Yi Eungheui – Yin and Yang

Taeguk PalgwaeYi Eungheui (李應禧, 이응희, 1579-1651) was a scholar during the Chosun Dynasty. His courtesy name (字, 자) was Jasu (子綏, 자수); and his pen name (號, 호) was Okdam (玉潭, 옥담). He was of the Jeonju Yi Clan (全州李氏, 전주이씨) and a descendant of Prince Anyang (安陽君, 안양군, ?-1505), the third son of King Seongjong of Chosun (成宗, 성종, 1457-1494, r. 1469-1494). Prince Anyang was said to have died under false accusations and left a testament telling Yi Eungheui not to take up government posts and instead concentrate on scholarship. The following poem is from the All Creations Chapter (萬物篇, 만물편) of his poetry collection. The poems from this chapter seem to be didactic, as they do not use too many difficult Chinese characters.

陰陽 음양

Yin and Yang

陰陽分太極 음양분태극
水火用無疆 수화용무강
雨澤群生遂 우택군생수
暘輝萬物昌 양휘만물창
春敷知夏茂 춘부지하무
秋熟感冬藏 추숙감동장
寄語巖廊宰 기어엄랑재
調元必盡方 조원필진방

Yin and Yang separates the Great Ultimate;
Water and fire are used without limit.
With the rain’s grace, all life grows;
With the sunrise’s luminescence, everything prospers.
The spreading of Spring is known in the thickening of Summer;
The ripening of Autumn is felt in the storing of Winter.
Dispatching these words to the State Council and Prime Minister,
With regards to pacifying the people, all methods must be exhausted.

Note:

  • Amrang (巖廊,암랑) is another name for the State Council of Chosun (議政府, 의정부).

Characters:

  • 綏(수) – To be peaceful (편안하다).
  • 暘(양) – Sunrise (해돋이).

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