He wrote the craziest farewell poem in the Tang Dynasty

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At the age of 47, Gao Shi (703? -765), a poet who had been frustrated for half his life, finally ushered in a turning point of his destiny.

At this time, the Tang Empire had entered the end of its prosperous era. During the eight years of Yingge and Yanwu in Tianbao (749), Gao Shi, who had been working in Suiyang (Songzhou) for half of his life and was always looking for an official position, finally took part in the imperial examination at the recommendation of Zhang Jiugao, the younger brother of the famous Prime Minister Zhang Jiuling and the Suiyang prefect, and won an official rank of Fengqiu County lieutenant of Chenliu county (bianzhou) from the ninth grade.

If he had been young, he would not have liked this kind of petty official position. But now, he is too poor. He urgently needs an official position to support his family. In the poem “meeting lijingcan at night on the platform” written to a friend earlier, he lamented:

Centrifugal suddenly disappointed, riding to autumn.

The road is full of disarray, and the journey is vast and tragic.

My family is poor and envies me for having a small salary. Where do you want to go.

He said to his friend with emotion that although you think the official salary is meager, my family is poor. How I envy you. I also want to have a small official position, but I don’t know where to get it.

Therefore, for Gaoshi, who was in the middle of his family, even if he was just a nine grade sesame official, that was what he had been pursuing for many years.

Many people had already lost hope when they were nearly half a century old, but he would rise up from now on, starting from a frontier fortress poet who sang sad words and an unknown low-level official. In the next few years, he made great achievements and quickly rose to become a feudal official of the Empire, becoming a unique political legend among poets of the Tang Dynasty.

This is the first light of his life, and he will hold on to it.



? the year of birth of Gao Shi (703? -765) has been controversial in history. It is generally believed that he should have been born between 701 and 704. Image source: Photographic network.


In the Tang Dynasty, most poets had high aspirations.

In the era of striving and enterprising in the prosperous Tang Dynasty, poets were generally unwilling to be a scholar who kept his study silently, especially for poets like Gao Shi.

His grandfather Gaoluo once served as an official in Anton Duhu, Pingyuan Weigong, and gave a gift to the general of zuowuwei. Before his death, he attacked Turks and captured Chebi Khan. After his death, he was buried in the Qianling Mausoleum of Li Zhi, Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty. Gao Chongde and Gao Chongli, two of Gao Shi’s uncles, also served as Bingzhou Sima and zuoweizhonglang generals respectively because of their military achievements.

Influenced by the family environment, Gao Shi has been “full of new energy and great ambition” since he was young. He has always been eager to make contributions and restore the glory of his ancestors.

However, gaochongwen, Gao Shi’s father, may have made some political mistakes. He was demoted to Shaozhou in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province. Until his death, he was just a small official in the history of Shao governor. Yao Chong, a famous prime minister in the period of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty, once said with emotion about the children of such aristocratic families who had fallen into the middle of the family path:

“After the death of all the top officials, many of their descendants have lost their shade and are very poor.”

Gaoshi is a typical representative of this kind of “descendants of high officials”. Because his ancestors had the feat of capturing Turkic Khan alive, he always dreamed of becoming an official from the door. Therefore, he “didn’t work and his family was poor”, and even reduced to “begging for alms” and needed help from his relatives and friends.

About the 10th year of Kaiyuan (722), Gao Shi, a 20-year-old newborn calf, was not afraid of tigers. He wandered alone in Chang’an, the capital, hoping to get a job.

In the Tang Dynasty, there were two main ways for people to become officials: one was through the imperial examination, and the other was through the door. However, even if the scholars in the Tang Dynasty passed the imperial examination, they could not be granted official positions immediately like future generations. Instead, they had to take part in the examination organized by the Ministry of officials. Only after they passed the civil service election could they become an official. Therefore, many scholars in the Tang Dynasty still wasted half their lives, even low-level officials.

Gaoshi, who hopes to enter the official position quickly, can only hope to enter the official position through the door shade. However, according to the system of the Tang Dynasty, the descendants of officials above the five grades can enter the official position from the gate, but only one person can enter the official position. Gao Shi, who is not the eldest son of the family, is actually difficult to get through this road.

The young poet met with a rebuff in Chang’an and finally understood the desolation of the world. In the poem “biewei joins the army” to bid farewell to his friend, he wrote that he “learned to write and sword for twenty years, traveled to Chang’an City in the west”, and longed to “look up at the king’s gate, and bend his fingers to take the Gongqing”, but after wandering for a long time, he realized that “white jade is given to near ministers, and cloth clothes should not be used as the master”. As a descendant of an aristocratic family, the young poet was “dismayed and terrified”, so he had to return to Songzhou (later renamed Suiyang County, now Shangqiu, Henan Province) to farm and study at the same time.

This is ten years. However, even if he was engaged in cultivation and study, he was still in a positive mood all his life. In Tian Jia Chun Wang, he compared himself with Li Shiqi, a Gaoyang man from Chenliu who had offered Liu Bang a plan to seize the world:

When you go out, you can see the spring in Pingwu.

Alas, no confidant, a drunkard in Gaoyang.



? Chang’an little wild goose pagoda, source: photo network.


Of course, he was not a farmer who was willing to fall into the fields. In the 19th year of Kaiyuan (731), the 29 year old poet set out from Songzhou (Suiyang) to travel north to yanzhao, hoping to enter the official career by joining the army.

According to the system of the Tang Dynasty, generals can hire officials themselves, so it has become an important way for scholars in the Tang Dynasty to enter the officialdom. As a descendant of the famous general whose grandfather captured the Turkic Khan alive, Gao Shi, who had no hope of becoming an official through the door shadow, also held great hopes for joining the army. At that time, the Khitan and Xi ethnic groups in the Northeast gradually rose and invaded the northeast border of the Tang Dynasty, which forced the Tang Dynasty to display heavy military deployment in the northeast. Therefore, the military war in the Yanzhao region has become increasingly fierce since the prosperous Tang Dynasty, which also contributed to the desire to join the army and serve the country Gaoshi, who became an official and made progress, offered infinite hope.

Before the Tang Dynasty, the border defense pressure of the Chinese Empire mainly came from the northwest. Whether it was the gunrong in the Zhou Dynasty, the Xiongnu in the Qin and Han Dynasties, or the Turks in the Sui and Tang Dynasties, or the Tubo in the prosperous Tang Dynasty, these nomads rising in the northwest often invaded and impacted the Guanzhong region in the northwest, which became a major problem for the Chinese Empire.

However, since the Sui and Tang Dynasties, nomads from the Northeast have also been rising. In the Sui Dynasty, the talented Emperor Yangdi was aware of the great threat posed by Koguryo in the northeast. However, the impatient Emperor Yangdi wanted to finish his first battle and subjugate Koguryo three times. After the fall of the Sui Dynasty, in order to eliminate the hidden dangers in the northeast, Emperor Taizong lishimin’s relay attack on Koguryo also failed. It was not until the reign of Emperor Gaozong and Li Zhi of the Tang Dynasty that Koguryo was finally pacified. However, since then, Khitan, Xi, Nuzhen and Manchu descendants of Nuzhen have been rising from the northeast, which has greatly affected the historical trend of the Chinese Empire for the next millennium.

Gao Shi, who is eager to make contributions to the Yan Zhao front in the northeast, rubbed his hands and wrote in the poem “the frontier”:

General Rong swept the desert and captured Shan Yu in the first battle.

Always be grateful and willing to serve you.

The poet has a lofty mind and enthusiastically praises Yingzhou (now western Liaoning) which is on the front line of fighting with Khitan and Xi Nationality:

Yingzhou young people are tired of the wilderness, and they are under the hunting city.

He can ride a horse when he is ten years old.

In “listening to the flute on the plug”, he describes the snowy night on the front line:

The snow is clean, the horses are still grazing in the Hu sky, and the Qiang flute guards the building on the moon.

Where does the plum blossom fall? The wind blows all over the mountain overnight.

In this regard, Yin Zhen, a writer of the Tang Dynasty, commented in the collection of heroes of Heyue that Gao Shi’s poetry was “full of imagination and spirit, so the government and the public appreciated his writing”. At that time, it was quite famous, but his talent was not in direct proportion to his official fortune. The poet wandered on the Northeast front of the Tang Dynasty for two years, but he never got the chance to enter the general’s shogunate. In the bumpy situation of “many fallacies in current times, and his heart was broken when he lost his way”, he lost his way to the south, I wrote down the melancholy of “return from thistle to the north”:

Drive the horse to the north of Jimen, and the horse mourns by the north wind.

The boundless remote mountain pass, open-minded Hu Tiankai.

Five generals have gone deep, and the former army has stopped half way.

Who is not satisfied with it? The long sword returns alone.

Although he was still unable to achieve anything after the age of 30 and even had a difficult life, he was open-minded by nature and got along well with fishermen, woodcutters, soldiers, hermits and gamblers. For this, his friend Li Qi later praised the old friend and said:

Fifty years without an industry, the heart is light of a million dollars.

Tu Peng is also with the group, not asking who you are.

Drinking or fishing, singing and chanting poetry.

From the age of 29 to 31, the poets wandering in the Northeast achieved nothing, so they went to Chang’an again at the age of 32 (the 23rd year of Kaiyuan, 735). However, the poets who were “not easy to live in Chang’an”, were frustrated politically and even failed to find a small official, so they had to return to Songzhou (Suiyang) to live.

He went to Chang’an at the age of 20, to the northeast at the age of 29, and to Chang’an again at the age of 32. After returning to Songzhou in 735, the poet who failed three times in seeking an official position until 749, when the light that ignited his life shone on him, he spent most of his 14 years living in Songzhou except for a short trip in the middle.

From youth to middle age, he was frustrated, but he was always brimming with warm self-confidence: “we are all waiting for our generation, using in strategy.” “When you see your ambition, don’t be too late to join hands.”

That is, at this time, Gao Shi, who has been paying close attention to the situation on the front line, wrote the eternal masterpiece Yan Gexing.

In the 26th year of Kaiyuan (738), the Tang army won first and then lost in the battle with Khitan, and tens of thousands of Tang troops lost their halberds. After the defeat of his subordinates, the Northeast General zhangshouyu concealed his defeat and lied about the military situation. After the news came out, Gao Shi, who had been wandering in Youji for two years and was eager to join the army in zhangshouyu’s shogunate, was filled with emotion. In his poem, he wrote:

The smoke and dust of the Han family is in the northeast. The Han General leaves his home to destroy the crippled thieves.

The man is self-respect, and the son of Heaven gives him color very much.

The soldiers died in the first half of their lives, while the beauties sang and danced under their tents.

The desert is poor in autumn. There are only a few soldiers fighting against the sunset in an isolated city.

Seeing that white blades are full of blood, you never care about Xun in the festival of death.

You don’t see the bitter battle on the battlefield. You still remember General Li.

Zhangshouyu was a famous general of the prosperous Tang Dynasty. As the true prototype of the “empty city plan”, he used to scare away Tubo with the doubt of the disabled soldiers in Guazhou in the northwest, and fought against the Khitan and Xi people in the northeast for many years. He made great achievements in stabilizing the East and west front lines, but in his later years, he lied about the disastrous defeat in the 26th year of Kaiyuan (738) as a great victory. In the second year (739), amid the condemnation of the government and the public, zhangshouyu was demoted to be the governor of kuozhou. Soon, zhangshouyu died of illness.

Although zhangshouxi died, his adopted son Anlushan was appointed as the military envoy of Pinglu in the year when zhangshouxi died (740). Since then, Anlushan, which gradually assumed sole power in the northeast, will have an earth shaking impact on the Tang Empire and Gaoshi.


“Better to be a centurion than a scholar”, a poem by yangjiong, a poet of the early Tang Dynasty, inspired poets of later generations of the Tang Dynasty to forge ahead, but where is the way ahead? Gao Shi has not found a way out.

In Qi Shang BIE ye, he seems to have TaoYuanming’s insight into the life of studying hard:

At the foot of Yixi mountain, beside the mulberry forest.

The court duck likes to be rainy, and the neighbor chicken knows the evening sky.

Wild people grow autumn vegetables and open the fields in ancient times.

And far from the world, I am talking about nature.

But the poet was not TaoYuanming, nor was the prosperous Tang Dynasty the Wei and Jin Dynasties, which were in turmoil and exile. In this era when poets collectively aspire to make contributions, in the third year of Tianbao (744), three political losers, Li Bai, Dufu and Gao Shi, met in Songzhou (Suiyang).

This is destined to be a grand event in the history of Chinese literature.

In that year, Li Bai, 44, who was just granted gold by Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty, was once again exiled among the people because of his arrogance; Dufu, 33, failed in many trials; The 42 year old Gao Shi has been frustrated for many years. The three great masters in the history of Chinese literature met happily and traveled together in the Liang and Song Dynasties (now Kaifeng and Shangqiu in Henan Province) where Gao Shi studied and cultivated land. The three of them went together to reminisce about the past, shoot and write poems, and drink generously. Later, Dufu recalled this time’s party in his nostalgia and said:

I used to travel in the Song Dynasty, but I was the king of Liang Xiao.

Recalling the generation of Gao and Li, I discussed how to make friends with them.

Two male strong algae think, my color is full.

When the wind blows on the stage, you can look back on the past and see the plain.

As the youngest of the three poets at that time, Dufu was the most depressed and affectionate in his life. In his travels in the past, he recalled that Li Bai and Gao Shi said:

The former and Gao Li appeared on the platform late.

The stone tablet in the cold and Wuhu area is full of wind and cloud.

The leaves of mulberry and zhe are like rain, and the Epimedium flies back to Pei.

When the frost is clear and the water is frozen, animals and animals will feel sad.

Less than youth day, no old friend cup.

When I write poetry, I weep alone. In troubled times, I think of talents.

Throughout his life, Dufu missed the grand meeting with Li Bai and Gao Shi in the third year of Tianbao (744). Although Gao Shi and Li Bai will go their separate ways in the an Shi rebellion in the future, Dufu and Gao Shi will never change their feelings until death.

After Gao Shi had a good trip with Li Bai and Dufu for some time, he left the Liang song region because of something. Li Bai and Dufu continued to visit eastern Shandong. Compared with Li Bai, who had a rich family, and Dufu, who was still dependent on his father as an official at that time, Gao Shi, who was 42 years old, was still working hard for daily necessities. However, he still did not forget to comfort his old friend who was also embarrassed. In “giving Cui er a gift from ancient times”, he said with great sincerity:

I am ashamed of my economic strategy and would like to abandon it for a long time.

You’re still haggard when you’ve lost your talent.

Long songs add gloom, and you can’t get drunk with wine.

When you are poor, don’t cry.

In the sixth year of Tianbao (747), Fang Guan, the Minister of the Ministry of officials, was demoted from the dynasty. Dong Da (dongtinglan), a disciple of Fang Guan and a famous Qin player in Chang’an, was forced to leave Chang’an. At the meeting between Suiyang (song Zhou was renamed Suiyang County at this time) and Dong Da, the poet comforted his friend and said:

Thousands of miles of yellow clouds are shining in the sun, and the north wind blows wild geese and snow one after another.

Don’t worry that there is no confidant in the road ahead. Everyone in the world doesn’t know you.

This is undoubtedly the most crazy and inspirational farewell poem of the whole Tang Dynasty. Although the poet himself was embarrassed, he still encouraged his friends that “the husband’s poor practice should not be enough”; Although he is 45 years old and nearly half a century old, he has no industry, but he is always ambitious.

Opportunities will be left to poets like him who are constantly striving for self-improvement.



? Chang’an is the ultimate aspiration of countless poets.


Therefore, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, it was not until the age of 47 (749) that Gao Shi was finally able to take the institutional examination recommended by officials above the fifth grade, with the recommendation of Zhang Jiugao, the brother of the famous Prime Minister Zhang Jiuling and the governor of Suiyang. After waiting for many years, he was finally promoted to the rank of Fengqiu County lieutenant of Chenliu county (bianzhou) under the ninth rank.

In order to live, the poet, who is nearly half a hundred years old, has no choice but to take up his post. In his poem, he laments that during his days as a Fengqiu County lieutenant, “it is sad to welcome the chief officer and whip Li Shu” and “it is shameful to speculate about the crafty officials and thank Yu Gong”.

After three years of serving as a Fengqiu County lieutenant who was “subordinate to the ninth grade” among the nine grade sesame officials, Gao Shi, who was 50 years old, finally resigned and went to Chang’an to seek opportunities.

In the age of the ancients, the age of 50 was a decline, but the poet Gaoshi will start to work hard in this year and usher in a super reversal of his life.

That is, at the age of 50, Gao Shi was recommended by his friends to serve as the Chief Secretary of the shogunate of the famous general Ge Shuhan. So he rushed to Hexi in high spirits.

At this time, there were still three years before the an Shi rebellion broke out.

Although the an Shi rebellion will become the turning point of the Tang Empire from prosperity to decline, and poets Li Bai and Dufu will also be displaced in the war, poet Gao Shi is thriving because of the chaos and is about to usher in the spring of his own life.

In the year of the an Shi rebellion, in February of the fourteenth year of Tianbao (755), Gao Shi followed the famous general Ge Shuhan into Chang’an. Unexpectedly, Ge Shuhan suddenly suffered a stroke and hemiplegia while taking a bath. Then Gao Shi followed Ge Shuhan and stayed in Chang’an. In the lunar November of that year, Anlu mountain, which was also the governor of Fanyang, Pinglu and Hedong towns, suddenly started a rebellion. At that time, fengchangqing and gaoxianzhi, the famous generals guarding Tongguan, were wrongly killed. In order to defend the central plain and Chang’an, Emperor Xuanzong had no choice but to use half paralyzed Ge Shuhan to guard Tongguan.

Then, in June of the 15th year of Tianbao (756), Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty, who was eager to win, forced Ge Shuhan to rush out, but Ge Shuhan, who was “crying out”, was defeated and captured. After the fall of Tongguan, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty, who had lost his ambition, fled West in a panic. At this turning point in history, Li Bai fled to Lushan in a panic, Wang Wei and other famous poets were forced to surrender to Anlushan to take up their bogus posts, and Dufu was captured by the rebels and taken back to Chang’an.



? stills: Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty and Anlu mountain.

In this watershed of Empire and life, Gao Shi, who withdrew from the front line of Tongguan, finally gave full play to the political advantages he had accumulated for many years. He followed the footsteps of tangxuanzong all the way and finally caught up with the fugitive tangxuanzong in Hechi county (now the east of Xifeng County in Shaanxi).

At that time, Gao Shi had been promoted to be the censor of the eighth grade before the battle of Tongguan. After the defeat of Tongguan, all the generals and soldiers fled for their lives. The poets in Chang’an were also in a panic. Only Gao Shi, who had great strategic and political vision, insisted on catching up with Tang Xuanzong who fled West and stated the reasons for his defeat in Tongguan.

Gaoshi told tangxuanzong that GE Shuhan was seriously ill and lost his command ability, while the generals in charge of the army were only looking for pleasure and did not care about the military situation. As a result, the soldiers could not even eat enough coarse rice. Various factors were superimposed, which eventually led to the defeat of Tongguan. Tangxuanzong was very moved by the poet who still insisted on his duty and came to state the military situation in troubled times, so he promoted the 54 year old Gaoshi to be an imperial historian.

This was the second year of an Shi rebellion, and it was also a year of great changes in the poet’s destiny.

In July of that year, Prince Li Heng, who went north to Lingwu, announced his accession to the throne for emperor suzong of the Tang Dynasty. Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty, who was kept in the dark, did not know that he had become the “supreme emperor” until more than a month later. Still reluctant to abdicate, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty issued an imperial edict, ordering Li Heng to be the marshal of the world’s troops and horses, and Yongwang Li Yu to raise troops and horses for the Jiangling metropolitan governor to counter the rebels.

According to Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty, by dividing several sons into the world, he could still use each son to check and balance each other and besiege the rebels, so as to safeguard the dignity and power of the old emperor. However, Emperor suzong of Tang Dynasty was already in Lingwu, and naturally no one was allowed to share his power. At this critical historical point in the struggle between father and son, he advised him with great foresight that it was impossible, otherwise it would cause civil strife in the country, and Emperor Xuanzong of Tang did not listen, But he still promoted Gao Shi to a doctor of remonstrance.

Gao Shi, who was “defiant and outspoken, was loyal to his duties. In November of that year (756), the Yongwang Li Xuan, who guarded Jiangling (now Hubei), sent troops to the East, which had become another big trouble for Li Heng, Emperor suzong of the Tang Dynasty, following the an Shi rebels. In view of Gao Shi’s previous admonition that Yongwang should not be enfeoffed, Emperor suzong of the Tang Dynasty threw an olive branch to Gao Shi and ordered Gao Shi to discuss countermeasures together.

Compared with Li Bai, who made a mistake in political standing, and went down from Lushan Mountain to King Yong, Gao Shi fell in love with Tang suzong, and enthusiastically analyzed the situation in Jiangdong, asserting that King Yong Li Yu would be defeated. Therefore, Tang suzong quickly appointed Gao Shi as the provincial governor of Huainan and the governor of Yangzhou, and ordered Gao Shi, Wei Zhi, the provincial governor of Jiangdong and the western provincial governor of Huainan to join forces with him to fight against King Yong Li Yu.

As a result, in the battle of Tongguan six months ago, Gao Shi, a poet who was only an official of the eighth grade, was quickly promoted to a senior official in the feudal area in the turbulent history. Later, Gao Shi, Wei Zhi and Lai Yu jointly met in Anlu (now Hubei) to form an alliance against Yongwang Li Yu. Gao Shi actively wrote to the generals and schools under Yongwang for disintegration.

Three months later, before Gao Shi’s troops set out to fight, Li Xiang’s army collapsed in February of the second year of emperor suzong Zhide of the Tang Dynasty (757), and the Yongwang Li Xiang himself was killed on the way to escape.



? image source: Photographic network.


As a pawn in the struggle for power between Emperor Xuanzong and Emperor suzong of the Tang Dynasty, and with his own ambition, Yongwang Li Ying, who wanted to compete for the world in troubled times, was finally defeated, and Li Bai, who took refuge in Yongwang, was sentenced to “disobedience” and imprisoned in Xunyang prison.

In order to save himself, Li Bai entrusted Gao Shi, who was in a high position, to ask for help. In the preface to sending Zhang Xiucai to the high school, Li Bai compared his unfortunate involvement in the struggle between Tang Xuanzong and Tang suzong, saying: “when the two dragons fight, the sky and the earth move.” once arrogant Li Bai flattered Gao Shi and asked for help, saying: “Gaogong Town, Huaihai, but there is an evil atmosphere when talking and laughing… I don’t feel the frost of Yan, and the jade and stones are burned. But if I shed a line of tears, what clouds are there in the face of differences.”

However, as Dufu later wrote, Li Bai, who was in the wrong political line at that time, “all the people in the world want to kill”. Of course, Gao Shi, who was highly sensitive to this politics, would not fail to understand it. Therefore, he chose to ignore his old friend Li Bai’s call for help. Since then, the two leaders of Tang poetry parted ways, and the small ship of friendship finally broke up because of the political storm.

Li Bai was later sentenced to “exile to Yelang” and was lucky to be returned by Amnesty on the way. However, the poet exhausted his last luck. Six years later, just one year before the end of the an Shi Rebellion (762), Li Bai finally died of illness in Dangtu, Anhui Province. Before his death, the immortal poet lamented in the dying song: “the roc flies and shakes eight descendants, and the sky is unable to destroy them.”



? Li Bai, who was in the wrong political line, fell into the abyss in the an Shi rebellion.

At the same time, Gao Shi, who was actively remonstrating, was slandered by eunuch Li Fuguo, so he was secretly demoted by Emperor suzong of the Tang Dynasty as the prince shaozhan of the left, and stayed in Luoyang. In 759, the Tang Dynasty was defeated in the battle of Yecheng. Gao Shi was forced to move westward to Chang’an with all the officials in Luoyang. He was demoted to Pengzhou, Sichuan, and later transferred to Shuzhou.

However, compared with the vagrant lives of Tang poetry leaders such as Li Bai, Wang Wei and Dufu during the an Shi rebellion, Gao Shi often rose in the war.

In April 761, duanzizhang, the governor of Zizhou, Sichuan, rebelled and became king of Liang. At that time, 59 year old Gao Shi and Chengdu yincuiguangyuan joined hands to put an end to the rebellion and wiped out the rebels in only two months.

In the second year (762), Tang Xuanzong and Tang suzong, who had exhausted their lives in the an Shi rebellion, died about 12 days apart. Li Yu, the son of Tang suzong, ascended the throne as the emperor of the Tang Dynasty. At this juncture, the Xichuan army and horse envoy Xu knew that he was plotting to rebel. So Gao Shi, a 60 year old poet who was promoted to Chengdu Yin, joined forces with the generals of southern Sichuan to defeat the rebels.

In that year, Gao Shi, who had made continuous military contributions in Sichuan, was promoted to the post of Jiannan Xichuan provincial envoy. Therefore, he became the only famous poet in the Tang Dynasty who became a feudal official. In this regard, “the old book of Tang” said: “since the Tang Dynasty, poets have reached only the appropriate.”

The poet achieved great success and reached the peak of his life: in the past 13 years, he rose from a village poet who had lost his folk life to a feudal official of the Tang Empire; The real chapter of his life began slowly at the age of 47. So far, he finally achieved great achievements at the age of 60, and achieved the immortal legend of Tang poets.

In the second year (763) when Gaoshi reached the peak of his career, he took advantage of the an Shi rebellion to capture the Tubo in Hexi and Longyou areas and attack Chang’an. The emperor of the Tang Dynasty was forced to flee. In order to relieve the pressure of the Tang army in Guanzhong area, Gao Xi, who guarded Sichuan, took the initiative to attack Tubo, but was unfortunately defeated and lost many cities such as Pingsheng city in Xishan. In view of the strategic background at that time, Emperor Zong of the Tang Dynasty did not blame Gao Shi. Later, Emperor Zong of the Tang Dynasty sent Yanwu out of Sichuan and replaced Gao Shi back to Chang’an. Gao Shi was changed to minister of punishment and Zuo Sanqi Changshi, and was conferred the Marquis of Bohai county.

In the four years since he joined Sichuan from 759 to 763, Dufu followed his old friends Gaoshi and Yanwu into Sichuan to avoid chaos. With the help of Gaoshi and Yanwu, the poet Dufu finally had a little time to breathe in troubled times. After becoming a senior official, Gaoshi, who had less poetry, wrote a poem to his old friend in the first month of the first year of Baoying (762), when he reached the peak of his life:

This year, people remember each other in empty space. Next year, people will know where they are.

I have been lying in the East Mountain for thirty years, but I don’t know the old customs of calligraphy and sword.

The Dragon bell also bears two thousand stones, which are from the East, West, North and south.

In the poem, Gao Shi, who had already achieved great success, said with emotion to Du Fu, who was down and out in his old age, that he was an old Longzhong, a senior official who deserved to be listed as “two thousand stones”. Compared with Du Fu, who was wandering everywhere in the southeast, northwest and northwest, “people remember each other in the air. Where do you know next year?”

Three years after writing this poem, in the first year of zongyongtai in the Tang Dynasty (765), Gao Shi, 63, finally died in the fall of the peak of the Tang Dynasty. At that time, the an Shi rebellion had been put down for two years, while the poet Wang Wei died in 761, and Li Bai died of embarrassment in Dangtu, Anhui Province in 762. The generation of poets in the Tang Dynasty has gradually withered.

Five years after Gaoshi’s death (770), in the last year of his life, due to the chaos in Sichuan, Du Fu had to leave Sichuan and wander around Hunan. He inadvertently turned to the poem sent by Gaoshi again. Du Fu “shed tears between the lines and read the end of the final chapter” and wrote the last poem to his old friend, “chasing rewards, so the people of gaoshuzhou see you every day”:

It was written by people in Shuzhou, Inner Mongolia, but it was not intended that Qing poetry had been scattered for a long time.

This morning, my scattered eyes suddenly opened and burst into tears. Things were like yesterday.

East, West, North and south, the disease of white headed boat exists alone.

Who can worry about flute? Zhaozhou CI Han and evoke souls.



? five years after Gaoshi’s death, Dufu wrote poems and sang with old friends in tears, marking the collective fall of the poets of the prosperous Tang Dynasty.

Shortly after writing this poem, in the winter of the fifth year of the Dali calendar (770), the poet Dufu finally died of illness in a small boat from Tanzhou to Yueyang at the age of 59 in the turbulent smoke and dust of the Tang Dynasty after the an Shi rebellion.

At that time, the prosperous Tang Dynasty had withered away.


Gexiaoyin: Fifteen lectures on Tang and Song poems, Peking University Press, 2013

Chentiemin: Selected Poems of Gao Shi and cencan, Shanghai Ancient Books Publishing House, 2018

Houyumei: a brief history of poets in the Tang Dynasty (volume of the early and prosperous Tang Dynasty), Sanqin publishing house, 2018

Zhangzhiyong: character of Tang poetry, China Youth Publishing House, 2019

Li Bo: a brief history of Tang poetry, Xuelin press, 2018

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