Đoạt Sáo Chương Dương Độ Cầm Hồ Hàm Tử Quan




VIETNAMESE POETRYtranslated and annotated

Dr. Đàm Trung PhápProfessor EmeritusTexas Woman’s University


“Đoạt sáo Chương Dương Độ”

TrầnQuang Khải


Inthe history of Vietnam’s struggle for independence, the Lý dynasty (1010-1225)và the Trần dynasty (1225-1400) stood out as the two most glorious. Duringthese four hundred years, the country produced far more heroes than at anyother time, even though its l& area was less than half of what it is now, withits southern border ending only at Nghệ An. Aggressors from the north,including the fearsome Mongols, had oftentimes been tempted by this beautifull&, yet every time they were crushed, with numerous generals, princes, andthousands of troops killed in fierce battles. Aước ao the military geniuses và refinedliterati of these two dynasties were Lý Thường Kiệt & Trần Quang Khải. WhileMarshal Lý Thường Kiệt of the Lý dynasty achieved phenomenal military victories& penned the poem Nam Quốc Sơn Hà, knownas the country’s first declaration of independence, General & Prime MinisterTrần Quang Khải of the Trần dynasty accomplished similar astounding militaryvictories và authored Đoạt Sáo Cmùi hương Dương Độ, a short celebratorypoem of epic stature.

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TheMongols, although more barbaric than other Asian groups at the time, wereawesome warriors. Cruel & belligerent, they were crackerjaông xã archers andcavalrymen with great mobility. They knew only one kind of order -- the orderof their leader. They would charge when so ordered even though they knew thatthe action would be fatal. Their ancestors were the Huns (Rợ Hồ or Hung Nô inVietnamese). They were Buddhists, but they hardly understood the teachings ofthis noble religion (Phạm Vnạp năng lượng Sơn 1960). That was the kind of enemies that ourheroes of the Trần dynasty had to lớn face.

TrầnQuang Khải (1241-1294) was the third son of King Trần Thái Tông and a youngerbrother of King Trần Thánh Tông. Robust, handsome, & gifted in both literaryvà military arts, he played a major role in the campaigns against the Mongolinvaders, in association with another stellar military strategist, General TrầnHưng Đạo. Of his many military triumphs, his watershed victory at Cmùi hương DươngFerry in 1285 stood out, as it led khổng lồ the liberation of the capital Thăng Longwhich had been occupied by Togan (Thoát Hoan) và his troops for a few months.In 1282 he became the country’s prime minister with great authority overnational matters. In light of his tremendous service to lớn the country, King TrầnThánh Tông  bestowed on hyên ổn the title ofPrince Chiêu Minh (Chiêu Minch Vương) as a reward <1>.

Towardthe end of 1284, threatened with imminent capture by the Mongols, the capitalThăng Long had been abandoned. Yet, in the summer of 1285, King Trần Nhân Tôngcould return in triumph to his seat of power. At a royal banquet in Thăng Longcelebrating this momentous victory, Prime Minister Trần Quang Khải recited afour-line poem that he composed in Chinese characters. Extolling gloriousvictories over ferocious enemies, providing sound advice for citizens duringpeace time, and praying for an eternal existence for the country, all in anelevated style, the historic poem was an epic in miniature. It is presentedbelow in its Sino-Vietnamese transliteration, along with its translations intoVietnamese and English:

Đoạtsáo Chương thơm Dương Độ <2>

CầmHồ Hàm Tử Quan

Tháibình nghi cố gắng nỗ lực <3>Vạn cổ demo giang san(Trần Quang Khải)

ChươngDương chiếm giáo giặc

HàmTử bắt quân thù

Tháibình phải cầm cố sức

Nonnước ấy nghìn thu(Trần Trọng Kyên dịch)

Weseized spears at Cmùi hương Dương Ferry <4>

Wecaptured Huns at Hàm Tử Port <5>

Inpeace let us maintain our strength <6>Forever shall live this nation



<1>The king also gave sầu Trần Quang Khải a streamer on which two verses wereembroidered. They read: “A great stature, others also have / Loyalty lớn bothroyal courts, only you do” (“Nhất đại công danh và sự nghiệp, trần gian hữu / Lưỡng triềutrung hiếu, trần gian vô”).

<2>An alternate for the second word in this verse is “sóc,” which is actually thecorrect word for expressing the idea of “long spear.” See Trần Trọng San (1997,page 248).

<3>An alternate for the third word in this verse is “tu.”

<4>Chương thơm Dương Ferry is now in Thường Tín District, Hà Tây Province. It was herethat Trần Quang Khải crushed Prince Togan (Thoát Hoan), a son of Kubilai (Hốt TấtLiệt), in 1285.

<5>The Huns (Rợ Hồ or Hung Nô) were a nomadic people, probably originating innorthern central Asia, who invaded Trung Quốc in the third century B.C. và thenspread westward khổng lồ Asia and Europe. During the fourth century A.D., under theirleader, Attila (A Đề Lạp), they overran much of the Roman Empire. Trần Quang Khảireferred khổng lồ the Mongols as descendants of the barbaric and destructive sầu Huns.Hàm Tử Port is now in Văn Giang District, Hưng Yên Province. It was at thisport that Trần Nhật Duật triumphed over Sogetu (Toa Đô), a Mongol general.

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<6>The message of this verse is similar to lớn the Latin adage Si vis pacem, para bellum meaning “If you wish for peace, preparefor war.” More than anyone else, Trần Quang Khải knew that a strong societywould be less likely khổng lồ be attacked by enemies. The Latin adage was by thefifth-century author Flavius Vegetius Renatus in his book De re militari or“Concerning military matters.”



Đỗ Đức Hiển et al. (2004). Từ điển vnạp năng lượng học bộ new. Hanoi: Nhà Xuất Bản Thế Giới.

HuỳnhSanh Thông (1979). The heritage ofVietnamese poetry. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

LêHữu Mục (1960). Việt năng lượng điện u linh tập (LýTế Xuyên, cầm kỷ XIV). Saigon: Knhị Trí.

LêMạnh Hùng (2009). Nhìn lại sử Việt. Tự chủI: Từ Ngô Quyền cho thuộc Minh. Arlington, VA: Tổ Hợp Xuất Bản Miền ĐôngHoa Kỳ.

Xem thêm: Soạn Bài Từ Ngôn Ngữ Đến Lời Nói Cá Nhân, Trang 13, Soạn Bài Từ Ngôn Ngữ Chung Đến Lời Nói Cá Nhân

LêNgô Cát & Đặng Huy Trứ (2009). ĐạiNam quốc sử diễn ca. Saigon: Nhà Xuất Bản Văn uống Học.