaces from top to bottom all without exception goes east, raising up the Court from big to small, and none are not surprised and astonished. Some say it is a wish to avoid decline, some say it is a wish to change location and move the palace residence, and some do not know the reason. I your Servant believe good and bad fortune is fate, disaster and happiness is due to men, and so to move residence to seek security is then also without benefit. If one must move to avoid, mend and repair Jīnyōng city’s West Palace, and Mèngjīn’s Separate Palace, and both could be used for a temporary time to stop. Why must you expose the entire palace in the wilderness? Furthermore, the people of the rebel regions, when they hear of this, will consider that there is an imperial mourning. The expenditures, public and private, will be beyond calculation. Furthermore, excellent gentlemen and worthy men do not without proper justification change the site of their abodes, so that men of their district may rest easy and feel no fear. Should then the Sovereign over the myriad states, whose rest puts the empire at ease and whose movement causes disturbances throughout the empire, be frivolous in his going and stopping, movement and rest?”

群上疏曰:「長短有命,存亡有分。故聖人制禮,或抑或致,以求厥中。防墓有不脩之儉,嬴、博有不歸之魂。夫大人動合天地,垂之無窮,又大德不踰閑,動為師表故也。八歲下殤,禮所不備,況未期月,而以成人禮送之,加為制服,舉朝素衣,朝夕哭臨,自古已來,未有此比。而乃復自往視陵,親臨祖載。願陛下抑割無益有損之事,但悉聽群臣送葬,乞車駕不行,此萬國之至望也。聞車駕欲幸摩陂,實到許昌,二宮上下,皆悉俱東,舉朝大小,莫不驚怪。或言欲以避衰,或言欲於便處移殿舍,或不知何故。臣以為吉凶有命,禍福由人,移徙求安,則亦無益。若必當移避,繕治金墉城西宮,及孟津別宮,皆可權時分止。可無舉宮暴露野次,廢損盛節蠶農之要。又賊地聞之,以為大衰。加所煩費,不可計量。且(由)吉士賢人,當盛衰,處安危,秉道信命,非徙其家以寧,鄉邑從其風化,無恐懼之心。況乃帝王萬國之主,靜則天下安,動則天下擾;行止動靜,豈可輕脫哉?」

The Emperor did not listen.

帝不聽。


During Qīnglóng [233-237] there was great toil in repairing Palaces, and the common people lost time for agriculture. Qún sent up a memorial that said: “Yǔ carried on Táng and Yú’s flourishing, yet humbled palaces and residences and had inferior clothes, so all the more now after tragic chaos, the people are few, comparable to the times of Hàn’s Wén and Jǐng, no more than one large prefecture. (1) Also the borders have situations, officers and soldiers toil bitterly, if there is suffering of flood or drought, the state will be in deep worry. Moreover Wú and Shǔ are not yet destroyed, the State Altars not secure. It is appropriate to not yet move, discuss warfare and support agriculture, to by this deal with them. Now to give up this urgency and first have palaces and residences, I your servant fear the common people will then be destitute, and then how can one answer the enemy? In the past Liú Bèi from Chéngdū reached Báishuǐ, greatly building relay stations, increasing expenses and people’s conscription labor, and Tàizǔ knew this wearied the people. Now the central states’ exhausting its strength, is also what Wú and Shǔ hopes for. This is the critical point between safety and danger, may Your Majesty consider this.”

青龍中,營治宮室,百姓失農時。群上疏曰:「禹承唐、虞之盛,猶卑宮室而惡衣服,況今喪亂之後,人民至少,比漢文、景之時,不過一大郡。〔一〕加邊境有事,將士勞苦,若有水旱之患,國家之深憂也。且吳、蜀未滅,社稷不安。宜及其未動,講武勸農,有以待之。今舍此急而先宮室,臣懼百姓遂困,將何以應敵?昔劉備自成都至白水,多作傳舍,興費人役,太祖知其疲民也。今中國勞力,亦吳、蜀之所願。此安危之機也,惟陛下慮之。」

  • (1) Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: Hànshū‘s Dìlǐ zhì “Geography Treatise” says: Yuánshǐ Second Year [2], the realm Under Heaven’s population was at its most flourishing, Rǔnán prefecture was a large prefecture, having over 300,000 households. Then in Wén and Jǐng’s time could not be more than this. Acccording to Jìn’s Tàikāng Third Year [282] land records, Jìn’s households were 3,7170,000. Wú’s and Shǔ’s households could not make up half of it. By this discussing it, although Wèi began from tragic chaos, from Jìn it also could not have large difference. Chángwén’s speech, therefore is excessive.

〔一〕 臣松之案:漢書地理志云:元始二年,天下戶口最盛,汝南郡為大郡,有三十餘萬戶。則文、景之時不能如是多也。案晉太康三年地記,晉戶有三百七十七萬,吳、蜀戶不能居半。以此言之,魏雖始承喪亂,方晉亦當無乃大殊。長文之言,於是為過。

The Emperor answered: “The ruler’s palaces and residences, also should be simultaneously enacted [as destroying Wú and Shǔ]. After destroying the rebels, then there should be ceasing of guarding and that is all; how can there again be raising of conscription labor? This then is your duty [as Excellency of Works], and Xiāo Hé’s great reasoning.”

帝答曰:「王者宮室,亦宜並立。滅賊之後,但當罷守耳,豈可復興役邪?是故君之職,蕭何之大略也。」

Qún also said: “In the past Hàn [Gāo]zǔ only with Xiàng Yǔ contended for the realm Under Heaven, after [Xiàng] Yǔ was destroyed, palaces and residences were burned, and therefore Xiāo Hé established Military Storage and Grand Granary, both for important urgencies, however yet they were not magnificent. Now the two rebels are not yet pacified, truly it is not appropriate to with the ancients act the same. (2) What men desire for, none do not refuse, all the more then for the Heavenly Ruler, none dare disobey. Previously wishing to dismantle Military Storage, saying it could not be not dismantled, later wishing to install it, saying it cannot be not installed. If it must be built, surely it is not what the words of subordinates can refuse. If there is some carefulness, and returning of intentions, also it is not what subordinates can match. Hàn Míng-dì wished to raise Déyáng Palace Hall, Zhōnglí Yì remonstrated, and so he used his words, but later then again built it. The hall was completed, and he said to his various ministers: ‘If Secretariat Zhōnglí was here, one could not complete this hall.’ How can a ruler fear one minister? It is for the common people. Now I your servant already cannot a little be heard by your sageliness, and my not reaching [Zhōnglí] Yì is very far.”

群又曰:「昔漢祖唯與項羽爭天下,羽已滅,宮室燒焚,是以蕭何建武庫、太倉,皆是要急,然猶非其壯麗。今二虜未平,誠不宜與古同也。〔二〕夫人之所欲,莫不有辭,況乃天王,莫之敢違。前欲壞武庫,謂不可不壞也;後欲置之,謂不可不置也。若必作之,固非臣下辭言所屈;若少留神,卓然回意,亦非臣下之所及也。漢明帝欲起德陽殿,鍾離意諫,即用其言,後乃復作之;殿成,謂群臣曰:『鍾離尚書在,不得成此殿也。』夫王者豈憚一臣,蓋為百姓也。今臣曾不能少凝聖聽,不及意遠矣。」

The Emperor because of this decreased expenditures.

帝於是有所減省。

  • (2) Sūn Shèng states: By Zhōu’s Ritual, the Palace of Heaven’s Son, has chopping and grinding regulation. However decoration of ornamentation, with the times have developments. Hàn carried on Zhōu’s and Qín’s detriments, and should transform by simplification, but how they increased decoration of palaces and residences, to show extravagance to later posterity. This then was Wǔ-dì’s thousand families and ten thousand households to greatly increase, how can there be no talk of again increasing? All the more then for the Wèi dynasty facing the troubles of Wú and Shǔ, the hardships of the four seas in suffering and distress, and yet speaking of Xiāo Hé’s mistaken comments, believing it proper course, how can it not be confusing great principle and failing to distinguish gains and losses? To have a ruler of a hundred ages, dazzling between extravagance and frugality, what is the cause. The Shī says: ‘This speech of flaw, canot be.’ This then is what it speaks of!

〔二〕 孫盛曰:周禮,天子之宮,有斲礱之制。然質文之飾,與時推移。漢承周、秦之弊,宜敦簡約之化,而何崇飾宮室,示侈後嗣。此乃武帝千門萬戶所以大興,豈無所復增之謂邪?況乃魏氏方有吳、蜀之難,四海罹塗炭之艱,而述蕭何之過議,以為令軌,豈不惑於大道而昧得失之辨哉?使百代之君,眩於奢儉之中,何之由矣。詩云:「斯言之玷,不可為也。」其斯之謂乎!


Previously, in the time of Tàizǔ, Liú Yì because his younger brother had with Wèi Fěng plotted rebellion was about to be executed. Qún spoke of this to Tàizǔ, and Tàizǔ said: “Yì is an important official. I also wish to pardon him.” Therefore [Liú Yì] was restored to his position. Yì deeply thanked Qún, but Qún said: “One discusses punishments for the state, not for personal reasons. Moreover it was the intention of an enlightened ruler. What would I know?” His liberal nature and lack of pride was all of this sort.

初,太祖時,劉廙坐弟與魏諷謀反,當誅。群言之太祖,太祖曰:「廙,名臣也,吾亦欲赦之。」乃復位。廙深德群,群曰:「夫議刑為國,非為私也;且自明主之意,吾何知焉?」其弘博不伐,皆此類也。

Qīnglóng fourth year [236] he died, posthumous name Jìng-hóu “Tranquil Marquis.” His son Tài succeeded. The Emperor [Cáo Ruì] in memorial of Qún’s achievements and virtues divided Qún’s fief to give fief to one son as a full Marquis. (1)

青龍四年薨,諡曰靖侯。子泰嗣。帝追思群功德,分群戶邑,封一子列侯。〔一〕

  • (1) Wèishū states: Qún from beginning to end repeatedly secretly explained gains and losses, every time sending up letter of matters, then at once cut his drafts, at the time of the people and his junior relatives none were able to know. Of commentators some ridiculed Qún as occuping seat saluting in silence. During Zhèngshǐ Imperial Order compiled the various ministers’ sent up memorials, into Míngchén Zòuyì, the Court ministers then saw Qún’s remonstration matters, and all sighed.
  • Yuán-zǐ states:
    • Someone said: “Would former Minister Treasurer Yáng Fù not be a loyal minister? Seeing the ruler of men’s wrongs, then agitated and angry he would deal with it, with men speaking not once without principle, would it not be what is called: ‘Ruler’s minister speaks boldly, not bending to it!'”
    • The answer said: “Yet it could be called upright minister, loyalty then I do not know. The benevolent love men. Showing it to a ruler it is called loyalty, showing it to parents it is called filial piety. Loyalty and filial piety, is of one foundation. Therefore the utmost of benevolence and love, if the ruler or parent has mistake, remonstrating but not entering, beseeching them repeatedly, is to have no choice but to speak, to not bear to announce. Now to be a servant of men, seeing the ruler of men lose the way, to straightforwardly slander his wrongs and broadly raise his evils, can be called an upright minister, but cannot be called a loyal minister. Therefore Excellency of Works Chén Qún when not in agreement, in his discussions all day long, never once did he speak of the ruler of men’s wrongs; letters of several tens were sent up and yet outsiders did not know. The superior gentleman says that Qún therefore was superior.”

〔一〕 魏書曰:群前後數密陳得失,每上封事,輒削其草,時人及其子弟莫能知也。論者或譏群居位拱默,正始中詔撰群臣上書,以為名臣奏議,朝士乃見群諫事,皆歎息焉。袁子曰:或云「故少府楊阜豈非忠臣哉?見人主之非,則勃然怒而觸之,與人言未嘗不道也,豈非所謂『王臣謇謇,匪躬之故』者歟!」答曰:「然可謂直士,忠則吾不知也。夫仁者愛人。施於君謂之忠,施於親謂之孝。忠孝者,其本一也。故仁愛之至者,君親有過,諫而不入,求之反覆,不得已而言,不忍宣也。今為人臣,見人主失道,直詆其非而播揚其惡,可謂直士,未為忠臣也。故司空陳群則不然,其談論終日,未嘗言人主之非;書數十上而外人不知。君子謂群於是乎長者矣。」

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