Xun Xu (died 289), courtesy name Gongzeng, was an official, musician, writer and painter who lived during the late Three Kingdoms period and early Jin dynasty of China. Born in the influential Xun family, he was a great-grandson of Xun Shuang and a distant maternal relative of Zhong Yao's family. he served as an official in the state of Wei in the late Three Kingdoms era before serving under the Jin dynasty.
荀勗 / 荀勖
|Prefect of the Masters of Writing|
c. 280s – 289
|Monarch||Emperor Wu of Jin|
|Household Counsellor (光祿大夫)|
|Monarch||Emperor Wu of Jin|
|Monarch||Emperor Wu of Jin|
|Palace Attendant (侍中)|
|Monarch||Emperor Wu of Jin|
|Supervisor of the Palace Writers|
|Monarch||Emperor Wu of Jin|
|Official in the Hall of Records|
|Monarch||Cao Mao / Cao Huan|
|Judge under the Minister of Justice|
|Monarch||Cao Mao / Cao Huan|
|Assistant Palace Gentleman|
|Monarch||Cao Fang / Cao Mao|
|Prefect of Anyang (安陽令)|
|Monarch||Cao Fang / Cao Mao|
|Mother||Zhong Yao's niece|
|Occupation||Official, musician, writer, painter|
|Courtesy name||Gongzeng (公曾)|
|Posthumous name||Marquis Cheng (成侯)|
Family background and early lifeEdit
Xun Xu was born in the eminent Xun family, whose ancestral home was in Yingyin County (潁陰縣), Yingchuan Commandery (穎川郡), which is in present-day Xuchang, Henan. His great-grandfather, Xun Shuang, served as the Minister of Works during the Eastern Han dynasty. His grandfather, Xun Fei (荀棐), served as Colonel of Trainee Archers (射聲校尉).
Xun Xu's father, Xun Xi (荀肸), died early, so Xun Xu was raised by his maternal granduncle Zhong Yao and the Zhong family. Zhong Yao served as the Grand Tutor (太傅) in the imperial court of the state of Wei during the Three Kingdoms period after the end of the Eastern Han dynasty. As a child, Xun Xu was a fast learner and could already write essays when he was only 10. Zhong Yao once remarked that Xun Xu would grow up to become like his great-grandfather Xun Shuang.
Among Xun Xu's relatives, the more notable ones were Xun Yu, Xun Yue and Xun You. Xun Yu and Xun Yue were Xun Xu's second cousins twice removed while Xun You was Xun Xu's third cousin once removed. Xun Yu and Xun You were influential statesmen of the late Eastern Han dynasty and advisers to the warlord Cao Cao, who laid the foundation for the state of Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. Xun Yue was an official, historian and Confucian scholar of the late Eastern Han dynasty.
Service under the Cao Wei stateEdit
By the time Xun Xu reached adulthood, he was already a learned and knowledgeable young man. He was interested in government and politics so he started his career as an assistant to Cao Shuang, a general serving as regent to Cao Fang, the third emperor of Wei. He was subsequently reassigned to be a communications secretary in the palace secretariat. In 249, Cao Shuang was executed after losing power in a coup launched by his co-regent, Sima Yi. None of Cao Shuang's former aides dared to collect his remains and arrange a funeral for him because they were afraid of being implicated. Xun Xu stepped up, held a funeral for Cao Shuang, and inspired others to follow him.
Xun Xu later became the Prefect of Anyang County (安陽縣) and an assistant to the General of Agile Cavalry. During his tenure in Anyang County, Xun Xu gained so much respect and love from the local residents that they even built a shrine to honour him. He was subsequently held the following appointments: Judge under the Minister of Justice (廷尉正), military adviser to the regent Sima Zhao, official in the Hall of Records (記室). He was also ennobled as a Secondary Marquis (關內侯).
In 260, the fourth Wei emperor, Cao Mao, attempted a coup to seize back power from the regent, Sima Zhao, who had been monopolising state power since 255. Sima Zhao's younger brother, Sima Gan, heard of the coup and tried to enter the palace to help his brother. However, he was denied entry by Sun You (孫佑), an officer guarding the main gate, so he had to enter the palace through another gate. When Sima Zhao found out why Sima Gan showed up late, he wanted to execute Sun You and his family. However, Xun Xu advised him against it by pointing out that it would be unfair and unjust to punish Sun You's family as well. Sima Zhao heeded Xun Xu's advice and punished Sun You only, by demoting him to the status of a commoner.
Around the same time, Lu Yi (路遺), a cavalry officer, requested permission from Sima Zhao to infiltrate Wei's rival state, Shu Han, and assassinate Shu's leaders. Xun Xu advised Sima Zhao against using assassination because he believed that defeating Shu forces in battle was a better way of convincing the people of Shu to surrender and for Sima Zhao to gain greater prestige. Sima Zhao praised Xun Xu for his sound advice.
In 264, the Wei general Zhong Hui started a rebellion against Sima Zhao after leading Wei forces to conquer Shu. At the time, Sima Zhao only heard rumours about the rebellion and had no concrete evidence yet. As he had all along treated Zhong Hui well, he was reluctant to believe that Zhong would rebel against him. After Xun Xu cautioned him against trusting Zhong Hui, Sima Zhao led his forces to garrison at Chang'an as a precautionary measure. Guo Yi (郭奕) and Wang Shen (王深) urged Sima Zhao to banish Xun Xu because they feared that he would side with Zhong Hui, given that he was raised by the Zhong family (Zhong Hui was Zhong Yao's son). However, Sima Zhao ignored them and continued to treat Xun Xu as he did before, and even allowed Xun Xu to ride in the same carriage as him. Previously, when Sima Zhao ordered Zhong Hui to lead Wei forces to conquer Shu, Xun Xu had nominated Wei Guan to supervise the campaign. Later, Wei Guan played a huge role in suppressing Zhong Hui's rebellion. After Shu had been pacified, Xun Xu followed Sima Zhao back to the Wei capital, Luoyang, where he, Pei Xiu and Yang Hu were put in charge of the privy council.
After eliminating Shu, Sima Zhao planned to conquer Wei's other rival state, Eastern Wu, so he sent an emissary to pass a letter to the Wu emperor, Sun Hao. Sima Zhao had previously ordered his subordinates to draft the letter to Sun Hao. Among the numerous drafts he read, he eventually chose the one written by Xun Xu. Sun Hao agreed to make peace with Wei after reading the letter. Sima Zhao remarked that Xun Xu's letter had the power equivalent to that of an army of 100,000. In mid 264, the fifth Wei emperor, Cao Huan, conferred Sima Zhao the title of a vassal king, "King of Jin" (晉王). Xun Xu was appointed as a Palace Attendant (侍中), and enfeoffed as the Marquis of Anyang (安陽侯)[a] and given 1,000 taxable households for his marquisate.
Overview of service under the Jin dynastyEdit
Following Sima Zhao's death in September 265, in February 266 the Wei emperor Cao Huan abdicated his throne to Sima Zhao's son, Sima Yan, who established the Jin dynasty to replace Wei. After Sima Yan was enthroned and became historically known as Emperor Wu, he enfeoffed Xun Xu as the Duke of Jibei Commandery (濟北郡公). However, Xun Xu declined the enfeoffment after seeing that Yang Hu also declined his. However, he still remained as a marquis under the new title "Marquis of Jibei" (濟北侯). Xun Xu was then concurrently appointed as Supervisor of the Palace Writers (中書監), Palace Attendant (侍中), and zhuzuo (著作; senior writer). The emperor also tasked him and Jia Chong with drafting the laws of the Jin dynasty.
In the early Xianning era (275–280), Emperor Wu named Xun Xu, Shi Bao and others as the pioneers of the Jin dynasty and included them among those honoured in the Jin dynasty's ancestral temple. Around 280, when Wang Jun requested permission to lead an army to conquer Eastern Wu (the last of the Three Kingdoms), Xun Xu and Jia Chong strongly objected but Emperor Wu ignored them and ordered Wang Jun and others to lead Jin forces on an invasion of Wu. The invasion turned out successful and led to the reunification of China under the Jin dynasty. When Emperor Wu assessed Xun Xu's contributions in helping him draft imperial edicts, he rewarded Xun Xu by enfeoffing one of his sons as a village marquis with 1,000 taxable households in his marquisate and awarding him 1,000 rolls of silk. The emperor also enfeoffed Xun Xu's grandson, Xun Xian (荀顯), as the Marquis of Yingyang Village (潁陽亭侯).
Around the time, there was much discussion in the imperial court over the issue of restoring the nobles to their fiefs and allowing them to govern from their respective fiefs. When Emperor Wu sought his opinion, Xun Xu disapproved because he believed that since the nobles also held gubernatorial appointments, they might neglect their original jurisdictions once they return to their respective fiefs. He also pointed out the possible complications such as having to subdivide the fiefs into commanderies and counties, as well as the risk of making people unhappy since the subdividing would require relocating residents from one area to another. He further pointed out that they would need to reassign troops from the borders and place them under decentralised command in the various fiefs. When Emperor Wu asked Xun Xu to reconsider his views, Xun Xu explained further that the best course of action was to maintain the status quo, since the redrawing of boundaries between the fiefs might lead to resentment and potential unrest if it was not carefully managed. He also pointed out that there were far more important issues that required immediate attention, so they should focus on those first. Emperor Wu thought that Xun Xu's advice was appropriate and heeded it.
Around the time, the imperial court was discussing a proposal to retrench about half the number of officials in commanderies and counties to free up labour for agricultural works. Xun Xu cited examples from the Han dynasty and gave a long explanation on why he believed that the best solution was to reduce the layers of bureaucracy in the administration. He pointed out how doing so could help to discourage officials from corrupt behaviour, improve administrative efficiency, and build up greater social trust among the masses. He often applied such critical analysis in assessing the costs and benefits of government policies.
In the Taikang era (280–289), Emperor Wu issued an imperial edict to praise Xun Xu for his talents and contributions, and said that he was capable of assuming greater responsibilities. He then appointed Xun Xu as a Household Counsellor (光祿大夫) to be treated like one of the Three Ducal Ministers, as well as allowing Xun Xu to have his own administrative office, in addition to his existing appointments as Supervisor of the Palace Writers (中書監) and Palace Attendant (侍中). Around the time, Jia Chong and Li Yin were already dead and the position of Crown Prince's Grand Tutor (太子太傅) was vacant. Xun Xu wrote a memorial to Emperor Wu, nominating Yang Yao to be the Crown Prince's Grand Tutor, and either Wei Guan or Shan Tao to be the new Minister over the Masses. Emperor Wu accepted his suggestions.
In the autumn of the following year, heavy flooding occurred in many commanderies, with Yan Province being the worst hit. Xun Xu wrote a memorial to Emperor Wu and suggested that he create the office of a dushui shizhe (都水使者; an official in charge of waterworks) to deal with floods in the future. Later, on a separate occasion, he appointed his subordinates Yin Xian (伊羨) and Zhao Xian (趙咸) as Members of the Retinue (舍人) and tasked them with drafting legislation. When Emperor Wu asked him why he did so, Xun Xu explained the importance of delegating responsibilities to subordinates. He also pointed out why he believed it was redundant to have officials focusing on drafting legislation only since their duties overlap with those of other officials, so it was better to delegate such additional responsibilities to the latter group.
Xun Xu was careful and cautious in his behaviour. Whenever policy changes were announced, if he played a role in lobbying for those changes, he would keep quiet about his involvement. Xun Liang (荀良), one of his younger relatives, advised him to let others know the good deeds he did so that he would gain greater respect. Wu Tong (武統), his son-in-law, also urged him to attract people to support him. However, Xun Xu refused to listen to them and he warned his sons against forming their own political clouts and forgetting their place as subjects of the emperor. Later, Emperor Wu promoted Xun Xu to be the Prefect of the Masters of Writing (尚書令).
Xun Xu served as the Supervisor of the Palace Writers for a long time and had access to state secrets. After he was reassigned to be the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, he felt dissatisfied and unhappy. When someone congratulated on his new appointment, he expressed his anger over losing his previous appointment. When he was serving as the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, he evaluated his subordinates based on their performance and dismissed those who failed to live up to his expectations. Emperor Wu once told Xun Xu that he hoped that Xun Xu would learn from Xun Yu and Xun You by promoting deserving officials and dismissing corrupt officials. A few months after Xun Xu assumed his new appointment, his mother died so he resigned and wanted to go home for filial mourning. However, Emperor Wu denied him permission and sent Zhou Hui (周恢) to announce an imperial edict ordering him to return to his job.
Association with Jia Chong, Jia Nanfeng and Sima ZhongEdit
When Emperor Wu wanted to reassign Jia Chong to guard the Guanzhong region, Xun Xu told his colleague Feng Dan that their status in the imperial court depended on Jia Chong's presence so they should try to stop the emperor from sending Jia Chong out of the imperial capital, Luoyang. Xun Xu thought of persuading Emperor Wu to arrange a marriage between Sima Zhong, the crown prince, and Jia Chong's daughter, Jia Nanfeng. In this way, Jia Chong, as the crown prince's father-in-law, would have to remain in Luoyang. Xun Xu and Feng Dan then sang praises of Jia Chong's daughter in front of Emperor Wu and managed to convince him to arrange the marriage. Many officials were disgusted by Xun Xu's fawning behaviour and called him a sycophant.
Emperor Wu knew that Sima Zhong had developmental disability so he became worried that his son would bring disaster upon the Jin dynasty. He ordered Xun Xu and He Jiao to observe and evaluate Sima Zhong. Xun Xu praised Sima Zhong for being a virtuous crown prince, while He Jiao said that Sima Zhong was the same as before. He Jiao became respected for being honest about Sima Zhong, whereas Xun Xu was derided for lying in order to please the emperor.
In another incident, when Emperor Wu wanted to depose Jia Nanfeng from the position of crown prince's consort, Xun Xu and Feng Dan immediately went to plead with the emperor to reconsider his decision and eventually succeeded in dissuading him from deposing Jia Nanfeng. Many people believed that Xun Xu could potentially bring about the Jin dynasty's downfall and compared him unfavourably to Sun Zi and Liu Fang, who were seen as having caused the downfall of Wei.
Other contributions and anecdotesEdit
Xun Xu was in charge of music arrangement. Some of the pieces he arranged became widespread. He once heard the sound of a cowbell ringing and thought of using cowbells as an instrument to fine tune musical pieces.
When Xun Xu was serving as mishujian (秘書監; a supervising secretary), Emperor Wu also tasked him and Zhang Hua with arranging the imperial library's collection into a catalogue like Liu Xiang's Bielu (別錄). When old bamboo scrolls were discovered in an ancient tomb in Ji Commandery (汲郡) in 279, Emperor Wu tasked Xun Xu with copying, organising and compiling them. Xun Xu did so and created a book, Zhongjing (中經), which was then added to the imperial library's collection.
In one instance, Xun Xu was dining beside Emperor Wu when he told everyone that the food they were eating was cooked with fire created from wood that has undergone much "hardship". Everyone did not believe him, so the emperor summoned the chef and asked him. The chef said that he used wood from the wheels of an old carriage to start the fire, hence Xun Xu was right. They were impressed with his intelligence.
Death and appraisalEdit
Xun Xu died in 289 during the Taikang era (280–289) of Emperor Wu's reign. The emperor granted him the posthumous appointment of Minister over the Masses and the posthumous title "Marquis Cheng" (成侯), in addition to awarding his family some ceramics from the imperial palace's collection, a set of official robes, 500,000 coins and 100 rolls of silk. He also sent an Imperial Secretary (御史) as his personal representative to attend Xun Xu's funeral.
Xun Xu served in the privy council and was in charge of state secrets for a long time. He was not only a talented writer, but also a deep thinker who understood very well his place as a subject of his lord. He knew what his lord expected of him and adapted his behaviour accordingly to please his lord. That was why he managed to remain in Emperor Wu's favour and live a comfortable life until his death.
Xun Xu had ten sons. Among them, the notable ones were Xun Ji (荀輯), Xun Fan (荀籓) and Xun Zu (荀組). Xun Ji inherited his father's marquis title and served in the Jin government, with his highest appointment being Minister of the Guards (衛尉). He was honoured with the posthumous title "Marquis Jian" (簡侯) after his death. His son, Xun Jun (荀畯), succeeded him and was posthumously honoured as "Marquis Lie" (烈侯). As Xun Jun had no son to succeed him, his marquis title was passed on to his nephew, Xun Shi (荀識).
Xun Ji had another son, Xun Chuo (荀綽), whose courtesy name was Yanshu (彥舒). Xun Chuo was famous for his literary talent and wrote 15 chapters of the Later Book of Jin (晉後書). Towards the end of the Yongjia era (307–313) in Emperor Huai's reign, he served as an Assistant Palace Gentleman (從事中郎) to the Minister of Works. He was captured by Shi Le when the latter rebelled against the Jin dynasty and became Shi Le's military adviser.
Xun Xu had at least one daughter, who married Wu Tong (武統).
One of Xun Xu's grandsons, Xun Xian (荀顯), was enfeoffed by Emperor Wu as the Marquis of Yingyang Village (潁陽亭侯).
- The Jin Shu mentioned that Xun Xu was enfeoffed as the Viscount of Anyang (安陽子). However, this is most likely an error because Xun Xu was previously already a Secondary Marquis (關內侯). If he was made a viscount, it would be a "demotion" from his previous rank. Moreover, during the Jin dynasty, Emperor Wu enfeoffed Xun Xu's grandson as a village marquis, which outranked a viscount. It does not make sense for the emperor to let a grandson outrank his grandfather in the hierarchy of nobility.
- (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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (十一月，丙辰，尚書令濟北成侯荀勗卒。) Zizhi Tongjian vol. 82.
- (荀勖，字公曾，潁川潁陰人，漢司空爽曾孫也。祖棐，射聲校尉。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (父肸，早亡。勖依於舅氏。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。」) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (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，勖獨臨赴，眾乃從之。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (為安陽令，轉驃騎從事中郎。勖有遺愛，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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (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。勖諫曰：「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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (時官騎路遺求為刺客入蜀，勖言於帝曰：「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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (及鐘會謀反，審問未至，而外人先告之。帝待會素厚，未之信也。勖曰：「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、參軍王深以勖是會從甥，少長舅氏，勸帝斥出之。帝不納，而使勖陪乘，待之如初。先是，勖啟「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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (時將發使聘吳，並遣當時文士作書與孫皓，帝用勖所作。皓既報命和親，帝謂勖曰：「君前作書，使吳思順，勝十萬之眾也。」帝即晉王位，以勖為侍中，封安陽子，邑千戶。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (武帝受禪，改封濟北郡公。勖以羊祜讓，乃固辭為侯。拜中書監，加侍中，領著作，與賈充共定律令。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (咸甯初，與石苞等並為佐命功臣，列於銘饗。及王浚表請伐吳，勖與賈充固諫不可，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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (又封孫顯為潁陽亭侯。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (時議遣王公之國，帝以問勖，勖對曰：「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。」帝重使勖思之，勖又陳曰：「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。」帝以勖言為允，多從其意。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (時又議省州郡縣半吏以赴農功，勖議以為：「省吏不如省官，省官不如省事，省事不如清心。 ... 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。」勖論議損益多此類。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (太康中詔曰：「勖明哲聰達，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。今以勖為光祿大夫、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，勖表陳：「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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (明年秋，諸州郡大水，兗土尤甚。勖陳宜立都水使者。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (其後門下啟通事令史伊羨、趙咸為舍人，對掌文法。詔以問勖，勖曰：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。」) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (族弟良曾勸勖曰：「公大失物情，有所進益者自可語之，則懷恩多矣。」) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (其婿武統亦說勖「宜有所營置，令有歸戴者」。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (勖並默然不應，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。」) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (久之，以勖守尚書令。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (勖久在中書，專管機事。及失之，甚罔罔悵恨。或有賀之者，勖曰：「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，勖乃奉詔視職。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (充將鎮關右也，勖謂馮紞曰：「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。」勖與紞伺帝間並稱「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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (時帝素知太子暗弱，恐後亂國，遣勖及和嶠往觀之。勖還盛稱太子之德，而嶠雲太子如初。於是天下貴嶠而賤勖。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (帝將廢賈妃，勖與馮紞等諫請，故得不廢。時議以勖傾國害時，孫資、劉放之匹。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (既掌樂事，又修律呂，並行於世。初，勖於路逢趙賈人牛鐸，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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (俄領秘書監，與中書令張華依劉向《別錄》，整理記籍。 ... 及得汲郡塚中古文竹書，詔勖撰次之，以為《中經》，列在秘書。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (又立書博士，置弟子教習，以鐘、胡為法。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (勖久管機密，有才思，探得人主微旨，不犯顏忤爭，故得始終全其寵祿。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (勖有十子，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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.
- (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。) Jin Shu vol. 39.