A Poor Girl

Qin, Tao Yu    (circa 882 A.D.)

A poor girl has never known the fragrance of silk.
The need to find a good matchmaker makes her feel more upset.
All people pursue only fashion and vanity.
Who would appreciate her simple and graceful manner?
She dares to boast that she has skillful fingers
And does not compete for attention by drawing long eyebrows.
She hates bitterly that she must push through golden threads with a thimble all year long
Only to make the wedding dress for another girl.

    Qin lived in the late Tang dynasty. The government was corrupt and appointed people only based on their class origins rather their talents. In this poem, Qin expressed his frustration by comparing himself to a poor girl whose talent has never been utilized. Qin failed to pass the Advanced Exam many times because the examiners were corrupt. In 882 A.D., the emperor gave him an honorary degree which was equivalent to passing the Advanced Exam.