Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Monday, December 17, 2012

Yeongwol area where King Danjong breathed his last breath

Yeongwol area where King Danjong breathed his last breath

Yeongwol-eup Yeongwol-gun Gangwon-do Province

Let’s look into King Danjong’s final days

Unfortunate King Danjong was exiled to Yeongwol and lived there for about four months before his death. Let’s look into the traces of his exile in Yeongwol. Danjong was born as the only son of King Munjong on July 23, 1441 (the 23rd year of the reign of King Sejong) according to lunar calendar. (All dates hereafter are based on lunar calendar.) He was crowned as the sixth king of the Joseon Kingdom as King Munjong passed away at his age of 39 on May 14, 1452. However, King Danjong’s fate turned tragic due to the Gyeyujeongnan Incident that occurred on October 10, 1453. Prince Suyangdaegun and his followers, including scholar Han Myeonghoe, plotted the Gyeyujeongnan Incident, in which they sacrificed high ranking royal servants including Hwang Boin and Kim Jongseo on the pretext that they tried to make Prince Anpyeongdaegun a new king.

With this successful incident, Prince Suyangdaegun seized the practical power of the royal palace and Prince Anpyeongdaegun was exiled to Ganghwado Island and was killed by poison after eight days. In June 1455, Prince Geumseongdaegun was also exiled and no one could defy Prince Suyangdaegun in the palace. King Danjong could not endure the threat of Han Myeonghoe and his followers and at last yielded his throne to Prince Suyangdaegun (King Sejo) on June 11, 1455, retreating as a shadow king without any practical power.

The tragic drama of King Danjong did not end there. In June 1456 several scholars including Seong Sammun, Park Paengnyeon, Ha Wiji, Yi Gae, Yu Eungbu and Yu Seongwon tried to restore the throne of King Danjong and as their plot was revealed they were killed. Those scholars killed in this incident are called the Sayuksin (six killed royal servants). As a result of this tragic incident, King Danjong was demoted to Prince Nosangun in June 1457 and was exiled to Cheongryoengpo at Yeongwol in Gangwon-do Province. 

Cheongryeongpo looks like an isolated island in land

Cheongryeongpo was nominated as Scenic Spot No. 50 in 2008 and as King Danjong described the spot is like an isolated island in land. Seogang River, a branch of Namhangang River flows like a curved bow around the three directions of Cheongryeongpo and the one direction in the background of Cheongryeongpo is composed of a rocky cliff called Yukryukbong. That is why the secluded and isolated spot is very suitable for exile. Visitors approach Cheongryeongpo by a boat. Walking along the trail in the dense pine forest, visitors can walk to Danjongeoso House where King Danjong lived during his four month-long exile. The tile-roofed house where King Danjong lived and a thatched house where his servants used to live were restored in April 2000 according to the record of Seungjeongwonilgi (diary of royal order).

If you walk for a while along the trail in the dense pine forest, you will encounter an extraordinary giant pine tree. It is a 600 year-old pine tree called Gwaneumsong that was designated as Natural Monument No. 349 in 1988. A 30 meter-tall pine tree with a circumference of 5.19 meters at the height of an adult’s chest, this pine tree is divided into two branches at the height of 1.6 meters. One branch rises upward and the other one stretches toward the west. It is said that King Danjong used to sit on the branch of this pine tree and console himself during his lonesome days in exile. This pine tree was named Gwaneumsong (觀音松: observing and listening pine tree) as the tree observed King Danjong’s sad life and listened to his weeping sound at night.

At Cheongryeongpo are Nosandae where King Danjong fell in deep agony looking toward Hanyang, the capital city of the Joseon Kingdom, Manghyangtap Stone Tower, which King Danjong built because he was missing his Queen Jeongsunwanghu in Hanyang, Danjong-yujibigak Stone Monument that confirms King Danjong’s exile site and Geumpyobi Stone Monument built in 1726 (the second year of the reign of King Yeongjo) to prohibit the access of common people to the holy spot where King Danjong was exiled.

Old pine trees are curved as if they bow to King Danjong’s tomb

In two months of exile, Seogang River flooded and the Cheongryeongpo area was swept with floodwater. Thus King Danjong was moved to Gwanpungheon House. Gwanpungheon was a part of official buildings of Yeongwol district that were built in 1392 (the first year of the reign of King Taejo). A little pavilion was standing beside Gwanpungheon House. The little pavilion is called Jagyuru (scops owl pavilion) since King Danjong came to this pavilion at night and wrote a sorrowful poem about the scops owl that sang very sadly at night in the nearby forest.

In September of that year, King Danjong’s uncle Prince Geumseongdaegun who was in exile at Sunheung in Gyeongsang-do Province was arrested while he was trying to restore the throne of King Danjong with the Sunheung Governor Yi Boheum. Because of this incident, King Danjong was demoted to a common scholar Seoin from Prince Nosangun. King Danjoing passed away on October 24 (December 7 according to solar calendar) in that year at Gwanpungheon House. The cause of his death has not been known clearly so far. It is said he was killed either by a poison, an assassin, or by suicide.

Though King Sejo declared the close relatives of any person who buried the corpse of King Danjong would be killed, a brave man from the Yeongwol area, Eom Heungdo, secretly moved King Danjong’s corpse, which had been abandoned by the side of Seoggang River and buried it on the slope of Dongeunjisan Mountain. Thereafter the grave of King Danjong could not be found for a long time but in 1541 (the 36th year of the reign of King Jungjong) Yeongwol Sheriff Park Chungwon found out the grave and renovated the graveyard area. In 1580 (the 13th year of the reign of King Seonjo), a tomb table stone and other tomb stones were erected. In 1681 (the seventh year of the reign of King Sukjong) King Danjong was posthumously nominated as Prince Nosandaegun and in November 1968 (the 24th year of the reign of King Sukjong) King Danjong was restored as a king and his graveyard was designated as royal tomb Janneung.

Down below the royal tomb are Baesikdansa Shrine where ancestral tablets for 264 persons sacrificed for King Danjong are enshrined, Jeongyeogak Shrine for Eom Heungdo who buried King Danjong’s corpse, Nakchongijeokbi Monument commemorating Park Chungwon’s achievement, Jeongjagak Pavilion, Hongsalmun Gate, Jaesil House and Baegyeonjeong Pavilion. As tall pine trees around the royal tomb Jangneung stand curved toward the tomb of King Danjong as if they bow to King Danjong, visitors feel a mysterious emotion at the wonderful sight.

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