The Naladiyar

The Indian Antiquary, A Journal Of Oriental Research

18,838 words

The Naladiyar is one of the few original works we have in Tamil. It contains altogether forty chapters, of ten stanzas each, on moral subjects....

Chapter 40 - De Amore

1. O lord of the cool shore of the wide-extended backwaters, whose pellucid waves dash along with unceasing noise! if one live not in matrimony the body will suffer in health. If there are no love-quarrels between man and wife, marriage will be tame indeed.

2. The sound of the approaching monsoon booming in every quarter of the heavens from the rain-fraught clouds is like that of the death-drum to a wife separated from her husband, for he promised to return before the rains set in. They are setting in, and therefore she fears that he is no more, or else he would have returned.

3. At eventide, when darkness prevents mechanics from distinguishing their tools, the wife will select blooming flowers, and after having strung them on a thread, will cast away the garland from her weeping., and will say, Of what use will this garland be to me, whose husband is absent?

4. Does not my wife, while reclining on her couch and counting with her taper fingers the days I had appointed for my absence, reproach me for my absence, while she wipes away one by one the tears which fall from her eyes, red with weeping as she beholds the setting sun?

5. The kingfisher, mistaking my wife's eyes for a gyal-fish, will fly after her, but when it sees her beautiful eyebrow it will forbear to strike, afraid and supposing it a bow.

6. When the henna-dyed cotton was applied to the foot of my daughter of beauteous form, and whose mouth is perfumed like the red lotus, she would say, Gently, gently, and withdraw her foot lest it should be hurt by the cotton. How then will that foot be able to travel the gravelly paths of the forest?

7. In the golden and ruddy-tinted eventide, when the sound of the stylus on the palm-leaves is hushed, the wife separated from her husband, while she thinks of his absence, will tear off her garland and cast it from her, wiping off the sandal paste which adorns her beauteous form.

8. O thou with shining bracelets! you asked me saying, Will you be able to follow him through the paths of the forest difficult to be traversed? As a person who has bought a horse immediately learns to ride, if I, did not previously know how to do so, so will I learn to follow him.

9. I understood not yesterday what she meant when she so closely embraced me [the... mother is speaking]. Now I do understand, what she meant, viz. that to-day she would leave me and follow her husband through the forest-paths by which the timid deer flee away from the tiger.

10. I upbraid not the three-eyed Šiva, nor the crow, nor the hooded serpent,--they have not sinned against me. Nor do I upbraid my mother who bore me--O thou who hast breasts like the buds of the golden-coloured congon-flower! But I do compain of the path which has taken away my husband from me,--who, has left me for the sake of gain.

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