Babylonian and Assyrian Literature eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Babylonian and Assyrian Literature.

[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—­

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Babylonian and Assyrian Literature from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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