Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Thirukkural”

Thirukkural 1211

The dream that brought my lover’s message,
What feast can I offer it?

காதலர் தூதொடு வந்த கனவினுக்
கியாதுசெய் வேன்கொல் விருந்து.

He has gone away for a long time and she is pining for him. In her sleep she dreams that he has sent a message to her about his arrival. So she tells her friend, “The dream brought me a message from my lover and revived my spirits. What feast shall I prepare to offer my thanks to it?”

தூது – message
யாது – what
விருந்து – feast

Thirukkural 1206

Thinking of days when I was one with him, do I live;
How else can I still be alive?

மற்றியா னென்னுளேன் மன்னோ அவரொடியா
னுற்றநா ளுள்ள வுளேன்.

மற்று யான் என் உளேன் மன்னோ! அவரொடு யான்
உற்ற நாள் உள்ள, உளேன்.

He has been away a long time.She pines for him and becomes pale. Her friend asks her to forget him as it is not good for her health . She replies, “The only reason I’m alive is by remembering those days of bliss when we were embracing each other. What else keeps me alive?”

Thirukkural 922

Don’t drink Toddy! If one drinks, let him drink
Who doesn’t bother about what wise men think.

உண்ணற்க, கள்ளை! உணில், உண்க, சான்றோரான்
எண்ணப்பட வேண்டாதார்!

Thiruvalluvar admonishes those who drink. He says only if one isn’t bothered about losing esteem in wise men’s eye, shall he drink.

Thirukkural 385

One who creates avenues of growth, earns wealth, safeguards it,
And shares it as required, is an able ruler.

இயற்றலும் ஈட்டலும் காத்தலும் காத்த
வகுத்தலும் வல்லது அரசு

Thiruvalluvar defines what are the hallmarks of a good ruler. One who creates (avenue of growth), earns (wealth through that), safeguards (the earned wealth) and shares (for the development of hos country) is an able ruler. As with most Kurals, I had to be elaborate in translation, compared to the brevity of the original.

Thirukkural 1328

Should I feign a tiff to find again – the sweat on her brow
that appeared when we made love!

ஊடிப் பெறுகுவம்கொல்லோ-நுதல் வெயர்ப்பக்
கூடலின் தோன்றிய உப்பு!

Her brow sweats due to their lovemaking. He thinks “Should I have a mock fight with her so her brow sweats again”, that is extend their time together.

ஊடுதல் – tiff / mock fight நுதல் – forehead கூடல் – copulation உப்பு – salty(sweat)

Thirukkural 584

Officers, kith and kin, opposition –
To watch them all carefully is a spy’s vocation.

வினைசெய்வார் தஞ்சுற்றம் வேண்டாதா ரென்றாங்
கனைவரையு மாராய்வ தொற்று.

வினைசெய்வார், தம் சுற்றம், வேண்டாதார், என்று ஆங்கு
அனைவரையும் ஆராய்வது-ஒற்று.

A good spy is one who watches closely everyone including officers of the ruler, his close relatives and his enemies.

வினை செய்வார் – one who does work
தன் சுற்றம் – one’s relatives
வேண்டாதார் – those who oppose
ஆராய்வது – study closely / watch closely
ஒற்று – spying

Thirukkural 36

Don’t think ‘Will do later’ but do virtuous deeds now itself,
For it will be an undying support when one dies.

அன்றறிவா மென்னா தறம்செய்க மற்றது
பொன்றுங்காற் பொன்றாத் துணை.

Don’t put off doing good deeds for a latter day. Do good deeds now itself when you are young. The virtue will be undying even when you die and will help you in after life.

அன்று – that day / later day
அறிவாம் – will decide (to do)
என்னாது – without
அறம் – virtue
மற்று அது – because that
பொன்று – death
பொன்றா – without dying
துணை – aid / support

Thirukkural – 1252

This passion is merciless; without any respite
It controls my heart even at midnight.

காம மெனவொன்று கண்ணின்றென் னெஞ்சத்தை
யாமத்து மாளுந் தொழில்.

She decries her passion. She says that it lacks compassion for her. It gives her no respite, and dominates her heart even at midnight hour.

காமம் – passion
கண் – கண்ணோட்டம் – compassion
இன்று – not
யாமம் – midnight
ஆளும் – rule
தொழில் – job

Thirukkural – 1314

“I love you more than anyone else” I said
“More than whom, more than whom” she sulked.

யாரினுங் காதல மென்றேனா வூடினாள்
யாரினும் யாரினு மென்று.

I told her that my love for her is bigger than any man could have for a woman. But she misunderstood as I was comparing my love for her with my other lovers. So she pouted and picked up a fight with me asking “more than whom do you love me”.

யாரினும் – more than anyone
ஊடினாள் – she had a tiff / sulked

Thirukkural 819

Friendship of those whose words and deeds differ
Is an agony even in one’s dream.

கனவினு மின்னாது மன்னோ வினைவேறு
சொல்வேறு பட்டார் தொடர்பு.

Friendship of people who say something and do something else is an agony,not only when one is awake but even when asleep.

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