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Li Po : a biographical study Shih, Feng-yu 1983

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LI PO: A BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY by FENG-YU SHIH B.A., National Taiwan University, 1972 M.A., National Taiwan University, 1975 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES • (Department of Asian Studies) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l 1983 0 Feng-yu Shih, 1983 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Asian Studies  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1 9 5 6 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V 6 T 1 Y 3 Date A p r i l 21, 1983 D E - 6 ( 3 / 8 1 ) Abstract This d i s s e r t a t i o n i s a c r i t i c a l study on the l i f e of the great T'ang poet L i Po (701-62). F i r s t , I investigate the controversy about the poet's background and reconstruct a chronology of h i s l i f e . Then, i n the l i g h t of the h i s t o r i c a l r e a l i t y of h i s times, I examine the two most important aspects of the poet's l i f e , namely, h i s p o l i t i c a l pursuits and h i s l i f e as a Taoist recluse. On L i Po's background, I endeavor to demonstrate that the poet was i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y from obscure o r i g i n s i n modern Szechwan. He may have claimed membership i n the Lung-hsi L i clan to promote his s o c i a l status, and have fa b r i c a t e d the story of h i s family's long e x i l e i n Central Asia to explain why he f a i l e d to support,'his" claim with an a u t h o r i t a t i v e pedigree. The chronology presents a general picture of L i Po's l i f e . Besides adopting or r e v i s i n g the findings of previous scholars, I also make sp e c i a l e f f o r t s to illuminate some obscure parts of the poet's l i f e , notably the period 727-40. During that period, the poet kept h i s family at An-chou and then at Nan-yang, but t r a v e l l e d extensively him-s e l f to seek h i s fortune, including v i s i t i n g Lo-yang and Ch'ang-an. A romantic dream predominated i n L i Po's p o l i t i c a l l i f e . Seeing himself as a born savior and a l o f t y recluse, the poet wished to f u l f i l l h i s o b l i g a t i o n to the empire with a quick p o l i t i c a l success and then to l i v e i n seclusion. He t r i e d almost a l l avenues a v a i l a b l e to become prominent. However, he was not endowed with p r a c t i c a l wisdom. His two short periods of p o l i t i c a l involvement both ended i n f a i l u r e . i i L i Po's l i f e as a r e c l u s e p a r t l y r e s u l t e d from the current idea that the l o f t i n e s s of the r e c l u s e was p r i z e d both by s o c i e t y and by the government and, t h e r e f o r e , would lea d to eminence. Indeed, romantic as he was, the poet a l s o f e r v e n t l y loved the c o l o r f u l n e s s and mysticism of the l i f e of the r e c l u s e , which by h i s time was much blended with the Taois t quest f o r im m o r t a l i t y . When f r u s t r a t e d i n h i s p o l i t i c a l p u r s u i t s , he would turn to Taoi s t a c t i v i t i e s f o r c o n s o l a t i o n . But he never became a s t r i c t T a o i s t . i i i Contents Acknowledgements v Introduction 1 Chapter One: The Enigma of the Origins of L i Po . . . 7 Chapter Two: A General Picture of L i Po's L i f e . . . . 45 Chapter Three: The P o l i t i c a l Dream and Pursuits of L i Po 66 Chapter Four: L i Po as a Taoist Recluse 116 Notes to Introduction 161 Notes to Chapter One 162 Notes to Chapter Two 209 Notes to Chapter Three 276 Notes to Chapter Four 304 Appendix A: Sources Relevant to the term "Shan-tung L i Po" 334 Appendix B: Textual Comparison of L i Po's Origins . . 336 Abbreviations 338 L i s t of Works Cited i n the Thesis 339 i v Acknowledgements My g r a t i t u d e f i r s t goes to my t h e s i s supervisor P r o f e s s o r Chia-ying Yeh Chao. Her i n s t r u c t i o n i n c l a s s i c a l Chinese poetry and her constant encouragement have been imperative to my study. To Profess o r J e r r y Schmidt I am t h a n k f u l f o r reading the t h e s i s and making some u s e f u l suggestions. I a l s o want to express my g r a t i t u d e to P r o f e s s o r D a n i e l Overmyer, who kept me informed of recent s c h o l a r -ship i n r e l i g i o u s Taoism and who read the t h i r d and f o u r t h chapters of t h i s t h e s i s . To Professor Edwin G. P u l l e y b l a n k I owe a s p e c i a l debt. He i n i t i a t e d me i n t o the study of T'ang h i s t o r y , c a r e f u l l y read and commented on the t h e s i s , and e l u c i d a t e d many p o i n t s f o r me. I am t h a n k f u l a l s o to Dr. A k l u j k a r f o r h i s encouragement and advice. And f i n a l l y , I wish to thank the s t a f f of the U.B.C. Asian Studies L i b r a r y f o r t h e i r c o n s i s t e n t help i n a c q u i r i n g f o r me the books I needed. v I n t r o d u c t i o n This study aims to be a f u l l y documented c r i t i c a l biography of L i Po. I t can be conveniently d i v i d e d i n t o two p a r t s . The f i r s t p a r t , Chapters One and Two, endeavors to explore the b a s i c information of the poet's o r i g i n s and l i f e . The second p a r t , the remaining two chapters, w i l l i n v e s t i g a t e , i n the l i g h t of the p o l i t i c a l , s o c i a l , and r e l i g i o u s r e a l i t y of the poet's times, two c l o s e l y r e l a t e d aspects of L i Po's l i f e which are most e s s e n t i a l to the understanding of the poet. These aspects are L i Po's p o l i t i c a l p u r s u i t s and l i f e as a r e c l u s e , the l a t t e r i n c l u d i n g h i s T a o i s t a c t i v i t i e s . The most important primary sources f o r t h i s study are (1) those works of L i Po which mention persons, p l a c e s , dates, and i n c i d e n t s c l o s e l y con-nected w i t h the poet, (2) some l i t e r a r y w r i t i n g s by L i Po's f r i e n d s , which mention the poet or were presented to him, and (3) some b r i e f b i -o g r a p h i c a l accounts (about a dozen i n a l l ) d a t i n g from the T'ang and Sung p e r i o d s , which e x i s t i n the forms of prefaces to e d i t i o n s of the poet's works, memorial w r i t i n g s i n the poet's honor, or e n t r i e s i n the standard h i s t o r i e s of the T'ang dynasty. Most of the sources i n the second and t h i r d c a t e g o r i e s are conveniently included as appendices i n , ^ Wang Ch'i's JsJ famous annotated e d i t i o n of L i Po's c o l l e c t e d works ( f i r s t published i n 1758).^" Anecdotes about L i Po, though numerous and c o l o r f u l , are u s u a l l y avoided i n t h i s study because they are o f t e n mis-l e a d i n g or even spurious. As one may expect, such primary sources as j u s t mentioned are mostly very sketchy and vague. In f a c t , part of them, i n c l u d i n g some of L i Po's - 1 -2 own words, could even be u n r e l i a b l e . It i s , therefore, a tremendously d i f f i c u l t task to draw a clear p i cture of the poet out of these sources. Without the admirable achievements made by L i Po scholars i n the past, my study would c e r t a i n l y be impossible. In the following, i n the course of specifying the main e f f o r t s I s h a l l make, I would l i k e to describe some of these achievements. On the problem of L i Po's o r i g i n s , three works should be s p e c i a l l y mentioned. Wang Ch'i's " L i T'ai-po nien-p'u" ^ ^ 'td - \ ( i n -cluded i n Wang's annotated e d i t i o n of h i s works) i s the f i r s t endeavor 3 to deal with t h i s problem systematically and c r i t i c a l l y . In a much broader scope, Chan Ying's ) % " L i Po chia-shih k'ao-i" •J^  ^ ^ J^ - ( f i r s t published i n 1945) i s dovoted to the same task.^ As w i l l be shown i n due course i n Chapter One, Ch'en Yin-k'o's " L i T'ai-po shih-tsu chih i-wen" ^ & \ \ Jjfs X. fo\ (1935), though short and probably tentative, proposes a very important view on the problem under discussion.^ The findings of these works enable me to apply my energy d i r e c t l y to the solu t i o n of two most puzzling points, which I s h a l l specify i n the following chapter. The e f f o r t s to reconstruct the chronology of L i Po's l i f e can be traced back to the Northern Sung period. During the reign of Shen-tsung ^ ^ (1068-85), Sung Min-ch'iu ^ f y f c ^ completed the com-p i l a t i o n of what would be the o r i g i n of a l l extant editions of L i Po's co l l e c t e d works. In t h i s e d i t i o n , Sung divided L i Po's poems into such categories as sung j j^ (seeing people o f f ) , tseng (presented to someone) and so f o r t h . Shortly a f t e r , the famous writer Tseng Kung ^ ^ embarked upon a task which pioneered the reconstruction of L i Po's l i f e . He t r i e d to arrange the poems i n some of the categories j u s t mentioned, mainly occasional poems, i n chronological order and to indicate the places of t h e i r composition. Many of h i s in d i c a t i o n s are s t i l l kept under the t i t l e s of the i n d i v i d u a l poems i n some old ed i t i o n s . ^ Judging from the biography of L i Po included i n his post-face to Sung's e d i t i o n , Tseng seems to have accomplished a f a i r l y r e l i -able o u t l i n e of L i Po's l i f e . ^ In the Southern Sung period, Hsueh Chung-yung ^ |^ ( f l . the shao-hsing £g j*§L reign period (1131-62)) completed the f i r s t chronology of our poet written i n the form of nien-p'u j^ - .^ However, Hsueh does not seem to have surpassed Tseng i n 9 any way although he u t i l i z e d the l a t t e r ' s work. His work was forgotten by most people a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n of Wang Ch'i's new chronology, which I have mentioned above. Based on s o l i d research and sharp analyses, Wang convincingly dated many important events i n L i Po's l i f e . Even today his chronology remains a good s t a r t i n g point f o r students of the subject at issue. On many points, t h i s work i s well strengthened by a recent book, Chan Ying's L i Po shih-wen hsi-nien ^ |r<jf j£_ 3f" (1958; research done mainly i n the 1940's), a very h e l p f u l volume aiming above a l l to date L i Po's w r i t i n g s . " ^ In general, both Wang and Chan are weakest i n th e i r d escriptions of L i Po's whereabouts between the years when the poet s e t t l e d down at An-chou "H\ (about 727) and when he was summoned to Hsuan-tsung' s court (742). Pai-shan's j$f il) " L i Po l i a n g - j u Ch'ang-an pien" ^ & ($3 i£ ffi (1962). sheds a l o t of l i g h t on the period 737-41 and thus also paves the way for the exploration of the period 727-37. In Chapter Two, my main task i s to t r y to illuminate some s t i l l obscure parts of L i Po's l i f e , including the period j u s t mentioned, and to r e v i s e some of Wang's and Chan's arguments on those parts which are 4 better known to people. R e l a t i v e l y d e t a i l e d accounts of L i Po's p o l i t i c a l involvement are found i n most modern biographical studies of the poet written for general readers. These studies, to mention only a few of them, include Arthur Waley's The Poetry and Career of L i Po (1950), Wang Yao's ^ - L i Po But so f a r scholars have concentrated mainly on the two most outstanding events i n the poet's p o l i t i c a l l i f e , which are his service i n Hsiian-tsung's court and h i s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the m i l i t a r y adventure of the Prince of Yung. In t h i s study, I s h a l l t r y to cover a l l the important p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s i n the poet's l i f e . More importantly, I s h a l l i n -terpret these a c t i v i t i e s i n the l i g h t of the nature and background of the poet's p o l i t i c a l ambition. L i Po's l i f e as a recluse has not been so well investigated as the subjects mentioned above. The only important work on t h i s topic I have seen i s an a r t i c l e by Ch'en I-hsin f$$L$.Q P^- f i - r s t published i n 1961, which discusses the p o l i t i c a l implications of the l i f e i n question.''"'*" Besides t h i s , there are only some b r i e f preliminary studies on L i Po's Taoist a c t i v i t i e s , the main a c t i v i t i e s i n the poet's l i f e i n seclusion."'" On the foundation set by Ch'en, I s h a l l discuss extensively i n the be-ginning of Chapter Four the r e l a t i o n s h i p between L i Po's l i f e as a r e -cluse and h i s search for p o l i t i c a l prominence. In the rest of that chapter, I s h a l l examine the formation, development and v a c i l l a t i o n of the poet's b e l i e f i n the Taoist r e l i g i o n . Several other works, though not dealing s p e c i a l l y with L i Po's l i f e , are also of great importance to :.my-- study. Wang Ch'i's thorough and (1954), (1971). a u t h o r i t a t i v e annotation i s undoubtedly a treasure to a l l students of L i Po. The Kyoto concordance compiled by Hanabusa Hideki l^ffij $^$f i s another invaluable t o o l of research. Ch'u T'ui-yilan J| 3^ lEI a n ( * Chu Chin-ch'eng's tfk L i Po c h i chiao-chu $ j£ $ L (1980) adopts the text of Wang Ch'i's e d i t i o n and l i s t s a l l the d i f f e r e n t read-ings i n nine other important early editions ( v i r t u a l l y leaving out noth-ing essential) and eight l i t e r a r y c o l l e c t i o n s that contain L i Po's works. It immensely f a c i l i t a t e s the usually painstaking task of textual v e r i -f i c a t i o n . Except i n some s p e c i a l cases, I s h a l l c i t e L i Po's works from Wang Ch'i's e d i t i o n . I have two reasons f o r t h i s p r a c t i c e . F i r s t , as I have j u s t suggested, Wang Ch'i's annotation i s often needed f or the understand-ing of L i Po's works. Second, t h i s e d i t i o n , though not one of the oldest, 13 i s arguably one of the best. To minimize the tedium of textual c r i t i -cism, I s h a l l not indic a t e the d i f f e r e n t readings i n other editions unless they are outstanding enough to a f f e c t the q u a l i t y of my argument. F i n a l l y , I would l i k e to answer a question which some people might have i n t h e i r minds. Why burden the readers with a long biography of L i Po, who i s important mainly because of h i s poetry? L i Po's poems are mostly subjective works. They record the poet's career, thoughts and emotions. (This i s why they are the main sources of the poet's biography.) However, these poems do not often supply s u f f i c i e n t information of t h e i r backgrounds, physical or psychological, for the readers to f u l l y under-stand them."^ For example, the poem "Nan-pen shu-huai" ^ ;j*J|^  , an admirably successful one, could be almost u n i n t e l l i g i b l e i f the reader does not have adequate knowledge of L i Po's involvement i n the m i l i t a r y 6 adventure of the P r i n c e of Yung. 15 The meaning of the p l a i n chueh-chu poem "Tsao f a P o - t i -ch'eng" % ft r | r w i l l prove much r i c h e r i f the reader knows that t h i s poem was w r i t t e n when L i Po j u s t returned from the sad journey to h i s place of e x i l e Y e h - l a n g ^ ^ p Systematic knowledge of L i Po the man i s , t h e r e f o r e , o f t e n e s s e n t i a l to the r e a l a p p r e c i a t i o n of h i s poems as such. Moreover, si n c e L i Po's poems r e f l e c t h i s l i f e , the two chapters of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n d e a l i n g w i t h the poet's p o l i t i c a l p u r s u i t s and l i f e i n s e c l u s i o n can r e a d i l y serve as the foundation of the study of two major themes i n L i Po's poetry. Chapter One: The Enigma of the Origins of L i Po For centuries even such basic information about L i Po as h i s b i r t h date, b i r t h place, and ancestry has remained obscure and c o n t r o v e r s i a l . The main reason for t h i s i s the u n r e l i a b i l i t y rather than the s c a r c i t y of r e l a t e d primary sources. There are, i n addition to some passages by L i Po himself, at least four works which appear to be and have been t r a d i t i o n a l l y considered as a u t h o r i t a t i v e : 1) L i Yang-ping's ^. jj^j /jjC "Preface to the Ts'ao-t'ang c h i ( t i t l e of the e d i t i o n of L i Po's c o l l e c t e d works compiled by Yang-ping)" JjL , composed i n 762 i n accordance-with a death-bed request of L i Po. Yang-ping was the poet's l a s t patron. 2) Wei Hao's j^jjk jp "Preface to the L i Han-lin c h i (an e d i t i o n of L i Po's works, compiled by Wei)" j j i ^ jfy^j^ , composed 2 c i r c a 762. Wei was a personal f r i e n d of the poet. 3) The memorial composition about L i Po by the famous T'ang writer L i Hua ^ i£ (c. 715-after c. 774). 3 4) The memorial composition by Fan Ch'uan-cheng ^ /jjjl , who b u i l t a new tomb for the poet i n 817, composed i n the same year, a l l e g e d l y based on material written by the poet's only son Po-4 1 :h'in Ifafc ! Nevertheless, these works provide very l i t t l e about the subject i n ques-t i o n which can be r e a d i l y believed and yet very much which must be pains-takingly c l a r i f i e d or even denied. A f t e r the e f f o r t s made by leading - 7 -8 L i Po s c h o l a r s , two problems, no doubt the most i n t r i c a t e and l a b o r i o u s of a l l , are yet to be solved. These problems are (1) whether L i Po r e a l -l y came from the famous Lung-hsi L i c l a n and was a n i n t h - g e n e r a t i o n descendant of one of i t s most d i s t i n g u i s h e d member L i Kao ^ and (2) whether L i Po's f a m i l y r e a l l y l i v e d i n e x i l e f o r generations i n the Western T e r r i t o r i e s (Hsi-yu fj9 is^ ) before i t moved back to Shu ^ i n e a r l y T'ang times, as both L i Yang-ping and Fan Ch'uan-cheng i n d i c a t e w i t h only s l i g h t d i f f e r e n c e i n d e t a i l s . In t h i s chapter, these problems w i l l o b v i o u s l y demand extensive d i s c u s s i o n . I t i s now g e n e r a l l y accepted that L i Po was born i n •701."' Wang Ch'i f i r s t reached t h i s c o n c l u s i o n f o r two reasons. F i r s t , L i Po claimed to be f i f t y - s e v e n years o l d i n a memorial to Su-tsung j f c , which can be dated to 757.^ Second, according to L i Hua and L i Yang-ping g r e s p e c t i v e l y , L i Po died at the age of sixty-two i n the year 762. I t seems t h i s argument w i l l stand f i r m d e s p i t e the existence of one major 9 c o n f l i c t i n g statement, which w i l l be discussed l a t e r . A l l primary sources that ever l i n k any place to L i Po's b i r t h seem b a s i c a l l y to .agree that he was born i n Mien-chou "HJ of S h u . ^ Wei Hao e x p l i c i t l y says t h i s . L i Yang-ping, Fan Ch'uan-cheng, and the Hsin T'ang shu j^ rj" j^* , which gives a v e r s i o n obviously synthesized and abridged from the former two, a l l describe the poet's b i r t h immediate-l y a f t e r mentioning the L i f a m i l y ' s move to Shu ( L i Yang-ping does not i n d i c a t e the name of the prefecture) and, t h e r e f o r e , presumably mean the same thing."'""'" When people c a l l e d L i Po a Lung-hsi j e n j^ jj^ tjljl (per-son from L u n g - h s i ) — t h e poet himself maintained t h i s , they were obviously r e f e r r i n g to the poet's a l l e g e d chun-wang ^ ("the p r e f e c t u r e i n 12 which an e l i t e family has i t s ancestral home"). And, as a modern scholar puts i t , a man's chun-wang was "not n e c e s s a r i l y h i s place of residence or r e g i s t r y , nor the place where he was born [; i t ] was instead 13 his claim to membership i n a c e r t a i n descent group." Why the poet was also c a l l e d a Shan-tung j en . L\A i s , however, les s c e r t a i n . For convenience, sources pertinent to t h i s problem are l i s t e d chrono-l o g i c a l l y i n Appendix A. The e a r l i e s t of these sources, the poem which Tu Fu presented to Hsueh Hua ^ ^ , was written i n Ch'ang-an i n about 756."^ As for the meaning of the expression "Shan-tung L i Po" i n t h i s poem, the most convincing explanation comes from Chan Ying."*"^ In T'ang times, Chan points out, the term Shan-tung referred to the vast area east of T'ung-kuan ^ , and was usually used i n contrast with Kuan-chung or Kuan-hsi (^ j \£) . Since i n h i s poem he was t a l k i n g to a f r i e n d also l i v i n g i n Ch'ang-an about L i Po, who conversely had l e f t Kuan-chung to l i v e around i n the east a f t e r 744, Tu Fu used t h i s t e r m . ^ S i m i l a r l y , .Yuan Chen •f\_> l a t e r used the expression "Shan-tung jen L i Po" i n his tomb i n s c r i p t i o n on Tu Fu because he was con-t r a s t i n g the places of residence of L i and Tu."^ It seems the Chiu T'ang shu ^ has described L i Po as a person v i r t u a l l y from > 18 Shan-tung through i t s misreading of either or both of Tu and Yuan. Equally u n r e l i a b l e i s the unique a l l e g a t i o n i n t h i s source that L i Po's father once served as the s h e r i f f (wei ) of Jen-ch'eng / f t tylKt a n < i h i s family therefore resided there, because that area was only a stop on the poet's extensive t r a v e l l i n g which he does not seem to have em-barked upon u n t i l h i s early f o r t i e s . " ^ In another way Yang Shen of the Ming dynasty has also misinterpreted t h i s poem of Tu Fu. Quoting 10 from a work by the Northern Sung scholar Yu*eh Shlh Vj^ (now not e x t a n t ) , which says L i Po o f t e n c a l l e d himself "Tung-shan" and as a r e s u l t was c a l l e d "Tung-shan L i Po" by some contemporaries, Yang holds 20 that Tu Fu's poem should have read "Tung-shan" in s t e a d of "Shan-tung." However, i t seems c e r t a i n that Yueh Shih's i s a g r e a t l y d i s t o r t e d ac-count based on L i Yang-ping and Wei Hao. Tung-shan, which o r i g i n a l l y seems to have meant the mountainous area i n north-eastern Chekiang and was not a proper name, was the place where the famous Eastern Chin c h i e f m i n i s t e r Hsieh An secluded himself before e n t e r i n g o f f i -21 cialdom. Since he admired Hsieh g r e a t l y , L i Po sometimes t r i e d to. f o l l o w the l i f e s t y l e of Hsieh and f r e q u e n t l y t a l k e d about "Tung-shan" 22 i n h i s poems. What L i Yang-ping means by the phrase " l u ch'eng Tung- shan." J£jj^ ^  i s none other than the poet's frequent mention of that p l a c e , and even Wei Hao goes only so f a r as to say that the poet was nicknamed " L i Tung-shan." "Tung-shan L i Po" i s simply a misleading 23 Sung dynasty i n v e n t i o n . What most entangles the problem of d i s c o v e r i n g L i Po's b i r t h place l i e s i n the above-mentioned s t o r y about the poet's Western T e r r i t o r i e s connection. Both L i Yang-ping and Fan Ch'uan-cheng i n d i c a t e that the L i f a m i l y d i d not move back to Shu u n t i l "the beginning ( s h i h -j/jg or ch'u fyf) , c o n v e n t i o n a l l y meaning the f i r s t year) of the shen-lung ^^1^  r e i g n p e r i o d , " that i s , A.D. 705. And i t i s obvious that of the three a s s e r t i o n s (A) L i Po was born i n 701^ (B) he was born i n Shuj and (C) h i s f a m i l y d i d not move to Shu u n t i l 705, at l e a s t one must be f a l s e . Since (A) i s concluded from an argument r e l y i n g mostly on f i g u r e s , which are by nature r e l a t i v e l y d e f i n i t e , i t i s proper t h a t , as I have 11 pointed out, s c h o l a r s i n general do not doubt i t s c r e d i b i l i t y . About (B) and (C), Wang Ch'i c a u t i o u s l y speculates that shen-lung probably should have read shen-kung ^ tj) or (B) might be f a l s e . ^ But shen-kung was an extremely short r e i g n p e r i o d , which l a s t e d only from the 25 n i n t h month of 697 to the t h i r d day of the next yeair.v i t seems very u n l i k e l y that t h i s name could ever have been used together w i t h words l i k e s h i h or ch'u. On the other hand, Ch'en Yin-k'o, probably unaware of any proof f o r (B), holds that according to (A) and (C), L i Po was 2 6 born i n the Western T e r r i t o r i e s . Kuo Mo-jo-goes even f u r t h e r ; He maintains that L i Po was s p e c i f i c a l l y born i n Sui-yeh ^ , as i n -d i c a t e d by Fan; as to T'iao-chih j'ljr , the place name given by L i Yang-ping, he i n c o r r e c t l y a s s e r t s that i t means a broad area i n c l u d i n g 27 Sui-yeh and t h e r e f o r e does not c o n t r a d i c t h i s view. Ch'en and Kuo 28 have been accepted by many s c h o l a r s . However, even judged w i t h only the proofs given so f a r , (B) i s more r e l i a b l e than (C) because besides t h e i r common sources i n L i and Fan, (B) i s a l s o supported by Wei Hao. Moreover, most parts of the st o r y i n question have been suspected as u n l i k e l y by sc h o l a r s i n c l u d i n g Ch'en and Kuo, which suggests that the 29 whole s t o r y might have been f a b r i c a t e d . Such being the case, i t does not seem reasonable to use (C), a part of the s t o r y , to deny (B). To unravel the above problem, a thorough examination of L i and Fan's s t o r y i s necessary. I s h a l l f i r s t i n v e s t i g a t e the exact l o c a t i o n of the two u n f a m i l i a r - p l a c e s Sui-yeh and T'iao-chih and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h China proper. In e a r l y sources about the Western T e r r i t o r i e s of 30 the T'ang, the name Sui-yeh appears r a t h e r f r e q u e n t l y . According to Chavannes, i t i s one of the Chinese t r a n s l i t e r a t i o n s of "Suj-ab," the 12 name of both the r i v e r which i s now the Chu (or C*u) i n Russian Turkestan and the medieval town on the south bank of the r i v e r at or near what i s now Tokmak. Je Hai (Hot Lake) and I - l i Ho f^r tjg^ ^yj* , two other geographical names concerning the same region that one w i l l encounter l a t e r , are none other than the present Issyk Kul 32 and H i River. A f a l s e and yet eye-catching passage i n the Hsin T'ang shu has, how-ever, made some scholars believe that Sui-yeh was i n Yen-ch'i ^ (Karashahr), or that there may have been two Sui-yeh's on the Chu and 33 in Yen-ch'i r e s p e c t i v e l y . I t says: The Government-General (tu-tu-fu ) °f Yen-ch'i [was] founded i n the eighteenth year of the chen-kuan |j period (644) when the T'ang destroyed [the state of] Yen-ch'i. There ''t-was a stronghold (ch' eng jjjjj ) there named Sui-yeh. It was b u i l t i n the f i r s t year of the t' i a o - l u jp£_ period (679) by the Protector [of An-hsi Q £j ] Wang Fang-i ^ j£ and had 34 four sides and twelve gates. The mistakes i n th i s passage w i l l become clear i n the following survey of the T'ang's expansion toward the Sui-yeh region. In 640, T'ang armies conquered the state of Kao-ch'ang Jj^  ^ (Karakhoja), made i t a Chinese prefecture (Hsi-chou fjt) -^+| ) , and established there a combined c i v i l and m i l i t a r y administration with Chinese c i v i l o f f i -c i a l s backed by a standing army, that i s , the An-hsi Protectorate (tu-hu-fu |^^ /f^  ).^~* This was the f i r s t s i g n i f i c a n t march westward 13 of the T'ang empire. Then, i n 644, s i n c e Yen-ch'i, which had begun to pay t r i b u t e to the T'ang s i n c e 632, a l l i e d i t s e l f w i t h the Western Turks, the T'ang general Kuo Hsiao-k'o ^ jfy- set out from Hsi-chou 3 6 to a t t a c k i t and captured i t s - ' k i n g . But t h i s kingdom was again a l l i e d w i t h the Turks once the T'ang armies r e t r e a t e d , and was not r e a l l y brought under T'ang c o n t r o l u n t i l A-shih-na She-er j5oJ ^ $ | , the T u r k i s h leader i n the s e r v i c e of the T'ang c o u r t , conquered i t i n 648 i n an e x p e d i t i o n mainly aimed at a t t a c k i n g C h ' i u - t z ' u ^ ^ ^ (Kucha). At the end of 648 A-shih-na She-er d e c i s i v e l y defeated Ch'iu-tz'u, cap-tured i t s king P u - s h i h - p i j^p ^  1 .^ , and made a brother of h i s , pre-sumably a T'ang v a s s e l , succeed him. Later on, unceasing t u r m o i l i n the kingdom made the T'ang government f i r s t decide i n 650 to send P u - s h i h - p i home to p a c i f y h i s people and then set out i n e a r l y 658 to crush the st a t e once and f o r a l l . A f t e r t h i s conquest, the T'ang court founded there the Government-General of Ch'iu-tz'u and made Su-chi -j^ t" , son of P u - s h i h - p i , who had j u s t died of i l l n e s s , i t s governor-general. In the f i f t h month of the same year, the Chinese government t r a n s f e r r e d 38 the seat of the An-hsi P r o t e c t o r a t e from Hsi-chou to Ch'iu-tz'u. The king of Yu-t' i e n ^ ^ (Khotan) Fu-she-hsin ^  ^ was shocked by the m i l i t a r y might of the Chinese a f t e r the T'ang's f i r s t v i c t o r y over Ch'iu-tz'u i n 648 and was p e r s o n a l l y i n t i m i d a t e d by the T'ang o f -f i c e r Hsueh Wan-pei ^ ^ . Consequently, he immediately promised to pay a l l e g i a n c e to the r u l e of the T'ang and followed Hsueh to the Chinese c a p i t a l to have an audience w i t h Kao-tsung ( | j ^ . I n f o r -mation about Shu-le (Kashgar) i s i n s u f f i c i e n t . I t i s only known that i t was a T'ang t r i b u t a r y s t a t e as e a r l y as 635 but was -14 probably under Turkish control around 646, and that some prefectures 40 or a government-general was probably established there i n 658 or 659. North of what are the present T'ien-shan Mountains ^ L^j , i n 648, years a f t e r I-p' i-she-kuei ^ ^j" j^" Qaghan expelled I - p ' i - t o - l u & iffi. Qaghan to T'u-huo-lo ^ J l 'X *f&. (Tokhara) and became the new leader of the Western T u r k s , ^ A-shih-na Ho-lu jfej )^j5 ^ , o r i g i n a l l y a yaghu ^ under I - p ' i - t o - l u , led his subordinates to 42 become Chinese subjects. They were arranged to s e t t l e down near T'ing-chou 9+J (north of modern Turfan, on the edge of the Dzungaria), and early i n the following year a government-general named Yao-ch'ih y& ~/&J w a s established there with Ho-lu as governor. But Ho-lu gradually broke with the T'ang a f t e r T'ai-tsung's death i n the summer of 649. In early 651, he f i n a l l y f l e d westward, took the t i t l e of Sha-po-lo' }'JT Qaghan, and by and large took over the Turkish 44 t r i b e s under I-p'i-she-kuei and replaced him. At the end of 657, the T'ang government crushed Ho-lu and established two protectorates, named K'un-ling and Meng-ch'ih y^j , to govern the t r i b e s and states under h i s c o n t r o l , which ranged from the A l t a i Mountains 45 i n the east to the Talas River i n the west. This was the f i r s t time T'ang control ever reached the Sui-yeh region. Naturally, small-scale r e b e l l i o n s broke out from time to time i n these newly conquered foreign t e r r i t o r i e s , but the T'ang does not seem 46 to have suffered any great setback u n t i l 670. In that year the Tibetans, with the help of the Khotanese king, i n f l i c t e d a severe defeat upon the Chinese and seized part of Turkestan; the s i t u a t i o n became so d i f f i c u l t f o r the T'ang to maintain i t s troops there that i t had to 15 withdraw from a l l of i t s four most important strongholds, the so-called Four Garrisons (Ssu-chen ), namely, Ch'iu-tz'u, Yu-t'ien, Shu-le, and Y e n - c h ' i . ^ There i s evidence that the T'ang withdrawal was not necessarily followed by Tibetan dominance, but no doubt the 48 Tibetans had now become a formidable foe of the T'ang i n Turkestan. In 676, they raided the whole d i s t r i c t , captured Kao-ch'ang, and thrust 49 as far east as the border of present Kan-su. The event concerning Wang Fang-i and Sui-yeh included i n the passage quoted above goes as f o l l o w s . S i n c e about 677, the Western Turkish qaghan A-shih-na Tu-chih Mf a n d a powerful c h i e f t a i n under him named L i Che-fu ^ jQ had gradually re b e l l e d against the T'ang and a l l i e d themselves with the Tibetans. """^  To deal with t h i s problem, a delegation headed by P'ei Hsing-chien ^ j f f c set out from the eastern c a p i t a l Lo-yang i n the summer of 679, disguised as an escort to send home the Persian prince Ni-nieh-shih yj^ %^ , son of Pei-lu-ssu jjtff ( F i r u z ) , who had j u s t died i n e x i l e i n China. Wang Fang-i was, due to P'ei's recommendation, appointed P'ei's a s s i s t -ant with the t i t l e of "acting protector of An-hsi". Since he was once a high-ranking o f f i c i a l at Hsi-chou, P'ei immediately had more than one thousand men there who would volunteer to accompany him. westward. Fur-thermore, by pretending that he would not proceed u n t i l the hot desert weather was completely over and that he was going to enjoy once more the pleasure of hunting i n An-hsi, P'ei managed to gather around him ten thousand more young men from the states governed by the An-hsi Protectorate and to organize and t r a i n them without a l e r t i n g Tu-chih. This army then marched west r a p i d l y and i n the autumn of that year 16 e a s i l y captured Tu-chih, L i Che-fu and many other c h i e f t a i n s and sent these captives' to Sui-yeh. P'ei then returned to the c a p i t a l with Tu-chih and L i Che-fu and l e f t the Persian prince at Sui-yeh, but the prince i s said to have l i v e d i n T'u-huo-lo l a t e r . On the other hand, Wang Fang-i was l e f t at Sui-yeh to b u i l d a stronghold there. This Sui-yeh was unmistakably the one on the Chu. F i r s t l y , i n 682 Wang Fang-i fought A-shih-na Ch'e-po j33f jjt. ^ a n a t n e Turkish t r i b e s under him at I - l i Ho and Je Hai, both near the Chu but far from , 5 3 Yen-ch i ; and there are strong in d i c a t i o n s that the r e b e l l i o n s of Tu-chih 54 and Ch'e-po took place i n the same d i s t r i c t . Secondly, i f the b a t t l e -f i e l d had been at Yen-ch'i, Tu-chih must have already advanced across the whole An-hsi region; t h i s would have made i t very u n l i k e l y f or P'ei to c o l l e c t and t r a i n troops there and to launch surprise attacks on him."'"' T h i r d l y , when there was already a famous town named Sui-yeh on the Chu, i t seems u n l i k e l y that the T'ang government would have given the same name to a stronghold i n Yen-ch'i. Moreover, the Hsin T'ang shu does not mention any stronghold named Sui-yeh at a l l i n two passages describing the out-posts and strongholds near Yen-ch'i,"^ while the stronghold Wang Fang-i b u i l t was a very large one ( i t had "four sides and twelve gates" and rather complicated street design) and was not 57 l i k e l y to have been l e f t out. F i n a l l y , the main part of the HTS passage containing the quotation i n question may be an abridgement of a passage i n the T'ang hui-yao concerning the Four Garrisons, judged from the strong resemblance between them i n both content and 58 language. In the THY, the event at issue i s presented immediately a f t e r a note by i t s o r i g i n a l compiler Su Mien, which shows Su was 17 puzzled by the fac t that i n documents of d i f f e r e n t dates, Yen-ch'i and Sui-yeh were resp e c t i v e l y described as one of the Four Garrisons. The HTS may have, as a r e s u l t , mixed up these two places. The r o l e of Sui-yeh as one of the Four Garrisons i s the key to the understanding of the p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y s i t u a t i o n there before the beginning of the eighth century, the time when L i Po's family a l l e g e d l y l e f t Sui-yeh for Shu. To begin with, the Chiu T'ang shu i n one place holds that the Four Garrisons (including Sui-yeh) already existed as early as immediately a f t e r the T'ang's v i c t o r y i n Ch'iu-tz'u i n l a t e 648; s i m i l a r versions are also found i n the Ts'e-fu yiian-kuei fLj^ 59 and the HTS. It i s , however, very doubtful that the T'ang could have established a garrison at Sui-yeh long before i t defeated A-shih-na Ho-lu i n l a t e 657. Moreover, close examination w i l l reveal that these sources, which also contain some other suspicious or even f a l s e i n f o r -60 mation, may have presented the above date ultimately through the' misunderstanding of a memorial by Ts'ui Jung JJ£ d^V ..^ It seems f e a s i b l e to assume that the Four Garrisons were completed only a f t e r the T'ang conquered and very probably even consolidated i t s control over a l l four seats of them, that i s , a f t e r 658. Even by then Sui-yeh does not seem to have been one of these garrisons because we know that when the T'ang withdrew from the Four Garrisons i n 670, they included Yen-ch'i, 62 not Sui-yeh. According to one source, Sui-yeh replaced Yen-ch'i i n 63 679. This, i f true, presumably followed P'ei Hsing-chien's v i c t o r y and the bu i l d i n g of the stronghold there. And t h i s date i s the e a r l i e s t unquestioned one of the T'ang's firm control over Sui-yeh. In 686, four years a f t e r the above-mentioned r e b e l l i o n led by A-shih-na Ch'e-po, a 18 Western Turkish r e b e l l i o n probably in s t i g a t e d by the Tibetans forced the T'ang to once again withdraw from the Four Garrisons. This time 64 Sui-yeh was c l e a r l y one of the four. A f t e r a f r u i t l e s s expedition i n 687 against the Tibetans i n the An-hsi d i s t r i c t , ^ the Chinese army under the command of Wang Hsiao-chieh _J. "5^ f i n a l l y succeeded i n l a t e 692 i n a f f l i c t i n g a severe blow on them and re-established the Four Garrisons including S u i - y e h . ^ But, as would be expected, turmoils near Sui-yeh were by no means over a f t e r that. Around the sheng-li ^ jOk period (698-99), the Turkish c h i e f t a i n T'u-chi-shih Wu-chih-le ^ f^J D e s : i - e g e d Sui-yeh for years, occupied a part of i t , and made that part h i s headquarters. The Chinese troops defending the 67 stronghold are said to have almost starved to death. It seems the T'ang could only acquire temporary peace by appeasing Wu-chih-le with 68 a t i t u l a r p o s i t i o n . In 703, since Wu-chih-le quarrelled with some other Turkish t r i b e s and sent troops to cope with them, t h i s d i s t r i c t 69 was again i n unrest and passage through i t was t o t a l l y blocked. By chance, however, no sources record any turmoil there under the year 705. The name T'iao-chih which appears i n L i Yang-ping's work has long been considered to r e f e r to the Government-General of T'iao-chih of the T'ang.^ Some hasty attempts on the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of t h i s govern-ment-general have also been made, which conclude that i t i s the town of Talas (south-west of Sui-yeh and the very place where the Arabs defeated the T'ang army i n 751), or, as I have mentioned above, that i t i s the area around S u i - y e h . ^ A l l these views are doubtful. The Government-Generai of T'iao-chih was established somewhere between 658 and 661. It was one of the numerous governments-general 19 established when the T'ang, a f t e r - i t s d e c i s i v e - v i c t o r y over the Western Turks i n 657, dispatched envoys to seek f o r a pledge of l o y a l t y from the states i n the region from the Talas r i v e r southward to ce n t r a l 72 Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The seat of the government-general was a c e r t a i n town named Fu-pao-se-tien ^ i n the state 7 3 of Ho-ta-lo-chih ^ ^ , which i n some other times during the T'ang period was known as Ts'ao-chu-cha ^ ^ or Hsieh-yu "ff}^  From several rather d e t a i l e d descriptions on Ts'ao-chu-cha and Hsieh-yu, i t i s c e r t a i n that, as Chavannes points out, t h i s state was located around the modern Afghan c i t y Ghaznl (southwest of K a b u l ) . 7 5 Except f o r occasionally sending t r i b u t a r y missions to the T'ang, r e c e i v -ing o f f i c i a l t i t l e s conferred by the T'ang court upon i t s king and some powerful c h i e f t a i n s , and being a l l i e d loosely with T'ang i n some i n t e r -national a f f a i r s , t h i s state does not seem to have had much r e l a t i o n s h i p with the T'ang empire. 7^ There i s . l i t t l e doubt that _.the so-called Government-General of T'iao-chih was only a nominal establishment. On the other hand, a state also named T'iao-chih i s recorded i n some standard h i s t o r i e s concerning the Han dynasty. 7 7 It was, accord-ing to these sources, a place west of An-hsi JL* (Parthia), border-ing a sea named Hsi-hai IHD ("Western Sea"), and producing l i o n s , 78 peacocks, and "big b i r d s " ( o s t r i c h e s ) . There has been some contro-versy about the exact i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of th i s state. But scholars seem to agree that the so-called Hsi Hai was the present Persian Gulf and 79 T'iao-chih was located near the head of i t . L i Yang-ping does not seem to have referred to the Government-General of T'iao-chih. F i r s t , i t seems the cen t r a l Asian states where the 20 T'ang e s t a b l i s h e d governments-general were i n general known to the Chinese by the o r i g i n a l names of the s t a t e s , not by the names of the governments-general (e.g., Y u - t ' i e n and T'u-huo-lo, not P'i-sha Tu-tu-fu and Yueh-chih J^J Tu-tu-fu) ; and, as f a r as I know, t h i s i s true i n the p a r t i c u l a r case of H o - t a - l o - c h i h ( i n L i Po's times, 80 Hsieh-yu). Therefore, i t i s not l i k e l y that L i Po could have used "T'iao-chih Tu-tu-fu," and even l e s s so that he could have used only " T ' i a o - c h i h , " to mean the s t a t e of Hsieh-yu. Besides, had he been so w e l l informed about the T'ang's m i l i t a r y achievements i n the west as to know about the establishment of t h i s nominal government-general, L i Po would not have t o l d L i Yang-ping that h i s ancestors had been banished there i n l a t e Sui or even e a r l i e r (see the next page). L i Yang-ping could not have a c t u a l l y r e f e r r e d to T ' i a o - c h i h of the Han e i t h e r , because by h i s times that s t a t e had not been heard of f o r c e n t u r i e s . I t seems he (or L i Po) only used " T ' i a o - c h i h " as a vague, p o e t i c reference to the f a r west, h a r d l y s e r i o u s l y meaning any p a r t i c u l a r 81 place. For our need, however, I want to point out t h a t , by not using the more f a m i l i a r name Hsi-yu (or, A n - h s i ) , he must have been t h i n k i n g of a place f a r t h e r west than the Western T e r r i t o r i e s of the T'ang. For two reasons I s h a l l center my arguments upon Sui-yeh i n the f o l l o w i n g d i s c u s s i o n on the p r o b a b i l i t y of the e x i l e of the L i f a m i l y . One of these two reasons i s that Sui-yeh has been widely accepted as the place of the e x i l e i n question; the other i s t h a t , as f a r as the f i n a l c o n c l u s i o n I s h a l l reach below i s concerned, most of these argu-ments w i l l remain e f f e c t i v e w i t h L i Yang-ping's s o - c a l l e d T'iao-chih a l s o taken i n t o account. 21 L i Yang-ping and Fan Ch'uan-cheng seem to agree that L i Po's 82 ancestors came to the Western T e r r i t o r i e s because of banishment. According to L i Yang-ping, t h e i r banishment was the r e s u l t of an unjus-t i f i e d c onviction of a c e r t a i n member of the family who o r i g i n a l l y had 83 been an o f f i c i a l . When t h i s event took place i s not d e f i n i t e . Fan says i t happened during the calamitous period of l a t e Sui j5j| (the period of Sui: 581-617), while L i only gives an extremely vague date: "the middle [of the family's history] (chung-yeh tj? )." Since the middle-point between the b i r t h dates of L i Po and the generally acknowledged founder of the Lung-hsi L i clan L i Kao (A.D. 701 and A.D. 351) i s A.D. 526, what L i means by t h i s expression may but also may not be, as i s 84 usually assumed, l a t e Sui. Nevertheless, even i f the possible upper l i m i t of the date meant by L i Yang-ping could be reasonably extended backwards for two or three decades, one conclusion can be reached here a l l the same. This conclusion i s that, as Ch'en Yin-k'o suggested, L i Po's ancestors were u n l i k e l y to have been banished to Sui-yeh i n the times indicated by L i and Fan, because that place was then far 85 beyond the dominance of any regime i n China. Judging from the words they use ( L i : "t'ao kuei" j^ jjr ; Fan: "ch'ien huan" ) » L i and Fan both suggest that L i Po's family returned unlawfully to China proper i n 705. But i t seems t h i s could not have been the case. F i r s t l y , there were numerous general amnesties during the T'ang times before 705, which i n general excluded only such e s p e c i a l l y serious crimes as treason, p a r r i c i d e , and the murder of 86 a master by a slave. As i s j u s t mentioned, the cause of the banish-ment of L i Po's ancestors does not seem to have been so grave a crime 22 as these. Moreover, the L i ' s who l i v e d around the year 705 were at l e a s t the t h i r d - of fourth-genera t i o n descendants of those who were banished to Sui-yeh. I t i s , hence, extremely d o u b t f u l t h a t , a f t e r s e v e r a l decades of T'ang dominance at Sui-yeh, L i Po's f a m i l y s t i l l had to f l e e back to China proper as unpardoned c o n v i c t s . Secondly, as pointed out above, w i t h i n the twenty years before 705, the Chinese troops were forced to withdraw from Sui-yeh and other g a r r i s o n s i n Turkestan at l e a s t once, and long besieged w i t h i n Sui-yeh by the Western Turks at another time. Obviously, the T'ang had great d i f f i c u l t y even only to maintain i t s m i l i t a r y presence at that p o l i t i c c a l l y and m i l i t a r i l y t u r b u l e n t place. Under such circumstances, i t seems u n l i k e l y that the T'ang government would have detained there some descendants of a c e r t a i n c o n v i c t of a c e r t a i n former regime as L i Po's f a m i l y were. T h i r d l y , i n 705, a time when Turkestan was under f i r m Chinese con-t r o l , i t was a l s o improbable f o r a f a m i l y w i t h c h i l d r e n to s t e a l from Sui-yeh a l l the way to Shu ( i n modern Szechwan). Between the Issyk Kul and c e n t r a l Kansu, there are massive deserts and mountain ranges, so that t r a v e l l i n g i s p o s s i b l e only by f o l l o w i n g some f i x e d routes. A l s o , i t i s obvious that the T'ang government e s t a b l i s h e d m i l i t a r y 87 posts at most oases and mountain passes along these routes. Moreover, there were i n T'ang times r e g u l a t i o n s which demanded a l l t r a v e l l e r s to hold t r a v e l permits c a l l e d kuo-so i f j ^ fff i f they wished to pass any check p o i n t , and r e g u l a t i o n s against the smuggling of horses, which 88 were cat e g o r i z e d as m i l i t a r y s u p p l i e s . As the f o l l o w i n g examples w i l l demonstrate, these r e g u l a t i o n s were very s t r i c t l y enforced i n the 23 western f r o n t i e r s . When Hsiian-tsang started h i s journey to India i n 627, the western border of China lay i n present north-western Kansu. Hsuan-tsang's biography by H u i - l i ^ j£. , which r e l a t e s h i s journey i n d e t a i l , gives a v i v i d d e s c r i p t i o n of how the densely deployed posts i n the deserts near the border had worked e f f e c t i v e l y against an i l l e g a l 89 t r a v e l l e r l i k e Hsuan-tsang. The monk was f i n a l l y able to proceed westward only through the grace of some i n d i v i d u a l o f f i c e r s who were 90 moved by h i s extraordinary r e l i g i o u s piety. Although s t o r i e s r e l a t e d by monks i n those days are sometimes exaggerated, the present one i s well supported by some documents recently excavated. Some kuo-so and the applications for them were found at Turfan, which date from the 91 k'ai-yuan period (713-41), a time very close to 705. These documents confirm that common t r a v e l l e r s indeed had to use kuo-so i n the whole area governed by the An-hsi Protectorate. A great number of them, which report the existence of horses and donkeys, show that the regu-l a t i o n s about horse control were also enforced. More importantly, according to the extant part of a sheet attached to one of the kuo-so, presumably for signing or stamping by inspecting o f f i c e r s , the holder of the kuo-so handed i t i n to be checked at no l e s s than four shou-cho posts near Kua-chou "H (present An-hsi J^- ftp , Kansu) within only three d a y s — a clear i n d i c a t i o n of the density and e f f i c i e n c y 92 of T'ang security posts i n that area. Before I proceed to investigate L i Po's connection with the Lung-hsi L i clan, I want to c l a r i f y one more point. Some primary sources say that L i Po drafted for Hsuan-tsung's court a l e t t e r to a c e r t a i n bar-93 barian state. This seems to some scholars to suggest that L i Po 24 knew some foreign language and that his Western T e r r i t o r i e s connection 94 might therefore be true. In f a c t , however, the draft s of numerous T'ang diplomatic l e t t e r s are s t i l l extant, and these drafts are a l l 95 written i n Chinese. The one that L i Po composed does not prove any-thing . My discussion on the poet's alleged membership i n the Lung-hsi L i clan w i l l begin with a b r i e f biographic account of the founder of the clan L i Kao. L i Kao was the founder of Western Liang , one of the so-called Sixteen States (Shih-liu-kuo -j"* ^ |§sj ) that claimed inde-pendence i n northern China a f t e r the f a l l of the Western Chin dynasty \jt] . Allegedly, he was descended from the famous H a n ^ general L i Kuang j^f ; h i s chun-wang, though usually said to be Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi ^ since T'ang times, was i n fact Lung-hsi Ti-tao He was often referred to by h i s posthumous t i t l e s Prince Wu-chao fl^ ^_ i Emperor Hsing-sheng Jlfi %. » *-^e l a t t e r conferred by Hsiian-ana 96 tsung i n 743. Supported by h i s subordinates, he claimed independence 97 at Tun-huang i n A.D. 400. In 405, he moved h i s c a p i t a l eastward to Chiu-ch'uan j^j ^ to cope with Northern L i a n g , the regime under Chu-ch'u Meng-hsiin jJLijp '^ LiH*. ' H e died i n ^17 at the age 99 .. At of sixty-seven. Chu-ch'u was a Hsiung-nu -^ 5^  by o r i g i n . He rose i n 401 i n r e b e l l i o n against h i s r u l e r Tuan Yeh ^ , k i l l e d Tuan at Chang-yeh > a n ( i took Tuan's place there. In 412, he seized Ku-tsang ^ (present Wu-wei tf^,' }f$v ) and moved h i s c a p i t a l there. In the f a l l of 420, L i Kao' s son and successor Hsin^/^ invaded Chang-yeh and was defeated and k i l l e d , together with at l e a s t two of h i s brothers, by Chu-ch'u Meng-hsiin. Chii-ch'u then proceeded to seize Chiu-ch'uan. 25 In the spring of 421, Chli-ch'u conquered Western Liang's f i n a l base Tun-huang, then under the command of L i Hsiin '\vij , a younger brother of Hsin's; Hsiin committed s u i c i d e . Western Liang was thus completely destroyed. Afterwards, only one branch descended from L i Kao remained i l l u s t r i o u s i n h i s t o r y . L i Kao's grandson Pao ^  survived the doom of h i s f a m i l y and l a t e r became an o f f i c i a l i n the court of Northern Wei. Pao's descendants soon emerged as a new lead i n g c l a n i n the East-of-the-Mountain (Shan-tung) area when h i s youngest son Ch'ung ^ t j 7 became one of the most i n f l u -e n t i a l m i n i s t e r s of Emperor Hsiao-wen ^ fjj^ and married a daughter 102 to the emperor and another daughter and a niece to two p r i n c e s . L i Po l i n k e d himself w i t h L i Kao's c l a n i n two ways. F i r s t , he a l s o c a l l e d h i m s e l f a person from Lung-hsi (but not Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi, which both L i Yang-ping and Fan Ch'uan-cheng used) and mentioned L i 103 Kuang as a d i s t a n t ancestor. Second, he once c a l l e d himself "an un-worthy branch or l e a f " of the T'ang i m p e r i a l c l a n , which a l s o claimed 104 descent from L i Kao. The account that the poet was a nin t h - g e n e r a t i o n descendant of Kao came down to us f i r s t through L i (Yang-ping) and Fan. This l i n k a g e has been s e r i o u s l y doubted by many s c h o l a r s . Here, i n order to assess t h e i r arguments, I s h a l l f i r s t look i n t o some problems concerning the great chun-wang's i n general and the Lung-hsi chun-wang of the L i ' s i n p a r t i c u l a r . L i Kao's genuine chun-wang i s the s t a r t i n g p o i n t . From the f o l l o w i n g evidence, i t i s almost p o s i t i v e that L i Kao was from Lung-hsi T i - t a o instead of Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi: (A) The f u -n e r a l i n s c r i p t i o n s f o r s e v e r a l pre-T'ang descendants of L i Pao are s t i l l e x tant, and they a l l i n d i c a t e that the c l a n was from T i - t a o . ( B ) The 26 same account i s found i n both L i Kao's biography i n the Wei shu and the "Short H i s t o r y of the State of Western L i a n g " \£) yfc fjfc i n the S h i h - l i u - k u o ch'un-ch'iu tsuan-lu + 5^ | ^ 7%^K%~^J^ • These two works are, to my knowledge, the only extant h i s t o r i e s compiled • 106 before T'ang times that ever mention L i Kao's chun-wang. (C) Even i n T'ang and post-T'ang sources, members of t h i s c l a n are s t i l l o f t e n s a i d to be from T i - t a o . I t i s very probable that the s o - c a l l e d Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi chun-wang of L i Kao was f a b r i c a t e d by some o f f i c i a l h i s t o r i a n s i n e a r l y T'ang times. To begin w i t h , Kao's biography i n the Chin shu (compiled under T'ai-tsung's personal order i n 646 and completed i n 648) seems to be the e a r l i e s t d e t a i l e d and well-known account of the clan ' s h i s t o r y that 108 g i v e s Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi as Kao's chun-wang. On the surface t h i s v e r s i o n i s w e l l j u s t i f i e d seeing that Kao was s a i d to be descended from Kuang, who, according to the Shih c h i and the Han shu, came from 109 Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi. Nevertheless, four of the f u n e r a l i n s c r i p t i o n s j u s t mentioned i n d i c a t e that the c l a n was from "Ch'in-chou Lung-hsi-chun T i - t a o - h s i e n Tu-hsiang H o - f e n g - l i " ^ flf|,*J j^f^^Jf # j 5 ^ ^ L £ , U ° and t h i s i s an a d m i n i s t r a t i v e d i v i s i o n that could not have e x i s t e d during the Former Han pe r i o d but most probably e x i s t e d i n Western Chin (265-317) ."''*''"'' This s t r o n g l y suggests that the f a m i l y at issu e began to emerge as an eminent c l a n from T i - t a o no e a r l i e r than Western Chin. I t seems, t h e r e f o r e , L i Kao's chun-wang was o r i g i n a l l y not connected w i t h , . „ 112 L i Kuang i n any way. In the- same passage, seeming to i n d i c a t e the o r i g i n of L i Kao's Ch'eng-chi chun-wang, the Chin shu says that L i Kuang's great grandfather 27 was k i l l e d i n b a t t l e at T i - t a o , and so Kuang's grandfather went there to bury him and ended up by s e t t l i n g down there. I t seems to assume that there was no d i f f e r e n c e between T i - t a o and Ch'eng-chi. Sometime l a t e r , the "Hsu-chuan" jjfj. of the P e i s h i h j£_ ( B i o g r a p h i c a l 113 Postfac e ; composed during Kao-tsung's r e i g n i n or s h o r t l y before 659), a l s o a d e t a i l e d account of the subject i n question, even ex p r e s s l y 114 state d that these two places were i d e n t i c a l - . And i t seems t h i s account represented the o f f i c i a l view of the o r i g i n s of the T'ang clan.''"''"5 However, T i - t a o (near what i s now L i n - t ' a o %!f0 yfe » Kansu) and Ch'eng-J£ 1*7 116 c h i (near what i s now Ch'in-an , Kansu) seem to have always remained two i n d i v i d u a l hsien's from Han to T'ang times except i n some periods when one or both of them were abolished."'""'"7 To mix them up i s groundless. A t h i r d v e r s i o n of the point under d i s c u s s i o n i s found i n the "Tsung-shih s h i h - h s i - p i a o " ^ ^ -rtf; fa ^ (Genealogical Tables of the Imperial Clan) of the HTS, which contains some m a t e r i a l s very s i m i l a r to but a l i t t l e more d e t a i l e d than those i n the "Hsu-chuan" 118 passage. This new v e r s i o n holds that the L i ' s moved from T i - t a o to Ch'eng-chi a f t e r Kuang's f a t h e r Shang $o) became the magistrate of 119 Ch'eng-chi. Should t h i s be t r u e , the above d i f f i c u l t y i n the Chin shu and the P e i s h i h would be r e a d i l y solved. But the Shih c h i and the Han shu record only one move of Kuang's f a m i l y , which was from H u a i - l i (near Ch'ang-an)"'"^ to Ch'eng-chi, and mention n e i t h e r 121 T i - t a o nor L i Shang. Other r e l e v a n t sources p r i o r to the HTS do 122 not mention t h i s s o - c a l l e d f a t h e r of L i Kuang, e i t h e r . The "Tsung-s h i h - p i a o " v e r s i o n i s , t h e r e f o r e , very probably a fake. I t a l s o seems that the o r i g i n of t h i s v e r s i o n came i n t o existence l a t e r than the 28 "Hsii-chuan", because otherwise i t would have been adopted by the 123 "Hsii-chuan" or even by the Chin shu. Since a l l three sources r e -f e r r e d to here are supposed to be a u t h o r i t a t i v e , the above-mentioned mistakes and i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s do not seem to have been produced through negligence. Rather, they suggest that there have been c o n s i s t e n t e f f o r t s i n the three sources to i n t r o d u c e , j u s t i f y , or r e v i s e the same f a l s e account of L i Kao's chun-wang. This view i s f u r t h e r strengthened by the f a c t t h a t , on some other p o i n t s , s i m i l a r e f f o r t s are a l s o more i - A 1 2 4 or l e s s manifested. Furthermore, as Ch'en Yin-k'o pointed out s e v e r a l decades a g o ^ t h e account about L i Ch'ung-er Jj- i s e q u a l l y suspect even though i t i s 125 c o n s i s t e n t l y presented i n a l l c l o s e l y concerned sources. Ch'ung-er was s a i d to be one of the sons and the would-be successor of L i Hsin^jy^ , to be a d i r e c t ancestor of the T'ang c l a n , and to have f l e d to the L i u Sung /^ '] ^ empire a f t e r the c o l l a p s e of Western Liang. However, nothing about t h i s person can be found i n r e l e v a n t pre-T'ang sources. Moreover, a great part of the career of t h i s person happens to t a l l y w i t h that of a c e r t a i n h i s t o r i c a l f i g u r e named L i Ch'u-ku-pa ^ ^c/j ^ , who was a middle-ranking o f f i c i a l e a r l y i n the Northern Wei. Therefore, Ch'en concluded, i t i s p o s s i b l e that the person named L i Ch'ung-er d i d not e x i s t at a l l and the T'ang c l a n was a c t u a l l y descended from L i . Ch'u-ku-pa. Ch'en's f i n d i n g s i n d i c a t e that the T'ang i m p e r i a l c l a i m to descent from the Lung-hsi L i c l a n may be f a l s e , and that some T'ang h i s t o r i a n s may have attempted to support t h i s c l a i m by mixing up the h i s t o r i e s of the two c l a n s . This sheds some l i g h t upon the problem about L i Kao's chun-wang. As w i l l be shown below, the T'ang c l a n had probably once claimed to be from Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi long before i t founded the T'ang 126 dynasty. I t might have, a c c o r d i n g l y , a l s o t r i e d to i n f u s e t h i s chun-wang i n t o L i Kao's h i s t o r y when l a t e r i t decided to f a b r i c a t e i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Kao. In f a c t , the c l a i m of the T'ang c l a n was s t r o n g l y challenged as e a r l y as T'ai-tsung's time. According to one e a r l y T'ang Buddhist source, i n 637, i n a severe dispute w i t h the T'ang court over a T'ang p o l i c y which granted T a o i s t s a higher p o l i t i c a l status than Buddhists, the monk F a - l i n yfc $rj$~ claimed before T'ai-tsung that the i m p e r i a l f a m i l y was of Hsien-pei j^. o r i g i n , not descended from Lao-tzu ( t h e r e f o r e no need to venerate Taoism) and the Lung-hsi L i c l a n , and 127 that the Lung-hsi L i c l a n were a c t u a l l y descendants of some s l a v e s . I t i s not c e r t a i n how much one can r e l y upon F a - l i n because the mean-ing of some c r u c i a l d e t a i l s i n h i s words i s not c l e a r today and one 128 key g e n e a l o g i c a l work he quoted i s not extant. But judging from the s i t u a t i o n i n which he made these extremely o f f e n s i v e charges, the monk must have had some b a s i s f o r them. Our source seems r e l i a b l e 129 i n saying that even the emperor himself admitted t h i s . And i t seems that what i t could not conceal from F a - l i n , the T'ang i m p e r i a l f a m i l y 130 could not conceal from many other contemporaries, e i t h e r . .The m o t i v a t i o n f o r t h i s k i nd of f a b r i c a t i o n should be seen i n the context of the vigorous campaign f i r s t launched by T'ai-tsung to a c q u i r e f o r the i m p e r i a l c l a n a s o c i a l s t a t us comparable to i t s p o l i -t i c a l power. In those days, a group of o l d , i l l u s t r i o u s clans i n the East-of-the-Mountain area s t i l l h e l d very high s o c i a l s t a t u s although 30 they were not p o l i t i c a l l y powerful i n the new dynasty. Among them several extremely eminent clans even overshadowed the imperial clan and i t s powerful a l l i e s of whom most were newly emerged clans from the north-western area formerly ruled by Western Wei and Northern Chou. It i s recorded that people from lower clans were often eager to pay more-than-decent dowries only to get linked with these clans through marriage. Probably out of r e s e n t f u l envy and p o l i t i c a l apprehension, the newly established r u l i n g family seemed determined to suppress these clans. In 632, T'ai-tsung ordered Kao S h i h - l i e n •£ Jjj^ and several other high o f f i c i a l s to investigate and r e v i s e a l l pedigrees i n the nation. His in t e n t i o n was most c l e a r l y shown i n the following part of h i s comments on the f i r s t d r a f t Kao presented to him, which displeased him by ranking the T'ang clan under at least one of the great East-of-the-Mountain clans: "In t h i s s p e c i a l ranking of the clans, i t has been my wish to honor the o f f i c i a l s of t h i s court. . . . You are not to consider former genera-tions , but are simply to make your rankings on the basis of present o f f i c e s and t i t l e s . " In 638, the f i n a l form of the work, known as the Chen-kuan Period), was completed and d i s t r i b u t e d throughout the empire. Moreover, the imperial family avoided l e t t i n g the princes and princesses marry members of the great East-of-the-Mountain clans. In 659, another r e v i s i o n of the nation a l genealogy was ordered by Kao-tsung. This task i s sometimes said to have been ins t i g a t e d by c e r t a i n o f f i c i a l s for some personal reasons. But there seems l i t t l e doubt that Kao-tsung gave h i s consent at least p a r t l y because the Chen-kuan shih-tsu chih, being l i m i t e d by the p r e v a i l i n g a t t i t u d e of i t s time, ult i m a t e l y had not gone f a r enough to meet the imperial wishes i n t h i s matter. In (Treatise on the Clans of the 31 the completed new work, known as the Hsing-shih l u - ^ . ^ Q (Record of the C l a n s ) , the c r i t e r i o n used f o r the ranking was indeed that people w i t h high o f f i c e s were ranked high and those w i t h lower o f f i c e s were ranked lower. Furthermore, i n the same year Kao-tsung banned the exor-b i t a n t dowries which were being paid to eminent clans by l e s s eminent ones and forbade members of seven of the most p r e s t i g i o u s clans of the country to intermarry. Both measures aroused strong resentment and 131 scorn. Compared w i t h these kinds of m i l i t a n t measures, s u b t l y and i n o f f e n s i v e l y connecting i t s e l f w i t h an eminent c l a n was probably a more a t t r a c t i v e means f o r the T'ang c l a n to boost i t s p r e s t i g e . I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, the T'ang's campaign against the great East-of-the-Mountain clans again to a c e r t a i n extent betrayed i t s f a l s e r e l a -t i o n s h i p w i t h the Lung-hsi L i c l a n . On one hand, i n the campaign the Lung-hsi L i c l a n — t h e n p r i m a r i l y the branches descended from L i P a o — 132 was one of the s e v e r a l t a r g e t s that were most sev e r e l y attacked. This suggests that L i Pao's descendants ha r d l y recognized any t i e of blood w i t h the T'ang i m p e r i a l house. A thaw i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p between 133 these two L i clans was to come only as l a t e as i n 742. On the other hand, i f the T'ang c l a n had i n f a c t come from a p r e s t i g i o u s c l a n , i t would have been t r e a t e d a c c o r d i n g l y i n s o c i e t y and would not have been so h o s t i l e to the great East-of-the-Mountain clans as i t was. U n t i l r e c e n t l y two major t h e o r i e s concerning the genuine o r i g i n of the T'ang i m p e r i a l f a m i l y have been proposed. Ch'en Yin-k'o h e l d that t h i s f a m i l y had come from e i t h e r an extremely obscure branch or a fake one of the renowned Chao-chun j£j5 L i c l a n . On the other hand, some other s c h o l a r s b e l i e v e d that i t was simply of f o r e i g n o r i g i n . Neither 32 134 of these two theories seems to be supported by conclusive evidence. It i s beyond the scope of t h i s study to explore t h i s question f u l l y . Hence, I s h a l l conclude t h i s background information about the Lung-hsi L i clan with some b r i e f discussion on the probable o r i g i n of the T'ang clan's Ch'eng-chi chun-wang. It seems that, no matter where i t o r i g -i n a l l y came from, the T'ang clan had at least been known as a family from Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi for sometime before i t claimed f a l s e r e l a t i o n -ship with L i Kao, because otherwise i t would have adopted L i Kao's 135 Ti-tao chun-wang r e a d i l y . But the administrative d i v i s i o n named Lung-hsi [-chim] Ch'eng-chi [-hsien] seems to have ceased to e x i s t since 114 B.C., and the custom for eminent f a m i l i e s to form and empha-s i z e t h e i r chun-wang's did not come into existence u n t i l the Wei (A.D. 136 220-265) and Chin periods. Therefore, the T'ang clan's Ch'eng-chi chun-wang could also be a fake. I t may have been made up i n the Western Wei-Northern Chou rjt) | ^ ^ jf] period. The Western Wei-Northern Chou regime was founded by a r e l a t i v e l y small group of Northern Wei subjects who were led westward by Yu'-wen T'ai ^ . In i t s early years, t h i s regime adopted a seri e s of d r a s t i c measures to consolidate i t s e l f . One of these measures i s to command that those who had rendered good service to the founding of the regime and had consequently become i l l u s t r i o u s under i t should abandon t h e i r East-of-the-Mountain chun- wang 's and adopt new chun-wang's from the prefectures i n and near 137 Kuan-chung. (Note that Lung-hsi Ti-tao must have been included i n the East-of-the-Mountain chun-wang's because L i Kao's clan had long 138 been an eminent one i n that region before Western Wei.) I have found i n both T'ang and pre-T'ang sources three (and the only three) cases i n which a c l a n w i t h high o f f i c i a l s i n the Western Wei-Northern Chou court i s s a i d to have o r i g i n a t e d from Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi and yet 139 no l i n k between t h i s c l a n and that of L i Kao i s mentioned. In one case, the c l a n appeared to be i n f a c t a f o r e i g n f a m i l y which moved to 140 China with the Toba's; i n another, the c l a n was o r i g i n a l l y from a c e r t a i n Liao-tung Hsiang-p'ing 3^ jfl ||_ -^f L i clan.'^"'" I t seems the ancient place name Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi was then r a t h e r widely adopted by clans named L i (be they true or f a l s e L i ' s ) because of i t s l i n k w i t h L i Kuang. Kao-tsu's f a t h e r or grandfather obviously belonged i n those 142 who were commanded to change chun-wang's. This c l a n may have a l s o assumed the Ch'eng-chi chun-wang. Since the T'ang c l a n were f a l s e Lung-hsi L i ' s , does L i Po's c l a i m to membership i n i t not mean that he was a l s o a f a l s e Lung-hsi L i ? 143 Some scholars seem i n c l i n e d to answer yes r e a d i l y . But the a c t u a l s i t u a t i o n appears to be q u i t e otherwise. F a - l i n , the monk j u s t men-ti o n e d , was banished from the c a p i t a l f o r " s l a n d e r i n g " the i m p e r i a l house's ancestors even though T'ai-tsung conceded that he had some 144 evidence on h i s s i d e . This shows t h a t , as would be expected, the t r u e o r i g i n of the T'ang c l a n was then a taboo. Besides, as time went by and the T'ang's r u l e proved h i g h l y s u c c e s s f u l and i t s p r e s t i g e a c c o r d i n g l y rose, people would have become more impressed by p o s i t i o n s i n the T'ang court and l e s s concerned w i t h the i m p e r i a l clan's probable 145 mediocre o r i g i n . Mutual r e c o g n i t i o n of k i n s h i p seems to have grad-u a l l y become r a t h e r common among members of the Chao-chun, Lung-hsi, 146 and i m p e r i a l L i c l a n s . Moreover, i t i s recorded that l a t e r , i n the seventh month of 742, L i Yen-yiin ^ /{j , a Lung-hsi L i then 34 serving i n the court, and some other o f f i c i a l s petitioned to be ad-mitted to the imperial house on the ground that they were also descended from L i Kao. Hsuan-tsung accepted t h i s appeal and decreed that four branches of the Lung-hsi L i clan descended from L i Pao be included i n the imperial family. This marked the formal and complete end of the 147 cold r e l a t i o n s h i p that had once existed between the two clans. There i s no i n d i c a t i o n whether L i Yen-yun made t h i s appeal purely on h i s own i n i t i a t i v e . But there i s some evidence that the new p o l i c y was before 148 long welcomed by some members of the four branches at l e a s t . There-fore, a f t e r 742, i t was legitimate and natural for a Lung-hsi L i to claim membership i n the imperial house. The poem i n which L i Po made 149 such a claim was composed long a f t e r 742. S i m i l a r l y , i n L i Po's time, the use of the so-called Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi chun-wang seems no proof of f a l s e r e l a t i o n s h i p with the Lung-hsi L i clan, e i t h e r . I have found three funeral i n s c r i p t i o n s for members of t h i s clan, written between 768 and 789, which give Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi as the chun-wang of these people.^® This kind of pra c t i c e may well have begun long before 768 because, as a c e r t a i n passage i n the Shih t'ung ^ shows, by the time of L i u Chih-chi J^ lJ £fj ^ (661-721) Lung-hsi Ch'eng-chi had already been widely used i n place of Ti-tao."'"^"'" 152 Some scholars hold that even L i Po's surname i s dubious. Their arguments are ultim a t e l y a l l based on t h e i r d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of the following p a r a l l e l words by L i Yang-ping and Fan Ch'uan-cheng: "[A f t e r L i Po's family f l e d back to Shu, L i Po's parents (?)] fu chih  l i - s h u er sheng Po-yang \% $ j-fy ffjf) " (Li) and "On [ L i Po's] 3 5 b i r t h , h i s l a t e f a t h e r pointed at some heavenly branches ( t ' i e n - c h i h 1 5 3 >}"jL ' u s u a^-'-y meaning branches of the i m p e r i a l f a m i l y ; here meaning branches of a l _ i ^ , or plum t r e e , so phrased because L i was the surname of the then i m p e r i a l f a m i l y ) and resumed t h e i r surname, [which the f a m i l y had abandoned w h i l e l i v i n g i n the Western T e r r i t o r i e s ] (Fan).""'" 5^ There i s a legend which says that Lao-tzu, s t y l e d Po-yang, was born under a plum t r e e and, born able to speak, pointed at the t r e e and s a i d , "Be t h i s my surname.""'"55 For some unknown reason t h i s legend i s not included i n the T'ang i m p e r i a l pedigree now a v a i l a b l e to us. But i t seems to have been i n medieval times a popular part of the pedigree of the L i ' s , who venerated Lao-tzu as one of t h e i r most prominent d i s t a n t ancestors."'" 5^ Thus, L i Yang-ping's words, which appear d i f f i c u l t to understand, may on one hand mean t h a t , as Fan says, the f a m i l y resumed the surname L i on L i Po's b i r t h , and on the other hand suggest that f o r the L i ' s L i Po's b i r t h was as s i g n i f i c a n t as that of Lao-tzu. There i s no p a r t i c u l a r reason f o r the s c h o l a r s j u s t mentioned to b e l i e v e t h a t , i n accordance w i t h the above words of L i and Fan, L i Po's f a m i l y borrowed even i t s surname. Indeed, however, L i Po's membership i n the Lung-hsi L i c l a n i s d o u b t f u l . To begin w i t h , i n a period l i k e T'ang times when membership i n a decent c l a n meant a great d e a l to an i n d i v i d u a l ' s s o c i a l s t a t u s , f a l s e claims of ancestry were undoubtedly very common."'"57 The f o l l o w i n g two c i t a t i o n s present a r a t h e r v i v i d p i c t u r e of the s i t u a t i o n . F i r s t , L i u C h i h - c h i s a i d : Recently, people named Ping jjjfl and Hung HA a l l changed t h e i r names i n t o L i , since these words v i o l a t e d n a t i o n a l taboos. Then when they wrote about t h e i r n a t i v e p l a c e s , they a l l used Lung-hsi or Chao-chun. I f even people w i t h f a l s e surnames have done t h i s , 158 one knows very w e l l what those w i t h genuine surnames have done. Second, the biography of L i I - f u ^ , a c h i e f m i n i s t e r i n Kao-tsung's r e i g n , i n the CTS says: L i I - f u was from Ying-chou Jao-yang [-hsien] ' f ^ f^rj . . . . A f t e r he became i l l u s t r i o u s , I - f u claimed to be from Chao-chun and began to c l a i m blood t i e s w i t h and assume s u i t a b l e generation p o s i t i o n s among (hsii chao-mu $0.£\Q "f^ ) the L i ' s . Many un-p r i n c i p l e d people . . . humbly recognized him as t h e i r e l d e r brother or uncle on the p a t e r n a l s i d e . The Grand Secretary [of the Department of Imperial Chancellery] (chi-shih-chung jf.^~^ ^ ) L i Ch'ung-te at f i r s t a l s o included him i n the same pedigree and recognized a c e r t a i n generation r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h him. But a f t e r I - f u was r e l e g a t e d as the P r e f e c t of P'u-chou j|t- -^fj , [Ch'ung-te] e l i m i n a t e d [ I - f u ' s name from the pedigree]. 159 When he heard of t h i s , I - f u cherished hatred i n h i s mind. Such being the case, i t seems that v e r i t a b l e pedigrees were required when on some s p e c i a l occasions members of eminent clans had to s e r i o u s l y c l a i m t h e i r membership. This i s probably the reason why f u n e r a l i n -s c r i p t i o n s f o r t h i s kind of people o f t e n i n d i c a t e d that they were based upon " n a t i o n a l h i s t o r i e s and f a m i l y pedigrees" (kuo-shih c h i a - t i e h 37 | f l | >t ^ j f l ^ ° r s l m i l a r a u t h o r i t i e s . 1 6 0 And L i Po j u s t does not seem to have had t h i s k i nd of a u t h o r i t y . In h i s epitaph f o r L i Po, ' L i Hua d i d not say a word about the poet's o r i g i n s , t o t a l l y against 161 both the usual convention of epitaph w r i t i n g and h i s own p r a c t i c e . This suggests that L i Hua very probably omitted that part on purpose f o r the reason that he had not obtained s u b s t a n t i a l m a t e r i a l to j u s t i f y such an account as presented by L i Yang-ping. Besides, Fan Ch'uan-cheng s a i d : Since [ L i Po] had no h e i r , I was unable to o b t a i n the gen-ealogy of h i s f a m i l y . A granddaughter of h i s searched a s u i t c a s e and found a piece of paper w i t h ten-odd l i n e s w r i t t e n by h i s l a t e son:Po-ch'in. The piece was ragged.and many-words were m i s s i n g ; so i t s contents were not complete. To count i t roughly, the poet was a nint h - g e n e r a t i o n descendant of P r i n c e Wu-chao of Liang. During the calamitous p e r i o d of l a t e S u i , h i s branch [of the L i clan] was e x i l e d to Sui-yeh, and i t s members had s c a t t e r e d apart and changed t h e i r names ever s i n c e . Therefore, s i n c e the founding of our n a t i o n a l dynasty, [the poet's f a m i l y has been] l e f t out from the r e g i s t e r of the im-• . p e r i a l h o u s e h o l d . 1 6 ^ Despite a l l that he s a i d to create the impression that L i Po o r i g i n a l l y must have owned a genealogy, Fan f i n a l l y could not but r e v e a l that he had not found any copy of i t . Furthermore, L i Po came to serve i n Hsuan-tsung's court r i g h t a f t e r the 742 decree allowed L i Pao's 38 X63 descendants to be included i n the r e g i s t e r of the imperial household. He also became connected with L i Yen-yun by recognizing him as a grand-uncle on the paternal side probably while both of them were s t i l l i n the 164 c a p i t a l . This makes i t very u n l i k e l y that he would have forgotten or f a i l e d to get included i n the imperial r e g i s t e r i f he indeed was q u a l i f i e d . But, as one can detect from the f i n a l part of Fan's words here quoted, L i Po was not included i n that r e g i s t e r . Here i t i s h e l p f u l to examine the nature and r e l i a b i l i t y of Fan's whole account of L i Po's o r i g i n s . From the p a r a l l e l texts given i n Appendix B, one can see that Fan's account i s simply a d i f f e r e n t l y phrased version of that of L i Yang-ping except for the change of T'iao-chih into Sui-yeh and the i n c l u s i o n of the following points: 1. h i s f a i l u r e to obtain L i Po's pedigree, the reason for t h i s f a i l u r e , and the source of h i s account (Section C of Appendix B); 2. the e f f o r t to explain why L i Po's family had been l e f t out from the r e g i s t e r of the imperial household (Section G and i t s l o g i c a l connection with Section F ) ; 3. the nickname of L i Po's father and the reason why he was un-known to people (Section I ) . And a l l these points are doubtful. F i r s t , i f the poet's granddaughter would s t i l l c a r e f u l l y preserve a "rotten" piece of paper, of which the content was s i m i l a r to that of a pedigree, why would she have allowed a pedigree to be l o s t even i f she was only a female descendant of the poet? Second, i s what Fan obtained a standard version of L i Po's • o r i g i n s u l t i m a t e l y based on the poet himself? I f not, why i s i t so cl o s e to L i Yang-ping's preface, which was composed on L i Po's request? And i f so, why i s there the d i f f e r e n c e between T'iao-chih and Sui-yeh; why would L i Yang-ping have omitted such an important m a t e r i a l as the info r m a t i o n of L i Po's f a t h e r ; and how could L i Po have been ignorant of the f a c t that the Lung-hsi L i ' s were not admitted i n t o the T'ang i m p e r i a l house u n t i l 742? T h i r d , why, as Fan seems to say, d i d Po-ch'in mention only h i s grandfather's nickname but not h i s r e a l name i n some-thin g w i t h the nature of a f a m i l y h i s t o r y ? I s i t that he simply d i d not know that name because h i s f a t h e r L i Po never mentioned i t to him? I f so, would t h i s k i nd of t h i n g be l i k e l y i n those days? A f t e r con-s i d e r i n g these d o u b t f u l p o i n t s as a whole, I would conjecture that Fan i n f a c t d i d not f i n d anything w r i t t e n by Po-ch'in, that h i s account was based on L i Yang-ping, and that he made a l l changes and a d d i t i o n s g r o u n d l e s s l y i n order to defend the s t o r i e s of L i Po's o r i g i n s as known to people through L i Yang-ping, who may have been s e r i o u s l y doubted before Fan s time. Another argument against L i Po's c l a i m i s that L i Po never s e r i o u s l y maintained that he was a ninth - g e n e r a t i o n descendant of L i Kao, which L i Yang-ping s a i d he was, when a s s o c i a t i n g w i t h members of the T'ang and the Lung-hsi L i c l a n s . This argument was f i r s t proposed by Chan Ying and l a t e r c i t e d by Kuo M o - j o . C h a n l i s t e d a group of L i ' s w i t h whom L i Po claimed t i e s of blood and used the "Tsung-shih p i a o " Tables f o r the Clans of the Chief M i n i s t e r s ) i n the HTS to check t h e i r generation r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h L i Kao. Since the r e l i a b i l i t y of the and the "Tsai-hsiang s h i h - h s i piao II (Genealogical 40 tables i n the HTS was often doubted i n the past, Chan's method was some-167 times not well received. But some recent extensive investigations have shown that, except for the accounts of the distant ancestors of the 168 various clans, these tables are, to a very great extent, dependable. And, as Chan argued, although neither the a u t h e n t i c i t y of L i Po's works nor the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the persons mentioned by L i Po with t h e i r namesakes on the tables i n the HTS could be always beyond question, some persons on h i s l i s t were too famous to be mistaken and, hence, could pro-•A * * U- , 1 6 9 vide proof for hxs argument. Some of L i Po's words, though rather inconsistent or sketchy, may shed a l i t t l e l i g h t on the probable way i n which the poet evolved the s t o r i e s of h i s o r i g i n s . In a l e t t e r written around the age of t h i r t y (730), L i Po said: I o r i g i n a l l y come from a family i n Chin-ling , which has long been an i l l u s t r i o u s clan. Because of the calamity caused by Chu-ch'uMeng-hsun /jJ. ^ , my family was forced -to f l e e to Hsien-Ch'in . It then moved around following the o f f i c i a l posts [held by i t s members] |j] jjjrj $~ • I t was i n the area of the Yangtze and the Han Rivers that I spent 170 my early years 'JT ^ ^ These words are very d i f f e r e n t from the s t o r i e s given by L i Yang-ping and Fan Ch'uan-cheng. In addition, some points i n them (e.g., a family from Chin-ling and the calamity caused by Chu-ch'u Meng-hsiin (see pp. 24-25)) apparently can not be combined smoothly. Therefore, at 41 l e a s t one scholar i n the past completely denied i t s a u t h e n t i c i t y . 1 7 1 But so f a r no strong evidence of any kind has been found to support t h i s view. Wang Ch'i i s more acceptable i n only a s s e r t i n g that t h i s 172 passage may c o n t a i n some t e x t u a l e r r o r s . Some s c h o l a r s , i n c l u d i n g Wang, have t r i e d to i n t e r p r e t or emend 173 t h i s passage i n such ways as to make i t conforming to L i and Fan. One e f f o r t shared by them a l l i s to make C h i n - l i n g , the t r a d i t i o n a l but not o f t e n the o f f i c i a l name of what i s now Nanking, i n t o a place near Lung-hsi or w i t h i n what was the t e r r i t o r i e s of the Western Liang. I t i s suggested that C h i n - l i n g probably should be read as Chin-ch'eng (at or near present Lan-chou, Kansu), or that i t might r e f e r to the Chien-k'ang-chun fo$ (near present K a o - t ' a i ^ ^ . Kan-su) e s t a b l i s h e d i n the Former Liang (also one of the Sixteen States) because C h i n - l i n g had been known as Chien-k'ang during the Eastern Chin p e r i o d . 1 7 5 I f , however, L i Po intended to introduce him-s e l f as a Lung-hsi L i , i t i s , according to the conventional idea of chun-wang, extremely u n l i k e l y f o r him to say that he o r i g i n a l l y came from a f a m i l y i n Chin-ch'eng or Chien-k'ang no matter whether some of h i s ancestors r e a l l y had l i v e d i n those places. Besides, i t i s d o u b t f u l that the Chien-k'ang i n Kansu ; was a l s o known as C h i n - l i n g , and even more so that L i Po would have used so well-known a place name as C h i n - l i n g to r e f e r to a remote obscure former county i n the n o r t h -west without any f u r t h e r explanation (Chien-k'ang-chun was abolished 17 6 i n the Northern Chou). These specu l a t i o n s are p r a c t i c a l l y untenable. Another suggestion, a b o l d l y imaginative one made by Kuo Mo-jo, i s that Hsien-Ch'in p(i may be the corrupt form of Sui-yeh ^ I^T . 1 7 7 Admittedly, Hsien-Ch'in (Hsien presumably means Hsien-yang j5:jj| , while Ch'in means the Shensi area, which had'been the t e r r i t o r y of the state of Ch'in) i s a rather rare combination, but i t i s not an impossible one. Also, i t i s l o g i c a l that a family that encountered a calamity i n what i s the present Kan-su area, where Chu-ch'u's regime was located, might have f l e d to the present Shensi area. Hence, L i Po's words do not neces s a r i l y need emendation here. Besides, even with the change he suggested, Kuo could not make the passage i n question compatible with L i and Fan: L i Po said here that h i s family had "moved around following the o f f i c i a l posts [held by i t s members]," not l i v e d i n e x i l e ; and a calamity caused by Chii-ch'u Meng-hstin could not have taken place as l a t e as several generations a f t e r L i Kao or even the end of the Sui dynas-. 178 ty. It seems more appropriate to treat t h i s passage as a somewhat corrupt 179 e a r l i e r independent version of the poet's o r i g i n s . There are,: apart from the improper d i c t a t i o n of L i and Fan, some indications that L i Po might already be claiming to be a Lung-hsi L i i n t h i s version. F i r s t , s hortly a f t e r , around 734, he c l e a r l y made t h i s claim i n h i s famous l e t t e r to Han Ch'ao-tsung j£|:J tj^ 180 g e c o n ( j j the mention of Chii-ch'u Meng-hsiin, who was not famous i n Chinese h i s t o r y , i s comparatively u n l i k e l y to have been made by an editor or a type-setting or type-cutting worker; and the destiny of the Lung-hsi L i clan was r e a l l y tremendously affected by Chii-ch'ii. As to the story about L i Po's fam-i l y being e x i l e d to the Western T e r r i t o r i e s , i t seems the poet had not developed i t yet at t h i s stage. My l a s t point above can be somewhat strengthened by three poems by 43 L i Po. These poems are: (1) "Sung t s u - t i Wan ts'ung-chiin A n - h s i " Hfefy H & ' ( 2 ) " S u n g C h' e n8 L i u e r shih-yvi chien Tu-ku p'an-kuan f u An-hsi m u - f u " & f t $ > ] , and (3) "Chiang-hsi sung yu-jen c h i h Lo-f u" jj. ^ ) % . 1 8 1 They are the only extant works by L i Po which mention the Western 182 T e r r i t o r i e s and shed l i g h t on the poet's a t t i t u d e toward that d i s t r i c t . Among them only the t h i r d , which i s composed a f t e r L i Po's court l i f e 183 (742-44), mentions An-hsi as the poet's home d i s t r i c t . The other two, both presented to people departing f o r An-hsi during e i t h e r of the poet's two stays i n Ch'ang-an (the f i r s t i n 737-41 and the second i n 742-44), do not show any s i g n of personal connection w i t h that area at 184 a l l . I would, t h e r e f o r e , venture to conjecture that L i Po d i d not invent the s t o r y about h i s f a m i l y ' s e x i l e u n t i l 742 or l a t e r . I t i s probable t h a t , since he came to serve i n Hsiian-tsung' s court r i g h t a f t e r the Lung-hsi L i ' s were granted admission to the i m p e r i a l house, L i Po found himself engulfed i n a stream of newly aroused i n t e r e s t i n the o r i g i n s of a l l o f f i c i a l s named L i . Without any pedigree, he may have then found i t necessary to invent t h i s s t o r y to j u s t i f y h i s a l l e g e d s t a t u s as a Lung-hsi L i . Or, as the st o r y of L i I - f u c i t e d e a r l i e r suggests, L i Po may have been accepted as a Lung-hsi L i as long as he served i n the cour t , but was under a t t a c k and, hence, had to f a b r i c a t e the Western T e r r i t o r i e s connection to defend himself a f t e r he l o s t Hsiian-tsung ' s patronage i n 744. In a passage concerning L i Po's b i r t h place Mien-chou, the Sung dynasty geographer Ou-yang Min ;£r s a i d that "some of Po's ancestors had been banished to Sui-chou ^ 'H\ ( i n present Hsi-ch'ang 44 yftj ^ i n south-western Szechwan) and t h e i r descendants had l a t e r 185 moved back" to Mien-chou. This inform a t i o n i s unique and can not be confirmed i n any way today. But, at any r a t e , Ou-yang may not be f a r from the f a c t . That L i Po, who obviously cared much about h i s o r i g i n s , d i d not mention the o f f i c i a l post held by, or even simply the name o f , any i l l u s t r i o u s c l o s e ancestor or c l o s e r e l a t i v e demonstrates that he could h a r d l y be from any eminent f a m i l y . Even the s p e c u l a t i o n that h i s f a m i l y might have by h i s time become very wealthy from running business i s groundless."*"^ 6 In a l l p r o b a b i l i t y , L i Po was from obscure o r i g i n s i n Szechwan. Chapter Two: A General Picture of L i Po's L i f e As I have indicated i n the Introduction, t h i s chapter w i l l present a concise chronology of L i Po's l i f e . Since the process of reconstruct-ing t h i s chronology i s often very complicated, the text of the chapter w i l l include only the r e s u l t s of the reconstruction. The way place-names are to be presented i n t h i s chronology needs some explanation. In most times of the T'ang period, the prefectures i n the empire were c a l l e d chou' s -Jf] and t h e i r names often remained unchanged. In 742, however, the T'ang government changed the term chou into chu'n j^ JJ and changed the names of almost a l l prefectures. The old designations were not restored u n t i l 757. 1 In addition, L i Po frequently used ancient and informal place-names i n his works. This v a r i e t y of place-names would obviously cause great inconvenience. To avoid con-fusion, I s h a l l , whenever necessary, provide the T'ang names of the chou's and t h e i r modern equivalents or approximations. To make i t easy for the reader to approach L i Po himself, however, I s h a l l usually keep the names the poet used. 1. 701-724: L i f e i n Shu 2 There i s l i t t l e doubt that L i Po grew up i n Shu. Mien-chou, the poet's home prefecture, was located i n what i s the present Chiang-yu yX. yfel area i n northern Szechwan. 3 The poet began to read broadly 4 and became interested i n fencing when he was s t i l l very young. Ac-cording to one poem, he once attempted to v i s i t some Taoist adepts i n the nearby T a i - t ' ien-shan Mountain jf^ vl) , but did not meet them - 45 -I t i s not c e r t a i n i f he indeed, as a c e r t a i n Sung dynasty source holds, secluded h i m s e l f i n t h i s mountain.^ In a work composed about the age of t h i r t y , n e v e r t h e l e s s , the poet d i d say that he had l i v e d i n s e c l u s i o n f o r s e v e r a l years (the f i g u r e may have been exaggerated) i n h i s home d i s t r i c t w i t h a r e c l u s e s t y l e d Tung-yen-tzu ^ -j* ? I t has been speculated that Tung-yen-tzu was none other than Chao J u i jjji^ ff^ . ^ Chao was a s e n i o r of L i Po's from the neighboring p r e f e c t u r e Tzu-chou jj^ V+j (around present S a n - t ' a i 5. ^ ), and was famous f o r h i s extensive knowledge i n the a r t s of r u l i n g by l e g i t i m a c y or might (wang-pa c h i h tao j t - ^ ' ^ u r P o e t w a s obviously very f a m i l i a r w i t h 9 him w h i l e i n Shu, be the above s p e c u l a t i o n c o r r e c t or not. In or s h o r t l y a f t e r 720, the poet made a t r i p to I-chou ^» ~H\ (present Ch'eng-tu ^ $j5 ). There he sent a v i s i t i n g card to Su T'ing ^ , the Chief A d m i n i s t r a t o r (chang-shih ^ ) of the Grand Government-General of I-chou, when Su was once out i n the s t r e e t s . Su, the poet claimed, t r e a t e d him courteously and warmly p r a i s e d h i s l i t e r a r y t a l -ent."^. Some poems show that he v i s i t e d the renowned 0-mei-shan Mountain • J ^ J_\ ^ o n h i s way out of Shu, eulogized i t as the top of the "mountains of the immortals" of Shu, and dreamed about a happy, m y s t i c a l l i f e i n the world of the immortals."^ 2. 724-737: " T r i f l i n g Away Ten Years" at An-chou The poet l e f t Shu and t r a v e l l e d east along the Yangtze R i v e r i n 12 about the autumn of 724. As he himself i n d i c a t e d , he d i d not make t h i s journey merely f o r s i g h t - s e e i n g ; he c l e a r l y saw i t as the beginn-ing of h i s search f o r a b e t t e r career i n the more me t r o p o l i t a n areas 47 13 of the empire. He t r a v e l l e d as f a r as Yang-chou J^jp Vfj and C h i n - l i n g p!"L a n c* s e e m s t o have spent about two years i n that r e g i o n . 1 4 He then t r a v e l l e d back up the r i v e r . 1 5 I suspect that he had spent most of h i s money and planned to go home now. •But he.stopped i n what i s the present Hupei i n about 727 and before l i got married at An-chou ^ (present An-lu !$r j^ P- ) to a woman named Hsi i l lyjp , who seems to have come from a r a t h e r d i s t i n g u i s h e d f a m i l y 16 i n that place. He l a t e r s a i d that he had " t r i f l e d away ten years" at An-chou. 1 7 Although he o f t e n used numbers very l o o s e l y , the f o l -lowing t e x t w i l l show that he may have r e a l l y kept h i s f a m i l y there and l i v e d there i n t e r m i t t e n t l y himself u n t i l a f t e r h i s m i d - t h i r t i e s . Soon a f t e r h i s marriage, L i Po made a t r i p to what he c a l l e d the J u - h a i jjjr yfl- area (present North Ju-ho i t yk > f area i n Honan). He may have made t h i s t r i p to stay w i t h h i s i n t i m a t e Taoism-orientated f r i e n d Yuan Tan-ch'iu ~f\_± *fjr~ J f - at Yiian's r e t r e a t i n Ying-yang j J ^ 19 (present h s i e n i n Honan). Around that time, he a l s o passed some short periods of secluded l i f e i n some obscure h i l l s at or near An-chou. But he was by no means s o l e l y occupied w i t h l i f e , ' i n the mountains. By about 730, he had already t r i e d more than once to f i n d a patron i n the senior o f f i c i a l s of An-chou; only he does not seem to have had any i i 2 1 l u c k . He then went to Lo-yang to seek h i s "fortune. I t i s l i k e l y that he went there s h o r t l y a f t e r the a r r i v a l of Hsuan-tsung's court i n the 11th month of 731, because the presence of the court must have been 22 one of the most appealing things there. At any r a t e , when e a r l y i n 732 the T'ang army was sent o f f on an e x p e d i t i o n against the Khitan 48 under the command of the Prince of Hsin-an L i I ^ f£- J _ ^ , L i Po was already there to write a farewell poem to a c e r t a i n Mr. Liang Kung-ch'ang , who would serve i n the prince's headquarters. The poet often drank wine and associated with people at taverns near the T'ien-chin-ch' iao Bridge ^ -jjs , which led to the imperial 24 palaces. A poem of h i s c l e a r l y shows that he was fascinated by the sight of handsomely dressed o f f i c i a l s passing the bridge on horse-back to have audiences with the emperor, although at the end of t h i s poem, s t i l l unable to f i n d any avenue to j o i n the ranks of these people, he also said something about the danger of serving the emperor and 25 the merits of an unbound l i f e . In the tenth month of 732, the T'ang court l e f t Lo-yang for Ch'ang-an by way of Lu-chou "HJ (present Ch'ang-chih -J^ , Shansi) and T'ai-yiian jffs , and was not to come back u n t i l the f i r s t month 2 6 of 734. Probably because his stay had no meaning a f t e r the court 27 had l e f t , L i Po seems to have l e f t Lo-yang i n l a t e 732. On his way south, he paid a v i s i t to Yiian Tan-ch'iu at Ying-yang; then he went to Sui-chou "J-ij (present hsien i n Hupei) to v i s i t the famous Taoist master Hu Tzu-yang jjjj^  ^  . While at Sui-chou, he was joined by a f r i e n d named Yiian Yen -ffi , whose acquaintance he made i n Lo-yang and who was l a t e r to become an o f f i c i a l at Ch'iao-chun J$£ /£j5 (Po-chou -;-H ; present Po-hsien i n Anhwei). In the winter, Yuan Yen l e f t the poet and went to seclude himself i n the nearby Hsien-ch'eng-shan Mountain He seems to have been joined by the poet i n the following spring (733). T h e n — i t i s not clear when—the two friends parted. The poet returned to some of his places of seclusion at 49 An-chou and Yuan headed f o r h i s home i n Ch'ang-an. In the s p r i n g of 734 o r , l e s s probably, 735, L i Po v i s i t e d Hsiang-yang jj^  jj^  ( p r e f e c t u r e seat of Hsiang-chou). In a d d i t i o n to t o u r i n g the scenic spots there, the poet f i r s t paid a v i s i t and then wrote a l e t t e r to Han Ch'ao-tsung ^ , eagerly seeking f o r Han's patronage. Han was at that time the Chief A d m i n i s t r a t o r of the Grand Government-General of Ching-chou 'H] (present Chiang-ling (J^ S , Hupei) 28 and P r e f e c t of Hsiang-chou. But again h i s e f f o r t s were of no a v a i l . 29 I t seems he stayed at Hsiang-yang u n t i l a f t e r autumn. In the f i f t h month of 735, the poet and Yuan Yen were found t o i l i n g on the rugged paths i n the T'ai-hang-shan Mountain iX) on a journey to Ping-chou jff ( i n 735, the Superior P r e f e c t u r e of T'ai-yuan). They a r r i v e d at t h e i r d e s t i n a t i o n i n autumn. The poet was so warmly hosted by Yuan and Yiian's f a t h e r , who was a high o f f i c i a l i n the pref ecture, t h a t , " i n his^own words, he was "drunk and f u l l and di d not t h i n k of home.""^ He o f t e n v i s i t e d Chin-tz'u j|p ^.gj , a scenic spot i n the west of the c i t y of T'ai-yuan, sometimes w i t h s i n g -31 song g i r l s . He stayed there u n t i l a f t e r the spring of 736. I t seems t h a t , on h i s way home, L i Po came to Lo-yang again, came across Yuan Tan-ch'iu there, and l e f t there f o r home sometime before the tenth month of that year, when Hsiian-tsung's court l e f t the Eastern C a p i t a l . He then seems to have l i v e d w i t h h i s f a m i l y f o r one year or so (to 737). Probably i n the autumn of 737, the poet wrote a poem to Yuan Tan-ch'iu, who had r e c e n t l y acquired a r e t r e a t near Nan-yang ( i n Teng-chou ')•*] ; present Nan-yang, Honan) . In t h i s poem he expressed some d e s i r e to seclude h i m s e l f , too. He soon went to v i s i t 50 Yuan, maybe even before r e c e i v i n g Yiian's answer. But he only stayed 32 overnight w i t h Yuan i n the Mountains. According to some sources, 33 the poet and h i s f a m i l y were then l i v i n g at Nan-yang. . This i s the e a r l i e s t i n d i c a t i o n that L i Po's f a m i l y had already l e f t An-chou. 3. 737-740: F i r s t V i s i t to Ch'ang-an 34 Before long, the poet t r a v e l l e d west to Ch'ang-an. I would spec-35 u l a t e that he a r r i v e d i n the c a p i t a l at the t u r n of 737 and 738. He 3 6 was to spend more than two whole years i n the Kuan-chung area. The purpose of t h i s sojourn was no doubt c l o s e l y connected w i t h the presence of the T'ang c o u r t , which d i d not move to Lo-yang again a f t e r i t l e f t there i n 736. There are some i n d i c a t i o n s that the poet c a r r i e d w i t h him at l e a s t one fu. to present to the emperor and spent the beginn-37 ing of h i s stay i n the c a p i t a l w a i t i n g f o r the outcome. Probably a f t e r he became aware that h i s show-piece of l i t e r a r y t a l e n t would not b r i n g about anything, the poet went to l i v e as a r e c l u s e i n the Chung-nan-shan Mountain J H (south of Ch'ang-an)."^ Some poems show that i n the autumn of a c e r t a i n year (my s p e c u l a t i o n i s i t was the year 738), L i Po t r i e d to become a protege of P r i n c e s s Yu-chen JJ^~ ' l i v e d i - n a v i l l a i n the Chung-nan-shan Mountain. The p r i n c e s s was a s i s t e r of Hsiian-tsung' s and was a pious T a o i s t . The 39 treatment the poet r e c e i v e d i n her v i l l a was c h i l l y . Maybe i n the summer of 739, L i Po l e f t the c a p i t a l f o r a t r i p to Hsin-p'ing ^fr ^ (Pin-chou ^ j)\ , c a l l e d Pin-chou 'H\ i n e a r l y T'ang times and Hsin-p'ing i n the S u i ; present P i n - h s i e n , north-west of Sian) and Fang-chou 1% (around present Huang-ling 51 t ft 40 Vg- , north of Sian) . He spent the summer and autumn at 41 Hsin-p'ing. It seems he then had to leave there because the patronage 42 he had received from a c e r t a i n l o c a l o f f i c i a l had waned. He stayed 43 at Fang-chou t i l l about the spring of the following year. Although h i s sojourn there was short, the poet s t i l l managed to associate with some o f f i c i a l s and eagerly expressed to them a request for p o l i t i c a l 44 help. He came back to the Chung-nan-shan Mountain i n the same 45 spring. As to h i s l a t e r a c t i v i t i e s there, very l i t t l e i s known to us now. 4. 740-742: Short Stays i n Lu and Hsuan-chou 46 In 740, the poet l e f t Ch'ang-an for the East-of-the-Mountain area. He may have t r a v e l l e d along the water ways from the c a p i t a l and ar-r i v e d at the Liang-yuan Garden /|L ^ near Pien-chou }\ (around present K'ai-feng fjf] ^ , Honan) i n the f i f t h month. 4 7 S t i l l i n the same month, he t r a v e l l e d farther to Tung Lu .^ j* (Yen-chou ^ area south of the T'ai-shan Mountain fo ); he then s e t t l e d down 48 there for some time. It i s l i k e l y that during t h i s sojourn he as-sociated i n the Ts'u-lai-shan Mountain yjj^ with K'ung Ch'ao-fu <3L ifr a n < * four other hermits, the group of them known as the "Six Hermits at Chu-hsi" Vf )% ^ 1 ,^ . 4 9 When the poet l e f t Tung Lu i s not very c l e a r . From various sources, I have found the following .accounts about h i s whereabouts. F i r s t , he did not leave Tung Lu before the spring of 741. 5 0 Second, he made a tour to the T'ai-shan Mountain i n the fourth and f i f t h months of 742. 5 1 Third, before he was summoned to the c a p i t a l i n the autumn of 52 742 (see below) , he once made a t r i p to the Hang-chou ^-fL V'J'j d i s t r i c t and stayed there at l e a s t from autumn to s p r i n g (or, l e s s probably, Nan-ling, Anhwei) to see h i s c h i l d r e n , whom he obviously had accommodated there e a r l i e r (N.B.: the poet's w i f e Hsu i s not mentioned i n t h i s ac-53 count) . Unless one or more of these accounts should prove u n r e l i a b l e , L i Po seems to have v i s i t e d the Hang-chou region sometime between the springs of 741 and 742 and to have returned to Lu f o r a l i t t l e w h i l e before coming south again to the lower Yangtze v a l l e y i n the summer of 742. This i t i n e r a r y , however, i s somewhat p u z z l i n g . To be s p e c i f i c , what had caused the poet to make such a short t r i p back to Lu? He i s not l i k e l y to have returned there only f o r s i g h t - s e e i n g . According to Wei Hao, the poet once cohabited w i t h a woman named L i u ^ ' j and t h i s 54 woman l e f t him before long. A poem by the poet suggests t h a t , before he l e f t Nan-ling f o r Ch'ang-an, he had j u s t broken w i t h a w i f e who had scorned him f o r h i s o b s c u r i t y and i m p r a c t i c a l a m b i t i o n . W a s t h i s w i f e Liu? (The poet's c o h a b i t a t i o n w i t h L i u and h i s accommodating h i s c h i l d r e n at Nan-ling both suggest that h i s f i r s t w i f e Hsu had been dead f o r sometime.) I f such i s the case, d i d the poet r e t u r n to Lu to take h i s c h i l d r e n south because during h i s sojourn i n the Hang-chou r e g i o n he had found a common-law w i f e at Nan-ling, who, he thought, could take care of them? We need more in f o r m a t i o n to reach any d e f i n i t e c o n c l u s i o n . the other way round). 52 Fourth, before he set o f f f o r the c a p i t a l i n (present 5. 742-744: Service i n the H a n - l i n Academy 53 Then came the most glorious episode i n the poet's l i f e , h i s service i n Hsiian-tsung's court. As usually accepted, he went to Ch'ang-an i n the autumn of 742. Some sources say that he impressed the emperor with a fu_ e n t i t l e d "In Praise of the Great Undertaking of the T'ang" ("Hsiian T'ang hung yu" ) . 5 7 He then became a Han-lin academician i n attendance (Han-lin kung-feng jj^- ) • By the winter of that year he had already attended the emperor at ban-quets, accompanied the emperor to the Hot Spring Palace (Wen-ch'uan-kung ^ ), the imperial winter resort north-east of Ch'ang-an, 59 and composed a fii to eulogize an imperial hunting there. By the mid-spring of 743, he had become the poet-laureate of the palace and had been busy composing laudatory verses to entertain the emperor and h i s concubines on t h e i r spring-time merry-making.^ A f t e r he l e f t the court, the poet made i t widely known that beyond the entertainment duties j u s t mentioned, he had oc c a s i o n a l l y p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the task of j £ - 61 d r a f t i n g decrees. Sudden success no doubt intoxicated the poet. In a poem, he thus described h i s glorious l i f e i n those days: i n the morning he went to the palace to pay respects to the emperor; then he waited there for summons-to serve the emperor, usually with complimentary compositions; when the sun set, he proudly flew home on h i s valuable horse; and at home he enjoyed with h i s guests wine, feasts, and charming sing-song g i r l s . L i f e was t r a n s i t o r y , he concluded, and i t was d e f i n i t e l y better to become prominent early than l a t e . Unfortunately, L i Po's p o l i t i c a l prominence was far more t r a n s i t o r y than h i s l i f e . Around the autumn of 743, he complained i n a poem 54 presented to the Chi-hsien-yuan ^ [5^  academicians that he had 63 been maligned. He kept making the same a l l e g a t i o n a f t e r he l e f t 64 the c a p i t a l . In the spring of 744, he was f i n a l l y "bestowed some go l d " and "allowed to r e t u r n to the mountains." 6 5 There w i l l be c l o s e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n i n Chapter Three i n t o the causes of L i Po's sudden p o l i t i c a l r i s e and f a l l as w e l l as the nature of h i s job i n the court. This s e c t i o n w i l l end w i t h some d e s c r i p t i o n of the f r i e n d s h i p between L i Po and Ho Chih-chang ^ tyo jjjf . Ho, a romant Taoism-orientated m a n - o f - l e t t e r s , h e l d the posts of monitor of the crown p r i n c e ( t ' a i - t z u pin-k'o JK % ^ %- ) a n c* d i r e c t o r of the impe-r i a l l i b r a r y (mi-shu chien fy^ %. & ) when L i Po came to Ch'ang-an i c -a i n 7 4 2 . 6 6 Probably soon a f t e r L i Po's a r r i v a l at the c a p i t a l , Ho came across L i at the Temple of Lao-tzu and, to L i ' s great s a t i s f a c t i o n , p r a i s e d L i as a "banished immortal" (che h s i e n - j e n ) and 67 gave him a hearty t r e a t at a wine shop. Because of age and poor h e a l t h , Ho resigned h i s o f f i c e s and l e f t the c a p i t a l w i t h f u l l honor i n e a r l y 744. He died s h o r t l y at h i s home i n the K u e i - c h i ^fg r e g i o n . L a t e r , L i Po wrote s e v e r a l poems sadly lamenting Ho's death and r e c a l l i n g 68 Ho's kindness. The d e s i g n a t i o n "banished immortal" was remembered 69 and p r i z e d both by the poet himself and by h i s admirers. 6 i 744-755: Long Years of Wanderings L i Po spent the ten years or so a f t e r h i s second departure from Kuan-chung t r a v e l l i n g around i n the eastern provinces. He f i r s t went south-eastward, passed the Po-lu-ylian Terrace "t) ( i . e . , Pa-shang , l o c a t e d south-east of Ch'ang-an), and a r r i v e d at 55 - V 70 Shang-chou jfa f\] (present Shang-hsien, Shensi). At Shang-chou, he v i s i t e d the tombs of the four famous Han dynasty hermits known as the "Four White-Haired Ones of the Shang-shan Mountain" (Shang-shan ssu-hao fa ® & ) . ? 1 I t i s not c e r t a i n where L i Po t r a v e l l e d next. I suspect that he went to Hsiian-chou, spent the summer there, and then took his c h i l d r e n 72 with him to the north. At any rate, i n the autumn of that year (744), L i Po was touring i n the Liang-Sung ^ j ; • j\ region (Liang: Pien-chou, or, Ch'en-liu-chiin ^ j^p ; Sung: Sung-chou, the present Shang-ch'iu |$] jt|3 area i n Honan) with Tu Fu, Kao Shih ^ and 73 some other people. He had o r i g i n a l l y come to Ch'en-liu to ask h i s f r i e n d L i Yen-yiin, the then Grand Inspector of the Ho-nan tao, to help him acquire a Taoist r e g i s t e r ( l u ) from Kao Ju-kuei -bj) ^ , a Taoist master i n Pei-hai j^L '/Sf (Ch'ing-chou -j+j , the present Wei-fang y$|£ ^ area i n Shantung) . He seems to have received h i s r e g i s t e r i n the temple of Lao-tzu i n Ch'i-chou (present Chi-nan y f^" 1^1 ) - ^ It i s not clear whether the poet came across Tu and Kao before or a f t e r h i s t r i p to Ch'i-chou. Tu Fu and Kao Shih were both s t i l l obscure then. According to a poem by Tu, the three of 75 them might have begun t h e i r f r i endship i n a wine shop i n Sung. Together with some others, they toured such h i s t o r i c a l s i t e s as the C h ' u i - t ' a i Tower r|h i n Liang and the C h ' i n - t ' a i Tower ^sL ^ at Shan-fu ^ X. , Sung-chou. 7^ In l a t e autumn, our poets parted. Kao Shih headed for the south-east; judging from some poems by Kao, L i Po and Tu Fu l e f t the Liang-Sung region no l a t e r than Kao h i m s e l f . 7 7 The friendship between L i 56 and Kao seems to have ended w i t h t h e i r p a r t i n g . L a t e r , during the events of the P r i n c e of Yung's r e b e l l i o n i n the tu r n of 756 and 757, Kao was to become one of the most important f i g u r e s who brought about the defeat of the p r i n c e , w h i l e L i Po would j o i n the p r i n c e ' s 78 troops and would be convicted as a t r a i t o r . While a f t e r the p r i n c e ' s defeat he was imprisoned at Hsun-yang ^ , L i Po once wrote a poem to a Mr. Chang JfJ^  , who was going to Kuang-ling ^ jJ^  (Yang-chou) to 79 present some m i l i t a r y plans to Kao. He vaguely expressed at the end of t h i s poem some wish f o r help from Kao, but he d i d not mention h i s past connection w i t h Kao at a l l . Except f o r t h i s poem, nothing i s known to have been composed by these two poets about each other. I t i s not c l e a r whether L i Po and Tu Fu t r a v e l l e d on together or 80 # s e p a r a t e l y , but they showed up together i n Lu >Q* i n the f o l l o w i n g 81 s p r i n g (745). Except f o r the summer, when he made a t r i p to Ch'i-chou, Tu Fu l i v e d at a place i n Lu named Shih-men JQ , r a t h e r c l o s e to L i Po's residence. They had some happy times together t o u r i n g and 82 v i s i t i n g l o c a l hermits. In a poem about t h e i r v i s i t to a hermit named Fan, Tu thus described h i s intimacy w i t h L i Po: " I love him l i k e a brother. / I n e b r i a t e , we sleep i n the same bed i n autumn; / Hand 83 i n hand, we walk together d a i l y . " They parted i n autumn: L i Po stayed 84 i n Lu and Tu Fu t r a v e l l e d west to Ch'ang-an. They d i d not see each other again. L i Po wrote two warm poems to Tu, on and soon a f t e r Tu's departure r e s p e c t i v e l y . But i t seems he soon forgot h i s then obscure 85 younger f r i e n d . On the co n t r a r y , L i Po's p o e t i c t a l e n t and personal 8 6 charm l i v e d i n Tu's memory through Tu's l i f e . There i s some i n d i c a t i o n that L i Po f e l l i l l i n Lu f o r a r a t h e r long 57 p e r i o d of time and planned to t r a v e l to Chiang-tung y£- ^ (the area east of the Che-chiang R i v e r |^fj' , i n c l u d i n g K u e i - c h i and Shan-chung. 87 ^i j \^ ) when he began to recover i n the autumn of 746. I would, t h e r e f o r e , speculate that the poet a r r i v e d i n Chiang-tung i n l a t e 746 or 747. According to a poem by Jen Hua , a contemporary admirer 88 of L i Po, the poet had gone there to j o i n h i s o l d f r i e n d Yiian Tan-ch'iu. Before l o n g , another f r i e n d of the poet, K'ung Ch'ao-fu, came to j o i n 89 them from the c a p i t a l , having grown t i r e d of p o l i t i c s . The three of v 90 them a l s o a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the famous Tao i s t adept Wu Yun ^ £y I t seems the poet then stayed i n the Yangtze Delta region t i l l at l e a s t 91 the summer of 749. The poet l e f t h i s daughter P'ing-yang ^ j}^  and son Po-ch'in ^ty jfjj i n Lu when he went to Chiang-tung; they both seem to have hardly entered t h e i r teens then. As h i s sojourn i n the south dragged on and on, L i Po missed these c h i l d r e n so much that i n s e v e r a l poems w r i t t e n to or about 92 them he u t t e r e d the deepest p a t e r n a l f e e l i n g ever found i n h i s works. Wei Hao t e l l s us that L i Po once cohabited w i t h a woman from Lu and had w i t h her a son named P o - l i $ J | . 9 3 I t i s not c e r t a i n i f L i Po had t h i s common-law w i f e during h i s second sojourn i n Lu (744-746 or 747) and l e f t P'ing-yang and Po-ch'in there to l i v e w i t h her. In the autumn of about 749, L i Po v i s i t e d the P r i n c e of Wu L i Ch'i jjp. ftjj^ -ffij , who then was the P r e f e c t of Lu-chiang-chiin ~yJ. j^ |3 (Lu-chou Jj^ j | j , around the present Ch'ao-hu Lake ^ , A n h w e i ) . 9 4 He may have gone to Lu-chiang on the way to the Huo-shan ^ fo ( i n south-west Anhwei) and the Lu-shan^/^ fo M o u n t a i n s . 9 5 In accordance w i t h a poem he wrote to Yuan Tan-ch'iu, L i Po stayed i n these mountains 58 f o r " q u i t e a long time" and was accompanied by a w i f e and a daughter, 96 who were both a l s o i n t e r e s t e d i n the l i f e of the immortals. This w i f e was probably none other than the poet's second formal w i f e , a woman named Tsung ^; , a descendant of Tsung Ch'u-k'o ^ rS- , 97 who was a c h i e f m i n i s t e r i n the Empress Wu's r e i g n . As f o r the daughter mentioned here, she must have been P'ing-yang, not a daughter borne by Tsung, s i n c e the poet and Tsung do not seem to have been 98 married long. Yuan Tan-ch'iu had secluded himself i n the Sung-shan Mountain ^ fr (south-east of Lo-yang) and had f r e q u e n t l y i n v i t e d L i Po to v i s i t him. The poet promised to take h i s w i f e and daughter .. 99 w i t h him to j o i n Yuan, but i t i s not known i f he r e a l l y d i d so. L a t e r , the poet may have made a journey to Ching-chou.''"^ Then, i n l a t e 750 or 751, L i Po s e t t l e d down i n L i a n g , where Tsung seems to have come from."*"^ At roughly the same time, he made a t r i p 102 to Lu, very probably to see h i s son Po-ch'in. In l a t e 751 or e a r l y 752, he set out from Liang on a long journey to Yu-chou j^fej (present Peking area) . He passed Kuang-p' ing-chun if %^ (Ming-chou » e a s t of modern Han-tan tfpjjj?|5 , Hopei) and had a b r i e f stop i n Han-tan ^jj (present h s i e n i n Hopei) i n the s p r i n g of 752."'"^ The T'ang army under An Lu-shan had waged a war against the Khitans i n the autumn of 751 and had been severely defeated. In the t h i r d month of 752, An Lu-shan l e d h i s r e i n f o r c e d troops to a t t a c k the Khitans a g a i n . T h e poet appears to have seen i n Han-tan the s t a r t i n g -106 o f f of some troops f o r t h i s war. He then t r a v e l l e d f a r t h e r north and arrived" i n Yu-chou around the 10th month of 752. I t seems the 108 poet had gone to Yu-chou w i t h the i n t e n t i o n to f i n d a job i n the army. 59 Yu-chou was, however, a region where people were f u l l of a f i e r c e and 109 proud s p i r i t . Therefore, the poet found that h i s own s k i l l i n r i d i n g and archery was nothing remarkable there. 1"'" 0 Probably a f t e r the 111 winter of 752-53, the poet l e f t Yu-chou i n disappointment. On his way south, L i Po passed K u e i - h s i a n g ^ ( i n Wei-chou ; around present Ta-ming 7^  fy , Hopei), where Wei L i a n g - t s a i JjT fj^ Sjjr , an old acquaintance of the poet's, happened to be the magistrate. L i Po spent a l i t t l e while there enjoying Wei's h o s p i t a l i t y ; then Wei was 112 summoned to the c a p i t a l f o r a new appointment. The poet then returned to Liang. Before long, he obviously decided to t r a v e l to the lower Yangtze River region. He f i r s t toured east to Ts'ao-nan ^ ^ (informal name for Ts'ao-chou; present Ho-tse , Shantung). A contemporary who saw him o f f said that he c a r r i e d with 113 him sacks of Taoist sc r i p t u r e s and drugs of immortality. I suspect that L i Po had planned to t r a v e l v i a Ts'ao-nan to Lu to see his son 114 before going south. In any case, a poem shows that l a t e r the poet was heading for Chiang-nan y"J_ {jf\ from Ts'ao-nan and was saying good-bye to some o f f i c i a l s t h e r e . 1 1 5 In the autumn of 753, L i Po a r r i v e d at Hslian-chou and l i v e d i n the' Ching-t' ing-shan Mountain Sfk^ r j 7 ji-t near the prefecture s i t e Hsiian-ch'eng-hsien . 1 1 6 He soon began to associate with l o c a l of-f i c i a l s . 1 1 7 In l a t e autumn, he l e f t Hsuan-chou for C h i n - l i n g . 1 1 ^ In the spring of the next year (754), Wei Hao, an enthusiastic admirer of L i Po, t r a v e l l e d across h a l f the empire to v i s i t the e v e r - t r a v e l l i n g 119 poet, and met him i n Kuang-ling. Wei was a recluse i n the Wang-wu-shan Mountain % (on the border of modern Shansi and Honan) and, 60 120 according to h i m s e l f , had the fame of being an unconventional person. L i Po and Wei toured together to C h i n - l i n g ( o f f i c i a l l y , Chiang-ning j ^ - ); there they were hosted by the poet's new patron, the mag-J- tf 121 i s t r a t e of Chiang-ning Yang . When they parted i n the summer, 122 the poet and Wei presented long poems to each other. The poet even entrusted to Wei a l l the manuscripts of h i s works i n h i s hands, and 123 asked Wei to e d i t them i n t o a c o l l e c t i o n . F o llowing i s Wei's unique d e p i c t i o n of L i Po's appearance and way of l i f e : His p u p i l s were s p a r k l i n g and as huge as those of a hungry t i g e r . He sometimes wore a b e l t , and looked r e a l l y handsome and poised. . . . From time to time, he took h i s sing-song g i r l s Chao-yang fcjp ^ and C h i n - l i n g ^ out w i t h him. . . [He t r a v e l l e d with] h i s v a l u a b l e steed and p r e t t y concubines. Whereever he went, p r e f e c t s came out of the towns to welcome him. He drank s e v e r a l tou's ( ij- , a l i q u i d measure) of wine [at a t i m e ] ; when he got drunk, he had h i s servant Tan-sha jfy- jfojr perform the Ch' ing-hai-po dance. The poet then went back to Hsuan-chou; there he f i r s t l i v e d at Nan-ling (from the summer of 754) and then l i v e d at Ch'iu-p'u ,^~> I t seems he stayed i n that r e gion t i l l the tenth month. 7. 755 -759 : Disastrous Involvement i n the M i l i t a r y Adventure of the P r i n c e of Yung 61 In the 11th month of 755, An Lu-shan rose i n r e b e l l i o n i n Yu-chou. He s w i f t l y conquered the p r e f e c t u r e s i n what are the present Hopei and 127 northern Shantung, and s e i z e d Lo-yang i n the 12th month. There i s some i n d i c a t i o n that L i Po then happened to be i n what i s the present 128 Honan and witnessed the f a l l of that r e g i o n i n t o the r e b e l s ' hands. I suspect that he had gone north s h o r t l y before the outbreak of the r e b e l l i o n to see h i s w i f e Tsung, whom he had l e f t i n Liang when he 129 t r a v e l l e d to Hsuan-chou i n 753. The couple then seem to have f l e d 130 south together. The poet's son Po-ch'in was l e f t behind i n Lu. S h o r t l y a f t e r , Wu 0 -^jcj , a h e r o i c admirer and d i s c i p l e of the poet, promised to go to Lu to help Po-ch'in f l e e to the s o u t h . F o r some unknown reasons, n e v e r t h e l e s s , Wu's promise was o b v i o u s l y not r e a l i z e d . Po-ch'in was s t i l l i n Lu when L i Po was imprisoned at Hsiin-yang j^. jljjj i n the s p r i n g of 7 5 7 . A s f o r the poet's daughter 133 P'ing-yang, she seems to have got married and died e a r l i e r . The poet a r r i v e d i n Hsuan-ch'eng i n the s p r i n g of 756. While there, •Jt 1 *> 134 he once planned to go to Shan-chung *f to l i v e i n s e c l u s i o n . But now we do not know i f he indeed t r a v e l l e d that f a r ; we only know that he t r a v e l l e d around i n the Wu ^ r e g i o n (modern southern Kiangsu and northern Chekiang) and was l e a v i n g Yii-hang (north of 135 Hang-chou) on an e a r l y autumn day. By the end of 756, he was 13 6 s e t t l e d down i n the Lu-shan Mountain w i t h h i s w i f e . As w i l l be presented i n greater d e t a i l i n the f o l l o w i n g chapter, L i Po soon got i n v o l v e d i n the b i t t e r power s t r u g g l e between the P r i n c e of Yung L i L i n ^ _J_ ^ and L i n ' s e l d e r brother S u - t s u n g . ^ 7 In the middle of 756, on h i s f l i g h t to Shu, Hsiian-tsung appointed L i n , i n 62 to govern the south of the empire. Late i n 756, L i n led h i s f l e e t from Chiang-ling ^"2- down the Yangtze River. L i Po was r e c r u i t e d into the prince's headquarters when the f l e e t was halfway to i t s destination. But soon the f l e e t was defeated by forces l o y a l to Su-tsung, the former Crown Prince L i Heng ^ , who a r b i t r a r i l y as-cended the throne at Ling-wu ^ ^ ( i n present Ningsia) i n the seventh month of 756. The poet f l e d i n amazement and horror only sh o r t l y before the defeat of the prince i n early'757. This b r i e f involvement i n p o l i t i c s caused L i Po a long ordeal. S t i l l i n the spring of 757, he gave himself up at P'eng-tse ^ (j Chiang-chou yi- */fj , the present Chiu-chiang -jii ; i - area i n Kiangsi) , and was thrown into prison at Hsiin-yang (prefecture s i t e of Chiang-chou). He experienced some extremely unfavorable si t u a t i o n s there and was once haunted by the p r o b a b i l i t y of being executed. Fortunately, two f r i e n d l y o f f i c i a l s , f i r s t the Grand Comforting Commissioner of Chiang-nan Ts'ui Huan yj. rjjf] ^ "K )^ a t l d t n e n t n e Vice-President of the Censorate Sung Jo-ssu ^ ^ vj? $C ^ jfe Jj?> , t r i e d to clear him of g u i l t on the ground that he had been coerced to j o i n L i Lin's f l e e t and had f l e d halfway on the prince's expedition. Sung, who had come to Hsiin-yang i n the autumn of 757 on a m i l i t a r y mission to Ho-nan tao, released L i Po shortly, made the poet an aide i n h i s headquarters, and even sent a memorial to the court to recommend him. But L i Po only went with Sung as far west as Wu-ch'ang jj^, ( i n l a t e autumn). 1 3^ In the eighth month, the chief minister Chang Hao was sent out of the court to supervise m i l i t a r y deployments i n the Ho-nan and Huai-nan regions. The poet was i l l l i v i n g at Su-sung ^ (north 63 of the Po-yang-hu Lake j^j) j^fj ) when Chang came to the south-east. S t i l l , before the middle of the tenth month, he wrote Chang two poems, 139 i n which he showed great enthusiasm for serving i n Chang's army. Unfortunately f or the poet, the T'ang court decided not to pardon him. .In about early 758, the poet received h i s v e r d i c t : banishment to Yeh-lang ^ "|[j5 (north-west of present Cheng-an JE -^ C > 140 Kweichow). He headed f o r h i s sad destination by way of the Yangtze 141 River, probably s t a r t i n g o f f at Hsun-yang. Nevertheless, h i s de-parture was not lonely. In addition to h i s wife Tsung and her brother Tsung Ching ^ £ ^ , some l o c a l d i g n i t a r i e s accompanied him for a 142 short way up the r i v e r . And h i s schedule of t r a v e l was by no means busy. He arr i v e d at Chiang-hsia y%- (present Wu-ch'ang) i n the 143 f i f t h or s i x t h month of the same year (758). By the eighth month, he was s t i l l a s sociating with some o f f i c i a l s at a lake i n the neighbor-ing prefecture Mien-chou yty Vtj (around the present Han-yang y^. j ^ ) * ^ ^ He passed the Ch ' i i-t'ang-hsia Gorge If tf& and ascended what he c a l l e d the highest peak of the Wu-shan Mountain 4* fo\ around the 145 second or t h i r d month of 759. Soon a f t e r , he wrote a l e t t e r to h i s wife, who was then l i v i n g at Yu-chang ^ (Hung-chou '^ "j , present Nan-ch'ang jijf] Jj , K i a n g s i ) . J u d g i n g from the l o c a t i o n of Yeh-lang and the mention of the Ming-yueh-hsia Gorge ^ jJi^ (east of present Ch'ung-ch'ing ^ ) by the poet i n a poem t a l k i n g about t h i s journey, L i Po seems to have planned to go to Yeh-lang along the present Chi-chiang River j^p. , which runs into the Yangtze 147 River west of Ch'ung-ch'ing. But the poet was pardoned soon a f t e r 148 he passed the Ch'u-t'ang-hsia Gorge. 64 8. 759-762: Epilogue 149 The poet's return journey, now downstream, was extremely swift. S t i l l i n the t h i r d month (759), he passed Chiang-ling and a r r i v e d at C h i a n g - h s i a . H e stayed there t i l l autumn, pr i m a r i l y under the pa-tronage of h i s o l d f r i e n d Wei L i a n g - t s a i ^ ^ Jjjs , who was then the prefect of Chiang-hsia, and the magistrate of Han-yang Mr. Wang , whose acquaintance he made when passing t h i s area i n the summer of 7 5 8 . 1 5 1 His desire for p o l i t i c a l o f f i c e did not decline as a r e s u l t of his recent ordeal. In a long poem presented to Wei, he asked Wei not to forget h i s a b i l i t y i f Wei became more powerful l a t e r . 1 5 2 He then t r a v e l l e d to Pa-ling tJLi J 5 ^ (Yueh-chou ^ jfj , present Yueh-yang ^ i n Hunan); there he associated with some o f f i c i a l s , including Chia Chih ^ ^_ , who was also a well-known 153 l i t e r a r y man. According to a poem by Chia, L i Po made a tour to L i n g - l i n g (Yung-chou jj^ , present Ling-ling-hsien i n Hunan) 154 i n the autumn. He returned to Chiang-hsia around the beginning of 7 6 0 . L a t e r , he seems to have gone to Yu-chang to l i v e f o r a while with h i s wife Tsung and a young c h i l d . In the f i f t h month of 761, the famous T'ang general L i Kuang-pi % $U 5^3 w a s ordered to s t a t i o n h i s troops at Lin-huai $£j /j-L (Ssu-chou >E9 ; near present Ssu-hung -fj9 -J^ , K i a n g s u ) . 1 5 7 When informed of t h i s matter, the poet made a l a s t e f f o r t to f i n d an op-portunity to use his t a l e n t s : he t r i e d to go to j o i n General L i ' s army. Yet, he had to give up h i s plan halfway because of poor health. On 158 h i s way back, he came to Chin-ling i n the autumn. Before long, he t r a v e l l e d to Hsuan-ch'eng-chun (Hsuan-chou) and l i v e d under the 65 patronage of L i Yang-ping ^. j ; ^ /7J^- > the magistrate of Tang-t'u l i j ^ . 1 5 ^ He died of i l l n e s s at Tang-t'u i n l a t e 762."*"^ He was survived by two sons, i n c l u d i n g Po-ch'in; i t i s not known i f he was al s o survived by h i s w i f e Tsung. Chapter Three: The P o l i t i c a l Dream and P u r s u i t s of L i Po As i s c l e a r from the previous chapter, L i Po strenuously sought f o r p o l i t i c a l prominence throughout h i s l i f e . This was a l l too n a t u r a l i n t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese s o c i e t y , i n which p o l i t i c a l prominence was the so l e way of w o r l d l y success. Our poet was, nev e r t h e l e s s , f a r from being merely one of the innumerable ordinary pursuers of power and wealth i n h i s t o r y , even though we do not take h i s p o e t i c a l achievements i n t o account. The kind of p o l i t i c a l career he dreamed of and the way he t r i e d to r e a l i z e that dream together v i v i d l y r e f l e c t a unique character r e a c t i n g to the s p e c i a l p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l r e a l i t y of the High T'ang p e r i o d . I s h a l l f i r s t expound the poet's i d e a l p o l i t i c a l career here. The e a r l i e s t and a l s o the c l e a r e s t extant d e l i n e a t i o n of that career appears i n a l e t t e r composed i n An-chou soon a f t e r 727. 1 The poet was then l i v i n g i n s e c l u s i o n i n a h i l l i n An-chou named Shou Shan ^ J J , and he s a i d through the mouth of the p e r s o n i f i e d h i l l : R ecently, the r e c l u s e L i Po came here from the O-mei-shan Mountain. He has h i s appearance from Heaven and h i s looks from the Way [ s i c ] ; he would n e i t h e r stoop to anything nor seek patronage from anyone— a f t e r Ch'ao [-fu] ^ and [Hsu] Yu ^ lJ} (famous legendary r e c l u s e s i n the time of the Emperor Yao ^ ), he i s the only person [that can do t h i s ] . . . . [With my h e l p , he has been able to a t -t a i n the l i f e of the immortals (rough meaning of the passage omitted).] Yet, suddenly Master L i sighed deeply i n t o the sky and s a i d to h i s f r i e n d , " I cannot leave t h i s world. You and I should - 66 -67 t r y to save the whole world when i n success, and to take care of our own moral u p l i f t when i n o b s c u r i t y (note that the poet's emphasis was on the f i r s t h a l f of t h i s a n t i t h e s i s ) . How could I eat your purple m i s t , r e s t i n the shades of your ; pine t r e e s , f l y your phoenix and cranes, and r i d e your dragons, and one day ascend i n t o heaven and become j u s t a r e s i d e n t on the I s l e s of Fang-chang and P'eng-lai? This cannot be.'" They then r o l l e d up t h e i r e l i x i r manuals, put t h e i r jade-decorated z i t h e r s back to boxes, and began to engage themselves i n such a r t s to help emperors r u l e s u c c e s s f u l l y as the teachings of Kuan [Chung] rj*p ^ and Yen [Ying] g£ . They wish to exert a l l t h e i r wisdom and a b i l i t y to a s s i s t the emperor p a c i f y a l l quarters i n the empire. A f t e r they have f u l f i l l e d t h e i r o b l i g a t i o n to serve t h e i r r u l e r and to g l o r i f y t h e i r parents, [they t h i n k , ] i t w i l l no longer be d i f f i c u l t f o r them to enjoy a f r e e l i f e on the lakes or water margins (places t r a d i t i o n a l l y considered i d e a l f o r l i f e i n s e c l u -sion) as [Master] T'ao Chu j ^ ) $j-L ( i . e . , Fan L i -j^ j|r ) and the Marquis of L i u ^ ( i . e . , Chang Liang ) d i d . The same dream as portrayed i n these words i s a l s o i n d i r e c t l y expressed through the poet's l i f e - l o n g admiration f o r some h i s t o r i c a l f i g u r e s . These f i g u r e s , to mention only a few of them, i n c l u d e the famous p o l i t i c a l s t r a t e g i s t (tsung-heng-chia ^ ) i n the Warring States period Lu Chung-lien /(cj? and such d i s t i n g u i s h e d s c h o l a r - r e c l u s e s as Lu Shang fe?) ( a l s o known as Chiang T'ai Kung J^ . ; famous f o r the s e r v i c e he rendered f o r the founding of the Chou dynasty), Chu-ko Liang 68 ^ % tfb ' H s i e h A n ^ ^ t - ' a n d t h e F o u r W h i t e - H a i r e a ° n e s ° f t h e Shang-shan Mountain C9 'So" Among these people, Lu and Hsieh 3 seem to have been most esteemed by the poet. Therefore, a b r i e f d e s c r i p -t i o n of t h e i r careers (which are r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the careers of a l l the people j u s t named) w i l l g r e a t l y f u r t h e r our understanding of L i Po's dream. According to the Shih c h i , Lu Chung-lien was from the s t a t e of Ch'i 4 but t r a v e l l e d to other s t a t e s f r e q u e n t l y . Of h i s l i f e two episodes are e s p e c i a l l y c e l e b r a t e d . One of them i s as f o l l o w s . Once Lu j u s t happened to be t r a v e l l i n g at Han-tan $j$ j^jj , the c a p i t a l of the s t a t e of Chao , when the c i t y was besieged by the troops of the s t a t e of Ch'in. With h i s extreme eloquence, he managed to undermine the siege and save the c i t y . Yet, when afterwards P'ing-yuan Chun ^ ^ » t ^ e l e a d i n g o f f i c i a l of Chao, o f f e r e d to reward him with gold or a high p o s i t i o n , Lu s a i d : A person who dedicates himself to the s e r v i c e of the world i s valued not only because he i s w i l l i n g to r i d people of t r o u b l e s and d i f f i c u l t i e s and to sol v e complicated problems f o r them, but because he does not accept rewards f o r h i s deeds. Accepting rewards i s s u i t a b l e only to businessmen. I cannot b r i n g myself to do t h a t . He soon bade adieu to P'ing-yiian Chiin. The other famous s t o r y of Lu took place i n Lu's home s t a t e C h ' i . The troops of Ch'i once made a long but f u t i l e attempt to recover the Liao-ch'eng c i t y j(<jV j £ , which was under 69 the occupation of Yen jet . Then, Lu wrote a l e t t e r and d e l i v e r e d i t i n t o the c i t y w i t h an arrow. I t i s s a i d t h a t , d i s t r e s s e d by t h i s l e t t e r , the Yen general i n charge of Liao-ch'eng, who had been deeply bothered w i t h p o l i t i c a l s t r u g g l e s at home, soom committed s u i c i d e and l e f t the c i t y i n chaos. As a r e s u l t , Ch'i f i n a l l y took over t h i s c i t y . This time, too, Lu d e c l i n e d an o f f e r of high o f f i c i a l p o s i t i o n . As to the career of Hsieh, the Chin shu has the f o l l o w i n g to t e l l u s . 5 O r i g i n a l l y Hsieh enjoyed a f r e e and l e i s u r e l y l i f e i n the countr y s i d e , o f t e n t o u r i n g the scenic spots near h i s home w i t h h i s singsong g i r l s , and r e j e c t e d a l l o f f e r s of governmental o f f i c e s . However, h i s r e p u t a t i o n grew so high that the court of the Eastern Chin almost continuously urged him to serve the empire. One high o f f i c i a l l a t e r thus t o l d Hsieh: When you time and again disobeyed the court's decrees [to d r a f t you to serve i n the court] and kept l y i n g at ease i n the eastern mountains, people here o f t e n s a i d to one another, "Hsieh An i s not w i l l i n g to come out [of h i s l i f e i n s e c l u s i o n ] ; what can we do f o r the common people!" A f t e r he f i n a l l y became a career p o l i t i c i a n , Hsieh was q u i c k l y promoted to the p o s i t i o n of c h i e f m i n i s t e r , and made h i s mark i n h i s t o r y by many accomplishments, i n c l u d i n g the well-known v i c t o r y at the F e i - s h u i River /^ C o v e r the i n v a s i o n of the Fu-Ch'in regime. I t i s s a i d t h a t , even in' h i s high posts i n the co u r t , Hsieh never stopped wishing to r e t u r n to h i s l i f e i n r e t r e a t . L i Po not only admired such heroes as Lu and Hsieh but f a n c i e d that 70 he belonged i n t h e i r rank. As many poems show, he compared h i s l i f e i n o b s c u r i t y to that of Hsieh i n the s o - c a l l e d "eastern mountains," conscious-l y kept singsong g i r l s a f t e r the example of Hsieh, and, of course, always expected to s w i f t l y r i s e to power and r e l i e v e the world of s u f f e r i n g . A l s o , he o f t e n claimed that he had Lu Chung-lien's s t r i k i n g eloquence and h e r o i c bearing, though not yet h i s good f o r t u n e . 7 Now i t i s c l e a r that L i Po's p o l i t i c a l dream had three i n t e r r e l a t e d f a c e t s . F i r s t , the poet thought that he could and was o b l i g a t e d to become a s a v i o r of the common people and, hence, wished to be put i n a p o s i t i o n i n accordance w i t h the task of a s a v i o r . At the same time, he a l s o wanted to be a genuine r e c l u s e , t o t a l l y u n t i e d by power and fame. To achieve both g o a l s , he wished to make s w i f t accomplishments and then h e r o i c a l l y r e t u r n to h i s l i f e i n r e t r e a t . Why L i Po had such a romantic dream as t h i s and what t h i s dream may mean i n more p r a c t i c a l terms need some e x p l o r a t i o n . I s h a l l begin w i t h the poet's wish to become a s a v i o r . I t i s widely known that Confucianism imposed upon a l l Chinese i n t e l l e c t u a l s the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r r u l i n g the s t a t e and g i v i n g peace to the world. Judging from the above quotation from him, L i Po was s t r o n g l y i n f l u e n c e d by that teaching, though he u s u a l l y d i d not give people the impression of being very Confucian. Furthermore, the time i n which the poet grew up, that i s , Hsuan-tsung's e a r l i e r r e i g n , i s one of the most p e a c e f u l , prosperous, and l i b e r a l periods i n Chinese h i s t o r y . To many b r i l l i a n t and ambitious i n t e l l e c t u a l s of that p e r i o d , t h e r e f o r e , the r o l e of the s a v i o r may have appeared very r e a l . The f o l l o w i n g l i n e s , from Tu Fu and Kao Shih r e s p e c t i v e l y , are c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n s of t h i s : 71 I have thought that I am very e x t r a o r d i n a r y , And should immediately climb to an important p o s i t i o n , To a s s i s t the emperor to surpass Yao and Shun g And to r e s t o r e the p u r i t y of customs. Even though I c h e r i s h plans that can r e l i e v e our times of s u f f e r i n g , 9 Who would be i n t e r e s t e d i n them? Admittedly, our poet may have sometimes mixed the wish i n question w i t h h i s a s p i r a t i o n f o r p o l i t i c a l eminence and the w o r l d l y b e n e f i t s that accompanied i t . (This p o i n t w i l l become c l e a r l a t e r . I t would be, however, c y n i c a l to suspect that the noble (though u n r e a l i s t i c ) s i d e of that wish was simply a sham. L i Po's i n t e r e s t i n the l i f e of the hermit should be understood i n the l i g h t of h i s temperament and some s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l trends of h i s times. For convenience, I s h a l l i n v e s t i g a t e these trends i n the next c h a p t e r . 1 1 Here, I s h a l l use some conclusions of those i n v e s t i g a t i o n s without e l a b o r a t i o n . Our poet was a man e a s i l y a t t r a c t e d by h e r o i c and romantic things around him. As i s w e l l known and c l e a r l y demonstrated i n the previous chapter, the poet loved wine, women, and song. A poem 12 shows that he l i k e d r a r e b i r d s . He a l s o loved f e n c i n g , which seems to have been r a t h e r popular among h i s contemporaries, and o f t e n c a r r i e d 13 a sword w i t h him i n h i s t r a v e l s . He even proudly claimed t h a t , i n h i s e a r l i e r years, he a c t u a l l y fought and k i l l e d l i k e an ancient k n i g h t -e r r a n t . 1 ^ The l i f e of the hermit was, i n the High T'ang p e r i o d , o f t e n blended w i t h the c o l o r f u l and immensely pop u l a r i z e d T a o i s t quest f o r i m m o r t a l i t y . There seems l i t t l e doubt that the romanticism of that l i f e f a s c i n a t e d our poet. On the other hand, i t was widely b e l i e v e d i n L i Po's times that the r o l e as an outstanding hermit should and might lead to i m p e r i a l f a v o r . As we s h a l l see, the poet obviously had t h i s b e l i e f i n mind when l i v i n g as a r e c l u s e . Without t h i s b e l i e f , he must have found i t very d i f f i c u l t to r e s o l v e the c o n t r a d i c t i o n between h i s a s p i r a t i o n s f o r p o l i t i c a l success and f o r a f r e e and c o l o r f u l l i f e i n the mountains. The poet's d e s i r e f o r s w i f t achievements i s a l o g i c a l c o n t i n u a t i o n of the wishes j u s t discussed. The p e t t y career-of the ordinary.low o f f i c i a l , w i t h a l l i t s t r i v i a l v i c i s s i t u d e s , i s u n a t t r a c t i v e to anyone with p o l i t i c a l ambition. I t would c e r t a i n l y be much more so to one who has the double self-image of a s a v i o r and a r e c l u s e . Indeed, the kind of fabulous successes which L i Po's heroes are s a i d to have made are very u n l i k e l y i n r e a l i t y . On the surface at l e a s t , however, d i s t i n g u i s h e d i n t e l l e c t u a l s , i n c l u d i n g hermits, had the opportunity to suddenly win an emperor's favor and become eminent i n the poet's times."'"5 In the poet's s e l f - d r a m a t i z a t i o n , successes of t h i s k ind might very w e l l have appeared c l o s e to those of h i s heroes. How s e r i o u s was L i Po's suggestion that he would r e t i r e on the f u l f i l l -ment of what he described as h i s o b l i g a t i o n to serve the r u l e r ? What kinds of achievements i n r e a l i t y would he have considered enough to f u l -f i l l that o b l i g a t i o n ? I have not found any c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n i n the poet's works. However, I would suspect that the poet expressed that wish mainly i n order to keep c o n s i s t e n t w i t h h i s s t a t u s as a hermit. A f a i r l y l a r g e p o r t i o n of L i Po's h e r o e s — e . g . , Kuan Chung, Chu-ko L i a n g , and Hsieh A n — d i d not r e t r e a t from t h e i r p o l i t i c a l involvement e a r l y . To the poet, who 73 never managed to make any su b s t a n t i a l p o l i t i c a l success i n h i s l i f e , a so - c a l l e d glorious retirement could not have been a r e a l concern. As one may expect, L i Po must have thought that he possessed some s i g n i f i c a n t merits so as to believe that he deserved a b r i l l i a n t p o l i t i c a l career. In the memorial to Su-tsung which he wrote i n 757 for Sung Jo-ssu to recommend himself, L i Po s a i d : He ( r e f e r r i n g to L i Po himself) cherishes the talent to govern and possesses the uprightness of Ch'ao-fu and Hsu Yu. His l i t e r a r y writings can change the customs and h i s learning can probe into the subtle r e l a t i o n s h i p between heaven and man. The whole world say that i t i s unjust t h i s person has not been given any appoint-- 1 6 ment. This passage i n fa c t includes a l l that the poet thought were his main p o l i t i c a l assets. For convenience, I s h a l l f i r s t discuss the connection between the poet's l i t e r a r y talent and h i s p o l i t i c a l ambition. Judging from such celebrated poems as "O-mei-shan yiieh ko" i l^ ^ ih J^] (724), "Tu Ching-men sung-pieh" (724), and "Hsiang-yang ko" |L ffi* (^34), L i Po's p o e t i c a l talent bloomed very early i n h i s l i f e . The possession of such a talent would, admittedly, more or l e s s improve one's p o l i t i c a l fortune i n those days. It i s well known that l i t e r a r y composition occupied an outstanding p o s i t i o n i n the curriculum of the chin-shih examinations, the most important of the empire's examinations to r e c r u i t o f f i c i a l s i n T'ang times. In f a c t , l i t e r a r y attainment was 74 so highly valued i n society that i t s importance lay f a r beyond the chin- shih examinations. On one hand,- i t was often a c r u c i a l asset for those i n t e l l e c t u a l s who sought patronage from o f f i c i a l s i n order to enter o f f i c i a l d o m one way or another. On another, from time to time the court would summon some e s p e c i a l l y famous men of l e t t e r s to serve as the emper-or's l i t e r a r y attendants. (There w i l l be more discussion on these two 18 points l a t e r i n this chapter.) Although he obviously did not treat h i s l i t e r a r y talent as a sheer p o l i t i c a l t o o l , L i Po did not hesitate to take advantage of that t a l e n t . Ever since h i s e f f o r t to win patronage from Su T'ing i n or soon a f t e r 720, our poet had frequently advertised 19 h i s l i t e r a r y writings before o f f i c i a l s . Following i s a v i v i d example of h i s advertisement. In 730, i n a l e t t e r to the chief administrator of An-chou Mr. P'ei, L i Po quoted Su T'ing as saying that he (Li) would of f_u i n Han times, also from Shu) i f he could broaden h i s learning. In addition, the poet claimed that a former leading o f f i c e r at An-chou had also expressed s i m i l a r compliments to him: The l i t e r a r y compositions of other people are l i k e mountains without mist and rosy clouds or springs without grass and trees. L i Po's compositions are [, on the contrary,] c l e a r , f o r c e f u l , and untrammeled. [They are] f u l l of i l l u s t r i o u s passages and charming expressions. . . . Every sentence [he writes] i s someday become another Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju (famous composer 20 s t r i k i n g . The poet then f i n a l l y said i n his own name, b r i e f l y but self-assuredly, 75 " I am ra t h e r good i n l i t e r a r y w r i t i n g s . " The r e p e t i t i o n here i s an unmistakable i n d i c a t i o n of the tremendous emphasis the poet put on t h i s m e r i t . Unfortunately f o r the poet, though i t o f t e n was a stepping-stone i n the beginning of a p o l i t i c a l career, sheer l i t e r a r y attainment u l t i m a t e l y d i d not weigh much i n p o l i t i c s . The best r e s u l t i n p o l i t i c s of L i Po's e x t r a o r d i n a r y p o e t i c a l t a l e n t was, as w i l l be shown l a t e r , a short p e r i o d of pompous l i f e as Hsiian-tsung's l i t e r a r y attendant. Late i n h i s l i f e (759), i n the famous long poem he presented to Wei L i a n g - t s a i , the poet could not help thus mocking h i m s e l f : What i s the attainment of my l i t e r a r y w r i t i n g s l i k e ? My l i t e r a r y w r i t i n g s have undeservedly made a nation-wide r e p u t a t i o n . [Yet, a] c h i l d ' s [ p l a y ] , t h i s i s not worth mentioning. I had to s i g h f i v e times and leave the Western C a p i t a l [ a l l the samej. [A note f o r the quoted l i n e s ] : The l a s t l i n e r e f e r s to the poet's 744 p o l i t i c a l f a i l u r e ; the Western C a p i t a l was none other than Ch'ang-an. What L i Po meant by "the uprightness of Ch'ao-fu and Hsii-yu" was the main v i r t u e of the true hermit, that i s , uninterestedness i n w o r l d l y power. To the poet, t h i s v i r t u e d i d not mean t o t a l r e t r e a t from p u b l i c a f f a i r s . I t only meant, as c i t e d above, not to "stoop to anything" nor 22 to "seek patronage from anyone" i n one's p o l i t i c a l p u r s u i t s . In due course i t w i l l become cl e a r how the poet indeed t r i e d hard to maintain t h i s " v i r t u e " though he could not absolutely behave up to h i s own standard. Owing to the blending of the l i v e s of the hermits and the Taoists, the poet rather n a t u r a l l y saw his Taoist dedication and attainment as part of h i s so-called uprightness, too. In t h i s regard, he c e r t a i n l y had some-thing to be proud of. I have pointed out i n the previous chapter that, immediately on t h e i r acquaintance i n 742, L i Po was praised by Ho Chih-24 chang as a "banished immortal." According to himself, L i Po had en-joyed s i m i l a r compliments long before 742. In h i s youth (742?), at Chiang-ling jjjj^  , the poet once met with Ssu-ma Ch'eng-chen 5J Jj 7^|j| , one of the patriarchs of Mao Shan Taoism, and was praised by Ssu-ma as a man of "the bearing of an immortal and the physique of a true Ta o i s t " (hsien-feng tao-ku jjli /|Lij^')fj> )• Very much pleased, the poet then wrote a f u to commemorate th i s incident. He compared Ssu-ma to a "rare b i r d " (hsi-yu niao ^ ^ % ) i n th i s fu_, but compared himself to the transcendent Great Roc (ta-p'eng ^ jjjjjlj; ) described i n the Chuang-tzu.^ 2 6 (This i s not the only time the poet compared himself to the Great Roc.) The compliments of Ho and Ssu-ma c l e a r l y indicate that L i Po possessed some transmundane bearing which, i n the imagination of contemporary devotees to Taoism, was peculiar to the immortals. Based upon our under-standing of L i Po's temperament and Wei Hao's d e s c r i p t i o n of the poet's appearance and l i f e - s t y l e , I would imagine that that bearing was some-thing l i k e a charming blending of poise, untrammeledness, and ethere-27 ality.. . Such merits as discussed here were, s u p e r f i c i a l l y , much valued by Hsiian-tsung's court. However, ju s t l i k e l i t e r a r y achievements, t h e i r p o l i t i c a l e f f i c a c y was very l i m i t e d . I s h a l l make t h i s point clear l a t e r . P r a c t i c a l wisdom and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e a b i l i t y are undoubtedly much more important f o r a p o l i t i c a l c a r e e r, compared w i t h l i t e r a r y attainment and the v i r t u e s of the hermit. Unfortunately, they do not seem to have indeed belonged to L i Po. To begin w i t h , the poet's s o - c a l l e d l e a r n i n g that could "probe i n t o the s u b t l e r e l a t i o n s h i p between heaven and man" ( i f i n t e r p r e t e d as the s a g a c i t y to accord p o l i t i c a l measures w i t h the mandate of Heaven) i s i n s u b s t a n t i a l . The poet admired the "teachings of Kuan Chung and Yen Ying" (these teachings are i n f a c t only works a t t r i b u t e d to Kuan and Yen) and knew the s t o r i e s of the successes of 29 many other statesmen. But there i s no s i g n that he ever digested these things w e l l . Despite the f r e q u e n t l y repeated c l a i m that he cherished "good pla n s " ( l i a n g - t ' u |§J ) to run the government and to save the 30 world, the poet expressed only one serious p o l i t i c a l o p i n i o n i n h i s extant works. This o p i n i o n i s seen i n "A Memorial W r i t t e n on Behalf of the V i c e - P r e s i d e n t of the Censorate Sung [Jo-ssu] to P e t i t i o n [the court] to Transfer the C a p i t a l to C h i n - l i n g " -f fe | | | $j} 31 (autumn of 757), and seems to have been suggested to Sung by L i Po. I t h e l d that Su-tsung should abandon the e x i l e c a p i t a l Fu-feng j^L ( a l s o known as Feng-hsiang ^|/J , l o c a t e d to the west of Ch'ang-an, c a p i t a l from the 2nd month to the 10th month of 757) and t r a n s f e r h i s court to C h i n - l i n g , because the l a t t e r was e a s i e r to defend and i t s neighboring d i s t r i c t s were r i c h e r i n both n a t u r a l and human resources (the Yangtze d e l t a region was then the main refuge of the i n t e l l e c t u a l s who had f l e d south a f t e r the outbreak of the devastating r e b e l l i o n of 32 An Lu-shan). Since the T'ang e x i l e court was b a s i c a l l y s t a b i l i z e d then and the north-west was a c r u c i a l f r o n t against the r e b e l s , to t r a n s f e r 78 the court to the south would have done more harm than good to the 33 empire. The poet's suggestion was by no means laudable. I t seems to have been merely a s c h o l a r ' s empty t a l k i f i t was not an e f f o r t to j u s t i f y the poet's p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the P r i n c e of Yung's d i s a s t r o u s adventure to c o n t r o l Yangtze d e l t a region (see below f o r more about t h i s adventure). Apart from the above proposal, L i Po only made some i n c i d e n -t a l comments on n a t i o n a l a f f a i r s . For example, he c r i t i c i s e d the s e l f -d e v a s t a t i n g warfare against the Nan-chao j^J ^ , which took place l a t e 34 i n the t'ien-pao p e r i o d , and the inhuman a c t i o n s the T'ang general Ko-shu Han ^ JJJQ adopted i n 749 to conquer the Tibetan stronghold Shih-pao-ch'eng ^ ^ ifa . In h i s c r i t i c i s m , he showed more resent-ment over the l a c k of able people l i k e himself i n the government than genuine p o l i t i c a l i n s i g h t and concern with the welfare of the common 3 6 people. The poet's a c t u a l p o l i t i c a l involvement was not a c r e d i t to h i m s e l f , e i t h e r . This point w i l l be d e a l t w i t h l a t e r . Here, s u f f i c e i t to say that the poet's performance i n both Hsuan-tsung's court and the f l e e t of the P r i n c e of Yung demonstrate that he was not p r a c t i c a l and prudent enough f o r p o l i t i c a l l i f e . Indeed, L i Po seems to have never made a more serious mistake than to fancy that he was born w i t h s p e c i a l p o l i t i c a l t a l e n t s . I t should be noted t h a t , w h i l e he was s i n c e r e and zealous about h i s p o l i t i c a l dream, the poet at the same time f a l t e r e d f r e q u e n t l y . He changed h i s mind when, f r e q u e n t l y i n h i s long years of p u r s u i t , he was overcome w i t h resentment, d i s t r e s s , or j o y . Mainly, he v a c i l l a t e d i n two ways. On the one hand, a f f l i c t e d w i t h h i s prolonged f a i l u r e , h i s d e s i r e f o r prominence o f t e n became so intense that he completely forgot about or even unreservedly downgraded the l i f e of the hermit. This was e s p e c i a l l y true with the several gloomy years before the poet was summoned to Ch'ang-an i n 742. In a poem written around 737 to a f r i e n d who had advised him to l i v e i n seclusion instead of struggling f o r prominence, L i Po said: A hero sunk i n the weeds, I am disturbed with deep d i s t r e s s . I am ashamed to follow the example of the man from Lang-ya, Who had retreated l i k e a c o i l e d dragon and farmed lands himself. I would enjoy wealth and prominence myself 37. And make accomplishments while the prime of my l i f e s t i l l l a s t s . [A note f o r the quoted l i n e s ] : The man from Lang-ya: Chu-ko Liang. In another poem, probably composed during h i s f i r s t v i s i t to Lu (740-42), the poet again said, "Do not follow the l e i s u r e l y l i f e i n the East Moun-38 t a i n , / In which Hsieh An gradually turned old. I t seems the poet was s t i l l haunted by the memory of h i s past obscurity when, sometime during h i s court service i n 742-44, he wrote the following l i n e s : Time does not stay And l i f e i s ju s t l i k e the spinning fleabanes. It i s better to become prominent early than l a t e . 39 I would be ashamed to be compared to the old fisherman. 80 [A note for the quoted l i n e s ] : The old fisherman: Lu Shang, who i s said to have l i v e d i n obscurity as a fisherman before his l a t e success f i n a l l y came. On the other hand, the same sense of f r u s t r a t i o n might drive the poet to exactly the opposite d i r e c t i o n . He would console himself with the idea that p o l i t i c a l success was t r a n s i t o r y and was frequently followed by d i s a s t e r and, therefore, i t might be worthwhile for him j u s t to enjoy a free and c o l o r f u l l i f e as a recluse or simply as a hedonist. For example, i n the t h i r d of the three famous poems e n t i t l e d "Hard Is My Road" jff (composed during the poet's f i r s t v i s i t to Ch'ang-an), 4 0 the poet enumerated four outstanding h i s t o r i c a l figures whose p o l i t i c a l careers had ended i n tragedy (Wu Tzu-hsu ^r- > Ch'ii Yuan yjj! ^ , Lu Chi ji£ ^ , and L i Ssu ^ . # f p 4 1 and then concluded: Do you not see that Chang Han of Wu was known f o r understanding l i f e , And suddenly thought of home i n Chiang-tung when the autumn winds blew? Let me j u s t enjoy a cup of wine i n my l i f e t i m e — What i s the use of a posthumous fame even i f i t w i l l l a s t a thousand years? [A note for the quoted l i n e s ] : According to Chin shu 92/2384, Chang Han of the Western Chin dynasty often feared that he would be i n trouble when he was working under the powerful Prince of Ch'i Ssu-ma Chiung fle] . Once when the autumn winds began to blow, Chang f e l t 8 1 homesick. He then r e s o l u t e l y abandoned h i s job and went home. He was thus free from d i s a s t e r when l a t e r the prince f a i l e d i n a r e b e l l i o n . The 3rd and 4th l i n e s above are paraphrased from some of Chang's words. In another i l l u s t r i o u s poem, "Mount Lady of Heaven Ascended i n a Dream" written i n 746 or 747 when L i Po was leaving Lu for the Wu-Ylieh region), he again said: Let me tend a white deer among the green c l i f f s , And r i d e i t whenever I need going to v i s i t the renowned mountains. How could I furrow my brows and bend my back i n service of rank and power, 42 And deny myself a l i g h t heart and a smiling face? Understandably, the poet's mood f o r retre a t would sometimes be deepened by p o l i t i c a l tragedies that happened to h i s contemporaries. In 747, L i Yung 4L % , a widely esteemed o f f i c i a l and man of l e t t e r s with whom L i Po had once associated, and another high o f f i c i a l P'ei Tun-fu jp^jf* were executed through a frame-up by the d i c t a t o r i a l chief minister L i ("Meng yu T'ien-mu y i n l i u - p i e h it , probably 43 Years l a t e r , the poet once deeply mourned over t h e i r undeserved death and said: Since my youth I have wished to go to l i v e i n the Five Lakes. Having l e a r n t about t h i s [sad event], I am even more uninterested 44 i n the b e l l s and tripods. 82 [Notes f o r the quoted l i n e s ] : F i v e Lakes: Wu Hu % yi>^ , the T'ai-hu Lake and four neighbor-ing l a k e s , where Fan L i ^ ||r secluded himself a f t e r he had helped Kou Chien A] , the king of Yiieh , destroy the s t a t e of Wu % . B e l l s and t r i p o d s : chung-ting J ^ . , meaning i l l u s t r i o u s achievements or the extravagant l i f e of the eminent and powerful. When he expressed the wish to withdraw from w o r l d l y a f f a i r s , L i Po u s u a l l y kept i n t a c t h i s self-image as a would-be s a v i o r . He a l l e g e d that i n contemporary p o l i t i c s only the u n p r i n c i p l e d and the u n d e r q u a l i f i e d had 45 p r e v a i l e d . This made him appear to be a f r u s t r a t e d hero r a t h e r than an e s c a p i s t . However, f o r a short period a f t e r the outbreak of the r e b e l l i o n of An Lu-shan, the poet d i d break h i s usual s t y l e by c l a i m i n g that he was born f o r a l i f e i n s e c l u s i o n , not f o r saving t h i s world. For convenience, t h i s most s t r i k i n g d e v i a t i o n from the poet's dream w i l l be i n v e s t i g a t e d l a t e r . Now l e t us turn from the poet's p o l i t i c a l dream to the r e a l i t y of h i s p o l i t i c a l p u r s u i t s . As i s shown i n Chapter Two, patronage-seeking was part of L i Po's e a r l i e s t p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s . To understand t h i s prac-t i c e , some knowledge of the examination system e f f e c t i v e i n L i Po's time i s e s s e n t i a l . In those days, the most popular way f o r an i n t e l l e c t u a l to pursue an o f f i c i a l career was to p a r t i c i p a t e i n one of the s e v e r a l major r e g u l a r examinations. These included the ming-ching fl^ , the tao-chu J j | j ^ ( a f t e r 741), and e s p e c i a l l y the c h i n - s h i h examinations, of which the main contents were Confucian c l a s s i c s , Taoist 83 c l a s s i c s , and l i t e r a r y composition respectively. Interested i n d i v i d u a l s could send t h e i r a p plications together with t h e i r t i e h jj^jji ( i d e n t i f i c a -t i o n documents?) to t h e i r l o c a l governments. The l o c a l governments would then hold preliminary tests and send successful candidates to the c a p i t a l for the f i n a l examinations. (There were public schools f o r the common people, of which the outstanding students could be selected to attend the f i n a l examinations, too. But i t seems these schools had greatly l o s t t h e i r appeal by L i Po's time.) In addition to the regular examinations, there were i r r e g u l a r "decree examinations" (chih-chu ), which were held i n the court by s p e c i a l orders from the r u l e r to r e c r u i t people of exceptional v i r t u e , administrative a b i l i t y , l i t e r a r y t a l e n t , and so f o r t h . Candidacy f o r the "decree examinations" were usually based upon the sp e c i a l recommendations of senior o f f i c i a l s i n the c e n t r a l and the p r e f e c t u r a l governments. Success i n both the regular and the decree examinations gave the candidate the r i g h t to be selected f o r governmental „ . 46 o f f i c e s . Government o f f i c i a l s could help the p o t e n t i a l candidates i n several ways i n the above examination system. F i r s t , i t i s clear that those who were d i r e c t l y responsible f o r presenting candidates to the court (e.g., 47 the prefects) could select t h e i r f a v o r i t e s as candidates. Second, an o f f i c i a l who was not i n the p o s i t i o n to do so could s t i l l recommend his proteges to one who was. Following i s an example. A l e t t e r by the poet Ts'ui Hao ^| shows that i n about 726 Ts'u i , who was then . a post at a sub-prefecture i n Hsiang-chou jfy y+j , recommended a person named Fan Heng to the prefect of Hsiang-chou as a candidate for a c e r t a i n decree examination. 4^ According to some other sources, Fan 84 passed a decree examination i n 727; Ts'ui's recommendation must have 49 helped. T h i r d , an o f f i c i a l could help boost the r e p u t a t i o n of h i s proteges, thus making i t e a s i e r f o r them to succeed l a t e r . The b i o g r a -phies of Sun T ' i i n the CTS and the HTS give us an example. 5 0 At the age of f i f t e e n , Sun paid a v i s i t to the c h i e f a d m i n i s t r a t o r of Yung-chou fy j-f\ ^ T s ' u i Jih-yung |£. $ )fl . (Judging from the career of T s ' u i , t h i s v i s i t seems to have taken place i n 710. Yung-chou was none other than the l a t e r C a p i t a l P r e f e c t u r e ; i t s c h i e f a d m i n i s t r a t o r acted as a p r e f e c t . ) 5 1 Though at f i r s t s l i g h t e d by T s ' u i , Sun soon im-pressed T s ' u i w i t h a quick but b e a u t i f u l f u , which he had composed at i Ts'ui's request. As a r e s u l t , Sun won the f r i e n d s h i p of T s ' u i d e s p i t e the big d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e i r ages and h i s r e p u t a t i o n soared immediately. In 713, very probably not through Ts'ui's recommendation, Sun was able to succeed i n a decree examination known as "Wise and Remarkable People Obscured among Butchers and Fishermen" ^ fy $\ . 5 2 I t was a l s o f e a s i b l e f o r an o f f i c i a l to bypass the examination system and present a person, u s u a l l y a very renowned one i n t h i s case, d i r e c t l y 53 to the c o u r t . L i Po's f r i e n d Sung Jo-ssu, as we have mentioned before, t r i e d to help the poet i n t h i s way i n 757. Since the p r i v a t e support of the o f f i c i a l s was so important f o r those w i t h p o l i t i c a l ambitions as demonstrated above, patronage-seeking was common i n L i Po's times. A memorial presented i n 690 or 691 to the Empress Wu by an o f f i c i a l named Hsueh Ch'ien-kuang jrjj^ gjj^  jftj gives us the impression that most of the empire's ambitious i n t e l l e c t u a l s were 54 eagerly seeking f o r patronage. In a d d i t i o n to L i Po and Sun T ' i , such famous men of l e t t e r s of that period as L i Yung, Tu Fu, Kao Shih, and 85 Fang Kuan ^ are a l l known to have been engaged i n the kind of a c t i v i t y being d i s c u s s e d . 5 5 Owing to h i s s p e c i a l self-image, L i Po seems to have had very high expectations when seeking patronage. There i s no i n d i c a t i o n that the poet ever attended any regular examination i n his l i f e . The reason for t h i s i s very probably that the poet found i t both unattractive and unsuitable to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the regular examinations l i k e an ordinary o f f i c e seeker. He undoubtedly would have preferred to be recommended to the court d i r e c t -l y so that he could prove to be r e a l l y extraordinary. And he seems to have been seeking t h i s kind of patronage when i n h i s l e t t e r to Han Ch'ao-tsung (734 or 735) he mentioned Han's having recommended a c e r t a i n Mr. Yen Jp^ to the c o u r t . 5 ^ His second goal would have been to win candidacy for some of the decree examinations held i n h i s times. S u p e r f i c i a l l y at l e a s t , the decree examinations were, as I have pointed out, intended exactly to discover and c a l l to o f f i c e such obscured talents as our p o e t . 5 7 The discussion below of L i Po's sudden success i n 742 w i l l demonstrate that the poet's e f f o r t s did count although he did not achieve his goals promptly. 5^ However, the poet's patronage-seeking must have contradicted his s e l f -claimed unequaled uprightness, which he t r i e d hard to maintain. There i s l i t t l e doubt that while there were numerous favor seekers i n the empire, there were f a i r l y few o f f i c i a l s who were both powerful and eager to patronize obscure people. Consequently, as Hsueh Ch'ien-kuang stated i n the memorial mentioned above, the patronage-seekers must have hastened into and out of government o f f i c e s and residences of princes and dukes and have thus "worn themselves out from head to f o o t . " S t i l l , one was 86 f o r t u n a t e enough i f he was not s l i g h t e d or even t o t a l l y ignored by h i s 5 9 p r o s p e c t i v e patrons. To the r e a l l y able and p r i n c i p l e d , t h e r e f o r e , patronage-seeking could have been something h a r d l y t o l e r a b l e . Even Tu Fu, who d i d not c l a i m to be a f o l l o w e r of Ch'ao-fu and Hsu Yu, s a i d 60 he was ashamed to j o i n the rank of the patronage-seekers. (Of course, what Tu could have done was only not to debase himself when seeking favor.) Could L i Po make h i s patronage-seeking compatible w i t h h i s s e l f -image? The above question can be answered by way of examining L i Po's way of patronage-seeking. The best m a t e r i a l s f o r our examination are the poet's l e t t e r s to Han Ch'ao-tsung and the c h i e f a d m i n i s t r a t o r of An-chou P ' e i jjlj^ (about 7 3 0 ) . ^ In a d d i t i o n to some po i n t s to be discussed l a t e r , the contents of the l e t t e r to P'ei can be roughly described as f o l l o w s . The poet f i r s t presented something l i k e a c u r r i c u l u m v i t a e . This account can be roughly d i v i d e d i n t o three p a r t s : (1) a probably f a b r i c a t e d s t o r y of the poet's "impressive" o r i g i n s (the spurious nature of t h i s s t o r y 62 has been shown i n the f i r s t c h a p t e r ) ; (2) a b r i e f r eport of h i s e a r l i e r l i f e , and (3) a long d e s c r i p t i o n of h i s merits (which range from generos-i t y , f a i t h f u l n e s s to f r i e n d s , superb l i t e r a r y t a l e n t , to u n i n t e r e s t e d -ness i n fame and gain) and the p r a i s e of some of these merits he had r e c e i v e d from some other o f f i c i a l s . The poet then complimented P'ei's personal charm, l i t e r a r y g i f t s , p o l i t i c a l achievements and, above a l l , enthusiasm i n p a t r o n i z i n g t a l e n t e d people. F i n a l l y , L i Po expressed h i s strong d e s i r e to become P'ei's protege and pledged to become P'ei's v a l u a b l e f o l l o w e r . In content, the l e t t e r to Han i s b a s i c a l l y the same as that to P ' e i , except that the poet o f f e r e d to present h i s works to Han 87 i f Han would so request and that the section of the poet's curriculum v i t a e i s much b r i e f e r and yet much more self-assured. Such contents as these might seem fulsome to some people today. However, the main points L i Po made were f a i r l y common i n the works written for the same purpose by the- poet's contemporaries, including such honorable men as Tu Fu and Kao Shih, although a l l these points were not often included 63 i n one si n g l e work. Indeed, from a sympathetic point of view, showing-o f f , paying compliments, and pledging of l o y a l t y are simply necessary i f one wishes to win the favor of a powerful stranger. In the High T'ang period, since there was the obvious need for an i n t e l l e c t u a l to seek patronage, the kinds of l e t t e r s that L i Po wrote were very probably r e -garded as sheer courtesy and expediency rather than unctuousness. What r e a l l y challenged L i Po's "uprightness" was something else. Our poet, despite h i s t a l e n t s , was one of those who were often s l i g h t e d or ignored by t h e i r prospective patrons. He complained to P'ei that f o r a long time he had found i t v i r t u a l l y impossible to get close to him. He was also c o o l l y treated at the v i l l a of Yu-chen Princess 64 during h i s 737-41 stay i n Kuan-chung. Moreover, there are no signs that he received better treatment elsewhere before 742. For the poet, therefore, to continue seeking patronage without debasing himself was no easy task. Usually, the poet presented himself to h i s prospective patrons as one of those famous able and l o y a l "patronized guests" (men-k'o f^J <j^~ ) i n the Warring-States period who were known to have helped t h e i r patrons achieve remarkable successes (e.g., Mao Sui ^ jj^  , Ching K'o ^ j^fj , and Feng Huan /j| J||^  ) . 6 5 When s l i g h t e d , he also complained loudly and 88 66 d e f i a n t l y as some of those ancient "patronized guests" had done. It seems that even his way of standing out as a patronage-seeker was a r e s u l t of the same mentality. Following are two i n t e r e s t i n g examples. Before he presented h i s l e t t e r to Han Ch'ao-tsung, L i Po had already met with Han on a public occasion and had offended Han on that occasion with a ch'ang-i ^ ^ salute (to bow with the clasped hands reaching to the knees), which one was supposed to give only to people of equal status. In h i s l e t t e r , the poet then pleaded with Han not to re j e c t him 67 because of t h i s offence. S i m i l a r l y , i n his l e t t e r to P'ei, L i Po -claimed that there had suddenly been widespread slander against him and asked P'ei to follow the example of the Chin dynasty o f f i c i a l Wang Ch'eng "pf^ > w n o had pardoned a curfew v i o l a t o r who had forgotten the time 68 while studying with h i s teacher. This suggests that L i Po also did something i n s u l t i n g to P'ei i n order to a t t r a c t him. There seems l i t t l e doubt that the poet found i n the s t o r i e s of those "patronized guests" a way of patronage-seeking which was heroic enough to su i t h i s self-image. This kind of conduct probably never brought the poet any favor. (Jen Hua ^ , one of L i Po's most zealous admirers, once asked a c e r t a i n prefect of the c a p i t a l to pay a v i s i t to hi m — a l s o out of.the same mentality as L i Po's; h i s request was, predictably, i g n o r e d . ) ^ S t i l l , the poet was obviously happy that he had acted i n that way, judging from the f a c t that he was proud to p u b l i c i z e the "ch'ang-i" i n c i d e n t . 7 ^ Nevertheless, circumstances were sometimes so bad that L i Po almost had to beg humbly. A s a l i e n t example i s seen i n a poem presented i n l a t e 739 (?) to a chief administrator of Pin-chou named L i Ts'an ^ ^ The poet, as I pointed out e a r l i e r , had come to Pin-chou to look f o r 89 fortune a f t e r h i s f u t i l e p o l i t i c a l p u r s u i t s i n Ch' 72 In a d d i t i o n ang-an. to p o l i t i c a l patronage, he may have desperately needed m a t e r i a l help as w e l l . This being the case, i n order to r e g a i n the s h o r t - l i v e d patronage he had rec e i v e d from L i Ts'an, the poet wrote: The c o l d l o n e l y ash which I am, who i s going to warm i t ? L i k e f a l l i n g , f l y i n g l e a v e s , where can I return? My brother your merrymaking l a s t s from sunset to dawn; Your h a l l i s f u l l of beauties as charming as jade. They wear fox f u r , use animal-coal, and d r i n k rosy wine. But can a hero's somber song win some compassion there? Your v a c i l l a t i o n has made me bloom at f i r s t but w i t h e r l a t e r . Why are you r e l u c t a n t to grant your spare l i g h t to a brother? [Notes f o r the quoted l i n e s ] : Animal-coal: shou-t'an jfc, powdered cha r c o a l molded i n t o a n i -mal shapes, used to warm wine; an i n v e n t i o n of the extravagant nothing. As a Chinese saying puts i t , one j u s t cannot help lowering h i s head when under low eaves. F o r t u n a t e l y enough f o r him, however, the poet seems to have been too h e r o i c a l l y d e f i a n t to be obsessed by such h u m i l i a t i n g 90 experience as t h i s . The p r e s e n t a t i o n of l i t e r a r y works to the emperor, another way to 73 pursue p o l i t i c a l eminence that L i Po t r i e d ( i n about 738), i s i n some sense patronage-seeking at the highest l e v e l . I t o r i g i n a t e d from the "chest" i n s t i t u t i o n f i r s t introduced i n the r e i g n of the Empress Wu. In 686, four chests known as k u e i §}L were i n s t a l l e d i n the court f o r people from a l l quarters of the empire to present four c a t e g o r i e s of 74 p e t i t i o n s or suggestions d i r e c t l y to the r u l e r . According to one source, one of these four chests, the Yen-en k u e i J J L (Chest of I m p e r i a l B l e s s i n g ) , was e s p e c i a l l y open to "those who [cherished] t a l e n t s and [wished] to become known" '[jfL/f ILJ ^ $t ^ during Hsiian-tsung's r e i g n ( s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t from the Empress Wu's t i m e ) . 7 5 There are i n d i c a t i o n s that t h i s chest was the very channel through which the men of l e t t e r s presented t h e i r works to seek i m p e r i a l f a v o r . This road to success could not have been any smoother than those mentioned e a r l i e r . As a modern sc h o l a r put i t , the Yen-en k u e i "must have been f i l l e d w i t h documents each day and undoubtedly only a few pieces ever reached His Majesty a f t e r the c r i t i c a l s o r t i n g by the r e c e p t i o n o f f i c e r . " 7 7 To win the favor of the r e c e p t i o n o f f i c e r , one can imagine, personal connection must have been no l e s s important than t a l e n t and good fortune. This made i t necessary f o r a person f i r s t to seek patronage from the powerful o f f i c i a l s i n the c a p i t a l . J u s t as L i Po himself more than once commented, the emperor was, a f t e r a l l , 78 f a r from being e a s i l y a c c e s s i b l e to the ordinary people. Even a f t e r h i s works had f i n a l l y reached and pleased the emperor, a presenter's 91 road was s t i l l rough. He had to take an examination i n the court and, i f the r e s u l t of that examination was s a t i s f a c t o r y , to proceed to the 79 Mini s t r y of C i v i l O f f i c e and wait for h i s turn to be given a job. Moreover, i t seems the posts given to successful candidates were not s p e c i a l at a l l . We have two handy examples here. Fang Kuan was appoint-ed i n 724 a r e v i s i n g secretary of the texts i n the imperial l i b r a r y (mi-shu-sheng chiao-shu lang ^ ^ £j3 , ninth rank) and then soon transferred to a post of sub-prefectural s h e r i f f (ninth 80 rank) i n T'ung-chou |f| V'Jj . Tu Fu, a f t e r s u c c e s s f u l l y presenting a f u i n 751-52, had to wait three years and present two more fxa only f i n a l l y to be appointed the s h e r i f f of a sub-prefecture (an o f f e r 81 which Tu declined). I would suspect that, on the part of the T'ang court, the Yen-en-kuei chest was simply treated as a symbolic measure to p a c i f y the huge number of ambitious i n t e l l e c t u a l s that f a i l e d to pass any of the national examinations. S t i l l , the appeal of the Yen-en-kuei chest does not seem to have diminished. In ad d i t i o n to those I have mentioned so f a r , such famous men of l e t t e r s as Meng Hao-jan, Ts'en Shen, and Hsu Ching-hsien ^ ^ are also known to have u t i l i z e d t h i s channel, whether s u c c e s s f u l l y or 82 not. The chance to win the favor of the emperor himself, however slim i t may have been, was a t t r a c t i v e at any rate. It must have been e s p e c i a l l y a t t r a c t i v e to those who believed t h e i r talents had been sl i g h t e d i n the provinces, l i k e L i Po i n 737. In a sense, L i Po's l i f e i n seclusion was also part of h i s p o l i t i c a l e f f o r t s . It served to promote the prestige of the poet, which was instrumental to the poet's patronage-seeking. For convenience, t h i s 92 point w i l l be d e a l t w i t h f u l l y i n the next chapter. I s h a l l now proceed to i n v e s t i g a t e the f i r s t and only f r u i t i o n of our poet's p o l i t i c a l endeavors, that i s , h i s 742 success. The f i r s t question I would t r y to answer i s : what e x a c t l y brought about t h i s suc-cess? In two places at l e a s t , the poet i n d i c a t e d that he was summoned to the court as a l o f t y able man obscured i n the mountains and woods: In the beginning of the t'ien-pao p e r i o d , the f i v e courts (wu-fu , meaning the highest ranking o f f i c i a l s i n the c e n t r a l 83 government) simultaneously summoned [me] to serve the government. [This happened] not because [I] had sought to be prominent, but because [ I ] , l i k e Cheng Tzu-chen of Ku-k'ou \3 J|jJ Jj- JL (an eminent Han r e c l u s e ) , had earned a stunning fame i n the 84 c a p i t a l [through my l o f t i n e s s ] . The R e t i r e d Emperor (Hsuan-tsung) heard about [me] and d e l i g h t e d i n [me] and summoned [me] 85 i n t o the forbidden palace. An i m p e r i a l decree had been issued to search the r i v e r s and seas (places where hermits o f t e n secluded themselves). [Consequently,] I rose from my l e i s u r e l y l i f e among the clouds and 8 6 went to the c a p i t a l Ch'ang-an. These words, though presumably exaggerated, are b a s i c a l l y r e l i a b l e be-87 cause the f i r s t q uotation i s from a memorial to the Emperor Su-tsung. But there are some points that puzzle us. To begin w i t h , d i d the poet a t t r a c t the a t t e n t i o n of the government completely through the 93 spread of his fame, or did he i n f a c t s t i l l owe his fortune l a r g e l y to the recommendation of some i n f l u e n t i a l f r i e n d or friends? If the l a t t e r i s the case, who was that f r i e n d or those friends? This i s a question to which there are almost as many answers as there are early biographical accounts of L i Po. The most widely known s t o r i e s are (A) that L i Po was * * i7 fete recommended to the court by the Taoist adept Wu Yun jj^ , (B) that he was recommended by Ho Chih-chang, or (C) that he went to Ch'ang-an with Wu but was l a t e r recommended by Ho. These s t o r i e s , despite t h e i r 88 popularity, are a l l highly doubtful. A f a i r l y corrupt passage by Wei Hao seems to hold that L i Po was summoned to Ch'ang-an and became a Han-lin academician through the help of h i s old f r i e n d Yuan Tan-ch'iu 89 and Yuan's f r i e n d (?) Yu-chen Princess. According to Chan Ying, Yuan Tan-ch'iu i s the c a l l i g r a p h e r of an i n s c r i p t i o n dated 743 and e n t i t l e d "Yu-chen kung-chu shou-tao l i n g - t ' a n hsiang-ying c h i " ^_ jj$L f/~ $f Ms ^ t h i s source can be trusted, Yiian might have indeed been f a m i l i a r with the princess around 742 (they were both 91 fervent Taoist f o l l o w e r s ) . S t i l l , we need more d i r e c t evidence to confirm and illuminate the connection between the princess and L i Po's p o l i t i c a l fortune. Two other biographical accounts of L i Po, j u s t l i k e the above quotations from L i Po himself, do not mention any personal 92 help to the poet on the matter at issue. Since no mention does not necessarily mean denial, these sources, regrettably, cannot lead to any conclusive assertion, e i t h e r . Another point that needs c l a r i f i c a t i o n i s when and how L i Po won Hsuan-tsung's s p e c i a l favor. L i Yang-ping seems to have t o l d us that L i Po received fabulous treatment immediately upon his a r r i v a l at the 94 court: In the t' ien-pao period, [the Emperor Hsiian-tsung] decreed to summon [the poet] to the Chin-ma [Gate] (meaning the Han-lin Academy). [The emperor] descended from the imperial carriage and walked to welcome the poet, as i f he had seen [the White Haired Ones of Shang Shan] i n his presence. He granted the poet a dinner, which was served on a seven-jewel bench (meaning decorated with various jewels), and s t i r r e d some soup even for the poet with his own hand. He t o l d the poet, "You are a man without any o f f i c i a l rank, but your name has been known to me. Unless you have well nourished your v i r t u e , how can you have 93 achieved t h i s ! " This account, though obviously exaggerated, may not be imaginary. In those times, i t was not impossible for a person to receive some warm 94 treatment when summoned to the court. As I s h a l l point out i n the following chapter, nevertheless, the whole business of summoning d i s -tinguished recluses to the court was l a r g e l y a p o l i t i c a l game. The respect paid to those who were summoned was normally temporary and symbolic, even i f they were eminent and fortunate enough not to be sent home sho r t l y . Could L i Po have l a t e r become a highly favored poet laureate i n the court without any other reason? In a poem written to L i Po i n 758 or 759, Tu Fu said: A number of years ago the Singular Man [from Ssu-ming i2J 0£| ] ( i . e . , Ho Chih-chang) 95 C a l l e d you an immortal banished to t h i s world. [He s a i d that (?.)] your works were composed w i t h the speed of a storm, And your poetry had power enough to move the s p i r i t s . On t h i s account your fame soared high And suddenly r a i s e d you out of your undeserved o b s c u r i t y . Then His Majesty showed s p e c i a l fondness f o r your works, Which were indeed u n r i v a l e d i n the world. The Imperial barge s a i l e d l a t e j u s t to wait f o r you; No other person could win the embroidered robe [from the emperor] 95 w i t h you i n the contest. These l i n e s c l e a r l y t e l l us that Ho Chih-chang's p r a i s e paved L i Po's way to Hsuan-tsung's favor. I t i s not known how much of t h i s passage i s based on what Tu Fu heard from L i Po himself and how much on what Tu heard elsewhere, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Ch'ang-an. At any r a t e , however, t h i s account seems f a i r l y l i k e l y . ^ The nature of L i Po's p o s i t i o n i n the p a l a c e — i . e . , the H a n - l i n academician i n a t t e n d a n c e — a l s o needs some d i s c u s s i o n . The H a n - l i n acad-emy of the T'ang was o r i g i n a l l y "the place where those who were summoned from a l l over the empire f o r s p e c i a l attainment i n v a r i o u s forms of a r t 97 and s k i l l stayed" w a i t i n g f o r orders to serve the emperor. (The so-c a l l e d "various forms of a r t and s k i l l " i n c l u d e l i t e r a r y composition, 98 Buddhist and Ta o i s t teachings, medicine and so f o r t h . ) I t s members were guests i n the court r a t h e r than formal o f f i c i a l s i n the government. Besides being c a l l e d academicians i n attendance (Han-lin kung-feng t n e y w e r e a l s o known as "people w a i t i n g i n the Han-99 l i n academy f o r the emperor's summons" (Han-lin tai-chao |^ ^ ). In t i t u l a r d e s i g n a t i o n , however, these people were o f t e n mixed up wi t h some other c a t e g o r i e s of people. Ever s i n c e the r e i g n of T'ai-tsung,-the emperors had f r e q u e n t l y c a l l e d a very l i m i t e d number of o f f i c i a l s of e x c e p t i o n a l a b i l i t y or o f f i c i a l s they t r u s t e d most i n t o the inner palace to deal w i t h important n a t i o n a l a f f a i r s or to p a r t i c i p a t e i n banquets and p a r t i e s . This phenomena s t i l l e x i s t e d i n the k'ai-yuan p e r i o d . In the middle of t h i s p e r i o d , furthermore, Hsuan-tsung began to c a l l some knowledgeable and l i t e r a r i l y t a l e n t e d o f f i c i a l s i n t o the H a n - l i n academy to "attend [his] s p e c i a l orders" (kung-feng p i e h - c h i h jfc jfe*. ^ i j JSJ" ) , t h i n k i n g that the s t a f f of the Imperial S e c r e t a r i a t was overburdened and might not always s a t i s f a c t o r i l y serve h i s n e e d . 1 0 0 According to some sources, both the names H a n - l i n kung-feng and H a n - l i n tai-chao were, i n Hsuan-tsung's times at l e a s t , a l s o a p p l i e d to a l l these o f f i c i a l s (only as i n f o r m a l t i t l e s i n d i c a t i v e of the nature of t h e i r d u t i e s ; these o f f i c i a l s d i d not hold a d d i t i o n a l o f f i c e s i n the inner p a l a c e ) . 1 0 1 On the other hand, beginning i n 738, the o f f i c i a l s t a k i n g care of the emperor's s p e c i a l decrees i n the H a n - l i n academy were designated "hsueh-shih" it*- £ , and a new b u i l d i n g named "Hsu'eh-shih-yuan" was constructed as t h e i r o f f i c e south of the H a n - l i n academy. I t i s l i k e l y t h a t , as one T'ang author h e l d , these measures were adopted w i t h a view to d i s t i n g u i s h i n g the o f f i c i a l s j u s t mentioned from those who stayed i n the H a n - l i n academy w a i t i n g to serve the emperor 102 w i t h t h e i r a r t and s k i l l . Confusingly enough, however, i t seems both of these cat e g o r i e s of people were then f o r a w h i l e u s u a l l y or occasion-97 103 a l l y known as H a n - l i n hsueh-shih. (As one Sung source suggests, the hsueh-shih were so c a l l e d probably because people had to d i s t i n g u i s h them from some other o f f i c i a l s whose t i t l e s a l s o contained the term hsueh-shih—e.g., Chi-hsien hsueh-shih ^ •£ ) . ^ ^ Such being the case, i t i s impossible to know L i Po's r e a l p o s i t i o n i n the palace merely through h i s t i t l e s (the poet c a l l e d himself a H a n - l i n kung-feng and was c a l l e d a H a n - l i n hsueh-shih, a H a n - l i n , or a H a n - l i n t a i - c h a o ) . ^ 5 F o r t u n a t e l y , a work about the h i s t o r y of the H a n - l i n academy by the T'ang author Wei C h i h - i %%. c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e s that L i Po was one of those people who "stayed i n the o l d H a n - l i n academy ( i . e . , not the Hsiieh-s h i h - y i i a n ) , had the t i t l e [of H a n - l i n hsueh-shih], but d i d not have i t s 106 o f f i c e . " And t h i s account i s supported by the f a c t t h a t , as I pointed out i n Chapter Two, the poet indeed spent most of h i s time i n the palace composing poems to e n t e r t a i n the emperor and h i s concubines. I t seems t h a t , though he began h i s career only as a p r i v a t e l i t e r a r y attendant of the emperor, L i Po s t i l l had a f a i r l y good opportunity to gain a p o s i t i o n i n the court. As a favored l i t e r a r y attendant, he had easy access to the emperor, and easy access to the r u l e r o f t e n promises p o l i t i c a l success. Wei Hao (based upon L i Po h i m s e l f , presumably) t o l d us that Hsiian-tsung had promised to appoint the poet a s e c r e t a r y i n the Imperial S e c r e t a r i a t (chung-shu she-jen cj^ .|> » f i f t h rank, i n charge of drawing up decrees; o f f i c i a l s summoned i n t o the 107 inner palace to d r a f t decrees o r i g i n a l l y o f t e n held t h i s p o s t ) . Indeed, what Wei's words r e f l e c t may not have been a f a c t but merely a wish of the poet, because the post of s e c r e t a r y i n the I m p e r i a l S e c r e t a r -i a t seems to have been too important to be given to a person without 98 any o f f i c i a l background. But that o f f i c e was by no means unapproachable i f the poet could have gone through the regular chain of minor o f f i c e s f i r s t . The several occasions on which L i Po was ordered to d r a f t decrees (Ch. Two, p. 53) c l e a r l y marked the chance for the poet to ultimately have a part i n that important task. Why, then, did L i Po's p o l i t i c a l career quickly end up i n great f a i l - . ure? The poet, as I indicated i n Chapter Two (pp. 53-54), claimed that he had been maligned before Hsuan-tsung. This a l l e g a t i o n was echoed 108 by many of the poet's contemporary admirers. Although i t seems L i Po never named h i s enemy i n h i s works, Wei Hao pointed out that the poet's adversary was Chang Chi ^ . Chang was a son of the famous chief minister i n the k'ai-yuan period Chang Yu'eh | ^ and a son-in-law 109 of Hsuan-tsung. He was much favored by Hsuan-tsung f o r h i s l i t e r a r y t alent and was allowed to reside i n the inner palace. After the i n t r o -duction of the post of hsiieh-shih i n 738, Chang was one of the several o f f i c i a l s who f i r s t held that p o s t . 1 1 ^ He betrayed the empire and be-came a chief minister of the rebels during the r e b e l l i o n of An Lu-shan. There are some indi c a t i o n s that Chang was interested i n associating with men of l e t t e r s . 1 1 1 Recently, one scholar even speculated that L i Po 112 became acquainted with Chang during his 737-40 v i s i t to Kuan-chung. Owing to the lack of evidence, i t i s u n l i k e l y that we w i l l be able to know i f there was a poor personal r e l a t i o n s h i p between L i Po and Chang Chi. But, on the other hand, i t seems to me that a power struggle between them was very l i k e l y . A poem by Tu Fu shows that Chang was very probably s t i l l i n the post of hsii'eh-chih when L i Po came to the court 113 i n 742. The number of hsueh-shih, though i n d e f i n i t e , was very 99 114 l i m i t e d (sometimes as small as only one or two). Under such c i r -cumstances, i t would not be su r p r i s i n g i f Chang Chi v i c i o u s l y t r i e d to prevent L i Po from becoming a threat to h i s p o s i t i o n . It may be, how-ever, groundless to think that the poet was a completely innocent v i c t i m of a nasty power struggle, even i f the a l l e g a t i o n of slander was true. In what may be the f i r s t work i n which he complained about the slander against him (composed around the early autumn of 743), L i Po said that he had been "a careless person by nature" and had been " f r e -quently blamed for being rash" i n the palace. 1"*" 5 Not only legends but also L i Po's friends and admirers indicated that the poet, even when s t i l l enjoying Hsuan-tsung's favor, was given to a l c o h o l . 1 1 ^ Although i t could be b e n e f i c i a l to a poet, too much wine was obviously harmful to an attendant of the r u l e r , to whom leaking information and neglecting duty were f a t a l mistakes. Fan Ch'uan-cheng seems convincing when he says: Hsiian-tsung loved [the poet's] talent very much. [But] there were people who (or, "Hsiian-tsung probably"?) worried that, while he kept going into and out of the forbidden quarter i n drunkenness, [ L i Po] would i n e v i t a b l y t a l k about the trees i n the Green House Palace ( i . e . , leak information about a f f a i r s i n the palace) and would therefore make trouble l a t e r . [Consequently, the emperor] consented with regret to [the poet's wish to return to h i s l i f e i . i 117 i n s e c l u s i o n ] . A f t e r a l l , u n r e a l i s t i c and careless as he was, L i Po was not born f o r p o l i t i c s . A f t e r h i s departure from Ch'ang-an i n 744, L i Po's p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y 100 118 discontinued f o r about eight years ( t i l l the turn of 751-52). In p a r t , the reason of t h i s d i s c o n t i n u a t i o n was probably that L i Po was then not i n the p o s i t i o n to show i n t e r e s t i n p o l i t i c s . When he complain-ed about the s o - c a l l e d slander against him, the poet f a i r l y n a t u r a l l y but unwisely sang h i s o l d t u n e — t h a t he wished he could soon f i n i s h 119 w i t h p o l i t i c s and enjoy h i s f r e e l i f e again. I t i s l i k e l y t h a t , as one modern scholar suggested, such words as these provided Hsuan-tsung 120 an e x c e l l e n t reason to send the poet out of the c a p i t a l . In any case, the poet was granted the honor to r e t u r n to h i s l i f e i n s e c l u s i o n , as I 121 have mentioned before. . Under such circumstances, i t was obviously u n j u s t i f i a b l e f o r the poet to be soon in v o l v e d i n p o l i t i c s again. On the other hand, L i Po may have r e a l i z e d t h a t , having j u s t l o s t the favor of the emperor, he could not f i n d any s i g n i f i c a n t p o l i t i c a l fortune. As f o r minor posts, they must have now appeared to the poet much more 122 u n a t t r a c t i v e than before. L i Po followed a new road towards prominence when he resumed h i s p o l i t i c a l e f f o r t s i n the t u r n of 751-52. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t h a t , j u s t l i k e patronage-seeking and the p r e s e n t a t i o n of w r i t i n g s to the emperor, the chance to become eminent through m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e a l s o a t t r a c t e d L i Po and q u i t e a few other contemporary poets. Kao Shih f i r s t t r i e d to seek h i s fortune i n the army i n h i s t h i r t i e s ; i n h i s l a t e f i f t i e s ( l a t e t'ien-pao p e r i o d ) , he found a s e c r e t a r i a l job i n the headquarters of Ko-shu Han. From t h i s modest beginning, Kao managed to acquire a 123 r a t h e r s u c c e s s f u l m i l i t a r y - p o l i t i c a l career. In the Western T e r r i -t o r i e s ,. Ts ' en Shen worked s e v e r a l years under Kao Hsien-chih j|j /jiU and Feng Ch'ang-ch'ing jft ^ 7^ ; he became most famous to p o s t e r i t y 101 124 f o r some of the poems he composed there. Even Tu Fu, who tended to 125 hold anti-war views, t r i e d i n -754 to f i n d a post under Ko-shu Han. This enthusiasm must have a r i s e n p a r t l y from the f a c t t h a t , i n the l a t e r years of Hsuan-tsung's r e i g n , the T'ang government v i g o r o u s l y pursued aggressive f o r e i g n p o l i c i e s and was l a v i s h i n bestowing rewards on o f f i 4 . 126 cers i n the army. In p a r t , i t can a l s o be a t t r i b u t e d to the f o r b i d d -ing s i t u a t i o n the ambitious i n t e l l e c t u a l s i n general faced i n t h e i r strug-127 gles to acquire worthy p o s i t i o n s i n other branches of the government. (The l i v e s of Kao Shih and Tu Fu, besides that of L i Po, are t y p i c a l 128 examples.) And L i Po's attempt to j o i n the army shows t h a t , i n order to r e a l i z e h i s dream, our poet v i r t u a l l y exhausted a l l a v a i l a b l e means. Another po i n t i s worth n o t i c i n g concerning the poet's f u t i l e journey to the northern f r o n t i e r s . I t was only three years before An Lu-shan rose i n r e b e l l i o n when the poet v i s i t e d An's domain. Did the poet n o t i c e anything ominous there? In a poem composed i n 758, L i Po himself s a i d yes. He a l s o claimed that he had f e l t d i s t r e s s e d f o r not being i n the 129 p o s i t i o n to make h i s views known to the r u l e r . Nevertheless, i n the poems b e l i e v e d to have been w r i t t e n during or soon a f t e r the journey i n question, I have not found any s i g n of such i n s i g h t and concern as the 130 poet claimed to have had. I would b e l i e v e that L i Po was simply 131 boasting when he wrote those words. During the r e b e l l i o n of An Lu-shan, two things brought L i Po's dream to the verge of c o l l a p s e . One was the poet's growing d e s i r e to escape from the troubled world; the other was, as I have already touched upon e a r l i e r , the poet's d i s a s t r o u s involvement i n the p o l i t i c a l adventure of the P r i n c e of Yung. 102 As i s shown i n the previous chapter (p. 61), L i Po seems to have witnessed the f a l l of the re g i o n of modern Honan i n t o the hands of the r e b e l s . When he a r r i v e d i n the south, the poet was f o r a w h i l e s t i l l much concerned w i t h the calamity going on i n the north, and sometimes 132 a l s o expressed h i s o l d wish to r e l i e v e the masses of t h e i r s u f f e r i n g . But even when the poet s t i l l had such concern and wish as these, i n h i s mind already l u r k e d the tendency to escape from the troubled world and to j u s t i f y h i s escape with the d e n i a l of h i s self-image. The f o l l o w -ing l i n e s were composed i n e a r l y 756 at Hsiian-ch'eng, the poet's f i r s t stop i n the south: A l l His Majesty's towns were l o s t and ruin e d ; A l l the world's roads became rough and steep. The l i v i n g masses got s t a r t l e d even by f a l l i n g leaves; The skeletons were l e f t to mourn over each other. I , the roc of the dark north ocean, hung down my wings And w i l l f o l l o w the example of the leopard of the South Mountain. 1 [A note f o r the c i t e d l i n e s ] : The leopard of the South Mountain: This legendary leopard i s s a i d to have h i d i n the mountain seven days i n order to p r o t e c t i t s b e a u t i f u l h a i r from mist and r a i n . See Wang Ch'i's annotation The meaning of the double a l l e g o r y i n the l a s t two l i n e s i s obvious. 103 Later, the poet showed the same tendency again i n at l e a s t two poems. F i r s t , i n l a t e 756, when he had temporarily s e t t l e d down i n Lu Shan, the poet thus t o l d a f r i e n d : The archrobber seized h a l f of the empire, As s w i f t l y as the wind swept the autumn leaves. I am not such a man as could d e l i v e r the world from s u f f e r i n g ; 134 So I have secluded myself on Mount P'ing-feng-tieh. [A note f o r the c i t e d l i n e s ] : "Seized h a l f of the empire": free t r a n s l a t i o n of " "^'j ?*jg y The Hung-kou Canal was once used as the boundary l i n e of the domains of Hsiang Yii }fy and L i u Pang during the chaotic period following the f a l l of the Ch'in dynasty. Probably i n early 758, when his most recent optimism, which hi s p a r t i c i p a -t i o n i n the adventure of the Prince of Yung brought about, had long passed and yet the amazing v e r d i c t to banish him to Yeh-lang had not reached him yet, the poet wrote: L i u K'un and Tsu T ' i [are well known for] Getting up to p r a c t i s e martial s k i l l s at cock-crow. Although they wished to pacify the world and save the people, They were a f t e r a l l also persons who would welcome calamities i n order to stand out. I am d i f f e r e n t from t h i s kind of poeple: 135 I would rather dim my l i g h t beside the Wan-shui River. 104 L i u K'un and Tsu T ' i were both national heroes of the Eastern Chin dynasty and, therefore, were the kind of people that L i Po usually 136 admired. Even i n the l i n e s c i t e d here, the poet could not dismiss t h e i r greatness. To downgrade these two people i s nothing short of downgrading the poet's whole p o l i t i c a l dream. Indeed, L i Po would not have so d r a s t i c a l l y deviated from h i s old dream without disturbance and c o n f l i c t s i n h i s mind. By the outbreak of the r e b e l l i o n of An Lu-shan, L i Po had already wandered about for more than ten years without seeing any chance to revive h i s p o l i t i c a l career. His resentment and disappointment very probably had accumulated to a new overwhelming height. These sentiments, as I have pointed out, were often 137 capable of d r i v i n g our poet toward deliberate apathy. Furthermore, the poet was obviously amazed by the war. I t i s l i k e l y that, i n the mind of the amazed poet, retr e a t into the mountains turned from a sheer gesture into a r e a l desire. This change of a t t i t u d e was probably the main reason why the poet f i n a l l y came to deny h i s self-image. With h i s genuine inten-t i o n to seclude himself, our poet could no longer comfortably see himself as an able and l o y a l man unjustly excluded from the government, no matter how much p o l i t i c a l ambition may have s t i l l lingered i n his mind. He need-ed some other j u s t i f i c a t i o n for h i s decision to escape during a period of nati o n a l calamity, when he supposedly was most needed by the people. It seems the poet then found h i s j u s t i f i c a t i o n i n h i s long years of p o l i t i c a l obscurity: Did t h i s obscurity not mean that he was only an ordinary man? If he was only an ordinary man without any o f f i c e , what could he do f o r the common people? Was i t not better f or him to f i n d a safe place and enjoy l i f e there? Admittedly, there i s no ground f o r 105 p o s t e r i t y to disgrace L i Po f o r not having always worried about the 138 r u l e r and the nation as Tu Fu had during the war times, because L i Po, unlike Tu Fu, was neither i n the surroundings nor i n the p o s i t i o n to do so. (Tu f e l l into the hands of the rebels near Ch'ang-an i n 756. He was then sent to the captured c a p i t a l and spent several months there. He f l e d to Su-tsung's e x i l e court at Feng-hsiang }fQ^ f%\ i n the middle of 139 757 and was appointed an omissioner of the l e f t s h o r t l y a f t e r . ) Even L i Po's f l i g h t to the south was something a l l too common then and should 140 be free from blame. Nevertheless, the poet's self-image as a would-be savior was the core of h i s p o l i t i c a l dream. The breaking of that image by the poet himself, be i t the r e s u l t of resentment or fear or a mixture of both, c l e a r l y demonstrates how in s u b s t a n t i a l the poet's dream was. To make clear the nature of L i Po's p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the disastrous adventure of the Prince of Yung, i t i s necessary f i r s t to investigate the power struggle involved i n that event. To begin with, Hsuan-tsung 141 f l e d Ch'ang-an f o r Shu on the 13th day of the 6th month of 756, only 142 very s h o r t l y before the troops of An Lu-shan captured the c a p i t a l . When the emperor l e f t Ma-wei-i j£j ^ (at Hsing-p' ing-hsien l o -west of Ch'ang-an) on the 15th day, the crown prince L i Heng ^ was l e f t behind to pacify the l o c a l people. Heng then decided not to follow the emperor south, h i s ostensible reason being that the T'ang subjects 143 near the c a p i t a l needed h i s leadership to f i g h t the rebels. I t i s said that Hsuan-tsung offered to bequeath the throne when he heard of 144 t h i s , but Heng declined the o f f e r . Shortly a f t e r , however, the crown prince obviously could no longer r e s i s t the appeal of power. On the 12th day of the 7th month, even before Hsuan-tsung a r r i v e d i n Shu, Heng 106 ascended the throne a r b i t r a r i l y at Ling-wu ^ ^ ( i n present Ning-hsia ) . 1 4 5 Although the desire f o r power i s nothing s p e c i a l , L i Heng's action can be better understood i n the l i g h t of the court p o l i t i c s under Hsiian-tsung. The inheritance of the throne was uncertain throughout the T'ang 146 period. It was very much so under Hsuan-tsung's reign. In 736, Hsiian-tsung' s f i r s t crown prince L i Ying was disgraced and soon executed together with two other sons of the emperor through calumnies of the d i c t a t o r i a l chief minister L i L i n - f u and the imperial concubine Wu H u i - f e i j^. Afterwards, L i L i n - f u proposed several times to the emperor to invest Wu H u i - f e i ' s son L i Mao J'g . As a r e s u l t , the investment of L i Heng, Hsiian-tsung's own choice, did not take place u n t i l the middle of 737. The new crown prince continued s u f f e r i n g from the 148 malignance and conspiracies of L i L i n - f u and others. Indeed, L i Heng was, as he himself said l a t e r , very fortunate to have survived these 149 enemxes. On Hsiian-tsung's f l i g h t to Shu, a new threat to L i Heng's p o s i t i o n came from h i s brother L i n . On the 15th day of the 7th month of 756, s t i l l unaware of what had happened at Ling-wu (Hsiian-tsung was not informed of the ascension u n t i l the 12th day of the 8th month), Hsiian-tsung adopted Fang Kuan's suggestion and issued an edict i n which he divided the empire into four regions and put a son i n charge of each. The d i v i s i o n of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s roughly as follows: (1) The crown prince: i n charge of Shuo-fang j^J , Ho-tung ^ , Ho-pei -^ Sj jfa , and P' in g - l u j f ^ ; and respon-s i b l e f o r the recovery of Ch'ang-an and-Lo-yang. 107 (2) L i L i n , the P r i n c e of Yung: i n charge of Shan-nan-tung-tao lU ft) & > Ling-nan || | j , Ch'ien-chung , and Chiang-nan-hsi-tao j£- $\ j j ^ . (3) L i Ch'i : i n charge of Chiang-nan-tung-tao, Huai-nan yjfc. ft) , and Ho-nan ywj fa (4) L i Kung ^ : i n charge of Ho-hsi Jf) , Lung-yu ^ , An-hsi j £ jwj and P e i - t ' i n g f£_ . This e d i c t a l s o appointed a number of o f f i c i a l s as c h i e f a d v i s o r s to the princes. 1 5"'" But there are i n d i c a t i o n s t h a t , behind t h i s e d i c t , Hslian-tsung' s r e a l , i n t e n t i o n was only to put L i L i n i n charge of the south of the empire. F i r s t , when he stayed at Fu-feng (west of Ma-wei-i) between the 16th and 19th days of the 6th month, Hsuan-tsung seems to have already ordered L i n , who had been the absentee grand governor-general of Ching-chou .fj-ij , to a c t u a l l y head f o r h i s o f -152 f i c e . Second, both L i Ch'i and L i Kung were i n f a c t never sent to 153 t h e i r o f f i c e s . F i n a l l y , some sketchy pieces of evidence together show th a t , a f t e r the is s u e of the e d i c t i n question, L i L i n may have been f u r t h e r appointed to some other o f f i c e s and thus become a l s o i n charge 154 of the region o r i g i n a l l y assigned to L i C h ' i . Whether Hsiian-tsung had acted out of c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of n a t i o n a l s e c u r i t y or resentment against L i Heng or both i s not c l e a r . But i t seems that i n any case the e f f e c t of h i s a c t i o n would have been l a r g e l y the same. The appointment of L i L i n meant l i t t l e short of opening to him the way to the throne, given the f a c t t h a t , w i t h the s p e c i a l s e r v i c e they rendered to the dynasty, both T'ai-tsung and Hsiian-tsung himself had replaced the 155 o r i g i n a l h e i r s apparent. Moreover, at a time when the r e b e l s had 108 occupied most of North China, the south could have been more e s s e n t i a l to the s u r v i v a l of the empire than the small area i n the north-west 156 then under L i Heng's c o n t r o l . The new emperor Su-tsung was soon warned of the p o t e n t i a l danger of t h i s s i t u a t i o n . In the 10th month (756), Ho-lan Chin-ming ^ j^ j jj^ j , a p o l i t i c a l enemy of Fang Kuan's, once attacked Fang p r i v a t e l y before Su-tsung. (Fang had been sent by Hsuan-tsung to serve the new emperor before then.) He s a i d that Fang had been d i s l o y a l to Su-tsung because i n the e d i c t j u s t d e scribed, which Fang had o r c h e s t r a t e d , Su-tsung had been appointed an o f f i c e even i n f e r i o r to those of other p r i n c e s . 1 5 7 I t i s not known to me i f Su-tsung a l s o r e c e i v e d warning from other o f f i c i a l s . But, as w i l l become c l e a r from the f o l l o w i n g t e x t , the emperor obviously l o s t no time i n t r y i n g to e l i m i n a t e the threat from L i L i n . L i L i n a r r i v e d at Hsiang-yang ^ jf^  i n the 7th month of 756 and L 158 proceeded to Chiang-ling yCt- \y^_ (Ching-chou) i n the 9th month. He soon began to r e c r u i t troops there and planned to lead h i s troops east along the Yangtze River and to b u i l d h i s base i n the Yangtze d e l t a r e g i o n . In the 10th month, Su-tsung ordered L i n to go to Shu and stay there w i t h 159 the R e t i r e d Emperor (Hsuan-tsung), but L i n ignored t h i s order. On the 25th day of the 12th month, L i n f i n a l l y s t a r t e d h i s e x p e d i t i o n to 160 the east, but d i d not yet r e v e a l h i s i n t e n t i o n to occupy lands. Probably soon a f t e r he learned of L i n ' s r e f u s a l to go to Shu, Su-tsung sent two eunuchs to deploy the fo r c e s i n the Yangtze d e l t a r e g i o n ; these eunuchs, as we s h a l l see immediately, seem to have done a very good • 161 job. Furthermore, s h o r t l y before L i n s t a r t e d f o r the east, Su-tsung 109 sent Kao Shih, who had v o c a l l y opposed the appointments of "the princes, to the south-east. Kao's mission was to cooperate with some o f f i c i a l s i n the south to cope with L i n . But when the troops of these o f f i c i a l s set out from An-lu on t h e i r expedition, i t was already the eve 162 of Lin's defeat. The clashes between Lin's troops and the forces i n the Yangtze d e l t a region were touched off by a l e t t e r from a l o c a l o f f i c i a l named L i H s i -yen ^ j^" . I n t h i s l e t t e r , L i Hsi-yen questioned the prince's intention, treated the prince as an o f f i c i a l of equal rank, and mentioned his name d i r e c t l y (how boldly d i s r e s p e c t f u l ! ) . I would believe that t h i s was a t a c t i c worked out by l o c a l o f f i c i a l s and the eunuchs sent by Su-tsung to compel L i n to use force f i r s t and thus become a r e b e l . The angered prince, unfortunately f o r him, was not cautious and patient enough. He sent h i s troops from Tang-t'u (near the border of present Anhwei and Kiangsu); the l o c a l governments sent t h e i r forces to r e s i s t them from Tan-yang ^ (some 40 km south of Yang-chou) and Kuang-163 l i n g (Yang-chou). The time must have been the very beginning of 164 757. A f t e r some b r i e f v i c t o r i e s , the prince was deserted by most of his subordinates and had to f l e e south with h i s family and personal guards. He was k i l l e d somewhere i n the Ta-yu-ling Mountain ^ $ £\ on the 20th day of the 2nd m o n t h . S o m e t i m e before his f i n a l defeat, probably a f t e r the c o n f l i c t s took place, the prince was demoted to a 166 commoner through a decree from the Retired Emperor. About L i Po's involvement i n t h i s event, the f i r s t thing to be d i s -cussed here i s when and under what circumstances the poet joined the prince's f l e e t . As mentioned before, the poet was then l i v i n g i n Lu 110 167 Shan. In a poem w r i t t e n much l a t e r , the poet t e l l s us that he had v i r t u a l l y been kidnapped there: "The f l e e t [of the pri n c e ] a r r i v e d at midnight, and the whole of [Hslln-yang] became a mass of m i l i t a r y banners. I allowed myself to be deceived by f a l s e pretences and was forced by 168 thr e a t s to go on board a t r a n s p o r t . " The same a l l e g a t i o n i s found i n at l e a s t one other w o r k . 1 ^ However, these words are c e r t a i n l y not convincing. F i r s t , as Arthur Waley pointed out, " i t i s hard to b e l i e v e that the g a i e t y and enthusiasm of the poems w r i t t e n at t h i s time were e n t i r e l y s i m u l a t e d . " 1 7 ^ (Some of these poems w i l l be c i t e d s h o r t l y . ) Moreover, there are i n d i c a t i o n s that the poet t r a v e l l e d west from the Lu Shan area to j o i n the f l e e t and that he probably passed Wu-ch'ang and Hsun-yang w i t h the f l e e t . 1 7 1 The poet must have j o i n e d the f l e e t v o l u n -t a r i l y before or immediately a f t e r i t l e f t C h i a n g - l i n g . This was a r e s u l t of the pri n c e ' s c o r d i a l i n v i t a t i o n . A f t e r the outbreak of the r e b e l l i o n of An Lu-shan, many famous i n t e l l e c t u a l s f l e d south across the 172 Yangtze R i v e r . Before h i s e x p e d i t i o n , the pr i n c e obviously t r i e d to r e c r u i t some of these i n t e l l e c t u a l s . We know that Hsiao Y i n g - s h i h J|| J:|[ -jr and K'ung Ch'ao-fu were among those summoned by the p r i n c e (they 173 both d e c l i n e d the i n v i t a t i o n s ) . In two of h i s works, L i Po s a i d that the p r i n c e ' s summons came to him "three" times (meaning many times, i f 174 not used l i t e r a l l y ) and he f i n a l l y gave h i s consent. There i s l i t t l e doubt that L i Po imagined he again had a good chance to make h i s mark i n h i s t o r y . He drew the rosy p i c t u r e very v i v i d l y i n h i s poems: The arrows of the barbarians showered on the palaces; I l l The i m p e r i a l c a r r i a g e t h e r e f o r e went on the road. Now the wise P r i n c e has received plans i n the court; With a b a t t l e - a x e i n hand, h e ' l l t r a n q u i l i z e the south."'" 7 5 When none of the r e g i o n a l commanders could rescue the Ho-nan area, People would be even more j o y f u l to see the wise P r i n c e come , , 176 from a f a r . Let me borrow the P r i n c e ' s jade-decorated whip; I ' l l then put the barbarians under my command w h i l e enjoying a f e a s t . Once the south wind sweeps, i t ' l l s i l e n c e the T a r t a r dust; And w e ' l l go west to Ch'ang-an, to the s i d e of the S u n . 1 7 7 He was so overwhelmed and e n t h u s i a s t i c that he t o l d some of h i s c o l -leagues: "Let's bear a debt of g r a t i t u d e f o r the benevolence of the 178 c o u r t , and not h e s i t a t e to s a c r i f i c e our i n s i g n i f i c a n t l i v e s . " The i r o n y i s that t h i s time once again the poet could only f u n c t i o n 179 as a s o r t of u n o f f i c i a l Poet-Laureate. The main production of h i s s h o r t - l i v e d job seems to have been the eleven e u l o g i s t i c poems e n t i t l e d "Songs of the P r i n c e of Yung's E x p e d i t i o n to the East," of which the l a s t two c i t a t i o n s above are good examples. (Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , the poet d i d not f o r g e t to boast of h i s t a l e n t s at the same time.) I t seems, however, L i Po d i d not question the meaning of h i s job u n t i l a f t e r the f l e e t began to encounter the f o r c e s l o y a l to Su-tsung. In a l e t t e r , the poet t o l d a c e r t a i n Mr. Chia ^ that he "only unworthi-l y [stayed] i n the headquarters [of the p r i n c e ] and u l t i m a t e l y [could] 112 do nothing [ s i g n i f i c a n t ] at a l l " and that h i s "being i n charge of some 180 t r i v i a l matters [brought] him only apprehension." This i s the only thing written i n the f l e e t that shows that L i Po f e l t u n s a t i s f i e d with h i s r o l e i n the expedition. The mention of apprehension i s a good i n d i c a t i o n that the poet had been troubled by something ominous. As he r e c a l l e d l a t e r , the poet may have then had some wish to leave the 181 f l e e t . But he f i n a l l y stayed i n the f l e e t u n t i l i t s collapse near 182 Tan-yang and then f l e d i n horror. The claim the poet made l a t e r that 183 he had f l e d halfway during the expedition cannot be trusted. L i Po should not be blamed too much although he, as I suggest above, l i e d about h i s r o l e i n the prince's expedition on some occasions. Hsiian-tsung did not bestow Su-tsung the authority to overrule his orders when he gave h i s consent to the l a t t e r ' s a r b i t r a r y ascension to the 184 throne. Technically, therefore, L i Lin's expedition was l e g a l u n t i l the prince was disgraced by the Retired Emperor. Since the expedition only l a s t e d f o r a matter of days, i t i s very l i k e l y the Retired Emperor's decree did not reach the Yangtze d e l t a region u n t i l a f t e r L i Po had 185 taken to f l i g h t . Also, there seems l i t t l e doubt that the public knew nothing about the c e n t r a l government's decision to disown L i L i n when the expedition had j u s t started. How can our poet have known that the prince's grand enterprise would soon be l a b e l l e d a re b e l l i o n ? p?2 Furthermore, as Wang Ch'i pointed out, Chi Kuang-ch'en ^ ^jT , the most powerful general under L i L i n , who l e f t the f l e e t no e a r l i e r than L i Po, not only was free from a l l charges but obtained a f a i r l y successful career under Su-tsung; and the s t r i k i n g d i f f e r e n c e between the fortunes of these two people l i e s mainly i n the f a c t that Chi, with 113 the troops i n h i s command, could serve Su-tsung's regime b e t t e r than our poor p o e t . 1 8 ^ The poet was indeed a v i c t i m of a r u t h l e s s power s t r u g g l e r a t h e r than a c r i m i n a l . L i Po himself was convinced of t h i s 187 and a l l e g o r i c a l l y but s t r o n g l y expressed h i s view i n some poems. In one of these poems, he seems to have gone so f a r as to blame Su-tsung f o r having i n c i t e d a c i v i l war against h i s own brother i n s t e a d of having 188 t r i e d h i s best to cope with the r e b e l s . Obviously, however, t h i s i s not a case which i t was appropriate to b r i n g f o r t h to defend L i Po. consequently, i t i s probable t h a t , i n t r y i n g to c l e a r the poet of g u i l t , some of L i Po's p o l i t i c a l l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d f r i e n d s advised him to f a b r i -cate a s t o r y of h i s part i n the e x p e d i t i o n . (The f i r s t work i n which 189 L i Po's f a l s e s t o r y appears was w r i t t e n as an o f f i c i a l document.) Once he had made up a s t o r y , the poet could not but t r y to maintain i t f o r a c e r t a i n period of time. Many Chinese s c h o l a r s , sympathetic to the poet or not, have been pre j u d i c e d when commenting on L i Po's r o l e i n t h i s event. From a very narrow m o r a l i s t i c point of view, Hung L i a n g - c h i of the Ch'ing dynasty sharply c r i t i c i z e d the poet f o r "having compromised h i s l o y a l t y " ( s h i h - c h i e h ^ f]p ) Some other s c h o l a r s , on the other hand, chose to defend the poet w i t h h i s c l a i m that he had been coerced i n t o j o i n i n g the p r i n c e . They e i t h e r ignored a l l those works by L i Po that c o n t r a d i c t 191 t h i s c l a i m or t r i e d to a r b i t r a r i l y dismiss those works as spurious. I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, Kuo Mo-jo r e c e n t l y proposed a view e x a c t l y the r e v e r s e . He r i g h t l y h e l d that L i Po j o i n e d the f l e e t v o l u n t a r i l y , but argued unconvincingly t h a t , because L i Po was too honest to have l i e d , a l l the words about h i s having been coerced by the f l e e t e i t h e r are 114 192 spurious or should be i n t e r p r e t e d otherwise. C e r t a i n l y , the poet may have made a serious p o l i t i c a l mistake even though he d i d not commit a crime. As I have i n d i c a t e d , both Hsiao Y i n g - s h i h and K'ung Ch'ao-fu d e c l i n e d L i L i n ' s summons. The reason why they d i d so i s not c l e a r . But i t i s not u n l i k e l y that they some-how foresaw the danger i n v o l v e d i n the p r i n c e ' s adventure while L i Po 193 f a i l e d to do so. In a d d i t i o n , the poet d i d not escape immediately even when he was troubled by the f i r s t c o n f l i c t s between the f l e e t and Su-tsung's f o r c e s . This seems undoubtedly a great mistake. But why was the poet, i n h i s own words, so "slow i n r e a l i z i n g the true nature 194 of the s i t u a t i o n ? " Indeed, as I s a i d above, L i Po i s not known f o r such a t h i n g as p r a c t i c a l wisdom. T h i s , however, may not have been the sol e reason f o r the mistake j u s t mentioned. The poet may have simply been unable to r e s i s t the temptation of the seemingly r e a l chance to r e a l i z e h i s dream. In any case, he had to pay a dear p r i c e f o r h i s mistake. His opportunity to p a r t i c i p a t e i n p o l i t i c s v i r t u a l l y ended with the decree to banish him to Yeh-lang. L i Po's l i f e was near i t s end when he was pardoned i n 759. As i f to a t t e s t h i s w i l d , i n v i n c i b l e heroism, however, the poet's dream again emerged d e s p i t e a l l h i s previous f a i l u r e s and v a c i l l a t i o n s . The f o l l o w -ing poem, e n t i t l e d "Towards the End," was the poet's f i n a l remark on h i s p o l i t i c a l l i f e : The Great Roc took f l i g h t , set out to the ends of the earth; But i n mid-sky he toppled, h i s strength d i d not s u f f i c e . The s t i r he has created w i l l l a s t countless g e n e r a t i o n s — 115 A man whose l e f t sleeve was stuck i n the Fu-sang tree. But i n days to come j u s t who w i l l shed tears f o r t h i s , 195 There being no longer a sorrowing Confucius to grieve? [Notes f o r the poem]: Line 4: The image of having a sleeve stuck i n the Fu-sang tree (the mythological tree i n the extreme east) originates from Yen Chi's ^ f u "Ai shih ming" ^ • In accord-ance with Wang I's annotation, t h i s image means that one has found t h i s world too small i n which to move f r e e l y (that i s , too small f o r one to use h i s talents f u l l y ) . The expression "shih  mei" ^ ffi should have read "tso mei" fe. ^  ( l e f t sleeve). See Wang Ch'i's annotation i n WC 8/453 and Ch'u tz'u pu-chu fffi :it 14/3b. Line 6: The poet here compared himself to ; the holy animal known as ch' i - l i n Jjfe^L over whose death Confucius sorrowed and wept. Chapter Four: L i Po as a T a o i s t Recluse L i Po has been l a b e l e d a Taoist by some modern s c h o l a r s . Indeed, as i s touched upon i n the second chapter, our poet f r e q u e n t l y engaged himself i n T a o i s t a c t i v i t i e s . From time to time he secluded himself i n the mountains; he was i n t e r e s t e d i n drugs which produced l o n g e v i t y and i m m o r t a l i t y ; he even asked a senior T a o i s t adept to confer a T a o i s t r e g i s t e r ( t a o - l u ) upon him. I t i s , however, i n t e r e s t i n g that L i Po's contemporaries, even though they compliment h i s e t h e r e a l i t y and 2 o f t e n mentioned h i s T a o i s t a c t i v i t i e s , never c a l l e d him a T a o i s t . I n -stead, one of them had c a l l e d the poet a kao-shih jf] i ( a high-minded 3 person, u s u a l l y meaning a h e r m i t ) . Whether L i Po should be c a l l e d a Taoist or a hermit or both i s i n my view not simply a question of t i t u -l a r d e s i g n a t i o n . Rather, i t i n v o l v e s the question of how one should i n t e r p r e t the apparently Taoist a c t i v i t i e s of L i Po. I t i s n a t u r a l f o r people, whose times are separated by more than one thousand years, to understand the same things i n very d i f f e r e n t ways. Therefore, i n order to provide a more sympathetic explanation of what the a c t i v i t i e s under d i s c u s s i o n meant to our poet, the body of t h i s chapter w i l l begin w i t h an i n v e s t i g a t i o n i n t o the r o l e s and a c t i v i t i e s of the Taoists and the s c h o l a r - r e c l u s e s i n the High T'ang p e r i o d . As i s w e l l known, Taoism was patronized by the government and develop-ed r a p i d l y i n the T'ang p e r i o d . The T a o i s t s f i r s t became connected w i t h the T'ang r u l i n g c l a s s by rendering i t very good s e r v i c e . This s e r v i c e was i n the form of f a v o r a b l e prophecies to the dynasty's - 116 -117 i n c e p t i o n . I n i t i a l l y , the T'ang founders may have taken advantage of a prophetic d i t t y current i n north China (probably made by some T a o i s t s i n a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the f o l l o w e r s of L i Mi <f ), which f o r e t o l d 4 the coming of a new emperor of China named L i . Fu r t h e r , i t was s a i d that i n 620 the i n c a r n a t i o n of Lao-tzu t o l d a man named Chi Shan-hsing % j|- '/ft i n the Yang-chiao-shan Mountain j£ j^ J ^ that the T'ang i m p e r i a l c l a n were h i s descendants and would be emperors f o r a thousand years. This r e v e l a t i o n impressed Kao-tsu so much that he ordered a temple to Lao-tzu be e s t a b l i s h e d t h e r e . 5 I t was a l s o s a i d that Wang Yuan-chih i-y^fo > t n e f i r s t T'ang p a t r i a r c h of the Mao-shan sect of Taoism, "[transmitted] the e s c h a t o l o g i c a l prophecies of Taoism i n i t s Mao-shan form" to L i Yuan (Kao-tsu) and t o l d L i Shih-min ( T ' a i -tsung) that he would become an emperor. N a t u r a l l y , people who rendered t h i s k i nd of s e r v i c e to the T'ang founders were rewarded, u s u a l l y w i t h g i f t s and honorary o f f i c e s . 7 I t seems, however, that i n the beginning the T'ang government d i d not intend to give Taoism s p e c i a l patronage. (The T'ang emperors' personal a t t i -tudes towards Taoism w i l l only be a l l u d e d to i n passing, s i n c e they are not the main concern and are too f a r beyond the scope of t h i s study.) During h i s r e i g n , Kao-tsu's respect f o r Taoism d i d not go beyond paying o c c a s i o n a l v i s i t s to the temple of Lao-tzu i n the Chung-nan-shan Moun-8 t a i n and other s i m i l a r a c t i v i t i e s . . The way the T'ang court intended to t r e a t T a o i s t s can be seen i n a 626 decree which aimed to deal w i t h the long and b i t t e r d ispute between the f o l l o w e r s of Taoism and of Buddhism, a dispute which had broken out i n the court i n 624. In that q u a r r e l , Fu I -jjj- jj£ , an o f f i c i a l who had been a T a o i s t adept, attacked Buddhism 118 on n a t i o n a l , i n t e l l e c t u a l , economic and even s e c u r i t y grounds, and advocated that a l l Buddhist monks and nuns should be forced to r e t u r n 9 to l a y l i f e . The Buddhists, i n t h e i r c ounter-attacks, a l s o made s i m i -l a r accusations against the Taoists."'" 0 As a r e s u l t , Kao-tsu issued a decree i n the 5th month of 626, which ordered t h a t , except f o r those who t r u l y and d i l i g e n t l y observed t h e i r r e l i g i o u s teachings, a l l Buddhist and T a o i s t monks and nuns must r e t u r n to l a i t y . In a d d i t i o n , only three Buddhist and two T a o i s t establishments were to be permitted i n the c a p i -t a l and only one establishment of e i t h e r r e l i g i o n would be permitted i n each prefecture. 1"'" Indeed t h i s decree was f a r more t o l e r a n t to the T a o i s t s than to the Buddhists, because at that time the numbers of Buddhist establishments and the Buddhist c l e r g y were f a r l a r g e r than 12 those of t h e i r T a o i s t counterparts. But i t i s c l e a r that t h i s decree was intended to suppress Buddhism r a t h e r than to p a t r o n i z e Taoism. The T'ang court must have wished to see two s t r i c t l y c o n t r o l l e d and mutually balanced popular r e l i g i o n s i n the empire. Before the above decree could be c a r r i e d out, however, L i Shih-min (T'ai-tsung) launched a coup d'etat and assumed power. A f t e r the coup d'etat the T'ang court l i f t e d the p r o h i b i t i o n s on Taoism and Buddhism, probably as a part of a general amnesty but a l s o .probably out of the f e a r of„,causing s o c i a l i n s t a b i l -•«- 1 3 lty. T'ai-tsung nevertheless adopted a symbolic measure, to promote Taoism. In 637, he issued a decree concerning the r e l a t i v e status of. Buddhists and T a o i s t s . By t h i s decree the emperor f i r s t i n d i c a t e d that i t was not proper f o r i n c r e a s i n g numbers of common people and o f f i c i a l s to revere Buddhism, a f o r e i g n r e l i g i o n , to the detriment of the indigenous Taoism. 119 He then claimed that the i m p e r i a l c l a n had emanated from Lao-tzu and that the founding of the dynasty owed much to the b l e s s i n g of Lao-tzu and h i s teachings. He t h e r e f o r e demanded that T a o i s t s should take precedence over Buddhists i n p u b l i c r e l i g i o u s ceremonies and i n the 14 order of the mention of t h e i r t i t l e s . There seems no doubt that T ' a i -tsung d i d not favor Taoism p e r s o n a l l y . 1 5 The decree under d i s c u s s i o n must have been issued out of p o l i t i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . As mentioned i n Chapter One (pp. 29-31), the claims of a blood t i e w i t h Lao-tzu may have been part of a campaign then undertaken by the T'ang c l a n to promote i t s s o c i a l p r e s t i g e . I t i s l i k e l y that T'ai-tsung a l s o aimed at suppressing Buddhism i n a round-about way by using Taoism as a balancing f a c t o r . According to the THY, i n 634 some common people p e t i t i o n e d T'ai-tsung to i n v i t e d i s t i n g u i s h e d Buddhist monks to the court and to pay respect to them every day. The emperor could not help suspecting that there had 16 been Buddhist monks behind the f o r m u l a t i o n of t h i s p e t i t i o n . This a l s o i s a good i n d i c a t i o n that the T'ang government might have f e l t a need to curb the i n f l u e n c e of Buddhism. Whatever be i t s m o t i v a t i o n s , however, t h i s decree began the T'ang t r a d i t i o n of honoring Taoism as the r e l i g i o n founded by the r u l i n g c l a n ' s most outstanding ancestor. (T'ai-tsung's c l a i m was r e a s s e r t e d by Kao-tsung i n 666 and, a f t e r the Wu-Chou p e r i o d , by Chung-tsung i n 7 0 8 . ) 1 7 From the r e i g n of Kao-tsung onward, the patronage of Taoism g r a d u a l l y expanded beyond symbolic measures. As f a r as i t p e r t a i n s to t h i s study, I s h a l l explore three aspects of the development of Taoism under that 18 patronage. These aspects are: (1) the increase i n the numbers of the T a o i s t c l e r g y and T a o i s t establishments, (2) the p o p u l a r i s a t i o n of the 120 T a o i s t teachings among the i n t e l l e c t u a l s , and (3) the v e n e r a t i o n of d i s t i n g u i s h e d T a o i s t adepts by the government. At the beginning of the T'ang dynasty, the T a o i s t c l e r g y was numeri-c a l l y very s m a l l . The L i - t a i ch'ung-tao c h i says that only 2,000 people were o f f i c i a l l y ordained as T a o i s t p r i e s t s during the r e i g n of the Emperor Wen-ti of Sui and only 1,100 people j o i n e d the c l e r g y during 19 the r e i g n of Y a n g - t i . According to t h i s account, there must have been at the most only two to three thousand o f f i c i a l l y ordained T a o i s t s at the beginning of the T'ang p e r i o d . (However, i t i s worth remembering t h a t , as Wright i n d i c a t e s , unauthorized s e l f - p r o c l a i m e d p r a c t i t i o n e r s 20 were common.) I t seems that t h i s f i g u r e , i f not completely accurate, 21 i s not l i k e l y to be lower than the a c t u a l number. Since the T a o i s t 22 c l e r g y was so s m a l l , T a o i s t establishments were presumably not many. In 666, a f t e r the feng-shan ceremony at the T'ai-shan Mountain, Kao-tsung decreed that three T a o i s t temples be e s t a b l i s h e d i n Yen-chou -/fj (the l o c a t i o n of the mountain) and one temple i n each p r e f e c -ture i n the empire (there were 358 p r e f e c t u r e s and c a p i t a l - p r e f e c t u r e s i n the empire i n 639) . The decree a l s o ordered the establishment of the 23 same number of Buddhist temples. At the end of 683, Kao-tsung changed the then r e i g n t i t l e yung-ch' un 7JC y$p to hung-tao jji, (magnifying Taoism) i n veneration of the teachings of Lao-tzu. He a l s o ordered t h a t three T a o i s t temples be e s t a b l i s h e d i n each f i r s t - c l a s s p r e f e c t u r e , two i n each second-class p r e f e c t u r e , and one i n each t h i r d - c l a s s p r e f e c -24 t u r e , and that seven people be ordained to serve i n each temple. A f t e r a period of m i l d setback under the r e i g n of the Empress Wu (the empress patronized Buddhism to serve some of her p o l i t i c a l needs but i s not 121 25 known to have suppressed Taoism), the rapid expansion of the Taoist clergy and establishments resumed. In 705, Chung-tsung ordered that one Taoist temple (and one Buddhist) be established i n each prefecture to celebrate the r e v i v a l of the T'ang. The temples were a l l given the 2 6 name Chung-hsing tj 7 (revival) . Although we do not have any c l e a r account of the execution of each of these decrees, we have reason to 27 believe that t h e i r t o t a l e f f e c t was tremendous. By the k'ai-yuan period, the number of Taoist establishments i n the empire had grown to 1687, with 1137 for Taoist monks a n d 550 for Taoist nuns, and the Taoist 28 clergy may have become as large as 15,000 people. Admittedly, t h i s f i g u r e s t i l l f e l l behind that of the Buddhist clergy, which was composed 29 of 75,524 monks and 50,576 nuns. But when one notices the f a c t that the number of Buddhists had diminished almost by ha l f between the beginn-30 ing of the dynasty and the k'ai-yuan period, one can e a s i l y recognize the great v i t a l i t y of Taoism. These Taoist adepts and establishments spread throughout the empire and, as w i l l be shown below, greatly i n f l u -enced the l i v e s of numerous i n t e l l e c t u a l s . Another important development of Taoism was the i n c l u s i o n of Taoist texts i n the examination system. In 674, the Empress Wu memorialized i n praise of the sagacity and relevance of Lao-tzu and requested that a l l the princes and dukes and o f f i c i a l s study the Tao-te ching and that t h i s work become part of the contents of the ming-ching examination (which o r i g i n a l l y contained only Confucian t e x t s ) . Her request was accepted. In the following year, the Tao-te ching became part of the 31 curriculum of not only the ming-ching but the chin-shih examinations. This measure was stopped i n 693, several years a f t e r the empress assumed 32 the throne, but was resumed i n 705 under Chung-tsung. In 733, Hsuan-122 tsung annotated the Tao-te ching and ordered that every f a m i l y i n the empire keep a copy of h i s work. Furth e r , he increased the emphasis on 33 the Tao-te ching i n the examinations. In 741, a decree ordered that one school of T a o i s t s t u d i e s , named Ch'ung-hsuan hsueh, be e s t a b l i s h e d i n each of the two c a p i t a l s and i n each of the p r e f e c t u r e s i n the empire. The c u r r i c u l u m of those schools was composed of the T a o i s t works the Lao-tzu (Tao-te c h i n g ) , Chuang-tzu, Wen-tzu ^- , and L i e h - t z u ^i j ^ ; and a new examination c a l l e d the Tao-chil jil^J^- > 34 which u t i l i z e d these works, was e s t a b l i s h e d . A f t e r 741, i t seems that Hsiian-tsung had somewhat scaled down the attempts to p o p u l a r i z e the 35 T a o i s t c l a s s i c s . The measures mentioned above, however, were obvious-l y enough to arouse i n the i n t e l l e c t u a l s enthusiasm f o r the above works, which were revered as the fount of a l l T a o i s t teachings. L a t e r , I s h a l l endeavor to elaborate on t h i s p o i n t more f u l l y . The respect paid by the T'ang emperors to d i s t i n g u i s h e d T a o i s t adepts was i n accord.with the patronage the emperors gave to Taoism as a whole. From time to time, some renowned T a o i s t s were i n v i t e d to the court. There, the emperors would u s u a l l y place them i n the H a n - l i n Academy and consult them on subjects ranging from alchemy to the Taoist i d e a l of 37 non-action i n p o l i t i c s . When these T a o i s t adepts asked to be allowed to r e t u r n to t h e i r r e t r e a t s , g i f t s , honorary t i t l e s and sometimes new residences were bestowed upon them. L i Po's f r i e n d Wu Yun and s e v e r a l T'ang p a t r i a r c h s of the Mao-shan sect of Taoism (Wang Yuan-chin, P'an Shih-cheng y|| r^|7 , Ssu-ma Ch'eng-chen, et cetera) were some of those who r e c e i v e d t h i s k i nd of courteous treatment from the T'ang , 3 8 government. D i s t i n g u i s h e d hermits, l i k e d i s t i n g u i s h e d T a o i s t s , a l s o received 123 courteous treatment from the government. In 680, on a round t r i p from Lo-yang to a hot s p r i n g i n Ju-chou yfc , Kao-tsung v i s i t e d the famous hermit T'ien Yu-yen li) ^ Jj^  at T'ien's r e t r e a t i n the Sung-shan Mountain ^ IM . H e then had T'ien sent to the c a p i t a l and appointed T'ien an academician of the Ch'ung-wen-kuan Academy ( " i ) - ^ 9 Lu Hung-i i^j > another renowned hermit from the Sung-shan Mountain, was, a f t e r s e v e r a l i n v i t a t i o n s , f i n a l l y summoned to the Eastern c a p i t a l Lo-yang by Hsiian-tsung i n 718. He was o f f e r e d the post of c h i e n - i t a i - f u |Ji ^ ^ (a remonstrating of-f i c e ) , which he d e c l i n e d , and was l a t e r sent back to h i s place of s e c l u -40 s i o n w i t h f u l l honor. Although i t i s not necessary to r e l a t e them here, i n the "Biographies of the Recluses" i n the CTS and the HTS there are more s t o r i e s of hermits revered by the T'ang government both before and under the r e i g n of Hsiian-tsung. Under Hsiian-tsung, the respect accorded hermits increased i n s c a l e and was e v e n t u a l l y i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d . There i s evidence that the government held at l e a s t three decree exami-nations to r e c r u i t famous hermits as o f f i c i a l s i n the l a t e k'ai-yiian and e a r l y t len-pao periods. The T'ang government's elevated respect f o r hermits i n v o l v e d some p o l i t i c a l motives. As Ch'en I - h s i n p o i n t s out, to l i v e i n s e c l u s i o n i n o r d i n a r y times o f t e n suggested that one was not s a t i s f i e d w i t h contemporary p o l i t i c s , and, t h e r e f o r e , by r e c r u i t i n g famous hermits to serve the empire, the government could c r e a t e the impression that 42 i t had the f u l l mandate of i t s people. Furthermore, some d i s t i n -guished r e c l u s e s i n ancient times had become important m i n i s t e r s of r u l e r s , made t h e i r marks i n h i s t o r y , and become wi d e l y known to 124 p o s t e r i t y . As a r e s u l t , renowned hermits i n T'ang- times o f t e n had the r e p u t a t i o n of being able and upright a l s o . With the o f f i c e s i t o f f e r e d to some of these hermits, the government could g i v e the im-pr e s s i o n that i t had t r i e d and would always t r y i t s utmost to place a l l worthy persons i n proper governmental p o s i t i o n s . That the T'ang govern-ment had these i n t e n t i o n s i s demonstrated i n the f o l l o w i n g accounts of T'ien Yu-yen and Lu Hung-i. When he v i s i t e d T'ien i n 680, Kao-tsung asked T'ien: "You have been c u l t i v a t i n g your tao i n the mountains; how are things r e c e n t l y ? " T'ien answered: "Your subject has been des-p e r a t e l y i n need of springs and rocks and mist and rosy clouds. I am glad that I am l i v i n g i n a p e r f e c t dynasty and, t h e r e f o r e , am able to enjoy a f r e e l i f e . " The emperor s a i d , "Now I have obtained you; i s t h i s not j u s t l i k e [the Emperor Kao-tsu of] Han ob t a i n i n g the Four White-Haired Ones?" On hearing t h i s , the Vi c e - P r e s i d e n t of the Imperial Chan-c e l l e r y (chung-shu shih-lang) Hsueh Yuan-ch'ao ^ ^ , who accompani-ed the emperor on the v i s i t , s a i d , "Hsia-huang-kung Jjf J£ and C h ' i -l i - c h i ^ ^ (two of the Four White-Haired Ones, here mentioned to represent the four as a whole) [had to come] out [of t h e i r l i f e i n s e c l u -sion] because the Emperor Kao-tsu of Han intended to demote the son of hi s l e g a l w i f e and to i n v e s t a son of a concubine [as crown p r i n c e ] . How can he be compared to Your Majesty, who reveres those who l i v e i n seclu-."... 43 s i o n and p e r s o n a l l y v i s i t s t h e i r c l i f f s and caves?" This conversation suggests very v i v i d l y the p o l i t i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s inherent i n the T'ang government's respect f o r hermits. The decrees Hsiian-tsung issued respec-t i v e l y to o f f e r Lu Hung-i the post of c h i e n - i t a - f u and l a t e r to send Lu home r e v e a l those i m p l i c a t i o n s more c l e a r l y . The former decree s t a t e s , 125 "Lu Hung-i has accepted my summons and come [to the c o u r t ] . [I?] have consulted him on the u l t i m a t e t r u t h and have found him [indeed] i n posses-s i o n of pure v i r t u e s . I hence would r a i s e t h i s r e c l u s e [to a good p o s i -44 t i o n ] i n order to encourage a l l people under heaven (my emphasis)." The underlined words come from the sentence "With the hermits r a i s e d to proper p o s i t i o n s , the hearts of a l l the people under heaven w i l l be won over" ^ ^ "f & | f 'HI j | i n the Confucian A n a l e c t s . 4 5 The same sentence i s a l s o c i t e d i n the decree to send Lu Hung-i home and two other decrees (the only two I have found) which a l s o concern the 46 recruitment of hermits. I t i s undoubtedly one major theme i n a l l govern-mental e f f o r t s to venerate hermits. Since the e x a l t a t i o n of the hermits was to the T'ang government mainly a means of boosting i t s p r e s t i g e , the hermits d i d not play any r e a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e i n p o l i t i c s . When a hermit was summoned to the c o u r t , he was u s u a l l y o f f e r e d an o f f i c e appropriate to the p o l i t i c a l r o l e that was thought s u i t a b l e f o r such a person. Remonstrating o f f i c e s (e.g., c h i e n - i t a - f u ; 4th rank) seem to have been f r e q u e n t l y o f f e r e d by the 47 court. As Ch'en I- h s i n i n d i c a t e s , appointments of posts i n the palace of the crown p r i n c e (e.g., hsien-ma yjfcj j£j and chung-she-jen rf'^/^ , both 5th rank) were a l s o common. This s i t u a t i o n owed much to the w e l l -known st o r y of the Four White-Haired Ones coming out of t h e i r r e t r e a t 48 to a s s i s t the crown p r i n c e i n the time of the Emperor Kao-tsu of Han. However., probably because they were indeed more i n t e r e s t e d i n an un-adorned, t r a n q u i l l i f e or because they knew they had been i n v i t e d to the c a p i t a l p r i m a r i l y to p a r t i c i p a t e i n a p o l i t i c a l game, many of the hermits summoned to the c a p i t a l d i d not accept the posts o f f e r e d them. To these 126 people, the T'ang court spared no words of p r a i s e f o r t h e i r attainment 49 as true hermits. As to those who chose to s e t t l e at c o u r t , t h e i r careers u s u a l l y ended i n f a i l u r e . 5 0 Under Hsiian-tsung's r e i g n , when l e s s outstanding hermits were sent to the c a p i t a l i n l a r g e numbers to take examinations, the treatment they received was, understandably, even worse. I t i s known t h a t , i n one of the three examinations mentioned above, only three candidates were s u c c e s s f u l . One of them was appointed an omissioner of the l e f t ( t s o - s h i h - i j^. - f ^ j ^ > a remonstrating o f f i c i a l of the 8th rank) and the other two were appointed j u n i o r a d m i n i s t r a t o r s i n one of the Guards of the Chin-wu B i r d (Chin-wu wei /^-^~ )>~^ Obviously, these hermits were tre a t e d simply on a par w i t h ordinary o f f i c e - s e e k e r s . Despite the l a c k of s i n c e r i t y on the part of the T'ang government, nev e r t h e l e s s , the above developments of Taoism and the v e n e r a t i o n of her-mits g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e d the l i v e s of the i n t e l l e c t u a l s . L i Po himself i s an e x c e l l e n t example f o r us to demonstrate t h i s p o i n t . But before proceed-i n g , I need to c l a r i f y the s i m i l a r i t y and the d i f f e r e n c e s between Ta o i s t s and hermits i n the period i n question. By d e f i n i t i o n , a hermit i s an i n t e l l e c t u a l who chooses not to pursue an o f f i c i a l career but to l i v e i n r e l a t i v e o b s c u r i t y , o f t e n i n the countryside or i n the mountains. A Taoist can simply be defined as a f o l l o w e r of the Taoist r e l i g i o n . They are thus e a s i l y d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e . By L i Po's time, however, s e v e r a l f a c t o r s had b l u r r e d the d i s t i n c t i o n between these two c a t e g o r i e s . I t i s w e l l known that the Mao-shan sect of Taoism was then by f a r the most popular form of Taoism. As M i c h e l Strickmann p o i n t s out i n "The Mao Shan R e v e l a t i o n s : Taoism and the A r i s t o c r a c y , " t h i s p a r t i c u l a r form of Taoism had been founded and developed i n the Southern Dynasties mainly 127 by some members of the e l i t e "Southern s c h o l a r s " fjf] , the o l d a r i s t o c r a c y of Wu ^ , who were p o l i t i c a l l y d i s c r i m i n a t e d against by the governments, which were c o n t r o l l e d by people from the north. Many of these founding and developing f i g u r e s of Mao-shan Taoism, though they were devoted and d i s t i n g u i s h e d r e l i g i o u s people, were, by the standard of the o f f i c i a l h i s t o r i a n s , designated as hermits. T h e i r r e l i g i o u s a c t i v i t i e s had strong p o l i t i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s . In Strickmann's words, w i t h t h e i r new r e l i g i o n , "they came to occupy a p r e s t i g i o u s s p i r i t u a l s t a t u s under s e c u l a r 52 r u l e r s and high o f f i c i a l s of T a o i s t f a i t h and northern o r i g i n . " The career of T'ao Hung-ching jfjjij i s a cogent example. T'ao, one of the e a r l y p a t r i a r c h s of t h i s s c h o o l , i s s a i d to have made a c o n t r i b u t i o n to the founding of the Liang dynasty by h i s favorable prophecies. He i s held to have been revered by and from time to time asked to g i v e advice to the Emperor Wu-ti of L i a n g . As a r e s u l t , T'ao was c a l l e d a " c h i e f f 53 This means then that the famous adepts of Mao-shan Taoism a l s o played an important p o l i t i c a l r o l e which t r a d i t i o n a l l y had been played by famous hermits, that i s , to become symbolic mentors of the r u l e r s . In T'ang times, famous Tao i s t adepts s t i l l o f t e n had very good s o c i a l and educational 54 backgrounds. In a d d i t i o n , as mentioned above, they were a l s o t r e a t e d by the government as mentors to enhance the p r e s t i g e of the dynasty. I t seems t h a t , through the p o p u l a r i t y of Mao-shan Taoism i n general and of the careers of i t s famous adepts i n p a r t i c u l a r , many hermits, be they a s c e t i c or c a s u a l or even sham, had g r a d u a l l y come to be engaged i n v a r i o u s T a o i s t a c t i v i t i e s . For example, the famous e a r l y T'ang r e c l u s e and poet Wang Chi ^_ i s s a i d to have a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a hermit who was i n t e r e s t e d 128 i n f u - s h l h J j ^ (a Taoist p r a c t i c e aiming to a t t a i n l o n g e v i t y and i m m o r t a l i t y through d i e t and d r u g s ) . 5 5 Lu Ts 'ang-yung ffl , the notorious f a l s e hermit i n the Empress Wu's time, was a l s o engaged i n various T a o i s t a c t i v i t i e s . 5 ^ I s h a l l demonstrate s h o r t l y that t h i s k i nd of T a o i s t - l i k e hermits were even more widespread i n Hsuan-tsung's time. Nevertheless, there are i n d i c a t i o n s that people i n those days d i d d i s t i n g u i s h between Ta o i s t s and T a b i s t - l i k e r e c l u s e s . F i r s t l y , as f a r as I know, the name ta o - s h i h Ar ( o f f i c i a l l y ordained T a o i s t , T a o i s t adept) was never a p p l i e d to those hermits who were at the same time s e l f -proclaimed p r a c t i t i o n e r s of Taoism. Instead, these people were known by other designations that w i l l be mentioned below. Secondly, when the T'ang government held examinations f o r the hermits, i t d i d not do so f o r the T a o i s t adepts, who t h e o r e t i c a l l y had devoted t h e i r l i v e s completely to t h e i r r e l i g i o n . Obviously, at the time i n question, when Ta o i s t a c t i v i t i e s were common among or d i n a r y i n t e l l e c t u a l s , o f f i c i a l o r d i n a t i o n became the conventional l i n e between p r o f e s s i o n a l T a o i s t s and s e l f - p r o c l a i m e d p r a c t i -t i o n e r s . Now l e t us r e t u r n to the T a o i s t - l i k e r e c l u s e s . In w r i t i n g s of or about the p e r i o d at i s s u e , I have found numerous r e c l u s e s known by such names as shan-j en J» , yeh-j en f | r , i - j en , y i n - s h i h jjjf^  -jz (or yin-che jfa ), ch'u-shih Ar , and cheng-chiin jfe . 5 7 (Ch'u-s h i h , y i n - s h i h , and i - j e n were t r a d i t i o n a l l y common designations f o r r e c -l u s e s . "Cheng-chiin" o r i g i n a l l y meant a person who possessed v i r t u e s and l e a r n i n g but d i d not accept summons from the government to serve the empire.) The f o l l o w i n g points can give us a rough idea of the number of people i n t h i s category. F i r s t , i n L i Po's w r i t i n g s , at l e a s t 10 129 shan-j en' s, .6 1-j en' s, 6 cheng-chun' s, 5 ch'u-shih's, and one yin-che 58 are mentioned. Even i n the works of Kao Shih, who was not e s p e c i a l l y i n t e r e s t e d i n a s s o c i a t i n g w i t h t h i s c l a s s of s c h o l a r s , at l e a s t ten rec--._ 59 l u s e s are mentioned. Second, i n both of the only two decree examina-t i o n s to r e c r u i t famous hermits about which we know some d e t a i l s , c a n d i -60 dates were numerous. In one of these examinations (held i n l a t e k ' a i - yuan p e r i o d ) , the number of only those candidates who, on the ground of 61 poor h e a l t h , d i d not attend the examination i s as l a r g e as 16. Most of these r e c l u s e s seem to have been more or l e s s engaged i n Taoi s t a c t i v i t i e s . Wang H s i - i ^ , a very famous ch'u-shih who died i n the middle of.the k'ai-yuan p e r i o d , i s s a i d to have secluded himself i n the Sung-shan Mountain f o r almost f o r t y years and to have learned the a r t of i n t e r n a l alchemy from a Ta o i s t adept there. Besides, Wang i s s a i d to have had a s p e c i a l l i k i n g f o r the I ching and the Lao-tzu, and to have ingested pine and cypress needles and "powder of miscellaneous f l o w e r s " (tsa-hua-san |£ ; t h i s i s o b v i o u s l y part of h i s f u - s h i h a c t i v -62 J -i t i e s ) . In a poem, Ts'en Shen mentioned a shan-j en named L i Kang %. |j£J , who l i v e d i n a r e t r e a t i n the Western Summit (Hsi-yueh fft| , that i s , the Hua-shan Mountain iU ). This man was adept i n the manuals of the e l i x i r (tan-ching Jfir ) and ate preparations of a l i l i a c e o u s p l a n t named huang-ching jj?^" ("deer-bamboo," Poligonatum 63 6A falcatum). 'These are only two of the numerous cases a v a i l a b l e to us. At the same time, many of the r e c l u s e s to whom we are r e f e r r i n g were obviously i n t e r e s t e d i n p o l i t i c a l eminence.. The above account about •the l a r g e number of candidates i n some decree examinations f o r hermits i s good evidence of t h i s . But we have some more t e l l i n g examples. In 742, the poet Ts'en Shen wrote a poem to two shan-j en' s named Yen JS£ and 130 Hsu |r"j" , i n which he informed them of the proclamation of a kao-tao  chu ||j . 6 5 The ending couplet of t h i s poem, "The common people now have hopes, / [Because] a decree has flown towards the mountains and woods" c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e s that Ts'en thought Yen and Hsu would be glad ' to attend that examination. In a poem presented to a ch'u-shih named Chin , Kao Shih s a i d , " I l o v e you and wish that you w i l l become prom-inent before me. / Now that His Majesty i s searching f o r able people, 66 present your p e t i t i o n at an e a r l y date." (This ch'u-shih was an admirer of Taoism.. Kao s a i d that t h i s person held i n h i s hands a T a o i s t s c r i p t u r e that he had annotated.) A shan-j en named T s ' a i i s mentioned i n another poem by Kao Shih. T s ' a i seems to have j u s t gained an opportunity to go to the c a p i t a l to seek h i s p o l i t i c a l fortune. Kao, who was s t i l l obscure at that time, was o b v i o u s l y envious (see f i n a l couplet of t h i s poem). 6 7 According to these poems, i t must have been widely recognised that a her-mit should be i n t e r e s t e d i n p o l i t i c a l prominence. L i Po was one of these T a o i s t - l i k e r e c l u s e s . At l e a s t on four occa-s i o n s , he c a l l e d himself a shan-jen, a i - j e n , or a y e h - j e n ; 6 ^ and he was 69 so known to h i s contemporaries. He a s s o c i a t e d w i t h many more r e c l u s e s than Ta o i s t adepts, judging from the frequency w i t h which these people are mentioned i n h i s w r i t i n g s . . (He mentioned only about ten T a o i s t adepts but, as noted above, as many as about t h i r t y r e c l u s e s . ) 7 0 Even a f t e r he r e c e i v e d h i s T a o i s t r e g i s t e r (744) , he s t i l l o f t e n compared himself to 71 famous r e c l u s e s of the past. More impo r t a n t l y , L i Po a l s o saw h i s l i f e as a r e c l u s e as a means of o b t a i n i n g p o l i t i c a l success. As has been b r i e f -l y noted i n the previous chapter (p. 86), when he was seeking patronage from the c h i e f a d m i n i s t r a t o r of An-chou P'e i (about 730), L i Po mentioned 131 h i s aloofness from fame and gain as one of h i s major m e r i t s . What the poet t o l d P ' e i i s as f o l l o w s : In the past, I once secluded myself on the sunny s i d e of the Min-shan Mountain w i t h an i - j en named Tung-yen-tzu jjj^  jjjj^ Jj- . I l i v e d i n my r e t r e a t (ch'ao-chii ^ , l i t . , to l i v e i n trees) f o r s e v e r a l years and d i d not set foot i n towns and c i t i e s . . . . The p r e f e c t of [that region] heard of t h i s and was impressed; he there-f o r e v i s i t e d our hut to have a l o o k h i m s e l f . As a r e s u l t , he recom-mended us as candidates f o r an yu-tao examination ( ? ) . But n e i t h e r of us l e f t our r e t r e a t . This could demonstrate how I have endeavored to c u l t i v a t e my l o f t i n e s s and how I d i d not stoop [to fame and g a i n ] . 7 2 73 How r e l i a b l e the d e t a i l s i n these words are i s not very important here. What i s important i s that t h i s passage shows that L i Po, by the age of t h i r t y , had already connected the l i f e of the hermit w i t h p o l i t i c a l success. (Remember that the poet secluded himself i n some h i l l s near An-chou around 730.) As noted i n Chapter Three (p. 92.and n. 85), i n the memorial he wrote i n 757 f o r Sung Jo-ssu to recommend himself to the c o u r t , L i Po s a i d that h i s sudden p o l i t i c a l success i n 742 had been obtained because of h i s p r e s t i g e as an outstanding hermit. Towards the end of that memorial, the poet quoted, " I t i s s a i d that ''with the her-mits r a i s e d to proper p o s i t i o n s , the hearts of a l l the people under heaven w i l l be won over.'" Is t h i s not the very slogan the T'ang govern-74 ment o f t e n used when r e c r u i t i n g hermits? 132 Many might ask i f t h i s means that L i Po was a h y p o c r i t e . Indeed there must have been many people who posed as hermits simply i n order to boost t h e i r r e p u t a t i o n s and thus f i n a l l y to acquire p o l i t i c a l success. As I touched upon e a r l i e r , Lu Ts'ang-yung ijj^ ^ i s a notorious ex-ample. According to h i s biography i n the HTS, a f t e r he f a i l e d to o b t a i n a good o f f i c e through the r e g u l a r channels, Lu secluded himself i n the Chung-nan-shan Mountain and Mount Shao-shih 'jf' ( i n the famous Sung-shan Mountain south of Lo-yang) f o r s e v e r a l years during the r e i g n of the Empress Wu. He v i s i t e d many renowned mountains, learned the a r t of r e f i n i n g the v i t a l f o r c e ( l i e n - c h ' i , a form of i n t e r n a l alchemy), and undertook a d i e t which excluded even the f i v e c e r e a l s ( p i - k u jfcSj^ r j j ^ , a form of fu-shih) . Since i t became well-known that h i s l i f e i n the mountains was not at a l l intended to d i m i n i s h h i s con-cern w i t h p o l i t i c s , Lu was nicknamed a " r e c l u s e by the emperor's c a r -r i a g e " ( s u i - c h i a y i n - s h i h ^ j^, :£ ) • He was l a t e r summoned by the court and appointed an omissioner of the l e f t . In the c o u r t , Lu once f e i g n i n g l y pointed at the Chung-nan-shan Mountain and t o l d Ssu-ma Ch'eng-chen that there were " q u i t e a l o t of marvels on i t . " On hearing t h i s , the famous T a o i s t mocked Lu, saying, "In my humble poi n t of view, i t i s only a short cut to an o f f i c i a l c a r e e r . " 7 5 I t would be wrong, however, to assume that the case of Lu Ts'ang-yung i s t y p i c a l of the hermits of L i Po's time. I t i s perhaps b e t t e r to assume t h a t , i n t r y i n g to a t t a i n p o l i t i c a l success by t a k i n g up the l i f e of a hermit, L i Po and many others had been g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e d by a s p e c i a l i d e o l o g i c a l trend. For convenience, I would c a l l t h i s trend "hermit ideology." When r e c r u i t i n g hermits, the T'ang government, 133 understandably, h i g h l y p r a i s e d t h e i r v i r t u e s . One of the hermit v i r t u e s i t emphasized most was t h e i r r e s o l v e to r e s i s t the temptations of power and fame. A good example i s found i n the f o l l o w i n g words from the e d i c t which proclaimed the r e s u l t s of a decree examination f o r the hermits: The wise r u l e r s i n the past had h i g h l y valued true hermits. They di d so i n order to s t i m u l a t e (by v i r t u o u s examples) those who were too eager [ f o r fame and gain] and thus to make the customs pure and simple. Is i t not s a i d that "with the hermits r a i s e d to proper p o s i t i o n s , the hearts of a l l the people under heaven w i l l be won over?" What these words t a l k about must be the above e f f o r t s to p u r i f y customs. I have looked i n t o the lessons handed down from a n t i q u i t y and intend to. magnify the u l t i m a t e truths of governing. I b e l i e v e that i n accordance w i t h the tao, s e r e n i t y and modesty (ching t \ i i - j ^ ) are, the g r e a t e s t v i r t u e s ; and that f o r the government, the most urgent task i s to o b t a i n able people. I there-7 6 f o r e t r y to search f o r able people i n the c l i f f s and marsh-lands. As i s w e l l known, s e r e n i t y and modesty i n the i n d i v i d u a l s and simple customs i n s o c i e t y are major themes i n the teachings of Lao-tzu. At l e a s t during the r e i g n of Hsiian-tsung, the T'ang court a l s o put immense emphasis on these v i r t u e s when advocating Taoist t e x t s . 7 7 ( I t i s beyond the scope of t h i s study to explore the p o l i t i c a l motives behind t h i s emphasis. However, I suspect that the extremely intense competition f o r o f f i c i a l posts during Hsiian-tsung's r e i g n was one of the reasons f o r t h i s k i nd of i d e o l o g i c a l campaign.) I t seems t h a t , as a r e s u l t , the 134 modest l i f e of the hermit i n the mountains was regarded as a v a l u a b l e way of s e l f - c u l t i v a t i o n . L i Po's advertisement of h i s l i f e i n s e c l u s i o n on Min Shan (p. 131) i s one example. In a d d i t i o n , Wang Ch'ang-ling, another High T'ang poet, a l s o s a i d i n a l e t t e r w r i t t e n to seek patronage from a v i c e - p r e s i d e n t of the m i n i s t r y of c i v i l o f f i c e named L i : "Do I not know that I should l i v e i n the green mountains and d r i n k the c l e a r water there and become f u l l of honor and v i r t u e s before I v i s i t p r i n c e s and dukes and other high o f f i c i a l s to seek f o r a b i g fortune? [I am seeking f o r p o l i t i c a l prominence r i g h t now because I need to earn a l i v i n g — t h e approximate meaning of the words immediately before and a f t e r 78 the previous sentence.]" This i s one aspect of hermit ideology. As p r e v i o u s l y i n d i c a t e d , w h i le i t advocated the s e r e n i t y and modesty of the hermit, the T'ang government at the same time wanted hermits to a c t i v e l y p a r t i c i p a t e i n a p o l i t i c a l game. Therefore, hermits were urged to show 79 enthusiasm i n the f u l f i l l m e n t of t h e i r o b l i g a t i o n to serve the empire. I t became conventional f o r r e c l u s e s to t r y to present themselves to the government, as i s c l e a r from t