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Read Poems by T Wignesan

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On men of high birth or station, the THIRUK-KURAL admonishes

On men* of high birth or station, the THIRUK-KURAL admonishes
   [*on modern-day Kings, Emperors, Dictators and the like leading nations declining as powers through faults of their own ]

K963: perukkaththu veendum panithal  siriya
            surukkaththu veendum uyaavu

Bow down thy soul, with increase blest, in happy hour;
Lift up thy heart, when stript of all by fortune's power. (Transl. G.U.Pope)
In great prosperity humility is becoming; dignity, in great adversity. (Transl. Drew & Lazarus)-

When life bestows upon you fortune, be humble;
when life by-passes you, maintain still your dignity.*  (Transl. T. Wignesan)
[* boast not of your fertile "imagination" nor of your vaunted "original idea" for ideas are – as you know - dime a dozen, Mr. President, for most even at that rate can get to be richer than you if they were not blocked by the likes of you]-

K964: thalaiyin ilinththa mayir anaiyaa maanthar
            nilaiyin ilinththak kadai

Like hairs from off the head that fall to earth,
When fall'n from high estate are men of noble birth. (Transl. G.U. Pope)
They who have fallen from their (high) position are like the hair which has fallen from the head. (Transl. Drew & Lazarus)

Just as strands from the scalp wilt, so do those from exalted positions fall to the lowliest depths. (Transl. T. Wignesan)

 K969: mayirniippin vaalaak kavarimaa annaar
            uyirniippar maanam varin

Like the wild ox that, of  its tuft bereft, will pine away,
Are those who, of their honour shorn, will quit the light of day. (Transl. G.U. Pope)
Those who give up (their) life when (their) honour is at stake are like the yark [sic] which kills itself at the loss of (even one of) its hairs. (Transl. Drew & Lazarus)

Much as the kavarimaan* would lay its life down for good should one strand of its hair be shed, so should the high-minded whose honour is called into question. (Transl. T. Wignesan)
[* kavarimaan: a mythic animal in literature]

© T. Wignesan - Paris, 2017

Copyright © T Wignesan | Year Posted 2017


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