Nalan Xingde (Nara Singde) 1655-1685

The best-known poet of ci lyrics of the Qing dynasty, was a Manchu. The son of a prime minister, he gained the jinshi degree when he was twenty-one and was appointed junior officer of the imperial bodyguard. In that capacity he accompanied Emperor Kangxi on his travels to remote parts of the empire. However, Nara would rather indulge his scholarly interests and host gatherings with leading literary figures of the day. His poetry and prose, published in the collection Tongzhitang ji, is marked by a persistent note of melancholy which possibly sprang from the untimely death of his wife and the longing for home and friends. His intention to compile an anthology of Song dynasty ci was never realized because of his early death at the age of thirty.