Risking Death Penalty, Ancient Chinese Lobbyists Recommend Chastity and Save Country

Royal Court莊王即位三年,不發號政令,日夜享樂,還下令說:「有敢進諫者,判死罪絕不饒赦!」

After King Zhuang had been king for three years, he stopped tending political affairs and reveled night and day, giving the order “Anyone who dares to attempt consulting me will be killed without hesitation.”

伍舉進宮勸諫,莊王左手抱鄭國美女,右手抱著越國美女,坐在歌舞樂隊之間。伍舉說:「我想說個謎語。」又接著說:「有一隻鳥棲息在土山上,三年來不飛也不叫,請問這是什麼鳥?」莊王說:「三年不飛,一飛必定沖天;三年不叫,一叫必定驚人。伍舉你退下吧,我知道你的意思了。」

Wu Ju went to the palace to consult the king. Sitting amid a music and dance troupe, King Zhuang had a charming damsel from Zheng Kingdom under his left arm and another charming lady from Yue Kingdom under his right arm. Wu Ju said, “I’d like to tell your majesty a riddle.” He continued, “Once there was a bird [a common phallic metaphor] which nested on a mountain and didn’t fly or sing for three years. Do you know what bird this is?” King Zhuang responded, “Having not flown for three years, he could certainly fill the sky; having not sung for three years, he could certainly stir men’s hearts. You can leave now, Wu Ju. I know what you’re getting at.”

經過幾個月,莊王更加荒淫。大夫蘇從於是入宮進諫。莊王說:「你不曾聽到禁令嗎?」

After a few months, King Zhuang only become more depraved. The court doctor Su Cong went to the throne to warn the king. King Zhuang said, “Haven’t you heard my orders?”

蘇從說:「犧牲自己的生命而能使國君清醒明悟,這是我的願望。」莊王這才終於停止淫樂,治理政事。

The doctor replied, “My wish is to sacrifice my life so that our king may come to his senses.” Finally King Zhuang was moved to conquer lust and take care of political affairs.

他殺掉了幾百個壞人,提拔了幾百個賢人,委任伍舉和蘇從參與管理國事,全國人都十分高興。

He then killed hundreds of evil men, promoted hundreds more men of virtue and gave official posts to Wu Ju and Su Cong to manage state affairs, thereby greatly pleasing the citizens.

-From “Records of the Grand Historian,” 109-91 BC [1], trans. Uncle Jeebers

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