Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thirukkural – 997

Though their intellect is sharp like a file*, just like a tree are they,
those who lack virtue and grace.

*file – filing tool

அரம்போலும் கூர்மைய ரேனும் மரம்போல்வர்
மக்கட்பண்பு இல்லா தவர்.

Some people might be highly knowledgeable in their area of expertise. Their wit might be sharp like a file (tool). However if they lack characteristics (virtue / courtesy) that differentiate humans from other beings, they are dumb, just like a tree. Their sharpness is of no use.

மக்கட் பண்பு – நன் மக்கள் + பண்பு – characteristics of good human beings. I have taken some liberty to translate it as virtue and grace. Dr. G.U. Pope translated it as ‘humane courtesy’. Intellect is not explicit in original couplet. Literally it reads ‘Though they are sharp like a file’

அரம் – file (tool)
கூர்மை – sharp
மக்கட் மக்கட் பண்பு – நன் மக்கள் + பண்பு – characteristics of good human beings

Single Post Navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: