Chu-Ko Kung-ming's Second Memorial to the Throne on his Expedition
I, your humblesubject Zhuge Liang, have this to say: The late Emperor had by far notyetattained his objective of restoring the Han Dynasty before he deceased halfwayin his career. Now the country is divided into three camps, and Yizhou hasexhausted it resources. It is indeeda critical moment when survival is atstake. However, the royal guards keep vigilant at courtwhile the loyalsoldiers with high aim fight selflessly on the battlefield, because they bearin mindthe late Emperor’s special grace, wishing to repay it to Your Majesty.It would be mostjudicious that you give more open-minded hearing to yourcounselors, so as to aggrandize hislegacy of noble virtues and heighten thearmymen’s morale. In the meantime, it would beinadvisable to strain yourmodesty or make inapt remarks, thus blocking faithfulremonstrances.
The court andthe chancellery are one entity. No difference should be made between theminrespect of promoting and commending the good or punishing and criticizing theevil. Thosewho are guilty of misconduct or creditable for devotion and noblecharacter should bereferred to the authorities to be penalized or awarded ontheir merits, so as to manifest YourMajesty’s justice and perspicacity. Itwould be inappropriate to show partiality and makedistinction betweenregulations inside and outside the court.
Ministers suchas Guo Youzhi, Fei Yi and Dong Yun, having integrity and probity as wellasfaith in our cause and purity of mind, were selected by the late Emperor to beused by YourMajesty. I think that they should be consulted on all courtaffairs, be they great or small, beforethey are put into execution. This willcertainly be conducive to making up for loopholes anddefects in our work andto effecting greater successes. General Xiang Chong, a man of goodnature, wellversed in tactics, formerly used on probation and considered by the lateEmperor ascapable, has been recommended by all to be the MilitarySuperintendent. In my humbleopinion, he should be consulted on all mattersconcerning the army, be they great or small. Thiswill surely contribute to theharmony in the army and to putting both the superior and theindifferent peoplein their proper places.
To be close tovirtuous courtiers and alien to knavish ones was what made the EarlierHanDynasty strong and prosperous, while to be close to knavish courtiers and aliento virtuousones was what made the Latter Han Dynasty collapse. When the lateEmperor was still alive, hedid not fail to sign with regret and bear a bittergrudge against Emperors Huan and Ling everytime he discussed this history withme. Ministers such as Chen Zhen, Zhang Yi and Jiang Wanare all constant andloyal subjects. It is hoped that Your Majesty will hold them dear andtrustthem. In that case, the revival of the Han Dynasty can be expected in the nearestfuture.
I was originallya commoner, tilling my land in Nanyang, trying merely to survive inthetroublous times, not seeking to be known to the nobility. The late Emperor,disregarding myhumble birth and low position, condescended to pay me three visitsin my thatched cottage, consulting me on contemporary issues. I was thereforevery grateful to him and promised himmy whole-hearted service. Later our armysuffered a disastrous defeat, I was appointed asenvoy to Wu at the time of thedebacle, and was installed in office at a moment of great perilandtribulation. Since then twenty one years have elapsed. Knowing my prudence, thelateEmperor entrusted me with that task of great consequence upon his demise.Being thuscommitted, I have often worried at night, fearing lest I should failto live up to the trust, reflecting discredit upon His Majesty’s sagacity.Consequently, I led the troops to cross theRiver Lu in the fifth month,penetrating into the depth of the barren land. Now that thesouthern territoryis stabilized and armaments are sufficient, it is high time to reward thearmy,so as to march north and recover the central part of the country. I wish that Imightexhaust my mediocre ability in extirpating the treacherous malefactorsand restoring the HanDynasty with a triumphant re-entry into the lost capital.This is what I should do to repay thekindness of the late Emperor and toperform my duty to Your Majesty. As for handling matterswith discretion andweighing advantages and disadvantages as well as making faithfulremonstrances,they are the concern of Guo, Fei and Dong. I beg Your Majesty to enjoin uponmethe success of the expedition and the revival of the Han Dynasty. Should Ifail, then call meto task and have me duly punished, so as to solace the soulof the late Emperor. In the absenceof outspoken suggestions regarding theadvancement of virtues and morality, Guo, Fei andDong are to be corrected andto have their fault of remissness made known to everybody.
It would be wisethat Your Majesty also give more consideration to State affairs, solicitingthegood opinions on conducting the government and accepting with discernment otherpeople’sviews, so as to realize the late Emperor’s wish as expressed in histestament. I shall be mostgrateful to you for your kindness. Upon my departureto a remote region, I cannot helpshedding tears while writing this memorial,not quite clear myself on what I have hereinrelated.