楚三 THE STRATAGEMS OF CHU III

蘇子謂楚王
Master Su Speaks to the King of Chu

蘇子謂楚王曰:「仁人之於民也,愛之以心,事之以善言。孝子之於親也,愛之以心,事之以財。忠臣之於君也,必進賢人以輔之。今王之大臣父兄,好傷賢以為資,厚賦斂諸臣百姓,使王見疾於民,非忠臣也。大臣播王之過於百姓,多賂諸侯以王之地,是故退王之所愛,亦非忠臣也,是以國危。臣願無聽群臣之相惡也,慎大臣父兄;用民之所善,節身之嗜欲,以百姓。人臣莫難於無妒而進賢。為主死易,垂沙之事,死者以千數。為主辱易,自令尹以下,事王者以千數。至於無妒而進賢,未見一人也。故明主之察其臣也,必知其無妒而進賢也。賢之事其主也,亦必無妒而進賢。夫進賢之難者,賢者用且使己廢,貴且使己賤,故人難之。」

 

Master Su[1] spoke to the King of Chu[2], saying, "The benevolent man loves the people in his heart and demonstrates this with kind words. The filial son loves his parents in his heart, and demonstrates this with his personal resources. If a servant is to demonstrate his loyalty towards his lord, it can only be by promoting wise individuals to assist him[3]. Now Your Majesty's principal private secretaries and your family are fond of injuring wise individuals to increase their own capital. They are prodigal in taxing your officials and the hundred clans, ensuring that you are perceived to be bleeding your citizens dry. This is not the behaviour of a loyal servant. If your principal private secretaries broadcast your errors among the hundred clans, and use your lands to offer sundry bribes to the feudal lords. This means that they have withdrawn themselves from the sphere of your affection and are definitely not loyal servants. This being so, the state is in danger. Your servant hopes that you will not listen to the mutual slanders of your assembled servants, and that you will be cautious with regard to both your principal private secretaries and your family. Those skilled in employing their citizens restrain their own desires, and devote their energies to the hundred clans[4]. For a public servant, there is nothing more difficult than to promote the wisdom of others without jealousy. Dying for one's sovereign is easy - during the Chuisha[5] incident the dead numbered in the thousands. Degrading oneself for one's sovereign is easy - from the Lord President of the Privy Council down, the people who serve your interests number in the thousands. Nevertheless, I have never yet seen a single person promote another's wisdom without jealousy. Therefore, an intelligent sovereign inspects his ministers carefully, and makes sure that their recommendations are not influenced by jealousy. When a wise servant[6] serves his sovereign, he will promote the wise without jealousy. If promoting the wise is difficult, it is because they will be employed and you you will thus be dismissed. They will be honoured, and you will be degraded. Therefore people struggle to do it."

[1] Su Qin was a celebrated diplomat and a noted opponent of Qin.

[2] I am not sure which King of Chu is indicated here.

[3] These may well come to supplant the person who recommended them, implying that refraining from scuppering their chances is the summum of loyalty on his part.

[4] Reading 以與 for 以 here, per the commentaries. 

[5] The Battle of Chuisha happened in 301 BC, with Chu on one side and Han, Qi, Qin and Wei on the other.

[6] Reading 賢臣 for 賢 here, per the commentaries. 

蘇秦之楚三日

Su Qin Spends Three Days in Chu

蘇秦之楚,三日乃得見乎王。談卒,辭而行。楚王曰:「寡人聞先生,若聞古人。今先生乃不遠千里而臨寡人,曾不肯留,願聞其說。」對曰:「楚國之食貴於玉,薪貴於桂,謁者難得見如鬼,王難得見如天帝。今令臣食玉炊桂,因鬼見帝。」王曰:「先生就舍,寡人聞命矣。」

Su Qin[1] came to Chu, and after three days[2] obtained an audience with the King[3]. After their conversation, he bade farewell and went as if to leave. The King of Chu said, "We have listened to you, professor, as we would listen to the ancients. Now you did not think a thousand li too far to travel to see us, and yet you are unwilling to linger. We would like to hear your persuasions."

He replied, "Chu's food is as expensive as jade, and its firewood is as expensive as cassia. Your attendants are as difficult to meet with as ghosts, and meeting Your Majesty is as difficult as securing an appointment with a god. Now you are ordering your servant to eat jade and burn cassia, while employing ghosts to secure me an audience with a god?"

The King said, "We will find official accommodation for you; we intend to follow your instructions." 

[1] Su Qin was a celebrated diplomat and a noted opponent of Qin.

[2] Different versions suggest that this may be intended to read "three months" or even "three years".

[3] It is not clear which King of Chu is indicated here.

楚王逐張儀於魏
The King of Chu Works to have Zhang Yi Expelled from Wei

楚王逐張儀於魏。陳軫曰:「王何逐張子?」曰:「為臣不忠不信。」曰:「不忠,王無以為臣;不信,王勿與為約。且魏臣不忠不信,於王何傷?忠且信,於王何益?逐而聽則可,若不聽,是王令困也。且使萬乘之國免其相,是城下之事也。」

The King of Chu[1] was working to have Zhang Yi[2] expelled from Wei. Chen Zhen[3] said, "Why is Your Majesty having Master Zhang expelled?"

He replied, "As a servant he is disloyal and untrustworthy."

Chen Zhen said, "If he is disloyal, then do not employ him to serve you. If he is untrustworthy, then do not make any agreements with him. However, if a servant of Wei is a disloyal and untrustworthy, then how does this hurt you? If he is loyal and trustworthy there, then how will it profit you? If you request his expulsion and Wei listens, then it will be fine. If they do not listen, then in that case Your Majesty's authority will be undermined. If you make a state of ten thousand chariots dismiss its Chancellor, then for them the incident will be as though they lost a city[4]."

[1] King Huai of Chu (328 - 299 BC) was known for having been the object of various poetic complaints by Qu Yuan​. He was captured by Qin in 299 BC and his son King Qingxiang took the throne. He made one attempt to escape, but was recaptured and died in 296 BC.

[2] Zhang Yi began his career in Wei before becoming the leading Qin diplomat of the time.

[3] Chen Zhen began his career as a Qin diplomat and rival of Zhang Yi before defecting to Chu.

[4] I.e. the humiliation will be equivalent to a military defeat.

張儀之楚貧

Zhang Yi Runs Out of Money in Chu

張儀之楚,貧。舍人怒而歸。張儀曰:「子必以衣冠之敝,故欲歸。子待我為子見楚王。」當是之時,南后、鄭袖貴於楚。

Zhang Yi[1] was in Chu and ran out of money. The landlord of his hotel was irritated and wanted[2] to send him away. Zhang Yi said, "You only want rid of me because of my old clothes and hat. Wait[3] until I get an audience and speak to the King[4] on your account." At this time, Queen Nan[5] and Zheng Xiu[6] were honoured in Chu.

張子見楚王,楚王不說。張子曰:「王無所用臣,臣請北見晉君。」楚王曰:「諾。」張子曰:「王無求於晉國乎?」王曰:「黃金珠璣犀象出於楚,寡人無求於晉國。」張子曰:「王徒不好色耳?」王曰:「何也?」張子曰:「彼鄭、周之女,粉白墨黑,立於衢閭,非知而見之者,以為神。」楚王曰:「楚,僻陋之國也,未嘗見中國之女如此其美也。寡人之獨何為不好色也?」乃資之以珠玉。

Master Zhang went to see the King, but the King of Chu was not pleased with him. Master Zhang said, "If I am not the kind of advisor that Your Majesty can employ, I request permission to go north and seek an audience with the Lord of Jin[7]."

The King of Chu said, "You have my assent." 

Master Zhang said, "Is there nothing you would like to request from Jin[8]?"

The King said, "Gold, jewels, pearls and ivory all come from Chu. We have nothing to request of Jin."

Master Zhang said, "Your Majesty is simply not attracted to women?" 

The King said, "What?"

Master Zhang said, "The women of Zheng and Zhou[9] are as pale as rice flour with jet black eyebrows[10], waiting by the side of the road in their villages. Those who know no better see them and take them for enchantresses." 

The King of Chu said, "Chu is a far-flung and backward state, we have not yet seen these Central States[11] women of such beauty. Could I be the only one to see them[12] and not be attracted?" Accordingly, he provided Zhang Yi with pearls and jade[13].

南后、鄭袖聞之大恐。令人謂張子曰:「妾聞將軍之晉國,偶有金千斤,進之左右,以供芻秣。」鄭袖亦以金五百斤。

Queen Nan and Zheng Xiu, heard about this, and were extremely worried. They sent someone to speak to Master Zhang, saying, "General, your servants have heard that you are going to Jin. As it happens, we have a thousand catties of gold here, for you to distribute among your attendants and to provide hay for your horses." Zheng Xiu also gave him another five hundred catties of gold.  

張子辭楚王曰:「天下關閉不通,未知見日也,願王賜之觴。」王曰:「諾。」乃觴之。張子中飲,再拜而請曰:「非有他人於此也,願王召所便習而觴之。」王曰:「諾。」乃召南后、鄭袖而觴之。張子再拜而請曰:「儀有死罪於大王。」王曰:「何也?」曰:「儀行天下遍矣,未嘗見人如此其美也。而儀言得美人,是欺王也。」王曰:「子釋之。吾固以為天下莫若是兩人也。」

Master Zhang bade farewell to the King of Chu, saying, "The borders of All-Under-Heaven are closing to travel[14], and I do not know when we shall meet again. I hope you will permit me to raise a toast to you."

The King said, "Very well." As a result, drinks were served.

In the midst of the drinking, Master Zhang bowed again and made a request, saying, "We have no one to share this with. I wish Your Majesty would summon some good company so that I may raise a toast to them."

The King said, "Very well." Accordingly he summoned Queen Nan and Zheng Xiu, and Zhang Yi raised a toast to them.

Master Zhang bowed again and begged to speak, saying, "I have committed an offense against Your Majesty that merits the death penalty."

The King said, "What is it?"

He replied, "I have travelled throughout All-Under-Heaven, but I have never yet seen anyone this beautiful[15]. When I told you that I could get you more beautiful women, I lied to you."

The King said, "Forget about it, I was sure that in All-Under-Heaven there could not be others like these two."

[1] Zhang Yi began his career in Wei before becoming the leading Qin diplomat of the time.

[2] Reading 欲歸 for 歸, per the commentaries. 

[3] According to the commentaries, the 子 here is superfluous.

[4] King Huai of Chu (328 - 299 BC) was known for having been the object of various poetic complaints by Qu Yuan​. He was captured by Qin in 299 BC and his son King Qingxiang took the throne. He made one attempt to escape, but was recaptured and died in 296 BC.

[5] Queen Nan is not well-known, and some historians suggest that it may simply have been a title belonging to Zheng Xiu, even though this story implies that they are separate people.

[6] Zheng Xiu was King Huai's favourite concubine and a noted schemer. Some versions interpret 南后 as referring to a separate person, Queen Nan.

[7] According to modern translations, this refers to the King of Han, but it is not clear which is intended. 

[8] Again, this seems to be a reference to Han. 

[9] By this point Han had conquered Zheng and also controlled Chu's access to Zhou. 

[10] Reading 黛 for 墨, per the commentaries. 

[11] The Central States were considered to be the Chinese cultural heartland, to the North of Chu.

[12] Reading 見之 for 之, per the commentaries. 

[13] In order to procure some. 

[14] Reading 閉關 for 關閉, per the commentaries.

[15] According to the commentaries, the 也 here is superfluous.

楚王令昭雎之秦重張儀
The King of Chu Sends Zhao Ju to Qin to Bolster Zhang Yi's Influence

楚王令昭雎之秦重張儀。未至,惠王死。武王逐張儀。楚王因收昭雎以取齊。桓臧為雎謂楚王曰:「橫親之不合也,儀貴惠王而善雎也。今惠王死,武王立,儀走,公孫郝、甘茂貴。甘茂善魏,公孫郝善韓。二人固不善雎也,必以秦合韓、魏。韓、魏之重儀,儀有秦而雎以楚重之。今儀困秦而雎收楚,韓、魏欲得秦,必善二人者。將收韓、魏輕儀而伐楚,方城必危。王不如復雎,而重儀於韓、魏。儀據楚勢,挾魏重,以與秦爭。魏不合秦,韓亦不從,則方城無患。」

 

The King of Chu[1] sent Zhao Ju[2] to Qin to bolster Zhang Yi's[3] influence[4], but before he arrived, King Hui[5] had died and King Wu[6] expelled Zhang Yi. The King of Chu then took the opportunity to arrest Zhao Ju and thereby gain Qi's backing[7].

Huan Zang[8] spoke to the King of Chu on Zhao Ju's behalf, saying, "If the Horizontal Alliance did not hold together, it was because Yi was prized by King Hui and also sought to curry favour with Ju[8]. Now that King Hui is dead and King Wu is on the throne, Yi has fled and Gongsun Hao[9] and Gan Mao[10] are revered. Gan Mao is ingratiating himself with Wei, and Gongsun Hao with Han. The two of them are solidly inimical towards Ju, so they will certainly ensure that Qin will form an agreement with Han and Wei. Han and Wei used to be impressed by Yi; Yi had control over Qin and while Ju relied upon Chu's power to bolster his own importance. Now Yi is in trouble in Qin, and Ju has been arrested in Chu. Han and Wei wish to win Qin over to their side, so they will be solicitous towards Gongsun Hao and Gan Mao. These two will gain the backing of Han and Wei, which will then despise Yi and attack Chu[11], and Fangcheng[12] will be in danger. Your Majesty would do better to restore Ju to his former position and reinforce Yi's influence in Han and Wei. Yi, relying on Chu's power and bearing Wei's influence, will use them to pursue his conflict with Qin. Wei will not form an accord with Qin, and Han will not follow them[13], so Fangcheng will remain untroubled."

[1] King Huai of Chu (328 - 299 BC) was known for having been the object of various poetic complaints by Qu Yuan​. He was captured by Qin in 299 BC and his son King Qingxiang took the throne. He made one attempt to escape, but was recaptured and died in 296 BC.

[2] Zhao Ju was the Chancellor of Chu at the time.

[3] Zhang Yi began his career in Wei before becoming the leading Qin diplomat of the time.

[4] Modern translations differ regarding their interpretation of this sentence. It could imply that Chu simply wants to bolster Zhang Yi's support, or that it is seeking to ensure that Zhang Yi's employment will be renewed. 

[5] King Huiwen of Qin (338–311 BC) began his reign by killing Shang Yang, but maintained his legal and military reforms, using his strengthened state to acquire large tracts of additional land.

[6] King Wu of Qin (310–307 BC) was only king for a short time, but managed to expand Qin's territory via wars with Han and Wei. He died after breaking his shins while trying to lift a heavy bronze cauldron in the Zhou palace on a bet.

[7] The 楚 here may be superfluous. The first 收 may also be an error, and this translation follows the interpretation given by the commentaries.  

[8] The commentaries and translations disagree on the precise interpretation of this sentence. This is a best guess attempt. 

[8] A politician from Chu.

[9] Also known as Gongsun He, Gongsun Hao was a Qin politician.

[10] Gan Mao was a politician and General in Qin, before being caught up in internal squabbles and fleeing to Qi.

[11] The commentaries disagree regarding the precise reading of this sentence, but the general sense is clear. 

[12] Fangcheng refers to Chu's northern borderlands.

[13] The commentaries and modern translations disagree regarding the interpretation of this sentence. This version follows the original text.

張儀逐惠施於魏
Zhang Yi Expels Hui Shi from Wei

張儀逐惠施於魏。惠子之楚,楚王受之。

Zhang Yi[1] expelled Hui Shi[2] from Wei. Master Hui arrived in Chu, where the King of Chu[3] received him.

馮郝謂楚王曰:「逐惠子者,張儀也。而王親與約,是欺儀也,臣為王弗取也。惠子為儀者來,而惡王之交於張儀,惠子必弗行也。且宋王之賢惠子也,天下莫不聞也。今之不善張儀也,天下莫不知也。今為事之故,棄所貴於讎人,臣以為大王輕矣。且為事耶?王不如舉惠子而納之於宋,而謂張儀曰:『請為子勿納也。』儀必德王。而惠子窮人,而王奉之,又必德王。此不失為儀之實,而可以德惠子。」楚王曰:「善。」乃奉惠子而納之宋。

 

Feng Hao[4] spoke to the King of Chu, saying, "It was Zhang Yi who expelled Master Hui. If Your Majesty makes a pact of friendship with him, you will be betraying Yi. I feel that this is not appropriate for Your Majesty. Master Hui came[5] here on account of Yi, and will resent you for maintaining your relations with Zhang Yi. He will certainly not keep coming to visit you[6]. Moreover, the King of Song[7] regards Master Hui as a sage, and there is no one in All-Under-Heaven who has not heard about this. Hui Shi is not currently on good terms with Zhang Yi, and there is no one in All-Under-Heaven who does not know this. Now in pursuit of your own plans, you intend to abandon one whom you prize in favour of his enemy. Your servant feels that you are treating this matter too lightly. Do you intend to pursue this affair for benefit of the state? Then it would be better to elevate Master Hui and ensure him a reception in Song. Then you can speak to Zhang Yi, saying, 'In fact, I refused to receive him out of respect for you.' Yi will certainly pay tribute to you for this[8], and because you raised Master Hui up when he was destitute, he will also pay tribute. In this way you will avoid losing the benefits to be had from Yi, while also being able to obtain tribute from Master Hui."

The King of Chu said, "Very well." Accordingly he promoted Master Hui and ensured that he was well-received in Song.

[1] Zhang Yi began his career in Wei before becoming the leading Qin diplomat of the era. When this story was taking place, he was serving as Chancellor of Wei.

[2] Hui Shi was a philosopher belonging to the School of Names.

[3] King Huai of Chu (328 - 299 BC) was known for having been the object of various poetic complaints by Qu Yuan​. He was captured by Qin in 299 BC and his son King Qingxiang took the throne. He made one attempt to escape, but was recaptured and died in 296 BC.

[4] Feng Hao a politician from Chu. 

[5] Reading 來者 for 者來 here, per the commentaries.

[6] Modern translations interpret this sentence in different ways; the first part (and the initial sentences) imply that Hui Shi is already in Chu, but the last clause seems to suggest that he has not yet arrived.

[7] King Yan of Song (318-286 BC) was the last King of Song prior to its annexation by Qi. He initially enjoyed great success against his larger neighbours, but was finally forced to flee to Wei and died there.

[8] The commentaries disagree regarding the precise reading of this sentence, but the general sense is clear.

五國伐秦
The Five States Attack Qin

五國伐秦。魏欲和,使惠施之楚。楚將入之秦而使行和。

The Five States[1] attacked Qin. Wei wanted to make peace and sent Hui Shi[2] as an envoy to Chu. Chu was going to send him to Qin with the mission of concluding an accord.

 

杜赫謂昭陽曰:「凡為伐秦者楚也。今施以魏來,而公入之秦,是明楚之伐而信魏之和也。公不如無聽惠施,而陰使人以請聽秦。」昭子曰:「善。」因謂惠施曰:「凡為攻秦者魏也,今子從楚為和,楚得其利,魏受其怨。子歸,吾將使人因魏而和。」

 

Du He[3] spoke to Zhao Yang[4], saying, "If all are attacking Qin, it is on account of Chu. Now Shi has come here on behalf of Wei, and you are sending him to Qin. This will make it clear that this is Chu's attack, and make Wei's attempt to make peace more credible. You would be better off ignoring Hui Shi, and secretly sending an envoy to beg Qin for instructions."

Zhao Yang said, "Very well."

He took the opportunity to speak to Hui Shi, saying, "If all are attacking Qin, it is on account of Wei. Now you are leaving Chu to seek a peace agreement, but it will be Chu that gets the profits and Wei that receives Qin's resentment[5]. If you return home, I will send someone to sue for peace on Wei's account."

 

惠子反,魏王不說。杜赫謂昭陽曰:「魏為子先戰,折兵之半,謁病不聽,請和不得,魏折而入齊、秦,子何以救之?東有越纍,北無晉,而交未定於齊、秦,是楚孤也。不如速和。」昭子曰:「善。」因令人謁和於魏。

 

Master Hui returned, and the King of Wei[6] was not happy. Du He spoke to Zhao Yang, saying, "Wei was first to join the battle on your behalf, now they have cut down half of its troops. It has come to you in desperation and you ignore it. If Wei is bows its head and goes to pay homage to Qi and Qin, how then will you remedy that? In the East you are plagued by Yue[7], you will no longer have Jin's[8] backing in the North, and have not yet consolidated relations with Qi and Qin. This being so, Chu will be left isolated. It would be better to make peace with Wei quickly." 

Zhao Yang said, "Very well. He then sent someone someone to Wei to make peace.[9]

[1] Chu, Han Wei, Yan and Zhao. 

[2] Hui Shi was a philosopher belonging to the School of Names. At the time he was serving as Chancellor of Wei.

[3] Du He seems to have been from Chu. He is mentioned in various contemporary texts, often in connection with the Su family.

[4] Zhao Yang was Chancellor of Chu, and a celebrated general. 

[5] The commentaries disagree regarding the precise reading of this sentence, but the general sense is clear. 

[6] The Wei succession in the late fourth century is not entirely clear. This may have been King Ai (if he existed), or King Xiang (if not).

[7] Reading 累 for 纍 here, per the commentaries.

[8] In this case Jin refers to Wei.

[9] The contradiction in the two pieces of advice given here seems to be the point of the chapter - that Du He managed to maintain Chu's relations with both Wei and Qin by doling out his advice in small doses, first advising Zhao Yang to betray Wei over the embassy to Qin before reconciling with it via other means.

陳軫告楚之魏
Chen Zhen Leaves Chu For Wei

陳軫告楚之魏。張儀惡之於魏王曰:「軫猶善楚,為求地甚力。」左爽謂陳軫曰:「儀善於魏王,魏王甚信之,公雖百說之,猶不聽也。公不如以儀之言為資,而得復楚。」陳軫曰:「善。」因使人以儀之言聞於楚。楚王喜,欲復之。

 

Chen Zhen[1] left Chu for Wei[2]. Zhang Yi[3] slandered him to the King of Wei[4], saying, "Zhen is still seeking to ingratiate himself in Chu, he will devote all his efforts to seeking land for them." 

Zuo Shuang[5] spoke to Chen Zhen, saying, "Yi is currying favour with the King of Wei. Once the King of Wei trusts him entirely, then even if you offer him a hundred persuasions, none of your schemes will be listened to. You would be better off using Yi's speeches as your own capital - use them to secure your own return to Chu."

Chen Zhen said, "Very well." He sent an envoy to ensure Yi's speeches would be heard in Chu.

The King of Chu was delighted, and wanted[6] Chen Zhen to return[7].

[1] Chen Zhen came from Qi and was the source of several famous persuasions. He competed with Zhang Yi for position at the Qin court, before leaving to bolster the vertical alliance. 

[2] Reading 去 for 告 here, per the commentaries. 

[3]  Zhang Yi began his career in Wei before becoming the leading Qin diplomat of the time.

[4] King Hui of Wei (344 - 319 BC) succeeded Marquis Wu following a violent succession conflict during which Wei was almost conquered by Han and Zhao. He conducted several discussions with Mencius and exchanged territory with Han, making his state easier to defend.

[5] Zuo Shuang was also known as Zuo Hua (左華), and this story is re-told in the Wei stratagems.

[6] Liu suggests 果欲 for 欲 here. 

[7] Zhang Yi was supposed to be a Chu ally at the time. Chen Zhen's goal here is to show that Zhang Yi is not loyal to Chu, while he is.

秦伐宜陽

Qin Attacks Yiyang

秦伐宜陽。楚王謂陳軫曰:「寡人聞韓侈巧士也,習諸侯事,殆能自免也。為其必免,吾欲先據之以加德焉。」陳軫對曰:「舍之,王勿據也。以韓侈之知,於此困矣。今山澤之獸,無黠於麋。麋知獵者張罔,前而驅己也,因還走而冒人,至數。獵者知其詐,偽舉罔而進之,麋因得矣。今諸侯明知此多詐,偽舉罔而進者必眾矣。舍之,王勿據也。韓侈之知,於此困矣。」楚王聽之,宜陽果拔。陳軫先知之也。

 

Qin attacked Yiyang[1]. The King of Chu[2] spoke to Chen Zhen[3], saying, "We have heard that Han Chi[4] is a clever official. He is well-acquainted with the affairs of All-Under-Heaven, and knows how to get himself out of trouble. Since he will certainly get himself our of his present troubles, I wish to be the first to back him, which will win us more honour from Han."

Chen Zhen said, "Abandon this thought. Your Majesty should not rely on him. Depending upon Han Chi's intelligence will ​get us into trouble. Now of all the animals in the mountains and marshes, there is none as alert as the milu deer. When it knows that the hunters have spread nets preparatory to driving it into the trap, it seizes its chance to turn and charge them; thus it often brings off its escape. The hunters know these tricks, so they hide their nets before they approach, and thereby are able to catch the deer. Now the feudal lords know that Han Chi is full of tricks, so there will certainly be multitudes concealing their nets as they approach him. Abandon this thought. Your Majesty should not rely on him. Depending on Han Chi's intelligence will get us into trouble.The King listened to him and Yiyang fell as a result, just as Chen Zhen knew it would. 

[1] Yiyang was in modern Yiyang County, Henan. At the time it belonged to Han. The Battle of Yiyang was a key stage in Qin's expansion. It took place in 307 BC.

[2] King Huai of Chu (328 - 299 BC) was known for having been the object of various poetic complaints by Qu Yuan​. He was captured by Qin in 299 BC and his son King Qingxiang took the throne. He made one attempt to escape, but was recaptured and died in 296 BC.

[3] Chen Zhen came from Qi and was the source of several famous persuasions. He competed with Zhang Yi for position at the Qin court, before leaving to bolster the vertical alliance. 

[4] The commentaries suggest 韓朋 (Han Peng) for 韓侈 (Han Chi), both names were used by the same individual, a pro-Qin politician in Han.

[5] I.e. Qin's attack on Han's city of Yiyang.

唐且見春申君
Tang Ju Has a Dawn Audience with Lord Chunshen

唐且見春申君曰:「齊人飾身修行得為益,然臣羞而不學也。不避絕江河,行千餘里來,竊慕大君之義,而善君之業。臣聞之,賁、諸懷錐刃而天下為勇,西施衣褐而天下稱美。今君相萬乘之楚,禦中國之難,所欲者不成,所求者不得,臣等少也。夫梟棋之所以能為者,以散棋佐之也。夫一梟之不如不勝五散,亦明矣。今君何不為天下梟,而令臣等為散乎?」

 

Tang Ju[1] had a dawn audience[2] with Lord Chunshen[3]. He said, "The people of Qi embellish their persons and refine their conduct to exalt themselves; nevertheless, your servant found it humiliating and refused to copy them. I did not shrink from crossing the Yellow River and the Yangtze, or traveling over a thousand li, to praise your Lordship's moral integrity and admire your achievements. Your servant has heard that Ben[4] and Zhu[5] only had the knives tucked into their robes, but All-Under-Heaven recognised their heroism. Xi Shi[6] wore sackcloth, and All-Under-Heaven called her beautiful. Now you are Chancellor of Chu, a state of ten thousand chariots, resisting the troubles spreading among the Central States[7], but what you desire is not realised and what you ask for you do not get, so few are the servants awaiting your orders. If the king is to win the game, he needs the help of his pawns[8]. That a king cannot defeat stand up against five pawns, this much is clear. Now why does Your Lordship not instruct me as one of your pawns, and become king of All-Under-Heaven?  

[1] Reading 雎 for 且, per the commentaries. Tang Ju was a celebrated strategist from Wei.

[2] Reading 旦見 for 見, per the commentaries. 

[3] Lord Chunshen, also known as Huang Xie,  was a successful politician and general in Chu. He may also have been the real father of King You of Chu.

[4] Meng Ben was a celebrated soldier and strong man in Qin. The knife story seems to have been lost.

[5] Zhuan Zhu assassinated King Liao of Wu using a short knife smuggled into the palace hidden inside a fish. 

[6] Xi Shi was one of the four great beauties of ancient China.

[7] The Central States were the traditional Huaxia cultural heartland.

[8] The next sentences are to do with an ancient gambling game whose rules are not clear, but which seems to have been something like xiangqi.