Ying Tzu, a poet of the Ying Dynasty, mostly wrote contemplative verses that captured the emotions of human existence.
Ying Tzu was born into a scholarly family in the prosperous city of Chang'an, the capital of the Ying Dynasty. From a young age, he displayed a interest in literature and immersed himself in the classics of Chinese poetry, philosophy, and history.
From his young adulthood, only a few short verses have been preserved, often lacking titles. The verses appear to have been written for his daughters, two of whom are believed to have resided in Zezhou, in the State of Jin, north of Luoyang. The poems from this period express a blend of affection and longing, often directly addressing the subject of the poems. These poems seem to have functioned as letters, and some of them additionally serving as travel descriptions or travel letters.
In his forties, Ying Tzu travelled extensively across the empire, and he visited Tongzhou 通州 and Huating 華亭 in the East and Haicang 海滄 in the South.
After the epidemic that affected Chang'an and the surrounding areas in the years 819-822 and the Dun Basi Rebellion（敦巴司起義）in the years 822-825, where travel became increasingly hazardous or downright impossible, Ying Tzu's poems become more mature, longer, and more expressive. This may be due to his inability to leave his Chang'an home during this period, allowing him a pretext to deepen his engagement with literature.
Ying Tzu's verses were deeply influenced by the spirit of other Ying Dynasty poets, and his poetry reflected the aesthetic ideals of the era, often exploring themes of nature, love, and the transience of life. Ying Tzu's poems are characterized by their introspective and philosophical nature, delving into the complexities of human emotions and the fleeting nature of existence. His words were imbued with a sense of melancholy and a deep understanding of the human condition.
Ying Tzu's poetic pursuits also brought him into contact with historical events that stirred the depths of his emotions. From the Dun Basi Rebellion, the devastating conflict that shook the empire, through the war in the Mountain Kingdom, to the decline of the Northern Dynasty's central authority, these tumultuous times permeated his verses, revealing his concerns and reflections on the state of the world.
Throughout his life, Ying Tzu grappled with personal struggles and challenges. His verses often reflected his own internal conflicts, the fleeting nature of joy and sorrow, and the inevitability of aging. Yet, amidst the uncertainties of existence, he sought solace and enlightenment through the power of his words.
As if I were to come across oranges, peaches, and plums
under the shade of a willow tree, in the worst drought, when the heat burns the throat with thirst
That's how a letter from you keeps me alive all morning
That's how a visit from you keeps me alive for a hundred years
Come se mi imbattessi in arance, pesche e susine
all'ombra di un salice, nella peggiore siccità, quando la mia gola brucia
Cosi una tua lettera mi tiene in vita per tutta la mattina
Cosi una tua visita mi tiene in vita per cento anni