Thembavani (தேம்பாவணி in Tamil) (The Unfading Garland), one of the Tamil classics, a poetical work of Veeramamunivar (Constanzo Beschi), on the life of St.Joseph, earthly father of Jesus Christ. This Tamil Divina Commedia is divided into thirty-six cantos, containing 3,615 stanzas. "It is," says Baumgartner, "the noblest epic poem in honor of St. Joseph written in any literature, East or West". It begins with the birth of Joseph (வளன், சூசை)and ends with his "coronation" by the Triune God in heavenly glory.
Thembavani has more than 100 references to events and teachings in the Bible. Thoroughly immersed in Tamil literature and culture, Beschi integrates several literary devices successfully employed by classics such as Kamba Ramayanam (கம்ப இராமாயணம்) and Silappathikaram (சிலப்பதிகாரம்). This is particularly evident in his description of landscape, mountain, sea, desert and fertile land.
Beschi occupies a special place in Tamil literature. In fact, the fifth world Tamil Congress held at Madurai in January 1981 acknowledged by erecting his statue in the city of Madras along with others who have made similar contributions. Beschi composed three Tamil grammars and three dictionaries, Tamil-Latin, Tamil-Portuguese and Tamil-Tamil. His magnum opus, the Thembavani is considered by experts to this day as one of the best Tamil works ever written.
- "Costanzo Giuseppe Beschi". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.