Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Nattrinai – 10

Her friend says :

Even when her perky breasts sag down
and long dark hair draped over
her lustrous body turns white,
never leave her,
Lord of colourful flower adorned town!
Your word is as trusted by her
as the spears of Chief Palayan
– with an army of tuskers – 
was trusted by sweet toddy carrying,
decorated chariot riding
Chola Kings to subdue Kongars*.

*Kongars – Rulers of Kongu Nadu, Western part of present day Tamil Nadu

அண்ணாந்து ஏந்திய வன முலை தளரினும்
பொன் நேர் மேனி மணியின் தாழ்ந்த
நல் நெடுங் கூந்தல் நரையொடு முடிப்பினும்
நீத்தல் ஓம்புமதி பூக் கேழ் ஊர !
இன் கடுங் கள்ளின் இழை அணி நெடுந் தேர்க்
கொற்றச் சோழர் கொங்கர்ப் பணீஇயர்
வெண்கோட்டு யானைப் போஒர் கிழவோன்
பழையன் வேல் வாய்த்தன்ன நின்
பிழையா நல் மொழி தேறிய இவட்கே.

They are eloping at early hours of the day. Her friend has accompanied her to send her off. Friend says to him “She’s abandoning all her relatives and coming with you. You must not leave her even when she grows old, her perky breasts sag and her dark hair turns white. She trusts your word completely, like how the Chola Kings trusted the spears of their allied chieftain (with an army of tuskers) to subdue Kongars*. So keep your promise even when the initial flush of love is gone”

Kongars* may mean Chera Kings who were ruling Kongu Nadu (the area around present day Coimbatore) then. Chola Kings must have used the services of a local Chieftain Palayan to help them in subduing Kongars*

தளர் – sag
மணி – gem / dark color
ஓம்புதல் – to leave
கேழ் – color
இழை – jewel
கொற்றவன் – King
பணித்தல் – subdue
வெண்கோட்டு – white tusk
கிழவோன் – Chief
பிழையா – not false – true – promise
தேறுதல் – believe

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