The following is taken from Nguyen Du’s classic funeral verse, Calling the Wandering Souls written in the early part of the 19th century:

By sea or stream I sailed where I wished.
So how can I be out of it now---cringing, not flying-
Submissive to the Emperor’s wishes?
Is there no other way?
Am I to be an overfed dignitary?
Wear rich clothes and bow my head?
Not me. Not as long as my men are true.
I’ll practice my creed---
Pay gift for gift,
Sword thrust for sword thrust,
Just to be free...

Nguyen Dinh Chieu, the blind poet from the southern part of Vietnam, inspired Vietnamese patriots with lofty feelings of love for their country and hatred of the French colonialists:

The living are fighting,
The dead are fighting,
The souls of the killed are in battle array.
No, the people will never surrender!
The day of reckoning will come.
Back to Home Page