Wang Wei (699-759) was a native of Taiyuan in present-day Shanxi Province. He held important posts at the court of the Tang dynasty Emperor Xuanzong, where he was for a time Master of Music. Later, he served at Liangzhou on the northwestern frontier. Wang Wei won fame as a poet and a painter and spent many years studying Chan Buddhism. In this poem, which was often depicted in paintings and set to music, he writes of the sorrow he feels on farewelling a friend of his who is departing on an official mission to western lands far from the court.
yáng guān sān dié
Three partings for Yang guan by Wang Wei
Song yuan èr shǐ ānxī
Seeing off Yuan er on his mission to Kucha
Wèichéng zhāo yǔ yìqīng chén
City on the Wei River, morning rain wets light dust.
Kèshè qīngqīng liǔsè xīn.
At the guesthouse, green green the new colours of the willows.
Quàn jūn gēng jìn yī bēi jiǔ,
Have one more cup of wine!
Xī chū yáng guān, wú gǔ rén.
When you go out west through Yang Pass, there will be no old friends.
"Farewell Picture of Folding Willows" by Fu Baoshi (傅抱石) (1904-1965)