When Wang Yan, Younger Ruler of Shu, embarked on an ill-fated visit to his northern prefecture Qin zhou, Wang Renyu was among the courtiers attending him. This chapter presents the whole of his long memoir on the expedition. First comes an eloquent memorial by another courtier, Pu Yuqing, protesting against the whole enterprise, but curtly rejected. There follows a log of events on the road, punctuated by exchanges of extempore verse within the royal party. The memoir ends by recording the disastrous retreat before an invading army of the Later Tang, and the humiliating surrender of Chengdu. This bitter, engaged piece of first-hand testimony receives a nostalgic echo ten years later, when the ghosts of the dead rulers, father and son, revisit the scene.
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