Lines 41-50

(In this 5th section of the Huangling Bei 皇陵碑, Zhu Yuanzhang mulls over whether he should become a Red Turban. Click here to see the previous section. Also – click on any line number to see complete annotations of each section.)

Line 41: 未幾陷城,深高城隍。  The city was taken by only a few who surmounted the walls and moats;

Shaoxing gate
Bridge over a moat before a Chinese city wall.

Line 42: 拒守不去,號令彰彰。  They encountered no defenders and took clear control.

Line 43: 友人寄書,云及趨降。  A friend sent me a letter saying that I should hasten to submit;

Line 44: 既憂且懼,無可籌詳。  But I was too worried and afraid to make any plans.

Line 45: 傍有覺者,將欲聲揚。  Others were aware of the letter and wanted to reveal its contents.

Line 46: 當此之際,逼迫而無已,試與知者相商。  At this point I was compelled to make a decision, so I consulted the one who was knowledgeable.

Line 47: 乃告之曰:“果束手以待罪,亦奮臂而相戕!”  I said to this person, “I can either have my hands bound like a criminal, or raise my arms in resistance and end up killed!”

Line 48: 知者為我畫計,且禱陽於默相。  The knowledgeable one made plans for me, and advised that I pray in secret and think it over.

Line 49: 如其言往,卜去守之何祥。  Following this advice, I went to divine whether fleeing or guarding the temple was the most auspicious choice.

Line 50: 神乃陰陰乎有警,其氣郁郁乎洋洋。  The divinity answered with a yin-yin reply as a warning, the clouds of incense billowing.

Click here to read the next 10 lines of this text…


Click here to see detailed annotations of each line, including translation concerns, explanations of terms, and a discussion of who Zhu Yuanzhang was referring to when he mentions “the one who was knowledgeable.”

To learn more about this text click on 大明皇陵之碑 The Imperial Tomb Tablet of the Great Ming.

To start the text from the beginning, click here.


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