Little is know for certain about Lu Lun.
He is said to have been born in Fanyang, modern Beijing, where general An Lushan began his rebellion against the Tang Dynasty. The date of his birth is given variously as circa 738 to 748, a broad range. As An Lushan began his revolt in 755, this would make Lu Lun 7 or 17 at the time the rebellion broke out. Lu, whose family name means the color black, reportedly fled to Jiangxi in the southeast of the country. The rebellion was put down, but the process of recovery slow, and many areas of the country were under the control of warlords.
Thereafter, there are wide gaps in Lu Lun’s history.
Lu Lun’s style was to employ rhyming couplets. For example here are the first two lines (pinyin) from the third in his series of four Border Songs.
Yuè hēi yàn fēi gāo
yè dùn táo
The gist of the two lines goes like this:
Black (dark) moon, wild geese fly high
In his time he was a re-known scholar. Emperor Xianzong (r. 806-21) asked the poet Linghu to compile poems, which he did between 814-17, collectively known as Poems for Imperial Reading. With 32 poems , Lu Lun was second in the number of poems represented and first among the Ten Talents of the Dali Period (during the reign of Emperor Daizong, 763 to 779). Lu’s cousin and friend, Sikong Shu has only 5. In the later compilation of The Three Hundred Tang Poems, six of his poems are included, four of which are titled Border Songs.
He is also the subject of a poem by fellow poet, Sikong Shu, When My Cousin Lu Lun Comes For The Night.
With no other neighbor than the quiet night,
I live here in the same old cottage,
Where raindrops brighten yellow leaves,
A oil lamp lightens my white head.
Over these many years, in all the world,
I am ashamed to receive you here.
But you cannot come too often,
Better than brother, lifelong friend.
Lu Lun death is given as circa 800.
- Lu Lun is likely referring to the Xiongnu tribe, precursors of modern day Mongolians.