Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C

Home Whats New Trans State Nation One World Unfolding Consciousness Comments Search

Home > Tamil Language & Literature > Sangam Classics: Ettuthokai/Melakannaku - the Eight Anthologies > pattuppATTu/Melkannaku - the Ten Idylls > kIzhkaNakku 18


[to read the Tamil text you may need to download & install a Tamil Unicode font from here - for detailed instructions please also see Tamil Fonts & Software]
Eight Anthologies in Thamizh Literature Through the Ages - Professor C.R.Krishnamurthy

Eight Anthologies -Ettuthokai in Tamil

(1) ainkurunuru of kUTalUrkIzAr ஐங்குறுநூறு (498) - Five Hundred Short Poems (ahaval metre) in - unicode - pdf
(2) kuRun^thokai குறுந்தொகை (400) - Collection of Short Poems (ahaval metre) in - unicode - pdf
(3) n^aRRiNai நற்றிணை(399) - Excellent Love Settings (ahaval metre) - unicode
(4) kalit thokai கலித்தொகை(150) - the Anthology in the Kali Metre - unicode - pdf
(5) akan^AnURu அகநானூறு (400) - The Four Hundred Poems On Love (ahaval metre) [available at the University of California Berkeley Tamil Chair Website]
unicode - pdf
(6) pathiRRup patthu பதிற்றுப்பத்து (80) - the Ten Tens (ahaval metre) in - unicode- pdf
(7) puRa n^AnURu புறநானூறு (398) - Four Hundred Poems On Heroism (ahaval metre) in unicode - pdf
(8) paripAdal பரிபாடல் (22) in - unicode - pdf
On Paripadal - S. Badrinarayanan in soc.culture.tamil, 21 November 1994
Erotic poems from kuruntokai and ainkurunûru at peNkaLai kâtalikkirên - Tamil with English Translation
Tamil Love Songs - English Translation
Tamil Sangam Poetry -Translations by A.K.Ramanujan
Kalittokai (in English) - Dr.V.Murugan "First ever translation in English of the complete text of Kalittokai with a comprehensive critical introduction and a glossary of the Akam literary and technical terms. The Tamil text along with transliteration in the Roman script has been provided face-to-face with the translation to facilitate comparative translation studies as well as to aid learning and research by non-native, overseas users. The translator is a senior professor of English and a practising translator with the two decades of standing. Winner of the best translator award twice, he has published the English translation of the selected poems of Bharatidasan, besides several folk ballads in Tamil"

The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom English Translation of Purananuru - George L. Hart and Hank Heifetz (Columbia University Press, 2000) "In their elegant and revelatory translations of "The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom," George L. Hart and Hank Heifetz collaborate to excellent effect. George Hart's lucid introduction provides a solid scholarly grounding for the collection, both situating it historically and exploring it thematically. Hank Heifetz, speaking as a poet, explains that the original Tamil "runs like a river-long words, rapid speech, accumulating syllables-and these translations (sometimes straining against the bounds of English syntax) attempt to communicate something of the feel of these rolling rhythms." The translations not only attempt this formidable task, but succeed in it beautifully."

The volume that Hart and Heifetz have produced has another distinctive excellence as well. Since it is a translation of the one surviving complete anthology among the eight anthologies of the Tamil Sangam corpus, it presents the literature as the culture's own redactors presented it-it "translates" not just the individual poems, but the anthology itself. Thus Hart and Heifetz challenge the reader not only to savor the individual poems, but also to experience and consider them as parts of the larger work within which they were collected and preserved.

And what poems! They are complex, detailed, multivalent, evocative of both inner and outer experiences. More than 150 poets, with at least ten women among them, join to create a work in which, as Hart says, the poets can be found variously "advising kings, addressing moral issues, or lamenting the instability of the world." The result is an anthology that indeed "provides a mirror for the society that produced it and for subsequent life in South India." We are indebted to Hart and Heifetz for recreating this mirror so skilfully in our own place and time." From the Citation for A.K. Ramanujan Book Prize for Translation 2002 awarded by the Association for Asian Studies

Review of George L. Hart's and Hank Heifetz's Translation of Purananuru - Prema Nandakumar

Sangam Classics: Ettuthokai/Melkannaku -
எட்டுத்தொகை - Eight Anthologies

"The following works of art and literature are among the most remarkable contributions of the Tamil creative genius to the world's cultural treasure and should be familiar to the whole world and admired and beloved by all in the same way as the poems of Homer, the dramas of Shakespeare, the pictures of Rembrandt, the cathedrals of France and the sculptures of Greece ...... The ancient Tamil lyrical poetry compiled in 'The Eight Anthologies'; this poetry is so unique and vigorous, full of such vivid realism and written so masterfully that it can be compared probably only with some of the pieces of ancient Greek lyrical poetry....." (Tamil Contribution to World Civilisation - Czech Professor Dr. Kamil Zvelebil in Tamil Culture - Vol. V, No. 4. October, 1956)

Madurai Temple
Madurai - the seat of the Tamil Sangams

நற்றிணை நல்ல குறுந்தொகை , ஐங்குறுநூறு, ஒத்த பதிற்றுப்பத்து ஓங்கு பரிபாடல், கற்றறிந்தார் ஏத்தும் கலியோடு, அகம், புறம் என்று இத்திறத்த எட்டுத் தொகை

Mu.Varadarajan on Ettuthokai
at First International Conference Seminar of Tamil Studies,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 1966


0.1 The eight anthologies called Ettuthokai form part of early Tamil literature known as Sangam literature written eighteen centuries ago. They consist of two thousand three hundred and seventy-one poems varying from small stanzas of three lines in Ainkurunuru to stanzas of forty lines in Purananuru.

There are four hundred and seventy poets known either by their proper names or by causal names called from their works. The authors are unidentified in the case of a hundred stanzas. The poets belonged to different parts of Tamilnad and to different professions.

Some of them were very popular like Kapilar, Nakkirar and Auvaiyar and some others are rarely remembered by their names. Yet a general harmony prevails throughout these eight anthologies. The tone and temper of the age is reflected in all their poems with a singular likeness. They were moulded according to certain literary conventions or traditions that prevailed in the Sangam age. Yet they reveal the individual genius of the poets who sang them.

0.2 The convention of the later days that poetry should deal with the four aspects of life, viz aram (virtue), porul, (wealth and politics), inpam (love and pleasure) and vitu (salvation), was not prevalent, 1 in those early days. The poets sang either of Akam or Puram. Akam dealt with ideal love and Puram with the rest, viz. war, munificence, etc.

0.3 Of the eight anthologies five are on Akam, two on Puram, and one on both. Six of them are in 'akaval' metre which is a kind of blank verse, interspersed with alliterations and rhymes. The poems on Akam as well as Puram theme are written in this metre and its regulated and subtle music adds to the poetic beauty. This metre is a simple but wonderful instrument which causes no impediment to the freedom of expression of the poet. In has been found to be an appropriate and natural medium for the expression of the valuable experience of the poets.

The other two anthologies that are not written in `akaval' metre are Kalittokai and Paripatal. The poems of Kalittokai are in Kali metre which is well known for its dramatic and lyrical qualities and which, according to Tolkappiyanar,2 is well suited to express the emotions of the lovers. There is repetition of certain lines and phrases and this, added to the haunting music of the metre, is very appealing.

Paripatal is a metre full of rhythm and music and the anthology known by this name consists of songs composed in this metre. There are religious poems as well as those on love-themes. The love-theme is worked against the background of bathing festivities. These songs were sung in different tunes as is evident from the notes on the music at the end of these. The names of the musicians who set tunes to these songs are also mentioned therein.

1. 'Akam' Poetry

1.1 In the poems on Akam, the aspects of love of a hero and a heroine are depicted. The story of love is never conceived as a continuous whole. A particular moment of love is captured and described in each poem as the speech of the hero or the lady-companion or somebody else. There are one thousand, eight hundred and fifty poems of this type in five anthologies, viz. Akananuru, Narrinai, Kuruntokai, Ainkurunuru, and Kalittokai.

One may expect a sort of monotonous repetition in these hundreds of poems on more or less the same aspects of ideal love. This is what one finds in all the Indian arts, sculpture or iconography or music. But when looked at carefully, the individual genius of the poet is revealed through his contribution. He gives something which is already familiar to the readers, something which assures them of a continuity of the past art, but he gives it with his fine colourings distinguished by his own rich experience and imagination. And thus instead of monotony we feel a surprise that so many variations of the same theme should be possible.

The first attempt to arrange all the contexts of such love poetry into a series of continuous succession of speeches giving as it were the story of two lovers is found several centuries later in the `kovai' species.3

1.2 Love was dealt with in five 'tinais', each pertaining to a particular region with its own suitable season and appropriate hour of the day and its flora and fauna and characteristic environment. The aspect of love is called the uripporul or the subject matter of the `tinai ; the region, the season and the hour are called the `mutal porul' or the basic material; the objects of environment are denoted as `karupporul'. Kurinci-tinai or the clandestine union of the lovers is characteristic of the mountainous region; mullai-tinai or the life at home spent in expectation of the return of the hero is set with the background of the forest region; maruta-tinai or the sulky life has the agricultural tract as its background; neytal-tinai or the life of despair is characteristic of the sea coast; palai-tinai or the life of desolation in separation is depicted in arid tract.

Literary tradition in Tamil has closely associated the sloping hills and the winding streams with the adventures of the lover coming to his sweetheart at midnight, the early winter and the mullai blossoms of the forests with the patient waiting of the wife for her husband's return from the battlefield, the fertile paddy fields and the roaming buffaloes with the careless life of the hero in the company of a harlot, the backwaters and the seashore with the heart-rending despair of the heroine and finally the waterless arid tract of the withered trees and emaciated beasts and birds with the separation of the hero from the heroine in pursuit of wealth in a far off country.

1.3 Tolkappiyanar clarifies the relative importance of these three components of tinai.4 According to him karupporul is more important than mutalporul, and uripporul is more important than the other two. In other words, the aspect of love is the most important part, the objects of environment come next and the region, the season and the hour are less important. There are a few poems in the anthologies which have no mutalporul but only the other two, a few poems have neither karupporul nor mutalporul but only uripporul or the aspect of love.

1.4 The poems on the theme of love are all in the form of dramatic monologues. The hero, the heroine or the lady-companion seems to appear on the stage and express his or her feelings and thoughts. Appropriate natural scenery forms the background. The poet has no place on this poetic stage. He cannot express his own ideas or feelings unless through the actors, the hero, the heroine and others in the drama of love. What have been expressed, have to be taken as the feelings and thoughts of the characters imagined and created by him. The poet merges himself in the characters he creates and does not, as in subjective poetry or in ordinary narrative, describe or relate in his own person and from the outside. The dramatic element commonly appears more or less prominently in the shape of dialogue. There might have been some autobiographical material incorporated by the poet in such poems, but it is not always easy to distinguish those elements. These are dramatic lyrics, and in spirit and method subjective poems: but the subjective element pertains, not to the poet himself, but to some imagined characters into whose feelings and thoughts he gives vicarious expression.

1.5 But there is this great difference between the early eight anthologies and the later works as regards the men and the women dealt with in them. In the mediaeval epics and other literary works, the common man and woman never attained the status of hero and heroine, whereas in the poems on love the ordinary man and women either in the mountainous region or in other regions are depicted as the hero and the heroine.

1.6 Tolkappiyanar has explained the literary conventions of his age and stated that he based his observations on the usages honoured by the practice of the great poets (patalut-payinravai natunkalai).5 He has clearly noted in a `nurpa' that in the poems on Akam, the name of the hero or the heroine, should never be mentioned. In the poems on love found in Ettuthokai, there is not a single stanza wherein the hero or the heroine is mentioned by name. The hero is mentioned in these poems simply as the man of the mountain, the man of the town, the person of the sea coast, etc. So also the heroine is referred to as the woman of the hill tribes, the girl of the peasants, the daughter of the fisherman, etc.

The poets did not want the readers to identify the hero and the heroine with historical persons. As Professor T. P. Meenakshisundaram puts it, Akam poetry "expresses not something to be dated with reference to any particular person",6 and the aspect of love depicted in it is intended to be universal and common to all times. "The majority of the world's great lyrics", says Hudson,7 "owe their place in literature very largely to the fact that they embody what is typically human rather than what is merely individual and particular."

Every reader finds in the love-lyrics of the early Tamil anthologies the expression of such experiences and feelings in which he himself is fully able to share. Thus, by prohibiting the mention of the names of the hero and the heroine in these lyrics the literary tradition in Tamil has preserved Akam poetry pure and enabled it to give outward forms to the inner feelings not of the individual but of the ideal man and woman.

1.7 Nature is used to enrich the suggestive nature of poetry and this kind of suggestions through some description of Nature is called `iraicci'. When the hero has been meeting his sweetheart at night during his pre marital relationship, the lady-companion desires to impress on him the necessity of hastening the marriage and asks him to come and meet her during daytime. She specifies a place for the meeting of the lovers during daytime and describes it as the place where the honeycombs hang, the trees are full of ripe fruits and the creepers have blossoms in abundance. She expects the hero to understand from this description that a number of people will frequent the spot attracted by the honey, the ripe fruits and the fragrant flowers and thus indirectly forbids him from coming at daytime as well as at night and urges him to marry and avoid such clandestine meetings.8 Similarly when he frequently comes at daytime, she requests him to come during nights and describes the frontyard of the house as adorned by the punnai trees with fragrant blossoms and the palmyra trees with the nests of anril birds. The suggestion herein is that at night the anril birds are so close to the house that they keep the heroine awake throughout the night by their heart-rending cries ; 9 here is also the indirect urge on him to marry early and settle himself in an inseparable life.

1.8 In some kinds of descriptions especially in love songs of marutatinai, Nature is used in allegories called `ullurai uvaman' or `the implied simile'. All the objects of Nature and their activities stand for the hero, the heroine and others and their activities in the drama of love. The latter are not at all mentioned but only suggested through the former. It is simile incognito which leaves it to the reader to discover it. The commentator Peraciriyar explains it as a type resorted to make the literary expressions more beautiful and apt. 10

An otter enters a lotus tank, scatters the vallai creepers, seizes the valai fish amidst them, feeds upon them and returns in the early morning to its rattan bush. The heroine describes this in order to blame her husband on his return from a harlot's house. She suggests to him that she is aware of his infidelity, of his loose morals, of pleasing the harlot's parents and relatives and of returning home at dawn for a formal stay. Here the otter stands for the hero, the `valai' fish for the harlot, the `vallai' creepers for her parents and the `rattan bush' for his own house.

In such descriptions, the speaker hesitates to express certain things openly but desires to dwell on minutely in a wordy caricature of a familiar incident in Nature and through it more effectively conveys to the listener all the feelings and thoughts.

1.9 The anthologies are abounding in apostrophes. The hero or the heroine addresses the sea, the moon, the wind, the crow, the crab, a tree or a creeper and expresses the grief of the heart or requests one of them to sympathize with him or her.

The heroine addresses the sea and enquires of it as to why it cries aloud even at midnight and who caused such suffering. 12 She also asks it whether it cries aloud in sympathy with the misery of those pining in separation just like herself or whether it has been forsaken by anybody as in her own case.13 She blames the north wind as merciless and unsympathetic.14 "Oh, chill north wind! we never meant any harm to you. Please do not cause further suffering to this forsaken and miserable soul of mine." 15 She remarks that it mercilessly blows at midnight to afflict her in her loneliness without any pity for her utter despair and bids it blow through the country where the hero is so as to remind him of her and make him return. 16 The hero in the distant country feels the effects of the north wind but only thinks of his sweetheart suffering lonely in the distant village and requests it not to blow through her village and cause her more distress." 17

2. 'Puram' Poetry

2.1 There are some `arruppatai' or guide-songs in the two anthologies, Purananuru and Patirruppattu. In these, the bard, either a musician or dancer or actor (panan, virali or kuttan) who has received gifts from a generous patron guides another bard suffering from poverty and directs him to the same patron for help. Descriptions of the way to the city of the patron and praises of his endearing qualities abound in such guidesongs. In Purananuru, there are seven poems as guide-songs of the musicians, four of the women dancers, and three of the literary artists. Patirruppattu contains one guide-song of the musician and five of the women dancers. All of them are in accordance with the exposition of Tolkappiyanar regarding the form of such songs." 18

22. The elegies in Purananuru are frankly personal and are high tributes to the dead patrons and friends. A few of them extended to be poems of some philosophical significance. They are the outpourings of the emotions of the poets who were so much attached to the patrons. In these elegies we do not find such similitude of a shepherd mourning for a companion as we have in the pastoral elegies in western literature. 19 These elegies in Tamil are genuine and spontaneous. There is no artificiality in them. They express intimate and personal grief. They cannot be charged of artificiality as in Milton's Lycidas. Like Tennyson's In Memoriam the ancient Tamil elegy speaks in its own character and calls things by real instead of allegorical names. We need not penetrate a disguise to feel the poet's personal grief. The ancient Tamil elegies are entirely free from any conventional bucolic machinery.

2.3 There is one peculiarity to be noted in these anthologies. Whenever the poets wanted to express their gratitude to their royal patrons, or their admiration of the generosity and valour of some chieftains, they did so through their compositions on `Puram' theme, the theme intended for these. Besides this, they also made use of their poems on Akam to introduce the glory of their patrons by way of comparison or by mentioning their mountains or forests as background for the drama of love depicted in such poems.

The scandal about the association of the hero with a harlot is said to be more widespread than the joyous uproar of the army of the Pandiya king when it defeated and chased the armies of the two enemy kings in the battle at Kutal.20 In an apostrophe to the north wind, the lady companion says that the wind which now during the separation of the lover causes so much distress to the heroine will disappear when the lover returns home. Therein she mentions that the north wind will then run away like the nine chieftains who were defeated in a single day by the great Cola king, Karikalan and who ran away leaving all their nine umbrellas in the battlefield at Vakai. 21 In another stanza the lady companion consoles the distressed heroine that there is no room for any suffering and assures her that the hero will never desert her to seek wealth even if it amounts to possession of the Elil hills of Konkana Nannan.22

Some of these poems have long and elaborate descriptions of the achievements of partons and give the impression that though they are on Akam theme, the aim of the poet was only to praise the achievements of their patrons and that the theme of love served as a formula or means to serve this purpose. But it is not always so. As Dr. K. K. Pillai observes, 23 "it had become almost a convention with the poets of that age to portray the feelings or reactions of lovers by instituting comparisons with prominent political occurrences. The wide popularity which they had attained provided the temptation for the poets to import them into their comparisons so as to make the descriptions impressive and realistic."

The commentators of Tolkappiyam interpret `nurpa' No. 155 in "Porulatikaram" so as to admit and explain such introduction of the glory and attainments of the partons in poems on the theme of love.

2.4 The ancient poets were well known for their self-respect and dignity and they felt it very delicate to approach a chieftain and directly ask him for a gift. But they found it agreeable to please them by singing the glory of his ancestors or his own achievements or praising the beauty or fertility of his mountains and forests, and thus indirectly indicate to him their request for his gift. They found this a useful device to serve their purpose as direct asking did not suit their sense of honour. This is evident from the poem of Mocikiranar in Purananuru, wherein he stated "It is difficult for me to ask you for a gift. But I find it easier to praise the Konperunkanam hills of yours." 24

Even Kapilar, who was more a close friend than a court poet of the great patron Pari, has written more lines in praise of his Parampu hills than those on the patron himself. 25

3. General

3.1 The sun, the moon, the trees, the birds, the beasts and other objects of nature have been artistically described in the poems of these anthologies. But they have never been loved and described for their own sake, as in modern poetry. They have been described in early poetry only to portray some aspects of life. Nature serves only as background for or setting to the human emotions that are depicted in Akam or Puram poetry. They serve as frames for pictures of love or war, munificence, etc. Though Nature is thus made subservient to the human theme, yet there is free play of descriptions of nature. Nature has a prominent, though not a primary place in these anthologies. These poems treat all outward things as subordinate to the inner forces and problems upon which the interest is concentrated. 26 They essentially depict mental states and are predominantly psychological, meditative and argumentative.

3.2 The poets of Ettutokai believed in the unique effects of a few deft touches of description, not in the elaborate and full descriptions of all the parts of a beautiful object or scene. In the later days, the poets indulged in the descriptions of persons from head to foot or from foot to head calling such descriptions கேசாதி பாத வருணனை and பாதாதி கேச வருணனை. According to Winchester 27 the difference between unimaginative treatment of Nature and imaginative treatment is the difference between trying to describe all one sees and rendering in a few epithets or images what one feels. The pictures of the poets of Ettuthokai consist of only a few vivid features enough to interpret and communicate their emotional experiences. They drop out of their pictures all irrelevant and unpleasant details, so that the reader's attention is concentrated upon the few features that give him a powerful and characteristic impression. Through single lines, or sometimes single epithets, the poets flash upon the reader's imagination the whole pictures.

The picture of a hare by the poet Tamilk-kuttanar of Madurai may be cited as an example. 28 In one single line of four simple Qualifiers and four small nouns - tumayirk kuruntal netuncevik kurumuyal (the small hare with pure fur, short legs and long ears) - the complete picture of the animal is impressively drawn. Such simple and direct words have a suggestive magical power. There is no room for exaggeration in such artistic descriptions, which are rather interpretations of the poets' experience. They have such an intensity of feeling and imagination that their descriptions do not deteriorate into exaggeration.

A Japanese painter once confessed that he had to concentrate on the bamboo for many years and still a certain technique for the rendering of the tips of bamboo leaves eluded him.29 Word-painting is no less difficult. Many of the ancient Tamil poets have mastered this word painting. They frequently use simple adjectives that convey with force their deep thought and experience regarding the pictures they depict.

3.3 In the descriptions of the beauty of the heroine, we find only one or two aspects of beauty artistically touched.

வெறுத்த ஏஎர் வேய்புரை பணைத் தோள்ன 30

(the lady abounding in beauty and with bamboo-like shoulders.)

அந்தீங் கிளவி ஆயிழை மடந்தை 31

(the lady of pleasant red lips resembling the petals of `kavir' and of sweet words, wearing fine jewels.)

Even in the descriptions which extended to more than six lines and which form part of the monologues of the hero, we find that he restricts himself to two or three aspects of the physical beauty of his sweetheart and never transcends the limits of decency. Therefore the hundreds of such poems dealing with love are happily devoid of obscenity. Even the songs on the harlots and the hero's association with them are free from gross bawdiness. Sexual passions have been purged of their obscenity through dignified poetic touches.

3.4 The early poets did not like to introduce foreign or borrowed images in their poetry. They always copied direct from life and Nature. Even when they had to describe the scenes of a distant country which they had not seen, as for example those of the Ganges in flood, 32 or of the Yak at the foot of the Himalayas 33 they did not describe them in detail but restricted themselves to the facts they knew from others and avoided the odd mixture of any incongruous details in them. Even while describing the scenes of their own country, they did not extend their descriptions beyond their own observation and experience. For example, Kapilar, a great poet of the age, who had left us the maximum number of songs, had not depicted the agricultural region, he was content to deal with the mountains and their surroundings.

The poet Perunkatunko of the Cera family, celebrated for his descriptions of the arid mountains and forests, was silent about the beauties of the coastal region. Ammuvanar and other poets who had written so much on the coastal region were silent about the hills and the forests. They wrote according to the fundamental principle stressed by Hudson, "the principle that, whether his range of experience and personal power be great or small, a man should write of that which lies at his own doors, should make it his chief business to report faithfully of what he has lived, seen, thought, felt, known, for himself." 34 This sincerity or fidelity is characteristic of the poems in these early anthologies.

1 Nannul, 10.

2 Tolkappiyam, Porulatikaram 53.

3 `Kovai' is one of the ninety-six kinds of literary works. It consists of 400 verses in a particular metre, each dealing with an aspect of love, and all knit together in such a manner, that the whole appears to be a story of a lover and his sweetheart depicted with continuity.

4 Tolkappiyam, Porulatikaram, 3.

5 Ibid.

6 T. P. Meenakshisundaram A History of Tamil Literature, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, 1965, p. 26.

7 W. H. Hudson, An Introduction to the Study of Literature, 2nd edn., London, 1946, p. 97.

8 Akananuru, 18.

9 ibid. 360.

10 Tolkappiyam Porulatikaram 30.

11 Akananuru, 6.

12 Kuruntokai, 163.

13 Kalittokai, 129.

14 Akananuru, 243.

15 Narrinai, 195.

16 Akananuru, 163.

17 Kuruntokai, 235.

18 Tolkappiyam, Porulatikaram

19 Walter W Greg in his Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (p. 134), writes on Milton's Lycidas: The poem, in common with the whole class of allegorical pastorals, is undoubtedly open to the charge of artificiality, since, in truth, the pastoral garb can never illustrate, but only distort and obscure subjects drawn from other orders of civilization. . . . The dissatisfaction felt by many with Lycidas was noticed by Dr. Johnson when he wrote: "It is not to be considered the effusion of real passion, for passion runs not after remote allusions and obscure opinions ... When there is leisure for fiction there is little grief."

20 Akananuru, 116.

21 Ibid. 125.

22 Narrinai, 391.

23 Journal of the Madras University, Humanities, vol. XXX, no. 2, January, 1959.

24 Purananuru, 154.

25 Ibid. 105 - 120.

26 Cf. the author's "The Treatment of Nature in Sangam Literature", S.I.S. S.W.P. Society, Madras, 1957, pp. 404 etc.

27 C. T. Winchester, Some Principles of Literary Criticism, New York, 1908, p. 132.

28 Purananuru, 334.

29 Ananda K Coomaraswamy, The Transformation of Nature in Art, Cambridge, 1935, p. 41.

30 Akananuru 2.

31 Ibid. 30.

32 Purananuru, 161.

33 lbid. 13; Patirruppattu, 1.

34 W.H.Hudson, An Introduction to the Study of Literature, 2nd ed., London, 1946, p. 17

Eight Anthologies in Thamizh Literature Through the Ages - Professor C.R.Krishnamurthy
"The 'Eight Anthologies' are part of the Sangam poems - the earliest literature we have in Tamil. The Sangam works may be dated roughly between 100 B.C. and 250 A.D. They were written over a period of 250 to 300 years. The total number of available poems is 2381. Most of the Sangam poems are isolated, independent and solitary poems. They were written by 473 poets and comprise eighteen volumes in all - 8 volumes of shorter lyrics and 10 volumes of longer poems. The longer Sangam poems are collected in ten volumes under the title of pattuppATTu - the Ten Idylls. The eight volumes of the shorter lyrics are known as Ettu-thokai. Of these the first five are on 'Aham' themes - aham meaning the inside or internal. The next two treat 'Puram' themes - puram meaning the outside or external. The last partakes of the nature of both, aham and puram."
On Paripadal - S. Badrinarayanan in soc.culture.tamil, 21 November 1994
" Paripaadal is the 8th in the ettuththokai works. This is a collection of poems which are set to music (isaippaadal) and written about thirumaal, murugan and vaikai aaRu. ...this must be the earliest thamizh religious work known to us ....Here is a simple translation of a small but immensely beautiful piece from the kadavuL vaazhththu on thirumaal...based on parimElazhakar urai -

"You are the righteousness that the sages so cherish.
You are the love that your devotees want.
You are the kindness that reforms the straying people.
You are the terror that makes your enemies tremble.
You are the moon and the sun upon the sky.
You are the god Siva and his job destruction.
You are the vedas, the creator Brahma and his job creation.
You are the clouds, the sky, the earth and the tall himalayas.
Thus by being many, we can not find anyone who can equal you.
You carry the disc made of gold in your right arm and rule over all the living beings.
You are incomparable and only you can equal you.
You wear a dress made of gold.
You have the flag with the garudaa emblem, a conch, the disc that destroys the enemies, a body with the color of sapphire and a beautiful chest.
We, with our family and relations bow at your feet. Bless us. "

Mail Us Copyright 1998/2009 All Rights Reserved Home