Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thirukkural -1251

Axe of passion will break the door
of restraint latched by modesty.

காமக் கணிச்சி உடைக்கும்-நிறை என்னும்
நாணுத் தாழ் வீழ்த்த கதவு.

Thirukkural, written about 100 BCE, has 1330 couplets (133 chapters of 10 couplets each) on all aspects of life. Using just 7 words (சீர்) – 4 in first line and 3 in second line – the poet conveys what he has to. These couplets are known for their brevity and clarity  Thirukkural is rightly considered one of the gems of Tamil literature.

In this couplet, she is pining for him to come back. She has to maintain her outward  reserve lest the town starts slandering her. But her passion is boundless. She says that the doors of reserve bolted by her modesty stand no chance before the power of passion.

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