Yun Hyu – The Squalid Alley

Yun Hyu (尹鑴, 윤휴, 1617-1680) was a Chosun dynasty Neo-Confucian literary scholar, government official, and one of the leaders of the Southerners’ faction (南人派, 남인파). His courtesy name (字, 자) was Dugoe (斗魁, 두괴) and Heuijung (希仲, 희중), his pen name (號, 호) was Baekho (白湖, 백호), Haheon (夏軒, 하헌), and Yabo (冶父, 야보), and was of the Namweon Yun clan (南原尹氏, 남원윤씨). He represented the Southerners’ faction as the main disputant in the Rites and Eulogy Controversy (禮訟論爭, 예송논쟁), which concerned the mourning the death of Queen Inseon (仁宣王后, 인선왕후, 1618-1647). After the controversy, King Sukjong (肅宗, 숙종, 1661-1720, r. 1674-1720) ordered him to be exiled to Gapsan (甲山, 갑산) and then ordered his death.

陋巷 누항

The Squalid Alley

明着衣冠士子身 명착의관사자신
簞瓢陋巷不厭貧 단표루항불염빈
雲開萬國同看月 운개만국동간월
花發千家共得春 화발천가공득춘
卲子吟中多氣像 소자음중다기상
淵明醉裏樂天眞 연명취이낙천진
從來大隱皆城市 종래대은개성시
何必投竽寂寞濱 하필투우적막빈

Brightly wearing clothes and a gat is the body of a scholar.
In the squalid alley with bamboo baskets and gourd dippers, he does not hate the impoverished.
When the clouds open, ten-thousand nations all look up to the moon;
When the flowers blossom, thousand households all attain Spring.
In the recitations of Master So, the vigorous temperaments are many;
In the drunkenness of Yeonmyeong, the heavenly truths are joyous.
As in the past, the great recluses all reside in cities and markets.
For what necessity, do they throw their fishing poles from the quiet and still riverside?

Notes:

  • Gat (갓) – Refers to the traditional Korean hat that the Yangban wore (pictured here).
  • The second line of the poem is in reference to Yongye Chapter (雍也篇, 옹야편, Ong’ya Pyeon) of The Analects of Confucius (論語, 논어):

子曰: “賢哉라,回也여! 一簞食와 一瓢飲으로 在陋巷이면 人不堪其憂어늘 回也不改其樂하니. 賢哉라, 回也여!”하니라

The Master said, “Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui! With a single bamboo dish of rice, a single gourd dish of drink, and living in his mean narrow lane, while others could not have endured the distress, he did not allow his joy to be affected by it. Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui!”

Translation by James Legge

  • Master So (卲子, 소자) – Refers to Shao Yong (邵雍, 소옹, 1011–1077; So Ong), a Song Dynasty Neo-Confucian scholar. His posthumous name is Shao Kangjie (邵康節, 소강절; So Gangjeol).
  • Yeonmyeong (淵明, 연명) – Refers to Tao Yuanming (陶淵明, 도연명, 365-427; Do Yeonmyeong), a famous Chinese poet from the Eastern Jin dynasty (東晉, 동진, 266-420). He was known for composing poems drunk. He is also known by his original name, Tao Qian (陶潛, 도잠; Do Jam).
  • Great recluses (大隱, 대은, Dae’eun) refers to hermits who did not live in the mountains, but live in cities aloof from the mundane world.

Characters

  • 父 (보) – Normally interpreted as “father” (아버지) and is pronounced 부; however, when it appears in a name, it is pronounced 보(甫).
  • 陋 (루) – Can also mean “to be narrow” (좁다).
  • 簞 (단) – Bamboo basket (대광주리).
  • 瓢 (표) – Gourd dipper (바가지).
  • 大隱 (대은) – Abbreviated word for 大隱隱朝市(대은은조시).
  • 竽 (간) – Fishing rod or pole (장대).
  • 濱 (빈) – Waterside, riverside, shore, beach, etc. (물가).

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