Du Fu, the "Poet Sage"-Ending
The Du family had just arrived in Fuzhou Prefecture (today's Fuxian, Shanxi Province), when news came that Tang Emperor Suzong had ascended the throne in Lingwu. Du Fu, after seeing his family properly settled, at once set off to serve Suzong, only to be captured by the rebels and driven back to Chang'an. In the 4th month of the year 757, Du Fu escaped to Fengxiangfrom Chang'an, to join Suzong's rallying forces. He was appointed by the emperor as zuoshiyi.
But soon Du offended the emperor by suggesting a pardon for Fang Guan, a prime minister out of favor; and at the beginning of the Qianyuan reign, Du Fu was demoted to the position of sigongcanjun in Huazhou Prefecture. Because of incessant wars and famine, Du Fu was not able to support his family. Moreover, he lost all hope in his future in officialdom. Therefore, in 759, he resigned from his post and went to settle down in central Sichuan, a land ofpeace and plenty at the time.
In the years following the An-Shi Rebellion, people found themselves caught in the depths of trials and tribulations. Du Fu himself also lived an unsettled life, barely able to scrape out a living. During this period, he wrote many poems, which were later immortalized, such as "Northern Expedition," "Jiangcun Village," as well as those commonly known as "Three Officers" and 'Three Separations."
In 765, Yan Wu, the Jiedushi garrisoning central Sichuan, died, and a series of riots erupted in the locality. Du Fu could no longer make a living in Chengdu, so he was forced to take his family onboard a small boat and begin the life of a wandering refugee. Perhaps, he originally intended to leave Sichuan, going eastward down the Yangtze River. However, hindered by illness and war, he and his family were halted halfway. At first he stayed in Yun'an for sometime, and then lived in Kuizhou for nearly two years. At the age of 57, Du Fu finally sailed out of the Three Gorges, but was still forced to wander along the waterways of Hubei and Hunan provinces. Ultimately, on a passenger boat, Du Fu died prematurely at age 59.
In the last few years of his life, Du Fu reminisced about, or reflected on, his life as well as literary creations, and wrote long poems, which were in fact autobiographical accounts, such as "Travels in My Prime," "Travels in the Past," "Reflections," and " Reminiscences," as well as several short lyrics. For example, "On Meeting Li Guinian South of the Yangtze," the poet marveled at the bygone prosperity of the country, and lamented its present decline. In the few months before his death, he also wrote, "Turning the Boat Around," "Reaching Hanyang by Boat," "Returning to Qin in Late Autumn: Farewell to Colleagues in Hunan," among others. It was not until 43 years after his death that his grandson Du Siye escorted his coffin back to his hometown and final resting place, Yanshi, Henan Province.