Below are English translations followed by the original Classical Chinese (Hanmun) texts of the twenty-four surviving poems of Chŏng Chisang (d. 1135; stylized name: Namho), a Koryŏ literary icon and a native of Sŏgyŏng (Western Capital, present-day Pyongyang). Chŏng passed the Civil Service Examination in AD 1114 and began his official career, starting as Secretary (Sain), advancing to Advisor on the Left (Chwachŏngŏn), Counsel on the Left (Chwasagan), Royal Diarist (Kigŏju), Hallim Academician, and Royal Drafter (Chijego). As a scholar, he was well-versed in Buddhism and Daoism, and later developed a keen interest in Yin-Yang Mysticism. He became close friends with Buddhist Master Myoch’ŏng (d. 1135) and scholar-official Paek Suhan (d. 1135); together the three have been identified as the “Three Sages of the Western Capital.” In the political domain, Chŏng was a vocal critic of corrupt officials. He played a decisive role in impeaching and exiling Ch’ŏk Chungyŏng (d. 1144), a major political figure and powerful military official. In 1135, Chŏng was accused of being linked to an uprising initiated by Myoch’ŏng, and was killed by an army led by his chief political rival, Kim Pusik (1075–1151). An anthology of his writings is said to have existed but has not survived. The extant works, twenty hansi and four couplets, deal with a number of themes, including scenery, official life, reflections on the past, drinking, parting, and seclusion.
REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST