Ma Dai, a poet of the Late Tang, was a native of Donghai東海(Jiangsu). It's estimated that he was born in around 803 and died in around 869. Ma Dai passed the jin-shi examination in 844. Before his passing the examination, he lived in retreat or engaged upon his restless troubles, seeking the social connections necessary to gain a public recognition and high rank; after his passing, he held various provincial and capital posts, which were too low in position and late in time for him to think that he has accomplished his desire in his life. His own personal situation and the confusing backdrop of the Late Tang had made a great influence on his writing poems.
This thesis aims to analyze the themes of his poetry. Ma Dai's more than 177 extant poems, most of which consist of the regulated forms, can be divided into four groups.
The first group, on the one hand, expressed his militaristic spirit, on the other hand, expressed his antiwar idea.
The second expressed the pursuit of retirement, which was born for political reasons.
The third poured out complaint of his ill fate, mostly due to his repeated failures in the jin-shi exam.
The fourth expressed his homesickness in the wake of the long residence in a strange land.
I will say that Ma Dai's poetry was very special in the Late Tang's poem; formed his own independent poetical style, that is, "clean and forceful淸峭” in spite of being influenced by Yao He and Jia Dao's poetry, and must be mentioned as the subject of discussion when Tang's repeatedly chanted poetry is systematically organized.