A Complaint in the Spring Palace

Du, Xun He (846 A.D.-904 A.D.)

My misfortune stems from being too beautiful.
I want to apply make-up,
But I change my mind when facing the mirror.
Now that physical beauty is not needed to gain the emperor's favor,
Why should I decorate myself?
The birds sing like tinkling crystal in the warm wind.
The shadows of flowers cascade under the high sun.
This beautiful scene reminds me of my happy past.
My girl friends at Creek Yueh must miss me
When they pluck lotus flowers each Spring.

    Du repeatedly failed to pass the Advanced Exam during his 20's, so he chose to become a hermit and remained one for fifteen years. At the age of forty-six he finally passed the exam. In 904 A.D., he was appointed to the Royal Academy. Ten days later he died. In this poem, he compared himself to a royal concubine to complain that the system stifled his talents.