Letter to Tan Li

Wei, Ying Wu (737 A.D.-792 A.D.?)

We parted when flowers bloomed last year.
The flowers bloom again;
One year has passed.
The state affairs change so fast
That it is difficult to predict what will happen next 1.
This Spring sorrow covers my mind with dark clouds
And makes me feel dizzy.
My poor health urges me to retire to my farm;
The suffering of refugees in City C makes me feel ashamed to receive any salary 2.
After I heard that you were going to visit me,
I climbed to the west tower and looked at the moon
Which has become full several times.

1 Ying Wu Wei and Tan Li used to be colleagues in the emperor's court. In 783 A.D., Wei, was appointed Mayor of City C. During this year, a rebellion occurred in the capital of China. The emperor escaped from the palace. The government was in a mess. Refugees were everywhere. Wei felt very upset. In the spring of 784 A.D., he wrote this letter to Tan Li.

2 Wei was in a dilemma. Poor health urged him to retire, but people's suffering persuaded him to stay in his position.