Han Yu (traditional Chinese: 韓愈; simplified Chinese: 韩愈; pinyin: Hán Yù) (768–824), born in Nanyang, Henan, China, was a precursor of Neo-Confucianism as well as an essayist and poet, during the Tang dynasty. The Indiana Companion calls him “comparable in stature to Dante, Shakespeare or Goethe” for his influence on the Chinese literary tradition (p. 397). He stood for strong central authority in politics and orthodoxy in cultural matters. He is also among China’s finest prose writers, second only to Sima Qian, and first among the “Eight Great Prose Masters of the Tang and Song”. Song Dynasty poet Su Shi praised Han Yu that he had written prose which “raised the standards after 8 dynasties of literary weaknesses” (文起八代之衰).
Snow in Spring
|New year all not be luxuriant
2nd month first startle see grass shoot
White snow but suspect spring colour late
So penetrate pavilion tree make fly flower
|The new year’s come, but still the plants don’t grow,
First in March I’m startled by grass shoots.
The white snow thinks the colours of spring are late,
So through the pavilion and trees it flies like blossom.