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Excerpt from The Tamil Plutarch: Containing a Summary Account of the Lives of the Poets and Poetesses of Southern India and Ceylon Of the languages of the Scythian family the Tamil confessedly occupies the most distinguished rank, and it is peculiar to the people of that part of India, which was formerly under the sway of the Chera, Chola and Pandiya kings and of those of the eastern and northern provinces of Ceylon. The name Tamil, signifying "sweet," is characteristic of the language. Indeed it is one of the most copious, refined, and polished languages spoken by man, as correctly observed by an accomplished Orientalist. Villiputtu'rer, in his Introductory stanza to the Baradam which we quote below, metaphorically represents the Tamil language as the daughter of Agastiyer, who being born of the mountain (Pothiya) and cradled in the glory of Pandiyen, sat upon the College bench (at Madura), crawled with her breast on the writing (of Sampanter) ascending against the stream of the Vygai river, stood up amidst the fire unburned (when that writing was cast into it), and afterwards walked on the minds of the students, and now adorns the hip of the goddess of the earth whom (Vishnu, in his metamorphosis as) a boar supported on the point of his tusks. Few nations on earth can perhaps boast of so many poets as the Tamils. Poetry appears to have been the first fixed form of language amongst them; for as has been remarked by Abbe Dubois, "they have not a single ancient book that is written in prose, not even the books on medicine;" and hence the poet formed the inalienable part of the philologist, the theologian, the philosopher, the astronomer, the physician, etc. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.