Chu Manh Trinh – The Excellent Confuciasm Doctor
Chu Manh Trinh was called Can Than and his pseudonym was Truc Van, a native of Phu Thi village, Me So commune of Van Giang district. He was famous for his poetry and great architect.
Chu Manh Trinh was born in 1862 in a Confucian family. Chu Duy Tinh, his father, was a court counselor. Chu Manh Trinh was very smart in study. He won a high-school diploma at the age of 19. At the age of 25, he won the position of the first laureate at an interprovincial exam. He also won the first position in the royal court competition at the age of 31. That is why contemporary people called him Phu Thi Doctor.
After winning the doctor’s degree, he was appointed to be the county Chief of Ly Nhan, Ha Nam province. He was said to be a truthful, upright and veracious mandarin. Once he ordered the punishment of a French monk who had abused his power to do bad things. A short time after he became a county chief, his father died so he returned to his native land to celebrate his father's funeral. After finishing the funeral, he was appointed the position of a provincial judge in charge of Ha Nam, Hung Yen, Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen provinces.
In 1905, the Governor of Hung Yen - Le Hoan a poetry competition on the Half Moon Lake. He was very interested in Kieu story and so sympathetic with the character - Thuy Kieu that he made a collection of Chinese-transcribed Vietnamese poems about Thuy Kieu. The book’s preface written in Chinese characters was a deep commentary on Kieu story, evidently expressing his living style as well as the writing one.
At that time, in the context of declined feudal society, the country lost solitude, the French colonialists invaded our country, Chu Manh Trinh tends to escape. However, his compositions showed patriotic feelings and advanced native culture. He liked enjoying natural scenery and historical relics. Many Ca Tru singings such as "Huong Son phong canh ca” is a very skilled writing, rich in love with nature as well as the country. The Chu Manh Trinh's works are rich in humanity, romance and sentiment.
Chu Manh Trinh is not only a poet and writer, but he is also a talented architect. He is the restorer of Thien Tru Pagoda (the pagoda outside Huong Tich Cave). He also painted and contributed to the construction of Da Hoa Temple and Hoa Da Trach Temple in Khoai Chau district, Hung Yen province. In Da Hoa Temple, Khoai Chau district, there is a shrine of Chu Manh Trinh, including a hexadecimal instrument attached to the name of the doctoral student.
Chu Manh Trinh also left posts and comments in many temples in Pho Hien, Hung Yen. He wrote letters with the pride of the homeland, calligraphy flying, flexible, deep content, rich emotions, show talent, liberal soul, love beautiful. These are shown in May Temple, Mother temple, and so on. When he worked in Hung Yen, he contributed to the development of Ca Tru singing. His compositions for Ca Tru singing are gentle and elegant.
In 1905, Chu Manh Trinh died at the age of 43. He left a lot of poetry, especially the two poems: "Truc Van thi tap" written in Han writing and "Thanh Tam tai nhan thi tap" written in Nom script.
Today, Chu Manh Trinh is recognized by the state as "Cultural Celebrity" of Hung Yen Province. Many schools and roads of Hung Yen province in particular and the whole country in general are named after him, for example, Chu Manh Trinh secondary school in Van Giang district, Chu Manh Trinh street in the city Hung Yen and so on.