Grand temples piled on temples upward glide,
A mass of colors like the rainbow hues,
Thus proudly rise from breezy avenues.
The brazen gates lead to the temple’s side,
The stairs ascend and up the stages glide.
The basement painted of the darkest blue
Is passed by steps ascending till we view
From them the second stage of orange hue
And crimson third! from thence a glorious view—
A thousand turrets far beneath, is spread
O’er lofty walls, and fields, and grassy mead;
The golden harvests sweep away in sight
And orchards, vineyards, on the left and right;
Euphrates’ stream as a broad silver band
Sweeps grandly through the glowing golden land,
Till like a thread of silver still in sight
It meets the Tigris gleaming in the light
That spreads along the glorious bending skies,
The brightest vault of all the emperies.
Now rested from the cushioned seats we rise
And to the stairway turn again our eyes;
The fourth stage plated o’er with beaten gold
We pass, and topaz fifth till we behold
The sixth of azure blue; to seventh glide,
That glows with silvery summit where reside
The gods, within a shrine of silvery sheen
Which brightly glows, and from afar is seen.
Without the temple, burnished silver shines;
Within, pure gold and gems in rare designs.
[Footnote 1: “Assur Samas and Merodac” ("Unto the king, my lord, may they be propitious!"), the response of the priest to the prayer.]
[Footnote 2: See “Records of the Past,” vol. xi. p. 63. These oracles seem to be formulas which are filled in with the monarch’s name, and may apply to any king.]
EXPEDITION AGAINST KHUMBABA, AND BATTLE IN THE BLACK FOREST
At early dawn the shining ranks are massed,
And Erech echoes with the trumpet’s blast;
The chosen men of Erech are in line,
And Ishtar in her car above doth shine.
The blazing standards high with shouts are raised,
As Samas’ car above grand Sumir blazed.
The march they sound at Izdubar’s command,
And thus they start for King Khumbaba’s land;
The gods in bright array above them shine,
By Ishtar led, with Samas, moon-god Sin,
On either side with Merodac and Bel,
And Ninip, Nergal, Nusku with his spell,
The sixty gods on chargers of the skies,
And Ishtar’s chariot before them flies.
Across Cazina’s desert far have come,
The armies now have neared Khumbaba’s home;
Beneath grand forests of tall cedar, pine,
And the dark shades near Khar-sak’s brow divine.
A brazen gate before them high appeared,
And massive walls which their great foe had reared;
The mighty gates on heavy pivots hung,
They broke, and on their brazen hinges swung
With clanging roars against the solid wall,