Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thirukkural – 1289

Fragile than a flower, love-making is;
few know how to do it justice.

மலரினும் மெல்லிது காமம்; சிலர், அதன்
செவ்வி தலைப்படுவார்.

Making love is not just physical union of bodies. Various factors such as right partner,right time and right setting have to come together for one to enjoy it to the fullest. It has to be handled carefully or it may all go wrong. Few people in the world do it right.

I had a conflict in translating this. செவ்வி (Sevvi) is translated either as the right opportunity or the right way. The literal meaning of the second line is “Only a few know to do it the right way”. I had to take a call between translating the word or using the regular English idiom. So I went with “to do justice”.

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