Nguyễn Khuyến – Feelings on an autumn night


Nguyễn Khuyến (阮勸, 1835-1909) was a native of the Nam Định (南定) province in northern Vietnam. His original given name was Thắng (勝) and his courtesy name (字, tụ) was Miễn Chi (免之). He was well-known for his wide knowledge and quick wit. An upright official, he resigned from his government post in the autumn of 1884 and returned to Yên Đổ (安堵) in his home province where he lived in retirement, teaching privately until his passing in 1909. His later poetry shows his lament for the times, as the French threat to the Nguyễn dynasty’s sovereignty became more apparent.  Today, he is well remembered for both his Chinese and Vietnamese poetry. He often translated his Chinese poetry into Vietnamese poetry and vice versa. In Vietnam there are many schools and streets named after him.



Thu dạ hữu cảm

Sơn hà liêu lạc tứ vô thinh
Độc toạ thư đường khán nguyệt minh
Hà xứ thu phong xuy nhất diệp
Dẫn lai vô hạn cố viên tình

Feelings on an autumn night

The countryside is cool and still, surrounded by utter silence
I sit alone in the book study, gazing at the moon’s radiance
Somewhere the autumn wind stirs a single leaf
Bringing with it countless feelings from my old garden


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