成語故事

Songs of Ch'u on All Four Sides

In the final years of the Ch'in dynasty, China was in turm oil, with many ambitious people fighting for control of the Central Plains. When the fighting was over, two people were left - Liou Bang and Siang Yu. The two cooperated, overthrew the Ch'in government and divided up China. But both of them wanted to become emperor, and still often fought wars between themselves.

Several years later, Shiang Yu suggested that they divide China up, each take half, and each promise not to invade the other's territory anymore. Liou Bang agreed, because he was afraid of Shiang Yu, but secretly began to strengthen his forces. Finally he attacked Shiang Yu, drove him to Gai Shia, and surrounded him. Although Shiang Yu was in imminent danger, Liou Bang was still afraid, and didn't dare to hastily go in and capture him. So he ordered his troops to begin singing Ch'u folksongs, in order to arouse feelings of homesickness among Shiang Yu's troops. That night Shiang Yu heard all around him familiar songs of his homeland. He felt discouraged, and his troops no longer had the heart to fight. In the end, this hero committed suicide at Wujiang.

Today, that idiom refers to being in a difficult situation, opposed by many people.

四面楚歌

秦朝末年(公元前二二一至二零六年),各地英雄好漢因不滿秦朝的暴政,紛紛起兵反抗。其中勢力最大的便是漢王劉邦和楚王項羽,兩人為了爭取天下,苦戰了四年,沒有分出勝負。

後來劉邦便派人說服項羽,兩國訂下和約,以鴻溝為界線,誰也不准侵犯誰。沒想到劉邦沒有遵守規定,聽了張良、陳平的意見,趁著項羽撤兵時帶著軍隊追擊他,將楚國兵馬逼到垓下。這時,項羽的兵力漸漸招架不住,軍糧也快吃光,被漢軍團團包圍,情勢十分危急。

不過劉邦有些畏懼這位雙手可以舉起數百斤重的蓋世英雄,因此暫時按兵不動,不敢繼續攻擊。張良這時又想出一個計謀,調來大批軍馬圍在楚軍營帳的四周,大唱楚國歌曲,歌聲悲淒,餘音不斷。項羽大驚,問道:「難道劉邦真的占領了楚地?!否則漢軍裏怎會有這麼多的楚國人?」楚國士兵聽到四面八方傳來家鄉的歌聲,一個個都勾起了思鄉的情緒,不禁肝腸寸斷、黯然神傷,一下子軍心渙散,失去作戰的士氣。

項羽最心愛的妃子虞姬,也聽到了歌聲,知道局勢難以挽回,悲痛之餘拔劍自殺。項羽眼見四面受敵,士兵哀嚎,愛妾已死,禁不住流下兩行英雄淚來。想到自己再沒有臉回去見家鄉父老,便拿起兵器,跨上一日可行千里的烏騅馬,勇敢的衝出重圍,在烏江河畔自盡而死。

一代霸王的性命,便斷送在「四面楚歌」中。


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