Early On The Road To Phoenix Citadel


 
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Padi fields near Vinh, Nguyen's hime town

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宿

Early On The Road To Phoenix Citadel
        Nguyen Du 1765-1820

For love of country 
        I must face the road,
The night dim drizzle 
        meng-meng.
The moon sinks 
        to the sound of a gibbon's wail,
Man's path is to push onward.
But strong or weak 
        one fears the road,
My hair's too short 
        to block the wind.
Stopping over night in a village
        I meet woodsman,
We're both pitiful
        but have little else on common.
 
Fènghuáng Lùshàng Zǎoxíng
Ruǎn Yōu, 1765-1820

Zhèngfū huái wǎng lù,
Yèsè dāng méngméng.
Yuè luò yuánshēng wài,
Rén xíng chù jī zhōng.
Lì shuāi dāng wèi lù,
Fà duǎn bùjīn fēng.
Yě sù féng qiáo zhě,
Xiāng lián bù zài tóng.
 
Translator: Liam Kelley 翻譯者

Notes:
Called out of retirement, Nguyen Du reluctantly leaves his home in Vinh and journeys north to the Phoenix Capital, Hanoi.

From Liam Kelley's fascinating study of Vietnamese envoy poetry, Beyond the Bronze Pillars, Envoy Poetry And The Sino-Vietnamese Relationship, University of Hawaii Press, 2005

 
 
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Hénèi, Hanoi 河內
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