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楚考李后

列女傳

Scanned original

楚考李后者,趙人李園之女弟,楚考烈王之后也。
Kao of Chu's Queeen Li was the younger sister of a man of Zhao, named Li Yuan, and the queen of King Kaolie of Chu.

初,考烈王無子,春申君患之,
Earlier, King Kaolie had no son, and Chunshen worried about this.

李園為春申君舍人,乃取其女弟與春申君,
Li Yuan was an attendant of Lord Chunshen, and gave his younger sister in marriage to Lord Chunshen.

知有身,園女弟承間謂春申君曰:
When she knew that she was pregnant, Yuan's sister said to Lord Chunshen when presenting this information:

「楚王之貴幸君,雖兄弟不如,今君相楚三十餘年,而王無子,
"The King of Chu highly values my lord, even if it is not like a brother. Now my lord has served Chu for over thirty years, and yet the king has no son.

即百歲後,將立兄弟,即楚更立君後,
After a hundred years, his descentants will be king. If you make Chu establish your own descendants as successors instead,

彼亦各貴其所親,又安得長有寵乎?
they will all be valued as relatives, and won't you be able to be at ease and always be in favor?

非徒然也,君用事久,多失禮於王兄弟。
It is not merely like this, but my lord will be able to serve for a long time, since many of the king's brothers have lost propriety.

王兄弟誠立,禍且及身,何以保相印江東之封乎!
If the king's brothers are indeed established as successors, disaster will reach your person, so how would you be protect (???) your fief, Jiangdong!

今妾知有身矣,而人莫知,妾之幸君未久,
Now I have become aware that I am pregnant, while others do not know this. I have not been able to satisfy my lord for very long,

誠以君之重而進妾於楚王,楚王必妾,妾賴天有子男,
but your lord should sincerely show his respect by presenting me to the king of Chu. The king is certain to accept me as his concubine, and I will put my faith in heaven that I will have a son.

則是君之子為王也,楚國盡可得,孰與身臨不測之罪乎!」
Then this son of my lord can become king, and the entire state of Chu can be obtained. (???)"

春申君大然之,乃出園女弟謹舍之,
Lord Chunshen gladly approved of this, then he went with Yuan's sister to tactfully present her to the king.

言之考烈王,考烈王召而幸之,遂生子悼,立為太子,
He spoke of her to King Kaolie, who summoned her and liked her. She then gave birth to a son, named Dao, who became crown prince.

園女弟為后,而李園貴用事,養士欲殺春申君以滅口。
Yuan's sister became queen, and Li Yuan a valued supporter of the king. The nobles wanted to kill Lord Chunshen in order to silence him.

及考烈王死,園乃殺春申君,滅其家,悼立,是為幽王。
When King Kaolie died, Yuan killed Lord Chunshen and eliminated his family. Dao was enthroned as King You.

后有考烈王遺腹子猶立,是為哀王。
The queen gave birth to a son after the king had died, named You, who became King Ai.

考烈王弟公子負芻之徒聞知幽王非考烈王子,疑哀王,
Followers of King Kaolie's younger brother, prince Fuchu, heard that King You is not the son of Kaolie, and started doubting King Ai.

乃襲殺哀王及太后,盡滅李園之家,而立負芻為王。五年,而秦滅之。
They then attacked and killed King Ai and his mother, and completely wiped out Li Yuan's family. Then they put Fuchu on the throne. Five years later, the state of Qin eliminated the country.

詩云:「盜言孔甘,亂是用餤。」此之謂也。
The ode says: "the words of the scoundrels are very sweet, the disorder is thereby elicited." This applies here.
Note: from Bernhard Karlgren's translation of 巧言 (ode 198).

Vocabulary

舍人 (she4 ren2)an official position, noblemen attending to the rulers of the Warring States/early Han period
有身 (you3 shen1)to be pregnant
承 (cheng2)to present
賴 (lai4)to rely on
測 (ce4)to fathom
謹 (jin3)careful
滅口 (mie4 kou3)to eliminate those who know too much
遺腹子 (yi2 fu4 zi3)child born after the father's death
襲 (xi2)raid, surprise attack
太后 (tai4 hou4)the ruler's mother