Babylonian and Assyrian Literature eBook

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

For Ishtar, Anu from the clouds creates
A shining monster with thick brazen plates
And horns of adamant;[3] and now it flies
Toward the palace, roaring from the skies.

[Footnote 1:  “Anu’s winged bull,” Taurus, constellation of the heavens.]

[Footnote 2:  “Glories” ("maskhi").  This word is not translated by Mr. Sayce.]

[Footnote 3:  “Horns of adamant.”  Sayce translates in I. 22, col. v., horns of crystal—­“thirty manehs of crystal,” etc.  The meaning probably of “zamat stone,” as given by Smith, was a hard substance, such as the diamond or adamant.  By some translators it has been rendered onyx, and others lazuli.]



The gods appear above to watch the fight,
And Erech’s masari rush in affright
To Izdubar, who sits upon his throne,
Before him fall in speechless terror prone. 
A louder roar now echoes from the skies,
And Erech’s Sar without the palace flies. 
He sees the monster light upon the plain,
And calls Heabani with the choicest men
Of Erech’s spearsmen armed, who fall in line
Without the gates, led by their Sar divine.

And now the monster rushed on Izdubar,
Who meets it as the god of chase and war. 
With whirling sword before the monster’s face,
He rains his blows upon its front of brass
And horns, and drives it from him o’er the plain,
And now with spreading wings it comes again,
With maddened fury; fierce its eyeballs glare. 
It rides upon the monarch’s pointed spear;
The scales the point have turned, and broke the haft. 
Then as a pouncing hawk when sailing daft,
In swiftest flight o’er him drops from the skies,
But from the gleaming sword it quickly flies. 
Three hundred warriors now nearer drew
To the fierce monster, which toward them flew;
Into their midst the monster furious rushed,
And through their solid ranks resistless pushed
To slay Heabani, onward fought and broke
Two lines and through the third, which met the shock
With ringing swords upon his horns and scales. 
At last the seer it reaches, him impales
With its sharp horns:  but valiant is the seer—­
He grasps its crest and fights without a fear. 
The monster from his sword now turns to fly;
Heabani grasps its tail, and turns his eye
Towards his king, while scudding o’er the plain. 
So quickly has it rushed and fled amain,
That Izdubar its fury could not meet,
But after it he sprang with nimble feet.

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Babylonian and Assyrian Literature from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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