Hồ Xuân Hương

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Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten.

Hồ Xuân Hương (Chinese: 胡春香; 1772 – 1822) was a Vietnamese poet and feminist.

Quotes[edit]

  • To hell with the fate that makes you share a man... You slave like the maid, but without the pay. If I had known how it would go, I think I would have lived alone.
    • As quoted in Vietnam Past and Present: The North, ed. Andrew Forbes and David Henley (Cognoscenti Books, 2012)

Spring Essence (2000)[edit]

The quotations in this section are from Spring Essence: The Poetry of Hô Xuân Huong, trans. John Balaban (Copper Canyon Press, 2000), ISBN 978-1556591488
  • Khen ai khéo vẽ cảnh tiêu sơ.
    • Praise whoever sketched this desolate scene.
    • "Autumn Landscape", line 2
  • Ơ hay, cánh cũng ưa người nhỉ.
    • Look, and love everyone.
    • "Autumn Landscape", line 7
My body is white; my fate, softly rounded,
rising and sinking like mountains in streams.
Whatever way hands may shape me,
at center my heart is red and true.
  • Thân em vừa trắng lại vừa tròn,
    Bảy nổi ba chìm với nước non.
    Rắn nát mặc dầu tay kẻ nặn.
    Mà em vẫn giữ tấm lòng son.
    • My body is white; my fate, softly rounded,
      rising and sinking like mountains in streams.
      Whatever way hands may shape me,
      at center my heart is red and true.
    • "The Floating Cake" (a metaphor for "woman")
  • Hỡi chị em ơi có biết không?
    Một bên con khóc một bên chồng.
    Bố cu lổm ngổm bò trên bụng,
    Thằng bé hu hơ khóc dưới hông.
    Tất cả những là thu với vén,
    Vội vàng nào những bống cùng bông.
    Chồng con cái nợ là như thế,
    Hỡi chị em ơi có biết không?
    • Sisters, do you know how it is? On one hand,
      the bawling baby; on the other, your husband
      sliding onto your stomach,
      his little son still howling at your side.
      Yet, everything must be put in order,
      Rushing around all helter-skelter.
      Husband and child, what obligations!
      Sisters, do you know how it is?
    • "The Condition of Women"
I see it up there in the corner of my eye:
the General's tomb standing all alone.
If I could change my fate, become a man
of heroic deed, couldn't I do better?
  • Ghé mắt trông ngang thấy bảng treo,
    Kìa đến thái thú đứng cheo leo.
    Ví đây đổi phận làm trai được,
    Thì sự anh hùng há bấy nhiêu!
    • I see it up there in the corner of my eye:
      the General's tomb standing all alone.
      If I could change my fate, become a man
      of heroic deed, couldn't I do better?
    • "At the Chinese General's Tomb"
  • Cực lạc là. đây, chín rõ mười.
    • Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten.
    • "Spring-Watching Pavilion", line 8

Quotes about Hồ Xuân Hương[edit]

Here the lake is filled with lotuses.
Tell the flower girls to pick some,
not stepping on Hô Xuân Hương's grave.
  • Here the lake is filled with lotuses.
    Tell the flower girls to pick some,
    not stepping on Hô Xuân Hương's grave.
    In the Golden Springs beyond, she still is angry about lost love.
    Lipstick dry, powder faded, tomb untended,
    Xuân Hương is gone....
    • Poem by Nguyễn Emperor Thiệu Trị's brother during a royal visit to Hanoi in 1842, as quoted in Spring Essence: The Poetry of Hò̂ Xuân Hương (2000) by John Balaban, p. 7
  • Hồ Xuân Hương is an improbable figure in Vietnamese literature. Vietnamese historians are virtually unanimous in acclaiming her as the "most special" poetry writer who ever lived in Vietnam. ... She wrote poetry which, for all its playfulness, may have been the darkest assault upon Confucian ethics ever delivered by a literate scholar of a classical East Asian society. Most modern Vietnamese writers agree that she often went too far, to the point where her contemporaries regarded her as a "monster," whose influence should be obliterated.
    • Alexander Woodside, Vietnam and the Chinese Model (1971), pp. 46–47

External links[edit]