Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kambaramayanam – 1430

(When Dasaratha informs his ministers of his decision to make his son Rama the new King)

As the broad-shouldered King told them so,
Their hearts bubbled over with joy; At the same time,
Their hearts cried in agony at his proposed departure;
Like a cow that yearns for both its calves and not let one go.

திரண்ட தோளின னிப்படிச் செப்பலுஞ் சிந்தை
புரண்டு மீதிடப் பொங்கிய வுவகைய ராங்கே
வெருண்டு மன்னவன் பிரிவெனும் விம்முறு நிலையால்,
இரண்டு கன்றினுக் கிரங்குமோ ராவென விருந்தார்.

திரண்ட தோளினன் இப்படிச் செப்பலும், சிந்தை
புரண்டு மீதிடப் பொங்கிய உவகையர், ஆங்கே
வெருண்டு, மன்னவன் பிரிவு எனும் விம்முறு நிலையால்,
இரண்டு கன்றினுக்கு இரங்கும் ஓர் ஆ என இருந்தார்.

After Rama’s marriage, Dasaratha decides that he has had enough of being a King and decides to hand over the crown to his son and renounce the world. So he calls his ministers and informs them of his decision. In this verse, Kamban explains the situation of the ministers. When they hear Rama is going to be the next king, they are joyous and look forward to his rule. At the same time, they feel sad at the proposed departure. Their hearts are torn between this joy and sorrow. They are like a cow that wants to keep both its calves and not let one go.

The simile இரண்டு கன்றினுக்கு இரங்கும் ஓர் ஆ என – like a cow that yearns to keep both its calves (and not let one go) makes this a stand out poem for me.

செப்புதல் – Told
சிந்தை புரண்டு – heart bubbling over
உவகை – joy
வெருண்டு – agony
பிரிவு – separation
விம்முதல் – cry
இரங்கும் – yearn
ஆ – cow

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