At the Capital I Go to Meet Zhu Feng

Wei, Ying Wu   (737 A.D.-792 A.D.?)

My friend, you are coming from the east.
Your clothes are damp from the rains near the Ba Tomb 1.
I asked you the reason why you wish to come.
You wrote that you want to buy an ax to gather wood on the mountain 2.
Flowers are blooming to form clouds of deep color.
The young swallows fly briskly 3.
It seems that we parted yesterday.
Now it is Spring again.
I wonder whether you have a few more white hairs 4.

1 The Ba Tomb was the tomb of Emperor Wen of the Han dynasty. During Wei's time, the neighborhood near it was well-known as a place where hermits lived. This line says that Feng was a hermit. Today the tomb is to the east of Xi'an in Shaanxi Province.

2 Actually, Feng came to the capital for a job interview or to take the Advanced Exam for government service. Since he had failed so many times, he did not have the courage to state the real reason. So in this line he said that he wanted to become a permanent hermit.

3 These two lines say that as flowers and birds utilize their talents, so should Feng. Their tone is optimistic: Feng's future is promising. He still has opportunities to develop his talent. He should not be disheartened and become a hermit.

4 These three lines say that time goes fast and Feng should grasp this job opportunity. Otherwise, he could remain a hermit all his life.