Nam quốc sơn hà

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Nam quốc sơn hà
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Nam quốc sơn hà

Nam quốc sơn hà (Mountains and Rivers of the Southern Country) was a famous 10th century Vietnamese poem. Dubbed "Vietnam's first Declaration of Independence", it asserts the sovereignty of Vietnam's rulers over its lands. This poem was first dictated to be read aloud before and during battles to boost troops morale when Vietnam under Lý Thường Kiệt fought against the first invasion of Song dynasty in 981 though its exact authorship is still controversial.

Written in the form of an oracle,[1] the poem is one of the best known Vietnamese literature pieces.[2] It became an emblematic hymn in the early independence wars, recited by Lý Thường Kiệt on the Nhu Nguyet river defense line for the same morale boosting effect during the second Song invasion in 1076.[3] In recent times, this same poem was often recited to show anti-Chinese sentiments by Vietnamese citizens when China began oil exploration in historically Vietnamese marine areas.


Chinese Transliteration[4] Vietnamese English[5]


Nam quốc sơn hà nam đế cư

Tiệt nhiên định phận tại thiên thư
Như hà nghịch lỗ lai xâm phạm
Nhữ đẳng hành khan thủ bại hư.

Sông núi nước Nam, vua Nam ở

Rành rành định phận ở sách trời.
Cớ sao lũ giặc sang xâm phạm,
Chúng bây sẽ bị đánh tơi bời!

The mountains and rivers that carved the southern empire, dwelled by the Southern Emperor.

Its sovereignty is of nature's will and is allotted in script from the heaven.
What gives these invaders the right to trespass it,
They shall, in doing that, see themselves be defeated and shamed!

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Essays on Literature and Society in Southeast Asia 1981 Page 305 "The "Nam-quốc sơn-hà" poem had the form of an oracle"
  2. ^ Nguyễn Đức Sự Some Features on Vietnamese Buddhism in the Lý Dynasty Religious Studies Review, No. 02-2010 Institute of Religious Studies, Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences 2011 "Besides the well-known works of celebrities and of the Lý court as Chiếu dời đô (Royal edict on the transfer of the capital), Nam quốc sơn hà (Mountains and Rivers of the empire of the South), Văn lộ bố khi đánh trống, Di chiếu lúc lâm chung (King's last will at point of death), etc. There were many Zen poems in the literature of the Lý dynasty. Almost poets and writers in the Lý dynasty were Zen masters."
  3. ^ Patricia M. Pelley Postcolonial Vietnam: New Histories of the National Past 2002 Page 268 "The relevant works are Nam quốc sơn ha, Lý Thường Kiệt's famous affirmation of Vietnamese identity; Hịch tướng sĩ, the plea from Trần Hưng Ðạo to fight against the Mongols; Quốc ngữ thi tập, Chu Văn An's collection of poems in the national language..."
  4. ^ James Anderson The Rebel Den of Nùng Trí Cao: Loyalty and Identity 2007 Page 214 "The Vietnamese text reads: " , Tiệt nhiên định phận tại thiên thư..."
  5. ^ Vuving, Alexander L. (June 2000). "The References of Vietnamese States and the Mechanisms of World Formation" (PDF). 

External links[edit]