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近體詩/Cận thể thi/Modern style poetry

nhau

冬夜憶故人

夜長簾幕不禁風
幽憶故人入夢中
何日酒筵重對坐
細論詞藻雨濛濛

Đông dạ ức cố nhân

Dạ trường liêm mạc bất câm phong
U ức cố nhân nhập mộng trung
Hà nhật tửu diên trùng đối toạ
Tế luân từ tảo vũ mông mông

Winter night, missing an old friend

The night lengthens, the curtains do not hold back the wind
Hidden feelings and memories of you enter into my dreams
When will we feast and drink together once more
Discussing fine points of literature in the drizzling rain

Notes:

– I translated this poem into Vietnamese:

Đêm đông nhớ cố nhân

Rèm cửa đêm dài gió thổi tung,
Nhớ thầm người cũ giấc mông lung.
Tiệc vui nào thủa gặp nhau lại,
Bàn luận văn hay mưa mịt mùng.

– Scholar and author Trần Quang Đức (陳光德 , 1985 – ), courtesy name (字 , tự) Thí Phổ (施普), pen-name (號 , hiệu) Vân Trai (雲齋) has also kindly translated this poem into Vietnamese:

Đêm dài gió thổi bạt rèm thưa
Mộng cũ ai xui luống thẫn thờ
Tiệc rượu biết nao ngày gặp lại
Chuyện trò văn vẻ mịt mùng mưa

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ao dai

Nguyễn Thượng Hiền (阮尚賢, 1868-1925), courtesy name (字, tự) Đỉnh Thần (鼎臣) spent the last decade of his life wandering around China, narrowly escaping detection and death on many occasions. When he left Vietnam around 1910, perhaps he did not know that he would never return. His poems from this period of constant travel are at times filled with anger, sorrow, and loneliness but almost always reaffirm his confident hope in a victorious return to Vietnam in the future. As a part of this continuing series of translations from his writing, I have translated three poems written when he was traveling in China. The third of these poems was written before traveling to Hangchow, where he would eventually pass away.

粵東道中得病

病骨逢秋彊自撐
崎嶇山谷事長征
一身於世兼禜辱
萬里何人託死生
殘月鵑聲心易碎
曉霜驢背夢頻驚
敝衫滴徧孤臣淚
猶倚南雲望玉京

Việt Đông đạo trung đắc bệnh

Bệnh cốt phùng thu cưỡng tự sanh
Khi khu sơn cốc sự trường chinh
Nhất thân ư thế kiêm vinh nhục
Vạn lý hà nhân thác tử sinh
Tàn nguyệt quyên thanh tâm dị toái
Hiểu sương lư bối mộng tần kinh
Tệ sam trích biến cô thần lệ
Do ỷ nam vân vọng ngọc kinh
On the road in Yuedong, getting sick

As my sick bones meet autumn, I struggle to push myself
Through winding mountain trails and valleys, I continue my distant journey
In this life, I have experienced by glory and disgrace
Across a ten-thousand miles, with whom can I brave life and death
Under the waning moon, the cuckoo’s cry easily breaks one’s heart
Wandering through the morning mist on a donkey’s back, my dreams are continually disturbed
My tattered robes are soaked with the tears of a lone minister
Yet, I still lean against the southern clouds, gazing towards the imperial capital

述感

匹馬煙塵別舊林
捐軀誓報國恩深
補天填海雖難事
破釜沈舟自壯心
萬里征衫隨雁渡
三更雄劍作龍吟
何時親繫彊胡頸
歸對江山酒滿斟

Thuật cảm

Thất mã yên trần biệt cựu lâm
Quyên khu thệ báo quốc ân thâm
Bổ thiên điền hải tuy nan sự
Phá phủ trầm chu tự tráng tâm
Vạn lý chinh sam tùy nhạn độ
Tam canh hùng kiếm tác long ngâm
Hà thời thân hệ cường hồ cảnh
Quy đối giang sơn tửu mãn châm

Expressing my feelings

On horseback, smoke and dust separate me from my old forest home
Putting myself aside, I have sworn to repay my country’s deep favors
Though patching the sky and filling the ocean are difficult tasks
The strength to crush pots and sink boats comes from my own heroic spirit
Across ten-thousand miles, my traveler’s robes follow the passing geese
In the dead of night, my sword roars like a dragon
When will I be able to tie up the barbarians by the neck
Returning to face my country with wine overflowing from my goblet

自嶺南赴杭寓江邊廢寺

神州莽莽總氛埃
故國蒼天眼未開
遙夜夢回千嶂外
孤臣心死十年來
青衫避地投僧舍
白首思親隔夜臺
誰借東風吹淚盡
狂歌連倒謫仙杯

Tự Lĩnh Nam phó Hàng ngụ giang biên phế tự

Thần châu mãng mãng tổng phân ai
Cố quốc thương thiên nhãn vị khai
Dao dạ mộng hồi thiên chướng ngoại
Cô thần tâm tử thập niên lai
Thanh sam tỵ địa đầu tăng xá
Bạch thủ tư thân cách dạ đài
Thùy tá đông phong xuy lệ tận
Cuồng ca liên đảo trích tiên bôi

From Ling-nan, traveling to Hangchow, staying in an abandoned temple by the riverside

Across the vast sacred land, everywhere is pollution and dust
My old country far-beyond the blue sky, I have not yet opened my eyes
In the long night, my dreams return beyond the endless mountain passes
For ten years, this lone minister’s heart has already been dead
In tattered clothing, I seek refuge in a monk’s dwelling
White-haired, I miss my parents, now separated by the underworld
Who will take the east wind to blow away all my tears
I sing crazily, and tilt the wine goblet of an exiled immortal

Notes:

-Yuedong (粵東, Việt Đông) refers to Kwangtung province (廣東省, Quảng Đông tỉnh) in southern China

– “Patching the sky and filling the ocean” (補天填海, bổ thiên điền hải) refers to performing heroic feats of super-human endeavor

– “Crushing pots and sinking boats” (破釜沈舟, phá phủ trầm chu) refers to military attacks/raids

– “sacred land” (神州, thần châu) refers to China

-“goblet of an exiled immortal” (謫仙杯, trích tiên bôi) is a reference to the Tang dynasty poet, Li Po (李白, 701-762) who was fond of drinking wine

-The illustration is a picture of a mandarin from the Nguyễn dynasty

-These poems have been translated into Vietnamese by the scholar and professor Lê Thước (黎鑠, 1891-1975), pen-name (號. hiệu) Tĩnh Lạc (靜樂). The second poem was translated by Nguyễn Văn Bách (阮文柏, ?-?):

Đi Việt Đông giữa đường mắc bệnh

Bệnh gặp thu qua tự gượng mình
Gập ghềnh hang núi bước lênh đênh
Một thân tầng trải đời vinh nhục
Muôn dặm ai là bạn tử sinh
Tiếng quốc trăng tàn lòng dễ nát
Lưng lừa sương lạnh mộng khôn thành
Cô thần nước mắt dầm tay áo
Theo lớp mây nam ngóng ngọc kinh

Kể lại mối cảm xúc

Vó ngựa lìa rừng gió bụi bay
Dấn thân báo nước trả ơn dầy
Vá trời lấp biển dù gian khó
Phá phủ dìm thuyền vẫn đắm say
Tà áo nhạn đưa muôn dặm vắng
Tiếng gươm rồng hiện khắc canh chầy
Bao giờ trói sạch quân cường bạo
Về viếng non sông chuốc chén đầy

Từ Lĩnh Nam đi Hàng Châu trọ ở ngôi chùa vắng bên sông

Mênh mang cát bụi chốn Thần châu
Nước cũ trời xanh thấy mịt mù
Nghìn lớp non xa đêm mộng tưởng
Mười năm đất khách dạ âu sầu
Áo xanh lánh nạn nơi chùa cũ
Đầu bạc thương người chốn suối sâu
Mượn ngọn gió đông lau giọt lệ
Thơ tiên cao giọng rượu nghiêng bầu

XBOJbbc12_ODIQ.jpg.ashx

Nguyễn Thượng Hiền (阮尚賢, 1868-1925), courtesy name (字, tự) Đỉnh Thần (鼎臣), traveled extensively through East Asia and made acquaintance with like-minded revolutionaries in Japan, Korea, and China. Along his travels, he corresponded with both his Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese friends through classical Chinese poetry, which, at the time, was still a shared written lingua franca across China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan.  As a part of this continuing series of translations from his poetry, this post presents several of these poems written for his friends.

 

寄都中諸友

南望浮雲接塞生
春風腸斷越歌聲
五陵知識今誰在
斜日煙花滿舊京

Ký đô trung chư hữu

Nam vọng phù vân tiếp tái sinh
Xuân phong trường đoạn Việt ca thanh
Ngũ lăng tri thức kim thùy tại
Tà nhật yên hoa mãn cựu kinh

Sent to all my friends in the capital

Gazing south, billowing clouds stretch along the frontier
In the spring wind, my heart breaks at the sound of a Việt song
At the Five Tombs, who are left of my acquaintances?
In the setting sun, mist and flowers cover the old capital

陪阮孟孝將軍遊粵東能仁寺

英雄不為一身謀
寶劍雙磨復國讎
遊到淨堂專論殺
山僧不語衹搖頭

Bồi Nguyễn Mạnh Hiếu tướng quân du Việt Đông Năng Nhân tự

Anh hùng bất vị nhất thân mưu
Bảo kiếm song ma phục quốc thù
Du đáo tịnh đường chuyên luận sát
Sơn tăng bất ngữ chỉ dao đầu

Accompanying general Nguyễn Mạnh Hiếu visiting the Năng Nhân temple in Yuedong

A hero does not think only for himself
Together, let us sharpen our swords and avenge the country
Arriving in this pure hall, we discuss killing
The mountain monk is silent, only shaking his head

東海贈章太炎先生

煙濤萬里一虛舟
島國相逢話壯遊
醉把奇書燈下讀
滿天風雨入西樓

Đông Hải tặng Chương Thái Viêm tiên sinh

Yên đào vạn lý nhất hư chu
Đảo quốc tương phùng thoại tráng du
Túy bả kỳ thư đăng hạ độc
Mãn thiên phong vũ nhập tây lâu

On the Eastern sea, given to master Chang Taiyan

Across ten-thousand miles of mists and waves, a single empty boat has floated
Meeting on this island nation, we tell tales of our heroic distant travels
Drunk, we read strange books under the lamp
Wind and rain fill the sky, entering the west tower

柬晉中諸友

虜運潮終落
人心火始燃
居行皆許國
興廢不關天
朔角臨邊月
南車指塞煙
何當引長篲
萬里掃腥羶

Giản Tấn trung chư hữu

Lỗ vận trào chung lạc
Nhân tâm hoả thuỷ nhiên
Cư hành giai hứa quốc
Hưng phế bất quan thiên
Sóc giác lâm biên nguyệt
Nam xa chỉ tái yên
Hà đương dẫn trường tuệ
Vạn lý tảo tinh thiên

Sent to all my friends in Chin

The barbarian’s fortunes are like the receding tide
The people’s hearts are like a first just kindled
Coming and going, all is to serve the country
Rising and falling does not depend on Heaven
The borderland moon shines down on the north
The southern carriage is directed towards the frontier mists
When will I be able to take a long broom
And wipe clean the stench of these beasts across ten-thousand miles

Notes:

– Sent to all my friends in the capital (寄都中諸友, Ký đô trung chư hữu), this poems was most likely written when the author was somewhere in China. The capital most likely refers to the the city of Huế (順化, Thuận Hóa), the capital of the Nguyễn dynasty.

-Five Tombs (五陵, Ngũ lăng) refers to the tombs of the Han emperors in China, but here is used to refer to the imperial city of Vietnam

-Nguyễn Thiện Thuật (阮善述, ?-?), courtesy name (字, tự) Mạnh Hiếu (孟孝) was a native of Hải Dương province (海陽省, Hải Dương tỉnh). He led military campaign against the French for over a decade before fleeing to China after his forces began to weaken.

– master Taiyan (太炎先生, Thái Viêm tiên sinh) was a pen-name (號. hiệu) of Chương Bỉnh Lân (章炳麟, 1868-1936, courtesy name (字, tự )Mai Thúc (枚叔) , a Chinese revolutionary and philosopher.

-island nation (島國, Đảo quốc) refers to Japan, where this poem was written

– Chin (晉, Tấn) refers to modern day Shan-hsi province (山西省, Sơn Tây tỉnh) in northern China

-This poem refers to the author’s plans to take advantage of France’s involvement in the first World War to launch a military strike against them in northern Vietnam. It is possible that it was written late in 1915.

-The illustration is of martial officers and soldiers of the Nguyễn dynasty

-These poems have been translated into Vietnamese by the scholar and professor Lê Thước (黎鑠, 1891-1975), pen-name (號. hiệu) Tĩnh Lạc (靜樂):

Gửi các bạn trong kinh đô

Trời Nam mây nổi ải mơ màng
Ca Việt xuân đưa luống đoạn tràng
Quen biết năm lăng còn mấy kẻ
Kinh xưa phong cảnh bóng tà dương

Cùng tướng quân Nguyễn Mạnh Hiếu chơi chùa Năng Nhân tỉnh Việt Đông

Anh hùng nào phải vị mình đâu
Nợ nước mài gươm quyết trả thù
Tới trước Phật đường bàn chém giết
Sư ông chẳng nói chỉ lay đầu

Tặng Chương Thái Viêm tiên sinh khi ở Đông Hải

Chiếc thuyền muôn dặm sóng tung bay
Đảo quốc cùng nhau kể chuyện hay
Say ghé bên đèn xem sách lạ
Đầy trời mưa gió ngập lầu tây

Gửi các bạn trong đất Tấn

Vận giặc nước đang xuống
Lòng dân lửa mới mồi
Đi ở đều vì nước
Nên hư chẳng tại trời
Cõi bắc bên trăng vẳng
Xe nam rẽ khói bay
Ước sao cầm chổi dài
Quét sạch giống tanh hôi

nguyen_truong_to_500

Nguyễn Trường Tộ (阮長祚, 1830–1871) was Roman Catholic scholar, reformer, and architect active during the reign of emperor Nguyễn Dực Tông (阮翼宗, 1829-1883) of the Nguyễn dynasty. He was born in the province of Nghệ An (乂安) in central Vietnam. As a youth, he studied privately with retired scholars and gained a reputation as a well-learned scholar in the Confucian classics. As a Roman Catholic, he was forbidden to take part in the imperial examinations. He made a living through teaching classical Chinese in private and at a Roman Catholic seminary. Under the tutelage of bishop Jean-Denis Gauthier (1810-1877), also know by his Vietnamese name Ngô Gia Hậu (吳嘉厚), Nguyễn Trường Tộ also became one of the first Vietnamese scholars to become fluent in French and well versed in European culture and government. Although it is certain that Gauthier accompanied him to Hong Kong and various other places in the region, it is not certain whether or not Nguyễn Trường Tộ went to France prior to 1867 when he sent as part of an official delegation by emperor Nguyễn Dực Tông.

As a reformer, he placed great emphasis on “practical studies” (實學, thực học) such as that of Western sciences opposed to the “empty learning” (虛學, hư học), i.e., poetic and literary studies, and the rote memorization of histories and Confucian texts emphasized by the imperial civil-service examinations. Despite not holding any official position, his erudition in both Western and Eastern learning earned him the respect of the emperor, to whom he wrote many petitions regarding the necessity of modernization in order to survive the imminent threat of French colonization. Regardless, many court officials opposed his propositions for reform and even falsely accused him of collaborating with the French in order to have him executed. The emperor himself did not ever implement any of the reforms proposed in  the detailed and impassioned memorials and petitions submitted to the court. A devout Roman Catholic, Nguyễn Trường Tộ also played an essential role in drafting the architectural plans  and aiding in the construction of several seminaries, convents, and chapels. Towards the end of his life, he volunteered to lead a military strike on the French, taking advantage of their entanglement in the Franco-Prussian war, to regain lost territory. By the time the imperial court summoned him to discuss his petition, he was already in frail health. His talent unrecognized and his concern for the survival of the Nguyễn dynasty unappreciated, he died disappointed, his great ambitions unattained. In his last moments, he wrote the following couplet: 「一失足成千古恨 ,再回頭是百年基。」 (Nhất thất túc thành thiên cổ hận, tái hồi đầu thị bách niên cơ). “One misstep has turned into everlasting regret, looking once again the foundation for a lifetime has already been laid”. (An anonymous Vietnamese translation is: Một bước sa chân ngàn thủa hận, quay mặt nhìn đã hết trăm năm)

沱曩過泊

萬代天地此風景
西朝何事動兵刀
一朝殺氣空流水
千古冤聲尚怒濤
江自西南雙淚下
門開東北雨山高
如今已慶鯨波靜
破浪乘風氣自豪

Đà Nẵng quá bạc

Vạn đại thiên địa thử phong cảnh
Tây triều hà sự động binh đao
Nhất triêu sát khí không lưu thuỷ
Thiên cổ oan thanh thượng nộ đào
Giang tự tây nam song lệ há
Môn khai đông bắc vũ sơn cao
Như kim dĩ khánh kình ba tĩnh
Phá lãng thừa phong khí tự hào

Harboring in Đà Nẵng

For ten-thousand generations Heaven-and-earth have had this scenery
For what reason has the Western court raised its soldiers and arms
In one morning, the air of the death has passed with the flowing water
For countless ages, the sound of lament still roars in the crashing torrents
As the river flows from the southwest, two trails of tears fall
A passage opening from the northeast, the rainy mountain is tall
Now there can celebration that billowing waves have been stilled
Crashing through the waves and riding the wind, my spirits are high

Notes:

– Đà Nẵng (沱曩) is a coastal city that has the largest harbor in central Vietnam. It was a crucial port for trade and the site of a French naval invasion during the Nguyễn dynasty. The territory ended up being ceded to the French. It was to this area that Nguyễn Trường Tộ initially accompanied Bishop Gauthier to escape persecution of Roman Catholics in his home province.

-“Western court” (西朝, Tây triều) refers to the French

-“billowing waves” (鯨波, kình ba) literally means “leviathan waves”, but is used in literature to describe great naval battles, etc

-poet Khương Hữu Dụng (羌有用, 1907-2005) has translated this poem into Vietnamese:

Đậu thuyền ở Đà Nẵng

Trời đất muôn đời phong cảnh ấy
Giặc Tây sao dám nổi binh đao
Lửa binh một sớm dòng xuôi chảy
Tiếng súng ngàn thu sóng giận gào
Nhánh rẽ Tây Nam sông đổ xuống
Núi canh Đông Bắc cửa ra vào
Mừng nay đã lặn tăm kình ngạc
Cưỡi sóng buồm dong mấy tự hào

family picture

Hồ Huân Nghiệp (胡勳業, 1829-1864) was a scholar and among the first Vietnamese to give up his life fighting the French in southern Vietnam. He was born in the village of An Định (安定), which is located in modern day Saigon. His courtesy name (字, tự) was Thiệu Tiên (紹先). After his father’s death, he built a temporary house by the grave from which he maintained his father’s grave, took care of his mother, and gave private instruction to students. Following 1859, he assisted the martial officialTrương Định (張定, 1820-1864) in waging a guerrilla war against the French in defiance of the Treaty of Saigon, signed in 1862 by emperor Nguyễn Dực Tông (阮翼宗, 1829-1883), better known by his reign title (年號, niên hiệu) Tự Đức (嗣德). This treaty surrendered the city of Saigon, the Côn đảo (昆島) islands, and three southern provinces to the French. Before leaving to assist the rebellion, he married so that his mother would have someone who could take care of her. After Hồ Huân Nghiệp was captured and apprehended in 1864, he refused to submit and was beheaded. Before his execution, he washed his face, straightened his robes, and recited the following poem. He was 35 years old.

絕命詩

見義寧甘不勇為
全憑忠孝作男兒
此身生死何須論
惟戀高堂白髮垂

Tuyệt mệnh thi

Kiến nghĩa ninh cam bất dũng vi
Toàn bằng trung hiếu tác nam nhi
Thử thân sinh tử hà tu luận
Duy luyến cao đường bạch phát thùy

A death poem

Seeing what is right, how can one not do it with courage
Relying only on loyalty and filial piety, I have been a real man
What need is there to discuss my life and death
I only regret that my mother’s hair has turned white and thin

Notes:

-The first line of this poem is a reference to a quote from The Analects (論語, Luận ngữ): 「見義不為,無勇也。」 (Kiến nghĩa bất vi, vô dũng dã). James Legge translates: To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.

-Cao đường (高堂), literally ‘lofty hall’ is a term of respect used to refer to one’s parents.

-The illustration is a picture of a family from Hà Nội (河內) in northern Vietnam

-This poem has been translated into Vietnamese by Bảo Định Giang (寶定江):

Thấy nghĩa lòng đâu dám hững hờ
Làm trai ngay thảo, quyết tôn thờ
Thân này sống chết không màng nhắc
Thương bấy mẹ già tóc bạc phơ

Chan_dung_tam_nguyen_yen_do_nguyen_khuyen

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.

秋夜有感

山河寥落四無聲
獨坐書堂看月明
何處秋風吹一葉
引來無限故園情

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

MaXuanDao

 

Ma Xuân Đạo (麻春道, 1931?-2009?) was born in Quảng Bình (廣平) province. He immigrated to South Vietnam in 1954 after the Geneva Conference split Vietnam into the communist North and democratic South. A rather intriguing figure, reliable details of his life are difficult to find. It seems that before 1975 he worked various positions as a lecturer, journalist, and political theorist. After the communist victory in 1975, he was put in a concentration camp for anti-government activity. After release, he wandered around homeless, working menial jobs such as tending cattle. According to some sources, he passed away in 2009 in a Buddhist temple, while weaning himself from alcoholism that had plagued his entire life. His one collection of poetry, “Written in the state of Qin” (秦中作, Tần trung tác) is a collection of Chinese poetry which he then translated himself into Vietnamese poetry. The title of the collection compares communist Vietnam to the tyrannical Qin dynasty. He also went by the pen name (號, hiệu) Ma Tửu (魔酒).

天涯折劍

折劍孤身安抗敵
餘生空手惡徒交
殘衣落色心難變
白髮衰時願豈拋
含恨不能扶漢室
吞羞甘受佐張曹
人心民氣今求激
袖手旁觀可笑嘲

Thiên nha chiết kiếm

Chiết kiếm cô thân an kháng địch
Dư sinh không thủ ác đồ giao
Tàn y lạc sắc tâm nan biến
Bạch phát suy thời nguyện khởi phao
Hàm hận bất năng phù Hán thất
Thôn tu cam thụ tá Trương tào
Nhân tâm dân khí kim cầu kích
Tụ thủ bàng quan khả tiếu trào

A broken sword at the edge of the sky

With a broken sword, how can one man fight the enemy
Empty-handed, my remaining life is surrendered to evil men
Though my tattered shirt has faded, my heart cannot change
My white hair has thinned, but how can my ambitions be abandoned
I swallow regret that I was unable to aid the house of Han
Swallowing my shame, I must accept to aid the Zhang rebels
Men’s hearts and the people’s spirits are now in exultation
In leisure, everything that I see is a farce

Notes:

-This poem was written in 1989

– “the house of Han” (漢室, Hán thất) refers to the South Vietnamese government

-Zhang rebels (張曹, Trương tào) is a reference to a petty group of rebels during the Eastern Han dynasty. In this poem it is a reference to the Communists.

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