Xu Hui (徐惠) was a Tang Dynasty concubine of Emperor Taizong. She began as a child prodigy, supposedly speaking before she was half a year old and writing poems by age eight.
Because Laurel Blossoms were a favorite topic of Xu Hui’s poems, she is now known as the “Goddess of Laurel Blossoms” in parts of China.
Although rumored to have written over one thousand poems, Xu Hui is survived by only five poems. One of the most famous, “Regret in Changmen Palace,” deals with her fear of being replaced by another woman in the Emperor’s eyes. Shortly after the death of Taizong, Xu Hui fell ill and died of a broken heart.
Regret in Changmen Palace
You used to love my Cypress Rafter Terrace,
But now you dote upon her Bright Yang Palace.
I know my place, take leave of your palanquin.
Hold in my feelings, weep for a cast-off fan.
There was a time my dances, songs, brought honor.
These letters and poems of long ago? Despised!
It’s true, I think–your favor collapsed like waves.
Hard to offer water that’s been spilled
Featured image from http://history.cultural-china.com