The Oldest Known Writing in Siamese: The Inscription of Phra Ram Khamhæng of Sukhothai, 1293 A.D./Translation
NOTE:—Small figures indicate the number of the line in both Text and Transliteration. In romanized words all unmarked vowels are long—a departure from the regular philological practice necessitated by the exigencies of the press. Square brackets include words whose status is in considerable doubt, whether as regards text or syntax or rendering. Round brackets enclose words added in explanation of terms.
My father's name was Si Inthărathĭt. My mother's name His origin and family. was Lady Süăng. My elder brother's name was Ban Müăng (Warden of the Realm). 2 We, elder and younger born from the same womb were five; brothers three, sisters two. My elder brother 3 who was first, died and left me while yet little. When I grew up reaching 4 nineteen rice-harvests, Khŭn Sam Chŏn (Prince of Three Peoples), lord of Müăng Chawt, came to Müăng Tak. His youthful exploit in battle. My father went to fight 5 Khŭn Sam Chŏn by the right. Khŭn Sam Chŏn pressed on to meet him by the left. Khŭn Sam 6 Chŏn charged in force. My father's people fled in haste, broken and scattered. 7 I fled not. I bestrode the elephant Nekă Phŏn (Host of Warriors). I urged him into the mêlée in front of my father. I engaged 8 Khŭn Sam Chŏn in elephant-duel. I myself thrust Khŭn Sam Chŏn's elephant—the one called 9 Mat Müăng (Kingdom's Treasure) so that he was worsted. Khŭn Sam Chŏn was vanquished, fled. My father therefore raised my name 10 to the title Phră Ram Khămhæng, because I thrust Khŭn Sam Chŏn's elephant.
During 11 my father's time I was support and stay unto my His filial and brotherly devotion. father; I was support and stay unto my mother. If I got the body 12 of a deer or the body of a fish, I brought it to my father. If I got any fruit, tart or sweet, 13 that I ate and relished, ate and found good, I brought it to my father. If I went 14 to hunt elephants, and got them, I brought them to my father. If I went to hamlets or 15 towns, and got elephants, got elephant's trunks, got slaves, got damsels, got silver, got gold, I brought 16 and left them with my father. My father died. I continued to be support and stay unto my brother 17 just as I had been unto my father. My brother died. So I got the realm entire to myself.
18 During the time of Prince Khŭn Ram Khămhæng this His prosperous reign. realm of Sŭkhothăi has prospered. In the water 19 are fish, in the field is rice. The lord of the realm takes them not. He would invest them in his people. Along the highways people 20 lead cattle to trade, ride horses to sell. Whoever wishes to deal Freedom and security. in elephants, deals; whoever 21 wishes to deal in horses, deals; whoever wishes to deal in silver, in gold, deals. Among common folk of the realm, 22 among lords or nobles, if any one soever dies or disappears from house and home, the Prince trusts, 23 supports, aids. They are always getting children and wives, are always growing rice, [these] folk of the realm, subjects of the Thai. Their groves of 24 areca, their groves of betel, the Prince trusts wholly to them to keep for their own Justice. children. If people of the realm, 25 if lords or nobles do wrong, fall out, are at at enmity with each other, he makes inquisition, gets at the 26 truth, and then decides the case for his subjects righteously, 'shares not with stealer, consorts not with 27 hider,'; 'sees another's goods and covets not, sees another's wealth and Generous treatment of visitors. rages not'. 28 Whoever comes riding his elephant to visit the city, comes to the moat and waits beside it for 29 me. Has he no elephants, no horses, no slaves, no damsels, no silver, 30 no gold, I give to him. Has he wealth to found towns and cities 31 to be foes and enemies, to be strongholds for war and fighting, I kill not nor smite him. 32 In the entering in of the gate is a bell hung up there. If folk aggrieved 33 within town or city have controversies or matters that distress them within and 34 cramp their hearts, which they would declare unto their lord and prince,—there is no difficulty. Go ring the 35 bell Appeal to the Prince. which he has hung up there. Khŭn Ram Khămhæng, lord of the realm, can 36 hear the call. When he has made investigation, he sifts the case for them according to right.
Thus it is that in 37 this city of Sŭkhothăi the people The capital city. are everywhere establishing plantations of areca and betel throughout the city. 38 Cocoanut groves and groves of lang are 39 plenty in this city. Mangoes and tamarinds are 40 plenty in this city. Whoever plants them has them secure to himself. 41 [Within] this city of Sŭkhothăi there is a gushing rock-spring of water as clear in color and as good to drink of 42 as is the water of the Khong in the dry season. Around this city of Sŭkhothăi [the circuit] 43 reaches to three thousand four hundred fathoms.
People in this city of Sŭkhothăi 44 are given to alms, Religion. are given to observing the precepts, are given to making offerings. Prince Khŭn Ram Khămhæng, 45 lord of this realm of Sŭkhothăi, with the matrons and nobles of the city, their retinues of servants and maidens, 46 the gentry one and all, both male and female, 47 and the mass of common folk, have reverence for the teaching of Buddha. Every one of them keeps the precepts during 48 Wasa (Buddhist Lent). When Wasa is over, there are the offerings of Khăthĭn for a month before they 49 are ended. In these presentations there are all sorts of money, all sorts of fruits, 50 all sorts of flowers; there are cushions for sitting and cushions for reclining to accompany the yellow robes 51 offered year by year; and they take with them lan leaves to designate the recipients of the Khăthĭn, going even unto the 52 forest-monastery yonder. When they would return into the city, they stretch in line from the forest-monastery 53 yonder unto Huă Lan Dăm, making the air resound with the sound of timbrels and lutes, 54 the sound of carolling and singing. Whoever likes to sport, sports; whoever 55 likes to laugh, laughs; whoever likes to sing, sings.
This city 56 of Sŭkhothăi has four gates exceeding great. Objects of Interest. The people throng and press each other fearfully there, when they 57 come in to see him (the Prince) burn candles, to see him play with fire within this city of Sŭkhothăi. 58 In the midst of this city of Sŭkhothăi there are temple-buildings, there are 59 bronze images of Buddha;—there is one eighteen cubits high. There are images of Buddha 60 that are great, there are images that are 61 beautiful. There are temples that are great, there are temples that are beautiful. There are reverend 62 teachers, there is . . . ., there are venerable monks; there is a Măhathen (Arch-priest). Toward sunset 63 from this city of Sŭkhothăi is a forest-monastery. Prince Khŭn Ram Khămhæng made of it 64 an offering unto Phră Măhathen, the Arch-priest, the scholar who studied the Trĭpĭtăkă unto its end, 65 the head of his order, and above every other teacher in this realm. He came here from 66 Sithămmărat. In the midst of that forest-monastery is a temple-building that is 67 large, lofty, and exceeding fair. It has an eighteen-cubit image standing erect. 68 Toward sunrise from this city of Sŭkhothăi there are temples with venerable teachers. 69 There is a great lake; there are groves of areca and betel, there are plantations and fields, there is inhabited country 70 with villages great and small, there are groves of mango and tamarind, as lovely as if made only to be looked at. 71 Towards bed's-foot (north) from this city of Sŭkhothăi there is a [public] market place, 72 there is a Phră ăchănă, there is a royal palace, there are groves of cocoanut and 73 lang, there are plantations and fields, there is inhabited country with villages great and small. Toward 74 bed's head (south) from this city of Sŭkhothăi there are monk's cells, and a temple with venerable teachers 75 dwelling there. There is Sridăphŏngs there are groves of cocoanut and lang, of mango and tamarind; 76 there are upland waters. In yonder mountain is a demon-spirit, Phră Khăphŭng, that 77 is greater than every other spirit in this realm. If any Prince ruling this realm 78 of Sŭkhothăi reverences him well with proper offerings, this realm stands firm, this realm 79 prospers. If the spirit be not reverenced well, if the offerings be not right, the spirit in the mountain does not protect, does not 80 regard;—this realm perishes.
In 1214 of the era, year of the Great Dragon, Prince Khŭn The inscribed stones. Ram 81 Khămhæng, lord of this realm of Si Săchănalăi-Sŭkhothăi, [having] planted this grove of palm trees 82 fourteen rice-harvests [before], caused workmen to hew slabs of stone and to set them up in the open space 83 in the center of this palm grove. From the day when the moon was quenched and reappeared, for eight clays, 84 and from the clay when the moon filled out her orb, for eight days [more], a company of venerable teachers, reverend priests, with the Arch-priest, 85 went up and sat above the slabs of stone, intoning the Law unto the laity and to the multitude 86 of people who were observing the precepts. If it were not a clay for reciting the Law, Prince Khŭn Ram Khămhæng, 87 lord of this realm of Si Săchănalăi-Sŭkhothăi, went up and sat above the slabs 88 of stone, and had the mass of lords, of nobles, and of soldiers pledge themselves together unto home 89 and realm. On the days of new and of full moon, he had the white elephant named Ruchasi arrayed 90 with trappings and housings all of gold and ivory . . . . . . right . . . , . . and 91 Prince Khŭn Ram Khămhæng mounted and rode forth to worship the Buddha Their location. [in the forest]-monastery, and 92 came [again]. One inscription is in Müăng Chăliăng, built into the (pagoda) 93 Phră Sri Rătănăthat. One inscription is in a cave called the cave 94 of [Phră R]am, situate on the bank of the stream Sămphai. One inscription is in the cave 95 [Rătănă]than (Sparkling Brook). In the midst of this palm grove are two Salas: one called 96 Sala Phră Mat (of the Golden Buddha), one called Phuttha B . . . . This stone slab, named 97 Mănăng Sĭla Batră (Thought lodged in Stone), is set here that all may see [that] 98 Prince Khŭn Phră Ram Khămhæng, son of Prince Khŭn Sĭ Inthărathĭt, is 99 lord in this realm of Sĭ Săchănalăi-Sŭkhothăi, alike over Ma, Kao, Lao, 100 and Thăi of regions under the firmament of heaven, . . . . . Thăi dwelling on the U, dwelling on the Khong.
When was 101 reached 1209 of the era, year of the Hog, The sacred relics. he had the sacred relics exhumed that all 102 might see. He made solemn sacrifice in reverence to the relics for a month and six days; and then 103 interred them in the heart of the city Si Săchănalăi, and built over them 104 a pagoda, six rice-harvests until it was done. And he built a stone wall about the sacred 105 relics, three rice harvests till it was done.
Heretofore these strokes of Siamese writing were not. 106The first Siamese writing. In 1205 of the era, year of the Goat, Prince Khŭn Ram Khămhæng sought and desired 107 in his heart, and put into use these strokes of Siamese writing. And so there are these strokes of Siamese writing because 108 that Prince [put them to use.]
That Khŭn Phră Ram Khămhæng sought 109 to be ruler Epilogue. and lord unto all the Thăi;—sought to be 110 preceptor and instructor to teach all the Thăi to know 111 true virtue and righteousness. Among men that live in the realm of the Thai, for 112 knowledge and insight, for bravery and daring, for energy 113 and force, there cannot be found a man to equal him—able to subdue hosts of 114 enemies with cities wide and elephants many. Eastward he conquered and secured to his realm 115 Să: Luang (Phichĭt), Sawng Khwæ (Phĭtsănŭlok), Lămbachăi, Săkha, up to the banks of the Khong 116 and on to Wiăng Chăn and Wiăng Khăm. Southward 117 he won the men of Phră Bang, (Nakhawnsăwan) Phræk (Săngkhăburi), Suphănăphum, 118 Rachăburi, Phĕchăburi, Sithămmărat, and the shore of the 119 ocean sea. Westward he won Müăng Chawt, 120 Müăng . . . . Hŏngsawădi (Pegu), with the ocean for 121 boundary. Northward he won Müăng Phlæ, Müăng Man, 122 Müăng . . . . . . ., Müăng Phluă, and beyond the banks of the Khong, 123 Müăng Chăwa (Luăng Phrăbang), securing them to his realm. He planted and nurtured a host of sons of his city 124 and realm to be in accord with righteousness every one.
Ladies and gentlemen:—I think you will agree with me that we have here something far more valuable and important than a unique philological document, however important a document of that kind it may be. We have something more important than a unique historical document, which undoubtedly it is. We have here what some one has called a 'human document' of uncommon richness and power. We have a glimpse of the heart and the ideals of a man. The heart was one that could conceive, and the hand was one that for his brief day could bring to some realization that ideal toward which we all are still yearning—a Siam united, free, and good.