Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thirukkural – 659

What’s acquired by others’ tears will depart, leaving one in tears;
What’s acquired virtuously, even if lost, will aid later.

அழக்கொண்ட வெல்லாம்மழப்போ மிழப்பினும்
பிற்பயக்கு நற்பா லவை.

அழக் கொண்ட எல்லாம் அழப் போம்; இழப்பினும்,
பிற்பயக்கும், நற்பாலவை

Wealth that is acquired by making others’ cry will soon desert the acquirer, leaving them in tears. But wealth that’s acquired virtuously even if it is lost, will aid one later. In the original Kural “Wealth” and “Others” are implied, making it crisp. I am unable to bring that brevity in translation.

போம் – போகும் – will go
பிற்பயக்கும் – பின்னர் பயன் தரும் – will be useful later
நற்பாலவை – நல் வழியில் வந்தவை – that came in a virtuous way

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