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Li Ji was a woman of the Li Rong, and the wife of Duke Xian of Jin.

Earlier, Duke Xian had taken a wife from Qi, who gave birth to the future wife of Duke Mu of Qin, and to Shensheng.

He later married again with two women from the Rong, who gave birth to Chong'er and Yiwu.

Duke Xian attacked the Li Rong, conquered them, and took Li Ji back with him as his wife. She gave birth to Xiqi and Zhuozi.

Li Ji became a favorite of Duke Xian. When Qi Jiang died, the duke made Li Ji his main wife.

Li Ji wanted to make Xiqi the crown prince, and plotted with her younger sister, saying:

"(???) only after chasing away the crown prince and the two other princes I can be at ease."

So Li Ji said to the duke: "Quwo is my lord's ancestral city.

Pu and Erqu are my lord's border cities. These can not be without a ruler present.

If the ancestral city goes without ruler, the people will not respect our border; without a ruler, this will open the hearts of bandits.

Now, if the hearts of bandits are roused, people will despise their government, to the detriment of the country.

If you make the crown prince the ruler of Quwo, and the two other princes the rulers of Pu and Erqu,

then you can make people respectful, and bandits afraid."

Thereupon he made the crown prince reside in Quwo, Chong'er reside in Pu and Yuwu reside in Erqu.

When Li Ji had ensured that the crown prince was far away, she sobbed in the night, and the duke asked for her reason. She replied: "

I heard that Shensheng makes an effort to be excessively kind to people, using his extremely vast kindness to his people.

Now he says your lord has been deluded by me, and that I will certainly cause disorder in the country. I'm afraid that for the sake of the people of the country,

he's trying to compell my lord. But you have not yet died, how could you cope with this?

Why not kill me? Do not let one concubine create chaos among the common people."

The duke said: "He is good to the people, yet he his not good to his own father?

Ji said: "Doing something for the people, or for one's father, are two different things. Now, if he's going to kill the ruler to benefit the people, who among the people would not support him?

If by not considering his father's benefit in order to obtain favor from the people, he can put an end to disorder and make the masses happy, who would not desire this from him?

Although he loves his lord, he desires not to (???). Like Zhou had Liangzi, who in the past killed Zhou,

(???) use King Wu as a pretext to discard his sacrifice.

Among our previous rulers, Duke Wu united with Yi, and Mu of Chu assassinated Cheng.

These all acted for the people without considering their relatives. If you do not make plans soon, disaster will soon come."

The duke was afraid and said: "How can I deal with this?"

Li Ji said: "My lord, how can you hand over control of government to him without being old? When he has power and exercises it, will he harm you, or let you go?"

The duke said: "This is unacceptable. I will consider this." From this point, he mistrusted his crown prince.

Li Ji then sent a messenger on the duke's behalf to the crown prince, saying: "The lord dreamt about Qi Jiang, hurry to sacrifice to her."

Shensheng sacrificed in Quwo, and sent home sacrifical wine and meat to Jiang. The duke was out hunting and absent from the palace,

Li Ji received the gifts, then put a poisonous bird in the wine, and applied poison to the meat.

The duke arrived, and summoned Shensheng's sacrificial meat and wine. Li Ji said: "This food comes from the outside, it would be unwise not to test it."

He poured some wine onto the ground, which swelled up. Shensheng became afraid, and left.

Li Ji gave some to a dog, which died. She made a minor official drink of the wine, and the official died.

Li Ji then looked up at the sky, beat her chest and sobbed. She looked at Shensheng and cried, saying:

"Sigh! The country, your country, how could you wait to become its ruler?

(???). To murder your father in order to gain something, who would consider anything gained?

Duke Xian sent a messenger to the crown prince saying: "You should explain this."

The great tutor Li Ke said: "Crown prince, if you come and explain yourself, then you may live. If not, you can not live."

The crown prince said: "My lord is old. If I return and explain myself, then Li Ji will die, and my lord will not be at peace."

Then he hanged himself in the temple of the new city. The duke then killed the junior tutor, Du Yuankuan.

Then Yan Chu went to assassinate Chong'er, who fled to the Di.

Jia Hua was sent to assassinate Yiwu, who fled to Liang.

After all the princes were gone, Xiqi was promoted to crown prince.

When Duke Xian died, Xiqi became duke, but Li Ke killed him.

Zhuozi was made duke, but Li Ke killed him, too. Then he executed Li Ji by whipping.

Thereupon Qin crowned Yiwu as Duke Hui.

When duke Hui died, Ziyu was crowned as Duke Huai.

Men of Jin killed Duke Huai, and crowned Chong'er as Duke Wen.

The chaos extended five generations before settling down.

The ode says: "A woman with a long tongue, Is [like] a stepping-stone to disorder." It also says: "But a wise woman overthrows the city wall." This applies here.
Note: from James Legge's translation of 瞻卬 (ode 264). More on this can be found in the chapter on Mo Xi.



In winter, Li Ke put to death Xiqi, the son of his deceased ruler.




Duke Xian of Jin married a daughter of the House of Jia, who had no child. Afterwards he committed incest with his father's concubine Qi Jiang, by whom he had a daughter who became the wife of duke Mu of Qin, and a son Shensheng, whom he, after his father's death, acknowledged as his heir. Subsequently he married two ladies from among the Rong, the one of whom, called Hu Ji of the great Rong, bore Chong'er, and the other, who was of the small Rong, bore Yiwu. When Jin invaded the Li Rong, their chief, a baron, gave him to wife his daughter, Li Ji, who bore a son called Xi Qi, while her younger sister bore him Zhuozi. Li Ji became the favourite with the duke, and wished to get her son declared his successor. In order to do this, she bribed two officers, who were fvourites with him,---Liangwu, of the outer court, and another, Wu from Dongguan, and got them to speak to the marquis to this effect:---"Quwo contains your lordship's ancestral temple; Pu and Erqu are your boundary cities. They should not be without their lords residing in them. If your ancestral city be without its lord, the people will not feel awe,; if the others be without their lords, that will lead the Rong to form encroaching projects. When they do so, the people will despise the government as being remiss;---to the harm of the State. If the heir-apparent be put in charge of Quwo, and Chong'er and Yiwu be put in charge, the one of Pu, and the other of Erqu, this will both awe the people and keep the Rong in fear, and display, moreover, your lordship's effective rule." She made them both say further, "The wide territory of the Di will in this way be a sort of capital of Jin. Is it not right thus to extend the country of the State?"


The marquis was pleased with these suggestions, and in the summer he sent his eldest son to reside in Quwo, Chong'er to reside in the city of Pu, and Yuwu in Qu. Thus all his other sons were sent away to the borders, and only the sons of Li Ji and her sister were left in Jiang. The end was that the two Wu and Li Ji slandered the others, and got Xiqi appointed heir to the State. The people of Jin called the two Wu the pair of ploughers.



Before this, the duke Xian of Jin had wished to make Li Ji his wife. The tortoise-shell indicated that the thing would be unlucky, but the milfoil pronounced it lucky. The duke said, "I will follow the milfoil." The diviner by the tortoise-shell said, "The milfoil is reckoned inferior in its indications to the tortoise-hsell. You had better follow the latter. And moreover, the oracle was:---


The change made by inordinate devotion
Steals away the good qualities of the duke.
There is a fragrant herb, and a noisome one;
And ten years hence the noisomeness will continue.


Do not as you propose." The duke would not listen to this advice, and declared Li Ji his wife. She gave birth to Xiqi, and her sister bore Zhuozi.


When the duke was about to declare Xiqi his heir, having determined on his plans with the great officers about the court, [Li] Ji said to his eldest son, "The duke has been dreaming about Qi Jiang; you must soon sacrifice to her." The young prince sacrificed to his mother in Quwo, and sent some of the sacrifical flesh and spirits to the duke, who was hunting when they came. [Li] Ji kept them in the palace six days, and when the duke arrived, she poisoned them and presented them to him. The duke poured some of the spirits on the ground, which was agitated by them. He gave some of the flesh to a dog, which died; and some of the spirits to one of the attendants, who also died. [Li] Ji wept and said, "This is your eldest son's attempt to murder you." The son fled to the new city; but the duke put to death his tutor, Du Yuankuan. Some one said to the son, "Explain the matter. The duke is sure to discriminate." The son, however, said, "Without the lady Ji, my father cannot enjoy his rest or his food. If I explain the matter, the guilt will be fixed on her. The duke is getting old, and I will have taken his joy from him." The friend said, "Had you not better go away then?" The duke," replied the prince, "will not examine into who is the guilty party; and if I, with the name of such a crime, go away from the State, who will receive me?" In the 12th month, on wushen, he strangled himself in the new city.


Ji then slandered the duke's two other sons, saying that they were both privy to their brother's attempt, on which Chong'er fled to Pu, and Yiwu fled to Qu.



On the death of duke Xian of Jin, Li Ke and Ping Zheng wished to raise Chong'er, who was afterwards duke Wen, to the marquisate, and therefore raised an insurrection with his partizans, and those of his brothers, Shensheng and Yiwu. Years before this, duke Xian had appointed Xun Xi to superintend the training of Xiqi; and when he was ill, he called Xi to him, and said, "I ventured to lay on you the charge of this child; how will you now do in reference to him?" Xi bowed his head to the ground, and replied, "I will put forth all my strength and resources on his behalf, doing so with loyalty and sincere devotion. If I succeed, it will be owing to your lordshi's influence; if I do not succeed, my death shall follow my endeavours." "What do you mean by loyalty ad sincere devotion?" asked the duke. "Doing to the extent of my knowledge whatever will be advantageous to your House is loyalty. Performing the duties to you, the departed, and serving him, the living, so that neither of ou would have any doubts about me, is sincere devotion."


When Li Ke was fully purposed to kill Xiqi, he first informed Xun Xi, saying, "The friends of Chong'er and his brothers, all full of resentment, are about to rise; Qin and Jin wil assist them:---what can you do in such a case?" "I will die with Xiqi," replied Xi. "That will be of no use," urged the other. Xun Xi said, "I told our departed marquis so, and I must not say another thing now. I am able and willing to make good my words, and do you think I will grudge my life to do so? Although it may be of no use, how can I do otherwise? And in their wish to show the same virtue for their side, who is not like me? Do I wish to be entirely faithful and one for my protege, and can I say that others should refrain from being so for theirs?

冬,十月,里克殺奚齊于次,書曰,殺其君之子,未葬也,荀息將死之,人曰,不如立 卓子而輔之,荀息立公子卓以葬。

In the 10th month, Li Ke killed Xiqi in his palace by his father's coffin. Xun Xi was about to die at the same time, but some one said to him, "You had better raise Zhuozi to his brother's place, and give your help to him." Xi did so, and directed the new marquis in the burias of duke Xian.


In the 11th month, Li Ke slew Zhuo in the court, and Xun Xi died with him. The superior man may say that in Xun Xi we have what is declared in the ode

A flaw in a white gem
May be ground away;
But for a flaw in speech
Nothing can be done


The marquis of Qi, with the armies ofthe princes, invaded Jin, and returned, after advancing as far as Gaoliang. The expedition was to punish and put down the disorders of the State. The order about it did not reach Lu, and so no record of it was made.


Xi Rui made Yiwu offer heavy bribes to Qin, to obtain its help in entering Jin, saying to him, "The State is really in the possession of others; you need grudge nothing. If you enter and can get the people, you will have no difficulty about the territory." Yiwu followed his counsel. Xi Peng of Qi led a force and joined the army of Qin; and they placed Yiwu or duke Hui in duke Xian's place.


The earl of Qin said to Xi Rui, "Whom has the duke's son to rely on in Jin?" Rui replied, "I have heard the saying that a figitive should have no partizans; for if he have partizans, he is sure to have enemies also. When Yuwu was young, he was not fond of play; he could show fight, but in moderation. When he grew up, there was no change in these traits. Anything else about him I do not know." The earl then said to Gongsun Zhi, "Will Yuwu settle the State?" Zhi replied, "I have heard that only the pattern man can settle a State. In the Shi it is said of king Wen


Without the consciousnes of effort,
You accord with the pattern of God

It is also said

Committing no excess, inflicting no injury;
There are few who will not take you as their model.


This is spoken of him who loves not nor hates, who envies not nor is ambitious;---it will be hard for him to settle the State!" The earl said, "Being envious, he will have many to resent his conduct; how can he succeed in this ambition? But this will be our gain."



In summer, in the 4th month, Jifu, duke of Zhou, and Dang, son of king Xi (?), joined Xi Peng of Qi in securing the establishment of the marquis of Jin, who put to death Li Ke to clear himself of any complicity with him in the murders which he had committed. When he was about to put him to death, he sent a message to him, saying, "But for you, I should not have attained to my present position; but considering that you murdered twomarquises and one great officer, is it not a difficult thing to be your ruler?" Ke replied, "If others had not been removed, how could you have found room to rise? But if you wish to make out a man's guilt, there is no difficulty in finding ground to do so. I have heard your command." With thishe cut his own throat, and died. At this time Ping Zheng was absent on a visit of friendly inquiries in Qin, and to entreat the earl to grant some delay in the payment of the bribes promised to him, so that he escaped for the present.


The marquis of Jin took up the body of his brother Gong [Shensheng], and had it re-interred. In the autumn, Hu Tu went to the lower capital in connection with this, when he met the former young prince, who hame him get up and take his reins for him, as he had been accustomed to do, and then said to him, "Yiwu has violated all propriety. I have presented a request to God and obtained it:---I am going to give Jin to Qin, which will maintain the sacrifices to me." Tu replied, "I have heard that the Spirits of the dead do not enjoy the sacrifices of those who are not of their kindred, and that people only sacrifice to those who were of the same ancestry as themselves. Will not the sacrifices to you be thus virtually no sacrifices? And what crimes attach to the people of Jin? Let me ask you to consider well how what you have done will lead to the wrong punishment of them and the cessation of the sacrifices to yourself." "Yes," said the other, "I will make another request to God. In 7 days, at the western side of the new city there will be a wizard, through whom you shall have an interview with me." Tu agreed to this, and the prince disappeared. When the time was come, the officer went to the west side of the city, and received this message:---"God has granted that I punish only the criminal, who shall be defeated in Han."


When Ping Zheng went to Qin, he said to the earl, "They were Lü Sheng, Xi Cheng, and Ji Rui, who would not agree to our marquis's fulfilling his promises to you. If you will call them to you by urgently requesting their presence, I will then expel the marquis. Your lordship can then restore Chong'er to Jin, and everything will be crowned with success.


In winter, the earl of Jin sent Ling Zhi to Jin in return for the missions of Ping Zheng, and to ask that the three offices mentioned by Zheng might come to him. Xi Rui said: "The greatness of his gifts and the sweetness of his words are intended to decoy us." Then they put to death Ping Zheng, Qi Ju, and the seven great officers of the chariots,---Gong Hua of the left column, Jia Hua of the right column, Shu Jian, Zhui Chuan, Lei Hu, Te Gong, and Shan Qi; all partizans of Li and Ping. Ping Bao fled to Qin, and said to the earl, "The marquis of Jin is false to you, great lord, and envious on small grounds of his own officers;---the people do not adhere to him. Attack him, and he is sure to be driven from the State." The earl said, "How can he, who has lost the masses, deal death in such a way? But you have onl yescaped the calamity; who can expel your ruler?"


閒 (xian2)
寇 (kou4)bandit
嫚 (man4)to despise
威 (wei1)to fear, to respect
寬 (kuan1)vast, wide
無乃 (wu2 nai3)I'm afraid that ...
歿 (mo4)to die
柰 (nai4)to cope, to deal with
戴 (dai4)to support
苟 (gou3)if
勝 (sheng4)to surpass, to beat
勝 (sheng1)equal to, capable of
顧 (gu4)to consider
授 (shou4)to hand over
亟 (ji2)hurry
福 (fu2)wine and meat used for sacrifice
寘 (zhi4)to place, to put
鴆 (zhen4)poisonous bird
施 (shi1)to apply, to put
脯 (fu3)dried meat
胙 (zuo4)sacrificial meat and wine
覆 (fu4)to tip over
墳 (fen2)to swell up
叩心 (kou4 xin1)to beat one's chest
遲 (chi2)slow
遲 (zhi4)to wait
況 (kuang4)moreover
況 (huang4)to give, be equal to
戮 (lu4)to punish by death
鞭 (bian1)to whip