Then like Menth, with
his right he scattered the arrows,
And with his left he swung his deadly weapon,
Felling the foe—as his foes are felled by Baal.
The chariots were broken and the drivers scattered,
Then was the foe overthrown before his horses.
None found a hand to fight: they could not shoot
Nor dared they hurl the spear but fled at his coming
Headlong into the river.”
[I have availed myself of the help
of Prof. Lushington’s translation
in “Records of the past,” edited by Dr. S. Birch. Translator.]
A silence as of the grave reigned in the vast hall, Rameses fixed his eyes on the poet, as though he would engrave his features on his very soul, and compare them with those of another which had dwelt there unforgotten since the day of Kadesh. Beyond a doubt his preserver stood before him.
Seized by a sudden impulse, he interrupted the poet in the midst of his stirring song, and cried out to the assembled guests:
“Pay honor to this man! for the Divinity chose to appear under his form to save your king when he ‘alone, and no man with him,’ struggled with a thousand.”
“Hail to Pentaur!” rang through the hall from the vast assembly, and Nefert rose and gave the poet the bunch of flowers she had been wearing on her bosom.
The king nodded approval, and looked enquiringly at his daughter; Bent-Anat’s eyes met his with a glance of intelligence, and with all the simplicity of an impulsive child, she took from her head the wreath that had decorated her beautiful hair, went up to Pentaur, and crowned him with it, as it was customary for a bride to crown her lover before the wedding.
Rameses observed his daughter’s action with some surprise, and the guests responded to it with loud cheering.
The king looked gravely at Bent-Anat and the young priest; the eyes of all the company were eagerly fixed on the princess and the poet. The king seemed to have forgotten the presence of strangers, and to be wholly absorbed in thought, but by degrees a change came over his face, it cleared, as a landscape is cleared from the morning mists under the influence of the spring sunshine. When he looked up again his glance was bright and satisfied, and Bent-Anat knew what it promised when it lingered lovingly first on her, and then on her friend, whose head was still graced by the wreath that had crowned hers.
At last Rameses turned from the lovers, and said to the guests:
“It is past midnight, and I will now leave you. To-morrow evening I bid you all—and you especially, Pentaur—to be my guests in this banqueting hall. Once more fill your cups, and let us empty them—to a long time of peace after the victory which, by the help of the Gods, we have won. And at the same time let us express our thanks to my friend Ani, who has entertained us so magnificently, and who has so faithfully and zealously administered the affairs of the kingdom during my absence.”