Jang Yu – Carelessly Composing a Poem, After Waking Up and Eating Red Bean Porridge


Jang Yu (張維, 장유, 1587-1638) was a Chosun dynasty literati bureaucrat. He was of the Deoksu Jang Clan (德水張氏, 덕수장씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Jiguk (持國, 지국); his pen name (號, 호) was Gyegok (谿谷, 계곡); and his posthumous name was Munchung (文忠, 문충). He is the father of Queen Inseon (仁宣王后, 인성왕후, 1619-1674), one of the queen consorts of King Hyojong (孝宗, 효종, 1619-1659, r. 1649-1659), and therefore the maternal grandfather to King Hyeonjong (顯宗, 현종, 1641-1674, r. 1659-1674). Jang Yu participated in the Injo Restoration (仁祖反正, 인조반정, 1623), which dethroned and exiled Prince Gwanghae (光海君, 광해군, 1575-1641, r. 1608-1623). He also attained one of the highest ranking positions, the Right State Councillor, or Ueuijeong (右議政, 우의정), but retired from government office shortly thereafter.

In the poem below, Jang Yu describes eating red bean porridge, known as patjuk
(팥죽, -粥) in Korean. It was typically consumed on the Winter Solstice, Dongji (冬至, 동지), and still associated with that holiday. Red bean porridge itself and the custom of consuming it on Winter Solstice originated from China and spread over to Korea as early as the Goryeo Dynasty (高麗, 고려, 918-1392) and also over to Japan and Vietnam. In Chinese mythology, the son of Gong Gong (共工氏, 공공씨, Gong Gong) is said to have died on the day of the Winter Solstice and thereafter turned into a plague-spreading ghost (疫鬼, 역귀). It is said that during his life he hated red beans. In order to ward off this ghost, the Chinese scattered red beans around their dwelling, and made and ate red bean porridge.

晨起喫豆粥漫吟, 效牧隱體 신기끽두죽만음, 효목은체

Carelessly Composing a Poem, After Waking Up and Eating Red Bean Porridge
Emulating the Poetry Forms of Mokeun (牧隱, 목은)

小豆爛烹汁若丹 소두란팽즙약단
香秔同煮粒仍完 향갱동자립잉완
霜朝一盌調崖蜜 상조일완조애밀
煖胃和中體自安 난위화중체자안

Boiling red beans on fire, the juice is as if red sap.
The fragrant rice together simmered; the grain after sometime made whole.
On the morning when frost fell, one brass bowl holds together crevices’ honey.
My warmed stomach is at harmony and in tune; my body naturally becomes at peace.

珍窮陸海飫羶腴 진궁륙해어전유
醉飽居然厲爽俱 취포거연려상구
爭似淸晨盥漱罷 쟁사청신관수파
一甌豆粥軟如酥 이구두죽연여소

Upon this land and sea, full of delicacies, I feast on fatty and juicy meat.
Drunk and full, I live easily, and am entirely and very much refreshed.
How, on this crisp morning, should I wrap up brushing my teeth and washing?
In my one porcelain bowl, my read bean porridge is as tender as condensed milk.


  • Mokeun (牧隱, 목은) is the pen name (號, 호) of Yi Saek (李穡, 이색, 1328-1396).
  • Red sap (丹液, 단액) is a medicine with supposed age lengthening properties.


  • 小豆(소두) – Red beans (팥).
  • 爛烹(난팽) – To boil by fire.
  • 秔(갱) – Non-glutinous rice (메벼).
  • 煮(자) – To boil or simmer (끓다).
  • 粒(립) – Grain (낟알).
  • 盌(완) – Brass bowl (周鉢, 주발).
  • 崖蜜(애밀) – Wild honey found in crevices of rocks (石淸-, 석청꿀).
  • 飫(요) – To eat well (실컷 먹다).
  • 羶(전) – Fatty meat (누린내).
  • 腴(유) – To be fat (살찌다).
  • 厲(려) – To grind (갈다).
  • 爽(상) – To be cool (시원하다).
  • 爭似(쟁사) – Interrogative adjective.
  • 甌(구) – Porcelain bowl (沙鉢, 사발).
  • 酥(소) – Condensed milk (煉乳, 연유).

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