Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Puranaanooru – 242

Youth won’t adorn themselves with you;
Nor bangled lasses pluck and gather you;
The bard won’t gently bend your stem
with the bow of his harp to pluck and wear you;
Nor the songstress sport you in her hair;
Why do you still bloom in this Ollaiyur*, O Jasmine,
Even after your chief, the majestic spear bearing Satthan
Who felled many a foe valorously is no more?

*Ollaiyur – supposed to be the town of Oliyamangalam in present day Pudukkottai district

இளையோர் சூடார்; வளையோர் கொய்யார்;
நல் யாழ் மருப்பின் மெல்ல வாங்கி,
பாணன் சூடான்; பாடினி அணியாள்;
ஆண்மை தோன்ற ஆடவர்க் கடந்த
வல் வேல் சாத்தன் மாய்ந்த பின்றை
முல்லையும் பூத்தியோ, ஒல்லையூர் நாட்டே?

The poet comes to the town of Ollaiyur which has recently lost its chief Satthan who was famous for his valorous deeds in battlefield. The whole town is in mourning. The poet sees a Jasmine creeper bloom incongruously in the mourning town. So he asks the Jasmine “The whole town is in mourning because of the death of the majestic spear bearing Satthan. Youth are listless and will not adorn themselves with flowers. The dainty girls overcome with grief are not going to pluck you from the creeper. Bards who used to frequent the town to sing the praise of Satthan will not gently bend your stem with the bow of their harp and pluck you to wear in their hair. Songstresses too are grief stricken and will not beautify themselves with you. So for whom do you bloom in this town, O Jasmine?”

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