(16.2) Sū Zé 蘇則 [Wénshī 文師]

Sū Zé appellation Wénshī was a Fúfēng Wǔgōng man. When young he for scholarship and conduct was known, nominated as Filial and Incorrupt and as Abundant Talent, recruited to Excellency’s Offices, all he did not accept. He began his career as Jiǔquán Administrator, transferred to Āndìng, Wǔdū, (1) wherever he was he had authority and reputation. [215] Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] campaigned against Zhāng Lǔ, passed his prefecture, met Zé and was pleased with him, sending him to be army guide. [Zhāng] Lǔ was defeated, Zé pacified and settled Xiàbiàn’s various Dī, connecting Héxī road, transferred to be Jīnchéng Administrator. At the time was after tragic chaos, officials and people were in exile and scattered and hungry and poor, the population decreased and worn, Zé comforted and adhered to extreme sincerity, outside recruiting and embracing the Qiāng and Hú, obtaining their cattle and sheep, to care for the poor and old. He with the people divided provisions and ate, within weeks and moons, the refugee people all returned, obtaining several thousand families. Then he made clear prohibition orders, those that dare violate at once were killed, those that followed instructions were certain to be rewarded. He personally instructed people to plow and sow, that year had great abundant harvest, and because of this those that returned and submitted daily increased. Lǐ Yuè with Lǒngxī rebelled, Zé led the Qiāng and Hú to encircle [Lǐ] Yuè, [Lǐ] Yuè at once requested to submit.

[220] Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] passed away, Xīpíng’s Qū Yǎn rebelled, declaring himself Protector of the Qiāng Colonel, Zé led troops and suppressed him. [Qū] Yǎn was afraid and begged to surrender. Emperor Wén [Cáo Pī] for his achievement added to Zé Protector of the Qiāng Colonel, bestowed noble rank as Marquis Within the Passes. (2)


  • (1) Wèi shū states: Zé was hard and direct and hated evil, always admired Jí Àn’s conduct as a man.
  • Wèi lüè states: Zé was of family prominent for generations. During Xīngpíng, the Three Adjuncts were in chaos, hungry and poor, he fled the troubles to Běidì, a guest in Āndìng, relying on the wealthy house of Shī Liàng. [Shī] Liàng’s generosity was lacking, Zé emotionally sighed and said: “Heaven’s Under calming is not long off, I will certainly return to be this prefecture’s administrator, and break off the mediocre class of servicemen.” Later he with Féngyì’s Jí Mào and others hid to the prefecture’s south in Tàibái mountain, with books amusing themselves. When he became Āndìng Administrator, Shī Liàng and others all wished to flee away. Zé heard this, and in advance sent people to explain, with courtesy repaying them.

〔一〕 魏書曰:則剛直疾惡,常慕汲黯之為人。魏略曰:則世為著姓,興平中,三輔亂,飢窮,避難北地。客安定,依富室師亮。亮待遇不足,則慨然歎曰:「天下會安,當不久爾,必還為此郡守,折庸輩士也。」後與馮翊吉茂等隱於郡南太白山中,以書籍自娛。及為安定太守,而師亮等皆欲逃走。則聞之,豫使人解語,以禮報之。

  • (2) Wèi Míngchén Zòu records Emperor Wén’s order asking Yōng province Inspector Zhāng Jì stating: “Testing observing Jīnchéng Administrator Sū Zé, he at once had achievement in pacifying the people and Yí, hearing he also sent out army west to settle Huángzhōng, in Héxī had fame and influence, I extremely praise this. Zé’s achievement and efficacy, can it be given noble rank and fief or not? Enfeoffment rank is a heavy matter, and therefore I ask you. Secretly report your thinking, and moreover do not announce or reveal it.” [Zhāng] Jì replied saying: “Jīnchéng prefecture in the past due to Hán Suì met with slaughter and killing, death and mourning and exiles, some scuttling to the Róng and Dí, some sinking to banditry chaos, the households did not reach five hundred. Zé on arriving in office, inside comforted the remnants, outside gathering the departed and scattered, now one sees the households are over a thousand. Also, Liángshāo’s mixed groups of Qiāng, in the past with [Hán] Suì were of the same evil, after [Hán] Suì died, they went out and blocked the passes. Zé beginning to end recruited and embraced, those that returned were over three thousand tribes, all he relieved with authority and grace, as an official he was effective. Xīpíng’s Qū Yǎn and others instigated evil plots, Zé sent out the army, overlooking their necks, [Qū] Yǎn at once returned to submission and sent hostages, breaking and cutting off bandit provisions. Zé thus has the efficacy in relieving the people, and also is able to harmonize with the Róng and Dí, of utter loyalty and effective integrity. Encountering sagely enlightenment, those with achievement are certainly noted. If Zé is applied noble rank fief, truly it is sufficient to exhort loyal ministers and encourage custom.”

  〔二〕 魏名臣奏載文帝令問雍州刺史張既曰:「試守金城太守蘇則,既有綏民平夷之功,聞又出軍西定湟中,為河西作聲勢,吾甚嘉之。則之功效,為可加爵邑未邪?封爵重事,故以問卿。密白意,且勿宣露也。」既答曰:「金城郡,昔為韓遂所見屠剝,死喪流亡,或竄戎狄,或陷寇亂,戶不滿五百。則到官,內撫彫殘,外鳩離散,今見戶千餘。又梁燒雜種羌,昔與遂同惡,遂斃之後,越出障塞。則前後招懷,歸就郡者三千餘落,皆卹以威恩,為官效用。西平麴演等倡造邪謀,則尋出軍,臨其項領,演即歸命送質,破絕賊糧。則既有恤民之效,又能和戎狄,盡忠效節。遭遇聖明,有功必錄。若則加爵邑,誠足以勸忠臣,勵風俗也。」

Later [Qū] Yǎn again joined with neighboring prefectures in chaos, Zhāngyè’s Zhāng Jìn seized Administrator Dù Tōng, Jiǔ Quán’s Huáng Huà would not accept Administrator Xīn Jī. [Zhāng] Jìn and [Huáng] Huà both declared themselves Administrator to welcome him [Qū Yǎn]. Also Wǔwēi’s three groups of Hú joined in banditry and plunder, the roads were cut off. Wǔwēi Administrator Guànqiū Xīng reported emergency to Zé. At the time Yōng’s and Liáng’s various powerful figures all chased and plundered the Qiāng and Hú to follow [Zhāng] Jìn and the rest, the prefecture people all believed [Zhāng] Jìn could not be matched. Also Generals Hǎo Zhāo and Wèi Píng before this each garrisoned and defended Jīnchéng, and also received Imperial Order to not cross west. Zé then met with the great officials in the prefecture and [Hǎo] Zhāo and the rest with the Qiāng’s powerful leaders and planned saying: “Now the bandits though are flourishing, however they all are newly gathered, some were coerced to follow, and not necessarily of the same art; taking advantage of quarrel to strike them, the good and evil will certainly separate, the separating will join us, we will increase and they will decrease. We will both benefit from the solidity of increasing numbers, and moreover have the momentum of multi-fold energy, leading to advance and suppress, defeating them is certain. If we wait for the main army, waiting days and drawing out for long, the good people will not return, certainly join with the evil, and when good and evil are joined, the power is difficult to suddenly separate. Though there is Imperial Order command, if violating is in accord with expedience, usurping it is permissible.” Therefore [Hǎo] Zhāo and the rest followed him, and then sent soldiers to rescue Wǔwēi, subduing the three groups of Hú, with [Guànqiū] Xīng striking [Zhāng] Jìn at Zhāngyè. [Qū] Yǎn heard this, led infantry and cavalry of three thousand to welcome Zé, claiming to come to assist the army, but in fact wishing to rebel. Zé enticed him to a mutual meeting, and took advantage to behead him, sending [the head] to show the army, and his associates all scattered and fled. Zé then with the various armies encircled Zhāngyè, defeated it, beheading [Zhāng] Jìn and his branch associates, the masses all surrendered. [Qū] Yǎn’s army was defeated, [Huáng] Huà was afraid, sent out those he held and begged to surrender, the Hé’s west was pacified. Then returned to Jīnchéng, advanced enfeoffment to capital precinct marquis, fief of three hundred households.


Summoned and appointed Attendant Internal, with Dǒng Zhāo sharing office. [Dǒng] Zhāo once pillowed Zé’s knees, Zé pushed him down saying: “Sū Zé’s knees are not a flatterer’s pillow.” Previously, Zé and Marquis of Línzī [Cáo] Zhí heard the Wèi clan had succeeded Hàn, and both issued mourning and sorrowfully wept, Emperor Wén heard [Cáo] Zhí was like this, but did hear of Zé. The Emperor was at Luòyáng, and once casually said: “I answered Heaven and accepted abdication, but hear there are weepers, why?” Zé said he was being investigated, his beard and whiskers spreading, wishing to with upright speech reply. Attendant Internal Fù Xùn pinched Zé and said: “Not talking about you.” Therefore he stopped. (1) Emperor Wén asked Zé: “Formerly you captured Jiǔquán and Zhāngyè, the Western Regions connect envoys, Dùnhuáng proffers cùn diamater large pearls, can they again be sought in market to obtain more or not?” Zé replied saying: “If Your Majesty’s cultivation accords with the central states, virtue spreading to the deserts, then without seeking it will on its own arrive; if seeking and obtaining it, it is not worthy valuing.” The Emperor was silent. Later Zé accompanied a hunt, a fence was pulled, losing a deer, the Emperor was greatly furious, on a Hú couch drawing saber, arresting all the supervising officials, about to behead them. Zé bowed head and said: “Your servant has heard the ancient sagely kings did not for birds and beasts harm people, now Your Majesty is about to expand the cultivation of Táng Yáo, but for a hunt’s amusement kill many various officials, your foolish servant believes it cannot be, and dares to the death plead.” The Emperor said: “You are an upright minister.” Therefore he all pardoned them. However because of this he met with dislike. Huángchū Fourth Year [223], demoted to Dōngpíng Chancellor. He had not yet arrived, on the road fell ill and died, posthumous name Gāng-hóu [‘Firm Marquis.’] His son Yí succeeded. Yí died, no sons, younger brother Yú inherited enfeoffment. Yú during Xiánxī became Secretariat Documenter. (2)


  • (1) Wèilüè states: In the old ceremonies, the Attendant Internals personally managed daily affairs, and therefore were commonly said to be holding a tiger cub. Formerly Zé’s same prefecture’s Jí Mào at the time served as Fǔlì county magistrate, transferred to Surplus. Mào met Zé, mocked him saying: “Your service advancement is not more than holding a tiger cub.” Zé laughed and said: “I truly cannot imitate your slow driving deer carriage’s speed.” Previously, Zé was at Jīnchéng, heard the Hàn Emperor had abdicated throne, believed he had died, and so held mourning. Later he heard he was alive, himself believed he had not investigated carefully, his thinking tending to be quiet. Marquis of Línzī [Cáo] Zhí himself grieved losing the former Emperor’s intentions, and also complained violently and wept. Afterward Emperor Wén went out on tour, pursued his hate of Línzī, turning to say to his left and right: “People’s hearts are not the same, at the time when I ascended the great throne, Under Heaven there were weepers.” At the time the following ministers knew the Emperor in this speech was about referring to whom, but Zé believed it was about himself. He wished to dismount horse to apologize. Attendant Internal Fù Xùn glared at him, and then he became aware.
  • Sūn Shèng states: A serviceman does not serve who they oppose and does not oppose who they serve; giving up and leaving a position, how can one follow? Zé both registered name to a new Court, entrusting pledge to a different dynasty, and yet harbored a second heart producing indignation, wishing to exert clear speech, how is it the share of a Dàyǎ gentleman’s conduct? The Shī says: “Serviceman’s deception utmost, duplicity his virtue.” A serviceman’s duplicity, yet would shame a consort mate, all the more a servant of men!

〔一〕 魏略曰:舊儀,侍中親省起居,故俗謂之執虎子。始則同郡吉茂者,是時仕甫歷縣令,遷為宂散。茂見則,嘲之曰:「仕進不止執虎子。」則笑曰:「我誠不能效汝蹇蹇驅鹿車馳也。」初,則在金城,聞漢帝禪位,以為崩也,乃發喪;後聞其在,自以不審,意頗默然。臨菑侯植自傷失先帝意,亦怨激而哭。其後文帝出游,追恨臨菑,顧謂左右曰:「人心不同,當我登大位之時,天下有哭者。」時從臣知帝此言,有為而發也,而則以為為己。欲下馬謝。侍中傅巽目之,乃悟。孫盛曰:夫士不事其所非,不非其所事,趣舍出處,而豈徒哉!則既策名新朝,委質異代,而方懷二心生忿,欲奮爽言,豈大雅君子去就之分哉?詩云:「士也罔極,二三其德。」士之二三,猶喪妃偶,況人臣乎?

  • (2) Yú appellation Xiūyù, successively held rank as Minister of Ceremonies, Merit Grandee, see Jìn Bǎiguān Míng. Shān Tāo’s notice appraisaed Yú as loyal and sincere with wise thinking. Your Servant Sōngzhī notes Yú’s son Shào, appellation Shìsì, became the King of Wú’s teacher. Shí Chóng’s wife was Shào’s female elder sibling. Shào has a poem in Jīngǔ jí. Shào’s younger brother Shèn was Left Guard General.

  〔二〕 愉字休豫,歷位太常光祿大夫,見晉百官名。山濤啟事稱愉忠篤有智意。臣松之案愉子紹,字世嗣,為吳王師。石崇妻,紹之女兄也。紹有詩在金谷集。紹弟慎,左衛將軍。

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