Đoạt Sáo Chương Dương Độ Cầm Hồ Hàm Tử Quan

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VIETNAMESE POETRYtranslated & annotated

Dr. Đàm Trung PhápProfessor EmeritusTexas Woman’s University

 

“Đoạt sáo Chương thơm Dương Độ”

TrầnQuang Khải

 

Inthe history of Vietnam’s struggle for independence, the Lý dynasty (1010-1225)và the Trần dynasty (1225-1400) stood out as the two most glorious. Duringthese four hundred years, the country produced far more heroes than at anyother time, even though its land area was less than half of what it is now, withits southern border ending only at Nghệ An. Aggressors from the north,including the fearsome Mongols, had oftentimes been tempted by this beautifulland, yet every time they were crushed, with numerous generals, princes, andthousands of troops killed in fierce battles. Among muốn the military geniuses and refinedliterati of these two dynasties were Lý Thường Kiệt và Trần Quang Khải. WhileMarshal Lý Thường Kiệt of the Lý dynasty achieved phenomenal military victories& penned the poem Nam Quốc Sơn Hà, knownas the country’s first declaration of independence, General và Prime MinisterTrần Quang Khải of the Trần dynasty accomplished similar astounding militaryvictories và authored Đoạt Sáo Chương Dương Độ, a short celebratorypoem of epic stature.

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TheMongols, although more barbaric than other Asian groups at the time, wereawesome warriors. Cruel & belligerent, they were crackerjack archers andcavalrymen with great mobility. They knew only one kind of order -- the orderof their leader. They would charge when so ordered even though they knew thatthe action would be fatal. Their ancestors were the Huns (Rợ Hồ or Hung Nô inVietnamese). They were Buddhists, but they hardly understood the teachings ofthis noble religion (Phạm Văn uống Sơn 1960). That was the kind of enemies that ourheroes of the Trần dynasty had to lớn face.

TrầnQuang Khải (1241-1294) was the third son of King Trần Thái Tông và a youngerbrother of King Trần Thánh Tông. Robust, handsome, và gifted in both literaryvà military arts, he played a major role in the campaigns against the Mongolinvaders, in association with another stellar military strategist, General TrầnHưng Đạo. Of his many military triumphs, his watershed victory at Chương thơm DươngFerry in 1285 stood out, as it led lớn the liberation of the capital Thăng Longwhich had been occupied by Togan (Thoát Hoan) và his troops for a few months.In 1282 he became the country’s prime minister with great authority overnational matters. In light of his tremendous service khổng lồ the country, King TrầnThánh Tông  bestowed on hyên ổn the title ofPrince Chiêu Minch (Chiêu Minc Vương) as a reward <1>.

Towardthe over of 1284, threatened with imminent capture by the Mongols, the capitalThăng Long had been abandoned. Yet, in the summer of 1285, King Trần Nhân Tôngcould return in triumph to lớn his seat of power. At a royal banquet in Thăng Longcelebrating this momentous victory, Prime Minister Trần Quang Khải recited afour-line poem that he composed in Chinese characters. Extolling gloriousvictories over ferocious enemies, providing sound advice for citizens duringpeace time, & praying for an eternal existence for the country, all in anelevated style, the historic poem was an epic in miniature. It is presentedbelow in its Sino-Vietnamese transliteration, along with its translations intoVietnamese và English:

Đoạtsáo Cmùi hương Dương Độ <2>

CầmHồ Hàm Tử Quan

Tháibình nghi cố gắng nỗ lực <3>Vạn cổ thử giang san(Trần Quang Khải)

ChươngDương chiếm giáo giặc

HàmTử bắt quân thù

Tháibình bắt buộc rứa sức

Nonnước ấy ngàn thu(Trần Trọng Klặng dịch)

Weseized spears at Chương Dương Ferry <4>

Wecaptured Huns at Hàm Tử Port <5>

Inpeace let us maintain our strength <6>Forever shall live sầu this nation

 

NOTES

<1>The king also gave Trần Quang Khải a streamer on which two verses wereembroidered. They read: “A great stature, others also have / Loyalty khổng lồ bothroyal courts, only you do” (“Nhất đại sự nghiệp, cõi tục hữu / Lưỡng triềutrung hiếu, trần thế vô”).

<2>An alternate for the second word in this verse is “sóc,” which is actually thecorrect word for expressing the idea of “long spear.” See Trần Trọng San (1997,page 248).

<3>An alternate for the third word in this verse is “tu.”

<4>Chương Dương Ferry is now in Thường Tín District, Hà Tây Province. It was herethat Trần Quang Khải crushed Prince Togan (Thoát Hoan), a son of Kubilai (Hốt TấtLiệt), in 1285.

<5>The Huns (Rợ Hồ or Hung Nô) were a nomadic people, probably originating innorthern central Asia, who invaded Trung Quốc in the third century B.C. và thenspread westward lớn Asia và Europe. During the fourth century A.D., under theirleader, Attila (A Đề Lạp), they overran much of the Roman Empire. Trần Quang Khảireferred to the Mongols as descendants of the barbaric and destructive sầu Huns.Hàm Tử Port is now in Vnạp năng lượng Giang District, Hưng Yên Province. It was at thisport that Trần Nhật Duật triumphed over Sogetu (Toa Đô), a Mongol general.

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<6>The message of this verse is similar to lớn the Latin adage Si vis pacem, para bellum meaning “If you wish for peace, preparefor war.” More than anyone else, Trần Quang Khải knew that a svào societywould be less likely to be attacked by enemies. The Latin adage was by thefifth-century author Flavius Vegetius Renatus in his book De re militari or“Concerning military matters.”

 

REFERENCES

Đỗ Đức Hiển et al. (2004). Từ điển văn học tập cỗ mới. Hanoi: Nhà Xuất Bản Thế Giới.

HuỳnhSanh Thông (1979). The heritage ofVietnamese poetry. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

LêHữu Mục (1960). Việt năng lượng điện u linh tập (LýTế Xuyên ổn, gắng kỷ XIV). Saigon: Khai Trí.

LêMạnh Hùng (2009). Nhìn lại sử Việt. Tự chủI: Từ Ngô Quyền cho trực thuộc Minh. Arlington, VA: Tổ Hợp Xuất Bản Miền ĐôngHoa Kỳ.

Xem thêm: Nguyên Lý Làm Việc Của Máy Phát Điện Đồng Bộ : Cấu Tạo Và Nguyên Lý Hoạt Động

LêNgô Cát và Đặng Huy Trứ đọng (2009). ĐạiNam quốc sử diễn ca. Saigon: Nhà Xuất Bản Văn uống Học.