Poems of Xue Tao
Border Treaty Tower
Peacefully looking down on the clouds and birds of autumn,
we are hard-pressed in all of Xichuan's prefectures.
Our generals will not be intimidated by Qiang's horsemen,
when from this highest tower, we can see our borders.
The title of the poem makes it sound as though the Tang are bargaining with the Qiang, who were a people in northwest Sichuan and beyond. During Xue Tao's years in Xichuan, there were so many wars and rebellions that the emperor had to decide which to fight and which to buy off as best he could. These years are really the beginning of the end of the Tang. Although, after all these poems and their background, it seems to me that Tang's emperors were mostly of poor quality. The Tang survived on its own vitality. When they lost that, as all nations do, they went away.