|Born||1st century B.C.|
|Died||1st century A.D.|
|Period||Eastern Han dynasty|
The word "Ch'in Chia" means all relations who bear a different family name.
Separation from his wife
When Ch'in Chia was promoted to the post of commandery supervisor at the capital (Luoyang), and summoned to take up an appointment there, his wife fell ill and had to stay at home with her parents. He was therefore unable to say goodbye to her personally, and sent her a series of three poems instead, entitled "Poems for My Wife".
Hsu Shu, in her turn, responded by sending him poems of her own, maintaining a loving correspondence, of which the following is a sample:
- Alas! I wish I were your shadow and
- Never to be separated from your dear self.
- I still hope you will enjoy the capital
- And do not feel too unhappy for my sake.
Ch'in Chia's first poem to his wife expresses his sorrow at their separation, and longing for reunion:
- Mindful that I had soon to leave on service,
- Farther and farther away from you every day,
- I sent a carriage to bring you back;
- But it went empty, and empty it returned.
- I read your letter with feelings of distress;
- At meals I cannot eat;
- And I sit alone in this desolate chamber.
- Who is there to solace and encourage me?
- Through the long nights I cannot sleep,
- And solitary I lie prostrate on my pillow, tossing and turning.
- Sorrow comes as in a circle
- And cannot be rolled up like a mat.
Legacy and influence
A 1968 edition of China Today explains that "Ch'in Chia and his wife Hsui Shu are supposed to be a couple of constant and profound lovers and therefore have often been referred to as such in subsequent ages by people when they laud wedded bliss."
Anne Birrell, in Games Poets Play, stated: "Ch'in Chia's expression of helpless melancholy and graceful, gallant compliments influenced the development of poems on conjugal love."
- Anne Birrell Chinese Love Poetry: New Songs from a Jade Terrace (1995), p. 54
- Arthur Waley Translations from the Chinese (1941), p. 55
- Guido Vitale (barone.), Chinese folklore: Pekinese rhymes (1972), p. 54
- Harriet T. Zurndorfer Chinese Women in the Imperial Past: New Perspectives (1999), p. 328
- Chambers dictionary of quotations (1997), p. 248. Very little is known of his life.
- Also spelt "Hs'u Shu" and "Xu Shu".
- Per Anne Birrell Games poets play: readings in medieval Chinese poetry (2004), p. 240; Some sources state that the city was Beijing.
- The book Sunflower splendor: three thousand years of Chinese poetry (1975), by Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo, gives a contradictory account, stating: When Ch'in Chia parted from his wife, he gave her a mirror as a symbol of their union. (p. 199), but Ch'in Chia only sends her "The bright mirror [that] will reflect [her] face", a gift mentioned in one of his poem to his wife, after their separation.
- "Tseng fu shih"; Victor H. Mair The Columbia History of Chinese Literature (2012), p. 1317
- The poems are entitled "Ch'in Chia's Wife's Reply"; "A Further Reply to Qin Jia", "Poem in Reply to My Husband" (Qieshen xi buling; also translated as "Response to My Husband, Ch'in Chia"); see Lily Xiao Hong Lee, Agnes D. Stefanowska, Sue Wiles, Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women (2007), p. 228
- Albert Richard Davis The Penguin Book of Chinese Verse (1962), p. 3
- Unknown date; "c. 150 BC" is taken from Chambers Dictionary of Quotations (1997), p. 248
- Chinese decorated letter-paper (1978), p. 3
- Institute for Chinese Culture, Taipei (City), China today, Vol. 11 (1968), p. 43
- Anne Birrell Games poets play: readings in medieval Chinese poetry (2004), pp. 240-241