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Sijo Masters in Translation

Korean Sijo by Ch'oe Ch'ung


Choe Chung was a famous poet and the primary neo-Confucian scholar during the reign of King Munjong (1047-83). He is revered as the father of the private-school system of Confucian education which played such a predominant role during the Choson dynasty.

Most ancient anthologies credit his sijo as being the earliest examples of this form.
Only two have come down to us.

My life is full of regret
that I didn’t live in Fu Hsi’s time.*
True, people were clad then in grass
and ate the fruits of the wild.
Still, their souls were constant and plain;
how I envy the life they lived.

*Fu Hsi was one of the three most highly
regarded kings of ancient China,
noted for the simplicity of his life.
He is said to have taught men the art
of fishing and other ways of upright living.

All Rights Copyright 2005 by Larry Gross.
Please do not reprint without written permission.

Created 060309

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