ASSYRIAN SACRED POETRY
A PRAYER FOR THE KING
1 “Length of days 2 long lasting years 3 a strong sword 4 a long life 5 extended years of glory 6 pre-eminence among Kings 7 grant ye to the King my Lord, 8 who has given such gifts 9 to his gods! 10 The bounds vast and wide 11 of his Empire 12 and of his Rule, 13 may he enlarge and may he complete! 14 Holding over all Kings supremacy 15 and royalty and empire 16 may he attain to gray hairs 17 and old age! 18 And after the life of these days, 19 in the feasts of the silver mountain, the heavenly Courts 20 the abodes of blessedness: 21 and in the Light 22 of the Happy Fields, 23 may he dwell a life 24 eternal, holy 25 in the presence 26 of the gods 27 who inhabit Assyria!”
[Footnote 1: From the “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. i. p. 107. The original is in “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” vol. iii. pl. 66.]
[Footnote 2: The Assyrian Olympus. The epithet “silver” was doubtless suggested by some snowy inaccessible peak, the supposed dwelling-place of the gods.]
SHORT PRAYER FOR THE SOUL OF A DYING MAN [Footnote: “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii. p. 20.]
1 Like a bird may it fly to a lofty place! 2 To the holy hands of its god, may it ascend!
THE DEATH OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN [Footnote: Ibid., vol. ii. p. 31.]
1 Bind the sick man to Heaven, for from the Earth
being torn away!
2 Of the brave man who was so strong, his strength has departed. 3 Of the righteous servant, the force does not return. 4 In his bodily frame he lies dangerously ill. 5 But Ishtar, who in her dwelling is grieved concerning him 6 descends from her mountain, unvisited of men. 7 To the door of the sick man she comes. 8 The sick man listens! 9 Who is there? Who comes? 10 It is Ishtar daughter of the Moon-god Sin: 11 It is the god (...) Son of Bel: 12 It is Marduk, Son of the god (...). 13 They approach the body of the sick man.
(The next line, 14, is nearly destroyed.)
15 They bring a khisibta from the heavenly treasury. 16 They bring a sisbu from their lofty storehouse: 17 into the precious khisibta they pour bright liquor. 18 That righteous man, may he now rise on high! 19 May he shine like that khisibta! 20 May he be bright as that sisbu! 21 Like pure silver may his garment be shining white! 22 Like brass may he be radiant! 23 To the Sun, greatest of the gods, may he ascend! 24 And may the Sun, greatest of the gods, receive his soul
into his holy hands!
[Footnote 1: Probably a cup or drinking-vessel.]
[Footnote 2: There is a fine inscription not yet fully translated, describing the soul in heaven, clothed in a white radiant garment, seated in the company of the blessed, and fed by the gods themselves with celestial food.]