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Chinese History: January 26, 910 – Death of Luo Yin, Chinese statesman and poet

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Luo Yin

Luo Yin (c. 833 – 26 January 910) was a poet of the late Tang and early Wuyue dynasties. Luo’s poetry was widely read and cherished, he was successful in life; having failed the imperial examination 10 times, he was living in the mountains until the warlord and Wuyue founder Qian Liu gave him official posts in his hometown on Hang Prefecture. Luo was said to be very handsome and humble.

Luo was born in Fuyang, Zhejiang. At the age of 20, he took his first Imperial examination. He failed the exam ten times. As a result, he gave himself the pseudonym “Yin” (lit. “dormant”).

He was said to be of good looks, and that he thought highly of himself and respected on others. A famous anecdote demonstrates his handsomeness: grand councilor Zheng Tian had a young daughter who enjoyed literature, and Luo Yin’s poems which she frequently read out loud were her favorite readings. Zheng Tian became worried about her infatuation. One day, he invited Luo to his residence, and his daughter took a peek at the guest from behind and fell in love to him. From that day on she read his poems more.

In 870, he was given a post in Hunan. However, he was unable to take advantage of the post, and returned to Zhejiang in 887. Penniless and frustrated, he later became an assistant to Qian Liu, but never shed his arrogant ways. He died at the age of 77. He is one of the greatest poet in China’s history.

Tony Simon

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