Xun Xu 荀勗

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【(潁川潁陰)】 荀勗 (公曾)

Chinese: 濟北成侯 【(潁川潁陰)】 荀勗 (公曾)
Birthdate:
Death: 289
Immediate Family:

Son of 荀肸 and 鍾氏
Father of 荀輯; 荀氏; 荀藩 (大堅); 荀氏 and 荀組 (泰章)

Managed by: 炎黃子孫
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Xun Xu 荀勗

Xun Xu 荀勗 (ca. 217–288), zi Gongzeng 公曾. Western Jin literatus and musical expert.

Xun Xu's ancestral home was Yingyin 潁陰 in Yingchuan 潁川 commandery (modern Xuchang, Henan). He was the great-grandson of the late Eastern Han scholar and thinker Xun Shuang 荀爽 (128–190). His grandfather Xun Fei 荀棐 held the military title of Commandant Archer Who Shoots by Sound. Xun Xu's father Xun Xi 荀肸 died when Xun Xu was a young boy. He was raised by his maternal uncle.

According to Xun Xu's biography in the Jin shu, at ten-plus years he was able to compose writings. His maternal grandfather Zhong You 鍾繇 (151– 230) remarked that “this child is bound to match his great-grandfather.” Upon reaching adulthood Xun Xu was renowned for his learning.

During the reign of Cao Fang 曹芳 (231–274, r. 239–254) in the late Wei period, Xun Xu served as an assistant to Cao Shuang 曹爽 (d. 249). He was subsequently promoted to vice director of the Secretariat. When Cao Shuang was executed in February 249, none of Cao's subordinates and supporters dared to mourn for him. However, Xun Xu was bold enough to attend the funeral, and the others were encouraged to follow his example.

Xun Xu next was appointed magistrate of Anyang 安陽 (southeast of modern Anyang, Henan). He reputedly was an able administrator in this position. Ca. 260 he returned to the imperial court as supervisor of law enforcement in which capacity he served as an aide and secretary to Sima Zhao 司馬昭 (211–265). He also received the honorary title of Marquis of Guannei. During the next several years, he offered advice to Sima Zhao. For example, when the cavalary officer Lu Yi 路遺 volunteered to go to Shu and assassinate Liu Shan 劉禪 (207–271), he recommended against the plan on the grounds that a wise lord relies on rectitude and propriety to dispatch a rebel.

In 263, Xun Xu's uncle Zhong Hui 鍾會 (226–264) led a successful military expedition against Shu. From his base in Shu, Zhong Hui led a revolt against the Sima regime. Several members of the Sima court advised Sima Zhao to expel Xun Xu on the grounds of his family ties to Zhong Hui. Sima Zhao did not accept their advice, and even allowed Xun Xu to remain in his entourage, perhaps as a way of watching him. Zhong Hui was killed in March 264, and from this time on Xun Xu together with Pei Xiu 裴秀 (224–271) and Yang Hu 羊祜 (221–278) had charge of critical court matters. When Sima Zhao sent an emissary to Wu, he ordered literary men to draft letters, one of which would be given to the Wu leader Sun Hao 孫晧 (264–280). Sima Zhao chose the letter composed by Xun Xu.

On 2 May 264 Sima Zhao was named Prince of Jin. He soon thereafter appointed Xun Xu palace attendant and granted him the title of Viscount of Anyang with income from 1,000 households. Sima Yan 司馬炎 (236–290) assumed the throne as the first emperor of the Western Jin on 2 February 266. About this time he proposed to grant Xun Xu the title of Duke of Jibei commandery. Xun Xu declined in favor of Yang Hu. He accepted instead the title of marquis. Xun Xu was appointed secretarial supervisor with the additional title of palace attendant with concurrent duties in the editorial service. During this time he joined the group of scholars headed by Jia Chong 賈充 (217–282) who were commissioned to write a new version of the law code. As a close ally of Jia Chong, Xun Xu also recommended that Jia Chong's daughter Jia Nanfeng 賈南風 (d. 300) be married to the heir-designate Sima Zhong 司馬衷 (259–306), the future Emperor Hui (r. 290–306). Xun Xu was granted the additional title grand master for splendid happiness. He also was appointed director of the palace library. He and Zhang Hua 張華 (232–300) undertook the task of compiling a catalogue of the imperial collection. This catalogue is the famous Zhongjing bu 中經簿 (Catalogue of the palace texts). He also participated in the editing of the manuscripts that were discovered in a Warring States tomb at Ji 汲 commandery (southwest of modern Ji county, Henan) in 279.

In winter 279, Sima Yan ordered a full-scale military expedition undertaken against Wu. Xun Xu opposed this action, which was strongly supported by Zhang Hua, with whom Xun Xu had never been on good terms. According to Zhang Hua's biography in the Jin shu, Xun Xu considered his family status much higher than that of Zhang Hua's. Relying on imperial favor, he took every opportunity to malign Zhang Hua, advising the emperor to have him assigned to a frontier garrison. Xun Xu could not have been disappointed when in 282, Zhang Hua was sent out to Youzhou 幽州 (administrative seat Zhuo 涿 county, modern Zhuozhou 涿州, Hebei) to serve in a military post.

At the beginning of the Taikang period (280–289), Xun Xu was granted the titles grand master for splendid happiness and commander unequaled in honor. Ca. 287 he was appointed director of the Imperial Secretariat. Considering this a demotion, Xun became quite despondent. He exclaimed: “They have taken away my phoenix pool.” After a month in his new position, Xun Xu tried to return his seals on the grounds he needed to care for his sick mother. The emperor did not permit him to resign.

Xun Xu died in 288 at the age of seventy-plus. He was posthumously awarded the position of minister of education along with a set of court robes, 500,000 cash, and 500 measures of cloth. Xun Xu had ten sons, the most prominent of whom were Xun Ji 荀輯, Xun Fan 荀蕃 (245–313), and Xun Zu 荀組.

The monograph on bibliography of the Sui shu records a listing in a Liang catalogue for Xun Xu's collected works in three juan plus a table of contents in one juan. This was lost before the Tang. The two Tang histories record Xun Xu's collection in twenty juan. This was lost in the Song.

Xun Xu was an expert in music and pitch systems. In 269, Xun Xu along with Fu Xuan 傅玄 (217–278), Zhang Hua, and Chenggong Sui 成公遂 (231–273) were charged with rewriting the court ceremonial hymns. Zhang Hua and Xun Xu disagreed on which metrical pattern was to be used, with Zhang favoring a mixture of trisyllabic and irregular line meter, while Xun Xu preferred a tetrasyllabic meter. In 273, Xun Xu was ordered to rewrite the earlier lyrics and oversee the composition of new music. The monograph on music of the Song shu preserves the lyrics of seventeen “Si xiang yuege” 四廂樂歌 (Songs for the four side wings of the palace), one “Zheng de wu ge” 正德舞歌 (Correct virtue ballet song), and one “Da yu wu ge” 大豫舞歌 (Grand delight ballet song) presumably composed by Xun Xu in 273.

The monograph on bibliography of the Sui shu mentions a Liang catalogue that recorded a Jin geshi 晉歌詩 (Jin song lyrics) in eighteen juan and a Jin yan yue geci 晉讌樂歌辭 (Lyrics for the Jin banquet music) in ten juan compiled Xun Xu. These probably included the ceremonial pieces that Xun Xu composed for the Jin court. The two Tang histories list under Xun Xu's name a Taiyue za geci 太樂雜歌辭 (Diverse lyrics for the Grand Music Office) in three-juan and two-juan versions and a Yuefu geshi 樂府歌詩 (Music Office lyrics) in ten juan. The latter may be the same as the Jin yan yue geci. All of these works were lost by the Song. The monograph on bibliography of the Sui shu also lists under Xun Xu's name the Zazhuan wenzhangjia jixu 雜撰文章家集敍 (Prefatory accounts for writers' collected works compiled from various sources) in ten juan. The Xin Tang shu records it in five juan under the title Xin zhuan wenzhangjia ji xu 新撰文章家集敍 (Newly compiled prefatory accounts for writers' collections). This work, of which only portions are extant, is more commonly known as Wenxhang xulu 文章敘錄 (Prefatory accounts for literary works). This is a catalogue that provides information about writers of the Han and Wei periods.

Xun Xu is also attributed with compiling the Xunshi lu 荀氏錄 (Master Xun's catalogue), which is a treatise on yuefu. However, the attribution of this work is disputed. Howard Goodman recently has suggested that it was compiled by Xun Bozi 荀伯子 (378–438).

Bibliography

Collection

  • Zhang Pu 張溥 (1602–1641), ed. Jin Xun Gongzeng ji 晉荀公曾集. 1 juan. Han Wei Liuchao baisan mingjia ji.

Studies

  • Cao Daoheng and Shen Yucheng, Zhongguo wenxuejia dacidian, 298–99.
  • Wang Zichu 王子初. Xun Xu dilü yanjiu 荀勖笛律研究. Beijing: Renmin yinyue chubanshe, 1995.
  • Cao Daoheng and Shen Yucheng, Zhonggu wenshi ziliao congkao, 149–51.
  • Goodman, Howard L. “A History of Court Lyrics in China during Wei-Chin Times.” Asia Major 19.1–2 (2006): 57–109.
  • Goodman, Howard L. “Tintinnabulation of Bells: Scoring Prosody in Third-Century China and Its Relationship to Yüeh-fu Party Music.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 126.1 (2006): 27–49.
  • Wang Fuli 王福利. Jiaomiao yanshe geci yanjiu 郊廟燕射歌辭研究, 212–16. Beijing: Xueyuan chubanshe, 2009.
  • Goodman, Howard L. “Sites of Recognition: Burial, Mourning, and Commemoration in the Xun Family of Yingchuan.” Early Medieval China 15 (2009): 49–90.
  • Goodman, Howard L. Xun Xu and the Politics of Precision in Third-Century AD China. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010.

Works

a. “Zheng de wu ge” 正德舞歌 (Correct virtue ballet song)

Translations

  • Goodman, “History of Court Lyrics,” 99–102. Goodman, Xun Xu, 141–43.
  • Jensen, Kevin A. “Wei-Jin Sacrificial Ballets: Reform versus Conservation.” Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 2012, 231–35.

b. “Da yu wu ge” 大豫舞歌 (Grand delight ballet song)

Translation

  • Jensen, “Wei-Jin Sacrificial Ballets,” 251–56.

c. “Cong Wudi Hualin yuan yan shi” 從武帝華林園宴詩 (Poem composed for a feast at Hualin Park in attendance with Emperor Wu)

Translation

  • Goodman, Xun Xu, 287–88.

d. “Si xiang yuege” 四廂樂歌 (Songs for the four wings of the palace)

Translation

  • Goodman, Xun Xu, 144.

e. Xunshi lu 荀氏錄 (Master Xun's catalogue)

Studies

  • Zheng Zuxiang 鄭祖襄. “Xunshi lu kao” 《荀氏錄》考. Yuefu xue 1 (2006): 13–23.
  • Chen Jun 陳君. “Xi Jin Xun Lu yu Han Wei yuefu” 西晉荀《錄》與漢魏樂府. Yuefu xue 2 (2007): 69–80.
  • Goodman, Xun Xu, 155–59.

DRK

濟北成侯 荀勗 (公曾)生平 (中文)

《晉書》卷39

荀勗,字公曾,潁川潁陰人,漢司空爽曾孫也。祖棐,射聲校尉。父肸,早亡。勗依於舅氏。岐嶷夙成,年十餘歲能屬文。從外祖魏太傅鐘繇曰:「此兒當及其曾祖。」既長,遂博學,達於從政。仕魏,辟大將軍曹爽掾,遷中書通事郎。爽誅,門生故吏無敢往者,勗獨臨赴,眾乃從之。為安陽令,轉驃騎從事中郎。勗有遺愛,安陽生為立祠。遷廷尉正,參文帝大將軍軍事,賜爵關內侯,轉從事中郎,領記室。

高貴鄉公欲為變時,大將軍掾孫佑等守閶闔門。帝弟安陽侯幹聞難欲入,佑謂幹曰:「未有入者,可從東掖門。」及幹至,帝遲之,幹以狀白,帝欲族誅佑。勗諫曰:「孫佑不納安陽,誠宜深責。然事有逆順,用刑不可以喜怒為輕重。今成倅刑止其身,佑乃族誅,恐義士私議。」乃免佑為庶人。時官騎路遺求為刺客入蜀,勗言於帝曰:「明公以至公宰天下,宜杖正義以伐違貳。而名以刺客除賊,非所謂刑於四海,以德服遠也。」帝稱善。

及鐘會謀反,審問未至,而外人先告之。帝待會素厚,未之信也。勗曰:「會雖受恩,然其性未可許以見得思義,不可不速為之備。」帝即出鎮長安,主簿郭奕、參軍王深以勗是會從甥,少長舅氏,勸帝斥出之。帝不納,而使勗陪乘,待之如初。先是,勗啟「伐蜀,宜以衛瓘為監軍」。及蜀中亂,賴瓘以濟。會平,還洛,與裴秀、羊祜共管機密。

時將發使聘吳,並遣當時文士作書與孫皓,帝用勗所作。皓既報命和親,帝謂勗曰:「君前作書,使吳思順,勝十萬之眾也。」帝即晉王位,以勗為侍中,封安陽子,邑千戶。武帝受禪,改封濟北郡公。勗以羊祜讓,乃固辭為侯。拜中書監,加侍中,領著作,與賈充共定律令。

充將鎮關右也,勗謂馮紞曰:「賈公遠放,吾等失勢。太子婚尚未定,若使充女得為妃,則不留而自停矣。」勗與紞伺帝間並稱「充女才色絕世,若納東宮,必能輔佐君子,有《關雎》后妃之德。」遂成婚。當時甚為正直者所疾,而獲佞媚之譏焉。久之,進位光祿大夫。既掌樂事,又修律呂,並行於世。初,勗於路逢趙賈人牛鐸,識其聲。及掌樂,音韻未調,乃曰:「得趙之牛鐸則諧矣。」遂下郡國,悉送牛鐸,果得諧者。又嘗在帝坐進飯,謂在坐人曰:「此是勞薪所炊。」咸未之信。帝遣問膳夫,乃云:「實用故車腳。」舉世伏其明識。俄領秘書監,與中書令張華依劉向《別錄》,整理記籍。又立書博士,置弟子教習,以鐘、胡為法。

咸寧初,與石苞等並為佐命功臣,列於銘饗。及王浚表請伐吳,勗與賈充固諫不可,帝不從,而吳果滅。以專典詔命,論功封子一人為亭侯,邑一千戶,賜絹千匹。又封孫顯為潁陽亭侯。

及得汲郡塚中古文竹書,詔勗撰次之,以為《中經》,列在秘書。

時議遣王公之國,帝以問勗,勗對曰:「諸王公已為都督,而使之國,則廢方任。又分割郡縣,人心戀本,必用嗷嗷。國皆置軍,官兵還當給國,而闕邊守。」帝重使勗思之,勗又陳曰:「如詔准古方伯選才,使軍國各隨方面為都督,誠如明旨。至於割正封疆。使親疏不同誠為佳矣。然分裂舊土,猶懼多所搖動,必使人心聰擾,思惟竊宜如前。若於事不得不時有所轉封,而不至分割土域,有所損奪者,可隨宜節度。其五等體國經遠,實不成制度。然但虛名,其於實事,略與舊郡縣鄉亭無異。若造次改奪,恐不能不以為恨。今方了其大者,以為五等可須後裁度。凡事雖有久而益善者,若臨時或有不解,亦不可忽。」帝以勗言為允,多從其意。

時又議省州郡縣半吏以赴農功,勗議以為:「省吏不如省官,省官不如省事,省事不如清心。昔蕭曹相漢,載其清靜,致畫一之歌,此清心之本也。漢文垂拱,幾致刑措,此省事也。光武併合吏員,縣官國邑裁置十一,此省官也。魏太和中,遣王人四出,減天下吏員,正始中亦併合郡縣,此省吏也。今必欲求之於本,則宜以省事為先。凡居位者,使務思蕭曹之心,以翼佐大化。篤義行,崇敦睦,使昧寵忘本者不得容,而偽行自息,浮華者懼矣。重敬讓,尚止足,令賤不妨貴,少不陵長,遠不間親,新不間舊,小不加大,淫不破義,則上下相安,遠近相信矣。位不可以進趣得,譽不可以朋黨求,則是非不妄而明,官人不惑於聽矣。去奇技,抑異說,好變舊以徼非常之利者必加其誅,則官業有常,人心不遷矣。事留則政稽,政稽則功廢。處位者而孜孜不怠,奉職司者而夙夜不懈,則雖在挈瓶而守不假器矣。使信若金石,小失不害大政,忍忿悁以容之。簡文案,略細苛,令之所施,必使人易視聽,願之如陽春,畏之如雷震。勿使微文煩撓,為百吏所黷,二三之命,為百姓所饜,則吏竭其誠,下悅上命矣。設官分職,委事責成。君子心競而不力爭,量能受任,思不出位,則官無異業,政典不奸矣。凡此皆愚心謂省事之本也。苟無此愆,雖不省吏,天下必謂之省矣。若欲省官,私謂九寺可並於尚書,蘭台宜省付三府。然施行歷代,世之所習,是以久抱愚懷而不敢言。至於省事,實以為善。若直作大例,皆減其半,恐文武眾官郡國職業,及事之興廢,不得皆同。凡發號施令,典而當則安,儻有駁者,或致壅否。凡職所臨履,先精其得失。使忠信之官,明察之長,各裁其中,先條上言之。然後混齊大體,詳宜所省,則令下必行,不可搖動。如其不爾,恐適惑人聽,比前行所省,皆須臾輒復,或激而滋繁,亦不可不重。」勗論議損益多此類。

太康中詔曰:「勗明哲聰達,經識天序,有佐命之功,兼博洽之才。久典內任,著勳弘茂,詢事考言,謀猷允誠。宜登大位,毗贊朝政。今以勗為光祿大夫、儀同三司、開府辟召,守中書監、侍中、侯如故。」時太尉賈充、司徒李胤並薨,太子太傅又缺,勗表陳:「三公保傅,宜得其人。若使楊珧參輔東宮,必當仰稱聖意。尚書令衛瓘、吏部尚書山濤皆可為司徒。若以瓘新為令未出者,濤即其人。」帝並從之。

明年秋,諸州郡大水,兗土尤甚。勗陳宜立都水使者。其後門下啟通事令史伊羨、趙咸為舍人,對掌文法。詔以問勗,勗曰:今天下幸賴陛下聖德,六合為一,望道化隆洽,垂之將來。而門下上稱程咸、張惲,下稱此等,欲以文法為政,皆愚臣所未達者。昔張釋之諫漢文,謂獸圈嗇夫不宜見用;邴吉住車,明調和陰陽之本。此二人豈不知小吏之惠,誠重惜大化也。昔魏武帝使中軍司荀攸典刑獄,明帝時猶以付內常侍。以臣所聞,明帝時唯有通事劉泰等官,不過與殿中同號耳。又頃言論者皆雲省官減事,而求益吏者相尋矣。多雲尚書郎太令史不親文書,乃委付書令史及幹,誠吏多則相倚也。增置文法之職,適恐更耗擾台閣,臣竊謂不可。」

時帝素知太子暗弱,恐後亂國,遣勗及和嶠往觀之。勗還盛稱太子之德,而嶠雲太子如初。於是天下貴嶠而賤勗。帝將廢賈妃,勗與馮紞等諫請,故得不廢。時議以勗傾國害時,孫資、劉放之匹。然性慎密,每有詔令大事,雖已宣佈,然終不言,不欲使人知己豫聞也。族弟良曾勸勗曰:「公大失物情,有所進益者自可語之,則懷恩多矣。」其婿武統亦說勗「宜有所營置,令有歸戴者」。勗並默然不應,退而語諸子曰:「人臣不密則失身,樹私則背公,是大戒也。汝等亦當宦達人間,宜識吾此意。」久之,以勗守尚書令。

勗久在中書,專管機事。及失之,甚罔罔悵恨。或有賀之者,勗曰:「奪我鳳皇池,諸君賀我邪!」及在尚書,課試令史以下,核其才能,有暗於文法,不能決疑處事者,即時遣出。帝嘗謂曰:「魏武帝言'荀文若之進善,不進不止;荀公達之退惡,不退不休'。二令君之美,亦望於君也。」居職月餘,以母憂上還印綬,帝不許。遣常侍周恢喻旨,勗乃奉詔視職。

勗久管機密,有才思,探得人主微旨,不犯顏忤爭,故得始終全其寵祿。太康十年卒,詔贈司徒,賜東園秘器、朝服一具、錢五十萬、布百匹。遣兼御史持節護喪,諡曰成。勗有十子,其達者輯、籓、組。

輯嗣,官至衛尉。卒,諡曰簡。子畯嗣。卒,諡曰烈。無嫡子,以弟息識為嗣。輯子綽。

綽字彥舒,博學有才能,撰《晉後書》十五篇,傳於世。永嘉末,為司空從事中郎,沒於石勒,為勒參軍。