Sources: Yu Deukgong’s “Nostalgic Reflections of the Twenty-One Capitals” 二十一都懷古詩 (1792) – part 1 of 6

This is the first part of Yu Deukgong‘s celebrated cycle to which the introduction can be read here.

檀君朝鮮 Dan’gun Joseon

In the Dongguk-tonggam (Comprehensive Mirror of the Eastern Land [aka Korea] 東國通鑑) it is written, “In the east originally there was no ruler, but when a god-human descended below a birch tree, [they] made him [their] sovereign and he was called Dan’gun. The country’s name was Joseon and the time was the Mujin year (戊辰年) of King Yao (堯 요).

In the Samguk-yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms 三國遺事) it is written, “Dan’gun established the capital at Pyeongyang (平壤).”

大同江浸水烟蕪  대동강침수연무  去平平去上平平(虞)
王儉春城似畵圖  왕검춘성사화도  平上平平上去平(虞)
萬里塗山來執玉  만리도산내집옥  去上平平平入入
佳兒尙憶解扶婁  가아상억해부루  平平去入上平平(尤)

[transliteration of Korean]
dae dong gang chim su yeon mu
wang geom chun seong sa hwa do
man ri do san nae jip ok
ga a sang eok hae bu ru

With the Daedong River shrouded in mist,
Wang Geom’s spring fortress appears as if [in] a painting.
To the distant Mount To they came with treasure;
We still remember that beautiful child, Hae Buru.

Daedong River: according to the Yeoji-seungnam (Complete Geography of the Eastern Land 輿地勝覽여지승람), “The Daedong River (大同江) is one li (里 = about 400m) east of Pyeongyang-bu (平壤府) and is also known both as the Pae River (浿江) and Wang-seong River (王城江). The river has two sources; one from Gamak-dong (加幕洞) in Yeongwon-gun county (寧遠郡) and the other from Mount Mun’eum (文音山) in Yangdeok-hyeon (陽德縣). On the border of Gangdong-hyeon (江東縣) they merge and become the Seojin River (西津江); east of Pyeongyang-bu Fortress (平壤府城) it becomes the Daedong River and as it flows west it turns into the Gujin-yaksu (九津弱水). East of Yonggang-hyeon (龍岡縣) it passes through the Geupsu-mun (Swift Water Gate, 急水門) and into the sea.”

Wang Geom Fortress: according to the Samguk-sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms 三國史記), “Pyeongyang is originally the place where the seon’in (mountain hermit, 仙人) Wang Geom (王儉) lived.” According to the Dong-sa (History of the East, 東史), “Dan’gun’s name was Wang Geom.” In the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽) it has, “Wi Man (衛滿) of Yan (燕 연나라) established his capital at Wang-heom (王險) [an alternative spelling of Wang-geom, thus meaning Pyeongyang]. 

bringing treasure to Mount Do (塗山執玉): according to the Dong-sa (東史), “In the 18th year of his reign, King Yu (禹우) of Xia (夏 하나라) gathered his vassals at Mount Do, to which Dan’gun sent his son, Buru (扶婁).” In the Munheon-bi’go (Encyclopedia of [Korean] Writings, 文獻備考) it has, “Dan’gun’s son, Hae Buru (解扶婁) became the founder of Buyeo (夫餘).”

箕子朝鮮 Gi Ja Joseon

In the Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian, 史記) it is written, “King Wu (武王) subjugated Yin (殷 은나라) and entrusted it to Gi Ja (箕子) but did not consider him his vassal.” 

In the Hanshu (Book of Han, 漢書) it is written, “When the moral way (道) in Yin (殷) began to deteriorate, Gi Ja left and went to Joseon where he enlightened the people in etiquette (禮義) and taught them farming, silk worm cultivation and weaving. To the people of Nangnang Joseon (樂浪朝鮮 Ch. Lelang Chaoxian) [he introduced] an eight articled law code (n.2): murderers are to be executed on the spot; one who has caused injury to another must compensate them with grain; one who has committed theft will have his belongings confiscated and his family made into slaves for which they must pay 500,000 metal coins, to be made free.”

In the Dongguk-tonggam (東國通鑑) it is written, “The royal instructor (太師) Gi Ja was the uncle (叔父) of Zhou (紂 주). When Zhou became degenerate (無道) Gi Ja pulled out his own hair pretending to be mad and became a slave. King Wu of Zhou (周 주나라) subjugated Zhou and when he asked Gi Ja about the way, Gi Ja wrote down the Hongfanjiuchou (Nine Wide Ridges [of principle to control] a Flood, 洪範九疇 홍범구주). King Wu enfeoffed Joseon [to Gi Ja who] established the capital at Pyeongyang.”

兎山山色碧森沈  토산산색벽삼침  去平平入入平平(侵)
翁仲巾裾艸露侵  옹중건거초노침  平去平仄上去平
猶似龍年奔卉寇  유사용년분훼구  平上平平平去去
松風閒作管絃音  송풍한작관현음  平平平入上平平 

to san san saek byeok sam chim
ong jung geon geo cho no chim
yu sa yong nyeon bun hwe gu
song pung han jak gwan hyeon eum

The mountain hue of Mount To is imbued with the green forest.
The stone statues’ caps and sleeves are encroached upon by the moss’s dew.
Just as when the Japanese invaders were frightened [from this place] in the year of the Dragon (1592),
The wind in the pines makes the sound of flutes and zithers.

Mount To: according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “The grave of Gi Ja is on Mount To (兎山) to the north of Pyeongyang-bu fortress.”

stong statues’ caps and sleeves 翁仲巾裾 (옹중건거): according to the Dongyue‘s (董越 Dong’wol) Chaoxian-fu (Joseon Rhapsody 朝鮮賦), “The memorial shrine (祠堂) of Gi Ja is in the east. There, according to correct ritual behavior (禮) a wooden tablet has been erected with ‘Founder of Later Joseon’ written on it. This elevates Dan’gun’s work of establishing and opening up the country. It was appropriate that Gi Ja received the kingship. His grave is at Geonjwa (乾坐) at Yu Fortress (維城) on Mount To. There are two stone statues which seemed to be dressed in the caps and attire of Tang (唐) and owing to the moss appear as if wearing patterned silk.”

the sound of flutes and zithers 管絃音: according to the Munheon-bi’go (文獻備考), “During the 1592 Imjin invasion, the Japanese dug up Gi Ja’s grave, but when they dug into the left hand side, the sound of music and singing came from within and they fled in fear.”

麂眼籬斜井字阡  궤안리사정자천  入上平平上去平(先)
一村桑柘望芊芊  일촌상자망천천  入平平 去平平
誰知遼海蒼茫外  수지요해창망외  平平平上平平去
耕種殷人七十田  경종은인칠십전  平上平平入入平 

gwe an ri sa jeong ja cheon
il chon sang ja mang cheon cheon
su ji yo hae chang mang woe
gyeong jong eun in chil sip jeon

Ridges enclose the square shaped [fields] like the uneven eyes of a roe deer.
Village mulberry trees [appear] densely clustered.
Who can know that beyond the wide and distant sea of Liao [or just refers to Liaodong]
The people of Yin, [too,] till the same number of seventy fields?!

the people of Yin [till] seventy fields (殷人七十田): according to the Pyeongyangbu-ji (Record of Pyeongyang-bu 平壤府志), “Gi Ja’s square fields are outside Jeong’yang-mun Gate (正陽門) and Hamgu-mun Gate (含毬門); their layout is clear.”

衛滿朝鮮 Wi Man Joseon

In the Shiji (史記) it is written, “Joseon king, Wi Man, was originally from Yan (燕 연나라). When King Lu Wan(盧綰 노관) of Yan rebelled [betraying the Han] and returned to the Xiongnu (匈奴), Wi Man defected and led a group of over a thousand; tying their hair in topknots and dressing in the attire of the yi barbarians (夷) they fled to the east. Crossing the Pei-su River (浿水) they occupied the small fortresses up and down the deserted lands of former Qin (秦 진나라). Gradually people from Jinbeon (眞番), Joseon and Man’i (蠻夷) together with defectors from Yan (燕) and Qi (齊 제나라) took Wi Man as their king and he established his capital at Wang-heom (王險 왕험, refers to Wang-geom).”

In the Shiji-suoyin (Searching for What is Hidden [in The Records of the Grand Historian] [史記]索隱) it is written, “Man (滿)’s surname was Wi (衛). According to Ying Shao (應劭 응소 n.5), ‘Geomdo-hyeon (險瀆縣 험도현) is in Liaodong (遼東 요동) which is the former capital of the Joseon king.’ According to Zan (瓚 찬 n.6), ‘Geom Fortress (險城) is to the east of the Pei-su River in Lelang-gun Commandery (樂浪郡 낙랑군).’

In the Kuodizhi (Record of Consolidated Lands, 括地志 괄지지 n.7) it is written, “Pyeongyang Fortress is originally Wang Geom Fortress (王險城) of the Han Lelang Commandery.”

魋結人來漢祖年  퇴결인내한조년  入平平去上平(先)
同時差擬趙龍川  동시차의조용천  平平平上上平平
箕王可恨無分別  기왕가한무분별  平平上去平平入
塡補梟雄博士員  전보효웅박사원  平上平平入上平 

toe gyeol in nae han jo nyeon
dong si cha ui jo yong cheon
gi wang ga han mu bun byeol
jeon bo hyo ung bak sa won

During the reign of [Han Dynasty] Emperor Gaozu, men arrived with their hair tied in tall topknots.
It was at this time, too, that Zhaotuo [self declared Emperor Wu of Nanyue, n.8] had been poorly appointed.
Lamentably King Gi [Jun, of Joseon] lacked judgement
And conferred the official rank of 
baksa on an [ambitious] hero.

baksa (博士): according to the Weilüe (Summary of Wei 魏略), “When Jun (準) son of Joseon king Bi (否 비), a descendent of Gi Ja (箕子) ascended the throne, Wi Man of Yan [arrived] and submitted to him; Jun trusted him in good faith and bestowed on him the title of baksa entrusting him with a sceptre (圭 구) and the defense of a hundred li (=40km) of land on the western border. Man gradually gathered together a group of defectors whereupon he sent a messenger to Gi Jun falsely saying, ‘The army of Han is approaching via ten roads, we are trying to defend against them!’ Finally his army met with Gi Jun’s, but the latter was no match.”

樂浪城外水悠悠  낙랑성외수유유  去去平去上平平(尤)
誰識萩苴漢代侯  수식추저한대후  平入平平去去平
不及當年津吏婦  불급당년진리부  入入平平平去上
箜葔一曲豔千秋  공후일곡염천추  平入入去平平

nak rang seong woe su yu yu
su sik chu jeo han dae hu
bu geup dang nyeon jin ri bu
gong hu il gok yeom cheon chu

The water beside Lelang (K. Nangnang) Fortress leisurely flows by.
Who [now] would recognize Lord Chujeo of the Han dynasty?
[His legacy] cannot compare to the ferryman’s wife of that same year,
gong-hu melody [remains] beautiful a thousand autumns [after].

Lelang (Nangnang) (樂浪): according to the Hanshu (漢書), “The Joseon kingship was passed down from Wi Man to his son and then grandson, U’geo (右渠) during which time many more defectors came from Han. U’geo did not attend the [Han] court even once, and did not follow the Han emperor’s commands. The emperor sent the tower ship commander (樓船將軍 누선장군), Yang Pu (楊僕 양복) and Commander of the Left (左將軍), Sun Zhi (筍彘 순체), who subjugated Joseon and established the four commanderies (四郡) of Zhenpan (眞番 K. Jinbeon), Lintun (臨屯 Imdun), Lelang (樂浪 Nangnang) and Xuantu (玄菟 현토 Hyeondo).” According to the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考), “Joseon-hyeon (朝鮮縣,) the territory under the administration of Lelang, is present day Pyeongyang.”

Chujeo (萩苴): according to the Shiji (史記), “Official Han’eum (韓陰) fled from Joseon and was made Lord (of?) Chujeo (萩苴侯 추저후) by the Han [emperor].”

the ferryman’s wife (津吏婦): according to the Guyuefu (Old [Songs] of the Music Bureau 古樂府), “In the Qincao (Zither Playing 琴操 n.10), amongst the nine notated songs (九引) is Konghou-yin (箜篌引 공후인) which is also known as Gongwuduhe (公無渡河 공무도하). It was composed by Yeo’ok (麗玉 여옥) the wife of Joseon ferryman Gwangni Jago (霍里子高 곽리자고). [The story goes that] Jago woke at dawn and was inspecting his boat when he saw a white haired madman (狂夫), pulling out his hair, holding a bottle of drink whilst crossing the river. The madman’s wife followed after and tried to stop him but did not catch up so he drowned in the water. Then the wife brought out her konghou harp (箜篌 K. gonghu) and whilst playing sung, ‘Don’t cross the river, my darling. In the end my darling crossed the river. My darling drowned. What now, my darling?’ The sound of her singing was bleak and sad. Returning home Jago told his wife who becoming sad took up her own konghou and set the song to music.”


In the Hou Hanshu (Book of Later Han 後漢書) it is written, “In Han (韓) there are three types, the first is Mahan (馬韓), the second is Jinhan (辰韓) and the third is Byeonhan (弁韓). Mahan is in the west and consists of 54 states. To the north is Lelang whilst the south borders the Wae (倭 왜). More than forty generations after Gi Ja, the lord of Joseon (朝鮮侯) Gi Jun proclaimed himself king, however, Wi Man of Yan defeated Gi Jun and became king. Whereupon, Jun took his remaining few thousand troops and crossed the sea to attack Mahan proclaiming himself king of the Han (韓).”

In the Dongguk-tonggam (東國通鑑) it is written, “After Gi Jun had been attacked by Wi Man and had his kingdom stolen from him, he crossed the sea to Geunma-gun County (Commandery?) (金馬郡) and entering, lived there.”

In the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考) it is written, “Geunma-gun is present day Iksan-gun (益山郡) where there is Mount Geunma (金馬山).”

In the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽) it is written, “Gi Jun Fortress (箕準城) is on Mount Yonghwa (龍華山) in Iksan-gun. The circumference is 3,900 cheok (尺, 1.287km).”

當年枉信漢亡人  당년왕신한망인  平平上去去平平(眞)
麥秀殷墟又一春  맥수은허우일춘  入去平平去入平
可笑蒼黃浮海日  가소창황부해일  上去平平平上入
船頭猶載善花嬪  선두유재선화빈  平平平去上平平

dang nyeon wang sin han mang in
maek su eun heo u il chun
ga so chang hwang bu hae il
seon du yu jae seon hwa bin

At that time Gi Jun [King of Joseon] vainly put his trust in those who had fled from Han.
Barley ears grow out at the site of the ancient Yin capital [Yinxu], spring has come again.
How amusing, that on the day they hurriedly set out to sea
He [still made sure to] have on board his second queen [consort/concubine], Seonhwa [standing at] the ship’s prow!

second queen [consort/concubine] Seonhwa (善花嬪): according to the Sanguozhi (Records of the Three Kingdoms 三國志), “The lord of Joseon, Gi Jun, self-styled himself king but was attacked by the refugee Wi Man, whereupon he took the palace ladies around him and escaped across the sea to live in Han (韓) territory.” According to the Dong-sa (東史), “Gi Jun was also known as King Mugang (武康王).” According to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Mount Yonghwa (龍華山) is 8 li (3.2km) north of the commandery (郡). It is commonly told that King Mugang won the hearts of the people and establishing Mahan (馬韓) strolled together with his wife, Seonhwa (善花夫人), beneath the mountain.”  It also says, “A pair of graves (雙陵 쌍릉) are several hundred paces (步) to the west of Ogeum Temple (五金寺) and they are the graves of King Mugang of Later Joseon (後朝鮮) and his queen.”

濊 Ye

In the Hanshu (漢書) it is written, “In the first year of Emperor Wu (140BC) when the ruler of Ye (濊 Ch. Wei), Namnyeo (南閭 남려 Ch. Nan Lü) surrendered together with a population of 280,000, the territory was made into Canghai Commandery (滄海郡 창해군).

In the Hou Hanshu (後漢書) it is written, “To the north of Ye (濊) is Goguryeo and Okjeo (沃沮), the south borders Jin Han (辰韓), eastwards it reaches the sea and in the west to Lelang which was originally the territory of Joseon.”

In Gu Dan’s (賈耽 K. Ga Tam, 730-805) Gujin Jun’guozhi (Record of Old and Current Counties and Countries 古今郡國志 고금군국지) it is written, “Myeongju (溟州) on the northern border of Silla was formerly the country of Ye.”

In Munheon-bigo (文獻備考) it is written, “To the east of present day Gangneung-bu (江陵府 강릉부) is the site of an ancient fortress that was constructed during the time of Ye.”

大關嶺外大東洋  대관령외대동양  去平上去去上平(陽)
蘂國山川蔭搏桑  예국산천음박상  上入平平平 平
野老不知興廢事  야노부지흥폐사  上上入平平去去
田間閒拾古銅章  전간한습고동장  平平平入上平平

dae gwan ryeong woe dae dong yang
ye guk san cheon eum bak sang
ya no bu ji heung pye sa
jeon gan han seup go dong jang

Beyond the Daegwan-nyeong Pass [lies] the great East Ocean.
The busang tree [legendary tree in the East sea] casts a shadow across the land of Ye.
An old rustic farmer, ignorant of history [lit. not knowing the “rise and fall events”]
Leisurely picked up an old copper seal [found] in his field.
[Either 桑 is short for 扶桑 or 搏 is an error for 榑 which is also used to write 榑桑]

Daegwan-nyeong Pass (大關嶺 대관령): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “The Daegwan Pass lies 45 li (18km) to the west of Gangneung-bu (江陵府). It is the geomantic mountain (鎭山 진산) of the province (州). The mountain chain extends down from Mount Jangbaek (長白山) in the territory of the Jurchen (女眞 K. Yeojin) along the eastern coast; it is not known how much territory it occupies but this pass is the highest. Wonwoerang (員外郞 title) Kim Geuk-gi (金克己 1148-1209) wrote the poem, Autumn frost descends before the wild geese have flown by, the dawn sun rises from where the first cockerel calls.

an old copper seal (古銅章 고동장): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “In the 16th year of King Nam-hae (南解王) of Silla, a person from north Myeongju (溟州) discovered the royal seal of Ye (濊王印) and presented it [to the Silla king].”


貊 Maek

In the Hanshu (漢書) it is written, “After Emperor Wu (武帝) ascended to the throne, Peng Wu (彭吳 팽오) opened roads through Ye, Maek and Joseon.” 

In the Hou Hanshu (後漢書) it is written, “The governor of Liaodong (遼東太守), Zhai (or Ji) Rong (祭肜 제융, d.73), dominated the north such that his name spread to the sea. At this time the Ye, Maek, Wae and Han (濊貊倭韓) came to pay tribute from 10,000 li away.” It also has, “King Gung (宮) of Guryeo (句麗) together with the Ye and Maek invaded Xuantu [Han Commandery] (玄免 현토/도) and attacked Huali Fortress (華麗城 K. Hwaryeo-seong).”

In the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考) it is written, “The capital of Maek was located to the north of the Soyang River (昭陽江), thirteen li (5.2km) north of present day Chuncheon-bu (春川府).”

昭陽江水接滄津 소양강수접창진 平平平上入平平(眞)
通道碑殘沒蕀榛 통도비잔몰극진 平上平平入仄平
東史未窮班掾志 동사미궁반연지 平上去平平平去
堯時君命漢時臣 요시군명한시신 平平平去去平平

so yang gang su jeop chang jin
tong do bi jan mol geuk jin
dong sa mi gung ban yeon ji
yo si gun myeong han si sin

The waters of the Soyang River reach the Chang-jin ferry crossing [entrance to the eastern sea, n.15].
The ruined stone commemorating the opening of roads is now buried amongst brambles and hazelnut trees.
Korean history [as recorded in the Dong-sa] has failed to study Ban Gu[‘s 
Hanshu 漢書]
To say that in the period of the [legendary] Yao Emperor Dan’gun could have ordered Peng Wu a vassal of the [much later] Han Dyansty to build the first roads!

Soyang River (昭陽江): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “The Soyang River is six li (2.4km) north of Chuncheon-bu (春川府). Its source emerges from the Seohwa-hyeon (瑞和縣) of Inje (麟蹄) and joins with the water of Girin-hyeon (基麟縣) at Chuncheon-bu; south of Yan’gu-hyeon (楊口縣) it becomes the Chosari Rapids (艸沙里灘). Then northeast of [Chuncheon] bu, it turns into Cheong-yeon (靑淵), then Ju-yeon (舟淵) and then the Jeok’am Rapids (狄巖灘), before becoming the Soyang River.”

stone commemorating the opening of roads (通道碑): according to the Dong-sa (東史), “Dan’gun ordered Peng Wu (彭吳 팽오) to divide the land (山川) into administrative units and so give stability to the people.” According to the Bon’gi-tonggam (Conveyed Mirror of the Basic Records 本紀通覽), “The memorial stone of Peng Wu is in Usu-ju (牛首州).” According to the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考), “Peng Wu was from Han (漢) and not a vassal of Dan’gun.” Maewol-dang Kim Si-seup (梅月堂 金時習, 1435-93) wrote the poem, “From Peng Wu the roads were opened.[n.191]”

Continue to part 2..


8 thoughts on “Sources: Yu Deukgong’s “Nostalgic Reflections of the Twenty-One Capitals” 二十一都懷古詩 (1792) – part 1 of 6

  1. Pingback: Sources: Yu Deukgong’s “Nostalgic Reflections of the Twenty-One Capitals” 二十一都懷古詩 (1792) – part 2 of 6 | Koreanology

  2. Pingback: Biographical notes on Yu Deuk-gong (柳得恭 1748-1807) | Koreanology

  3. Pingback: Introduction to Yu Deukgong’s “Nostalgic Reflections of the Twenty-One Capitals” 二十一都懷古詩 (1792) | Koreanology

  4. Pingback: Sources: Yu Deukgong’s “Nostalgic Reflections of the Twenty-One Capitals” 二十一都懷古詩 (1792) – part 3 of 6 | Koreanology

  5. Pingback: Sources: Yu Deukgong’s “Nostalgic Reflections of the Twenty-One Capitals” 二十一都懷古詩 (1792) – part 4 of 6 | Koreanology

  6. Pingback: Sources: Yu Deukgong’s “Nostalgic Reflections of the Twenty-One Capitals” 二十一都懷古詩 (1792) – part 5 of 6 | Koreanology

  7. Pingback: Sources: Yu Deukgong’s “Nostalgic Reflections of the Twenty-One Capitals” 二十一都懷古詩 (1792) – part 6 of 6 | Koreanology

  8. Pingback: Sources: the Shiji 史記 “Account of Chaoxian” 朝鮮列傳 | Koreanology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s