Topic: Analysis of the poem “Crying Duong Khue” by Nguyen Khuyen

Nguyen Khuyen (1835 – 1909) left about 800 poems in Nom and Han characters, including nearly a hundred poems about friendship. There is a song like “You come to play at home” that almost everyone knows. Writing about Duong Khue (1839 – 1902) his best friend, Nguyen Khuyen had four poems in Chinese. Particularly the fourth poem “Van Dong year of Van Dinh, Dr. Duong Thuong Thu” (Visiting fellow faculty member, Dr. Duong Thuong Van Dinh) was translated into Nom by the author into “Cry Duong Khue”.


This is Nguyen Khuyen’s very touching crying poem, which is also very famous in national poetry. Duong Khue was a classmate with Nguyen Khuyen at the Huong examination department in 1864. Duong Khue got a doctorate, became a great mandarin, and left behind many excellent spoken and written poems. From a classmate who has developed into a soul mate, Nguyen Khuyen has a poem that is so touching and heartwarming. It can be seen that this is also a sacrificial poem written in the form of a song that is syllabic, with a voice full of tears, consisting of 38 verses.

The poem begins with a cry of pain:

“Uncle Duong, it’s over.

The water of the clouds makes me sad.”


A pitiful exclamation rose up, as if suddenly losing something very precious. Group of words “it’s over” instead of the concept of “lost”, “died”, “passed away” etc. a simple way of speaking, alleviating the terrible pain of old age. According to the old age calculation method, Duong Khue died at 63 years old, then Nguyen Khuyen was 68 years old. It is the cry of the elders of the elderly. The two words “cloud water” refer to two distant things. The water flows, the clouds drift, they are far apart, thousands of miles apart, rarely meet each other. However, the heart of the water flows, no matter where you go, you still embrace the floating cloud. The image of “cloudy water” is associated with the words “many” and “sorrowful” to describe a merciful heaven, a vast distance away, double yin and yang, sorrow and burden.

The word “uncle” in Nguyen Khuyen’s poetry is deeply expressive. The poet always calls you uncle, showing a respectful and cordial heart. The word “respect” and the word “ceremony” are bold in the behavior of Tam Nguyen Yen Do: “Uncle Duong has stopped… Telling me my age is older than your age… Uncle doesn’t live, although Van doesn’t stay. “…

The second part consists of 24 verses, the author repeats and recalls the deep memories with the deceased. For the Confucian, a classmate is the most beautiful and proudest friend. Nguyen Khuyen and Duong Khue both passed and worked together as mandarins, that friendship is a “predestination” of cooperation, so:

“Remember from the time when I was enrolled in the faculty of the past,

It’s still early in the day.

Dear front to back,

While meeting, where is the fate of heaven.”

The words “early morning”, “together”, “from before to after” express an extremely close and faithful friendship. Each memory is a piece of the poet’s soul repeated with many tears. Nguyen Khuyen still seems to see Duong Khue appearing with him. Must be your best friend, must be the people who wear guests to have such beautiful and memorable memories of singing and drinking.

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Remember the excursions, visit the place “guest miles” in harmony with nature, leisurely in the middle of the forest: “The sound of the stream is heard murmuring the back of the pass”. Remember the times when we went to sing A Dao together on the high floor, enjoying the bow, the voice:

“Sometimes the attic used to climb,

I have fun singing in the afternoon to hold the sinuses”.

Holding sinus means bow, voice, “Each craggy floor” as if recalling the feeling of ecstasy on the upper floor of a stylish couple. Nguyen Khuyen and Duong Khue are very connoisseurs of a dao singing and have composed many famous comedians.

The ancients said: “Tieu Phung tri tri millennium smeared minimal – Thi Hoi tri yin semi ku da”. You trio in the poetry festival (just listen to) half a verse is a lot, no need to be long enough to understand you. Nguyen Khuyen recalled the times when he and his friends drank wine to write poetry:

“There are times when good wine is drunk together,

A bowl of quinoa and soy sauce is full of spring gourds.

Sometimes we compose sentences,

There are so many classics before and after.”


The cup of Quynh soy sauce is a cup of jade, a luxurious way of saying it. “Delicious wine with a sip” and the image of “spring full of spring” still seem to retain a friendship in a passionate and exciting taste. When it comes to the writing desk, it is full of books and classics.

The two words “Eastern spades, typical parts” express the secret pride of highly talented Confucian scholars.

Nguyen Khuyen used the same expression of two groups of words: “Sometimes” and “sometimes” cross each other, appearing four times on eight lines of poetry, both to list reminders and create sounds. enjoy the tangerine, earnestly. Those memories are extremely deep, beautiful about friendship, never to be forgotten.

There are happy memories, there are sad memories. Nguyen Khuyen and Duong Khue were both great officials under the Nguyen Dynasty. But then our country was invaded, our nation was ruled by the French invaders, being a scholar and a Confucian “together in tribulation”. Everyone’s behavior is different. Nguyen Khuyen warned the disease, from the mandarin to live a simple life in the countryside. Do not be greedy for “promotion”, the salary of the royal court. And Duong Khue is still an official. In the Chinese poem “To visit the Thuong Thu Thuong of the Duong family”, Nguyen Khuyen showed great sympathy for his friend: “I know you because your parents have to work as mandarins to get the silk – You know that I am poor and have to work as a mandarin to fight. salary rice”. Although the situation and behavior are different, the man who is the mandarin, the man who is from the mandarin, but Tam Nguyen Yen Do still shows his tolerance for friends, still “respects from the beginning to the end”, never changes his heart:

“My uncle is old too,

You know, that’s it, that’s it, that’s it.”

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The word “then” rhymes with three consecutive “stops” like a sigh, comforting yourself, as if you want to quickly forget the unpleasant things. Don’t mind, don’t want to talk about it anymore, are soul friends!

Now the two of them have separated the yin – yang way to say goodbye. Crying for you, Nguyen Khuyen recalled the last time he saw you. Regrets because of the long distance, because of old age and weakness. The word “sloppy” is very good, the meaning in the context is shy. The words: “holding hands” and “rejoicing that” show a heart of affection and love. The verse recreates a touching scene of old friends meeting each other after many years of separation:

“Wanting to go again, getting older,

I met you once three years ago,

Forbidden to ask far and near,

Glad you’re still in good spirits.”

“The spirit has not been able to” means that the health is still normal, the spirit is still clear. Then you suddenly passed away. The image of “falling limbs” describes the pain and shock unspeakable. The following poem expresses very correctly, very deeply the psychology and emotions of the elderly when they hear that you have passed away:

“Tell me I’m older than you,

I was in pain before you for a few days.

How do you hurry back?

Suddenly I heard my limbs fall off!”.

Narrative, self-love poetry. In lament filled with tears. The words “I” and “uncle” appear many times in the verse as two souls leaning on each other; The grief seems to be multiplied.

In this flashback, your memories are presented in chronological order, from “when you were enrolled” to the day you passed away. The enumeration, overlapping is used to give the impression of a lasting, deep, faithful and extremely close friendship. We Vietnamese, especially the elderly, when weeping for our deceased loved ones, often tell stories that remind us of all the memories that imply mourning. Sometimes we feel that the living are conversing and confiding with the deceased. Six poems have recounted all the stages of friendship, each narration is sincere and loving. Nguyen Khuyen said while sobbing.

In the next eight verses, Nguyen Khuyen crying for friends is also crying for himself, the voice of the poem is getting more and more sad and desperate. He blamed you for “going away in a hurry” to be alone and lonely. Life becomes boring, meaningless:

“Who does not know that life is boring,

Why hastily been busy in the first place;

Good wine has no good friends,

Don’t buy, don’t have money, don’t buy.”

After the word “no” appears in a row 5 words “no” suggest the emptiness, the loneliness of the poet, of the old scene. Those who go far and those who stay share the same feeling of “boring life is right”. The poet discreetly reveals his attitude towards the past and never changes. As previously stated:

“What’s the use of books for that day?

Siamese thinking at: shy old body”.

(Spring day tells the children)

Until his death, he still did not forget the last moon of his descendants:

“Mention a few words in the beer,

That: The Nguyen mandarins have returned for a long time.”

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You die suddenly, grief, grief numbs your heart. Living in solitude, day by day, lonely and sad. Life lost all meaning: not wanting to drink alcohol, not wanting to recite poetry, the house and soul became empty and lonely. Where else do you have a trio?

“The verse pondering is not written,

Write to someone, who knows, give it

The other bed hangs indifferently,

The other harp was also dumbfounded by the sound of the lute.”

The lament became bitter when the poet recalled the stories of Tu Ky – Ba Nha and Tran Phon – Tu Tri. The bed reserved for you has now become “indifferent”. The sound of the piano is also “bewildered” because of its lonely friends. An exaggerated way to describe the numbing pain when a close friend dies. When they were still alive, the couple went out together for “guest miles”, “choosing the afternoon to hold the sinuses”, “good wine to sip”, and “the table to compose sentences” … When you died, there was no longer a soulmate. to drink wine together, write poetry, listen to the piano, visit often, share sweets together. Nguyen Khuyen has many profound and touching ways to express his pity for you and his loneliness.


The last four lines of the poem are like a painful sob. Old age has few tears (tears are like dew), so she can only cry in her heart. Loving you is associated with many nostalgia. Crying you turn into a feeling like resigned to a tragic fate. Just pray for your soul to rest in peace:

“Uncle is not here even though van is not,

Although I love and remember to love,

Old age tears like dew,

Slightly where to force two rows to contain chan”.

Experiencing rain and sun, many ups and downs, Tam Nguyen Yen Do still has many tears to cry, even knowing “remember to hurt”. However, the whole poem, especially the four ending lines, was “filled with” painful tears. Two lines of poetry: “Uncle is not here, though still not staying – I still love and miss you” with the same expression and leveling up, created a sad and sad voice, Nguyen Khuyen left many cries: crying for the land. country and nation, cry for wife, cry for children, cry for friends, etc. Every cry is emotional, numb, heavy with love, heavy with meaning. Particularly, the song “Difficult Duong Khue” is written in a poetic form, but with six eight bowls, the more you cry, the more anxious you become, the more anxious you become. sometimes reproachful, the lyrics whisper as if speaking to a living person, very touching The poetic voice is seamless, the lyrics are delicate and expressive, showing the art of being both peaceful and skillful.

“Cry Duong Khue” shows a beautiful and touching friendship of the old Confucian. After a century, we still feel moved when we read this poem. Nguyen Khuyen crying for friends is also crying for a generation of Confucianists and also crying for himself: “Who doesn’t know how to be bored with life is right”…

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