O LOVE, my queen and goddess, come to me;
My soul shall never cease to worship thee;
Come pillow here thy head upon my breast,
And whisper in my lyre thy softest, best,
And sweetest melodies of bright Sami, 1
Our Happy Fields 2 above dear Subartu; 3
Come nestle closely with those lips of love
And balmy breath, and I with thee shall rove
Through Sari 4 past ere life on earth was known,
And Time unconscious sped not, nor had flown.
Thou art our all in this impassioned life:
How sweetly comes thy presence ending strife,
Thou god of peace and Heaven's undying joy,
Oh, hast thou ever left one pain or cloy
Upon this beauteous world to us so dear?
To all mankind thou art their goddess here.
To thee we sing, our holiest, fairest god,
The One who in that awful chaos trod
And woke the Elements by Law of Love
To teeming worlds in harmony to move.
From chaos thou hast led us by thy hand,
5 Thus spoke to man upon that budding land:
"The Queen of Heaven, of the dawn am I,
The goddess of all wide immensity,
For thee I open wide the golden gate
Of happiness, and for thee love create
To glorify the heavens and fill with joy
The earth, its children with sweet love employ."
Thou gavest then the noblest melody
And highest bliss--grand nature's harmony.
With love the finest particle is rife,
And deftly woven in the woof of life,
In throbbing dust or clasping grains of sand,
In globes of glistening dew that shining stand
On each pure petal, Love's own legacies
Of flowering verdure, Earth's sweet panoplies;
By love those atoms sip their sweets and pass
To other atoms, join and keep the mass
With mighty forces moving through all space,
'Tis thus on earth all life has found its place.
Through Kisar, 6 Love came formless through the air
In countless forms behold her everywhere!
Oh, could we hear those whispering roses sweet,
Three beauties bending till their petals meet,
And blushing, mingling their sweet fragrance there
In language yet unknown to mortal ear.
Their whisperings of love from morn till night
Would teach us tenderly to love the right.
O Love, here stay! Let chaos not return!
With hate each atom would its lover spurn
In air above, on land, or in the sea,
O World, undone and lost that loseth thee!
For love we briefly come, and pass away
For other men and maids; thus bring the day
Of love continuous through this glorious life.
Oh, hurl away those weapons fierce of strife!
We here a moment, point of time but live,
Too short is life for throbbing hearts to grieve.
Thrice holy is that form that love hath kissed,
And happy is that man with heart thus blessed.
Oh, let not curses fall upon that head
Whom love hath cradled on the welcome bed[paragraph continues]
Of bliss, the bosom of our fairest god,
Or hand of love e'er grasp the venging rod.
Oh, come, dear Zir-ri, 7 tune your lyres and lutes,
And sing of love with chastest, sweetest notes,
Of Accad's goddess Ishtar, Queen of Love,
And Izdubar, with softest measure move;
Great Samas' 8 son, of him dear Zir-ri sing!
Of him whom goddess Ishtar warmly wooed,
Of him whose breast with virtue was imbued.
He as a giant towered, lofty grown,
As Babil's 9 great pa-te-si 10 was he known,
His armèd fleet commanded on the seas
And erstwhile travelled on the foreign leas;
His mother Ellat-gula 1a on the throne
From Erech all Kardunia 2 ruled alone.
3:1 "Samu," heaven.
3:2 "Happy Fields," celestial gardens, heaven.
3:3 "Subartu" Syria.
3:4 "Sari," plural form of "saros," a cycle or measurement of time used by the Babylonians, 3,600 years.
3:5 From the "Accadian Hymn to Ishtar," terra-cotta tablet numbered "S, 954," one of the oldest hymns of a very remote date, deposited in the British Museum by Mr. Smith. It comes from Erech, one of the oldest, if not the oldest city of Babylonia. We have inserted a portion of it in its most appropriate place in the epic. See translation in "Records of the Past," vol. v. p. 157.
4:6 "Kisar," the consort or queen of Sar, father of all the gods.
5:7 "Zir-ri" (pronounced "zeer-ree"), short form of "Zi-aria," spirits of the running rivers--naiads or water-nymphs.
5:8 "Samas," the sun-god.
5:9 Babil, Babylon; the Accadian name was "Diu-tir," or "Duran."
5:10 "Pa-te-si" prince.
5:1a "Ellat-gula" one of the queens or sovereigns of Erech, supposed to have preceded Nammurabi or Nimrod on the throne. We have identified Izdubar herein with Nimrod.
5:2 "Kardunia," the ancient name of Babylonia.