Xǔ Jìng appellation Wénxiū was a Rǔnán Píngyú man. When young he with his younger cousin [Xǔ] Shào both were well known, and both were skilled in appraising men’s good and bad, but their private relationship was not harmonious. Shào became the prefecture’s Merit Officer, blocked Jìng to be unable to obtain office, and he milled to support himself. Yǐngchuān’s Liú Yì became Rǔnán Administrator, and nominated Jìng as a calculation official, examined as filial and incorruptible, appointed Secretariat Documents Cadet, managing selections.
Líng-dì passed away, Dǒng Zhuó controlled the government, appointed Hànyáng’s Zhōu Bì as Personnel Division Secretariat Documenter, with Jìng together planned and commented, advancing and withdrawing the realm Under Heaven’s elites, discarding the dirty, making known and selecting out the secluded. They advanced and employed Yǐngchuān’s Xún Shuǎng, Hán Róng, Chén Jǐ and others as Excellencies, Ministers, and prefecture administrators, appointed Secretariat Documenter Hán Fù as Jìzhōu Governor, Attendant Internal Liú Dài was Yǎnzhōu Inspector, Yǐngchuān’s Zhāng Zī as Nányáng Administrator, Chénliú’s Kǒng Zhòu as Yùzhōu Inspector, Dōngjùn’s Zhāng Miǎo as Chénliú Administrator, and sent Jìng as Bājùn Administrator, it was not successful, and he filled vacancy as Censorate Internal Deputy.
[Hán] Fù and the rest arrived in office, each raised troops to return toward the capital, wishing to execute [Dǒng] Zhuó, [Dǒng] Zhuó was furious at [Zhōu] Bì and said: “You sirs said I should select out and employ good elites, I Zhuó followed your plan, not wishing to oppose the realm Under Heaven’s people’s hearts. But those you sirs employed, on the day of reaching office, return coming to plan against me. I Zhuó did what to turn back on you?” He shouted at [Zhōu] Bì to get out, and outside beheaded them.
Jìng’s elder cousin Chén Chancellor [Xǔ] Chàng, also with [Kǒng] Zhòu joined together, Jìng feared execution, and fled to [Kǒng] Zhòu. (1) [Kǒng] Zhòu died, and he depended on Yángzhōu Inspector Chén Yī. [Chén] Yī died, and Wújùn Commandant Xǔ Gòng, Kuàijī Administrator Wáng Lǎng previously with Jìng had old friendship, and therefore went to protect him. Jìng collected and sympathized with family and neighbors, rousing and caring for, giving out benevolence and generosity.
- (1) Shǔjì says: Jìng later self memorialized: “Joining with rebels to seek survival, is what my nature cannot bear; to hold to office to endanger self, dying does not achieve righteousness. I humbly have read that the ancients facing difficulty were inconsistent, and were expedient to follow their principles.”
Sūn Cè went east crossing the Jiāng, and all fled to Jiāozhōu to avoid this trouble, Jìng himself sat on the shore, first sending his attached followers, and when his distant and close kin had all set out, then he followed after and went, and at the time of those who saw none did not sigh in admiration. When he reached Jiāozhǐ, Jiāozhǐ Administrator Shì Xiè generously applied respectful treatment.
Chénguó’s Yuán Huī moved to and resided at Jiāozhōu, and [Yuán] Huī with Secretariat Director Xún Yù wrote letter that said: “Xǔ Wénxiū is an outstanding talent and great elite, his wisdom and strategy sufficient to calculate affairs. From since his taking refuge onward, with various elites together following, every time there is urgent trouble, always he puts others first and himself later, and with his ninth degree relations inside and out he shares in hunger and cold. His guidance and equal treatment, benevolence and compassion, is applied in all his matters, and cannot in one or two ways be explained.”
Jùlù’s Zhāng Xiáng (1) carrying ruler’s command was sent to Jiāo region, took opportunity to recruit Jìng, wishing to with him make an oath, Jìng refused and would not agree. Jìng with Excellency Cáo wrote letter that said:
“The world’s roads with weapons razed, calamity and chaos therefore gathers, I an old horse timidly steals life, myself fleeing to the Mán and Mò, already for ten years, fortune good and bad abandoned. In the past at Kuàijī, I obtained your sent letter, its words and intent close, and for a long time will not forget. Constrained by Yuán Shù defying command and injuring clan, shaking and moving various rebels, blocking all passes, though my heart is to the north, I wish to go but cannot. The upright army withdrawing, [Yuán] Shù’s troops advanced, Kuàijī was overturned, scenery losing residence, the three rivers and five lakes, all became a caitiff’s courtyard. Facing that time of destitution and danger, without anyone to tell, I then with Yuán Pèi, Dèng Zǐxiào and others floated onto the azure sea, south to Jiāozhōu. Passing through the states of the Dōngōu, Mǐn, Yuè, traveling ten thousand lǐ, not seeing Hàn’s lands, floating through winds and waves, exhausting provisions and eating grass, hunger and starvation arrived, the dead over half. Reaching to Nánhǎi, with the designate Administrator Ěr Xiàodé mutually meeting, I learned of your loyalty and righteousness fiercely roused, ordering and containing the warfare, to the west welcoming the Imperial Chariot, traveling about the central peaks. Carrying on this good news, I was both sorrowful and pleased, and at once with Yuán Pèi and Xú Yuánxián again together fixed dress, wishing to go north up to Jīngzhōu. It happened that Cāngwú various counties’ Yí and Yuè swarmed and rose, the province offices were overturned, the roads cut off, Yuánxián was harmed, old and young all killed. I Jìng went through islets and shores over five thousand lǐ, again encountered illness and plague, my father’s elder brother’s wife lost life, together with various followers, from the various wives and children, at the time they were completely lost. Again supporting one another, advancing to this prefecture, calculating those harmed by troops or lost to illness, out of ten the remaining are one to two. The living people’s hardships, their suffering is extreme, how can it all be explained! (2) Fearing to in the end collapse, to forever be a lost caitiff, the worry and distress is miserable, forgetting to rest and eat. Wishing to attach with presenting Court tribute messenger, and self obtain relief and passage, to return to die in imperial halls, but Jīngzhōu’s waters and lands are without crossings, Jiāo region’s relay stations are cut off. Wishing to go up to Yìzhōu, again there is harsh terrain, and therefore the appointed officials, all cannot enter. Previous order had Jiāozhǐ Administrator Shì Wēiyàn, deeply divide and entrust in our Yìzhōu brothers, also I Jìng also myself wrote letter, exhaustion earnest and sorrowful, but again am lonesome, without answer. Though looking up to view the lights, craning neck and standing on toe, how can I fly to there?”
“Knowing the sagely ruler is enlightened, brightly bestowing on you appointment to command campaigns, and of the various rebels, most have been punished, those wishing to with strength fight are of one heart, the obedient are of the same standard. Also Zhāng Zǐyún in the past was at the capital, had ambition to rectify the ruling house, now though overlooking desolate regions, unable to attend to the court, he also for the country is a defense, and your outer assistance. (3) If Jīng and Chǔ are pacified, the ruler’s favor reaching south, you must quickly give command to Zǐyún, diligently see protection of dependents, to allow roads to from Jīngzhōu go out, and if not so, then again I will join with our Yìzhōu brothers, to be accepted and received. If Heaven is generous in its years, Man slow in its disasters, so I am able to return to die in my country, resolving burden of fleeing, to sink down to the Nine Springs, what regret would there be? If time has its hard and easy, matters have their sharpness and bluntness, human’s life is not constant, death does not arrive, then forever I hold guilt, entering the frontier lands.”
“In the past Yíngqiū [Lǚ Wàng] assisted Zhōu, staff and battle-ax commanding campaigns, Bólù [Huò Guāng] aided Hàn, Tiger Elite warning to clear the streets. (4) Today you rescue the endangered and hold up the overturned, for the state a pillar of stone, wielding Teacher [Lǚ] Wàng’s appointment, simultaneously Huò Guāng’s heaviness. Five Marquis Nine Earls, regulation and command in your hand, from antiquity to now, the honored of servants of men do not match to you. Those of high rank have deep worries, those of generous salary have heavy responsibilities, you reside appointment of high rank, on heavy responsibility ground, speech leaves our moth, at once it becomes reward or punishment, the thoughts that you store, then become disaster or fortune. Conduct obtains the way, then the State Altars have peace; conduct loses the way, then the Four Quarters are scattered in chaos. The country’s safety or danger, are with you sir; the common people’s lives, depend on your actions of service. From the heartlands to the foreigners, all take note and watch. You are appointed like this, how can you can you but distantly reflect on recorded registers on the origin of falling and rising, the critical points of honor and disgrace, abandon and forget old wrongs, harmonize with various managers, to examine and measure the five talents, to for offices select people? If obtaining these men, though hateful be certain to promote them, if not these men, though close do not award them. In this way pacify the State Altars, in this way relieve the lower people, matter established and achievement accomplished, then fastening sound in pipe and strings, engraving merits on metal and stone, may you exhort yourself! For the state value yourself, for the people care for yourself.”
Xiáng resented that Jìng did not accept him, gathered all the letters that had been sent to Jìng, and threw them all into the water.
- (1) Wànjī lùn says: Xiáng appellation Yuánfèng.
- (2) Your Servant Sōngzhī believes Kǒng-zǐ said: “The worthy shun the world, the next shun lands,” overall to esteem those knowing and seeing safety and danger, leaving to obtain it. Xǔ Jìng traveled to become guest in Kuàijī, was only a village man, Sūn Cè’s coming, to Jìng was what concern? And to then float ten thousand lǐ of sea, enter lands of epidemic and plague, to cause the old and young to be in utter misery, the hundreds of sorrows and experiences, can be said to be self inflicted. A strategic minister like this, is difficult to call wise. How could he be like those at the time who resided in obedience, to in the end serve Wú and Yuè, with Zhāng Zhāo and Zhāng Hóng together protecting their fundamental fortunes?
- (3) Zǐyuán named Jīn, Nányáng man, became Jiāozhōu Inspector. See Wúzhì.
- (4) Hànshū Huò Guāng zhuàn states: “Guāng was sent out to command Trained Cadet Feather Forest, on the road alerting to clear the streets.” It is unclear where Tiger Elite came from.
Later Liú Zhāng then sent envoy to recruit Jìng, and Jìng came and entered Shǔ. [Liú] Zhāng appointed Jìng as Bājùn and Guǎnghàn Administrator. Nányáng’s Sòng Zhòngzǐ in Jīngzhōu with Shǔjùn Administrator Wáng Shāng wrote letter that said: “Wénxiū is elegant and ornate, serves the present age, and you sir should take him as a guide.” (1)
- (1) Yìzhōu Qíjiù zhuàn states: [Wáng] Shāng appellation Wénbiǎo was a Guǎnghàn man, for literary scholarship was praised, his reputation known in his hometown. Liú Zhāng recruited him as Internal Manager Attending Official. At the time the ruler was cut off, the provincial governors were like the Seven States vassal lords, but [Liú] Zhāng was weak and suspicious, and could not join with and trust his great ministers. [Wáng] Shāng memorialized remonstrating [Liú] Zhāng, [Liú] Zhāng was appreciative. Previously, Hán Suì with Mǎ Téng made chaos in Guānzhōng, repeatedly with [Liú] Zhāng’s father Yān communicated in letters, so that [Mǎ] Téng’s son Chāo again with [Liú Zhāng exchanged news, and had intention to ally with Shǔ. [Wáng] Shāng said to [Liú] Zhāng: “[Mǎ] Chāo is valorous but not benevolent, and seeing gains does not think of righteousness, and cannot be like lips and teeth [allies]. Lǎo-zǐ states: ‘A state’s sharp weapon, cannot be shown to people.’ Now in Yì region, the elites are good and the people prosperous, where treasures are produced, and this then is what the crafty desire to overturn, and why [Mǎ] Chāo and the rest look west. If you draw them in and are close to them, then it is like raising a tiger, and ti will cause oneself later misfortune.” [Liú] Zhāng followed his words, and so refused [Mǎ Chāo]. Jīngzhōu Governor Liú Biǎo and classicist Sòng Zhōng both heard his reputation, and exchanged letters with [Wáng] Shāng conveying attentiveness. Xǔ Jìng was said to be [skilled at appraising a person’s] good and bad, reached Shǔ, met [Wáng] Shāng and praised him saying: “If [Wáng] Shāng was born in the heartlands, even Wáng Jǐngxīng would have nothing to add.” [Liú] Zhāng appointed [Wáng] Shāng as Shǔjùn Administrator. Chéngdū’s Qín Jiān had utmost filial conduct, [Wáng] Shāng memorialized his grave, posthumously titling filial and incorrupt candidate. Also he with Yán Jūnpíng, Lǐ Hóng established sacrificial shrine and made inscription, to make manifest a past worthy. He cultivated scholarship and spread agriculture, the common people were convenient by it. He was in the prefecture for ten years, died in office, and Xǔ Jìng succeeded him.
Jiàn’ān Sixteenth Year , he was transferred to Shǔjùn. (2)
- (2) Shānyáng Gōng Zàijì states: Jiàn’ān Seventeenth Year , Hàn enthroned Imperial son [Liú] Xī as King of Jǐyīn, [Liú] Yì as King of Shānyáng, [Liú] Dūn as King of Dōnghǎi. Jìng heard this and said: “‘Wishing to hoard it, one must spread it; wishing to gain it, one must share it.’ This is what [Cáo Cāo] Mèngdé is saying!”
Nineteenth Year , Xiānzhǔ [Liú Bèi] overcame Shǔ, and appointed Jìng as Left General’s Chief Clerk. Xiānzhǔ became King of Hànzhōng , Jìng was his Grand Tutor. When claiming honored title , seal on Jìng said: “I the subtle obtain and serve the vast enterprise, lord overlooking all states, from morning to night am anxious, afraid I am unable to pacify. The hundred clans are not close, the five grades not modest, you will be Excellency over the Masses, to venerate and spread the five teachings, in lenience. You must exhort yourself! Grasp virtue without negligence, to serve I the subtle’s intentions.”
Jìng though in years was over seventy, he loved and enjoyed people, invited and accepted later generations, pure conversation without tiring. Chancellor Zhūgě Liàng always to him bowed. Zhāngwǔ Second Year  he died. His son Qīn, before Jìng early died. Qīn’s son Yóu, during Jǐngyào [258-263] became Secretariat Documenter.
Previously Jìng like to an elder brother served Yǐngchuān’s Chén Jǐ, and with Chénjùn’s Yuán Huàn, Píngyuán’s Huà Xīn, Dōnghǎi’s Wáng Lǎng and others were friendly. [Huà] Xīn, [Wáng] Lǎng, and [Chén] Jǐ’s son [Chén] Qún, at Wèi’s beginning were Excellencies and supporting great ministers, all with Jìng wrote letter, talking of old friendships, affection and camaraderie conveyed, the writings many and therefore not recorded. (1)
- (1) Wèilüè: Wáng Lǎng with Wénxiū wrote letter that said: “Wénxiū sir: [to hear] news [you are] safe and sound, is very good very good. How could one imagine parting for over thirty years and not being able to meet again! The poets compare one day’s parting to years and moons, how all the more going on and on undergoing over two decades of years! Since with you parting, when sinking again floating, when cut off again connecting, it has been many times. And now and afterward, [I am] residing in a peaceful capital, attaching to a flying dragon of a sagely ruler; [our] generation of companions is completely gone, it is good fortune to be able to grow old and with you sir together be the remaining sort’s old gentlemen, but [we are] separated from one another by several thousand lǐ, added with crippling distances, when hearing news in the wind sounds, entrusting in old affections in thought, solitary solitary in difference places, with different eras without difference. Previously while accompanying the army to Jīng province, [I] met Dèng Zǐxiào and Huán Yuánjiāng, and roughly heard of your movements, saying that you were already at Yì province, grasping duty to oversee prefectures, virtuous nature standardized, old but not degenerated. At the time [I was] attending to Wǔ Huángdì [Cáo Cāo] at Jiānglíng above where Liú [Biǎo] Jǐngshēng heard affairs, together [we] talked of you all night, sincerely as hunger and thirst, truly without end. From when Heaven’s Son [Cáo Pī] was at the East Palace [was successor son], reaching to the ascension to the throne afterward, at every gathering of various worthies, discussing the realm under heaven’s fashionable and eminent still present, how can a single man completely transform to become outstanding, elites finely change to obtain the greatest, therefore then humbly by my decayed self, moving Heaven’s Son’s feeling and hearing; every time narrating of you sir, you are foremost, how then this taking note, then surpasses former ages? The Shū states: ‘men only seek the old,’ the Yì says: ‘same sounds mutually answer, same airs mutually seek.’ General Liú with Great Wèi, is simultaneously and both in these two meanings. Previous ages chance encounters, the same becoming separated, was not Wǔ Huángdì’s aim, the recent errs and tumbles, its goods and wrongs, also was not your intentions. Deeply pondering the meaning of the Shū and Yì, it is beneficial to join separated friends, and therefore [I] send a surrendered to deliver Wú’s tributed famed horses, sables, rugs, obtaining them be without suspicion. The road is newly opened, to narrate old feelings, to convey news and inquiries. A long separation’s feelings fostered, are not what a pen and ink are able to write and explain, and also [I] think you sir are of the same in this will and memory. At present, your own sons and daughters are altogether how many people? Their years are what? I successively lost one son and one daughter, now I have two sons: the elder son is named Sù, twenty-nine years, born at Kuàijī, the younger son is only over a year. Overlooking letter in grief and regret, there is thought of remoteness.”
- It also said: “In the past I heard the words ‘receiving end at Wénzǔ’ in the Shàngshū. I also heard the writing ‘calendar calculations on myself, justly grasp its center’ in the Lúnyǔ. How did I myself [witness] it in my teeth of old age, right at the coincidence of Heaven’s Mandate received on a sagely ruler, personally seeing the grand words of the Three Yieldings and watching the gathering of the multitude of omens, observing the flourishing rituals of the ascending of the hall solemn and reverent, gazing on the dark smoke of the brilliant flames of the sacrificial fires; at the time I suddenly believed I was at the transfer from Táng to Yú, right at the Heavenly Court at Zǐwēi. I only sigh that I could not hold your hand, and together with you stand in the line of the twenty and two sirs, to listen to Táng’s “Qīn zāi” command. Though you are at the frontier lands, [I] think you also strain eyes and look back, turn ear and distantly listen, stretch neck and like a crane stand. In the past when Rǔnán’s Excellency Chén (Jì) was first appointed, he did not go along with former situations, and yielded [a position] Above the Minsiters to Lǐ Yuánlǐ. By this considering things, I should retire myself to push onto you my position. If I were able to push onto you to seize a reputation of yielding, and afterward relax girdle and entrust pledge, to roam and converse among [Chén] Píng and [Zhōu] Bó, to with you together explain the hardships of former times and fleeing the lands, music and liquor intoxicated and feasting, highly talking and greatly laughing, it would also be enough to leave behind worries and forget old age. I clutch pen to explain feelings, and so laugh.
- It also said: “Last summer I had a letter but did not yet send it, and now I again write a letter, and join it with the previous. The Imperial Emperor [Cáo Pī] deeply mourns that General Liú [Bèi] has early passed, and also pities that his orphan [Liú Shàn] is not at ease, and cherishes you sir and [Zhūgě Liàng] Kǒngmíng and other scholars of your sort, deeply drowned into the Qiāng and Yí’s different sorts, ever with the central heartlands opposed and cut off, and without a time to join with the central states, gazing out toward your former homelands, and therefore he again sends compassionate remebrance and labors benevolent heart, again sends down enlightened Imperial Order to issue virtuous sound, extending commands on I Lǎng and the rest, to be sent again to write letters to you sir and the rest, that as you sirs are intelligent and enlightened, to consider the attentive sagely intention, and also sufficiently understand that the sea and Dài will forever be, and know how the hundred streams should flow. In the past Yī Yǐn left Xià and joined Yīn, Chén Píng opposed Chǔ and submitted to Hàn, yet had glorious virtue to Āhéng, outstanding achievements as foremost minister. If you sir are able to assist the orphan of men [Liú Shàn], settle the hesitations of men, leave the false title against order, serve the Great Wèi that accepted the Mandate, guest and host simultaneously would have unlimited glorious name, high and low immersed in undecaying constant brilliance, achievements with service merged, reputation with merits written; considering these achievements, it would be sufficient to surpass Yī [Yǐn] and Lǚ [Shàng]. Both carrying on the Imperial Order’s intentions, and moreover considering [our] old feelings, [my] feelings cannot be limited. If I had not spoken of your abilities, explained what you had seen, then there would have been no declaration of enlightened Imperial Order command, vast and shining great favor, narrating thoughts of former dreams. If Heaven enlightens the multitudes of hearts, and you guide Shǔ’s intentions, truly this intention of joining hands has a future date. If rugged roads are not yet cleared, your plans not followed, then [I] fear [our] communication may be blocked, and then how would we again face [one another]? The former and latter two letters, every time the speech reached this, [I] hoped to not have such cutting movement in my chest. You sir traveled about the rivers and lakes, reaching to the south sea, successively observing foreign customs, and can be said to have gone everywhere; thinking of your heart, it is bound to think of the central heartlands, and can be said to be deep. For yourself selecting residence, yet it wishes to be in the central lands; for your ruler selecting security, how can [you] not think of the capital, and yet [you] hold to suspicion on the desolate frontier? In detail consider my foolish words, and quickly send reply.”