Dǒng Zhuó was ruthless as a wolf and cruel as a bandit, violent and without benevolence, from since writing and recording onward, there has never been one like this. (1) Yuán Shù was extravagant and impudent, that his glory did not last to his end, he brought on himself. (2)
Yuán Shào and Liú Biǎo, both had authoritative appearance and character, well known in that age. Biǎo strode across the Hàn’s south, Shào like an eagle rose to the Hé’s north, however both were outwardly generous but inwardly hateful, enjoyed planning but were without decisiveness, had talents but could not employ them, heard good advice but could not accept it, deposed the principal son to establish the lesser son, abandoning ritual to esteem favor, so that their later posterity fell into distress, their State Altars were overturned, and it was not misfortune. In the past Xiàng Yǔ turned back on Fàn Zēng’s plans, and so lost his king’s enterprise; Shào killing Tián Fēng, then was more extreme than [Xiàng] Yǔ by far!
- (1) Yīngxióng jì states: In the past giants were sighted at Líntáo and the Bronze Men were cast, Líntáo produced [Dǒng] Zhuó and the Bronze Men were destroyed; the world had Zhuó and great chaos was created, great chaos was created and Zhuó’s body was exterminated, so things occur.
- (2) Your Servant Sōngzhī believes that Jié and Zhòu were without principle, Qín and [Wáng] Mǎng were indulgent and brutal, and all were so for accumulated years, and afterward the multitude of evils were made known. Dǒng Zhuó from when he seized power, reaching to his fall and death, calculating the days and moons, it was not more than three years, yet the disasters were as high as mountain peaks, the poisons flowed across the four seas, his cruel traitorous nature, even ravenous wolves cannot match. “Records have never had,” these words are proper. However the appraisal states “cruel as a bandit,” and also says “without benevolence,” “cruel as a bandit” and “without benevolence” these words are too extreme. Yuán Shù was without a minuscule of achievement, a sliver of goodness, and yet in a savage and confused time, absurdly declared and established himself, those of righteousness wrung their hands, and men and ghosts together resented him. Even if he were respectful and frugal, yet still he would certainly perish in no time, yet the appraisal still says: “extravagant and not lasting to the end,” it is not sufficient to observe his great evil.