Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Silappathikaaram – 2.3.184-188

As if long stemmed purple lilies and lotus
knew for sure the misery of separation
that awaited the lady and her husband,
bees wailed mournfully shedding tears
and the flowers quivered in sorrow

கருநெடுங் குவளையும் ஆம்பலும் கமலமும்
தையலும் கணவனும் தனித்துறு துயரம்
ஐய மின்றி அறிந்தன போலப்
பண்ணீர் வண்டு பரிந்தினைந் தேங்கிக்
கண்ணீர் கொண்டு காலுற நடுங்கப்

Kovalan and Kannagi have walked all the way from KaveripPoomPattinam to Madurai, planning to restart their lives. They have crossed the Vaigai River and are at the outskirts of Madurai. They are walking around the moat before the city. Gentle breeze sways the lilies and lotus flowers in water. Bees are buzzing around the flowers. Dew drops cover the petals.

Ilango adikal the poet uses this imagery to foretell the fate that awaits them in the city. Something disastrous is going to happen to them and they will be separated forever. (Kovalan will be mistaken for a thief and ordered to be killed by the King). So he says the flowers seemed to know the disastrous fate that awaited the innocent couple. Bees felt sorry for them and sand in mournful tunes. Dew drops were like tears shed by the bees. Knowing the fate that awaited the couple, the flowers swayed in sorrow.

I am not sure of numbering of the lines. This verse occurs in Maduraik Kaandam (2nd Part), Purancheri Irutha Kaadhai (3rd Chapter), lines 184-188. Hence I numbered with that in mind.

கருங்குவளை – purple lily
நெடு – long (stemmed)
ஆம்பல் – water lily
கமலம் – lotus
தையல் – woman / lady
தனித்து – separated
உறு துயரம் – feel misery
ஐயமின்றி – ஐயம் + இன்றி – without doubt
பண் – tune
வண்டு – water bees
பரிந்து – felt sorry
இனை – grief
ஏங்கி – cry
கண்ணீர் – tears

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3 thoughts on “Silappathikaaram – 2.3.184-188

  1. Loved this. . .


  2. I’ve written an English adaptation of Silappathikaram – titled Song of the Ankle Rings.



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