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96 A Chinese Biographical Dictionary

Sung dynasty, known as 市隱居士, who graduated about 1145, when already 73 years of age. The Emperor, finding that he was still unmarried, gave him one of the Palace ladies, together with a handsome dowry; whereupon the following doggrel was freely circulated:

If the bridegroom's age the newly-wedded bride would like to know,
He had three and twenty birthdays half a century ago.

236 Ch'ên Pa-hsien 陳霸先 (T. 興國). A.D. 503-559. A native of Ch'ang-ch'êng in Chehkiang, and a descendant of Ch'ên Shih. He was ambitious from boyhood, and a great reader of military treatises. In 527 he entered the army of the Liang dynasty, whose founder greatly esteemed him for his successful campaign in 546—47 against Cochin-China. He supported the dynasty against the rebel Hou Ching, who was utterly routed at a great battle near Wuhu in 551. After several posts as Governor, he became Minister of Works in 554, and in 555 he surprised and slew Wang Sêng-pien, the Prime Minister, who had set on the throne the Marquis of 貞陽 Chên-yang, to the exclusion of the rightful heir. The last Emperor of Liang, in grateful recognition of his aid, bestowed on him a Dukedom and the military command of the Kingdom; and he made himself Prime Minister and a Prince. He compelled his sovereign to abdicate in his favour at the end of 557, and mounted the throne as first Emperor of the Ch'ên dynasty. His short reign was without incident. A devoted Buddhist, he publicly took the vows in 558. A clever General and a mild Governor, he was personally economical and averse to splendour. Canonised as 高祖武皇帝.

237 Ch’ên P’êng-nien 陳彭年 (T. 永年). A.D. 961-1017. A smooth-tongued artful courtier, known as "the nine-tailed fox", who rose to be Minister of State under the Emperor Chên Tsung of the Sung dynasty. He was the only son of his mother,