楚三 THE STRATAGEMS OF CHU III

蘇子謂楚王

Master Su Addresses 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] addressed the King of Chu[2], saying, "The benevolent man loves the people with his heart and serves the people with skillful words. The filial son loves his parents with his heart, and serves them with his talents. The loyal minister promotes wise individuals to serve his lord. Now Your Majesty's ministers of state and family like to denigrate wise individuals to increase their own resources, increase the taxes on the the common people, and making the people see you as the root of the evil; they are not loyal ministers. If your ministers of state broadcast your errors to the common people, and use your lands to bribe the feudal lords, it is because they have withdrawn themselves from your affection and are not loyal ministers. Because of this, the state is in danger. I hope that you will not listen to the mutual slanders of your assembled counselors, and will be cautious of your ministers of state and your family. Those skilled in employing the masses restrain their own desires, and devote their energies to the common people. 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[3] affair several thousand died. Degrading oneself for one's sovereign is easy; from the Chancellor down there are thousands of people who serve your interests. However, I have never yet seen a single person promote another's wisdom without jealousy. Therefore, an intelligent sovereign inspects his ministers carefully, to work out whether or not their recommendations are influenced by jealousy, for when a wise man serves his sovereign, he always promotes the wisdom of others without jealousy. If promoting the wisdom of others is difficult, it is because they will be employed and your own employment will end. They will be honoured, and when your employment ends you will be left in poverty. Therefore people find it difficult to do."

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

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 within three days had obtained an audience with the King. After the conversation, he bid farewell and went to leave. The King of Chu[2] said, "We have listened to you, professor, as we would listen to the ancients. Now you did not think a thousand li[3] too far to travel to see us, and yet you do not wish to stay any longer. 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. Securing an audience with your lords is as difficult as pinning down a ghost, and getting an audience with the King is as difficult as getting an appointment with god. Now you are ordering me to eat jade and burn cassia, while conversing with ghosts and gods."

The King said, "Please stay in our palace, we will follow your instructions." 

[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] A li was around a third of a mile.

楚王逐張儀於魏

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

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

Chen Zhen said, "If he is disloyal, then you should not employ him to serve you. If he is untrustworthy, then you should not make any agreements with him. However, if a minister in 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 it it will undermine Your Majesty's authority, and ordering a state of ten thousand chariots to get rid of its Chancellor it would be as big a humiliation for them as losing a battle."

[1] King Huai of Chu.

[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.

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 divinities." 

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 we 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 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 and I will raise a toast to them."

The King said, "Very well." Accordingly he summoned Queen Nan and Zheng Xiu, and they raised a toast.

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 traveled 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 Promote Zhang Yi

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 promote Zhang Yi[3]. Before he arrived, King Hui[4] died and King Wu[5] expelled Zhang Yi. The King of Chu took the opportunity to arrest Zhao Ju at Qi's behest. Huan Zang[6] addressed the King of Chu on Zhao Ju's behalf, saying, "If the Horizontal Alliance[6] did not hold together, it is because Yi was precious to King Hui and also maintained good relations with Zhao Ju. Now that King Hui is dead and King Wu is on the throne, Yi has fled and Gongsun Hao[7] and Gan Mao[8] are revered. Gan Mao cozies up to Wei, and Gongsun Hao to Han. The two of them are solidly inimical towards Ju, so they will certainly lead Qin to form an agreement with Han and Wei. Previously, Han and Wei both held Yi in high esteem, because Yi had control over Qin and while Ju relied upon Chu's power to gain respect. 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 treat Gongsun Hao and Gan Mao with solicitude. These two will have Han and Wei show their contempt for Yi and attack Chu, meaning that Fangcheng[9] will be at risk. Your Majesty would be best off restoring Ju to his former position, and reinforcing Yi's importance in Han and Wei. Yi will use Chu's power and Wei's position to launch an attack against Qin. Wei will not form an alliance with Qin, and Han will not follow them, so Fangcheng will remain untroubled."

[1] King Huai of Chu.

[2] Chancellor of Chu.

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

[4] King Huixiang of Qin.

[5] King Wu of Qin.

[6] A succession of attempts by Qin to build an alliance that would give it access to the Central Plains and cut Chu off from the northern states.

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

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

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

張儀逐惠施於魏

Zhang Yi has Hui Shi Expelled from Wei

張儀逐惠施於魏。惠子之楚,楚王受之。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。

Zhang Yi[1] had Hui Shi[2] expelled from Wei. Master Hui came to Chu, where the King of Chu[3] received him. Feng Hao[4] addressed the King of Chu, saying, "The one who had Master Hui expelled was Zhang Yi. If Your Majesty makes a pact of friendship with him, you will be betraying Yi. I feel that this is not becoming for Your Majesty. Master Hui was obliged to come here on account of Yi, and will resent you for maintaining a friendship with Zhang Yi. He will certainly not settle in Chu. Moreover, the King of Song[5] regards Master Hui as a sage, and there is no one in All-Under-Heaven who has not heard about this. Now Hui Shi is not on good terms with Zhang Yi, and there is no one in All-Under-Heaven who does not know. Now, in pursuit of your own plans, you intend to abandon one whom you prized in favour of his enemy, it seems like carelessness on Your Majesty's part. Do you wish to serve the interests of the state? Then it would be best to elevate Master Hui and ensure him a reception in Song. Then you can address Zhang Yi, saying, 'In fact, I refused him on your account.' Yi will certainly honour you for this, and because you raised Master Hui up when he was destitute, he will also honour you. In this way you will not lose the benefits to be got from Yi, while also being able to obtain homage from Master Hui."

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

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

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

[3] King Huai of Chu.

[4] Feng Hao is known mainly via this story.

[5] King Yan of Song.

五國伐秦

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。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。」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。

Five states attacked Qin. Wei wished for a peace agreement, and dispatched Hui Shi[1] as an envoy to Chu. Chu then sent him to Qin with the mission of concluding an accord. Du He[2] addressed Zhao Yang[3], saying, "If all are attacking Qin, it is on account of Chu. Now Shi came here on behalf of Wei, and you are sending him on a peace mission to Qin. This will make it clear that Chu is leading the attack and lead everyone to believe that Wei wants peace. You would be better off ignoring Hui Shi, and secretly sending an envoy to beg Qin for instructions."

Zhao Yang said, "Very well." He also took the opportunity of addressing Hui Shi, saying, "If all are attacking Qin, it is on account of Wei. Now you have come to Chu for a peace agreement, but it will be Chu that profits and Wei that attract's Qin's resentment. If you return home, I will send someone to make peace with Wei." Master Hui returned, and the King of Wei[4] was not happy.

Du He addressed Zhao Yang, saying, "Wei was first to join the battle on your behalf, now half of its troops have been cut down. It has come to you in its hour of need and you ignore it. If Wei is broken and turns to Qi and Qin, how then will you rely upon it for help in future? In the East you are being troubled by Yue, you will receive nothing from Jin[5] in the North, and have not yet consolidated relations with Qi and Qin, meaning that Chu will end up alone. It would be better to make peace with Wei quickly." 

Zhao Yang said, "Very well. He took the opportunity to send someone to Wei to make peace.

 

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

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

[3] Zhao Yang was Prime Minister of Chu, and a celebrated general. 

[4] King Xiang of Wei.

[5] In this case Jin refers to Wei.

陳軫告楚之魏

Chen Zhen Informs the King of Chu that he is Going to 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] informed the King of Chu[2] that he was going to Wei[3]. Zhang Yi[4] slandered him to the King of Wei[5], saying, "Zhen is scheming to benefit Chu, he will ask for land on their behalf to increase their own power." 

Zuo Shuang[6] addressed Chen Zhen, saying, "Yi is cozying up to the King of Wei. When the King of Wei trusts him entirely. Even if you offer a hundred persuasions, none of your schemes will be listened to. You would be better off using Yi's words as your own capital, carrying them back to Chu with you."

Chen Zhen said, "Very well." He sent an envoy to use Yi's words to get the ear of the court in Chu. The King of Chu was delighted, and requested that Chen Zhen return.

[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] King Huai of Chu.

[3] The implication is that Chen Zhen's career is not going well in Chu, so he requests leave to try his luck elsewhere. Zhang Yi puts the kibosh on his planned move, so he rescues the situation by using Zhang Yi's claims as proof of his loyalty to Chu.

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

[5] King Xiang of Wei.

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

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] addressed Chen Zhen[3], saying, "We have heard that Han Chi[4] is a clever politician. He follows the affairs of All-Under-Heaven, and knows how to get himself out of trouble. Because he knows how to avoid danger, I wish to send him forward to take control of Yiyang, which will win us more honour from Han."

Chen Zhen said, "Your Majesty should not entrust this to him. Han Chi's intelligence will ​get us into trouble. Of all the animals in the mountains and marshes, there is none as alert as the deer. When it spots the hunters carrying nets preparatory to stampeding the herd into the trap, it takes the opportunity to charge against them, striking them repeatedly. The hunters know these tricks, so they hide their nets as they approach, and thereby are able to catch the deer. Now the feudal lords know that Han Chi is full of tricks, so they will all conceal their nets as they approach him. Your Majesty should not entrust this to him. Han Chi's intelligence will ​get us into trouble." The King listened to him and Yiyang fell as a result, as Chen Zhen knew it would. 

[1] Yiyang was in modern Yiyang County, Henan. The Battle of Yiyang was a key stage in Qin's expansion. It took place in 307 BC.

[2] King Huai of Chu.

[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] Han Chi was a pro-Qin politician in Han.

唐且見春申君

Tang Qie Has an 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 Qie[1] had an audience with Lord Chunshen[2], saying, "The men of Qi adorn themselves and refine their conduct to earn rewards, meaning that the ministers there are degraded and do not study. I did not shrink from crossing the Yellow River and the Yangtze, or traveling over a thousand li[3], from my humble position I was struck by your Lordship's moral integrity, and admired your achievements. Your servant has heard that Ben[4] and Zhu[5] were armed only with short knives and yet All-Under-Heaven recognised their heroism. Xi Shi[6] wore coarse clothes and All-Under-Heaven called her beautiful. Now you are Chancellor of Chu, a state of ten thousand chariots, resisting the troubles caused by the Central States[7], but what you desire is not realised and what you ask for you do not get, as you have too few people to serve you. If the king[8] is to win the game, it needs the help of the pawns. That a king cannot defeat five pawns is clear. Now why do you not instruct me as one of your pawns, and become king of All-Under-Heaven?  

[1] This seems to refer to Tang Ju (唐雎), a celebrated strategist from Wei.

[2] 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.

[3] A li was about a third of a mile. 

[4] Meng Ben was a celebrated soldier and strong man in Qin. I cannot find any record of any of his exploits involving short knives.

[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 Chinese cultural heartland.

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