Translator’s Note: I use Gǔ over Jiǎ. I still have not been able to find a convincing argument for preferring one pronunciation over the other, but I still had to pick one, so I did. As far as I know, Jiǎ is also valid.
Fù Gǔ appellation Lánshí was a Běidì Níyáng man, Fù Jièzǐ’s descendant. His father’s elder brother [Fù] Xùn, during Huángchū [220-226] was Attendant Internal Secretariat Documenter. (1) Gǔ when capped was well known, (2) Excellency of Works Chén Qún recruited him as an Official.
- (1) Fù-zǐ states: Gǔ’s grandfather Ruì was Dài prefecture Administrator. His father Yǔn was Yellow Gate Attendant Cadet.
- (2) Fù-zǐ states: At the time Hé Yàn for talent in debate was prominent among the noble in-laws, Dèng Yáng was good at changing to circumstance, gathered followers and associates, sold reputation in the streets, and Xiàhóu Xuán as a noble minister’s son from youth had heavy reputation, becoming his clan leader, and sought friendship with Gǔ but was not accepted. Gǔ’s friend Xún Càn, had pure knowledge and far-seeing heart, however he was yet bewildered by this, and said to Gǔ: “Xiàhóu Tàichū is the whole time’s outstanding figure, and with humble heart seeks friendship with you, to accept then is good accomplishment, to not accept then blame will arrive. Two worthies not getting along, is not to the state’s benefit. This is why Lìn Xiāngrú deferred to Lián Pó.” Gǔ replied to him saying: “Tàichū’s ambition is larger than his capacity, able to gather empty reputation but without true talent. Hé Píngshū speaks of the far-reaching but his feelings are limited, enjoys debate but is without sincerity, what is called a man of sharp mouth to overturn the country. Dèng Xuánmào has action but is without completion, outside wanting fame and profit, inside without gate key, values the agreeing and hates the disagreeing, has many words but envies the advanced; many words is many quarrels, envying the advanced is to be without intimacy. By my observation of these three men, all ruin virtue. Staying distant from them yet [I] fear disaster will reach, so all the more drawing close to them!”
At the time Cavalier Regular Attendant Liú Shào composed Kǎo kè fǎ “Examinations and Differentiation Methods,” the matter was sent down to the Three Offices. Gǔ criticized [Liú] Shào’s discussing saying: “Overall one hears an Emperor’s Regulations are magnificent and deep, the Sage’s Way obscure and remote, if there is not this capacity, then the Way is not from nothing enacted, divinity and enlightening it, is stored in this person. If the ruler’s outlines are deficient and declining and neglect conveying of unification, profound words are lost, the Six Books are lost and blemished. Why is this? The Way is grand and stretches far but of the masses’ talents none can reach. Citing [Liú] Shào’s Kǎo Kè lùn “Examinations and Differentiation Discussion,” although it wishes to seek the previous ages’ writings on dismissing and promoting, however these regulation systems overall are deficient and lost. Of Rituals that survive, there are only Zhōu’s standards, outside establishing marquis and earls, vassal screens in nine regions, inside setting ranked managers, charged with the Six Offices, lands have fixed tribute, officials have settled standards, the hundred duties uniformly present, the four peoples [elites, farmers, artisans, merchants] different enterprises, and therefore examining achievements could be reasonable and dismissing and promoting easily attained. Great Wèi continues the Hundred King’s end, carrying on Qín and Hàn’s exploits, the legacies of regulation standards, are not cultivated and gathered. From Jiàn’ān [196-220] onward, reaching to Qīnglóng [233-237], divine warfare suppressed chaos, beginning foundations of Imperial blessings, sweeping away the vicious and rebellious, cutting and razing the remaining bandits, banners and flags rolling and unfolding, daily without rest. Reaching to ruling state and governing warfare, authority and law are both used, the hundred officials and various managers, military and state enacted appointments, are by the times and appropriateness, in order to answer government opportunities. Using the ancient to endow the present, the matters are mixed and the meanings different, difficult to obtain and enact. The reason why is that regulations should rule the far-reaching, which might not be very close, laws answering the time’s affairs, are not worthy passing down to posterity. The establishing of offices and setting of duties, purifying and reasoning of people and things, is how to set foundations; abiding by names and examining facts, investigating and revising established rules, is how to govern ends. Foundation principles not yet raised and yet composing regulations not yet presented, state outlines not complete and yet examining differentiation is first, one fears it is not sufficient to determine the separation of worthy and foolish. In the past the former kings in selecting talents, were certain to begin conduct in provincial gates, lecturing in schools, conduct provided and called it worthy, the way cultivated and then called it able. Village elders proffered the worthy and able to kings, the kings respected and received them, raising their worthy, sending out to lead them, levying their able, entering to govern them, this is the meaning of former kings receiving talents. Right now the nine provinces’ people, reaching to the capital city, do not have the six villages’ raising, the duty of selecting talents, is solely given to the Selections Department. Citing character conditions then true talent is not necessarily managed, appointing frivolous boasts then virtue and conduct are not narrated, in this way then the palace hall’s utmost distinguishing, is not exhaustive in human talent. Narrating and gathering the ruling judgment, spreading and supporting the state’s patterns, form deep and righteousness wide, it is difficult to obtain and detail.”
Zhèngshǐ’s beginning , appointed Secretariat Documents Cadet, promoted to Yellow Gate Attendant Cadet. At the time Cáo Shuǎng controlled the government, Hé Yàn was Selections Department Secretariat Documenter, Gǔ said to [Cáo] Shuǎng’s younger brother Xī: “Hé Píngshū outside is calm but inside is sharply opportunistic, enjoys profits, and does not attend to foundations. I fear he will certainly first confuse you and yoru brothers, benevolent men will become distant, and the Court government will be overthrown.” [Hé] Yàn and the rest therefore with Gǔ were not at peace, and therefore for a minuscule matter dismissed Gǔ from office. At his home he was appointed Xíngyáng Administrator, did not go. Grand Tutor Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng invited him as Accompanying Matters Internal Cadet.
Cáo Shuǎng was executed . Became Hénán Intendant, (1) promoted to Secretariat Documenter. Gǔ always believed: “Qín Shǐ in abolishing marquis and installing administrators, arranging officials and dividing duties, was not with the ancients the same. Hàn and Wèi continued this, reaching to the present. However classicist scholars all wish to restore the rituals of the Three Dynasties. Rituals grand and reaching far, do not answer the times’ affairs, matters with regulations oppose, names and reality are not yet attached, and therefore for successive ages yet it has not reached governance, overall because of this. One wishes to greatly reform and settle official regulations, comply with the ancients and rectify the foundations, [but] now encountering an Emperor’s House with many troubles, one cannot yet reform and change.”
- (1) Fù-zǐ states: Hénán Intendant inside handled the Emperor’s capital, outside presided over the capital territories, simultaneously the ancient six villages [area within 100 lǐ of the capital] and six proceedings’ [area within 200 lǐ of the capital] elites. Its peoples from different regions mixed together in residence, many were of powerful families and great clans, merchants and traders and Hú and Mò [tribal peoples], Under Heaven four gatherings, profiting from the assembling together, and yet treachery from this was produced. The previous Intendant Sīmǎ Zhī, raised his gatherings but was too simple, the next Intendant Liú Jìng joined his eyes but was too secretive, the later Intendant Lǐ Shèng destroyed standard laws to collect a time’s reputation. Gǔ established sir Sīmǎ’s gathering presiding, reduced sir Liú’s gathering eyes to weave it, what sir Lǐ destroyed he gradually restored it. The prefecture had 700 officials, half were not long serving. Hénán’s vulgar factions, Five Office officials, Merit Officers, managed selected duties, all were awarded to his home country men, without using of other country men, Gǔ in every case raised their best and rightly employed them, officials and departments divided duties, and afterwards in succession examined and evaluated them. His governance took virtue and teaching as foundation, however in wielding law it had permanence, simple and could not be violated, saw reason and noted feeling, prison litigation without adding torture yet obtained the facts. Without acting for petty kindnesses, if there were recommended attainments reaching great benefits for people’s affairs, all were secretive in his origins and vestiges, as if it did not from himself come out. Therefore at the time he was without dazzling reputation, the officials and people for a long time afterward were secured by this.
At the time commentators discussed wishes to attack Wú, the Three Campaign [Generals Wáng Chǎng, Hú Zūn, Guànqiū Jiǎn] presented strategies, and each were not the same. Imperial Order about this asked Gǔ, Gǔ replied saying: “In the past Fūchāi humbled Qí and surpassed Jìn, his authority spreading across the Central States, in the end coming to disaster at Gūsū; Qí Mǐn enveloped territory and expanded borders, developing lands of a thousand lǐ, [but] his body was trampled and overturned. What begins does not necessarily end well, is the ancient’s enlightened example. Sūn Quán from destroying Guān Yǔ and absorbing Jīng Province afterward, his ambitions flourished and his desires filled, vicious treason reaching the utmost, and therefore Marquis Xuān-Wén [Sīmǎ Yì] deeply established a strategy for vast planning and great mobilization. Now [Sūn] Quán is dead, entrusting the orphan to Zhūgě Kè. If he redresses [Sūn] Quán’s severe violence, reduces his oppressive governance, the people escape brutal intensity, steal security and renew kindness, outside and inside evenly considered, there will be the fear of a shared boat, and though they cannot to the end self protect and preserve, yet it is sufficient to delay submission to the Mandate from beyond the deep Jiāng. But of commentators some wish to sail boats and directly cross, rampaging beyond the Jiāng; some wish to on four routes together advance, attacking their fortresses and ramparts; some wish to greatly farm and cultivate the borders, watch for quarrels and move: truly all are standard plans for taking bandits. However from the drilling of troops onward, going out and coming in for three years, it is not an army for a surprise attack. The rebels in plundering, altogether have been sixty years, their ruler and ministers falsely established, good and bad sharing misfortune, and also have lost their primary commander, superiors and subordinates are anxious and endangered, establish and line up boats at vital crossings, firmly fortifying and occupying rugged terrain, the strategy for rampaging, it probably is difficult to succeed. Only advancing the army to greatly farm, is most lacking in security. The soldiers set out and the people enveloped, the bandits plundering cannot invade; sitting and eating amassed grain, does not toil transport troops; taking advantage of quarrels to attack, is without distant toil and expenses: this is the army’s urgent matter. In the past Fán Kuài asked for a hundred thousand army, to rampage against the Xiōngnú, Jì Bù to his face argued its shortcomings. Now wishing to cross the Cháng Jiāng, wade to the caitiff’s court, also is like that time in analogy. It does not match enlightening law and training troops, polish strategies on absolutely secure ground, resonate long-term plans to restrain the enemy’s embers, this is a certain calculation.” (1) Later Wú General-in-Chief Zhūgě Kè newly defeated Dōngguān, following up on victory to spread word of wishing to head into Qīng and Xú, the Court was about to for this prepare. Gǔ commented believing: “The Huái and Hǎi are not roads the rebels can recklessly travel, also in the past Sūn Quán sent troops to enter Hǎi, floating waves submerging, completely lost without survivors. How can Kè dare to overturn roots and exhaust base, to throw life into the vast currents, to by luck decide gain and loss? (2) Kè will not do more than send supporting forces and lesser officers with skilled navy, to ride the Hǎi and sail the Huái, to show movement in Qīng and Xú, Kè personally will gather troops to come toward Huáinán and that is all.” Later Kè indeed planned against Xīnchéng, was unsuccessful and returned.
- (1) Sīmǎ Biāo’s Zhànlüè records Gǔ’s this answer in more detail than the base biography, now all record it to complete its meaning. Biāo states: Jiāpíng Fourth Year  Fourth Moon, Sūn Quán died. Campaigning South General-in-Chief Wáng Chǎng, Campaigning East General Hú Zūn, Defending South General Guànqiū Jiǎn and others memorialized to request to campaign against Wú. The Court because the three campaign strategies were different, gave Imperial Order to ask Secretariat Documenter Fù Gǔ, Gǔ replied saying:
- In the past Fūchāi surpassed Qí and humbled Jìn, his authority spreading across the Central States, [but] was not able to escape Gūsū’s disaster; Qí Mǐn expanded territory and enveloped state, opening lands of a thousand lǐ, [but] was not enough to save from toppling defeat: what begins does not necessarily end well, is the ancient’s enlightened example. Sūn Quán from destroying Shǔ and pacifying Jīng Province afterward, his ambitions flourished and his desires filled, he punished and killed the loyal and good, even reaching to his successors, his fundamental evils already utmost. Chancellor of State Marquis Xuān-Wén [Sīmǎ Yì] previously noted the meaning of seeking chaos and inviting destruction, and deeply established a strategy for vast planning and great mobilization. Now [Sūn] Quán is already dead, entrusting the orphan to Zhūgě Kè. If he redresses [Sūn] Quán’s severe violence, reduces his oppressive governance, the people escape brutal intensity, steal security and renew kindness, outside and inside evenly considered, there will be the fear of a shared boat, and though they cannot to the end self protect and preserve, yet it is sufficient to delay submission to the Mandate from beyond the deep Jiāng. Of [Wáng] Chǎng and the rest some wish to sail boats and directly cross, rampaging beyond the Jiāng, capturing people and plundering land, taking provisions from the bandits; some wish to on four routes together advance, overlooking them with warfare, enticing those among them to rebel, and wait for their collapse; some wish to advance army to greatly farm, pressuring their neck, amassing grain and watching for quarrels, to in answer to times move. Altogether these three, are all standard plans for taking bandits. However in acting on opportunity, then achievement is accomplished and name established, if it does not answer season, then certainly there will be later misfortune. From the drilling of troops onward, going out and coming in for three years, it is not an army for a surprise attack. The rebels have lost their primary commander, store advantage in withdrawing and defending, if they gather boats and oars, collecting ships at vital crossings, firmly fortifying clear fields, to oppose troops and attacks, the strategy for rampaging, is probably difficult in certainly carrying out. The rebels in plundering, altogether have been sixty years, their ruler and ministers falsely established, good and bad same in misfortune, if [Zhūgě] Kè removes their detriments, and Heaven removes their sufferings, answering a collapse, cannot in the end be waited for. Now defending the border lands, with the rebels mutually distant, the rebels establish nets, and also hold to heavy confidentialiaity, spies cannot go, ears and eyes are without hearing. Army being without ears and eyes, investigations being unclear, and yet raising great forces to overlook rugged terrain, this is to hope for luck for achievement, first battle and afterward seek victory, not a long-term plan to secure the army. Only advancing army to greatly farm, is most lacking in security. One can give Imperial Order on [Wáng] Chǎng and [Hú] Zūn and the rest to select territory and occupy rugged terrain, investigate their thorough installations, and order the three regions to at the same time ahead defend. Seizing their fertile soil, to have them return to plowing inferior land, is first. Troops going out and people enveloped, the bandits plundering cannot invade, is second. Enveloping nearby roads, the surrendering daily arrive, is third. Nets distantly established, so spies do not come, is fourth. The rebels withdraw to their defenses, their nets certainly slacken, farming and building change them, is fifth. Sitting and eating amassed grain, the troops not transporting, is sixth. Time of quarrel i sheard, suppressing and attacking quickly and decisively, is seventh. Altogether these seven, are military affairs’ urgent matter. Not occupying then the rebels usurp and take resources, occupying them then the benefit returns to the state, it cannot be not investigated. Garrisons and ramparts mutually pressuring, the situation is already met, the wise and valorous obtain plans, the timely and inelegant obtain use, planning for it and then knowing strategies of gains and losses, challenging it and then knowing if having abundance or lacking, the caitiff’s situation and falseness, how can it escape notice? To with the small face the large, then labor is expended and strength is exhausted, to with the poor face the wealthy, then losses are doubled and wealth is emptied. Therefore ‘Enemy at ease is able to toil them, full is able to hunger them,’ this is the saying. Afterward with flourishing armies and severe troops to shake them, sharing kindness and increasing reward to beckong to them, many regions spreading alike to spread doubt in them. Using unexected ways, to reach where they are not prepared. Within three years, left raising and right lifting, the caitiffs certainly will scatter and disintegrate, securely collecting their losses, can be while sitting computed and obtained. In the past the Hàn dynasty for successive generations always suffered from the Xiōngnú, the Court ministers and planning officials in morning held court and at night ceased, the armored and helmeted officers all explained plans for campaigns, the robed gentry sorts all advised marriage alliance, the valor exerting warriors thought of devoting to battle. Therefore Fán Kuài asked for a hundred thousand army, to rampage against the Xiōngnú, Jì Bù to his face argued its shortcomings. Lǐ Xìn asked for two hundred thousand alone to face the Chǔ men, and indeed dishonored the Qín army. Now the various officers have plans to cross the Jiāng and climb rugged terrain, alone striding the caitiff court, this also is like that time’s sort. With Your Majesty’s sagely virtue, the assistant minister [regent]’s loyalty and worthiness, laws enlightened and troops trained, polish strategies on absolutely secure ground, resonate long-term plans to restrain, the caitiffis’ collapse, is a certain calculation. Therefore military manuals state: ‘subduing another’s troops, and yet not battling; capturing another’s cities, and yet not attacking.’ If one abandons a temple plan victory’s certain reasoning, and enacts a ten thousand to one not certainly secure road, it truly is what I your humble servant am anxious of. Therefore I say the plan of greatly farming and pressuring them is the most superior.”
- At the time did not follow Gǔ’s advice. That year Eleventh Moon, Imperial Order on [Wáng] Chǎng and others to campaign against Wú. Fifth Year Standard Moon, Zhūgě Kè resisted and battled, greatly defeating the armies at Dōngguān.
- (2) Hàn shū Zhāng Tāng zhuàn states: Tāng began as a minor official, gained and lost [gān mò], with Cháng’ān’s wealthy merchants Tián Jiǎ’s and Yú Wēngshū’s sort connected privately.
- Fú Qián explains: Gained and lost [gān mò], is shooting success or failure.
- Like Chún states: “Obtaining benefit is gained [gān], losing benefit is lost [mò].”
- Your Servant Sōngzhī believes Qián directly says gained and lost as shooting success or failure and does not explain gain and loss’s meaning, its reasoning is still not yet fluent. Chún in using obtaining benefit is gained, also cannot be understood. I humbly say gained in reading it should be like dried out’s [gān] gained. Overall it says it is somewhat by luck shooting, without calculation of dried out [gān] or with liquid wetted [mò] in making it.
- [Translator’s Note: I humbly admit that I had no idea how to interpret 乾沒 until Péi Sōngzhī explained it. This is why annotations are great.]
Gǔ once discussed whether talent or nature were the same or different, Zhōng Huì compiled and discussed it. (1) At Jiāpíng’s end, bestowed noble rank as Marquis Within the Passes. The Duke of Gāoguì village succeeded the honored throne, advanced in fief to Wǔqīng precinct Marquis. Zhèngyuán Second Year Spring, Guànqiū Jiǎn and Wén Qīn created chaos, some believed Sīmǎ [Shī] Jǐng-wáng should not personally go, and could send Excellency Commandant [Sīmǎ] Fú to go, only Gǔ and Wáng Sù encouraged him. [Sīmǎ Shī] Jǐng-wáng therefore went. (2) Appointed Gǔ as designate Secretariat Documents Deputy Director, accompanying east. In [Guànqiū] Jiǎn and [Wén] Qīn being defeated, Gǔ had plans. When Jǐng-wáng died, Gǔ with Sīmǎ [Zhāo] Wén-wáng directly returned to Luòyáng, Wén-wáng therefore assisted the government. The story is in Zhōng Huì’s biography. (3) Huì because of this had self important appearance, Gǔ admonished him saying: “Your ambition is greater than your capacity, and achievements and enterprise are difficult to enact, can you be not cautious?” Gǔ for his achievements was advanced in fief to Yángxiāng marquis, increased fief by 600 households, adding to the previous to 1200 households. That year he died, at the time his years forty-seven, posthumously titled Minister of Ceremonies, posthumous name Yuán-hóu “Inaugural Marquis.” (4) His son Zhī succeeded. During Xiánxī established the Five Ranks, for Gǔ’s prominent achievements to the previous Court, changed fief of Zhī to Viscount of Jīngyuán. (5)
- (1) Fù-zǐ states: Gǔ both attained governance and enjoyed uprightness, and yet had pure reasoning and noted essentials, was good at discussing talent and nature, the foundational and profound, he was able to reach it. Colonel Director of Retainers Zhōng Huì’s years were very few, Gǔ by enlightened wisdom befriended [Zhōng] Hùi.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī cites: Fù-zǐ previously says Gǔ understood Xiàhóu [Xuán] would certainly be destroyed, and would not with him befriend, and yet here says he was with Zhōng Huì friendly. [I] humbly believe Xiàhóu Xuán by his heavy name reached misfortune, the quarrel from outside arrived; Zhōng Huì for benefit moved and obtained destruction, the disaster from himself was produced. That being the case Xiàhóu’s omen of danger was difficult to observe, but sir Zhōng’s appearance of destruction was easy to see. If Gǔ understood Xiàhóu was certainly endangered, but did not see Zhōng Huì was about to be destroyed, then his knowledge was incomplete, and difficult to call thorough. If he knew both would not end well, but his feelings differed like this, it was favor and discrimination coming from love and hate, how was it predicting success or destruction? Using love and hate to favor or discriminate, also is ruinous to an elegant form. Fù-zǐ in this discussion, does not benefit Gǔ.
- (2) Hàn Jìn Chūnqiū states: Gǔ firmly urged Jǐng-wáng to go, Jǐng-wáng had not yet followed. Gǔ again said: “Huái and Chǔ’s troops are stalwart, and Jiǎn and the rest’s carry strength to from afar contend, their advance is not yet easy to withstand. If the various officers battle and have edges blunted, great power entirely lost, then your excellency’s affairs are ruined.” At the time Jǐng-wáng had newly cut out eye tumor, the wound deep, heard Gǔ’s words, stumbled about and rose saying: “I request carriage urgently to go east.”
- (3) Shìyǔ states: [Sīmǎ Shī] Jǐng-wáng’s illness was extreme, he entrusted the court and government to Fù Gǔ, Gǔ did not dare accept. When he died, Gǔ secretly did not hold mourning, and with Jǐng-wáng’s orders summoned [Sīmǎ Zhāo] Wén-wáng to Xǔchāng, to manage the army.
- Sūn Shèng’s Píng states: Jìn Xuān [Sīmǎ Yì], Jǐng [Sīmǎ Shī], Wén [Sīmǎ Zhāo] in controlling Wèi, their power was heavy and mutually carrying on, and was the King’s enterprise’s foundation. How could petty little Fù Gǔ be appropriate to be involved in it? What Shìyǔ says, this is not correct.
- (4) Fù-zǐ states: Previously, Lǐ Fēng with Gǔ were of the same province, when young had prominent reputation, early held great office, inside and outside praised him, Gǔ also was not friendly. He said to his comrades: “Fēng ornaments falsely and has many suspicions, boasts of small failings and conceals power and wealth, if he resides in mediocrity it can be, if assigned critical affairs, encountering the wise he will certainly die.” Fēng later became Internal Documents Director, with Xiàhóu Xuán were both destroyed, in the end as Gǔ said. Gǔ from youth with Jì province Inspector Fěi Huī, and Cavalier Regular Attendant Xún Hán were friendly, Huī and Hán early died. He also with Defending North General Hé Zēng and Excellency of Works Chén Tài, Secretariat Documents Deputy Director Xún Yǐ, Rear General Zhōng Yù were together friendly, mutually shared in handling Court affairs, all became famed ministers.
- (5) Jìn Zhūgōng zàn states: Zhī appellation Zǐzhuāng, Gǔ’s youngest son. During Jìn Yǒngjiā reached Excellency of Works. Zhī’s son Xuān, appellation Shìhóng. Shìyǔ appraises Xuān as for fairness was famed, rank reached Censorate Central Deputy. Xuān’s younger brother Chàng, appellation Shìdào, Confidential Documents Deputy, died among the Hú. Written in Jìn Zhūgōng zàn and Jìn Gōngqīng Lǐzhì Gùshì.