Xiang Yu (232–202 BC) was a prominent warlord in the late Qin dynasty(221 - 206 BC). He was a typical aristocrat in his time. He was from a noble family and barve, generous, decent-looking and excellent at martial art. All of these made him the leader of all warlords in China.
But at the time, Xiang Yu possessed almost all shortcomings of his class. He was arrogant and bold, which resulted in his failure in struggle for control of the country.
Xiang Yu was very surprised at this, and said to his consort Yu, "Has Liu Bang occupied the whole of Chu? How can he have drafted so many Chu people into his army?"
Xiang Yu totally lost his will of fighting and decided to flee together with the remainder of his forces, but he worried about his consort Yu, so he drank a lot and sang a song:
My strength plucked up the hills,
My might shadowed the world;
But the times were against me,
And Dapple runs no more;
When Zhui (Xiang Yu's beloved war horse) runs no more,
What then can I do?
Ah, Yu, my Yu,
What will your fate be?
Background and Writer Comment:
This Chinese idiom story is from "the Records of the Grand Historian (史记)".
Later people derived the idioms of "Chu Songs On Four Sides--Si Mian Chu Ge" from this story. It refers to a helpless and critical situation.