Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruvempavai – 4

“O’ Shiny pearl like white toothed girl! Hasn’t it dawned yet?”

“Have all my friends, who prattle sweetly like parrots, come?”

“We can do a headcount and tell you;
But don’t sleep till then and waste time;
We’d rather sing the praise of our lord –
the nectar of celestials, the essence of Vedas, pleasant to eyes –
with melting heart and dissolve in bliss; You come out and count;
if numbers fall short go back to sleep, my friend”

ஒள்நித் திலநகையாய் இன்னம் புலர்ந்தின்றோ
வண்ணக் கிளிமொழியார் எல்லாரும் வந்தாரோ
எண்ணிக்கொ டுள்ளவா சொல்லுகோம் அவ்வளவும்
கண்ணைத் துயின்றவமே காலத்தைப் போக்காதே
விண்ணுக் கொருமருந்தை வேத விழுப்பொருளைக்
கண்ணுக் கினியானைப் பாடிக் கசிந்துள்ளம்
உள்நெக்கு நின்றுருக யாம்மாட்டோம் நீயேவந்து
எண்ணிக் குறையில் துயிலேலோர் எம்பாவாய்

The girls knock at the door of their friend who is still asleep and wake her up. They say, “Come on girl, you with shiny pearl like white teeth. The sun is almost out. Hasn’t it dawned yet for you. Come let’s go and pray to our Lord” The girl wants to grasp the last few moments of sleep. So she asks from her bed itself, “Have all our friends come? Or are there still people like me who are asleep? Wake them up and then call me?” Her friends know her tricks. So they say “We can count and tell you. But don’t waste time till then and be asleep. We will rather sing the praise of our lord. He is the nectar of the celestial beings. He is the essence of Vedas. He is pleasing to the eye. We will rather praise him with melting heart and surrender to the bliss than doing a headcount for you. If you want, you come out and count. It you find the numbers short, you can go back to your sleep. For now, wake up”

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