Poems of Meng Jiao
Spreading a Xuzhou feast with Graduate Cen
Walking with courage and exalted character,
You ascend into the hall of gentlemen.
Chanting, melodious, relaxed and refined,
You enter the feelings of Chu's exile.
A caged bird, with no place to rest,
You startle the immortals in their own homes.
Leaving here, with these guarded gates,
Set out at once upon your own long road.
Heavy rain, pure mountain rivers,
Cooking barley in the forest's cool shade,
Let Chu's tears fall upon your writings,
As the world's dust stains your clothes.
My gift isn't one you can carry on your back
Because I want you never to forget it.
The culture and idealism of the Tang scholars served as an opposing force to the worldliness and corruption of the court. The scholars permeated the court and prolonged the empire. We have seen, with Bai Juyi, that a lowly ommisioner's recommendations, based upon an idealistic interpretation of the classics, changes the course of power. Men like Meng Jiao are not cultured in some vague or conceptual way. Their lives are the practical and potent expression of high culture.