During the late Yuan Dynasty the poetry of townsmen poets |
matured and Yang Weizhen is a good example of this trend.
Born in a small town near Shaoxing in Zhejiang province he
lived most of his life in Zhejiang and Jiangsu and was an active
leader of poetry societies. He aimed for freedom and unrestraint
in his poems, a break from the rationalistic poetry of the Song,
particularly that of Su Shi. His life also was that of a free spirit
not bound by the restraints of society. The last years of his life
were lived in Songjiang, Jiangsu.
His funeral inscription reads:
"At times, donning a Huayang turban and feathered jacket, floating
his bright boat on Dragon Pool or Phoenix Shoal, he would play his
iron flute. When the flute's sounds pierced the clouds, those who
saw him wondered, might he be a bannished immortal?" (Like Li Bo)
"Not a day went by that he did not have guests, and not a day went
by that he did not get drunk... Calling the serving girls to sing the
lyrics of 'White Snow', he would accompany them on his phoenix lute.
Some of the guests whould stagger to their feet and dance." *
* Five Hundred Years of Chinese Poetry, 1150-1650 by Yoshikawa
Kojiro, translated admirably by John Timothy Wixted, Princeton
Library of Asian Translations.