He called together his officials to consult.One of them,

He called together his officials to consult.

One of them, Cao Bao, said, “Now the enemy is upon us: We cannot sit and await death with folded hands. I for one will help you to make a fight.”

Tao Qian reluctantly sent the army out. From a distance he saw Cao Cao’s army spread abroad like frost and rushed far and wide like snow. In their midst was a large white flag and on both sides was written Vengeance.

When he had ranged his troops, Cao Cao rode out dressed in mourning white and abused Tao Qian.

  But Tao Qian advanced, and from beneath his ensign he bowed low and said, “I wished to make friends with you, Illustrious Sir, and so I sent Zhang Kai to escort your family. I knew not that his rebel heart was still unchanged. the fault does not lie at my door as you must see.”

  “You old wretch! You killed my father, and now you dare mumble this nonsense,” said Cao Cao.

  And he asked who would go out and seize Tao Qian.

  Xiahou Dun undertook this service and rode out. Tao Qian fled to the inner portion of his array; and as Xiahou Dun came on, Cao Bao went to meet him. But just as the two horses met, a hurricane burst over the spot, and the flying dust and pebbles threw both sides into the utmost confusion. Both drew off.

  Tao Qian retired into the city and called his officers to council.

  “the force against us is too strong,” said he. “I will give myself up as a prisoner and let him wreak his vengeance on me. I may save the people.”

  But a voice was heard saying, “You have long ruled here, and the people love you. Strong as the enemy are, they are not necessarily able to break down our walls, especially when defended by you and your people. I have a scheme to suggest that I think will make Cao Cao die in a place where he will not find burial.”

these bold words startled the assembly, and they eagerly asked what the scheme was.

[hip, hip, hip] Making overtures for friendship,

Tao Qian encountered deadly hate. But,

where danger seemed most threatening,

he discovered safety’s gate. [yip, yip, yip]

the next chapter will disclose who the speaker was

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At this time Chen Gong was in office in Dongjun

 At this time Chen Gong was in office in Dongjun, and he was also on friendly terms with Tao Qian. Hearing of Cao Cao’s design to destroy the whole population, Chen Gong came in haste to see his former companion*. Cao Cao, knowing Chen Gong’s errand, put him off at first and would not see him. But then Cao Cao could not forget the kindness he had formerly received from Chen Gong, and presently the visitor was called to his tent.

 

Chen Gong said, “they say you go to avenge your father’s death on Xuzhou, to destroy its people. I have come to say a word. Imperial Protector Tao Qian is humane and a good man. He is not looking out for his own advantage, careless of the means and of others. Your worthy father met his unhappy death at the hands of Zhang Kai. Tao Qian is guiltless. Still more innocent are the people, and to slay them would be an evil. I pray you think over it.”

Cao Cao retorted angrily, “You once abandoned me and now you have the impudence to come to see me! Tao Qian slew my whole family, and I will tear his heart out in revenge. I swear it! You may speak for your friend and say what you will. I shall be as if I heard not.”

Intercession had failed. Chen Gong sighed and took his leave.

He said, “Alas! I cannot go to Tao Qian and look upon his face.”

So Chen Gong rode off to the county of Chenliu to give service to Governor Zhang Miao.

Cao Cao’s army of revenge laid waste whatever place it passed through, slaying the people and desecrating their cemeteries.

When Tao Qian heard the terrible tidings,

he looked up to heaven, saying,

“I must be guilty of some fault before

Heaven to have brought this evil upon my people!”

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Remonstrance and appeal being vain, Ma Midi retired

Remonstrance and appeal being vain, Ma Midi retired. But he said to his colleagues, “Is Wang Yun then careless of the future? Worthy people are the mainstay of the state; laws are the canons of action. To destroy the mainstay and nullify the laws is to hasten destruction.”

As was just said Wang Yun was obdurate. Cai Yong whose offense was an expression of gratitude was thrown into prison and there strangled. The people of that day wept for Cai Yong, for they refused to see any offense in what he had done, and death was a harsh punishment.

[hip, hip, hip] Dong Zhuo, the dictator, Tyrannized the state, Fell and his sole mourner Shared his direful fate. Zhuge Liang in seclusion Was content to dream, Felt his worth and never Helped a traitor’s scheme. [yip, yip, yip]

  Those generals——Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji——whom Dong Zhuo had left to guard Meiwo fled when their master was slain and went into the county of Shanxi in Liangzhou Region. Thence they sent in a memorial entreating amnesty. But Wang Yun would not hear of it.

  “Four of them were the chief instruments of Dong Zhuo’s agGREssions. Now though a general amnesty were proclaimed, these men should be excluded from its benefit,” said Wang Yun.

  the messenger returned and told the four there was no hope of pardon and they could only flee.

  then their adviser, Jia Xu, said, “If we throw away our arms and flee singly, then we shall fall easy victims to any village beadle who may seize us. Rather let us cajole the Shanxi people to throw in their lot with us and make a sudden onslaught on the capital and so avenge Dong Zhuo. If we succeed, we control the court and the empire. There will be enough time to run away if we fail.”

  the plan was adopted, and they spread abroad the story that Wang Yun intended to massacre the county.

Having thus thrown the people into a state of terror, they went a step farther and said, “There is no advantage in dying for nothing. Revolt and join us!”

So they cajoled the people into joining them and gathered a host equal to one hundred thousand. This horde was divided into four parts, and they all set out to raid Capital Changan. On the way they fell in with a son-in-law of their late chief,

Imperial Commander Niu Fu,

who marched five thousand troop from Xiliang. Niu Fu

had set out to avenge his father-in-law,

and he became the Van Leader of the horde.

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Wang Yun took into his confidence two colleagues

Wang Yun took into his confidence two colleagues, Minister Shisun Rui and Imperial Commander Huang Wan.

Shisun Rui said, “the moment is favorable. The Emperor has just recovered from his illness, and we can dispatch an able talker to Meiwo to persuade Dong Zhuo to come here to discuss affairs. Meanwhile we will obtain a secret decree as authority for Lu Bu to lay an ambush just inside the Palace gates to kill Dong Zhuo as he enters. This is the best plan to adopt.”

“But who would dare to go?” said Huang Wan.

  “Li Su, General of the Imperial Tiger Army, would go. He belongs to the same region as Lu Bu and is very angry with the Prime Minister for not advancing him. His going would assure us the plan would be completed.”

  “Good,” said Wang Yun. “Let us see what Lu Bu thinks of it.”

  When Lu Bu was consulted, he told them that this Li Su’s persuasion had led him to kill Ding Yuan, his former benefactor.

  “If Li Su refuses this mission, I will kill him,” said Lu Bu.

  So they sent for Li Su.

  When Li Su arrived, Lu Bu said, “Formerly you talked me into killing Ding Yuan and going over to Dong Zhuo. Now we find Dong Zhuo means evil for the Emperor and is an oppressor of the people. His iniquities are many, and he is hated by gods and humans. You go to Meiwo, say you have a command from the Emperor to summon the Prime Minister to the Palace. He will come, and he will be put to death. You will have the credit of being loyal and restoring the Hans. Will you undertake this?”

  “I also wish to slay him,” was the reply. “But I could not find anyone to assist me. How can I hesitate? Your intervention is directly from Heaven.”

  And Li Su snapped an arrow in twain as register of his oath.

“If this succeeds, what glorious rank will be yours!” said Wang Yun.

Next day Li Su, with a small escort, set out for Meiwo and announced himself as bearer of a decree. He was conducted into Dong Zhuo’s presence. After he had made his obeisance, Dong Zhuo asked what the decree was.

“His Majesty has recovered and wishes his ministers to meet him in the Palace to consider the question of his abdication in your favor. That is what this summons means.”

“What does Wang Yun think of the scheme?”

“Wang Yun has already begun the construction of the Terrace of Abdication and only awaits my lord’s arrival.”

“Last night I dreamed a dragon coiled round my body,”

said Dong Zhuo GREatly pleased,

“and now I get this happy tidings!

I must not neglect the opportunity.”

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A wave of fierce wrath rolled up in Lu Bu Banging the table

A wave of fierce wrath rolled up in Lu Bu. Banging the table he shouted and roared.

His host ostentatiously tried to calm him, saying, “I forgot myself. I should not have spoken like that. Do not be so angry, I pray!”

“I will kill the wretch, I swear it! In no other way can I wash away my shame.”

“No, no! Do not say such a thing,” said Wang Yun, putting his hand over the other’s mouth. “You will bring trouble on poor me and my family.”

  “When one is born GREat, one cannot be patient for long under another person’s domination,” said Lu Bu.

  “It needs someone GREater than the Prime Minister to limit the scope of such talents as yours.”

  Lu Bu said, “I would not mind killing the old wretch were it not for the relation in which we stand. I fear to provoke the hostile criticism of posterity.”

  Wang Yun shook his head, saying, “Your name is Lu Bu; his is Dong Zhuo. Where was the paternal feeling when he threw the halberd at you?”

  “I had been misled if you had not said that,” said Lu Bu hotly.

  Wang Yun saw the effect of his words and continued, “It would be a loyal deed to restore the House of Han, and history would hand down your name to posterity perpetually fragrant. If you lend your aid to Dong Zhuo, you will be a traitor and your name will be tainted through all ages.”

  Lu Bu rose from his place and bowed to Wang Yun.

  “I have decided,” said he. “You need not fear, Sir.”

“But yet you may fail and bring upon yourself misfortune,” said Wang Yun.

Lu Bu drew his dagger, pricking his arm, and swearing by the blood that flowed.

Wang Yun fell on his knees and thanked him.

“then the Han sacrifices will not be cut off,

and you will be their savior. But this must remain a secret,

and I will tell you how the plot shall be worked out.”

Lu Bu took leave with GREat emotion.

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Lu Bu said, “I am but a simple officer in the palace of a minister

Lu Bu said, “I am but a simple officer in the palace of a minister. You are an exalted officer of state. Why am I treated thus?”

“Because in the whole land there is no hero your equal. Poor Wang Yun bows not to an officer’s rank; poor Wang Yun bows to his ability ”

This gratified Lu Bu mightily, and his host continued to praise and flatter and ply him with wine and to talk of the virtues of the Prime Minister and his henchman.

Lu Bu laughed and drank huge goblets.

Presently most of the attendants were sent away, only a few kept to press the guest to drink.

When the guest was very mellow, Wang Yun suddenly said, “Let her come in!”

Soon appeared two attendants, dressed in white, leading between them the exquisite and fascinating Diao Chan.

“Who is this?” said Lu Bu startled into sobriety.

  “This is my little girl, Diao Chan. You will not be annoyed at my familiarity, will you? But you have been so very friendly, I thought you would like to see her.”

  Wang Yun bade Diao Chan present a goblet of wine, and her eyes met those of the warrior.

  Wang Yun feigning intoxication said, “My little child begs you, General, to take a cup or two. We all depend upon you, all our house.”

  Lu Bu begged Diao Chan to sit down. She pretended to wish to retire. Her master pressed her to remain, saying that she might do so since the guest was a dear friend. So she took a seat modestly near her master.

  Lu Bu kept his gaze fixed upon the maid, while he swallowed cup after cup of wine.

  “I should like to present her to you as a handmaid: Would you accept?” said Wang Yun.

the guest started up.

“If that is so, you may rely upon my abject gratitude,” said Lu Bu.

“We will choose a propitious day ere long and send her to the palace.”

Lu Bu was overjoyed. He could not keep his eyes off Diao Chan, and loving glances FLASHed from her liquid eyes.

However the time came for the guest to leave, and Wang Yun said,

“I would ask you to remain the night, but the Prime Minister might suspect something.”

Lu Bu thanked him again and again and departed.

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then spoke the Governor of Henei, Wang Kuang, “We have been

then spoke the Governor of Henei, Wang Kuang, “We have been moved by a noble sense of right to assemble here. Now must we first choose a chief and bind ourselves to obedience.”

then said Cao Cao, “For four generations the highest offices of state have been filled by members of the Yuan family, and their clients and supporters are everywhere. As a descendant of ancient ministers of Han, Yuan Shao is a suitable man to be our chief lord.”

Yuan Shao again and again declined this honor. But they all said, “It must be he! There is no other!”

And then he aGREed.

So the next day a three-story altar was built, and they planted about it the banners of all parties in five directions of space. And they set up white yaks’ tails and golden axes and emblems of military authority and the seals of leadership round about.

All being ready, the chief lord was invited to ascend the altar. Clad in ceremonial robes and girded with a sword, Yuan Shao reverently ascended. There he burned incense, made obeisance and recited the oath:

  “the House of Han has fallen upon evil days, the bands of imperial authority are loosened. The rebel minister, Dong Zhuo, takes advantage of the discord to work evil, and calamity falls upon honorable families. Cruelty overwhelms simple folks. We, Yuan Shao and his confederates, fearing for the safety of the imperial prerogatives, have assembled military forces to rescue the state. We now pledge ourselves to exert our whole strength and act in concord to the utmost limit of our powers. There must be no disconcerted or selfish action. Should any depart from this pledge, may he lose his life and leave no posterity. Almighty Heaven and Universal Earth and the enlightened spirits of our forebears, be ye our witnesses!”

the reading finished, Yuan Shao smeared the blood of the sacrifice upon his lips and upon the lips of those who shared the pledge. All were deeply affected by the ceremony and many shed tears.

This done, the chief lord was supported down from the high place and led to his tent, where he took the highest place and the others arranged themselves according to rank and age. Here wine was served.

Presently Cao Cao said, “It behooves us all to obey the chief we have this day set up, and support the state. There must be no feeling of rivalry or superiority based upon numbers.”

Yuan Shao replied, “Unworthy as I am, yet as elected chief I must impartially reward merit and punish offenses. Let each see to it that he obeys the national laws and the army precepts. These must not be broken.”

“Only thy commands are to be obeyed!” cried all.

then Yuan Shao said, “My brother, Yuan Shu,

is appointed Chief of the Commissariat.

He must see to it that the whole camp

is well supplied. But the need of the moment is a

van leader who shall go to River Si Pass and provoke

a battle. The other forces must take up strategic positions in support.”

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The thread in the hands of a fond-hearted mother

 

Meng Jiao

A SONG OF A PURE-HEARTED GIRL

Lakka-trees ripen two by two

And mandarin-ducks die side by side.

If a true-hearted girl will love only her husband,

In a life as faithfully lived as theirs,

What troubling wave can arrive to vex

A spirit like water in a timeless well?


Meng Jiao

A TRAVELLER’S SONG

The thread in the hands of a fond-hearted mother

Makes clothes for the body of her wayward boy;

Carefully she sews and thoroughly she mends,

Dreading the delays that will keep him late from home.

But how much love has the inch-long grass

For three spring months of the light of the sun?


Chen Ziang

ON A GATE-TOWER AT YUZHOU

Where, before me, are the ages that have gone?

And where, behind me, are the coming generations?

I think of heaven and earth, without limit, without end,

And I am all alone and my tears fall down.


Li Qi

AN OLD AIR

 

There once was a man, sent on military missions,

A wanderer, from youth, on the You and Yan frontiers.

Under the horses’ hoofs he would meet his foes

And, recklessly risking his seven-foot body,

Would slay whoever dared confront

Those moustaches that bristled like porcupinequills.

…There were dark clouds below

the hills, there were white clouds above them,

But before a man has served full time, how can he go back?

In eastern Liao a girl was waiting, a girl of fifteen years,

Deft with a guitar, expert in dance and song.

…She seems to be fluting, even now, a reed-song of home,

Filling every soldier’s eyes with homesick tears.


Li Qi

A FAREWELL TO MY FRIEND CHEN ZHANGFU

 

In the Fourth-month the south wind blows plains of yellow barley,

Date-flowers have not faded yet and lakka-leaves are long.

The green peak that we left at dawn we still can see at evening,

While our horses whinny on the road, eager to turn homeward.

…Chen, my friend, you have always been a great and good man,

With your dragon’s moustache, tiger’s eyebrows and your massive forehead.

In your bosom you have shelved away ten thousand volumes.

You have held your head high, never bowed it in the dust.

…After buying us wine and pledging us, here at the eastern gate,

And taking things as lightly as a wildgoose feather,

Flat you lie, tipsy, forgetting the white sun;

But now and then you open your eyes and gaze at a high lone cloud.

…The tide-head of the lone river joins the darkening sky.

The ferryman beaches his boat. It has grown too late to sail.

And people on their way from Cheng cannot go home,

And people from Loyang sigh with disappointment.

…I have heard about the many friends around your wood land dwelling.

Yesterday you were dismissed. Are they your friends today?

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