Péng Yàng appellation Yǒngnián was a Guǎnghàn man, eight chǐ [~1.85m] tall, appearance extremely grand, his disposition and character arrogant, thought little and neglected most people, only respecting his same prefecture’s Qín Zǐchì, recommending him to the Administrator Xǔ Jìng stating: “In the past [Yīn] Gāozōng dreamed of Fù Shuō, Zhōu Wén sought out Lǚ Shàng, reaching to when Hàn [Gāo]zǔ accepting [Lì] Yìjī in plain clothes, this then was how rulers began their enterprise and passed down their governance, glorifying their achievement. Now you wise governor study the ancients of august utmost, grasp at divine spirits, embodying Gōngliú’s virtue, conduct not reducing kindness, the action of purifying temple therefore beginning, the righteousness of rewarding and censuring therefore rising, however the six quills are not yet prepared. I have met reclusive scholar Miánzhù’s Qín Mì, embodying Shānfǔ’s virtue, treading Juànshēng’s uprightness, pillowing stone and washing in rivers [in seclusion], singing in hemp gown, residing in benevolent and righteous route, peaceful in vast lands, of highest integrity and conduct, holding to the true without deficiency, and even the ancient’s hidden recluses, have nothing to add to that. If you wise governor are able to recruit and obtain this man, you will certainly have loyal and honest reputation, rich achievement and generous benefit, establish legacy and set achievement, and afterward record accomplishments in the ruler’s office, flying sound to later ages, is it not also beautiful?”
Yàng served the province, did not exceed Document Assistant, later also was by the masses of people defamed and slandered to the provincial Governor Liú Zhāng, and Zhāng shaved and bound Yàng as slave scribe. It happened that Xiānzhǔ [Liú Bèi] entered Shǔ, following stream to go north. Yàng wished to join and advise Xiānzhǔ, and therefore went to meet Páng Tǒng. [Páng] Tǒng with Yàng were not previously acquainted, and also it happened that there were guest retainers, and Yàng directly went up to [Páng] Tǒng’s couch, saying to [Páng] Tǒng: “When the guests retire then I will with you talk.” [Páng] Tǒng’s guests then retired, and he went to Yàng’s seat, Yàng also first asked [Páng] Tǒng for food, and afterward together talked, and therefore remained through the night, reaching through the day. [Páng] Tǒng was greatly impressed with him, and Fǎ Zhèng already himself knew of Yàng, and therefore they together conveyed him to Xiānzhǔ. Xiānzhǔ also believed he was unique, and repeatedly ordered Yàng to disseminate military affairs, giving instructions to the various officers, in presenting service he was satisfactory, and is notability and treatment daily increased. When Chéngdū was settled, Xiānzhǔ became designate Yì Province Governor, selecting Yàng as Internal Manager Attending Official. Yàng rose from low position, in one morning occupied position above the province’s people, and his appearance and expression, in boasting became all the more extreme. Though Zhūgě Liàng outside received Yàng, yet inside they could not be friendly. He repeatedly secretly spoke with Xiānzhǔ, that Yàng certainly had large ambitions, and would be difficult to keep the peace. Xiānzhǔ respected and trusted [Zhūgě] Liàng, and added investigation on Yàng’s conduct, his satisfaction [with Péng Yàng] thus slightly weakened, and he demoted Yàng to Jiāngyáng Administrator.
Yàng heard he was about to be distantly sent out, privately he was not pleased, and went to visit Mǎ Chāo. [Mǎ] Chāo asked Yàng: “Your talent and ability are refined and surpassing, the ruler treats you with utmost importance, saying you should with [Zhūgě Liàng] Kǒngmíng and [Fǎ Zhèng] Xiàozhí various men’s level to together drive on, why should you outside be entrusted with small prefecture, to lose people’s original hopes.” Yàng said: “The old leather is deluded, what else can be explained?” (1) He also said to Chāo: “With you outside, me inside, the realm Under Heaven would not be difficult to settle.” [Mǎ] Chāo as an outside traveler came to the state, always harbored apprehension, heard Yàng’s words in great alarm, and was silent and did not answer. Yàng withdrew, and he reported Yàng’s words, and therefore they arrested Yàng and sent him to relevant managers.
- (1) Yáng Xióng’s Fāngyán [“regional dialects”] states: Enjoin, fish gill, dry, capital, wrinkled face, leather, [can mean] old.
- Guō Pú’s annotation states: All are appearances of old man’s skin and hair dried up and worn.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī believes skins without hair are called leather. The ancients with leather equipped soldiers, and therefore called soldiers leather, leather yet is soldier. Yàng insulting [Liú] Bèi as old leather, yet was to call him an old soldier.
Yàng inside prison with Zhūgě Liàng wrote letter that said: “I your lesser in the past had matters with various lords, believed Cáo Cāo was brutal and violent, Sūn Quán without principle, Shaking Authority [General Liú Zhāng] muddled and weak, that only our lord had the skill of an overlord, and could with him raise enterprise to reach governance, and therefore suddenly and completely ambition to rise up. It happened that our lord came west, I your lesser by Fǎ [Zhèng] Xiàozhí was introduced, Páng Tǒng deliberating between, and therefore was able to visit the lord at Jiāméng, hold hands and converse, discuss the matters of governing the age, speak of the principles of the overlord, establish plan to obtain Yì Province, and the lord also had this consideration and decision, and we mutually approved, and therefore began matters. I your lesser in former province could not escape mediocrity, was sorrowful in net of punishment, and obtained an encounter within changing situation, sought a master and obtained a master, ambition enacted and reputation prominent, from among commoner clothed selected out to be a state’s elite, stealing abundant glory. Generosity distributed to sons, who can surpass this? (1) I Yàng in one morning was wild and contrary, myself seeking to become mincemeat, to become a disloyal and unrighteous ghost! Former people had a saying, ‘left hand holding the ream Under Heaven’s map, right hand cutting throat, even the stupid do not do.’ All the more for I your lesser who can distinguish legumes and wheat! The reason I had complaining and hopeful thoughts, was I did not judge myself, carelessly believing myself first to raise the enterprise, and at the discussion of being thrown to Jiāngyáng, I did not understand the lord’s intentions, my thoughts ceased gratitude, and also due to intoxication, spoke of the ‘old’ speech. This was I your lesser’s extent of lowest foolishness and meager thinking, our lord truly is not yet old. Moreover in setting enterprise, how is it with old or young? Xībó at ninety, did he have declining will? Turning back on my compassionate father, the punishment is a hundred deaths. As for the talk of inside and outside, I wished to have [Mǎ Chāo] Mèngqǐ set achievement in the northern provinces, devoting strength to our lord, together suppressing Cáo Cāo and that is all,dare I have other ambitions? What [Mǎ Chāo] Mèngqǐ said is correct, but he does not distinguish between meanings, it pains a man’s heart and that is all. In the past I once with Páng Tǒng together made pledge, to entrust in following your path, exhaust heart for the lord’s enterprise, pursue the reputations of the ancients, to record achievements on bamboo and silk. [Páng] Tǒng by misfortune died, and I your lesser am destroyed by seeking disaster. In my fall, to whom can I complain! Sir, you are the present’s Yī [Yǐn] and Lǚ [Shàng], and should well with the lord plan affairs, and relieve his great schemes. Heaven understands and earth examines, spirits have awareness, what else is to be said? Only may you sir understand I your lesser’s original heart and that is all. I’ve gone. Strive hard, take care, take care!”
Yàng indeed was executed, at the time aged thirty-seven years.
- (1) Your Servant Sōngzhī believes “generosity distributed to sons”, was Yàng saying that lord Liú distributed generosity and grace like to a son, it was granted on himself, and therefore his letter later said “turning back on my compassionate father, the punishment is a hundred deaths.”