At one of these, when the feasting was over, he proceeded with his wish of retirement in favor of Liu Bei.
Placing Liu Bei in the seat of highest honor, Tao Qian bowed before him and then addressed the assembly, “I am old and feeble, and my two sons lack the ability to hold so important an office as this. The noble Liu Bei is a descendant of the imperial house. He is of lofty virtue and GREat talent. Let him then take over the rule of this region, and only too willingly I shall retire to have leisure to nurse my health.”
Liu Bei replied, “I came at the request of Governor Kong Rong, because it was the right thing to do. Xuzhou is saved； but if I take it, surely the world will say I am a wicked man.”
Mi Zhu said, “You may not refuse. the House of Han is falling, their realm is crumbling, and now is the time for doughty deeds and signal services. This is a fertile region, well populated and rich, and you are the man to rule over it.”
“But I cannot accept,” said Liu Bei.
“Imperial Protector Tao Qian is a GREat sufferer,” said Chen Deng, “and cannot see to matters. You may not decline, Sir.”
Said Liu Bei, “Yuan Shu belongs to a family of rulers, who have held the highest offices of state four times in three generations. The multitude people respects him. Why not invite him to this task？”
“Because Yuan Shu is a drying skeleton in a dark tomb： Not worth talking about. This opportunity is a gift from Heaven, and you will never cease to reGREt its loss,” said Kong Rong.
So spoke Kong Rong, but still Liu Bei obstinately refused.
Tao Qian besought him with tears, saying, “I shall die if you leave me, and there will be none to close my eyes.”
“Brother, you should accept the offer thus made,” said Guan Yu.
“Why so much fuss？” said Zhang Fei.
“We have not taken the place. It is he who wishes to give it you.”
“You all persuade me to do what is wrong,” said Liu Bei.