Prince Gwanghae (光海君, 광해군; 1575-1641, r. 1608-1623) was the 15th Regent of Chosun. He was born during the Japanese Invasions of Korea (壬辰倭亂, 임진왜란; 1592-1598) and raised to throne soon after the end of the invasion. He was known as a reformer. Prince Gwanghae took initiatives to centralize the royal power, rebuild the palaces, and curb abuses of power by government officials. Having attempted to maintain relations with the Ming and the Manchus, after the Battle of Sarhu (薩爾滸之戰, 살이호지전, 1619), he was also despised for his foreign policy by pro-Ming factions in the government and was ultimately deposed. As he was deposed in coup, he was not given a temple name (廟號, 묘호) (e.g., 世宗, 세종) and was given a modest grave. His posthumous name (諡, 시) is Yi Hon (李琿, 이혼).
The red ditch is gloomy and dreary within emerald-green haze.
The blue brook and its jade-like grass enclose the altar of heaven.
The smoke and sun’s glow, the jade and the cauldron, and the yeongsa have become old.
The moon rises above the ivy and the winds below across the pine tree, but the crane has not returned.
- Samcheongdong (三淸洞, 삼청동) refers to an area of Seoul near the palace in Jongro district (鐘路區, 종로구).
- Altar of heaven (天壇, 천단) is probably referring to Bukaksan (北嶽山, 북악산), which is the mountain behind today’s Blue House (靑瓦臺, 청와대).
- Yeongsa (靈砂, 영사) is a type of medicine.
- 翠(취) – Green (푸르다).
- 靄(애) – Haze (아지랑이).
- 瑤(요) – Jade (옥돌).
- 繞(요) – To surround or encircle (둘러싸다).
- 霞(하) – Glow from sun during sunset (노을).
- 蘿(라) – Ivy (담쟁이덩굴).