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

See Introductionpart 1part 2part 3 and part 4.

金官  Geumgwan [a later name for Bon Gaya 本伽倻]

In the Nanqishu (Book of Southern Qi 南齊書) it is written, “The country of Gara-guk (伽羅國) was a tribe (種) of the Three Han. In the 1st Jianyuan year (建元, 479) a tributary mission came sent by King Haji (荷知王). He was designated [by the emperor] fuguo-jiangjun-benguo-wang (loyal vassal state general and king of the main country 輔國將軍本國王 보국장군본국왕).”

In the Beishi (北史) it is written, “Silla was an affiliated state of Gara-guk (加羅國).”

In an annotation (註) of the Samguk-sagi (三國史記) it is written, “Gaya (伽倻) was also called Gara (加羅).”

In the Garakguk-gi (History of Garak-guk 駕洛國記 가락국기) it is written, “In the 3rd month of the 18th Jianwu year (建武) of the Later Han Emperor Guangwu (光武帝), nine chieftains of Garak performed the yudu [流頭] sacrificial purification ceremony to ward of evil (禊飮 n.91) beside the water, whereupon looking up at Gwiji-bong peak (龜旨峯) there was a supernatural energy (異氣). Looking closer [they saw] a golden hap bowl (盒) tied with purple string had descended. Opening the lid they found inside six golden eggs which they ceremoniously arranged (置). The next day the eggs broke and there were six boys. Each day they [grew] in intelligence and magnificence. After ten days they were nine cheok tall. The people chose one of them to be their suzerain (宗主) and this was King Suro (首露王). Because he was born from a golden egg, his surname was Kim (Gold 金). The country’s name was Gaya and this was in the 18th year (AD42) of King Yuri (儒理王) of Silla. The remaining five became lords of the Five Gaya (五伽倻) which defined its borders as the Hwangsan River (黃山江) to the east, the sea to the southwest, Mount Jiri (智異山) to the northwest and Mount Gaya (伽倻山) to the east [again].”

In the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽) it is written, “[The territory of] the Five Gaya [was thus]. Goryeong (高靈) was Dae-Gaya (大伽倻), Go-seong (固城) was So-Gaya (小伽倻), Seong-ju (星州) was Byeokjin-Gaya (碧珍伽倻), Ham’an (咸安) was Ara-Gaya (阿那伽倻) and Hamchang (咸昌) was Goryeong-Gaya (古寧伽倻). Also, Gwiji-bong peak (龜旨峯) is three li to the north of Gimhae-bu (金海府) and the site of King Suro’s palace is inside Gimhae-bu.”

In the Yeoji-ji (輿地志) it is written, “The tomb of King Suro is 300 paces (步) to the west of Gimhae-bu and beside it is the ancestral shrine (廟 묘). The tomb of the queen is on the eastern side of Mount Gwiji (龜旨山). The people of Gimehae-bu perform memorial services all together in the first, fifth and eight months of the year.”

In the Jibong-yuseol (芝峯類說) it is written, “In the Imjin year, the Japanese bandits exhumed King Suro’s grave and found his skull bone to be as large as a copper pot. Beside the coffin were two women whose facial colour looked like they were still alive, but upon bringing them out, they quickly deteriorated.”

In the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考) it is written, “Garak (駕洛) was alternatively called Garak (伽落) and also Gaya (伽倻). Later on it was changed to Geumgwan (金官).”

訪古伽倻咽竹枝  방고가야인죽지  去上平平平入平(支)
婆娑塔影虎溪湄  파사탑영호계미  平去入上上平平
回看落日沈西海  회간락일침서해  平去入入平平上
正似紅旗入浦時  정사홍기입포시  去上平平入上平

bang go ga ya in juk ji
pa sa tap yeong ho gye mi
hoe gan rak il chim seo hae
jeong sa hong gi ip po si

Upon visiting Old Gaya [her] throat was dry from [singing the] zhuzhi (lit. ‘bamboo branch’ 竹枝 n.91) songs.
The Pasa-tap pagoda casts a shadow on the banks of Tiger Stream.
Looking back the sun sets over the Western Sea;
It appears just as when the red flag arrived at the harbour.

visiting Old Gaya (訪古伽倻): Po’eun Jeong Mong-ju (圃隱 鄭夢周) wrote in the poem Swallow Pagoda of Gimhae (金海燕子樓), “Visiting Old Gaya, the grass is the colour of spring but having prospered and declined many times, the sea has become dust.”

Pasa-tap pagoda (婆娑塔 파사탑): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Pasa stone pagoda is beside the Ho-gye Stream (虎溪). It has five stories, a mottled red pattern and the carvings are particularly elaborate and strange. It is said that, ‘When Empress Heo (許皇后 허황후) came from the Western Regions (西域), she had this pagoda placed on her boat to calm the waves.'”

Tiger Stream, Ho-gye (虎溪): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Ho-gye stream is in the middle of Gimhaebu-seong fortress (金海府城). Its source emerges from Mount Bun (盆山) and, flowing south, it enters Gangchang-po (江倉浦).”

the red flag arriving at the harbour (紅旗入浦): according to the Garakguk-gi (駕洛國記), “In the 24th Jianwu year of the Eastern Han emperor [Guangwu], Empress Heo arrived crossing the sea from Ayodhya (Ch. Ayutuo 阿踰陀國). Looking at the silk sail and madder red (茜) flag which from the southwest corner of the sea pointed to the north, King Suro had set up a temporary tent palace (幔殿) to the west of the palace and was waiting. Mooring the ship and coming ashore, the empress climbed the mountain and whilst resting took off the patterned silk trousers she was wearing and presented them to the mountain spirit (山靈). As soon as she arrived, the king welcomed her and they went into the tent palace. After two days they came out and went by palanquin (輦 연) to the main palace where she was enthroned as empress. The Gaya people call the place where her boat first docked, Ju-po (Ruler’s Harbour 主浦), the place where she took off her trousers as Neung-hyeon (Silk Summit/pass 綾峴) and the place where the red flag entered the sea as Gichul-byeon (Flag-emerging Shore 旗出邊 기출변).” According to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Someone said that Empress Heo (許) was also called the princess of southern India (Nan Tianzhuguo 南天竺國); her surname was Heo (許 허), her first name Hwang’ok (黃玉) and her title (號) Empress Dowager of Jinju (普州太后).”

大伽倻  Greater Gaya

In the Samguk-sagi (三國史記) it is written, “In the 23rd year of King Jingheung’s (of Silla) reign, the king ordered Isabu (異斯夫) to subjugate Gaya (伽倻) and made Sadaham (斯多含 n.93) second in command (副). Leading 5,000 mounted warriors, [Isabu] galloped to Jeondan-mun Gate (旃檀門) and there erected a white flag. Those inside the fortress became afraid and knew not what to do. With Isabu leading his soldiers, the fortress surrendered.”

In the Yeoji-ji (輿地志) it is written, “[The territory of] Greater Gaya is now Goryeong-hyeon (高靈縣); one li to the south of the hyeon [‘county’] is the site of the old palace. There is also a stone well called Eo-jeong (御井).”

In the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考) it is written, “The founded of Greater Gaya was King Ijinado (伊珍阿鼓王) and until King Doseolji (道設智王), there were sixteen generations.”

千載高山流水音  천재고산류수음  平上平平平上平(侵)
泠泠一十二絃琴  령령일십이현금  上上入入去平平
凄凉往事無人問  처량왕사무인문  平平上去平平去
紅葉迎霜作錦林  홍엽영상작금림  平入平平入上平

cheon jae go san ryu su eum
ryeong ryeong il sip i hyeon geum
cheo ryang wang sa mu in mun
hong yeop yeong sang jak geum rim

The sound of flowing water [has been heard] on the high mountain for a thousand years.
The clear [sound] of the twelve string zither.
No one asks of desolate past events,
The red leaves meet with frost and form a forest of silk.

twelve string zither (一十二絃琴): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “The music teacher (樂師) of King Gasil of Gaya, U Reuk (于勒), made a zither based on the Chinese qin-zheng (秦箏 진쟁 n.94) called the Gaya-geum zither (伽倻琴). Three li to the north of Goryeong-hyeon (高靈縣) is a place named Geum-gok (Zither Valley 琴谷). It is said that it is where he led the court musicians to practice.” According to the Jibong-yuseol (芝峯類說), “Because the King of Gaya made a twelve string zither, it is now called the Gaya-geum.”

a forest of silk (錦林 금림): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Two li to the west of Goryeong-hyeon is an old grave (古藏), which is known as the Geumnim-wangneung (Silk Forest 錦林) royal tomb.'”

甘文  Gammun

In the Samguk-sagi (三國史記) it is written, “In the 2nd year of his reign, the Silla king, Jobun-isageum (助賁尼師今), made ichan (伊湌) U-ro (于老 우로) general (大將軍) and, invading and defeating the state of Gammun (甘文國), made its territory into a gun (郡 ‘commandery’).

In the Yeoji-ji (輿地志) it is written, “Gammun is present day Gaeryeong-hyeon (開寧縣). Mount Gammun (甘文山) is two li to the north. Also, Mount Yu (柳山) is two li to the east of the hyeon and to its north the site of Gammun remains.”

獐姬一去野花香  장희일거야화향  平平入去上平平(陽)
埋沒殘碑古孝王  매몰잔비고효왕  平入平平上去平
三十雄兵曾大發  삼십웅병증대발  平入平平平去入
蝸牛角上鬪千場  와우각상투천장  平平入去去平平

jang hwi il geo ya hwa hyang
mae mol jan bi go hyo wang
sam sip ung byeong jeung dae bal
wa u gak sang tu cheon jang

After Queen Jang’s passing, the meadow flowers are fragrant.
The [half] buried and aging memorial stone [is that of] the ancient King Hyo.
[It is said] they fielded just thirty manly warriors;
For a thousand battles on [a patch of land no larger than the space] between a snail’s tentacles!

Queen Jang (獐姬): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “The tomb of Queen Jang (獐陵) is west of Gaeryeong-hyeon on Ung-hyeon crest (熊峴). It is said to be the tomb of Madam Jang (獐夫人) of Gammun.”

King Hyo (孝王): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Twenty li to the north of Gaeryeong-hyeon is a large grave. It is said to be the tomb of Gammun king Kim Hyo (金孝).”

thirty manly warriors (三十雄兵): according to the Dong-sa (東史), “At its most, Gammun fielded thirty warriors.” According to the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考), “Gammun was likely an extremely small country.”

于山  Usan [modern day Ulleung Island]

In the Samguk-sagi (三國史記) it is written, “In the 13th year of King Jijeung-maripgan (智證麻立干), the state of Usan (于山國) submitted to Silla and each year sent local products as tribute. Usan-guk is an island located directly to the east of Myeongju. It is also known as Ulleung-do island (鬱陵島).”

In the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽) it is written, “Ulleung-do is also known both as Mureung (武陵) and Ureung (羽陵) and is located in the sea directly east of Uljin-hyeon (蔚珍縣). In four directions the land stretches a 100 li and the earth is rich and fertile. The bamboo is as large as pillars, the rats as large as cats and peach seeds the size of a doe (升 승) measuring vessel.”

春風五兩邏帆廻  춘풍오량나범회  平平上上去平平(灰)
海上桃花寂寞開  해상도화적막개  上去平平入入平
唯見可之登岸臥  유견가지등안와  平去上平平去去
更無獅子撲人來  갱무사자박인래  去平平上入平平

chun pung o ryang na beom hoe
hae sang do hwa jeok mak gae
yu gyeon ga ji deung an wa
gaeng mu sa ja bak in rae

Spring wind blows the oryang [wind measuring instrument] on the sails of the patrol ship [visiting Usan Island].
Peach blossoms [being brought back from the island] open lonely and sad about the sea.
Only sea lions lie up on the seashore,
No more lions will come to attack the people.

the sails of the patrol ship (邏帆 나범): according to the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考), “On Ulleung-do there are all kinds of fragrant plants including sickle hare’s ear (柴胡 시호 n.97), gobon Apiaceae (藁本 n.98), camphor tree (石楠 석남 n.99) and wisteria (藤草 등초 n.100). Many of the nojuk (蘆竹) bamboo trunks are wider than one can wrap their arms around whilst the fruit of nojuk bamboo and seeds of peaches are as large as a wine glass (杯) or doe (升 승). The Silla court (本朝) dispatched (刷出 쇄출) fleeing citizens (逃民) to open up (空) the land and every three years an inspector would be sent. Distributing fifteen axes, they would cut bamboo and timber; gathering local products they were given as tribute to the (Silla) court and used as guarantees/tokens of trust (信物). The yeongjang commander of Samcheok (三陟營將) and manho commander of Wolsong (越松萬戶) went there in turn.”

sea lions (可之): according to the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考), “On the shore of Ulleung-do island there is an animal similar to a cow but with red eyes and no horns. In large groups they lie on the shore. If they see someone coming alone they may harm them, but if many people come they will swim away. They are called gaji (可之 n.101) sea lions.”

lions (獅子): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “After Isabu (異斯夫) became military commander (軍主) of Aseulla-ju (阿瑟羅州 present day Gangneung-si n.102) he began to plot the annexation of Usan-guk. Regarding the people of Usan-guk as foolish and primitive he knew he would be able to subjugate them through a scheme. So he had many wooden lions made and loaded them onto war ships. Arriving at the island state, he told them, ‘If you do not surrender we will release these lions which will trample and kill you!’ Frightened the people surrendered.”

耽羅  Tamna [modern day Jeju Island]

In the Beishi (北史) it is written, “In the sea south of Baekje is the state of Tammora-guk (耽牟羅國). The land has many roe and other deer. It is a vassal state to Baekje.”

In the Tangshu (唐書) it is written, “At the beginning of Yongsak (龍朔 661-3) [year of Emperor Gaozong], there was a place called Damna (儋羅 담라). Its king, Yuri Dora (儒理都羅) sent an envoy to the [Tang] court. The state was on an island to the south of Mu-ju province (武州) of Silla. Its customs are simple and dirty. They wear the skin of large pigs. In summer they live in houses made of animal hide and in the winter they live in caves. At first it was a vassal state to Baekje but later became vassal to Silla.”

In the Tamnaguk-gi (History of Tamna 耽羅國記) it is written, “In the beginning there were three human gods (神人) who came out of the ground and were called Yang-eulna (良乙那), Go-eulna (高乙那) and Bu-eulna (夫乙那). The three eulna roamed around hunting in a wild and remote place. They wore animals skins and ate meat. One day they saw a person wearing a red belt and purple clothes. He had loaded in a box three maidens wearing blue clothes, ponies, calves and seeds of the five cereals. He said, ‘I am an emissary from Japan (日本). Our king had these three daughters and said, “In the West Sea (西海) three holy children (神子) have descended and will establish a country but have no spouses so I am sending my three daughters.”‘ The three eulna each married one of the girls according to their age; they sowed the cereal and bred the ponies and calves and so began to prosper. The place where Yang-eulna resided was known as the First Capital (第一都, n.104), the place were Go-eulna resided as the Second Capital (第二都) and Bu-eulna’s as the Third Capital (第三都). The twelfth generation descendents of Go-eulna, Go Hu (高厚) and Go Cheong (高淸), together with their younger brother (弟三人) built boats and crossed the sea dropping anchor at Tamjin (耽津). This was at a time when Silla was thriving. At this time a guest star (客星 ‘variable star’ n.105) was visible in the south and the astronomers (太史) declared, ‘This is an omen of foreigners coming to pay homage to [our] court (來朝).’ The king regarded the arrival of Hu and the others as a rejoiceful thing. He named Hu as Seongju (Star Lord 星主 n.106) as he had moved the star signs (星象). He ordered Cheong to wear his trousers on the outside (??令淸出袴下) and loving him like a son named him Wangja (prince 王子 n.107) whilst their younger brother was named Donae (‘inside the capital’ 都內). Their country was named Tamna (耽羅 탐라) as their boats had moored at Tamjin when coming to pay homage to the Silla court. The king gifted them with jewels and clothing and sent them off. Thenceforth they served Silla and eventually those with the surname Go (高氏) took the title seongju, those named Yang (良氏) took the title wangja and those with Bu (夫氏), dosang (都上). Later on Yang (良) became Yang (梁).”

In the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽) it is written, “Jeju (濟州) was originally called Tamna-guk (耽羅國) and alternatively Tangna (乇羅 탁라) or Tammora (耽毛羅).”

三乙那城瘴霧開  삼을나성장무개  平入平平平去平(灰)
耽津江口峭帆廻  탐진강구초범회  平平平上 平平
厥初還有毛興穴  궐초환유모흥혈  入平平上平平入
何必他人袴下來  하필타인고하래  平平平平去上平

sam eul na seong jang mu gae
tam jin gang gu cho beom hoe
gwol cho hwan yu mo heung hyeol
ha pil ta in go ha rae

Humid mist clears over the Fortress of the Three Eulna.
The tall sail returns to [from] the mouth of the Tamjin-gang river.
From the very beginning the had the Moheung-hyeol hole.
Why would they have to come out of another person’s trousers?! [Refuting a Silla myth that they emerged from the king’s trousers.]

Tamjin (耽津): according to the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考), “Present day Gangjin-hyeon (康津縣) was Tamjin of Silla.”

the Moheung Hole (毛興穴): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “On the north side of Mount Jin (鎭山) in Jeju-mok (濟州牧), at the base of the mountain is a hole called Moheung-hyeol. It is from here that the three eulna emerged.”

後百濟  Later Baekje

In the Samguk-sagi it is written, “Gyeon-hwon (甄萱) was from Ga’eun-hyeon (加恩縣) in Sang-ju (尙州). His appearance was majestic and strange/wondrous; the spirit of his will (志氣) was extraordinary. Joining the army he was given the task of defending the southwest sea and based on his deeds (功勞) there he was made pijang adjutant (裨將). In the 6th year of King Jin-seong of Silla, bandits were multiplying like insects. Gyeon-hwon raised a group and attacked the provinces and counties (州縣) to the southwest of the capital. At each place he came to he found new sympathizers. Eventually, after attacking Mujin-ju (武珍州) he established his capital at Mount Wan (完山) and, proclaiming himself king of Later Baekje, he sent emissaries to Later Tang who were referred to as border emissaries (藩臣 번신). Later Tang bestowed the titles of (“Inspector of State” 檢校太尉兼侍中 검교태위겸시중), (“Supreme Commanding General of the Baekje Army” 判百濟軍事持節都督全武公等州軍事 판백제군사지절도독전무공등주군사) and (“General Governor, Magistrate of Jeonju, Four Direction Supreme Military Commander in the Eastern Seas and King of Baekje” 行全州刺史海東四面都統指揮兵馬制置等事百濟王 행전주자사해동사면도통지휘병마제치등사백제왕) and allotted fiefdoms (食邑) of 2,500 ho households (戶).”

In the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽) it is written, “There is an old earthen fortress five li north of Jeonju-bu (全州府), it was built by Gyeon-hwon.”

往事悠悠疽背翁  왕사유유저배옹  上去平平平去平(東)
繽紛紅葉古城東  빈분홍엽고성동  平平平入上平平
可憐探鷇金山寺  가련탐구금산사  上平平 平平去
亡國何關絶影驄  망국하관절영총  平入平平入上平

wang sa yu yu jeo bae ong
bin bun hong yeop go seong dong
ga ryeon tam gu geum san sa
mang guk ha gwan jeol yeong chong

For an old man suffering an abscess on his back past events grow dim.
To the east of the former fortress [just north of Jeonju] autumn leaves chaotically scatter.
It was pitiful to search for the fledgling birds [the three rebellious sons] at Gold Mountain Temple.
What had a bluish-white horse from Jeolyeong Island to do with the downfall of a country?!

an old man suffering an abscess on his back (疽背翁 저배옹): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “Gyeon-hwon had more than ten sons. His fourth son, Geum-gang (金剛) was tall and wise. Gyeon-hwon loved him and intended to pass on to him the throne, however, Geum-gang’s older brother, Sin-geom (神劍), imprisoned Gyeon-hwon in the Buddha hall (佛宇) of Geumsan-sa temple (金山寺) and, killing Geumgang, declared himself high king (大王). Gyeon-hwon fled to Goryeo (高麗) together with his youngest son Neung-ye (能乂), his daughter Soe-bok (衰福), his favourite concubine (愛妾) Gobi (姑比). Taejo (太祖) of Goryeo treated them with warm etiquette (禮) and elevated [Gyeonhwon] to the rank of sangbu (尙父). Gyeonhwon died at the Buddhist sanctum (佛舍) on Mount Hwang (黃山) when his abscess (疽) burst.”

autumn leaves chaotically scatter (繽粉紅葉 빈분홍엽): in Po’eun Jeong Mong-ju’s (圃隱 鄭夢周) poem Infinite View from the Tower of Jeonju (全州萬景樓) there are the lines, “Buyeo-guk hidden in the green mountains (靑山隱約夫餘國), Baekje Fortress [amongst] the chaotically scattering red leaves (繽粉紅葉百濟城).

a bluish-white horse from Jeolyeong (絶影驄 절영총): according to the Goryeo-sa (History of Goryeo 高麗史), “Gyeonhwon presented Wang Geon Taejo with a bluish-white horse from Jeolyeong-do Island (絶影島) but later it was foretold that, ‘When a horse from Jeolyeong-do arrives, Baekje will collapse.’ Regretting his actions Gyeonhwon sent a messenger requesting the horse be returned. Taejo laughed and granted the request.”

泰封  Taebong [Later Goguryeo founded by Gung-ye]

In the Zizhi Tongjian (Comprehensive Mirror for Governance 資治通鑑) it is written, “At the beginning of the Tianyou (天祐 천우 904-7) year of Tang, a one-eyed monk of Seokgul-sa Temple (石窟寺), Gung-ye (躬乂) raised a group and, occupying Gae-ju (開州), was proclaimed king of Taebong-guk (泰封國). In the Zhenming (貞明 정명 915-20) year of the Later Liang (後粱 후량) [Gung-ye] sent jwarang-wi lieutenant (佐郞尉 좌랑위) Kim Rip-gi (金立奇) to the Wu (吳) to pay tribute.”

In the Samguk-sagi (三國史記) it is written, “Gung-ye (弓裔) was from Silla and his father was either Heon An-wang (憲安王 d.861) or Gyeong Mun-wang (景文王 d.875). Shaving his hair he became a monk and took the name (號) Seonjong (宣宗). He was tall and courageous in spirit (膽氣). Towards the end of Silla, many bandits led revolts and Gung-ye joined the army of Bukwon (北原 present day Wonju) bandit Yang-gil (梁吉). Dividing his army, Yang-gil entrusted Gung-ye with [a part of it] and sent him to attack the east. Gung-ye subsequently overthrew the fortresses of Jeojok (猪足), Saengcheon (牲川), Buyak (夫若), Geum-seong (金城) and Cheorwon (鐵圓). In the first year of Tianfu (天福 901-3) he was proclaimed king of Majin (摩震) and took the era name (年號) of Mutae (武泰). Moving more than a thousand families from Cheongju (淸州) he established his capital at Cheorwon Fortress (鐵圓城). Mutae was revised to the first year of Seongchaek (聖冊 905-10) whilst the land to the west of the Pae River was divided into thirteen military jin (鎭). In the first Qianhua (乾化 911-15) year of Liang Emperor Zhu (朱粱 주량), Seongchaek was revised to Sudeok-manse (水德萬歲 911-14) and the name of the country was revised to Taebong (泰封). Declaring himself to be the Maitreya Buddha (彌勒佛), Gung-ye wore a golden cap (金幘) and priest’s robes (方袍). His oldest son was named Cheonggwang Bodhisattva (靑光菩薩) and his youngest son, Sin’gwang Bodhisattva (神光菩薩). When he went out he rode a white horse whose mane and tail were decorated with patterned silk. He had boys and girls go in front with incense and a parasol. He also ordered more than two hundred nuns (比丘尼) to follow behind singing Buddhist chants.”

In the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽) it is written, “Pungcheon-won (楓川原), located twenty li north of Cheorwon-bu (鐵原府), is where Gung-ye established his capital. The site of the palace is still completely intact.”

烏鵲飛邊認故宮  오작비변인고궁  上入平平去去平(東)
凄凉覇業黑金東  처량패업흑금동  平平去入入平平
設弧猶記端陽節  설호유기단양절  入平平去平平入
未作鷄林老薛公  미작계림로설공  去入平平上入平

o jak bi byeon in go gung
cheo ryang pae eop heuk geum dong
seol ho yu gi dan yang jeol
mi jak gye rim ro seol gong

One can tell there was formerly a palace around here by the crows and magpies [circling above.]
[One can only be reminded of] the desolate achievements of conquering east of Heijin.
The day the bow was hung up [refers to a custom on the day of birth] is rather remembered for having been Dan’o [5th day of the 5th lunar month].
But [Gung-ye] was unable to become a venerable of Gyerim [Silla] like Mengchang of Qi [who had also been born on the inauspicious day of Dan’o and was initially rejected by his father to be brought up in secret by his mother. n.113]

the crows and magpies (烏鵲): In Songgang Jeong Cheol’s (松江 鄭澈) song Gwandong-byeolgok (關東別曲) there is the line, “As though knowing and not knowing the vicissitudes of ancient times (千古), the crows and magpies bleakly cry at the old palace of King Gung-ye.”

east of Heijin (黑金東 Kr. Heukgeum): according to the ‘Sega’ (Noble Families 世家) chapters of the Goryeo-sa (高麗史), “The Tang merchant (商人), Wang Changjin (王昌瑾), by chance met someone at the market. This person’s appearance was large and impressive and both his hair and beard were white. In his left had he was holding three bowls and in his right an old mirror which was around one ja (尺) in diameter. He asked Changjin, ‘Will you buy my mirror?’ Changjin gave him two mal (斗) of rice in return for the mirror. Walking along the road the man distributed the food to the begging children and left. His speed was like that of a whirlwind. Changjin hung the mirror on the wall of his stall whereupon the sunlight falling at an angle dimly illuminated fine letters which could be read. They said, ‘Amongst the three waters and the four corners (四維 사유= NW, SW, NE and SE), the emperor of heaven (上帝) sent down his two sons, Chen (辰) and Ma (馬). To first catch a chicken and afterwards a duck, this fortune is called filling the one-three jia (一三甲 일삼갑). When dark [one] rises to heaven, when light [one] reigns over the earth. In the year of the rat (子年) great works will be achieved. Hiding one’s tracks and concealing one’s name (姓名), within disorder who can discern restraint (愼) and holiness (聖)? Shaking the thunder of the law (法) and with the flash of the gods’ lightening, in the year of the snake (巳年) two dragons shall appear. One of them will conceal themselves in the green trees; the other will cast a shadow east of Heijin (黑金). Those who are wise will see, those who are foolish will not. Forming clouds and causing rain, it will conquer alongside the people. At times it will appear prosperous (盛) and at times weak (衰). Prosperity and weakness (盛衰) will destroy the bad remnants. Over six years/cycles of the rat (甲子), three or four (三四)) children of the dragon will exchange generations and succeed [one from another]. In these four corners (四維), chou (丑) will be destroyed; crossing the sea and surrendering, one must wait for you (酉). If these letters are seen by a wise king, then the country’s subjects will be peaceful and their sovereign (帝) long prosper. My record in total is a 147 characters.’ Changjin at first had not known that there was writing, but seeing it he realised it was extraordinary and so offered it to Gung-ye. Gung-ye chose Changjin to search for the person [who had sold the mirror] but after a month he was unable to find him. The only thing [discovered] was that at Balsap-sa temple (勃颯寺) in Dong-ju (東州 = Cheorwon) was an old statue of Jinseong (塡星 진[전]성=土星) in front of the statue of Chiseonggwang Bodhisattva (North Star Buddha 熾盛光如來); it resembled the former owner of the mirror and in its left and right hands were a bowl and mirror. Changjin was happy and submitted a detailed account. Sighing in admiration and considering it wondrous, Gung-ye had the text analysed by scholars Song Ham-hong (宋含弘), Baek Tak (白卓) and Heo Won (許原). They said amongst themselves, ‘Chen (辰) and Ma (馬) refer to [Korean] Jinhan (辰韓) and Mahan (馬韓); green trees (靑木) are pine trees and so indicate Song’ak-gun (松嶽郡). Heijin (black gold 黑金) means iron and so is speaking of the present day capital (都) of Cheorwon (lit. ‘iron area’ 鐵圈). This is the place where you, [my] lord (主), first prospered and may eventually be the place of your [or the kingdom’s] demise. To first catch a chicken and then a duck has the meaning of Sijung Wang (王侍中, Gung-ye’s title) having occupied a [new] country, first obtaining Gyerim (Chicken Forest 鷄林, aka Silla) and then up to the Amnok (Duck Green 鴨綠) river.’ Amongst themselves the three conferred, ‘King Gung-ye has much envy and has killed many people, if we were to speak the truth, he would certainly come to harm which we too would not be able to avoid.’ So they gave a false report.”

hanging up the bow on Dan’o (設弧端陽 설호단양): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “Gung-ye was born on the 5th day of the 5th month and already had teeth. Disliking this, King Heon’an (憲安王) ordered him to be killed and so a servant (使者) wrapped the baby in swaddling and threw him down from a tower. A wet nurse (乳母) maidservant (侍婢) secretly caught the babe, but by accident she poked out one of its eyes with her hand.”

Continue to part 6..


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

  1. 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

  2. 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

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