Yǐngchuān’s Zhōu Zhāo wrote letter praising Bù Zhì and Yán Jùn and the rest that said:
“The ancient to now’s worthy scholar officials that lost name and ruined self and overturned family and harmed state, the causes are not just one. However taking their essentials and assembling their constant troubles, there are four and nothing more. Reckless discussion and comment is first, contending for reputation and power is second, valuing friend and faction is third, attending to desires quickly is fourth. Reckless discussion and comment then harms men, contending for reputation and power then destroys friends, valuing friend and faction then deceives the ruler, attending to desires quickly then loses virtue. If these four are not removed, then one cannot be secure. The present age’s noble men able to not be like this, also are in existence, how there only be ancients? However in discussing their differences, they cannot compare to Gù [Shào of] Yùzhāng, Sir Zhūgě [Jǐn], Chancellor Bù [Zhì], Minister of the Guard Yán [Jùn], Zhāng [Chéng the] Exerting Authority [General] in beauty.
Lúnyǔ says: ‘The master was sincere and good in attracting men,’ also stating ‘achieve men’s beauty, do not achieve men’s evils,’ [Gù Shào the Administrator of] Yùzhāng had this. ‘Watch with solemn dignity, meet with warmth, listen to their words strictly,’ Sir [Zhūgě Jǐn] embodied this. ‘Respectful and secure, authoritative but not ferocious,’ Chancellor [Bù Zhì] followed this. ‘Learn without seeking salary, heart without seeking gain,’ Minister of the Guard [Yàn Jùn] and Exerting Authority [General Zhāng Chéng] performed this. This five gentlemen, though in virtue truly have differences, lightness and heaviness not the same, as for residing in great restraint, not violating the four, all are of the same sort.”
“In the past Dīng Xū set out as orphan, Wú Càn as a herder began, [Gù Shào] Yùzhāng publicized their goodness, so that they became of Lù [Xùn] and Quán [Cóng]’s level, and therefore of men none were hidden and suppressed and social custom prospered. Sir [Zhūgě Jìn], Chancellor [Bù Zhì], Minister of the Guard [Yàn Jùn] three gentlemen, in the past from plain clothes were together friends, and various discussions therefore each told of their merits and drawbacks. Previously, first it was Minister of the Guard [Yàn Jùn], next Chancellor [Bù Zhì], and afterward Sir [Zhūgě Jǐn]; afterward they together served enlightened ruler, attending to the world’s matters, from this their talents were not the same, their ordering of reputation reversing from the previous, this is what the era’s ordinary people judged. As for the three gentlemen’s various goods, in the end they were without deficiency, could they not with the ancients interact! Also Lǔ [Sù] Crossing Jiāng [General] in the past wielded ten thousand troops, garrison residing Lùkǒu, that era’s beautiful enterprise, able and not able, who would not be willing? But the Crossing Jiāng [General Lǔ Sù] then died, the Minister of the Guard [Yàn Jùn] in answer was selected, as his talents were not to be a commander, he deeply declined and firmly yielded, to the end not accepting. Later he was moved to the Nine Ministers, promoted to manage the eight seats, the honor not sufficient for to self glorify, the salary not sufficient to self revere. As for the other two gentlemen, both in rank became high officers, thorough in wealth and utmost in nobility. The Minister of the Guard was without request or desire, the two gentlemen also did not praise and recommend, each holding to their will, protecting their good reputation. Kǒng-zǐ said: ‘The gentleman sympathizes but does not contest, befriends but does not faction.’ This was their manner.”
“Also Exerting Authority [General Zhāng Chéng]’s reputation, also was after the three gentlemen, managed a region’s garrison, receiving high officer’s appointment, with Sir [Zhūgě Jǐn] and Chancellor [Bù Zhì] not differing. However in successive state matters, discussing achievements and contributes, truly there was ordering, and therefore his noble rank and position in honor was different. But Exerting Authority was able to understand this share, his heart without desires that lost principle, served without seeking to fill up, every time ascending Court hall, he followed ritual and moved, words and aura speaking boldly, with nothing but loyalty. [Zhāng Xiū] Shūsì though was kin and noble, in speaking he worried of his destruction, Cài Wénzhì though was distant and lowly, he spoke and praised his worthiness. His daughter was matched to the Heir-Apparent, received gifts as if mourning, generous in giving, only serious of men, success and failure gains and losses, all was as he considered, and it can be called holding to principle and seeing function, good as an ancient scholar.”
“If then these govern the state, manage the army, in speedy time, establish overlord’s achievement, these five do not yet surpass men. As for purity in following the way, seeking not for gain, rising and falling in the world, protecting reputation and conduct, remove custom, they truly are teachers. Therefore I coarsely discuss these matters, to show to posterity superior gentlemen.”
Zhōu Zhāo appellation Gōngyuǎn, with Wéi Yào, Xuē Yíng, Huà Hé together wrote Wúshū, later he became Internal Documents Cadet, in connection a matter was sent down to prison, [Huà] Hé memorialized to plead for him, Sūn Xiū did not listen, and therefore he was executed.
Zhāng Zhāo received posthumous command to to be support and assistant, achievement and accomplishment successful and raised, loyal bold words direct and upright, actions not for himself; but for his sternness he was seen with dread, for his highness he was seen as an outsider, he did not become Chancellor, and also did not rise to Teacher or Protector, returned home, living in retirement and nothing more, from this it is clear that [Sūn] Quán did not match [Sūn] Cè.
Gù Yōng accorded to pure conduct, and managed it with wisdom, and therefore was able to reach the highest honored position.
Zhūgě Jǐn and Bù Zhì both by virtuous consideration and restraint met with use at the time.
Zhāng Chéng and Gù Shào were open-hearted leaders, good at valuing men, Zhōu Zhāo’s discussion, praised their extreme beauty, and therefore is in detail recorded. [Gù] Tán presented counsel for the public, having loyal and chaste integrity. [Zhāng] Xiū and [Gù] Chéng cultivated will, with all were friendly. But love and hate attack one another, they were exiled to the southern frontiers, how tragic!