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came to the foot of the terrace, and a court was held. The year of reign was changed to the style Huang-Ch'u and the government became that of Ta Wei. An edict was then published proclaiming a general amnesty, and the title of Founder of the Dynasty" was conferred upon the late Prince Ts'ao Ts'ao.
Then said Hua Hsin, “As heaven has but one sun, so the people can have but one ruler. The Hans have abdicated, and it is fitting that they withdraw to a distance.
I pray for an edict naming the place of residence of the Liu family.
Taking the late Emperor by the arm, he led him forward and made him kneel below the terrace to hear the command. Then the new Emperor conferred upon him the title of "Duke of Shanyang," bidding him depart forthwith. Thereupon Hua Hsin drew his sword and in a harsh voice said, "It is an old rule that the setting up of one Emperor means the degradation of another. Now, through the gracious kindness of His Majesty you are spared personal injury and created a duke. Proceed at once and return not to court without express command."
The late Emperor controlled his emotion, thanked the Emperor for his clemency and left. But those who saw the departure could not help a feeling of pity for him.
Said Ts'ao P'ei to his courtiers, “I understand the relation of Shun and Yü.”
Then they all shouted “Wan-sui; O Ruler, may thy life be eternal.”
The ruling policy of Han had failed them,
The officials then requested Ts'ao P'ei to make a solemn declaration to Heaven and Earth, which he did with humble obeisance.
But at this moment a sudden storm burst, whirling up the dust and rolling along stones till no man could see the face of his neighbour. All the lights on the terrace were extinguished. The newly enthroned Emperor was terrified and fell prostrate. He was borne away unconscious. When he revived he was assisted into the palace, but for many days he was too ill to hold a court.
When he had somewhat recovered, he met his courtiers and received their felicitations. He rewarded Hua Hsin, who had taken so active and prominent a part in the late scenes, with the post of Minister of Instruction, and Wang Lang with that
of Minister of Works. All the officers were advanced in rank. But as his recovery was slow, he began to think there was too much witchcraft about the palace at Hsüch‘ang and left it for Loyang, where he erected a large palace.
The tale of these doings reached Ch'êngtu and caused great grief to the Prince of Hanchung, for it was told him the late Emperor had been put to death. He issued an order for mourning to be worn and instituted sacrifices, and he conferred the posthumous title of Hsiao-mên on the late Emperor. This worry brought on an illness, so that he could not transact the business of the court, which was left in the hands of Kʻungming.
Then Kʻung-ming and some of his colleagues took counsel one with another, saying, “The empire cannot be one single day without its ruler, wherefore we desire that our prince should be honoured with the title of Emperor.'
Chiao Chou said, “There have been auspicious indications. A yellow vapour has been seen in the northwest rising to the clouds, and the Emperor's star has greatly increased in splendour. These signs mean that our prince is to become Emperor in succession to the House of Han. There can be no doubt.”
Whereupon K‘ung-ming and Hsü Ching, at the head of a large number of officers, presented a memorial requesting the prince to assume the title of "Emperor.” But he objected.
“O Nobles, do you desire to set my feet in the way of disloyalty and wrong-doing?”
"Not so," said K‘ung-ming. "But Ts'ao P'ei has usurped the Throne, while you are a scion of the House. It is right and proper that you succeed and prolong the line.”
But the prince suddenly showed anger, saying, “Can I imitate the deeds of such a rebel?”
He rose and left the chamber, going to his own apartments. So the officials dispersed. But three days later K‘ung-ming again led a deputation to the court, and they requested that the prince should come forth and hear them. He came, and they all prostrated themselves.
Hsü Ching spoke. "The late Emperor of the Hans has been slain by Ts'ao Pei. You, O Prince, will fail both in loyalty and rectitude if you do not assume the succession and destroy the wrong-doers. The whole empire requests you to rule that you may avenge the death of the late Emperor, and the people will be disappointed if you do not accede to their wishes.'
The prince replied, "Although I am descended from the grandson of an emperor I have not been of the least advantage, and if I assumed the title of 'Emperor,' how would that act differ from usurpation ?”
K‘ung-ming pleaded with him again and again, but the prince remained obdurate. Then K'ung-ming bethought that where argument failed a ruse might succeed. So having
arranged the parts his several colleagues were to play, he pleaded illness and remained at home. Presently it was told the prince that his adviser's condition was becoming serious, wherefore he went to see him as he lay on his couch.
"What illness affects you, my Commander-in-chief ?" asked he.
“My heart is sad like unto burning, and I shall soon die.” “What is it that causes you such grief?”
But K‘ung-ming did not reply. And when the question was repeated again and again he said nothing, but just lay with his eyes closed as if he was too ill to speak. The prince, however, pressed him to reply, and then with a deep sigh he said, “Great Prince, from the day I left my humble cottage to follow you you have always listened to my words and accepted my advice, and now this western district, the whole of the Two Ch'uan is yours just as I said it would be. But this usurpation of Ts'ao P'ei means the annihilation of the Hans and the cessation of their sacrifices, wherefore I and my colleagues desired you to become Emperor in order to crush this upstart Wei and restore the Lius. We all worked for this end, never thinking that you would refuse so obstinately to accede to our wishes. Now the officers are all annoyed, and they will drift away before very long. If you are left alone and Wu and Wei come to attack, it will be difficult for you to hold on to what you have. Do you not think this sufficient reason for me to feel grieved ?”
"Unless I refused, the whole land would blame me, and I am afraid,” replied the prince.
Quoting the Holy One, K‘ung-ming replied, “ 'If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.' In other words, if one be not really straight, people will not speak of one favourably. O Prince, you are straight and people speak of you favourably. What more is there to
You know when Heaven offers and you refuse, you are certainly to blame."
"When you have recovered it shall be done," said the prince.
Up leapt K‘ung-ming from his bed, tapped at the screen in front of a doorway and in rushed a number of high officers, who prostrated themselves, crying, “So you have consented, O Prince! Then choose the day for the ceremony.'
They were all the most trusted of his court: Hsü Ching, the Grand Tutor; Mi Chu the General; Shang Chu, Marquis of Ch'ingi; Liu Pao, Marquis of Yangch'üan; Chao Tsu, the General; and many others. The prince was greatly startled, and again said they were committing him to doing what was wrong.
But Kung-ming said, "Since consent has been given, let a terrace be built and a day chosen for the great ceremony."
The prince was escorted back to his palace, and officers were told off to see to the building of the terrace near Ch'êngtu, south of Wutan. And when all was ready a great concourse of officers solemnly escorted the prince, seated in a carriage of the imperial pattern, to the ground prepared, and he went up to the altar and performed the appointed sacrifice.
This done, the solemn announcement was read in a loud voice:
"On this twefth day of the fourth month of the year of ‘Established Tranquillity' period, Pei, the Emperor, makes this solemn announcement to Heaven and Earth. The Dynasty of Han has possessed the empire for years without end. Formerly Wang Mang rebelled against his sovereign, and the Emperor Kuang-Wu rose in his wrath and put him to death, thus restoring the prerogatives of the great sacrifices to him who rightly exercised them. Lately Ts'ao Ts'ao, powerful and cruel, slew the Empress, and his crimes cry aloud to Heaven for vengeance. His son, Ts'ao P'ei, carrying evils into every quarter, then seized the sceptre. My subordinates, regarding the dynasty as having been overthrown, think it fitting that I, Pei, would continue the line. successor to my two warrior ancestors, Kao-Tsu and KuangWu, I will punish as Heaven decrees. Fearing lest my virtue be inadequate to the Imperial Throne, I consulted the voices of the people, and all, even the most distant, have said that the mandate of Heaven may not be disobeyed and the great task of my ancestors may not continue in the hands of another; the land must have a lord and they aver the cynosure of all eyes is myself. Now I, respecting the mandate of Heaven and fearing lest the great achievements of Kao-Tsu and Kuang-Wu may be overthrown, have reverently selected this auspicious day to ascend the altar, sacrifice and announce my assumption of the imperial seal in order to comfort all the people, rejoice the ancestors of the Dynastic House and bring eternal tranquillity to all the domains."
When the reading was ended, and the sacrifice and the prayer, Kʻung-ming, in the name of all those assembled, presented the imperial seal. The prince received it in both hands, laid it upon the altar and again declined acceptance, saying, “I, Pei, am unfitted; I pray that another, more able, may be chosen."
But Kóung-ming said, "Our lord has settled the empire, and his merits are manifest to the whole world. Moreover, he is of the Dynastic Family and it is fitting that he succeed. Now that the great announcement has been made such self-abnegation is impossible.'
So all the officers shouted, "Eternal life to the Emperor !" and did obeisance. And then the style of the reign was announced to be Wu-Yüan.
The Lady Wu was declared Empress-Consort and the eldest son, Ch'an, was declared Heir-Apparent. The second son was made Prince of Lu and the third, Prince of Liang. Chuko Liang became Prime Minister, and Hsü Ching, Minister of Instruction. Many others were promoted, and a general amnesty was proclaimed, so that there was great rejoicing throughout all the length and breadth of the Two Ch'uan.
Next day the first court was held, and after the ceremonial prostrations, and when they were all arranged in due order, the First Ruler made a pronouncement.
"In the Peach Garden I and my brothers Kuan and Chang pledged ourselves to live and die together. Unhappily my brother Yün-chang came to his end at the hands of Sun Ch'uan of Wu, and I must avenge him lest I fail to fulfil the oath. Therefore will I devote the whole force of my kingdom to the destruction of Wu and the capture of its rebellious chief, whereby to wipe away my reproach.”
But just as he closed this oration an officer threw himself down at the foot of the throne, crying, “It may not be so.' All eyes turned to this man; he was Chao Yün.
“Dire vengeance will I wreak!” so cried the King,
His minister replied, “Do no such thing." What arguments were used will appear in the next chapter.