Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Puranaanooru – 273

Horse hasn’t returned, horse hasn’t returned;
every one’s horse has returned,
but the horse he rode hasn’t returned,
he who fathered a sparsely maned son in my house;
Like a mighty tree standing guard
at the confluence of two roaring rivers,
was it felled down, the horse he rode to battle?

மா வாராதே; மா வாராதே;
எல்லார் மாவும் வந்தன; எம் இல்,
புல் உளைக் குடுமிப் புதல்வற் தந்த
செல்வன் ஊரும் மா வாராதே
இரு பேர் யாற்ற ஒரு பெருங் கூடல்
விலங்கிடு பெரு மரம் போல,
உலந்தன்றுகொல், அவன் மலைந்த மாவே?

She’s waiting for her husband to return from battlefield. All the warriors have returned with their horses, but he hasn’t. She laments has he been felled at the battlefield, like a tree that stands guard at the confluence of two great rivers. The two armies are equated to great rivers and the battlefield to the confluence of rivers.

An interesting trivia. The poet is Erumai Veliyanaaar, that is Veliyan from Erumai Naadu. The current Mysore region was called Erumai (Buffalo) Naadu in Tamil epigraphs. So it can be assumed that this poem was about a battle / skirmish around Mysore area. The name Mysore derives from Mahisha Asura, which means (Buffalo demon).

மா – horse
இல் – home
புல் – smallness (I’ve used ‘sparse’)
உளை – mane
ஊர் – ride
கூடல் – confluence / together
விலங்கு – guard
உலத்தல் – to die
மலை – to battle

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