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Jianshu Cried Over Qin’s Troops...........Zuo Qiuming

2023-03-24 17:01Source:Chinese Literature Translation




杞子自郑使告于秦曰:“郑人使我掌其北门之管,若潜师以来,国可得也。”穆公访诸蹇叔。蹇叔曰:“劳师以袭远,非所闻也。师劳力竭,远主备之,无乃不可乎?师之所为,郑必知之。勤而无所,必有悖心。且行千里,其谁不知?”公辞焉。召孟明、 西乞、白乙使出师于东门之外。蹇叔哭之曰:“孟子!吾见师之出而不见其入也。”公使谓之曰:“尔何知!中寿,尔墓之木拱矣!”

蹇叔之子与师,哭而送之,曰:“晋人御师必于崤,崤有二陵焉。 其南陵,夏后皋之墓也;其北陵,文王之所辟风雨也,必死是间,余收尔骨焉!”秦师遂东。

Jianshu Cried Over Qin’s Troops

Zuo Qiuming

Duke Wen of the State of Jin died in winter. On the 10th day of the 12th lunar month, his coffin was sent to Quwo to be buried there. When the coffin was carried out of the capital city Jiang, a sound like a bull howling came out from it. Diviner Guo Yan made the ministers kneel down before the coffin, saying “The king will issue a military order that we shall attack the western troops which are going to cross our borders, and we are bound to win.”

  Qi Zi, a senior official of Qin, sent someone to inform the State of Qin from the State of Zheng, saying “People of Zheng asked me to take charge of the key to the north gate of their capital city. If troops are sent here quietly, the capital can be taken.”Then Duke Mu of Qin asked Jian Shu, an elderly senior official of Qin, for his advice. Jian Shu said:“I have never heard a weary army succeed in launching a surprise attack on a distant state, as the king of that distant state must already be on guard. Isn’t it impossible? Every manoeuvre of our troops will be known to the State of Zheng. If the hard-toiling troops have nothing to gain, disloyalty will be in ferment. As the troops have to march thousands of miles, who doesn’t know it?” Duke Mu of Qin did not take Jian Shu’s advice. He summoned three generals, Mengming, Xiqi and Baiyi, and told them to lead troops out of the east gate. Jian Shu cried over them, saying: Mengming, I am watching the troops set out, but I won’t see them back!” Duke Mu of Qin sent to reproach Jian Shu, saying: “How senile and ignorant you are! If you had only a medium life span, the trees on your grave would have grown so thick as to be held by two arms.”

  Jian Shu’s son went out with the army to fight the war. He sobbed to see his son off, saying “The people of Jin will surely resist our army in the Xiaoshan Mountains, where there are two hills. On the south hill is the tomb of King Gao of Xia Dynasty, and the northern one is where King Wen of Zhou took shelter from the wind and rain. You will surely die in battle between those two hills, and I will pick up your bones there!” Then the Qin’s army went east.

Translated by Jin Deming