A fortress is a strategic asset both to aggressors
and to those in fear who seek defense.
An effective fort has crystal-clear water, arable lands,
a hill and lovely shaded woods.
The expert texts ordain four features for a fort's barricades:
that they be high, thick, solid and impregnable.
The ideal fortress is spacious, vulnerable in very few places
and, of itself, defies a determined foe's designs to storm it.
A good garrison is hard to assail, amply provisioned
and accommodates inmates well.
The most formidable fortress, stocked with all needed goods,
still needs men of good stock to fend off attack.
Whether by hurling artillery, tunneling beneath or encircling
to lay siege, it is impossible to capture a strong fort.
However forcefully assailants may press,
a secure fortress promises allies defense and foes defeat.
A fortress earns greatness by enabling courageous defenders
to gloriously defeat the enemy at the battle's very onset.
Whatever excellent qualities a fortress may possess,
it will be of no avail without men of excellent action.
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These daily couplets are drawn from Saint Tiruvalluvar's Tirukural, an ethical masterpiece written over 2,200 years ago in South India. This American English translation, known as Weaver's Wisdom, is available at our Minimela online store.