Poems like these were necessarily mediocre even though they might have been written by first-class poets. The atmosphere in which this type of literature was born could not but savor heavily of the stuffiness of the court. Among poets of this school Shen Chuan-ch’i (650-713?) and Sung Chih-wen (660?-712) were hailed as the twin masters for flawlessness in observing all the regulations that had been set down. The main targets were rhetorical cadence, accurate symmetry, and appropriateness of antithesis with or without substantial content. The only redeeming grace of sonorous courtly poetry of this type was the occasional presence of a touch of the humorous.

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