A general named Wu Fu was disgusted at this ferocity and sought

A general named Wu Fu was disgusted at this ferocity and sought

a chance to slay Dong Zhuo. Wu Fu constantly wore a breastplate underneath his court dress and carried in conceal a sharp dagger. One day when Dong Zhuo came to court, Wu Fu met him on the steps and tried to stab him. But Dong Zhuo was a very powerful man and held Wu Fu off till Lu Bu came to his help. Lu Bu struck down the assailant.

“Who told you to rebel?” said Dong Zhuo.

Wu Fu glared at him and cried, “You are not my prince, I am not your minister: Where is the rebellion? Your crimes fill the heavens, and every person would slay you. I am sorry I cannot tear you asunder with chariots to appease the wrath of the world!”

  Dong Zhuo bade the guards take him out and hack him to pieces. Wu Fu only ceased railing as he ceased to live.

  [hip, hip, hip] That loyal servant of the latter days of Han. His valor was high as the heavens, in all ages unequaled;In the court itself would he slay the rebel, GREat is his fame!

  Throughout all time will people call him a hero. [yip, yip, yip]

  thereafter Dong Zhuo always went well guarded.

At Bohai, Yuan Shao heard of Dong Zhuo’s misuse of power and sent a secret letter to Minister of the Interior Wang Yun:

“That rebel Dong Zhuo outrages Heaven and has deposed his ruler. Common people dare not speak of him: That is understandable. Yet you suffer his agGREssions as if you knew naught of them. How then are you a dutiful and loyal minister? I have assembled an army and desire to sweep clean the royal habitation, but I dare not lightly begin the task. If you are willing, then find an opportunity to plot against this man. If you would use force, I am at your command.”

the letter arrived but Wang Yun could see no chance to plot against Dong Zhuo.

One day while among the throng in attendance,

mostly people of long service,

Wang Yun said to his colleagues,

“This is my birthday,

I pray you come to a little party in my humble cot this evening.”

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the sun and the moon leave their courses, I, once the

“Let me say farewell to my mother,” begged he, and he did so in these lines:

[hip, hip, hip]“the heaven and earth are changed, Alas! the sun and the moon leave their courses, I, once the center of all eyes, am driven to the farthest confines, Oppressed by an arrogant minister my life nears its end, Everything fails me and vain are my falling tears.”[yip, yip, yip]

Lady Tang sang:

[hip, hip, hip]“Heaven is to be rent asunder, Earth to fall away, I, handmaid of an emperor, would grieve if I followed him not. We have come to the parting of ways, the quick and the dead walk not together;Alas! I am left alone with the grief in my heart.”[yip, yip, yip]

When they had sung these lines, they fell weeping into each others’ arms.

“the Prime Minister is awaiting my report,” said Li Ru, “and you delay too long. Think you that there is any hope of succor?”

the Empress broke into another fit of railing, “The rebel forces us to death, mother and son, and Heaven has abandoned us. But you, the tool of his crime, will assuredly perish!”

thereupon Li Ru GREw more angry, laid hands on the Empress and threw her out of the window. Then he bade the soldiers strangle Lady Tang and forced the lad to swallow the wine of death.

  Li Ru reported the achievement to his master who bade them bury the victims without the city. After this Dong Zhuo’s behavior was more atrocious than before. He spent his nights in the Palace, defiled the imperial concubines there, and even slept on the Dragon Couch.

Once he led his soldiers out of the city to Yangcheng when the villagers, men and women, were assembled from all sides for the annual spring festival. His troops surrounded the place and plundered it. They took away booty by the cart loads, and women prisoners and more than one thousand severed heads.

The procession returned to

Capital Luoyang and published a story

that they had obtained a GREat victory

over some rebels. They burned the heads

beneath the walls, and the women and jewelry

were shared out among the soldiers.

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tender grass, Flushes with joy as the swallows pass;

“Spring and the GREen of the

tender grass, Flushes with joy as the swallows pass;

tender grass, Flushes with joy as the swallows pass;

The wayfarers pause by the rippling stream

, And their eyes will new born gladness gleam;

With lingering gaze the roofs I see Of the

Palace that one time sheltered me.

But those whom I sheltered in all righteousness,

Let’s not stay in silence when the days pass useless?”[yip, yip, yip]

the messenger, sent by Dong Zhuo from time to

time to the palace for news of the prisoners,

got hold of this poem and showed it to his master.

“So he shows his resentment by writing poems, eh! A fair excuse to put them all out of the way,” said Dong Zhuo.

Li Ru was sent with ten men into the palace to consummate the deed. The three were in one of the upper rooms when Li Ru arrived. The Emperor shuddered when the maid announced the visitor’s name.

Presently Li Ru entered and offered a cup of poisoned wine to the Emperor. The Emperor asked what this meant.

“Spring is the season of blending and harmonious interchange, and the Prime Minister sends a wine cup of longevity,” said Li Ru.

“If it be the wine of longevity, you may share it too,” said Empress He.

then Li Ru became brutally frank.

  “You will not drink?” asked he.

  He called the men with daggers and cords and bade the Emperor look at them.

  “the cup, or these?” said he.

  then said Lady Tang, “Let the handmaid drink in place of her lord. Spare the mother and her son, I pray!”

“And who may you be to die for a prince?” said Li Ru.

then he presented the cup to the

Empress once more and bade her drink.

 She railed against her brother, the feckless He Jin,

the author of all this trouble. She would not drink.

Next Li Ru approached the Emperor.

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One minister put his discontent into words, crying,

One minister put his discontent into words, crying,

“the false Dong Zhuo is the author of this insult,

which I will risk my life to wipe away!”

And with this he rushed at Dong Zhuo

threatening with his ivory baton of office.

It was Chair of the Secretariat Ding Guan.

Dong Zhuo had Ding Guan removed and summarily

put to death. Before his death, Ding Guan ceased

not to rail at the oppressor, nor was he frightened at death.

[hip, hip, hip] the rebel Dong Zhuo conceived

the foul design To thrust the King aside and wrong his line.

With folded arms the courtiers stood,

save one Ding Guan, who dared to cry

that wrong was done. [yip, yip, yip]

  then the emperor designate, Prince of Chenliu,

went to the upper part of the hall to

receive congratulations. After this the former

Emperor——now Prince of Hongnong——,

his mother, and the Imperial Consort, Lady Tang,

were removed to the Palace of Forever Calm. The

entrance gates were locked against all comers.

It was pitiful! there was the young emperor,

after reigning less than half a year,

deposed and another put in his place.

The new Emperor was Liu Xian, the second son

of the late Emperor Ling. He was nine years of age, five years younger than his deposed brother. The new reign-style was changed to Inauguration of Tranquillity, the first year (AD 190)。

Becoming the Prime Minister, Dong Zhuo was most powerful and arrogant. When he bowed before the Throne, he did not declare his name. In going to court he did not hasten. Booted and armed he entered the reception halls. He amassed a wealth exceeding any other’s.

  His adviser, Li Ru, impressed upon Dong Zhuo constantly to employ people of reputation so that he should gain public esteem. So when they told him Cai Yong was a man of talent, Dong Zhuo summoned him. But Cai Yong would not go. Dong Zhuo sent a message to him that if he did not come, he and his whole clan should be exterminated. Then Cai Yong gave in and appeared. Dong Zhuo was very gracious to him and promoted him thrice in a month. Cai Yong became High Minister. Such was the generosity of the tyrant.

  Meanwhile the deposed ruler,

his mother, and his consort were immured in the

Palace of Forever Calm and found their daily

supplies gradually diminishing. The deposed Emperor

wept incessantly. One day a pair of wallows

gliding to and fro moved him to verse:

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Wu Qiong said, “Yuan Shao is fond of scheming,

Wu Qiong said, “Yuan Shao is fond of scheming,

but he fails in decision and so is not to be feared. But it would be well to give him rank and thus win popular favor.”

Dong Zhuo followed this advice, and within that day sent a messenger to offer Yuan Shao the governorship of Bohai.

On the first day of the ninth month, the Emperor was invited to proceed to the Hall of Virtue where was a GREat assembly of officials.

there Dong Zhuo, sword in hand, faced the gathering and said, “The Emperor is a weakling unequal to the burden of ruling this land. Now listen ye to the document I have prepared!”

And Li Ru read as follows:

  “the dutiful Emperor Ling too soon left his people. The emperor is the cynosure of all the people of this land. Upon the present Emperor Bian, Heaven has conferred but small gifts: In dignity and deportment he is deficient, and in mourning he is remiss. Only the most complete virtue can grace imperial dignity. Empress He has trained him improperly, and the whole state administration has fallen into confusion. Empress Dong died suddenly and no one knew why. The doctrine of the three bonds——Heaven, Earth, and Human——and the continuity of Heaven and Earth interdependence have both been injured.

  “But Liu Xian, Prince of Chenliu, is sage and virtuous beside being of handsome exterior. He conforms to all the rules of propriety: His mourning is sincere, and his speech is always correct. Eulogies of him fill the empire. He is well fitted for the GREat duty of consolidating the rule of Han.

“Now therefore the Emperor is deposed and created Prince of Hongnong, and Empress He retires from the administration.

“I pray the Prince of Chenliu to accept the throne in conformity with the decrees of Heaven and Earth, the desires of people, and the fulfillment of the hopes of humankind.”

This having been read, Dong Zhuo bade the officials lead the Emperor down from the throne, remove his seal, and cause him to kneel facing the north, styling himself faithful servant of the Throne and requesting commands. Moreover Dong Zhuo bade Empress He strip

off her royal dress of ceremony and await the imperial

command. Both victims of this oppression wept bitterly,

and every minister present was deeply affected.

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Fear seized them in its grip and they were silent, all but Yuan

Fear seized them in its grip and they were silent, all but Yuan Shao who said,

“The Emperor was innocent of any fault,

and to set him aside in favor of a commoner was rebellion and nothing else!”

“the empire is in my hands!” cried Dong Zhuo.

“When I choose to do this thing, who will dare to say nay?

Think you my sword lacks an edge?”

  “If your sword is sharp, mine is never blunt!”

said Yuan Shao as his sword FLASHed out of the sheath.

  the two men stood face to face amid the feasters.

Dong Zhuo was on the point of slaying Yuan Shao, but Li Ru checked him, saying, “You must not kill rashly while the business hangs in the balance.”

Yuan Shao, his sword still unsheathed, left the assembly. He hung up the seals of his office at the east gate and went to Jizhou Region.

Dong Zhuo said to Imperial Guardian Yuan Wei, “Your nephew behaved improperly, but I pardon him for your sake. What think you of my scheme?”

“What you think is right,” was the reply.

“If anyone opposes the GREat scheme, he will be dealt with by military law!” said Dong Zhuo.

the ministers, thoroughly dreaded, promised obedience, and the feast came to an end.

Dong Zhuo asked Counselor Zhou Bi and Commander Wu Qiong what they thought of the flight of Yuan Shao.

Zhou Bi said, “He left in a state of GREat anger. In such a state of excitement much harm may ensue to the present state of affairs, especially as the Yuan family have been noted for their high offices for four generations, and their proteges and dependents are everywhere. If they assemble bold people and call up their clients,

all the valiant warriors will be in arms,

and the east region of the Huashang Mountains

will be lost. You had better pardon Yuan Shao and give him a

post. He will be glad at being forgiven and will do no harm.”

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As a reply Lu Bu made one cut, and Ding Yuan’s head fell to the earth.

As a reply Lu Bu made one cut, and Ding Yuan’s head fell to the earth.

then Lu Bu called the attendants and said,

“He was an unjust man, and I have slain him.

Let those who back me stay. The others may depart.”

Most ran away. Next day,

with the head of the murdered man as his gift,

Lu Bu betook himself to Li Su,

who led him to Dong Zhuo. Dong Zhuo received him with a warm welcome and had wine set before him.

“Your coming is welcome as the gentle dew to the parched grass,” said Dong Zhuo.

  Lu Bu made Dong Zhuo seat himself and then made an obeisance, saying, “Pray let me bow to you as my adopted father!”

  Dong Zhuo gave his newly won ally gold armor and silken robes and spread the feast of welcome. They then separated.

  thence Dong Zhuo’s power and influence increased rapidly. He gave the lordship of Hu (an ancient state) and the rank Commander of the Left Army to his brother Dong Min. He appointed Lu Bu Lord of Luoyang, Commander of Capital District, and Cavalry Commander. Dong Zhuo made himself Minister of Works, Grand Commander, and Commander of the Front Army.

the adviser Li Ru never ceased from urging him to carry out the design of deposing the young Emperor.

the now all-powerful Dong Zhuo prepared a banquet in the capital at which all the officers of state were guests. He also bade Lu Bu post a company of armed men right and left ready for action. The feast began and several courses were served with nothing to distinguish that banquet from any other.

then suddenly the host arose and drew his sword, saying,

“He who is above us being weak and irresolute is unfit for

the duties of his high place. Wherefore I, as of old did Yi Yin

and Huo Guang, will set aside this Emperor giving him the title

of Prince of Hongnong, and I will place on the throne the present

Prince of Chenliu. And those who do

not support me will suffer death.”

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“If I could only find a master to serve,” said Lu Bu.

“If I could only find a master to serve,” said Lu Bu.

“the clever bird chooses the branch whereon to perch;

the wise servant selects the master to serve.

Seize the chance when it comes, for repentance ever comes too late.”

“Now you are in the government.

Who think you is really the bravest of all?”, asked Lu Bu.

“I despise the whole lot except Dong Zhuo.

He is one who respects wisdom and reveres scholarship;

he is discriminating in his rewards and punishments. Surely he is destined to be a really GREat man.”

  Lu Bu said, “I wish that I could serve him, but there is no way, I fear.”

  then Li Su produced his pearls and gold and the jeweled belt and laid them out before his host.

  “What is this? What does it mean?” said Lu Bu.

  “Send away the attendants,” requested Li Su. And he went on,

“Dong Zhuo has long respected your bravery and sent these by my hand. Red Hare was also from him.”

  “But, if he loves me like this, what can I do in return?”

Li Su said, “If a stupid fellow like me can be a general in the Imperial Tiger Army, it is impossible to say what honors await you.”

“I am sorry I can offer him no service worth mentioning.”

Li Su said, “there is one service you can do, and an extremely easy one to perform; but you would not render that.”

Lu Bu pondered long in silence, then he said, “I might slay Ding Yuan and bring over his soldiers to Dong Zhuo’s side. What think you of that?”

“If you would do that, there could be no GREater service. But such a thing must be done quickly.”

And Lu Bu promised his friend that he would do the deed and come over on the morrow.

So Li Su took his leave. That very night, at the second watch, Lu Bu entered, sword in hand, into his master’s tent. He found Ding Yuan reading by the light of a solitary candle.

Seeing who came in, Ding Yuan said,

“My son, what is afoot?”

“I am a bold hero,” said Lu Bu.

“Do not think I am willing to be a son of yours!”

“Why this change, Lu Bu?”

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When I learned you were a strong supporter of the Throne,

“How long it is since we last saw each other!”

replied Lu Bu, bowing in return.

“And where are you now?”

“I am a general in the Imperial Tiger Army.

When I learned you were a strong supporter of the Throne,

I could not say how I rejoiced.

I have come now to present to you a really fine horse,

a five-hundred-mile-a-day horse,

one that crosses rivers and goes up mountains as if they

were the level plain. Its name is Red Hare.

It will be a fitting aid to your valor.”

Lu Bu bade his guards lead out the horse.

It was of a uniform color like glowing-sun

red——not a hair of another color.

It measured ten spans from head to tail and from

hoof to neck eight spans. When it neighed,

the sound filled the empyrean and shook the ocean.

[hip, hip, hip] Mark ye the steed swift and tireless,

see the dust, spurned by his hoofs, rising in clouds,

Now it swims the river, anon climbs the hill,

rending the purple mist asunder,

Scornful it breaks the rein, shakes from its head

the jeweled bridle, It is as a fiery

dragon descending from the highest heaven. [yip, yip, yip]

  Lu Bu was delighted with the horse and said,

“What return can I hope to make for such a creature?”

“What return can I hope for?

I came to you out of a sense of what is right,” replied Li Su.

Wine was brought in and they drank.

“We have seen very little of each other,

but I am constantly meeting your honorable father,” said Li Su.

“You are drunk,” said Lu Bu. “My father has been dead for years.”

“Not so; I spoke of Ding Yuan, the man of the day.”

Lu Bu started. “Yes, I am with him, but only because I can do no better.”

“Sir, your talent is higher than the heavens, deeper than the seas.

Who in all the world does not bow before your name?

Fame and riches and honors are yours for the taking.

And you say you can do no better than remain a subordinate!”

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He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

Dong Zhuo could not reply for Lu Bu,

eager for the fight, rode straight at him.

Dong Zhuo fled and Ding Yuan’s army came on.

The battle went in Ding Yuan’s favor,

and the beaten troops retired ten miles and made another camp.

Here Dong Zhuo called his officers to a council.

“This Lu Bu is a marvel,” said Dong Zhuo.

“If he were only on my side, I would defy the whole world!”

At this a man advanced saying, “Be content, O my lord!

I am a fellow villager of his and know him well:

He is valorous, but not crafty; he will let go principles,

when he sees advantages. With this little,

blarneying tongue of mine, I can persuade him to put up his hands and come over to your side.”

Dong Zhuo was delighted and gazed admiringly at the speaker.

It was Li Su, a general in the Imperial Tiger Army.

“What arguments will you use with him?” asked Dong Zhuo.

“You have a fine horse, Red Hare, one of the best ever bred.

I must have this steed, and gold and pearls to win his heart.

Then will I go and persuade him.

He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

“What think you?” said Dong Zhuo to his adviser Li Ru.

“One cannot grudge a horse to win an empire,” was the reply.

So they gave Li Su what he demanded——a thousand ounces of gold,

ten strings of beautiful pearls, a jeweled belt,

and Red Hare——and these accompanied Li Su on his visit to his fellow villager.

Li Su reached the camp and said to the guard,

“Please tell General Lu Bu that a very old friend has come to visit him.”

He was admitted forthwith.

“Worthy brother, have you been well since we last met?”

GREeted Li Su while bowing.

“How long it is since we last saw each other!”

replied Lu Bu, bowing in return. “And where are you now?”

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