Babylonian and Assyrian Literature eBook

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

O thou, sweet Queen! we crown thee in our homes,
And give to thee our love that holy comes
From Heaven to inspire and bless our lives. 
For this mankind all hope to take pure wives
To sacredest of all our temples, shrines,
And keep thee pure within sweet love’s confines
That we may worship thee, and daily bring
Devotions to our altar,—­to thee sing
Our orisons of praise, and sacred keep
Our homes till we shall softly drop asleep
Within the arms we love so tenderly,
And carry with us a sweet memory
Of purity and bliss that blessed our lives,
And children gave from sweetest of pure wives.

Thou art our all!  O holy woman, pure
Forever may thy charms on earth endure! 
Oh, trample not upon thy husband’s love! 
For true devotion he doth daily prove. 
Oh, shackle not his feet in life’s fierce strife,
His weary shoulders burden,—­blast his life! 
Or palsy those dear hands that work for thee,
And fill his eyes with tears of agony,
Till love shall turn as acid to his teeth,
And thorns shall tear his side with hellish wreath,
And daggers pierce his heart, and ice his soul,
And thou become to him a hated ghoul!

[2]What married woman is untainted, pure? 
She, who when married spreads for men no lure,
Bestows caresses on no man but him
Who is her husband; she who doth not trim
Her form to catch the vulgar gaze, nor paints
Herself, or in her husband’s absence taunts
Not her sweet purity; exposes not
Her form undraped, whose veil no freeman aught
Has raised;[3] or shows her face to others than
Her slaves; and loves alone her husbandman;
She who has never moistened her pure lips
With liquors that intoxicate;[4] nor sips
With others joys that sacred are alone
To him, her strength; who claims her as his own.

O Beauty, Purity, my theme inspire! 
To woman’s love of old, my muse aspire! 
When her sweet charms were equally bestowed,
And fairest of the sex with hopes imbued
Of capturing men of wealth and lives of ease,
When loveliness at public sale[5] doth please
The nobles of the land to wealth bestow
Upon ill-favored sisters, maids of woe,
Who claimed no beauty, nor had lovely charms;
When crones and hags, and maids with uncouth forms,
Secured a husbandman despite of fate,
And love redeemed them from the arms of hate.

The proclamation Izdubar had made
To bring to the great plaza every maid,
For Beltis’ feast and Hergal’s now arrives,
When maidens are selected as the wives
Of noblemen or burghers of the towns
And cities of the kingdom; when wealth crowns
The nobles richest, ever as of old,
With beauty they have purchased with their gold. 
The festival, the Sabat-tu[6] hath come! 
The Sabat-tu of Elul! hear the hum
Of voices filling Erech’s streets! 
The maids are coming, how each gaily prates! 

Project Gutenberg
Babylonian and Assyrian Literature from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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