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The Wanderings of Prince Chong'er

Duke Xian of Jin married a daughter of the House of Jia, who had no child. Afterwards he committed incest with his father's concubine Qi Jiang, by whom he had a daughter who became wife of duke Mu of Qin, and a son Shensheng, whom he, after his father's death, acknowledged as his heir. Subsequently he married two ladies from among the Rong, the one of whom, called Hu Ji of the great Rong, bore Chong'er, and the other, who was of the small Rong, bore Yiwu.

When Jin invaded the Li Rong, their chief, a baron, gave duke Xian to wife his daughter. Duke Xian had wished to make Li Ji his wife, and consulted the divination. The tortoise-shell indicated that the thing would be unlucky, but the milfoil pronounced it lucky. The duke said, "I will follow the milfoil." The diviner by the tortoise-shell said, "The milfoil is reckoned inferior in its indications to the tortoise-shell. You had better follow the latter. And moreover, the oracle was:—

'The change made by inordinate devotion
Steals away the good qualities of the duke.
There is a fragrant herb, and a noisome one;
And ten years hence the noisomeness will continue.'

Do not do as you propose." The duke would not listen to this advice, and declared Li Ji his wife. She gave birth to Xiqi, and her sister bore Zhuozi.

Li Ji became the favourite with the duke, and wished to get her son declared his successor. In order to this, she bribed two officers, who were favourites with him,—Liangwu, of the outer court, and another, Wu from Dongguan, and got them to speak to the duke to this effect:—"Quwo contains your lordship's ancestral temple; Pu and Erqu are your boundary cities. They should not be without their lords residing in them. If your ancestral city be without its lord, the people will not feel awe; if the others be without their lords, that will lead the Rong to form encroaching projects. When they do so, the people will despise the government as being remiss;—to the harm of the State. If the heir-apparent be put in charge of Quwo, and Chong'er and Yiwu be put in charge, the one of Pu, and the other of Erqu, this will both awe the people and keep the Rong in fear, and display, moreover, your lordship's effective rule." She made them both say further, "The wide territory of the Di will in this way be a sort of capital of Jin. Is it not right thus to extend the country of the State?"

Duke Xian was pleased with these suggestions, and in the summer he sent his eldest son to reside in Quwo, Chong'er to reside in the city of Pu, and Yiwu in Qu. Thus all his other sons were sent away to the borders, and only the sons of Li Ji and her sister were left in Jiang. The end was that the two Wu and Li Ji slandered the others, and got Xiqi appointed heir to the State. The people of Jin called the two Wu the pair of ploughers.'

Duke Xian had employed Shi Wei to wall Pu and Qu for his sons, Chong'er and Yiwu. Wei did not look carefully after the work, and placed faggots between the back and facing of the walls. Yiwu represented the matter to the duke, who caused Wei to be reprimanded. That officer, having bowed his head to the ground, replied, "I have heard the sayings that when there is grief in a family where death has not occurred, real sorrow is sure to come, and that when you fortify a city when there is no threatening of war, your enemies are sure to hold it. In walling a place to be held by robbers and enemies, what occasion was there for me to be careful? If an officer with a charge neglect the command given to him, he fails in respect; if he make strong a place to be held by enemies, he fails in fidelity. Failing in respect and fidelity, how can he serve his lord? As the ode says,

'The cherishing of virtue insures tranquillity; The circle of relatives serves as a wall' Let our ruler cultivate his virtue and make sure all the circle of his House;—there is no fortification equal to this. In three years we shall have war; why should I be careful?" When he withdrew, he sang to himself,

"Shaggy is the fox fur; Three dukes in one State:— Which shall I follow?"

When the duke was about to declare Xiqi his heir, having determined on his plans with the great officers about the court, Li Ji said to his eldest son Shen Sheng, "The duke has been dreaming about Qi Jiang your mother]; you must soon sacrifice to her." The young prince sacrificed to his mother in Quwo, and sent some of the sacrificial flesh and spirits to the duke, who was hunting when they came. Li Ji kept them in the palace six days, and when the duke arrived, she poisoned them and presented them to him. The duke poured some of the spirits on the ground, which was agitated by them. He gave some of the flesh to a dog, which died; and some of the spirits to one of the attendants, who also died. Ji wept and said, "This is your eldest son's attempt to murder you." The son fled to the new city Quwo; but the duke put to death his tutor, Du Yuankuan. Some one said to the son, "Explain the matter. The duke is sure to discriminate." The son, however, said, "Without the lady Li Ji, my father cannot enjoy his rest or his food. If I explain the matter, the guilt will be fixed on her. The duke is getting old, and I will have taken his joy from him." The friend said, "Had you not better go away then?" "The duke," replied the prince, "will not examine into who is the guilty party; and if I, with the name of such a crime, go away from the State, who will receive me?" In the 12th month, on Wushen, he strangled himself in the new city Quwo.

Li Ji then slandered the duke's two other sons, saying that they were both privy to their brother's attempt. The duke sent the eunuch Pi to attack Pu. The men of which wanted to fight with them. Chong'er, however, would not allow them to do so, he said, "By favour of the command of my ruler and father, and through possession of the emolument he has assigned me, I have got the rule over these people; and if I should employ them to strive with him, my crime would be very great. I will fly. He then issued an order to his followers, saying, 'The command of my ruler and father is not to be opposed; He who opposes it is my enemy." He then was getting over the wall to run, when Pi cut off his sleeve. He made his escape, however, and fled to the Di.

The duke sent Jia Hua to attack Qu. Yiwu was unable to maintain it, so he made a covenant and went away. He thought himself of fleeing to the Di, but Xi Rui said, "Following after your brother Chong'er, and fleeing to the same place, it will appear as if you had been criminals together. You had better go to Liang; it is near to Qin, and is kindly regarded by it." Yiwu went accordingly to Liang.

When Yiwu was a refugee in Liang, the earl of it gave him to wife Liang Ying. As she went in pregnancy beyond the usual time, the diviner, Zhaofu, and his son, consulted the tortoise-shell about the matter. The son said, 'She will have both a boy and a girl.' 'Yes,' added the father, 'and the son will be another's subject, and the daughter will be a concubine.' On this account the boy was called Yu [a groom], and the girl was named Qie [concubine]. When Yu went a hostage to the west, Qie became a concubine in the harem of Qin.

On the death of duke Xian of Jin, Li Ke and Pi Zheng wished to raise Chong'er, who was afterwards duke Wen, to the dukedom, and therefore raised an insurrection with his partizans, and those of his brothers, Shensheng and Yiwu. Years before this, duke Xian had appointed Xun Xi to superintend the training of Xiqi; and when he was ill, he called Xi to him, and said, "I ventured to lay on you the charge of this child; how will you now do in reference to him?" Xi bowed his head to the ground, and replied, "I will put forth all my strength and resources on his behalf, doing so with loyalty and sincere devotion. If I succeed, it will be owing to your lordship's influence; if I do not succeed, my death shall follow my endeavours." "What do you mean by loyalty and sincere devotion?" asked the duke. "Doing to the extent of my knowledge whatever will be advantageous to your House is loyalty. Performing the duties to you, the departed, and serving him, the living, so that neither of you would have any doubts about me, is sincere devotion."

When Li Ke was fully purposed to kill Xiqi, he first informed Xun Xi, saying, "The friends of Chong'er and his brothers, all full of resentment, are about to rise; Qin and Jin will assist them:—what can you do in such a case?" "I will die with Xiqi," replied Xi. "That will be of no use," urged the other. Xun Shu said, "I told our departed duke so, and I must not say another thing now. I am able and willing to make good my words, and do you think I will grudge my life to do so? Although it may be of no use, how can I do otherwise? And in their wish to show the same virtue for their side, who is not like me? Do I wish to be entirely faithful and one for my protege, and can I say that others should refrain from being so for theirs?"

In the 10th month, Li Ke killed Xiqi in his place by his father's coffin. Xun Xi was about to die at the same time, but some one said to him, "You had better raise Zhuozi to his brother's place, and give your help to him." Xi did so, and directed the new duke in the burial of duke Xian.

In the 11th month, Li Ke slew Zhuo in the court, and Xun Xi died with him. The superior man may say that in Xun Xi we have what is declared in the ode,

"A flaw in a white gem May be ground away; But for a flaw in speech

Nothing can be done"'

The marquis of Qi, with the armies of the princes, invaded Jin, and returned, after advancing as far as Gaoliang. The expedition was to punish and put down the disorders of the State.

Xi Rui made Yiwu offer heavy bribes to Qin, and obtain its help in entering Jin. He was the duke Hui of Jin. His eldest son Yu succeeded the dukedom after his death, who was duke Huai.

Duke Huai commanded that none should follow the fugitive, Chong'er, and defined the period of 12 months, after which there would be pardon no more for any that remained with him. Mao and Yan, the sons of Hu Tu, had followed Chong'er, and were with him in Qin; but their father did not call them home. In consequence, duke Huai apprehended him in winter, and said, "If your sons come back, you shall be let off." Tu replied, "The ancient rule was that when a son was fit for official service, his father should enjoin upon him to be faithful. The new officer, moreover, wrote his name on a tablet, and gave the pledge of a dead animal to his lord, declaring that any wavering in his fidelity should be punished with death. Now the sons of your servant have had their names with Chong'er for many years. If I should go on to call them here, I should be teaching them to swerve from their allegiance. If I, as their father, should teach them to do so, how should I be fit to serve your lordship? Punish without excess or injustice, according to your intelligence;—this is what your servant desires to see. If you punish more than is right, to gratify yourself, who will be found without guilt?—But I have heard your commands." On this the duke put him to death.

Yan, the master of divination, saying that he was ill, did not leave his house; but, when he heard of Tu's execution, he remarked, "It is said in one of the Books of Zhou, 'So, by a grand intelligence, will you subdue the minds of the people.' But when our prince puts people to death to gratify himself, is not the case hard? The people see none of his virtue, and hear only of his cruel executions;—is he likely to leave any of his children in Jin?"'

'When Chong'er fled to the Di, which was in the year B. C. 654; and there followed him—Hu Yan, Zhao Cui, Dian Xie, Wei Wuzi, Jizi, and minister of Works with many others. In an invasion of the Qianggaoru, the Di captured the two daughters of their chief, Shu Wei and Ji Wei, and presented them to the prince. He took Ji Wei to himself as his wife, and she bore him Bochou and Shuliu. Her elder sister he gave to Zhao Cui, who had by her his son Dun. When he was about to go to Qi, he said to Ji Wei, "Wait for me five and twenty years; and if I have not come back then, you can marry another husband." She replied, "I am now 25; and if I am to marry again after other 25, I will go to my coffin. I had rather wait for you."

'The prince left the Di  after residing among them 12 years. Travelling through Wei, duke Wen of Wei treated him discourteously; and as he was leaving it by Wulu, he was reduced to beg food of a countryman, who gave him a clod of earth. The prince was angry, and wished to scourge him with his whip; but Zifan [Hu Yan] said, "It is Heaven's gift [a gift of the soil; a happy omen]." On this he bowed his head to the earth, received the clod, and took it with him in his carriage.

When he came to Qi, duke Huan gave him a lady of his own surname to wife, and he had 20 teams of 4 horses each. He abandoned himself to the enjoyment of his position, but his followers were dissatisfied with it, determined to leave Qi, and consulted with him about what they should do under the shade of a mulberry tree. There happened to be upon the tree a girl of the harem, employed about silkworms, who overheard their deliberations, and reported them to the lady Jiang, the prince's wife. Her mistress put her to death, and said to the prince, "You wish to go again upon your travels. I have put to death one who overheard your design." The prince protested that he had no such purpose; but his wife said to him, "Go. By cherishing me and reposing here, you are ruining your fame. The prince refused to leave; and she then consulted with Zifan, made the prince drunk, and sent him off, his followers carrying him with them. When he awoke, he seized a spear, and ran after Zifan.

When they came to Cao, duke Gong, having heard that the prince's ribs presented the appearance of one solid bone, wished to see him naked, and pressed near to look at him when he was bathing. The wife of Xi Fuji [an officer of Cao] said to her husband, "When I look at the followers of the prince of Jin, every one of them is fit to be chief minister of a State. If he only use their help, he is sure to return to Jin and be its duke; and when that happens, he is sure to obtain his ambition, and become leader of the States. He will then punish all who have been discourteous to him, and Cao will be the first to suffer. Why should you not go quickly, and show yourself to be a different man from the earl and his creatures. On this, Fuji sent the prince a dish of meat, with a bi of jade also in it. The prince accepted the meat, but returned the bi.

When they came to Song, the duke presented to the prince 20 teams of horses; but when they came to Zheng, duke Wen there was another to behave uncivilly. Shuzhan remonstrated with him, saying, "I have heard that men cannot attain to the excellence of him whose way is opened by Heaven. The prince of Jin has three things which make it likely that Heaven may be going to establish him;— I pray your lordship to treat him courteously. When husband and wife are of the same surname, their children do not prosper and multiply. The prince of Jin [himself a Ji] had a Ji for his mother; and yet he continues till now:—this is one thing. During all his troubles, a fugitive abroad, Heaven has not granted quiet to the State of Jin, which would seem as if it were preparing the way for his return to it:—this is a second thing. There are three of his officers, sufficient to occupy the highest places; and yet they adhere to him:——this is the third thing. Jin and Zheng, moreover, are of the same stock. You might be expected to treat courteously any scions of Jin passing through the State; and how much more should you so treat him whose way Heaven is thus opening!" To this remonstrance, the earl of Zheng would not listen.

When they came to Chu, the viscount of Chu was one day feasting the prince, and said, "If you return to Jin, and become its duke, how will you recompense my kindness to you?" The prince replied, "Women, gems, and silks, your lordship has. Feathers, hair, ivory and hides, are all produced in your lordship's country; those of them that come to Jin, are but your superabundance. What then should I have with which to recompense your kindness?" 'Nevertheless," urged the viscount, "how would you recompense me?" The prince replied, "If by your lordship's powerful influence I shall recover the State of Jin, should Chu and Jin go to war and meet in the plain of the Middle Land, I will withdraw from your lordship three stages [each of 30 li]. If then I do not receive your commands to cease from hostilities, with my whip and my bow in my left hand, and my quiver and my bowcase on my right, I will manæuvre with your lordship."

'On this, Ziyu, begged that the prince might be put to death, but the viscount said, "The prince of Jin is a grand character, and yet distinguished by moderation, highly accomplished and yet courteous. His followers are severely grave and yet generous, loyal and of untiring ability. The present duke of Jin has none who are attached to him. In his own State and out of it, he is universally hated. I have heard, moreover, that the Jis of Jin, the descendants of Shu of Tang, though they might afterwards decay, yet would not perish;——may not this be about to be verified in the prince? When Heaven intends to prosper a man, who can stop him? He who opposes Heaven must incur great guilt."

After this, the viscount sent the prince away with an escort to Qin, where the earl presented him with five ladies, Huai Ying [the earl's daughter, who had been given to Yu, who fled from Qin, and became duke Huai of Jin] among them. The prince made her hold a goblet, and pour water from it for him to wash his hands. When he had done, he ordered her away with a motion of his wet hands [the meaning of the Zhuan here is variously taken], on which she said in anger, "Qin and Jin are equals; why do you treat me so, as if I were mean?" The prince became afraid, and humbled himself, putting off his robes, and assuming the garb of a prisoner.

Another day, the earl invited him to a feast, when Zifan said, "I am not so accomplished as Cui; pray make him attend you. The prince sang the Heshui, so that the prince would compare himself to the Yellow River, and Qin to the sea, to which the River flows], and the earl, the Liuyue, this ode celebrates the services of an ancient noble in the cause of the kingdom, as if the earl of Qin were auspicing such services to be rendered hereafter by the prince of Jin. Zhao Cui said, "Chong'er, render thanks for the earl's gift." The prince then descended the steps, and bowed with his head to the ground. The earl also descended a step, and declined such a demonstration. Cui said, "When your lordship laid your charge on Chong'er as to how he should assist the son of Heaven, he dared not but make so humble an acknowledgment.

In spring, the earl of Qin restored Chong'er. When the invaders came to the Yellow River, Zifan, who was the brother of the Chong'er's mother, delivered up to the prince a pair of bi jade, which he had received from the earl of Qin, saying, "Your servant has followed your lordship all about under heaven, as if bearing a halter and bridle; and my offences have been very many. I know them myself, and much more does your lordship know them. Allow me from this time to disappear." The prince said, "Wherein I do not continue to be of the same mind as my uncle, may the Spirit of this clear water punish me!" And at the same time he threw the bi into the stream.

Having crossed the Yellow River, the troops laid siege to Linghu, entered Sangquan, and took Jiucui. In the second month, on the day of Jiawu, the army of Jin came to meet them, and took post at Luliu. The earl of Qin sent his general Zhi, a son of duke Cheng, to it, when it retired, and encamped in Xun. There, on Xinchou, Hu Yan and the great officers of Qin and Jin made a covenant. On Renyin the prince entered the army of Jin; on Bingwu, he entered Quwo; on Dingwei, he went solemnly to the temple of duke Wu; and on Wushen, he caused duke Huai to be put to death in Gaoliang.

Two ministers of dukes Hui and Huai, Lü Yisheng and Xi Rui, fearing lest the new duke should be hard upon them, planned to burn the palace and murder him.

Pi, the chief of the eunuchs, who had been commissioned by his father, duke Xian, and afterwards, by his brother, duke Hui, to kill Chong'er, begged an interview, but the duke sent to reproach him, and refused to see him, saving, "In the affair at the city of Pu, my father ordered you to be at the place the next day, and you came on that same day. Afterwards, when I was hunting on the banks of the Wei with the chief of the Di, you came, in behalf of duke Hui, to seek for me and kill me. He ordered you to reach the place in three days, and you reached it in two. Although the undertaking was by your ruler's orders, why were you so rapid in the execution? The sleeve of which you cut off a part at Pu is still in my possession;—go away."

Pi replied, "I said to myself that his lordship, entering the State after so long a period of trial, was sure to have knowledge of the world. If he still have it not, he will again find himself in difficulties. It is the ancient rule, that, when an officer receives his ruler's commands, he think of no other individual. Charged to remove the danger of my ruler, I regarded nothing but how I might be able to do it. What was his lordship at Pu, or among the Di, to me? Now his lordship is master of the State;—is there no Pu, are there no Di against which he may need my help? Duke Huan of Qi forgot all about the shooting of the buckle of his girdle, and made Guan Zhong his chief minister. If his lordship is going to act differently, I shall not trouble him to say anything to me. There are very many who will have to go away, and not a poor eunuch like me only."

The duke then saw him, when he told him of the impending attempt, on which the duke, in the third month, secretly withdrew, and joined the earl of Qin in the old royal city. On Jichou, the last day of the moon, the palace was set on fire; but Sheng of Xia and Xi Rui did not find the duke. They then proceeded to the Yellow River, from which the earl of Qin contrived to wile them to his presence, when he put them to death. The duke then met his wife, the lady Ying, and took her with him to Jin. The earl sent an escort also of 3,000 men as guards, and who should superintend all the departments of service about the court.

In earlier years, the duke had a personal attendant called Touxu, who had charge of his treasury. This boy, when the prince was obliged to flee, ran away, carrying the contents of the treasury with him. He had used them all, however, in seeking to procure the duke's return; and when he did re-enter the State, he sought an interview with him. The duke declined to see him, and sent word that he was bathing. Touxu said to the servant [who brought the reply], 'In bathing, the heart is turned upside down [Referring to the position of the body in bathing, with the head bent down], and one's plans are all reversed. It was natural I should be told that I cannot see him. Those who stayed in Jin were his ministers, guarding the altars of the land; and those who went with him were his servants, carrying halter and bridle. Both may stand accepted. Why must he look on those who stayed in the country as criminals? If he, now lord of the State, show such enmity to a poor man like me, multitudes will be filled with alarm." The servant reported these words to the duke, who instantly granted Touxu an interview.

The chief of the Di sent Ji Wei to Jin, and asked what should be done with Chong'er's two children by her. Chong'er had given a daughter of his own to Zhao Cui to wife, who bore to him three sons. This lady—Zhao Ji—begged her husband that he would bring home from the Di his son Dun, with his mother Shu Wei. Zhao Cui refused to do so, but Zhao Ji said, "He who in the enjoyment of present prosperity forgets his old friends is not fit to command others. You must meet them, and bring them here" She pressed the matter so strongly, that at last he agreed that they should come. Finding that Dun was possessed of ability, she further pressed it earnestly on the duke, her father Chong'er, to cause him to be declared Cui's eldest son and heir, while her own three sons were ranked below him. She also caused Shu Wei to be made mistress of the harem, and occupied herself in an inferior position.

When the duke of Jin was rewarding those who had followed and adhered to him during his long exile, Jie Zhitui, who had once cut off a portion of his own thigh, to relieve the prince's extreme hunger, did not ask for any recompense, and it so happened that none came to him. "The sons of duke Xian," said he, "were nine, and only the duke remains. Duke Hui and duke Huai made no friends, and were abandoned by all, whether in the State or out of it. But Heaven had not abandoned the House of Jin, and was sure to raise some one to preside over its sacrifices;—and who should do that but the duke? It was Heaven who placed him in his present position; and how false it is in those officers to think it was their strength which did it! He who steals but the money of another man is pronounced a thief; what name shall be given to them who seek to appropriate to themselves the work of Heaven? They, below, think their guilt is their righteousness, and the duke, above, rewards their unworthiness. He above and they below are deceiving and deceived; it is difficult for me to dwell along with them!" His mother said to him, "Why not go, as well as others, and ask for some recompense? If you die without receiving any, [never having asked], of whom can you complain?" He replied, "Were I to imitate them in their wrong-doing, my offence would be greater than theirs. And I have spoken [what may seem] words of resentment and complaint:— I will eat none of their food." His mother said, "But what say you to letting your case at least be known?" "Words," answered he, "are an embellishment of the person. I shall withdraw my person entirely from the world, and why should I use what is employed to seek its embellishment?" His mother said, "Can you take this course? Then I will retire and hide myself from the world with you." The duke of Jin afterwards sought for Jie Zhitui, but in vain, and endowed a sacrifice to him with the fields of Mianshang. "It will be a memento," said he, "of my neglect, and a mark of distinction for the good man.


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