Poems of Meng Jiao
Weeping over the private poems of Supervisor Bao
A sage has had his final day.
I weep for his precious times.
I feared this treasured mirror would break,
That the moon would never again be full.
He leaves his writings behind unedited,
His voice and form gone suddenly dark.
I begin to see how rare a friend he was,
So rare, now all his strings are broken.
At the old inn, he left his qin behind.
His pure integrity will linger there.
About "all his strings are broken" (一绝弦). We know from previous poems by Meng Jiao that poets performed their poems. In the beauty of spring or autumn, they would give concerts of their poetry, chanting the poems, accompanying themselves on the qin. Now Bao's poems are silent.
It appears that Supervisor Bao only sang his poetry for friends. His poems were "private poems" (秘书). I learned in translating Bai Juyi that poets tend to have private poems that few will hear, social poems that only their inner circle will hear, and public poems for popular (sometimes very popular) consumption. That Bao's poems were 秘书 suggests that his poetry spoke directly and would not have been made public where it might have cost him his position or caused his banishment.
Lines 3 and 4 are more examples of Meng Jiao's unique poetic expression. The imagery is not common allusion. If it is literary allusion, it is beyond the scope of my not-inconsiderable dictionaries.