Yi Jeong’am – The Vernal Equinox

ChunbunYi Jeong’am (李廷馣, 이정암, 1541-1600) was a Chosun dynasty literati bureaucrat. He was of the Gyeongju Yi Clan (慶州李氏, 경주이씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Junghun (仲薰, 중훈); his pen name (號, 호) was Weoldang (月塘, 월당); and his posthumous name (諡, 시) was Chungmok (忠穆, 충목). During Hideyoshi’s Japanese Invasions of Korea (壬辰倭亂, 임진왜란, Imjin Waeran, 1592-1598), he gathered the Chosun irregular army, commonly referred to as the “Righteous Army” (義兵, 의병, Euibyeong), and coordinate attacks against the Japanese invaders. He is noted for breaking the siege encircling Yeon’an (延安, 연안).

In the poem below, Yi Jeong’am describes the day of the vernal equinox, or Chunbun (春分, 춘분). The vernal equinox occurs when the Sun cross celestial equitor from south to north. Since it is one of the solar terms of the year, its date is fixed on the Western Gregorian Calendar, but varies on the traditional Lunar Calendar. On this day, fortune tellers attempted to predict whether the harvest would be abundant that year.

春分 춘분

The Vernal Equinox

天時忽忽到春分 천시홀홀도춘분
東北都無吉語聞 동북도무길어문
山雨溪風渾漫興 산우계풍혼만흥
不如終日醉醺醺 불여종일취훈훈

Heaven’s time has suddenly and abruptly reached the vernal equinox (春分, 춘분).
In the East and North, all hear nothing but auspicious tidings.
The mountains’ rain and the brooks’ winds are in confusion and in disorder rising.
Not all day, am I intoxicated, tipsy and mellow.

Characters:

  • 馣(암) – To be fragrant (향기롭다).
  • 醺醺(훈훈) – To be tipsy from drinking alcohol.

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