Babylonian and Assyrian Literature eBook

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

And see!  Dark Rimmon[9] o’er a crag alone! 
And Gibil with his blasting malisoun,
Above with his dark face maleficent,
Who wields a power o’er men omnipotent
Forlore! forlore! the souls who feel that blast
Which sweeps around that black forbidding coast! 
Fierce whirling storms and hurricanes here leap,
With blasting lightnings maltalent and sweep
The furious waves that lash around that shore,
As the fierce whirl of some dread maelstrom’s power! 
Above the cavern’s arch! see!  Ninip[10] stands! 
He points within the cave with beckoning hands! 
Ur-Hea cries:  “My lord! the tablets[11] say,
That we should not attempt that furious way! 
Those waters of black death will smite us down! 
Within that cavern’s depths we will but drown.” 
“We cannot go but once, my friend, that road,”
The hero said, “‘Tis only ghosts’ abode!”
“We go, then, Izdubar, its depths will sound,
But we within that gloom will whirl around,
Around, within that awful whirlpool black,—­
And once within, we dare not then turn back,—­
How many times, my friend, I dare not say,
’Tis written, we within shall make our way.”

The foaming tide now grasped them with its power,
And billowed round them with continuous roar;
Away! they whirl! with growing speed, till now
They fly on lightnings’ wings and ride the brow
Of maddened tempests o’er the dizzy deep. 
So swift they move,—­the waves in seeming sleep
Beneath them, whirling there with force unseen.

But see!  Updarting with a sulphurous gleen,
The hag of Death leaps on the trembling prow! 
Her eyes, of fire and hate, turns on them now! 
With famine gaunt, and haggard face of doom,
She sits there soundless in the awful gloom.

“O gods!” shrieked Izdubar in his despair,
“Have I the god of Fate at last met here? 
Avaunt, thou Fiend! hence to thy pit of Hell! 
Hence! hence! and rid me of thy presence fell!”

And see! she nearer comes with deathless ire,
With those fierce, moveless, glaring eyes of fire! 
Her wand is raised! she strikes!

  “O gods!” he screams;
He falls beneath that bolt that on them gleams,
And she is gone within the awful gloom. 
Hark! hear those screams! 
  “Accurst!  Accurst thy doom!”
And lo! he springs upon his feet in pain,
And cries: 
  “Thy curses, fiend!  I hurl again!”
And now a blinding flash disparts the black
And heavy air, a moment light doth break;
And see! the King leans fainting ’gainst the mast,
With glaring eyeballs, clenched hands,—­aghast! 
Behold! that pallid face and scaly hands! 
A leper white, accurst of gods, he stands! 
A living death, a life of awful woe,
Incurable by man, his way shall go. 
But oh! the seer in all enchantments wise
Will cure him on that shore, or else he dies.

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