Elegy -

Purananuru 239

He has held
women's arms
covered with bangles;

has worn flowers
plucked from young guardian trees;

covered himself with sandal,
cool and fragrant;

killed off dynasties
of enemies;

and praised friends.

He would not buckle
to the strong, nor swagger
with the meek;

never knew how to beg a favor
nor how to refuse one;

in the courts
his good name was a presence,

He faced oncoming armies,
looked on the backs of fleeing ones,
galloped his horses faster than thought,
drove chariots in the long city streets,
rode tall and extraordinary elephants.

He emptied for others
pitchers of sweet liquor,
quelled the hunger of delighted minstrels.
He brought clarity, and put aside
confusing words.

Thus he did
all that needed doing.

Now sever his head,
or let it be.
Bury him
or burn him.
It matters little.

Do what you will
with this man
who loved a good name.
Author of original: 
Perevin Muruvalar
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