Poems of Bai Juyi
A spirit of pride fills the air as
Dressed-out horses shine in their own dust.
May I ask who these people are?
Men answer they are courtiers and eunuchs.
Vermillion ribbons mark the senior ministers
And those with purple must be generals.
Their boastful manner shows a love of war.
Swiftly they pass, departing like the clouds.
Their pots of wine, fermented, overflowing.
Eight treasures steam upon their plates.
They peel and eat the oranges from the courtyard
And thinly slice their fish from mountain lakes.
Stomachs full, their minds are now at peace.
But still they drink, out in the bracing air.
Here after years of drought, south of the river,
Our happy masters feed upon us all.
This is another poem, like A Serious Entreaty, from Bai Juyi's Songs of Qin. So it was written around 809 and is part of his polite criticism of court and throne. This could be a straight "translation" of the Qin poem on Bai Juyi's part. "South of the river" in Qin times would be south of the Yellow River and, in Tang times, south of the Yangzi. All else, wealthy people being what they are (Wealthy patron to waitress, as overheard in a fancy restaurant in Rockport, Maine: "This is America! I can have anything I want!") , remains the same. Oh, except for maybe the "eight treasures." These are the eight most delicious foods in the Chinese cuisine. Tastes must have changed in the nine hundred years separating the Qin and the Tang. Too bad I can find a list for each.