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To A Couple Of Students Who Were Teasing Her

Ho Xuan Huong 1772 (Nghe An) – 1822

Where are you going, my dear little greenhorns?
Here, I'll teach you how to turn a verse or two
Young drones sucking at withered flowers,
Little goats brushing horns against a fence.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Ho Xuan Huong

Hồ Xuân Hương was a Vietnamese poet born at the end of the Lê Dynasty. She grew up in an era of political and social turmoil - the time of the Tây Sơn rebellion and a three-decade civil war that led to Nguyễn Ánh seizing power as Emperor Gia Long and starting the Nguyen Dynasty. She wrote poetry using Chữ Nôm, which adapts Chinese characters for writing demotic Vietnamese. She is considered one of Vietnam's great classical poets, such that Xuân Diệu, a prominent modern poet, dubbed her "The Queen of Nôm poetry". The facts of her life are difficult to verify, but this much is well established: she was born in Nghệ An Province near the end of the rule of the Trịnh Lords, and moved to Hanoi while still a child. The best guess is that she was the youngest daughter of Ho Phi Dien. According to the first researchers of Hồ Xuân Hương, such as Nguyen Huu Tien and Duong Quang Ham, she was a daughter of a Ho Phi Dien in Quynh Doi Village, Quynh Luu District, Nghe An Province. Ho Phi Dien acquired the baccalaureate diploma at the age of 24, under Le Bao Thai's Dynasty. Due to his family's poverty, he had to work as a tutor in Hai Hung, Ha Bac for his earnings. At that place, he cohabitated with a girl from Bac Ninh, his concubine - Hồ Xuân Hương was born as a result of that love affair. more…

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