Poems of Xue Tao
Attending Xichuan's Commander, Minister Wu Yuanheng, in two verses
Setting sun on heavy walls, night's mists gather.
Turtle shell in sacred bowl, chorus of his vassals.
Because the bright moon sets the hall on fire,
He leaves the beaded curtains open on their hooks.
In the Eastern Chamber, he serves wine to his guests,
Sable hair in a dragon style more suitable for spring.
In the fortress, where war horns blow three notes and stop,
New red candles hang from the ceiling of his commandery.
This poem comes from 814 - 815. After Wei Gao's death in 805, the Xichuan circuit had one commander who was too ambitious, one who was too greedy, and then it had Wu Yuanheng. He was too principled and was assassinated by enemies of the throne. It could be that Xue Tao remained as hostess of the Xichuan circuit office until this period. Or she may have had some connection with Wu Yuanheng. Her noting that his hair style was more appropriate "for spring" could also be translated "for a younger man."
I have been thinking about poems where the title ends with "in so-many verses." I think this comes from the poems being written in scrolls where one might run out of room and have to go to the next scroll or where poems might seem to run together. An eight line regulated verse would, to an educated reader, naturally be kept together. But eight or more lines of other verse might be interpreted as separate poems by the careless copyist. So the poet does what he can to keep his poems together.