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Ts’ui Chu had assassinated Duke Chuang

After Ts’ui Chu had assassinated Duke Chuang, he ordered the nobles and Great Officers to make a covenant with him. The covenanters all had laid aside their swords before entering. Those who did not speak quickly or who did not touch the blood with their fingers were put to death.

Over ten men had been killed when it came to Yen-tzŭ's turn. He raised up the cup of blood, and, facing Heaven, said with a sign, "Alas! that Ts’ui Chu has been so unrighteous as to slay his prince!" Whereupon the covenanters all looked at him.

Ts’ui Chu said to Yen-tzŭ, "If you help me, I will share the state with you. If you do not help me, I will kill you: A straight sword will pierce you, and a curved one will hook you. I hope you will think about it."

Yen-tzŭ said, "I have heard that he who, being deterred by profit, is unfaithful to his prince lacks jên, and he who permits himself to be forced by weapons to abandon his determination lacks courage. The Ode says,

Luxuriant are the dolichos and other creepers,
Clinging to the branches and stems;
Easy and self-possessed is the superior man,
Seeking for happiness by no crooked ways.

Can I be crooked, then? Straight swords may pierce me and curved ones may hook me, but I will not change."

Ts’ui Chu said, "Let Yen-tzŭ go."

Yen-tzŭ got up and went out. Taking the traces of the carriage harness, he mounted the chariot. His servant wanted to drive fast, but Yen-tzŭ clapped his hands and said, "The deer in the mountain forest—his fate is in the kitchen. Our fates are dependent on something, but how on hasty driving?" He proceeded peacefully, with calm demeanour, and so left. The Ode says,

His lamb's fur is glossy,
Truly smooth and beautiful.
That gentleman
Rests in his lot and will not change.

Yen-tzŭ is an example of this.

崔杼弑庄公,合士大夫盟,盟者皆脱剑而入,言不疾,措血至者死,所杀者十馀人,次及晏子,奉杯血,仰天而叹曰:“恶乎!崔杼将为无道,而杀其君。”于是盟者皆视之。崔杼谓晏子曰:“子与我,吾将与子分国;子不与,我杀子。直兵将推之,曲兵将钩之。吾愿子之图之也。”晏子曰:“留以利而倍其君,非仁也;劫以刃而失其志者,非勇也。《诗》曰:‘莫莫葛藟,延于条枚。恺悌君子,求福不回。’婴其可回矣!直兵推之,曲兵钩之,婴不之革也。”崔杼曰:“舍晏子。”晏子起而出,授绥而乘,其仆驰,晏子抚其手曰:“麋鹿在山林,其命在庖厨。命有所悬,安在疾驱。”安行成节,然后去之。《诗》曰:“羔裘如濡,恂直且侯;彼已之子,舍命不偷。”晏子之谓也。

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