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A superior man does not wish to be always showing superiority over others

The king deprived the earl of Zheng of all share in the government of the kingdom, and the earl in consequence no more appeared at court. In autumn the king led several of the princes to invade Zheng, when the earl withstood him.

The king drew up his forces so that he himself was in the centre, while Linfu, duke of Guo, commanded the army of the right, having the troops of Cai and Wei attached to him, and Heijian, duke of Zhou, commanded on the left, having the troops of Chen.

Ziyuan of Zheng asked the earl to draw their troops up in squares, on the left opposed to the armies of Cai and Wei, and on the right to the men of Chen. "Chen," said he, "is at this time all in confusion, and the people have no heart to fight. If we attack them first, they will be sure to run. The king's soldiers seeing this will fall into disorder, and the troops of Cai and Wei will set them the example of flight without making any resistance. Let us then collect our troops and fall upon the king;—in this way we may calculate on success." The earl followed this counsel. Manbo commanded the square on the right; Zhai Zhongzu that on the left; while Yuan Fan and Gao Qumi, with the earl, led the centre, which was drawn up in fish-scale array. There was always a force of 25 chariots, supported by 5 files of 5 men each, to maintain a close and unbroken front. The battle was fought at Xuge. The earl commanded the squares on the right and left to wait till they saw his flag waved, and then to advance with drums beating. The troops of Cai, Wei, and Chen all fled, while the king's were thrown into disorder. The forces of Zheng then united in an attack on the opposite centre. The king received a great defeat, and an arrow shot by Zhu Dan wounded him in the shoulder; but, notwithstanding this, he retreated, still maintaining an able fight. Zhu Dan asked leave to pursue him, but the earl said, "A superior man does not wish to be always showing superiority over others; much less dare he offer insult to the son of Heaven! If we manage to save ourselves, and the altars of Zheng take no damage, we have accomplished very much." At night he sent Zu of Zhai to comfort the king, and to ask after the welfare of his officers.'

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