Poems of Yu Xuanji
Welcoming Official Li Jinren
Today is a happy time to hear the magpies sing.
Last night by lamplight, I praised the candle snuffer.
Incense comes out my door to welcome Pan Yue.
Just don't expect that Cowherd and Weaver Girl thing.
This poem precedes poems 和新及第悼亡诗二首 and 游崇真观南楼睹新及第题名处 and is a poem for the deceased in those poems. The young Li Jinren had just passed his imperial exams when he apparently met, and was smitten with, Yu Xuanji. They apparently were introduced at some evening gathering and he must have asked to see her again. So she sends this reply. It's kind of a mean reply and definitely a teasing one. Here's what she is saying:
"Yes, today is a happy time. But last night, I was grateful just to put out the light and sleep. I will welcome you, in an exagerrated way, as if you were Pan Yue, who four hundred years ago was very good-looking, just like you are. And in the end it cost him his not-too-intelligent head. Also, don't expect anything remotely romantic.
Signed, Yu Xuanji."
And then the young man dies, perhaps in an accident. Hopefully, he didn't whack himself over this poem. Whatever the case, those two earlier poems show that Yu Xuanji was very sorry for having responded in this way.