Gao Pian (高騈, 고병, ?-887) was a late Tang dynasty period (唐, 당, 618-907) military general. He was born in Youzhou (幽州, 유주) in what is now Hebei Province (河北省, 하북성); and his courtesy name (字, 자) was Qianli (千里, 천리). He began his military career as a royal guard (禁軍, 금군) and initially gained fame for military campaigns in southwestern China against the Nanzhao (南詔, 남조). During the reign of Emperor Xizong of Tang (唐僖宗, 당 희종, 862-888, r. 873-888), Gao Pian was successively appointed as the Regional Military Governor (節度使, 절도사) of Tianping (天平, 천평), Zhenhai (鎭海, 진해), and then Huainan (淮南, 회남). When an affluent commoner named Huang Chao (黃巢, 황소, ?-884) started a rebellion in 875, Gao Pian was made Commanding General of All Circuits (諸道行營都統, 제도행영도총) and began a long campaign against the rebellion. Around this time, he became acquainted with the Shilla-born scholar Choe Chiwon (崔致遠, 최치원, 857-?) and made him an attendant (從事官, 종사관) for his campaign. (Choe Chiwon became renowned for penning A Manifesto Condemning Huang Chao (討黃巢檄文, 토황소격문) on behalf of Gao Pian.) Though Huang Chao’s rebellion was eventually quashed by 884 by Gao Pian and other Tang dynasty generals, it heavily destabilized the central government, as these very military generals effectively ruled the subdued territories by themselves. Gao Pian himself controlled the area in and around Yangzhou (陽州, 양주). In 887, Bi Shiduo (畢師鐸, 필사탁, ?-888), a military official who had assisted Gao Pian in quashing the rebellion, rose up against him, took the city, and had him executed.
He was also an accomplished poet, and some of his poems appear in the anthology Complete Tang Dynasty Poems (全唐詩, 전당시). In the poem below, Gao Pian describes the mountain scenery on a summer day. Traditionally, the Start of Summer (立夏, 입하) was marked by the days when the Sun is between the celestial longitudes of 45 and 60 degrees. As a solar term, this date is fixed to May 6 on the Western Gregorian Calendar, but varies on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The day also marked the day that “Leopard frogs croaked, earthworms crawled out, and melons started growing” (螻蟈鳴, 丘螾出, 王瓜生 – 뇌괵명, 구인출, 왕과생).
綠樹濃陰夏日長 록수농음하일장 仄仄平平仄仄平(韻)
樓臺倒影入池塘 루대도영입지당 平平仄仄仄平平(韻)
水晶簾動微風起 수정렴동미풍기 平平平仄平平仄
滿架薔薇一院香 만가장미일원향 仄仄平平仄仄平(韻)
Green trees thicken the shade; the summer day is long.
A tower’s inverted shadow enters the pond.
The crystal-beaded curtain sways, with the light breeze arising.
Filling the trellis are roses and the entire garden’s fragrance.
Green • trees • dense • shade • summer • day • long
Tower • platform • invert • shadow • enter • pond • pond
Water • crystal • screens • sway • little • wind • arise
Fill • rack • roses • roses • all • garden • fragrance
- Heptasyllabic truncated verse (七言絶句, 칠언절구). Riming character (韻, 운) is 陽(양). The poem generally complies with the rules of recent style poetry (近體詩, 근체시). A very minor deviation, called “transgressing the rime scheme” (冒韻, 모운), can be seen in the fourth line, as 薔(장) is of the same rime as the riming character, but it is not the last character of the line.
- Korean translation available here.