Babylonian and Assyrian Literature
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The great nation which dwelt in the seventh century before our era on the banks of Tigris and Euphrates flourished in literature as well as in the plastic arts, and had an alphabet of its own. The Assyrians sometimes wrote with a sharp reed, for a pen, upon skins, wooden tablets, or papyrus brought from Egypt. In this case they used cursive letters of a Phoenician character. But when they wished to preserve their written documents, they employed clay tablets, and a stylus whose bevelled point made an impression like a narrow elongated wedge, or arrow-head. By a combination of these wedges, letters and words were formed by the skilled and practised scribe, who would thus rapidly turn off a vast amount of "copy." All works of history, poetry, and law were thus written in the cuneiform or old Chaldean characters, and on a substance which could withstand the ravages of time, fire, or water. Hence we have authentic monuments of Assyrian literature in their original form, unglossed, unaltered, and ungarbled, and in this respect Chaldean records are actually superior to those of the Greeks, the Hebrews, or the Romans.

The literature of the Chaldeans is very varied in its forms. The hymns to the gods form an important department, and were doubtless employed in public worship. They are by no means lacking in sublimity of expression, and while quite unmetrical they are proportioned and emphasized, like Hebrew poetry, by means of parallelism. In other respects they resemble the productions of Jewish psalmists, and yet they date as far back as the third millennium before Christ. They seem to have been transcribed in the shape in which we at present have them in the reign of Assurbanipal, who was a great patron of letters, and in whose reign libraries were formed in the principal cities. The Assyrian renaissance of the seventeenth century B.C. witnessed great activity among scribes and book collectors: modern scholars are deeply indebted to this golden age of letters in Babylonia for many precious and imperishable monuments. It is, however, only within recent years that these works of hoar antiquity have passed from the secluded cell of the specialist and have come within reach of the general reader, or even of the student of literature. For many centuries the cuneiform writing was literally a dead letter to the learned world. The clue to the understanding of this alphabet was originally discovered in 1850 by Colonel Rawlinson, and described by him in a paper read before the Royal Society. Hence the knowledge of Assyrian literature is, so far as Europe is concerned, scarcely more than half a century old.

Among the most valuable of historic records to be found among the monuments of any nation are inscriptions, set up on public buildings, in palaces, and in temples. The Greek and Latin inscriptions discovered at various points on the shores of the Mediterranean have been of priceless value in determining certain questions of philology, as well as in throwing new light on the events of history. Many secrets of language have been revealed, many perplexities of history disentangled, by the words engraven on stone or metal, which the scholar discovers amid the dust of ruined temples, or on the cippus of a tomb. The form of one Greek letter, perhaps even its existence, would never have been guessed but for its discovery in an inscription. If inscriptions are of the highest critical importance and historic interest, in languages which are represented by a voluminous and familiar literature, how much more precious must they be when they record what happened in the remotest dawn of history, surviving among the ruins of a vast empire whose people have vanished from the face of the earth?

Hence the cuneiform inscriptions are of the utmost interest and value, and present the greatest possible attractions to the curious and intelligent reader. They record the deeds and conquests of mighty kings, the Napoleons and Hannibals of primeval time. They throw a vivid light on the splendid sculptures of Nineveh; they give a new interest to the pictures and carvings that describe the building of cities, the marching to war, the battle, by sea and land, of great monarchs whose horse and foot were as multitudinous as the locusts that in Eastern literature are compared to them. Lovers of the Bible will find in the Assyrian inscriptions many confirmations of Scripture history, as well as many parallels to the account of the primitive world in Genesis, and none can give even a cursory glance at these famous remains without feeling his mental horizon widened. We are carried by this writing on the walls of Assyrian towns far beyond the little world of the recent centuries; we pass, as almost modern, the day when Julius Caesar struggled in the surf of Kent against the painted savages of Britain. Nay, the birth of Romulus and Remus is a recent event in comparison with records of incidents in Assyrian national life, which occurred not only before Moses lay cradled on the waters of an Egyptian canal, but before Egypt had a single temple or pyramid, three millenniums before the very dawn of history in the valley of the Nile.

But the interest of Assyrian Literature is not confined to hymns, or even to inscriptions. A nameless poet has left in the imperishable tablets of a Babylonian library an epic poem of great power and beauty. This is the Epic of Izdubar.

At Dur-Sargina, the city where stood the palace of Assyrian monarchs three thousand years ago, were two gigantic human figures, standing between the winged bulls, carved in high relief, at the entrance of the royal residence. These human figures are exactly alike, and represent the same personage—a Colossus with swelling thews, and dressed in a robe of dignity. He strangles a lion by pressing it with brawny arm against his side, as if it were no more than a cat. This figure is that of Izdubar, or Gisdubar, the great central character of Assyrian poetry and sculpture, the theme of minstrels, the typical hero of his land, the favored of the gods. What is called the Epic of Izdubar relates the exploits of this hero, who was born the son of a king in Ourouk of Chaldea. His father was dethroned by the Elamites, and Izdubar was driven into the wilderness and became a mighty hunter. In the half-peopled earth, so lately created, wild beasts had multiplied and threatened the extermination of mankind. The hunter found himself at war with monsters more formidable than even the lion or the wild bull. There were half-human scorpions, bulls with the head of man, fierce satyrs and winged griffins. Deadly war did Izdubar wage with them, till as his period of exile drew near to a close he said to his mother, "I have dreamed a dream; the stars rained from heaven upon me; then a creature, fierce-faced and taloned like a lion, rose up against me, and I smote and slew him."

The dream was long in being fulfilled, but at last Izdubar was told of a monstrous jinn, whose name was Heabani; his head was human but horned; and he had the legs and tail of a bull, yet was he wisest of all upon earth. Enticing him from his cave by sending two fair women to the entrance, Izdubar took him captive and led him to Ourouk, where the jinn married one of the women whose charms had allured him, and became henceforth the well-loved servant of Izdubar. Then Izdubar slew the Elamite who had dethroned his father, and put the royal diadem on his own head. And behold the goddess Ishtar (Ashtaroth) cast her eyes upon the hero and wished to be his wife, but he rejected her with scorn, reminding her of the fate of Tammuz, and of Alala the Eagle, and of the shepherd Taboulon—all her husbands, and all dead before their time. Thus, as the wrath of Juno pursued Paris, so the hatred of this slighted goddess attends Izdubar through many adventures. The last plague that torments him is leprosy, of which he is to be cured by Khasisadra, son of Oubaratonton, last of the ten primeval kings of Chaldea. Khasisadra, while still living, had been transported to Paradise, where he yet abides. Here he is found by Izdubar, who listens to his account of the Deluge, and learns from him the remedy for his disease. The afflicted hero is destined, after being cured, to pass, without death, into the company of the gods, and there to enjoy immortality. With this promise the work concludes.

The great poem of Izdubar has but recently been known to European scholars, having been discovered in 1871 by the eminent Assyriologist, Mr. George Smith. It was probably written about 2000 B.C., though the extant edition, which came from the library of King Assurbanipal in the palace at Dur-Sargina, must bear the date of 600 B.C. The hero is supposed to be a solar personification, and the epic is interesting to modern writers not only on account of its description of the Deluge, but also for the pomp and dignity of its style, and for its noble delineation of heroic character.

[Signature: Epiphanius Wilson]



The Invocation.

The Fall of Erech.

The Rescue of Erech.

Coronation of Izdubar.

Ishtar and Her Maids.

Izdubar Falls in Love with Ishtar.

Ishtar's Midnight Courtship.

The King's Second Dream.

Izdubar Relates His Second Dream.

Heabani, the Hermit Seer.

Expedition of Zaidu.

Heabani Resolves to Return.

Heabani's Wisdom.

In Praise of Izdubar and Heabani.

Zaidu's Return.

The Two Maidens Entice the Seer.

Festival in Honor of Heabani.

Izdubar Slays the Midannu.

Annual Sale of the Maidens of Babylon.

Council in the Palace.

The King at the Shrine of Ishtar.

The King at the Temple of Samas.

Expedition against Khumbaba.

Conflict of the Rival Giants.

Coronation of Izdubar.

The King's Answer and Ishtar's Rage.

Ishtar Complains to Anu.

Fight with the Winged Bull of Anu.

The Curse of Ishtar.

Ishtar Weaves a Spell Over Izdubar.

Ishtar's Descent to Hades.

Effect of Ishtar's Imprisonment in Hades.

Papsukul Intercedes for Ishtar.

Release of Ishtar.

Tammuz Restored to Life.

Escape of Tammuz from Hades.

The King and the Seer Converse.

Contest with the Dragons.

Heabani Reveals Visions to the King.

Grief of the King Over Heabani.

Burial of the Seer.

Izdubar Enters Hades.

The King's Adventure.

The King Meets Ur-hea.

Mua Welcomes Izdubar.

The King Becomes Immortal.

Izdubar Falls in Love with Mua.

Mua's Answer.


Babylonian Exorcisms.

Accadian Hymn to Istar.

Annals of Assur-Nasi-Pal.

Assyrian Sacred Poetry.

Assyrian Talismans and Exorcisms.

Ancient Babylonian Charms.

Inscription of Tiglath Pileser I.

The Revolt in Heaven.

The Legend of the Tower of Babel.

An Accadian Penitential Psalm.

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II.

Inscription of Nebuchadnezzar.

Accadian Poem on the Seven Evil Spirits.

Chaldean Hymns to the Sun.

Two Accadian Hymns.

Accadian Proverbs and Songs.

Babylonian Public Documents.

Babylonian Private Contracts.

Great Inscription of Khorsabad.


[Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.]




O love, my queen and goddess, come to me; My soul shall never cease to worship thee; Come pillow here thy head upon my breast, And whisper in my lyre thy softest, best. And sweetest melodies of bright Sami,[1] Our Happy Fields[2] above dear Subartu;[3] Come nestle closely with those lips of love And balmy breath, and I with thee shall rove Through Sari[4] past ere life on earth was known, And Time unconscious sped not, nor had flown. Thou art our all in this impassioned life: How sweetly comes thy presence ending strife, Thou god of peace and Heaven's undying joy, Oh, hast thou ever left one pain or cloy Upon this beauteous world to us so dear? To all mankind thou art their goddess here. To thee we sing, our holiest, fairest god, The One who in that awful chaos trod And woke the Elements by Law of Love To teeming worlds in harmony to move. From chaos thou hast led us by thy hand, [5]Thus spoke to man upon that budding land: "The Queen of Heaven, of the dawn am I, The goddess of all wide immensity, For thee I open wide the golden gate Of happiness, and for thee love create To glorify the heavens and fill with joy The earth, its children with sweet love employ." Thou gavest then the noblest melody And highest bliss—grand nature's harmony. With love the finest particle is rife, And deftly woven in the woof of life, In throbbing dust or clasping grains of sand, In globes of glistening dew that shining stand On each pure petal, Love's own legacies Of flowering verdure, Earth's sweet panoplies; By love those atoms sip their sweets and pass To other atoms, join and keep the mass With mighty forces moving through all space, Tis thus on earth all life has found its place. Through Kisar,[6] Love came formless through the air In countless forms behold her everywhere! Oh, could we hear those whispering roses sweet, Three beauties bending till their petals meet, And blushing, mingling their sweet fragrance there In language yet unknown to mortal ear. Their whisperings of love from morn till night Would teach us tenderly to love the right. O Love, here stay! Let chaos not return! With hate each atom would its lover spurn In air above, on land, or in the sea, O World, undone and lost that loseth thee! For love we briefly come, and pass away For other men and maids; thus bring the day Of love continuous through this glorious life. Oh, hurl away those weapons fierce of strife! We here a moment, point of time but live, Too short is life for throbbing hearts to grieve. Thrice holy is that form that love hath kissed, And happy is that man with heart thus blessed. Oh, let not curses fall upon that head Whom love hath cradled on the welcome bed Of bliss, the bosom of our fairest god, Or hand of love e'er grasp the venging rod.

Oh, come, dear Zir-ri,[7] tune your lyres and lutes, And sing of love with chastest, sweetest notes, Of Accad's goddess Ishtar, Queen of Love, And Izdubar, with softest measure move; Great Samas'[8] son, of him dear Zir-ri sing! Of him whom goddess Ishtar warmly wooed, Of him whose breast with virtue was imbued. He as a giant towered, lofty grown, As Babil's[9] great pa-te-si[10] was he known, His armed fleet commanded on the seas And erstwhile travelled on the foreign leas; His mother Ellat-gula[11] on the throne From Erech all Kardunia[12] ruled alone.

[Footnote 1: "Samu," heaven.]

[Footnote 2: "Happy Fields," celestial gardens, heaven.]

[Footnote 3: "Subartu," Syria.]

[Footnote 4: "Sari," plural form of "saros," a cycle or measurement of time used by the Babylonians, 3,600 years.]

[Footnote 5: From the "Accadian Hymn to Ishtar," terra-cotta tablet numbered "S, 954," one of the oldest hymns of a very remote date, deposited in the British Museum by Mr. Smith. It comes from Erech, one of the oldest, if not the oldest, city of Babylonia. We have inserted a portion of it in its most appropriate place in the epic. See translation in "Records of the Past," vol. v. p. 157.]

[Footnote 6: "Kisar," the consort or queen of Sar, father of all the gods.]

[Footnote 7: "Zir-ri" (pronounced "zeer-ree"), short form of "Zi-aria," spirits of the running rivers—naiads or water-nymphs.]

[Footnote 8: "Samas," the sun-god.]

[Footnote 9: Babil, Babylon; the Accadian name was "Diu-tir," or "Duran."]

[Footnote 10: "Pa-te-si," prince.]

[Footnote 11: "Ellat-gula," one of the queens or sovereigns of Erech, supposed to have preceded Nammurabi or Nimrod on the throne. We have identified Izdubar herein with Nimrod.]

[Footnote 12: "Kardunia," the ancient name of Babylonia.]



O Moon-god,[1] hear my cry! With thy pure light Oh, take my spirit through that awful night That hovers o'er the long-forgotten years, To sing Accadia's songs and weep her tears! 'Twas thus I prayed, when lo! my spirit rose On fleecy clouds, enwrapt in soft repose; And I beheld beneath me nations glide In swift succession by, in all their pride: The earth was filled with cities of mankind, And empires fell beneath a summer wind. The soil and clay walked forth upon the plains In forms of life, and every atom gains A place in man or breathes in animals; And flesh and blood and bones become the walls Of palaces and cities, which soon fall To unknown dust beneath some ancient wall. All this I saw while guided by the stroke Of unseen pinions:

Then amid the smoke That rose o'er burning cities, I beheld White Khar-sak-kur-ra's[2] brow arise that held The secrets of the gods—that felt the prore Of Khasisadra's ark; I heard the roar Of battling elements, and saw the waves That tossed above mankind's commingled graves. The mighty mountain as some sentinel Stood on the plains alone; and o'er it fell A halo, bright, divine; its summit crowned With sunbeams, shining on the earth around And o'er the wide expanse of plains;—below Lay Khar-sak-kal-ama[3] with light aglow, And nestling far away within my view Stood Erech, Nipur, Marad, Eridu, And Babylon, the tower-city old, In her own splendor shone like burnished gold. And lo! grand Erech in her glorious days Lies at my feet. I see a wondrous maze Of vistas, groups, and clustering columns round, Within, without the palace;—from the ground Of outer staircases, massive, grand, Stretch to the portals where the pillars stand. A thousand carved columns reaching high To silver rafters in an azure sky, And palaces and temples round it rise With lofty turrets glowing to the skies, And massive walls far spreading o'er the plains, Here live and move Accadia's courtly trains, And see! the pit-u-dal-ti[4] at the gates, And masari[5] patrol and guard the streets! And yonder comes a kis-ib, nobleman, With a young prince; and see! a caravan Winds through the gates! With men the streets are filled! And chariots, a people wise and skilled In things terrestrial, what science, art, Here reign! With laden ships from every mart The docks are filled, and foreign fabrics bring From peoples, lands, where many an empire, king, Have lived and passed away, and naught have left In history or song. Dread Time hath cleft Us far apart; their kings and kingdoms, priests And bards are gone, and o'er them sweep the mists Of darkness backward spreading through all time, Their records swept away in every clime. Those alabaster stairs let us ascend, And through this lofty portal we will wend. See! richest Sumir rugs amassed, subdue The tiled pavement with its varied hue, Upon the turquoise ceiling sprinkled stars Of gold and silver crescents in bright pairs! And gold-fringed scarlet curtains grace each door, And from the inlaid columns reach the floor: From golden rods extending round the halls, Bright silken hangings drape the sculptured walls.

But part those scarlet hangings at the door Of yon grand chamber! tread the antique floor! Behold the sovereign on her throne of bronze, While crouching at her feet a lion fawns; The glittering court with gold and gems ablaze With ancient splendor of the glorious days Of Accad's sovereignty. Behold the ring Of dancing beauties circling while they sing With amorous forms in moving melody, The measure keep to music's harmony. Hear! how the music swells from silver lute And golden-stringed lyres and softest flute And harps and tinkling cymbals, measured drums, While a soft echo from the chamber comes.

But see! the sovereign lifts her jewelled hand, The music ceases at the Queen's command; And lo! two chiefs in warrior's array, With golden helmets plumed with colors gay, And golden shields, and silver coats of mail, Obeisance make to her with faces pale, Prostrate themselves before their sovereign's throne In silence brief remain with faces prone, Till Ellat-gula[6] speaks: "My chiefs, arise! What word have ye for me? what new surprise?" Tur-tau-u,[7] rising, says, "O Dannat[8] Queen! Thine enemy, Khum-baba[9] with Rim-siu[10] With clanging shields, appears upon the hills, And Elam's host the land of Sumir fills." "Away, ye chiefs! sound loud the nappa-khu![11] Send to their post each warrior bar-ru!"[12] The gray embattlements rose in the light That lingered yet from Samas'[13] rays, ere Night Her sable folds had spread across the sky. Thus Erech stood, where in her infancy The huts of wandering Accads had been built Of soil, and rudely roofed by woolly pelt O'erlaid upon the shepherd's worn-out staves, And yonder lay their fathers' unmarked graves. Their chieftains in those early days oft meet Upon the mountains where they Samas greet, With their rude sacrifice upon a tree High-raised that their sun-god may shining see Their offering divine; invoking pray For aid, protection, blessing through the day. Beneath these walls and palaces abode The spirit of their country—each man trod As if his soul to Erech's weal belonged, And heeded not the enemy which thronged Before the gates, that now were closed with bars Of bronze thrice fastened.

See the thousand cars And chariots arrayed across the plains! The marching hosts of Elam's armed trains, The archers, slingers in advance amassed, With black battalions in the centre placed, With chariots before them drawn in line, Bedecked with brightest trappings iridine, While gorgeous plumes of Elam's horses nod Beneath the awful sign of Elam's god. On either side the mounted spearsmen far Extend; and all the enginery of war Are brought around the walls with fiercest shouts, And from behind their shields each archer shoots.

Thus Erech is besieged by her dread foes, And she at last must feel Accadia's woes, And feed the vanity of conquerors, Who boast o'er victories in all their wars. Great Subartu[14] has fallen by Sutu[15] And Kassi,[16] Goim[17] fell with Lul-lu-bu,[18] Thus Khar-sak-kal-a-ma[19] all Eridu[20] O'erran with Larsa's allies; Subartu With Duran[21] thus was conquered by these sons Of mighty Shem and strewn was Accad's bones Throughout her plains, and mountains, valleys fair, Unburied lay in many a wolf's lair. Oh, where is Accad's chieftain Izdubar, Her mightiest unrivalled prince of war?

The turrets on the battlemented walls Swarm with skilled bowmen, archers—from them falls A cloud of winged missiles on their foes, Who swift reply with shouts and twanging bows; And now amidst the raining death appears The scaling ladder, lined with glistening spears, But see! the ponderous catapults now crush The ladder, spearsmen, with their mighty rush Of rocks and beams, nor in their fury slacked As if a toppling wall came down intact Upon the maddened mass of men below. But other ladders rise, and up them flow The tides of armed spearsmen with their shields; From others bowmen shoot, and each man wields A weapon, never yielding to his foe, For death alone he aims with furious blow. At last upon the wall two soldiers spring, A score of spears their corses backward fling. But others take their place, and man to man, And spear to spear, and sword to sword, till ran The walls with slippery gore; but Erech's men Are brave and hurl them from their walls again. And now the battering-rams with swinging power Commence their thunders, shaking every tower; And miners work beneath the crumbling walls, Alas! before her foemen Erech falls. Vain are suspended chains against the blows Of dire assaulting engines.

Ho! there goes The eastern wall with Erech's strongest tower! And through the breach her furious foemen pour: A wall of steel withstands the onset fierce, But thronging Elam's spears the lines soon pierce, A band of chosen men there fight to die, Before their enemies disdain to fly; The masari[22] within the breach thus died, And with their dying shout the foe defied. The foes swarm through the breach and o'er the walls, And Erech in extremity loud calls Upon the gods for aid, but prays for naught, While Elam's soldiers, to a frenzy wrought, Pursue and slay, and sack the city old With fiendish shouts for blood and yellow gold. Each man that falls the foe decapitates, And bears the reeking death to Erech's gates. The gates are hidden 'neath the pile of heads That climbs above the walls, and outward spreads A heap of ghastly plunder bathed in blood. Beside them calm scribes of the victors stood, And careful note the butcher's name, and check The list; and for each head a price they make. Thus pitiless the sword of Elam gleams And the best blood of Erech flows in streams. From Erech's walls some fugitives escape, And others in Euphrates wildly leap, And hide beneath its rushes on the bank And many 'neath the yellow waters sank.

The harper of the Queen, an aged man, Stands lone upon the bank, while he doth scan The horizon with anxious, careworn face, Lest ears profane of Elam's hated race Should hear his strains of mournful melody: Now leaning on his harp in memory Enwrapt, while fitful breezes lift his locks Of snow, he sadly kneels upon the rocks And sighing deeply clasps his hands in woe, While the dread past before his mind doth flow. A score and eight of years have slowly passed Since Rim-a-gu, with Elam's host amassed, Kardunia's ancient capital had stormed. The glorious walls and turrets are transformed To a vast heap of ruins, weird, forlorn, And Elam's spears gleam through the coming morn. From the sad sight his eyes he turns away, His soul breathes through his harp while he doth play With bended head his aged hands thus woke The woes of Erech with a measured stroke:

O Erech! dear Erech, my beautiful home, Accadia's pride, O bright land of the bard, Come back to my vision, dear Erech, oh, come! Fair land of my birth, how thy beauty is marred! The horsemen of Elam, her spearsmen and bows, Thy treasures have ravished, thy towers thrown down, And Accad is fallen, trod down by her foes. Oh, where are thy temples of ancient renown?

Gone are her brave heroes beneath the red tide, Gone are her white vessels that rode o'er the main, No more on the river her pennon shall ride, Gargan-na is fallen, her people are slain. Wild asses[23] shall gallop across thy grand floors, And wild bulls shall paw them and hurl the dust high Upon the wild cattle that flee through her doors, And doves shall continue her mournful slave's cry.

Oh, where are the gods of our Erech so proud, As flies they are swarming away from her halls, The Sedu[24] of Erech are gone as a cloud, As wild fowl are flying away from her walls. Three years did she suffer, besieged by her foes, Her gates were thrown down and defiled by the feet Who brought to poor Erech her tears and her woes, In vain to our Ishtar with prayers we entreat.

To Ishtar bowed down doth our Bel thus reply, "Come, Ishtar, my queenly one, hide all thy tears, Our hero, Tar-u-man-i izzu Sar-ri,[25] In Kipur is fortified with his strong spears. The hope of Kardunia,[26] land of my delight, Shall come to thy rescue, upheld by my hands, Deliverer of peoples, whose heart is aright, Protector of temples, shall lead his brave bands."

Awake then, brave Accad, to welcome the day! Behold thy bright banners yet flaming on high, Triumphant are streaming on land and the sea! Arise, then, O Accad! behold the Sami![27] Arranged in their glory the mighty gods come In purple and gold the grand Tam-u[8] doth shine Over Erech, mine Erech, my beautiful home, Above thy dear ashes, behold thy god's sign!

[Footnote 1: "O Moon-god, hear my cry!" ("Siu lici unnini!") the name of the author of the Izdubar epic upon which our poem is based.]

[Footnote 2: "Khar-sak-kur-ra," the Deluge mountain on which the ark of Khasisadra (the Accadian Noah) rested.]

[Footnote 3: "Khar-sak-kal-ama" is a city mentioned in the Izdubar epic, and was probably situated at the base of Khar-sak-kur-ra, now called Mount Elwend. The same mountain is sometimes called the "Mountain of the World" in the inscriptions, where the gods were supposed to sometimes reside.]

[Footnote 4: "Pit-u-dal-ti," openers of the gates.]

[Footnote 5: "Masari," guards of the great gates of the city, etc.]

[Footnote 6: "Ellat-gula," the queen of Erech, the capital of Babylonia.]

[Footnote 7: "Tur-tan-u" was the army officer or general who in the absence of the sovereign took the supreme command of the army, and held the highest rank next to the queen or king.]

[Footnote 8: "Dannat" (the "Powerful Lady") was a title applied to the Queen, the mother of Izdubar (Sayce's ed. Smith's "Chal. Acc. of Gen.," p. 184). We have here identified her with Ellat-gula, the Queen of Babylon, who preceded Ham-murabi or Nammurabi, whom the inscriptions indicate was an Accadian. The latter we have identified with Nimrod, following the suggestion of Mr. George Smith.]

[Footnote 9: "Khumbaba" was the giant Elamitic king whom Izdubar overthrew. We identify him with the King of the Elamites who, allied with Rimsin or Rimagu, was overthrown by Nammurabi or Izdubar.]

[Footnote 10: "Rim-siu," above referred to, who overthrew Uruk, or Karrak, or Erech. He was King of Larsa, immediately south of Erech.]

[Footnote 11: "Nap-pa-khu," war-trumpet.]

[Footnote 12: "Bar-ru," army officer.]

[Footnote 13: "Samas," the sun-god.]

[Footnote 14: "Subartu" is derived from the Accadian "subar" ("high"), applied by the Accadians to the highlands of Aram or Syria. It is probable that all these countries, viz., Subartu, Goim, Lullubu, Kharsak-kalama, Eridu, and Duran, were at one time inhabited by the Accadians, until driven out by the Semites.]

[Footnote 15: "Sutu" is supposed to refer to the Arabians.]

[Footnote 16: "Kassi," the Kassites or Elamites. The Kassi inhabited the northern part of Elam.]

[Footnote 17: "Goim," or "Gutium," supposed by Sir Henry Rawlinson to be the Goyim of Gen. xiv, ruled by Tidal or Turgal ("the Great Son").]

[Footnote 18: "Lul-lu-bu," a country northward of Mesopotamia and Nizir.]

[Footnote 19: "Kharsak-kala-ma," the city supposed to lie at the base of Kharsak-kurra, or Mount Nizir, or Mount Elwend. The same city was afterward called Echatana.]

[Footnote 20: "Eridu," the land of Ur, or Erech.]

[Footnote 21: "Duran," Babylonia.]

[Footnote 22: "Masari," guards of the palace, etc.]

[Footnote 23: See Sayce's translation in the "Chal. Acc. of Gen.," by Smith, p. 193.]

[Footnote 24: "Sedu," spirits of prosperity.]

[Footnote 25: "Tar-u-mani izzu Sarri," son of the faith, the fire of kings, or fire-king.]

[Footnote 26: "Kardunia," the ancient name of Babylon.]

[Footnote 27: "Sami," heavens (plural).]

[Footnote 28: "Tamu," dawn or sunrise, day.]



Heabani, weary, eyes his native land, And on his harp now lays his trembling hand; The song has ended in a joyous lay, And yet, alas! his hands but sadly play: Unused to hope, the strings refuse their aid To tune in sympathy, and heartless played. Again the minstrel bows his head in woe, And the hot tear-drops from his eyelids flow, And chanting now a mournful melody, O'er Erech's fall, thus sang an elegy:

[1] "How long, O Ishtar, will thy face be turned, While Erech desolate doth cry to thee? Thy towers magnificent, oh, hast thou spurned? Her blood like water in Ul-bar,[2] oh, see! The seat of thine own oracle behold! The fire hath ravaged all thy cities grand, And like the showers of Heaven them all doth fold. O Ishtar! broken-hearted do I stand! Oh, crush our enemies as yonder reed! For hopeless, lifeless, kneels thy bard to thee, And, oh! I would exalt thee in my need, From thy resentment, anger, oh, us free!"

With eyes bedimmed with tears, he careful scans The plain, "Perhaps the dust of caravans It is! But no!! I see long lines of spears! A warrior from the lifting cloud appears, And chariots arrayed upon the plain! And is the glorious omen not in vain? What! no?" He rubs his eyes in wild surprise, And drinks the vision while he loudly cries: "Oh, joy! our standards flashing from afar! He comes! he comes! our hero Izdubar!" He grasps his harp inspired, again to wake In song—the cry of battle now doth break.

"Nin-a-rad,[3] servant of our great Nin,[4] Shall lead our hosts to victory! God of the chase and war, o'er him, oh, shine! Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri![5]

"Let Elam fall! the cause of Accad's woes, Revenge of Erech, be the cry! This land our father's blessed, our king they chose, Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri! Our holy fathers sleep upon this plain, We conquer, or we here will die; For victory, then raise the cry, ye men! Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!"

The minstrel ceases, lifts his hands on high, And still we hear his joyful waning cry: Now echoed by yon hosts along the sky, "He comes! Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri! Great Accad's hosts arrayed with spears and shields Are coming! see them flashing o'er the fields! And he! bright flashing as the god's attire, Doth lead in burnished gold, our king of fire. His armor shines through yonder wood and fen, That tremble 'neath the tread of armed men. See! from his jewelled breastplate, helmet, fly The rays like Samas from the cloudless sky! How martially he rides his sable steed, That proudly treads and lifts his noble head, While eagerly he gallops down the line, And bears his princely load with porte divine; And now, along the plains there sounds afar The piercing bugle-note of Izdubar; For Erech's walls and turrets are in view, And high the standards rise of varied hue. The army halts; the twanging bows are strung; And from their chariots the chieftains sprung. The wheeling lines move at each chief's command, With chariots in front;

On either hand Extend the lines of spears and cavalry, A winged storm-cloud waiting for its prey: And see! while Accad's army ready waits, The enemy are swarming from the gates. The charge, from either host, the trumpets sound, And bristling chariots from each army bound: A cloud of arrows flies from Accad's bows That hides the sun, and falls among their foes. Now roars the thunder of great Accad's cars, Their brazen chariots as blazing stars Through Nuk-khu's[6] depths with streams of blazing fire, Thus fall upon the foe with vengeful ire. The smoking earth shakes underneath their wheels, And from each cloud their thunder loudly peals. Thus Accad on their foes have fiercely hurled Their solid ranks with Nin-rad's flag unfurled, The charging lines meet with a fearful sound, As tempests' waves from rocks in rage rebound; The foe thus meet the men of Izdubar, While o'er the field fly the fierce gods of war. Dark Nin-a-zu[7] her torch holds in her hand. With her fierce screams directs the gory brand; And Mam-mit[8] urges her with furious hand, And coiling dragons[9] poison all the land With their black folds and pestilential breath, In fierce delight thus ride the gods of death.

The shouts of Accad mingle with the cries Of wounded men and fiery steeds, which rise From all the fields with shrieks of carnage, war, Till victory crowns the host of Izdubar. The chariots are covered with the slain, And crushed beneath lie dead and dying men, And horses in their harness wounded fall, With dreadful screams, and wildly view the wall Of dying warriors piling o'er their heads, And wonder why each man some fury leads; And others break across the gory plain In mad career till they the mountain gain; And snorting on the hills in wild dismay, One moment glance below, then fly away; Away from sounds that prove their masters, fiends, Away to freedom snuffing purer winds, Within some cool retreat by mountain streams, Where peacefully for them, the sun-light gleams. At last the foe is scattered o'er the plain, And Accad fiercely slays the flying men; When Izdubar beholds the victory won By Accad's grand battalions of the sun, His bugle-call the awful carnage stays, Then loud the cry of victory they raise.

[Footnote 1: The above elegy is an Assyrian fragment remarkably similar to one of the psalms of the Jewish bible, and I believe it belongs to the Irdubar epic (W.A. I. IV. 19, No. 3; also see "Records of the Past," vol. xi. p. 160).]

[Footnote 2: "Ul-bar," Bel's temple.]

[Footnote 3: "Nin-a-rad," literally "servant of Nin," or "Nin-mar-ad," "Lord of the city of Marad."]

[Footnote 4: "Nin," the god of the chase and war, or lord.]

[Footnote 5: "Tar-u-ma-ni izzu sar-ri," "son of the faith, the fire-king."]

[Footnote 6: "Nuk-khu," darkness (god of darkness).]

[Footnote 7: "Nin-a-zu," god of fate and death.]

[Footnote 8: "Mam-mit," or "Mam-mi-tu," goddess of fate.]

[Footnote 9: "Dragons," gods of chaos and death.]



A crowd of maidens led a glorious van; With roses laden the fair heralds ran, With silver-throated music chant the throng, And sweetly sang the coronation song: And now we see the gorgeous cavalcade, Within the walls in Accad's grand parade They pass, led by the maidens crowned with flowers, Who strew the path with fragrance;—to the towers And walls and pillars of each door bright cling The garlands. Hear the maidens joyful sing!

"Oh, shout the cry! Accadians, joyful sing For our Deliverer! Oh, crown him King! Then strew his path with garlands, tulips, rose, And wave his banners as he onward goes; Our mighty Nin-rad comes, oh, raise the cry! We crown Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!

Away to Samas' temple grand, away! For Accad crowns him, crowns him there! He is our chosen Sar[1] this glorious day, Oh, send the Khanga[2] through the air!

Then chant the chorus, all ye hosts above! O daughters, mothers, sing for him we love! His glory who can sing, who brings us joy? For hope and gladness all our hearts employ. He comes, our hope and strength in every war: We crown him as our king, our Izdubar!

Away to Samas' temple grand, away! For Accad crowns him, crowns him there! He is our chosen Sar this glorious day, Oh, send the Khanga through the air!"

Toward the temple filed the long parade, The nobles led while Accad's music played; The harps and timbrels, barsoms, drums and flutes Unite with trumpets and the silver lutes. Surrounded by his chieftains rides the Sar In purple robes upon his brazen car. Bedecked with garlands, steeds of whitest snow The chariot draw in state with movement slow, Each steed led by a kisib, nobleman, A score of beauteous horses linked in span. The army follows with their nodding plumes, And burnished armor, trumpets, rolling drums, And glistening spears enwreathed with fragrant flowers, While scarfs are waving from the crowded towers, And shouts of joy their welcome loud proclaim, And from each lip resounds their monarch's name.

And now before the holy temple stands The chariot, in silence cease the bands. Around an altar stand the waiting priests, And held by them, the sacrificial beasts. The hero from his chair descends, And bowing to the priests, he lowly bends Before the sacred altar of the Sun, And prays to Samas, Accad's Holy One.

[3] "O Samas, I invoke thee, throned on high! Within the cedars' shadow bright thou art, Thy footing rests upon immensity; All nations eagerly would seek thy heart. Their eyes have turned toward thee; O our Friend! Whose brilliant light illuminates all lands, Before thy coming all the nations bend, Oh, gather every people with thy hands! For thou, O Samas, knowest boundaries Of every kingdom, falsehood dost destroy, And every evil thought from sorceries Of wonders, omens, dreams that do annoy, And evil apparitions, thou dost turn To happy issue; malice, dark designs; And men and countries in thy might o'erturn, And sorcery that every soul maligns. Oh, in thy presence refuge let me find! From those who spells invoke against thy King, Protect one! and my heart within thine, oh, bind! [4]Thy breath within mine inmost soul, oh, bring! That I with thee, O Samas, may rejoice. And may the gods who me created, take Thy hands and lead me, make thy will my choice, [5]Direct my breath, my hands, and of me make They servant, Lord of light of legions vast, O Judge, thy glory hath all things surpassed!"

The King then rises, takes the sacred glass,[6] And holds it in the sun before the mass Of waiting fuel on the altar piled. The centring rays—the fuel glowing gild With a round spot of fire and quickly, spring Above the altar curling, while they sing!

[7] "Oh, to the desert places may it fly, This incantation holy! O spirit of the heavens, us this day Remember, oh, remember! O spirit of the earth, to thee we pray, Remember! Us remember!

"O God of Fire! a lofty prince doth stand, A warrior, and son of the blue sea, Before the God of Fire in thine own land, Before thy holy fires that from us free Dread Darkness, where dark Nuk-khu reigns. Our prince, as monarch we proclaim, His destiny thy power maintains, Oh, crown his glory with wide fame!

"With bronze and metal thou dost bless All men, and givest silver, gold. The goddess with the horned face Did bless us with thee from of old. From dross thy fires change gold to purity; Oh, bless our fire-king, round him shine With Heaven's vast sublimity! And like the earth with rays divine, As the bright walls of Heaven's shrine."

[Footnote 1: "Sar," king.]

[Footnote 2: "Khanga," chorus.]

[Footnote 3: One of the Accadian psalms is here quoted from "Chaldean Magic," by Lenormant, pp. 185, 186. See also "Records of the Past," vol. xi. pl. 17, col. 2.]

[Footnote 4: Literally, "Right into my marrow, O Lords of breath."]

[Footnote 5: Literally, "Direct the breath of my mouth!"]

[Footnote 6: Sacred glass, sun-glass used to light the sacred fire.]

[Footnote 7: Incantation to Fire ("Records of the Past," vol. xi. p. 137). The Accadian and Assyrian text is found in "C.I.W.A.," vol. iv. pl. 14, and on tablet K. 49,002, in the British Museum.]



The king while hunting where a forest grows, Around sweet hyacinths and budding rose, Where a soft zephyr o'er them gently flows From the dark sik-ka-ti[1] where Kharsak[2] glows; And Sedu[3] softly dances on the leaves, And a rich odorous breath from them receives; Where tulips peep with heliotrope and pink, With violets upon a gleaming brink Of silver gliding o'er a water-fall That sings its purling treasures o'er a wall Of rugged onyx sparkling to the sea: A spot where Zir-ri[4] sport oft merrily, Where Hea's[5] arm outstretched doth form a bay, Wild, sheltered, where his sea-daughters play; A jasper rock here peeps above the waves Of emerald hue; with them its summit laves.

Around, above, this cool enchanting cove Bend amorous, spicy branches; here the dove Oft coos its sweetest notes to its own mate, And fragrance pure, divine, the air doth freight, To sport with gods no lovelier place is found, With love alone the mystic woods resound.

Here witching Zi-na-ki[6] oft drag within The waves unwilling Zi-si;[7] here the din Of roars of sullen storms is never known When tempests make the mighty waters groan; Nor sound of strife is heard, but rippling rills, Or softest note of love, the breezes fills.

And here the king in blissful dreams oft lies 'Mid pure ambrosial odors, and light flies The tune in bliss; away from kingly care, And hollow splendor of the courtly glare; Away from triumphs, battle-fields afar, The favorite haunt of huntsman Izdubar.

The Queen of Love the glowing spot surveys, And sees the monarch where he blissful lays; And watching till he takes his bow and spear To chase the wild gazelles now browsing near, She, ere the king returns, near by arrives With her two maids; with them for love connives, Joy and seduction thus voluptuous fly Her Samkhatu,[8] Kharimtu[9] from the sky, As gently, lightly as a spirit's wing Oft carries gods to earth while Sedu sing. Thus, they, with lightest step, expectant stood Within this lovely spot beneath the wood.

Their snowy limbs they bare, undraped now stand Upon the rock at Ishtar's soft command. Like marble forms endued with life they move, And thrill the air with welcome notes of love. The its-tu-ri Same mut-tab-ri[10] sang Their sweetest notes, and the Khar-san-u[11] rang With songs of thrushes, turtle-doves and jays, And linnets, with the nightingale's sweet lays, Goldfinches, magpies and the wild hoopoes; With cries of green-plumed parrots and cuckoos, Pee-wits and sparrows join the piercing cries Of gorgeous herons, while now upward flies The eagle screaming, joyful spreads his wings Above the forest; and the woodchuck rings A wild tattoo upon the trees around; And humming-birds whirr o'er the flowering ground In flocks, and beat the luscious laden air With emerald and gold, and scarlet, where These perfect forms with godly grace divine, In loveliness upon the rock recline. Sweet joy is slender formed, with bright black eyes That sparkle oft and dance with joy's surprise; Seduction, with her rare voluptuous form, Enchanteth all till wildest passions warm The blood and fire the eye beneath her charm; All hearts in heaven and earth she doth disarm. The Queen with every perfect charm displayed Delights the eye, and fills the heart, dismayed With fear, lest the bright phantom may dissolve To airy nothingness, till fierce resolve Fills each who her beholds, while love doth dart From liquid eyes and captivates the heart. She is the queen who fills the earth with love And reigns unrivalled in her realms above.

Beware, ye hearts! beware! who feel the snare Of Ishtar, lest ye tread upon the air; When ye her rosy chain of fragrance wear, When blindness strikes the eye, and deaf the ear Becomes, and heartstrings only lead you then, Till ye return to common sense again; Enthralled mayhap and captive led in chains, Ye then will leisure have to bear your pains; Or if perchance a joy hath come to thee, Through all thy joyous life, then happy be!

[Footnote 1: "Sik-ka-ti," narrow mountain gorges.]

[Footnote 2: "Khar-sak," the Deluge mountain, where the ark rested.]

[Footnote 3: "Se-du," a spirit of the earth, and rivers.]

[Footnote 4: "Zir-ri," the spirits of the rivers, water-nymphs.]

[Footnote 5: "Hea," the god of the ocean.]

[Footnote 6: "Zi-na-ki," pronounced "zee-na-kee," spirits of purity.]

[Footnote 7: "Zi-si," corn-gods, or spirits of the corn.]

[Footnote 8: "Sam-kha-tu," one of the maids of Ishtar, "Joy."]

[Footnote 9: "Kha-rima-tu," one of the maids of Ishtar, "Seduction."]

[Footnote 10: "Its-tu-ri Same mut-tab ri," "the winged birds of heaven."]

[Footnote 11: "Khar-san-u," forest.]



The hour has come when Izdubar will seek The cool enchantment of the cove, and slake His thirst with its sweet waters bubbling pure, Where Love has spread for him her sweetest lure, The maids expectant listening, watch and wait His coming; oft in ecstacies they prate O'er his surprise, and softly sport and splash The limpid waves around, that glowing flash Like heaps of snowy pearls lung to the light By Hea's[1] hands, his Zir-ri[2] to delight. And now upon the rock each maid reclines, While Ishtar's form beneath them brightly shines; Beside the fountain stands the lovely god, The graceful sovereign of Love's sweet abode.

"He comes; the shrubs of yonder jasmine near Are rustling, oh, he comes! my Izdubar!" And thus her love she greets: "Why art thou here? Thou lovely mortal! king art thou, or seer? We reck not which, and welcome give to thee; Wouldst thou here sport with us within the sea?" And then, as if her loveliness forgot, She quickly grasped her golden locks and wrought Them round her form of symmetry with grace That well became a god, while o'er her face Of sweetest beauty blushes were o'erspread; "Thou see-est only Nature's robe," she said. "'Tis all I wish while sporting with my maids, And all alone no care have we for jades; And if with thee we can in truth confide, We here from all the world may cosey hide." She hurls a glance toward him, smiling naive, Then bounding from the rock, peeps from a wave; The waters fondling her surround, embrace Her charms; and now emerging with rare grace, She turning says:

"Make haste, my hearts! Come forth! attend your queen!" and then she parts The azure waves, to where, in dumb surprise, The King enchanted stands, and fondly eyes The Queen divine, while fascinating thrills Sweep wildly through his breast; as fragrance fills The rose-tree groves, or gardens of the gods, Or breezes odorous from the Blest Abodes. A longing, rising, fills his inmost soul For this sweet queen who offers him a goal His stormy life has never known, since he, His loved one lost beneath the raging sea; And all his calm resolves to seek no more A joy which passed and left his heart forlore, Are breaking, vanishing beneath her charms, Dissolving as the mists, when sunlight warms The earth, then scorching drinks the rising dews; Till he at last no longer can refuse, And love directs while he the goddess greets: "Such wondrous beauty here no mortal meets; But come, thou Zir-ru,[3] with me sweetly rest; Primroses, gentians, with their charms invest My mossy couch, with odorous citron-trees And feathery palms above; and I will please Thee with a mortal's love thou hast not known; In pure love mingling let our spirits run, For earthly joys are sweeter than above, That rarest gift, the honeyed kiss of love On earth, is sweeter bliss than gods enjoy; Their shadowy forms with love cannot employ Such pleasure as a mortal's sweet caress. Come, Zi-ru, and thy spirit I will bless; The Mandrake[4] ripened golden, glows around; The fruit of Love is fragrant on the ground."

Amid the Dud'im[5] plants he now reclines, And to his welcome fate himself resigns; The lovely queen beside him now doth lay, And leads his soul along the blissful way That comes to every heart that longs for love, When purest joy doth bless us from above; From her soft liquid eyes the love-light speaks, And her warm hands she lays in his, and wakes Beneath her touch a thrill of wild desire, Until his blood now seems like molten fire. Her eyes half closed begat a passion wild, With her warm breast, her loves hath beguiled; She nearer creeps with hot and balmy breath, And trembling form aglow, and to him saith: "My lips are burning for a kiss, my love!" A prize like this, a heart of stone would move, And he his arms around her fondly placed Till she reclined upon his breast, embraced, Their lips in one long thrilling rapture meet. But hark! what are these strains above so sweet That float around, above, their love surround? An-nu-na-ci[6] from forests, mounts around, And from the streams and lakes, and ocean, trees, And all that haunt the godly place, to please The lovers, softly chant and dance around To cymbals, lyres until the rocks resound, Of goddess Ishtar chant, and Izdubar, The Queen of Love wed to the King of War. And he alarmed starts up and springs away, And furious cries, to Ishtar's wild dismay:

"What meanest thou, thou wanton brazen thing? Wouldst thou on me the direst curses bring?" And lo! the goddess is transformed! the crown Of her own silver skies shines like the sun, And o'er her dazzling robes a halo falls; Her stately form with glory him appals, For Heaven's dazzling splendor o'er her flows, With rays celestial; o'er her brow there glows A single star.

"Have I embraced a god?" He horrified now cries; and she doth nod Assent.

"But, oh! wilt thou thy queen forgive? I love thee! stay! oh, stay! my heart you grieve!"

He springs beyond the mystic circling ring, And from their sight thus glides the angry King, Beneath the wood himself he doth disguise In tattered garments, on his steed he flies; And when he comes in sight of Erech's gate, His beggar's mantle throws aside; in state Again enrobed, composed his anxious face, Through Erech's gates he rides with kingly grace; O'er his adventure thus the King reflects: "Alas my folly leads, my life directs! 'Tis true, the goddess hath seductive charms, E'en yet I feel her warm embracing arms. Enough! her love from me I'll drive away; Alas! for me, is this unfruitful day!"

[Footnote 1: "Hea," god of the ocean.]

[Footnote 2: "Zir-ri," spirits of the river, the sea-daughters of Hea.]

[Footnote 3: "Zir-ru," water-nymph.]

[Footnote 4: "Mandrake," the "love-plant."]

[Footnote 5: "Dud'im" or "dudaim," [Hebrew: dud'im] or Chald. [Hebrew: ibduchin] and Syr. [Hebrew: ibduch'] the "love-plant" or mandrake; perhaps also originally from "du-du" ("love") or ex. [Hebrew: du] ("particula"), Arab. "possessorem designante," et ex rad. Arab. [Hebrew: ddy] ("aegrotavit"), or [Hebrew: dud] or "amare." See Simoni's Lex. Man. Heb. et Chald. et Lat., pp. 204-206, and Park's Heb. Lex., p. 113, note +.]

[Transcriber's Note: The above "+" is my rendering of a footnote "cross" common in older books.]

[Footnote 6: "An-nu-na-ci," spirits of the earth.]



As Samas' car sank in the glowing west, And Sin the moon-god forth had come full drest For starry dance across the glistening skies, The sound of work for man on earth now dies, And all betake themselves to sweet repose. The silver light of Sin above bright flows, And floods the figures on the painted walls, O'er sculptured lions, softly, lightly falls; Like grim and silent watch-dogs at the door They stand; in marble check their leaping roar. The King within his chamber went his way, Upon his golden jewelled couch he lay. The silken scarlet canopy was hung In graceful drapery and loosely clung Around his couch, and purple damask cloths Embroidered with rare skill, preserved from moths By rich perfumes, to the carved lintel clung In graceful folds; thus o'er the entrance hung.

Queen Ishtar softly comes, and o'er his dreams A mystic spell she draws, until it seems While half awake he lies, that she is yet Close nestling in his arms, as he had met Her in the wood, and with her there reclined, While her soft arms around him were entwined. Thus while he sleeps she hovers o'er his bed With throbbing heart, and close inclines her head Until her lips near touch the sleeping King's, But daring not to kiss.

She love thus brings, All through his dreams; until one misty night, While he yet restless tossed, the lovely sprite Sunk him to deeper sleep with her soft lyre While hanging o'er his couch consumed with fire That nestling around her heart-strings fiercely burned Until at last lulled by the strain he turned Upon his couch at rest, and she now lay Beside him closely, when she heard him say: "My love thou art, but canst not be!" No more He murmurs, then inflamed she sought the door. "Perchance the su-khu-li[1] sleep not!" she said; And satisfied, turned where her lover laid; And to his royal couch she crept again; Her bliss will have despite of gods and men. Her hot and burning lips cannot resist The tempting treasure lying there, nor missed Shall be the dearest joys of love from her Who rules all hearts in Heaven, earth, and air. Her right divine that blessing sweet to take, She will assert, her burning thirst to slake.

His couch the Heavenly Queen of Love now graces, And on his breast her glorious head she places; Embracing him, she softly through her lips And his, the sweetest earthly nectar sips, While he in sleep lies murmuring of love, And she in blissful ecstasy doth move. Her lips to his, she wildly places there, Until to him it seems a fond nightmare.

And thus, against his will, she fondly takes What he her shall deny when he awakes, The stolen kisses both the lovers thrill: Unquenched her warm desire would kiss him still, But his hot blood now warms him in his dream Which is much more to him than it doth seem; And clasping her within convulsing arms, Receives a thrill that all his nerves alarms, And wakes him from the dreams she had instilled. "What means this fantasy that hath me filled, And spirit form that o'er my pillow leans; I wonder what this fragrant incense means? Oh, tush! 'tis but an idle, wildering dream, But how delightful, joyous it did seem! Her beauteous form it had, its breath perfume; Do spirit forms such loveliness assume?"

The goddess yet dares not her form reveal, And quickly she herself doth now conceal Behind the damask curtains at the door. When he awoke, sprang to the chamber floor, As his own maid the queen herself transforms, Says entering in haste:

"What wild alarms Thee, Sar?" and then demure awaits reply, In doubt to hear or to his bosom fly. "My maid art thou? 'Tis well, for I have dreamed Of spirits, as a Zi-ru fair it seemed."

[Footnote 1: "Su-khu-li," guards of the palace.]



The night is fleeing from the light of dawn, Which dimly falls upon the palace lawn; The King upon his royal dum-khi[1] sleeps, And to his couch again Queen Ishtar creeps. In spite his dream to dismal thoughts she turns, Her victim tosses, now with fever burns: He wildly starts, and from his dum-khi springs, While loud his voice throughout the palace rings: "Ho! vassals! haste to me! your King!" he cries, And stamping fiercely while his passions rise. The sukhu-li[2] and masari[3] rush in: "What trouble, Sar? have foes here come within?" Then searching around they in his chamber rush, And eagerly aside the curtains push. The King yet paces on the floor with strides That show the trouble of his mind, and chides Them all as laggards; "Soon the sun will rise: My steed prepared bring hence!" he turning cries. He mounts and gallops through the swinging gates, Nor for attendance of his vassals waits. Nor turns his face toward the nam-za-khi,[4] Who quickly opened for the King to fly Without the gates; across the plains he rides Away unmindful where his steed he guides. The horse's hoofs resound upon the plain As the lone horseman with bewildered brain, To leave behind the phantoms of the night, Rides fiercely through the early morning light, Beyond the orange orchards, citron groves, 'Mid feathery date-palms he reckless roves. The fields of yellow grain mid fig-trees flash Unseen, and prickly pears, pomegranates, dash In quick succession by, till the white foam From his steed's mouth and quiv'ring flanks doth come; Nor heeds the whitened flowing mane, but flies, While clouds of dust him follow, and arise Behind him o'er the road like black storm clouds, While Zu[5] the storm-bird onward fiercely goads The seven[6] raven spirits of the air, And Nus-ku[7] opens wide the fiery glare Of pent-up lightnings for fierce Gibil's[8] hand, Who hurls them forth at Nergal's[9] stern command, And Rimmon[10] rides triumphant on the air, And Ninazu[11] for victims doth prepare, The King rides from the road into the wild, Nor thought of danger, his stern features smiled As the worn steed from a huge lion shied, Which turning glanced at them and sprang aside; Now Zi-pis-au-ni[12] fly before the King. And yellow leopards through the rushes spring. Upon Euphrates' banks his steed he reins, And views the rosy wilds of Sumir's plains.

He looked toward the east across the plain That stretched afar o'er brake and marshy fen, And clustering trees that marked the Tigris' course; And now beyond the plain o'er fields and moors, The mountain range of Zu[13] o'er Susa's land. Is glowing 'neath the touch of Samas' hand; For his bright face is rising in the east, And shifting clouds from sea and rising mist, The robes of purple, violet and gold, With rosy tints the form of Samas fold. The tamarisk and scarlet mistletoe, With green acacias' golden summits glow, And citron, olives, myrtle, climbing vine, Arbutus, cypress, plane-tree rise divine; The emerald verdure, clad with brilliant hues, With rose-tree forests quaffs the morning dews. The King delighted bares his troubled brow, In Samas' golden rays doth holy bow. But see! a shadow steals along the ground! And trampling footsteps through the copses sound, And Izdubar, his hand placed on his sword, Loud cries: "Who cometh o'er mine Erech's sward?" An armed warrior before him springs; The King, dismounted, his bright weapon swings. "'Tis I, Prince Dib-bara,[14] Lord Izdubar, And now at last alone we meet in war; My soldiers you o'erthrew upon the field, But here to Nuk-khu's[15] son thine arm shall yield!" The monarch eyes the warrior evil-born, And thus replies to him with bitter scorn: "And dost thou think that Samas' son shall die By a vile foe who from my host did fly? Or canst thou hope that sons of darkness may The Heaven-born of Light and glory slay? As well mayst hope to quench the god of fire, But thou shalt die if death from me desire." The giant forms a moment fiercely glared, And carefully advanced with weapons bared, Which flash in the bright rays like blades of fire, And now in parry meet with blazing ire. Each firmly stood and rained their ringing blows, And caught each stroke upon their blades, till glows The forest round with sparks of fire that flew Like blazing meteors from their weapons true; And towering in their rage they cautious sprung Upon each, foiled, while the deep Suk-ha[16] rung. At last the monarch struck a mighty blow, His foeman's shield of gold, his blade cleft through; And as the lightning swung again his sword, And struck the chieftain's blade upon the sward, A Sedu springs from out the tangled copse, And at his feet the sword still ringing drops. The King his sword placed at his foeman's throat And shouted:

"Hal-ca[17] to yon waiting boat! Or I will send thy body down this stream! Ca is-kab-bu! va kal-bu![18] whence you came!" The chief disarmed now slunk away surprised, And o'er the strength of Sar-dan-nu[19] surmised. The King returns, and rides within the gate Of Erech, and the council entered late.

[Footnote 1: "Dum-khi," couch.]

[Footnote 2: "Su-khu-li rabi," attendants of the King.]

[Footnote 3: "Masari," guards of the palace.]

[Footnote 4: "Nam-za-ki," openers of the gates.]

[Footnote 5: "Zu," the divine bird of the storm-cloud, the god worshipped by Izdubar, the god who stole the tablets of heaven.]

[Footnote 6: The seven wicked spirits in the form of men with faces of ravens.]

[Footnote 7: "Nus-ku," the gate-keeper of thunder.]

[Footnote 8: "Gibil," the god of fire and spells and witchcraft.]

[Footnote 9: "Ner-gal," director of the storms, the giant King of War, the strong begetter.]

[Footnote 10: "Rimmon," the god of storms and hurricanes.]

[Footnote 11: "Nin-a-zu," the goddess of fate and death.]

[Footnote 12: "Zi-pis-au-ni," spirits of the papyri, or reeds.]

[Footnote 13: Mountain range of Zu. The ancient name is unknown, but as Susa takes its name from Zu, the divine bird of the storm-cloud, we have given the mountains of Susiana their probable ancient name.]

[Footnote 14: "Dib-bara" ("the darkening one"), the son of Nuk-khu. He is supposed to have been the viceroy of Khumbaba, and led the attack upon Erech.]

[Footnote 15: "Nuk-hu," or "Nuk-khu," the god of darkness and sleep. He is sometimes called "Cus-u."]

[Footnote 16: "Suk-ha," wood or grove, or a forest.]

[Footnote 17: "Hal-ca!" "Go!"]

[Footnote 18: "Ca is-kab-bu! va kal-bu!" "Thou fool and dog!" "Ca" ("thou") is the short form of "cat-ta" or "ca'a"; generally it appears as "at-ta."]

[Footnote 19: "Sar-dan-nu," the great King.]



The counsellors assembled round the throne Within the council halls of zam-at[1] stone, Now greet their monarch, and behold his face With trouble written on his brow, and trace Uneasiness within that eagle eye, While he with stately tread, yet wearily His throne approached; he turned to the mu-di,[2] And swept a glance upon his khas-iz-i.[3] Uneasy they all eyed his troubled face, For he had ridden at a furious pace. The abuli[4] had told them on that morn, How he across the plains had wildly torn To drive away some vision of the night. One asked, "Hath our Sardan-nu's dreams been light? Or hath dread phantoms o'er thy pillow hung? For trouble on thy countenance hath clung." The monarch startled at the question eyes The councillor, and to him thus replies: "'Tis true, my counsellors and wisest men, I dreamed a fearful dream Sat mu-si;[5] when I have disclosed it, if one clear reveals Its meaning all and naught from me conceals, On him will I the greatest wealth bestow: I will ennoble him, and the sib-zu[6] A ku-bar-ra[7] for him shall rich prepare; As my tur-tan-u[8] he shall be, and seer, Decked with a golden chain shall next preside At every feast, and break his bread beside The King, and highest rank he shall attain 'Mong counsellors, and mine own favor gain; And seven wives to him I will allow, And a grand palace. This as King I vow, The scribe it shall enroll above my seal As Erech's Sar's decree beyond repeal.

"I dreamed upon my dum-khi[9] fast asleep, The stars from heaven fell from yonder deep To earth; and one, with fierceful heat my back Did pierce as molten fire, and left its track Of flames like some huge ball along my spine; And then transformed, it turned its face to mine; As some fierce god it glowed before my sight Till agony was lost in dread affright. I rooted stood, in terror, for its face Was horrible; I saw in its feet's place A lion's claws. It sprang, my strength it broke, And slew me, gloating over me! Awoke, I sprang, methought I was a corpse ka-ra Va tal-ka mat sar, talka bu-la sha Ra-pas-ti sat-ti, ar-id-da! ka-rat Va hal-li-ka! lik-ru-bu ki-mi-ta![10]" The seers in silence stand, perplexed and think; But from the task at once the wisest shrink.

The King each face soon read:

"Ye tell me no?" And nodding all, concealed from him their woe, For they beheld within the dream some fate Impending o'er him born of godly hate, And durst not to their monarch prate their fears, For flatterers of kings are all his seers. The King impatient eyed them all with scorn, And hid his thoughts by wildest passions born; And then at last contemptuous to them said, "So all my seers of trouble are afraid? Or else in ignorance you turn away; 'Tis well! I sorely need a seer this day." And they now prostrate fall before his throne, "Forgive thy seers!" one cries, "O mighty One! For we this dreadful dream do fear portends Thy harm! a god some message to thee sends! We know not what, but fear for thee, our Sar, And none but one can augur it; afar He lives, Heabani should before the King Be brought from Za-Ga-bri[11] the na-bu[12] bring!" "'Tis well! Prince Zaidu for the hermit send, And soon this mystery your Sar will end." The King distressed now to the temple goes To lay before the mighty gods his woes; This prayer recites to drive away bad dreams, While Samas' holy altar brightly gleams: [13] "O Samas! may my prayer bring me sweet rest, And may my Lord his favor grant to me: Annihilate the things that me invest! This day, O God! distressed, I cry to thee! O goddess! be thou gracious unto me, Receive my prayer, my sins forgive I pray: My wickedness and will arrayed 'gainst thee. Oh, pardon me! O God, be kind this day, My groaning may the seven winds destroy, Clothe me with deep humility! receive My prayers, as winged birds, oh, may they fly And fishes carry them, and rivers weave Them in the waters on to thee, O God! As creeping things of the vast desert, cry I unto thee outstretched on Erech's sod; And from the river's lowest depths I pray; My heart cause thou to shine like polished gold, Though food and drink of Nin-a-zu[14] this day Be mine, while worms and death thy servant fold. Oh, from thine altar me support, protect, In low humility I pray, forgive! Feed me with joy, my dreams with grace direct; The dream I dreamed, oh favorable give To me its omen filled with happiness! May Mak-hir,[15] god of dreams, my couch invest! With visions of Bit-sag-gal my heart bless, The temple of the gods, of Nin, with rest Unbroken, and to Merodach I pray! The favoring one, to prosper me and mine: [16]Oh, may thy entering exalted be! And thy divinity with glory shine, And may our city shine with glowing meads, And all my people praise thy glorious deeds." Now to Euphrates' banks the Sar and seers Their footsteps turn to pray into the ears Of Hea,[17] where, in white, a band of priests Drawn in a crescent, Izdubar invests. Now at the water's edge he leans, his hands Dips in the waves, and pours upon the sands The sparkling drops, while all a hymn descant To Hea, thus the incantation chant:

"O chant our incantation to the waters pure, Euphrates' waters flowing to the sea! Where Hea's holy face shines bright on every shore, O Sabit[18] of Timatu[19] to ye We pray! may your bright waters glowing shine As Hea's face, and heaving breast divine!

"O Sabit, to your father Hea take our prayer! And may Dao-ki-na,[20] your bright mother, hear! With joy, oh shine, as peaceful as the sleeping light, O ever may your throbbing waves be bright. O spirit of the Heaven, hear! Remember us, Remember! O spirit of the earth, come near! Remember us, Remember! O hear us, Hea! hear us, dear Dao-ki-na! Ca-ca-ma u ca-ca-ma u ca-ca-ma!"[21]

[Footnote 1: "Zam-at" stone, diamond, crystal or lapis lazuli.]

[Footnote 2: "Mu-di," seers.]

[Footnote 3: "Khas-i-zi," counsellors.]

[Footnote 4: "Ab-u-li," guard of the great gates of the city.]

[Footnote 5: "Sat mu-si," in the night-time, or last night.]

[Footnote 6: "Sib-zu," embroiderer.]

[Footnote 7: "Ku-bar-ra," robe of a prince.]

[Footnote 8: "Tur-tan-u," next in rank to the King.]

[Footnote 9: "Dum-khi" or "dun-khi," couch.]

[Footnote 10: "Ka-ra! va," etc., "Speak out! and if thou augurest the death of the King, or if thou augurest life of extended years, I have spoken! Speak out! and cast the lots! may they be propitious with us!"]

[Footnote 11: "Za-Ga-bri," the mountains of Zu, "Ga-bri" ("mountains"), and "Za," another form of "zu," the divine bird of the storm-cloud. They were at one time called the mountains of Susa, now the Kurdistan range of mountains. The name we have given we believe to be the probable ancient one.]

[Footnote 12: "Na-bu," prophet, seer.]

[Footnote 13: We have here quoted a prayer after a bad dream, the text of which is lithographed in "C.I.W.A.," vol. iv. 66, 2, and is supposed to be an ancient Accadian prayer. See "Records of the Past," vol. ix. p. 151.]

[Footnote 14: "Nin-a-zu," the goddess of darkness and death.]

[Footnote 15: "Mak-hir," the daughter of the sun, and goddess of dreams.]

[Footnote 16: Literally, "he that shows favor." The above prayer was translated for the first time by Rev. A.H. Sayce, M.A., in the "Records of the Past," vol. ix. p. 151. We have followed as literally as possible the original, and have given it its probable place in the epic.]

[Footnote 17: Hea, god of the ocean, the earth's surface, brightness, etc., and chief protector of men.]

[Footnote 18: "Sab-it," or "Sabitu" ("seven"), the seven winds, gods of the abyss or ocean.]

[Footnote 19: "Tiamatu," the abyss or ocean.]

[Footnote 20: "Dao-ki-na" or "Dao-ci-na," the wife of Hea, and goddess of the ocean.]

[Footnote 21: "Amen and Amen and Amen!" The Assyrian word is "Amanu." The original "ca-ca-ma" ("Amen") concludes the incantation; Heb. [Hebrew: amen] See "C.I.W.A.," vol. iv. pl. 14; also "Records of the Past," vol. xi. p. 135.]



Before a cave within the Gab-ri[1] wild, A seer is resting on a rock; exiled By his own will from all the haunts of men, Beside a pool within a rocky glen He sits; a turban rests upon his brow, And meets the lengthened beard of whitest snow. This morn an omen comes before his eyes, And him disturbs with a wild eagle's cries That fierce attacks a fox before his cave; For he of beasts is the most cunning knave; In wait upon the ground the fox hath lain To lure the bird, which flying deems him slain. He fiercely seizes it, as swooping down, The bird with its sly quarry would have flown; But the a-si[2] quick seized it by the throat, While the wide wings with frantic fury smote The beast, and the sharp talons deeply tore Its foe—both greedy for the other's gore.

And lo! a voice from yonder sky resounds; Heabani to his feet now quickly bounds, And bowing, listens to the voice that comes In gentleness; upon the winds it roams From yon blue heights like sighing of the trees; The seer in reverence upon his knees Now holy bares his head in Samas' rays, While the soft voice to him thus gently says: "A messenger, Heabani, soon shall come With offers rich, to leave thy lonely home. This eagle sought its food and found a snare, The messenger will come from Izdubar, To learn from thee the meaning of his dream Which goddess Ishtar sent,—a snare for him. Then to the messenger prove not a snare, As yonder a-si doth the eagle tear."

The seer in fury tore his beard of snow And cried—

"Alas! my days shall end in woe Within these wilds my happiness is mine, No other joys I seek, my god divine; I would upon these rocks lie down to die, Upon my back here sleep eternally." And Samas urging, to him thus replied: "Heabani, hast thou not some manly pride? And thinkest thou no joy thou here wilt lose? The lovely Sam-kha-tu[3] the seer may choose. Arrayed in trappings of divinity And the insignia of royalty, Heabani then in Erech shall be great, And live in happiness and royal state; And Izdubar shall hearken, and incline His heart in warmest friendship, and recline With thee upon a couch of luxury. And seat thee on a throne of royalty, On his left hand, a crown shall grace thy brow. Kings of the earth shall to thee subject bow And kiss thy feet, and Izdubar shall give Thee wealth, and thou in luxury shalt live. In silence Erech's men shall bow to thee, In royal raiment thou shalt happy be." Heabani listened to the words that came From Samas, and his brow was lit with shame To hear the god of war urge him to go To earthly happiness—mayhap to woe; But he within his cave now listless turns When Samas ceased; then to his rock returns, And seats himself with calmness on his brow; His thoughts in happy memories now flow, And he recalls the blissful days of yore When he as seer lived on Euphrates' shore, As the queen's bard oft tuned a festive lay, While soft-eyed maidens dance and cymbals play.

[Footnote 1: "Gab-ri," mountains.]

[Footnote 2: "A-si," fox.]

[Footnote 3: "Sam-kha-tu" ("Joy"), one of the maids of Ishtar.]



Prince Zaidu on his steed now hastes away, Upon the plains he travelled all that day; Next morn the Za-Gabri he slow ascends, Along the mountain sides the horseman wends Beneath the Eri-ni,[1] and cliffs, and sees The plains and mountains o'er the misty trees From the wild summit, and old Khar-sak glow Above them all with its twin crests of snow. He plunges in the wild to seek the cave; Three days unceasing sought young Zaidu brave, And now at last within the glen he rode, And near approached Heabani's wild abode. At last he sees the seer before his home, And with his monster[2] now toward him come, That walked subdued beside the hermit seer, Thus they upon the rocks above appear.

"Why art thou here in warrior's array?" The hermit cries. "I know thee not! away!"

"O holy seer, 'tis Zaidu, from our Sar! The king of Erech, chieftain Izdubar."

"What seekest thou within my mountain lair?" Heabani angry cried. "What brings thee here?"

"For thee! if true Heabani is thy name; I seek the hermit seer of wondrous fame. My king doth offer thee rich gifts of state, And sent me to thee here to make thee great." "No empty honors do I seek, which void Of all true happiness, all men have cloyed. Return then to thy haunts of pleasure, pain, For thy king's embassy is all in vain." The seer returns within his lonely cave And leaves the prince alone the beast to brave. At last it slinks away within the gloom; No more from their wild home doth either come, Three days Prince Zaidu watches the dark lair, But now his courage turns to blank despair: The seer hath changed his mind since Samas sought To urge him forth to leave his lonely lot. The prince the mountain precipice now climbs, And peers within while clinging to the limbs Of stunted oaks, and views the mountain lair; But all in vain his calls ring on the air. Then mounting wearily his steed he turns Away, and unsuccessful thus returns.

[Footnote 1: "Eri-ni," cedar-trees.]

[Footnote 2: A carnivorous animal supposed to have been either a lion or a tiger, more probably a lion.]



As Zaidu sadly turns and rides away, The hermit from his cave comes forth to pray: "Alas! hath all these wilds their charms here lost? And is my breast with wild ambition tost? My lonely cot I look upon with shame; Again I long to seek the fields of fame, Where luxury my remaining years May crown, and happiness may find—or tears; 'Tis true! I should have welcomed the bar-ru;[1] But he hath since returned to Subartu."[2] His harp he took from its dust-covered case, And kissed its carved and well-remembered face; And tuning it, he glanced toward the wood, And sang his farewell ode to solitude:

Farewell, ye mountains, woods and trees— My heart doth long again for joy; I love your wilds and mossy leas, But oh, your solitude doth cloy!

I love to see the bur-khi-is[3] Sweep stately o'er the mossy rocks; And tsabi[4] in a wild like this, Hear the tattoo of red woodchucks.

I love the cries of lig-bar-ri[5] The nes-i[6] calling for their prey; And leaping of the na-a-li[7] That fly in wildest fear away.

I love the bu-hir-tser-i[8] all, Khar-sa-a-nii sa-qu-u-tu;[9] Hear cu-uts-tsi[10] with thunder roll Across the skies within my view.

I love to see the ca-ca-bi[11] Peep through the pine-trees o'er my home, And watch the wild tu-ra-a-khi[12] And arme[13] welcome, to me come.

Farewell! ye solitudes, farewell! I will not moulder rotting lie With no one's lips to wish me well; O give me immortality!

But what is fame? A bubble blown Upon the breeze, that bursts its shell, And all our brightest hopes are flown, And leaves our solitude a hell.

The holy minstrel bows his head in woe, And sweeps the harpstrings with a movement slow; Then lifts his eyes toward the setting sun, His evening invocation thus begun:

[14]O Samas! to the lifting of my hands Show favor! unto me thy servant turn! What man before thy blessed Light withstands? O thou! what mortal thine own words can learn? And who can rival them inviolate? [15]Among the gods no equal thou hast found. In Heaven who of all the gods is great? O thou alone! art great through Heaven's bound!

On earth what man is great? alas! no one, For thou alone art great! through earth's vast bounds. When wide thy awful voice in Heaven resounds, The gods fall prostrate to our Holy One; When on the earth thy voice afar resounds, The genii[16] bow to thee and kiss the dust. In thee, O Samas! do I put my trust, For thy great love and mercy wide abounds!

O my Creator, God, thy watchfulness O'er me, oh may it never cease! Keep thou the opening of my lips! the fleece Of purest snow be my soul's daily dress. Guard thou my hands! O Samas, Lord of Light! And ever keep my life and heart aright!

[Footnote 1: "Bar-ru," an army officer]

[Footnote 2: "Su-bar-tu," Syria]

[Footnote 3: "Bur-khi-is," antelopes]

[Footnote 4: "Tsabi," gazelles]

[Footnote 5: "Lig-bar-ri," hyenas]

[Footnote 6: "Nes-i," lions]

[Footnote 7: "Na-a-li," spotted stags]

[Footnote 8: "Bu-hir-tser-i," beasts of the field]

[Footnote 9: "Khar-sa-a-nu sa-qu-u-tu," forests thick]

[Footnote 10: "Cu-uts-tsi," storms.]

[Footnote 11: "Ca-ca-bi," stars.]

[Footnote 12: "Tu-ra-a-khi," deer.]

[Footnote 13: "Arme," wild goats.]

[Footnote 14: This prayer is made up from Assyrian fragments now in the British Museum.]

[Footnote 15: See "Records of the Past," vol. iii. p. 136.]

[Footnote 16: "Genii," spirits.]



The dark-eyed maids are dancing in the halls Of Erech's palace: music fills the walls Of splendor where the Sar-dan-nu[1] enthroned, His hours is whiling by the maidens zoned; A whirling garland chanting forth a song. Accompanied with harps thus sang the throng:

"Heabani's wisdom chant and sing To Erech's king our mighty Sar.[2] When Hea did Heabani bring, Who now to Erech comes afar, He taught him then all hidden things Of Ki[3] or bright Samu[4] above, That to the Mu-di[5] mystery brings. Oh, how Heabani we shall love!"


"Then sing with joy ye Khau-ik-i![6] The Khau-ga[7] chant with waving arms, The Nin-uit[8] sing Au-un-na-ci[9] Give to our Sar your sweetest charms.

"All knowledge that is visible Heabani holds it in his glance, Sees visions inconceivable, The Zi[10] his wizard eyes entrance. Sweet peace he brings from troubled dreams, He comes to El-li-tar-du-si,[11] From a far road by mountain streams; Then sing with joy ye Khau-ik-i!


"Then sing with joy ye Khau-ik-i! The Khau-ga chant with waving arms, The Nin-uit sing An-un-na-ci! Give to our Sar your sweetest charms.

"E'en all that on the tablet rests, In Erech's tower, the Su-bu-ri,[12] The beautiful, with glorious crests, He wrote for far posterity. We plead with him to leave us not, But Zi-Gab-ri[13] him led away, When our great Shal-man[14] joy us brought, And Elam fled to the blue sea.


"Then sing with joy ye Khau-ik-i! Il-gi-sa-kis-sat[15] from above, The Nin-uit sing An-un-na-ci! Oh, how Heabani we shall love!"

The maidens note their monarch's moody face, And turn their songs to him with easy grace, Of their great ruler tune a joyous lay, And oft into his eyes hurl glances gay; And trumpets join the chorus, rolling drums, And wild applause from all the chieftains comes, Till the grave seers and councillors now cry In praise of him they love so tenderly: With arms upraised the mighty chorus join, Until his heart is filled with joy divine; And thus they sing with more than royal praise, Their love for him in every face doth blaze.

[Footnote 1: "Sar-dan-nu," the great King.]

[Footnote 2: "Sar," king.]

[Footnote 3: "Ki," earth.]

[Footnote 4: "Samu," heaven.]

[Footnote 5: "Mu-di," seers or wise men.]

[Footnote 6: "Khau-ik-i," the choral band.]

[Footnote 7: "Khau-ga," chorus.]

[Footnote 8: "Nin-uit," song.]

[Footnote 9: "An-un-na-ci," spirits of the earth.]

[Footnote 10: "Zi," spirits of the earth, air, water, etc.]

[Footnote 11: "El-li-tar-du-si," one of the temples of Erech.]

[Footnote 12: "Su-bu-ri," the lofty.]

[Footnote 13: "Zi-Gab-ri," spirits of the mountains.]

[Footnote 14: "Shal-man," deliverer.]

[Footnote 15: "Il-gi-sa-kis-sat," spirits of the hosts.]



Our Izdubar dear Erech raised From her distress, when she did mourn; With joy his glorious name be praised! Of a great warrior's daughter born, And Bel in his own might, him arms, To Erech's sons and daughters save; What other Sar hath glorious charms Like his, who saved proud Elam's slave?


No rival hath our mighty Sar, Thy cymbals strike and raise the cry! All hail! All hail! great Izdubar! His deeds immortal glorify!

Our Izdubar our sons preserves To all our fathers day and night, And Erech's ruler well deserves Our highest praise, whose matchless might Delights the gods! All hail our Sar! Whose firmness, wisdom need no praise! Queen Daunat's son, our Izdubar, His glory to the Sami[1] raise!


Of a great warrior's daughter born, The gods clothe him with matchless might; His glory greets the coming morn, Oh, how in him we all delight!

And thus of Seer Heabani they now chant His birth and history and hyemal haunt.

Who can compare with thee, O Nin![2] The son of Bel; thy hands didst lay Upon Ar-ur-u, thine own queen, With glory crowned her on that day.

To her thy strength did give, and blessed Her with thy love and a dear son; With Ami's strength within his breast, And Ninip sped then to his throne.

When Queen Ar-u-ru hears her lord From Erech's city far has gone, She bows her head upon the sward, With pleading hands in woe doth moan.

And to Heabani she gave birth, The warrior, great Ninip's son, Whose fame is spread through all the earth. The queen with her own maids alone Retired within her palace walls For purity in Erech's halls.

Like the corn-god his face concealed, Of men and countries he possessed, Great wisdom by the gods revealed: As Ner[3] the god, his limbs were dressed. With wild gazelles he ate his food While roaming with them in the night; For days he wandered in the wood, And bu-hir-tser-i[4] him delight.

The Zi-ar-ri[5] Heabani loves, That play within the running streams; With Zi-ti-am-a-ti[6] he roves Upon the sands in warm sunbeams.

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