Saying Good-bye to the Tomb of Fang 1

Du, Fu    (712 A.D.-770 A.D.)

Leaving Lang City to resume my office 2,
I stop my horse and say good-bye to the lonely grave.
My tears dampen the soil nearby.
Dark clouds linger around the low sky.
I used to play Go 3 with Prime Minister Xie 4.
Now I bring my sword to seek Mr. Hsu 5.
All I find are the fallen leaves in the woods.
All I hear is the orioles' song of farewell.

1 In 755 A.D., General An fomented a rebellion against Emperor Ming. The emperor fled to Shu, allowing his son, Su, to declare himself emperor. Su appointed Fang as his Prime Minister. In 757 A.D., Fang was demoted to Mayor of Bin City because the imperial troops lost a battle to the rebellion. Fu Du wrote a letter to Emperor Su, opposing Fang's demotion. Du's letter offended the emperor and Du was almost sentenced to death. In 763 A.D., Fang was promoted to Minister of Justice. On his way to assume office, he died from a disease in a monastery at the age of 67. Fang was buried in Lang City.

2 Fu Du worked for General Wu Yan, the Commander guarding the State of Shu. In April 762 A.D., Emperor Su died and Di inherited the throne. In June, General Yan was summoned to the capital and assigned to the emperor's court. Rebel General Hsu occupied Cheng Du, a city in Shu. Du fled to Zi City and later to Lang City. In Spring 764 A.D., General Yan was reassigned to guard Shu. Du planned to leave Lang City to work again for General Yan. Before he left the city, he visited Fang’s tomb.

3 Go is a Chinese game similar in complexity to chess.

4 The Biography of An Xie says, "After General Xuan Xie of the Jin dynasty defeated the enemy, which was twenty times larger than his army, he reported the victory to Prime Minister Xie. When the messenger brought the document to the Prime Minister, Xie was playing Go with his guest. After reading the news, he put the document aside without showing any excitement and continued to finish his game as usual." Here Du compares Prime Minister Xie to Fang.

5 The chapter titled "The Biography of Ji-Zha Wu" in the book Chinese History says, " Ji-Zha Wu was sent on a mission to a northern neighboring country. He stopped by Mr. Hsu's house. Hsu loved Wu's sword, but he did not dare to say so. Wu could tell what was in Hsu's mind. However, he wanted to use his sword for ceremonial purposes, so he did not give it to Hsu. After Wu finished his mission, he revisited Hsu. But Hsu had died before he arrived. Therefore, Wu hung his sword on a tree near Hsu's tomb and left." Here Du compares himself to Ji-Zha Wu.