Poems of Xu Hui
Tall Gate Lament
Old love is in a cedar-beamed tower
While new favorite is in the sunlit hall.
She accepts her lot, avoids the emperor's carraige,
Shows her feelings as she weeps into her fan.
All morning, she hears them sing and dance.
Day and night, they hold propriety cheap.
Withdrawal of his favor is complete.
She accepts that she will not be his again.
The poem recalls the Han Emperor Wudi's empress, who was placed in the Tall Gate Palace and was replaced in the emperor's affections by a newer favorite. I have the quite unsubstantiated feeling that, given Xu Hui's timeline, she is not afraid of this for herself. She is writing, perhaps to the emperor, of someone she herself is replacing. Perhaps it is the lovely dancer from the surviving poetic essay of Xu Hui's.