Lǐ Yán appellation Zhèngfāng was a Nányáng man. When young he became a prefecture official, for talent and ability was praised. Jīng Province Governor Liú Biǎo had him successively serve in various prefectures and counties. At the time Excellency Cáo entered Jīng Province, Yán managed Zǐguī, and therefore went west to visit Shǔ, Liú Zhāng appointed him Chéngdū Magistrate, again he had reputation for ability. Jiàn’ān Eighteenth Year  appointed Yán as Protector of the Army, to resist Xiānzhǔ [Liú Bèi] at Miánzhú. Yán led his forces to surrender to Xiānzhǔ, Xiānzhǔ appointed Yán Assistant General. When Chéngdū was settled, he became Qiánwèi Administrator, Raising Enterprise General. Twenty-third Year , robber bandits Mǎ Qín and Gāo Shèng and others raised troubles at Qī, gathered divisions and squads of several tens of thousand men, arriving at Zīzhōng county. At the time Xiānzhǔ was at Hànzhōng, Yán did not again mobilize troops, but led prefecture soldiers of five thousand men to suppress them, beheading [Mǎ] Qín and [Gāo] Shèng and the rest’s heads. The branch factions scattered, all returning to civilian registers. Also Yuèxī barbarian leader Gāo Dìng sent army to besiege Xīndào county, Yán quickly went to go rescue, the bandits all were defeated and fled. Added Assisting Hàn General, designate in the prefecture as before.
Zhāngwǔ Second Year , Xiānzhǔ summoned Yán to visit Yǒng’ān Palace, appointed Secretariat Documents Director. Third Year , Xiānzhǔ was ill, Yán with Zhūgě Liàng received the posthumous Imperial Order to assist the young ruler, with Yán as Internal Regional Protector, managing inner and outer military affairs, remaining to defend Yǒng’ān. Jiànxīng Inaugural Year, enfeoffed as a capital village Marquis, Lent Staff, added Minister of Merits. Fourth Year , transferred to Front General. As Zhūgě Liàng wished to set out army to Hànzhōng, Yán understood rear affairs, moving garrison to Jiāngzhōu, leaving Protector of the Army Chén Dào to station at Yǒng’ān, all subordinate to Yán. Yán with Mèng Dá’s letter said: “I with Kǒngmíng both received the entrusting, the worries deep and responsibilities heavy, and appreciate obtaining a good partner.” Liàng also with Dá wrote letter that said: “Section like flowing, hastening without sluggishness, is Zhèngfāng’s nature.” He met with nobility and value like this. (1) Eighth Year , promoted to Elite Cavalry General. As Cáo Zhēn wished to on three roads head toward Hànchuān, Liàng ordered Yán to lead twenty thousand men to go to Hànzhōng. Liàng memorialized Yán’s son Fēng as Jiāngzhōu Regional Commander Commander of the Army, managing Yán’s rear affairs. Liàng in the next year was about to set out the army, ordering Yán as Internal Regional Protector arrange office matters. Yán changed name to Píng.
- (1) Zhūgě Liàng Jí has Yán to Liàng’s letter, advising Liàng it was appropriate to receive the Nine Bestowments, advancing fief to be declared King. Liàng’s reply letter said: “I and you have known each other for a long time, but [we] no longer mutually understand each other! You should encourage restoring the state, and warning of improper ways, therefore I cannot be silent. I originally was the eastern region’s lower servicemen, mistakenly employed by the Former Emperor, my rank the highest of servants of men, my salary and bestowments in the hundreds of hundred millions, now the suppression of the rebels is not yet enacted, you who understand me do not answer it, but apply the favors of Qí and Jìn, seating in nobility and greatness, it is not righteous. If [we] destroy Wèi and behead [Cáo] Ruì, the Emperor returning to the former residence, then [I will] with you sirs together rise, so even ten bestowments could be accepted, all the more for nine!”
Ninth Year Spring, Liàng’s army was at Qíshān, Píng supervised transport matters. During autumn and summer, it happened to continuously rain, transports and grain was not connected, Píng sent Advisor to the Army Hú Zhōng and Commander of the Army Chéng Fān to inform and call Liàng to come return. Liàng thus withdrew the army. Píng heard the army withdrew, and then acted alarmed, saying “The military provisions are ample, why then return?” wishing to relieve himself of the blame of not managing, and make prominent Liàng’s fault of not advancing. He also memorialized Hòuzhǔ [Liú Shàn], saying “The army feigns withdrawing, wishing to entice the bandits to battle.” Liàng prepared and produced his beginning to end hand penned letters and memorials from root to tip, Píng’s violations and wrongs were clear and obvious. Píng’s words and feelings were exhausted, and he himself submitted to punishment. Therefore Liáng memorialized Píng saying: “From the Former Emperor passing afterward, Píng focused on managing his house, yet acted for small favors, securing himself and seeking reputation, without worry for the state’s affairs. I your servant was about to set out north, wished to obtain Píng’s troops to defend Hànzhōng, Píng was exhaustive and difficult in excuses, without intention to come, but sought to with five prefectures become Bā Province Inspector. Last year I your servant wished to campaign west, wishing to order Píng to master and command Hànzhōng, Píng said Sīmǎ Yì and the rest were opening offices and enlisting and recruiting. I your servant know Píng’s base feelings, wishing to take advantage of the time of traveling to pressure your servant to obtain profits, and therefore [I] memorialized Píng’s son Fēng to command and manage Jiāngzhōu, the lofty esteem treatment, was to obtain one time’s settlement. Píng up to this day, was all entrusted with various affairs, the various ministers high and low all are bewildered by the generosity of I your servant’s treatment of Píng. Exactly because great affairs are not yet settled, the Hàn House in danger, attacking Píng’s shortcomings was not as good as commending him. However in saying Píng’s feelings are in glory and profit and nothing more, it was unexpected that Píng’s heart would be as deranged as this. If the matter is inspected and left, it will reach to disaster and destruction, it is I your servant’s lack of cleverness, to say more is to increase the misfortune.” (1)
Therefore deposed Píng to commoner, relocated to Zǐtóng prefecture. (2) Twelfth Year , Píng heard Liàng had died, fell ill and died. Píng always hoped Liàng would himself restore him, judged that later men would not be able to, and therefore was because of this furious. (3) Fēng’s rank reached Zhūtí Administrator. (4)
- (1) Liàng’s Gōngwén Shàng Shàngshū states: “Píng is a great minister, received favor excessively, did not think of loyal repayment, was unreasonable without sense, danger and shame not distinguished, confused and deceived high and low, in discussing punishments abandoned standards, guided people to treachery, his feelings narrow-minded and ambitions insane, like without Heaven or Earth. He himself judged his treachery was exposed, and suspicious heart was therefore born, hearing the army was arriving, to the west he went claiming illness to return to Jǔ and Zhāng, the army arriving at Jǔ, he again returned to Jiāngyáng. Píng’s Advisor to the Army Hú Zhōng diligently remonstrated and so he stopped. Now the usurper rebels are not yet exterminated, the State Altars have many troubles, the state’s affairs ponder harmony, and can act quickly, it cannot delay and tolerate, and so endanger the great enterprise. Thus [I] with the Acting Central Master of the Army Chariots and Cavalry General and capital village Marquis your servant Liú Yǎn, Envoy Wielding Staff Front Master of the Army Campaigning West General-in-Chief designate Liáng Province Inspector Nánzhèng Marquis your servant Wèi Yán, Front General capital precinct Marquis your servant Yuán Chēn, Left General designate Jīng Province Inspector Gāoyáng village Marquis your servant Wú Yī, Commander of the Front Division Right General Xuán village Marquis your servant Gāo Xiáng, Commander of the Rear Division Rear General Ānlè precinct Marquis your servant Wú Bān, Managing Chief Clerk Pacifying the Army General your servant Yáng Yí, Commander of the Left Division Acting Central Supervisor of the Army Raising Warfare General your servant Dèng Zhī, Acting Front Supervisor of the Army Campaigning South General your servant Liú Bā, Acting Central Protector of the Army Supporting General your servant Fèi Yī, Acting Front Protector of the Army Supplementary General Hànchéng precinct Marquis your servant Xǔ Yǔn, Acting Left Protector of the Army Devout Faith Internal Cadet General your servant Dīng Xián, Acting Right Protector of the Army Supplementary General your servant Liú Mǐn, Acting Protector of the Army Campaigning South General Jiāng Wéi, Acting Central Manager of the Army Suppressing Caitiffs General your servant Shàngguān Yōng, Acting Central Advisor to the Army Shining Warfare Internal Cadet General your servant Hú Jì, Acting Advisor to the Army Establishing Righteousness General your servant Yán Yàn, Acting Advisor to the Army Supplementary General your servant Cuàn Xí, Acting Advisor to the Army Subordinate General your servant Dù Yì, Acting Advisor to the Army Martial Strategy Internal Cadet General your servant Dù Qí, Acting Advisor to the Army Pacifying the Róng Commandant Shèng Bó, designate Attending Official Martial Strategy Internal Cadet General your servant Fán Qí and the rest discussed, at once dissolved Píng’s appointment, dismissing from office and salary, staff and summons, seal and ribbon, talleys and slips, removing his noble rank and territory.”
- (2) Zhūgě Liàng also with Píng’s son Fēng instructed saying: “I with you father and son devoted strength to encourage the Hàn House, this the divine intelligence has heard, not only men know it. Memorializing you as Regional Protector managing Hànzhōng, entrusting you with the eastern passes, not with others discussing. It is said utmost heart moves emotions, end and beginning can be guaranteed, how can one plan for irregularity in the middle? In the past Chǔ Qīng repeatedly was removed, and also then was able to be restored; pondering principles leading to good fortune, is in compliance with self-natural reasoning. May you console the Regional Protector [your father], to diligently recall previous mistakes. Now though dismissed from appointment, appearances and enterprise decreased from before, [your family’s] maidservants and guest retainers are a hundred and several tens of people, you as Internal Cadet Advisor to the Army reside in office, comparing in vitality and class, yet you are a superior family. If the Regional Protector ponders failure with unified thinking, and you with Gōngyǎn devoting heart in attending to matters, the blocked can again be connected, the lost can again be returned. Carefully consider this admonishment, understand my use of heart, overlooking letter and ever sighing, shedding tears and nothing more.
- Xí Zuòchǐ states: In the past Guǎn Zhòng seized Bó shì’s parallel villages of three hundred, to his loss of teeth [old age] he yet was without complaining word, sagely men believed it difficult. Zhūgě Liàng’s causing Liào Lì to shed tears, Lǐ Píng to reach death, how did it follow being without complaining word and nothing more? Water is of utmost evenness the bent take as its standard, mirrors are of utmost illumination and the ugly are without anger; that water and mirror are able to reveal things and yet there is no complaint, is that they are without selfishness. Water and mirror are without selfishness, and yet so avoid slander, so all the more for great men and gentlemen harboring heart of enjoying life, disseminating essence of sympathy and forgiveness, law enacted that cannot be not used, punishments applied on self violating guilt, ennobling them and yet no selfishness, punishing them and yet no anger, can Heaven’s Under have one who does not submit? Zhūgě Liàng therefore can be said to be able to use punishments, from Qín and Hàn onward there had never been such.
- (4) Sū Lín’s Hànshū Yīnyì states: Zhū pronounced zhū, tí pronounced like the northern region people pronounce bǐ as tí.