Page:The works of Li Po - Obata.djvu/42
Li Po the Chinese Poet
of the empire covered by the present province of Yunnan.
He proceeded westward up the river leisurely. There seems to have been little pressure from the central government, certainly no inclination on the part of the poet, to expedite the journey. At Wu-chang he was welcomed by the local governor Wei, with whom he spent months and climbed the Yellow Crane House three times. Further up he encountered Chia-chi, his former companion at Chang-an, and Li Hua, a kinsman of his. These two had also been demoted and dismissed from the capital. The three luckless men now joined in a boat party more than once on the Tung-ting Lake under the clear autumn moon. That these were not so lugubrious affairs after all is attested by their poems. After such delays and digressions Li Po sailed up the Yangtze through the Three Gorges and arrived in Wu-shan, Ssuchuan, in 759, when amnesty was declared.
It was as if warmth enlivened the frozen vale,
And fire and flame had sprung from dead ashes.
The old poet started homeward, resting a while at Yo-chou and Chiang-hsia, and returning to Kiu-kiang again. He visited Nanking once more in 761; and next year went to live with his kinsman, Li Yang-ping, who was magistrate of Tang-tu, the present city of Taiping in Anhwei. Here in the same year he sickened and died.
A legend has it that Li Po was drowned in the river near Tsai-shih as he attempted, while drunken, to embrace the reflection of the moon in the water. This was