Babylonian and Assyrian Literature eBook

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

   The former things[1] are passed away,
    Which we on earth once knew below;
   And in this bright eternal day
    We happiness alone can know
    Where bliss doth ever flow.”

[Footnote 1:  Literally, “the former names,” which appears on a fragment of the epic translated by Mr. Sayce.  See Smith’s “C.A. of Gen.,” p. 259, which he has rendered “the former name, the new name.”]

COLUMN V

THE KING BURIES HIS SEER IN THE CAVE, AND CONTINUING HIS JOURNEY, HE MEETS TWO FIERY GIANTS WHO GUIDE THE SUN IN THE HEAVENS—­THEY MAKE MERRY OVER THE KING, AND DIRECT HIM ON HIS WAY

The King within the cave his seer entombs,
And mourning sadly from the cavern comes;
The entrance closes with the rocks around,
Again upon his journey he is bound. 
But soon within the mountains he is lost
Within the darkness,—­as some vessel tost
Upon the trackless waves of unknown seas,
But further from the awful cavern flees. 
The morning breaks o’er crags and lonely glens,
And he dismayed, the awful wild now scans. 
He reins his steed and wondering looks around,
And sees of every side a mystic ground. 
Before him stands the peak of Mount Masu,[1]
The cliffs and crags forlorn his eyes swift view,
And cedars, pines, among the rocks amassed,
That weirdly rise within the mountain fast. 
Hark! hear that dreadful roaring all around! 
What nameless horror thrills the shaking ground?

The King in terror stares! and see! his steed
Springs back! wild snorting,—­trembling in his dread. 
Behold! behold those forms there blazing bright! 
Fierce flying by the earth with lurid light;
Two awful spirits, demons, or fierce gods,
With roaring thunders spring from their abodes! 
From depths beneath the earth the monsters fly,
And upward lift their awful bodies high,
Yet higher!—­higher! till their crests are crowned
By Heaven’s gates; thus reaching from the ground
To heights empyrean, while downward falls
Each form, extending far ‘neath Hades’ walls. 
And see! each god as molten metal gleams,
While sulphurous flame from hell each monster climbs! 
Two fiery horrors reaching to the skies,
While wrathful lightning from each monster flies!

Hell’s gate they guard with Death’s remorseless face,
And hurl the sun around the realms of space
E’en swifter than the lightning, while it goes
Along its orbit, guided by their blows. 
Dire tempests rise above from their dread blows,
And ever round a starry whirlwind glows;
The countless stars thus driven whirl around,
With all the circling planets circling round.

The King astounded lifts his staring eyes,
Into his face gray fear, with terror flies;
As they approach, his thoughts the King collects,
Thus over him one of the gods reflects. 
“Who cometh yonder with the form of gods?”
The second says:  “He comes from man’s abodes,
But with a mortal’s feebleness he walks;
Behold upon the ground alone he stalks.”

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Babylonian and Assyrian Literature from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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