Babylonian and Assyrian Literature eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 283 pages of information about Babylonian and Assyrian Literature.

“Go!  At-su-su-namir, with thy bright head! 
With all thy light spring forth! and quickly speed;
Towards the gates of Hades, turn thy face! 
And quickly fly for me through yonder space. 
Before thy presence may the seven gates
Of Hades open with their gloomy grates;
May Allat’s face rejoice before thy sight,
Her rage be soothed, her heart filled with delight;
But conjure her by all the godly names,
And fearless be,—­towards the roaring streams
Incline thine ear, and seek the path there spread. 
Release Queen Ishtar! raise her godly head! 
And sprinkle her with water from the stream;
Her purify! a cup filled to the brim
Place to her lips that she may drink it all. 
The herald as a meteor doth fall,
With blazing fire disparts the hanging gloom
Around the gates of that dark world of doom.”

COLUMN IV

RELEASE OF ISHTAR—­HER ATTEMPTS TO BRING TO LIFE TAMMUZ, HER FIRST LOVER

When Allat saw the flaming herald come,
And his bright light dispelling all her gloom,
She beat her breast; and at him furious foams
In rage, and stamping shakes all Hades’ domes,
Thus cursed the herald, At-su-su-namir: 
“Away! thou herald! or I’ll chain thee here
In my dark vaults, and throw thee for thy food
The city’s garbage, which has stagnant stood,
With impure waters for thy daily drink,
And lodge thee in my prison till you sink
From life impaled in yonder dismal room
Of torture; to thy fate so thou hast come? 
Thine offspring with starvation I will strike!”

At last obedient doth Allat speak: 
“Go, Namtar! and the iron palace strike! 
O’er Asherim[1] adorned let the dawn break! 
And seat the spirits on their thrones of gold! 
Let Ishtar Life’s bright waters then behold,
And drink her fill, and bring her then to me;
From her imprisonment, I send her free.” 
And Namtar then goes through the palace walls,
And flings the light through all the darkened halls,
And places all the spirits on their thrones,
Leads Ishtar to the waters near the cones. 
She drinks the sparkling water now with joy,
Which all her form doth cleanse and purify. 
And he at the first gate her robe returns,
And leads her through the second; where he turns,
And gives her bracelets back;—­thus at each door
Returns to her her girdle, gems; then o’er
Her queenly brow he placed her shining crown. 
With all her ornaments that were her own,
She stands with pride before the seventh gate,
And Namtar bows to her in solemn state: 

“Thou hast no ransom to our queen here paid
For thy deliverance, yet thou hast said
Thy Tammuz thou didst seek within our walls,
Turn back! and thou wilt find him in these halls. 
To bring him back to life the waters pour
Upon him; they thy Tammuz will restore;
With robes thou mayst adorn him and a crown
Of jewels, and thy maid with thee alone
Shall give thee comfort and appease thy grief. 
Kharimtu, Samkha come to thy relief!”

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Babylonian and Assyrian Literature from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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