Babylonian and Assyrian Literature eBook

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

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: 

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Babylonian and Assyrian Literature from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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