Natrinai: Kurinci Poem 182


(The confidante of the heroine speaks to the heroine overheard by the hero)

The moon has vanished
And the gloom has spread!
We are girls, as charming as well-wrought images
Which our prosperous mother protects with care,
In our painting-like comely house.
She, even she, is now
Immersed in sweet slumber.
Why not we fare forth to meet our lover
And enjoy his sweet embrace and then return home?
He has come here all alone, in spite of the pouring dew.
He has come here, like a tusker
Without its usual head-cover
And also without the riding mahouts
And the guards who protect it, walking with it.
Shall we return home leisurely,
After embracing his broad chest
As eager as the folk
Who regain their once-lost jewel?

Poet Anonymous
Translated by Dr. A. Dakshinamurthy
THE NARRINAI FOUR HUNDRED, International Institute of Tamil Studies, 2001

நிலவும் மறைந்தன்று இருளும் பட்டன்று
ஓவத்து அன்ன இடனுடை வரைப்பின்
பாவை அன்ன நிற் புறங்காக்கும்
சிறந்த செல்வத்து அன்னையும் துஞ்சினள்
கெடுத்துப்படு நன் கலம் எடுத்துக் கொண்டாங்கு
நன் மார்பு அடைய முயங்கி மென்மெல
கண்டனம் வருகம் சென்மோ தோழி
கீழும் மேலும் காப்போர் நீத்த
வறுந் தலைப் பெருங் களிறு போல
தமியன் வந்தோன் பனியலை நிலையே

வரைவு நீட்டிப்ப தலைமகள் ஆற்றாமை அறிந்த
தோழி சிறைப்புறமாகச் சொல்லி வரைவு கடாயது



Natrinai: Palai – Poem 284

(The hero speaks to himself when he is in a foreign land in quest of riches)

My beloved is the one
who won my heart for her.
She has dark tresses which hang low on her back;
Her eyes, adorned with collyrium,
Glow like a pair of Neythal blooms;
They have cool brows;
My heart goads me to rush towards my home
And relieve her of her pangs of separation
While my intellect urges me thus:
“To leave unaccomplished
An endeavor undertaken,
Is ignorance, besides being
Cause for disgrace!
May you weigh the relative merits
And act accordingly.
Do not act in haste!”
Alas, what will betide of my poor body?
Is it destined to perish
Even like an old rope
Of worn-out strands
Whose ends are pulled
From opposite directions
By two elephants of upturned and glittering tusks?

–          Teypuri Palankayirrinar.
–          Translated by A.Dakshinamurthy.

Natrinai: Marutham – Poem 210

From The Natrinai Four Hundred
International Institute of Tamil Studies, Chennai, 2001.

(The companion of the heroine allows entry to the hero)

Oh chief of a fertile plain
In your domain, the tillers take
Baskets full of seeds, to sow
In the vast fields ploughed again
After a harvest, for raising a second crop;
Their sowing done,
They return home, with the same baskets
Filled with many a kind of fishes.
You must know, chief,
That to be honored by the crown with titles
And travelling in speeding vehicles
Are never the marks of prosperity.
What the wise deem as genuine wealth
Is compassion – the melting of heart
That makes one to rush
To wipe the tears of the dependents
Who seek one’s support.
Poet – Milaikilan Nalvetanar

Natrinai: Neythal – Poem 172


(The companion of the heroine speaks importuning the hero to wed the heroine soon.)

Oh chief of a littoral domain

Where in the sweet-watered ford,

The right-whorled and white conch-shells

Sound sweetly like the Vilari tune*

Of the newly arrived musicians.

Our mother spoke at length,

The greatness of the Punnai tree thus:

“My friends and myself, when we were young,

Sported in the sandy beach;

Then, we forgot altogether of the ripe seed of Punnai,

Which we buried in the white sand;

Later, it grew into a young plant

Which we nurtured with love,

Feeding it with ghee and milk!

So the Punnai tree is your elder sister,

Sweeter far than you yourself!”

So chief, we feel embarrassed

To sport with you beside it.

Should you consent,

There are other trees with rich shades

Where we can sport!

–                      Anonymous

* Vilari – One of the seven musical notes.

The seven musical notes of Ancient Tamil music are as follows:

Kural , Uttam, Kaikilai, Ulay, Ili, Vilari, Vilari.



Natrinai: Mullai – Poem 69

(The heroine speaks when she is informed of her lover’s proposal to part from her.)

Poet – Senthanputhanar.

The multi-rayed sun has retired to the lofty mountain
After having shone all through the day,
And merciless evening has set in;
The birds rushed toward their nests where their fledglings abide;
The fleshy necked bucks in the wood
Embrace their loving mates; the Mullai buds blow;
The Kantal flowers unfold and glow like lamps;
The clear tinkling of the bells
Which adorn the necks of the lovely and lordly cows,
Mingles with the sweet melody
Of the cow herds with crooked staves.
Will this dolorous evening hour pervade,
The region of our lover’s sojourn too?
If it does, our lover cannot bear to abide there,
Any longer with a heart craving return.
Translated by A.Dakshinamurthy

Natrinai: Kurinji – Poem 22

From The Natrinai Four Hundred

International Institute of Tamil Studies, Chennai, 2000.


(The heroine’s friend joyfully announces that the hero comes with marriage proposal.)

In our lover’s domain,

A she-monkey steals away

The heavy ears of fresh millet

Which had ripened early

On the slopes in the fields

Guarded by the hunters’ daughters,

And then moves to the hill top with its mate

And crushes the ears and gathers a handful of the grains

And stores them in its wrinkled and curved pouch*1

And sits, its back exposed to the pouring rain,

Like the woman, who, after a holy dip

In the month of Tai*2, takes her austere meal.

Such a one has come here

Just like the timely rain

Pouring at midnight,

To save the pregnant paddy crops

Which are for long

Wilting for want of water

And when every tank is dry.


*1 within its mouth

*2 December- January.