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Scanned original

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.

Earlier, King Kaolie had no son, and Chunshen worried about this.

Li Yuan was an attendant of Lord Chunshen, and gave his younger sister in marriage to Lord Chunshen.

When she knew that she was pregnant, Yuan's sister said to Lord Chunshen when presenting this information:

"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.

After a hundred years, his descentants will be king. If you make Chu establish your own descendants as successors instead,

they will all be valued as relatives, and won't you be able to be at ease and always be in favor?

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.

If the king's brothers are indeed established as successors, disaster will reach your person, so how would you be protect (???) your fief, Jiangdong!

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,

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.

Then this son of my lord can become king, and the entire state of Chu can be obtained. (???)"

Lord Chunshen gladly approved of this, then he went with Yuan's sister to tactfully present her to the king.

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.

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.

When King Kaolie died, Yuan killed Lord Chunshen and eliminated his family. Dao was enthroned as King You.

The queen gave birth to a son after the king had died, named You, who became King Ai.

Followers of King Kaolie's younger brother, prince Fuchu, heard that King You is not the son of Kaolie, and started doubting King Ai.

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.

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).


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