Heabani, weary, eyes his native land,
And on his harp now lays his trembling hand;
The song has ended in a joyous lay,
And yet, alas! his hands but sadly play:
Unused to hope, the strings refuse their aid
To tune in sympathy, and heartless played.
Again the minstrel bows his head in woe,
And the hot tear-drops from his eyelids flow,
And chanting now a mournful melody,
O'er Erech's fall, thus sang an elegy:
1"How long, O Ishtar, will thy face be turned,
While Erech desolate doth cry to thee?
Thy towers magnificent, oh, hast thou spurned?
Her blood like water in Ul-bar, 2 oh, see!
The seat of thine own oracle behold!
The fire hath ravaged all thy cities grand,
And like the showers of Heaven them all doth fold.
O Ishtar! broken-hearted do I stand![paragraph continues]
Oh, crush our enemies as yonder reed!
For hopeless, lifeless, kneels thy bard to thee,
And, oh! I would exalt thee in my need,
From thy resentment, anger, oh, us free!
With eyes bedimmed with tears, he careful scans
The plain, "Perhaps the dust of caravans
It is! But no!! I see long lines of spears!
A warrior from the lifting cloud appears,
And chariots arrayed upon the plain!
And is the glorious omen not in vain?
What! no?" He rubs his eyes in wild surprise,
And drinks the vision while he loudly cries:
"Oh, joy! our standards flashing from afar!
He comes! he comes! our hero Izdubar!"
He grasps his harp inspired, again to wake
In song-the cry of battle now doth break.
"Nin-a-rad, 3 servant of our great Nin 4
Shall lead our hosts to victory!
God of the chase and war, o'er him, oh, shine!
Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri! 5
"Let Elam fall! the cause of Accad's woes,
Revenge of Erech, be the cry!
This land our father's blessed, our king they chose,
Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!
Our holy fathers sleep upon this plain,
We conquer, or we here will die;
For victory, then raise the cry, ye men!
Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!"
The minstrel ceases, lifts his hands on high,
And still we hear his joyful waning cry:
Now echoed by yon hosts along the sky,
"He comes! Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!
Great Accad's hosts arrayed with spears and shields
Are coming! see them flashing o'er the fields![paragraph continues]
And he! bright flashing as the god's attire,
Doth lead in burnished gold, our king of fire.
His armor shines through yonder wood and fen,
That tremble 'neath the tread of armèd men.
See! from his jewelled breastplate, helmet, fly
The rays like Samas from the cloudless sky!
How martially he rides his sable steed,
That proudly treads and lifts his noble head,
While eagerly he gallops down the line,
And bears his princely load with porte divine;
And now, along the plains there sounds afar
The piercing bugle-note of Izdubar;
For Erech's walls and turrets are in view,
And high the standards rise of varied hue.
The army halts; the twanging bows are strung;
And from their chariots the chieftains sprung.
The wheeling lines move at each chief's command,
With chariots in front;
On either hand
Extend the lines of spears and cavalry,
A wingèd storm-cloud waiting for its prey:
And see! while Accad's army ready waits,
The enemy are swarming from the gates.
The charge, from either host, the trumpets sound,
And bristling chariots from each army bound:
A cloud of arrows flies from Accad's bows
That hides the sun, and falls among their foes.
Now roars the thunder of great Accad's cars,
Their brazen chariots as blazing stars
Through Nuk-khu's 6 depths with streams of blazing fire,
Thus fall upon the foe with vengeful ire.
The smoking earth shakes underneath their wheels,
And from each cloud their thunder loudly peals.
Thus Accad on their foes have fiercely hurled
Their solid ranks with Nin-rad's flag unfurled,
The charging lines meet with a fearful sound,
As tempests' waves from rocks in rage rebound;
The foe thus meet the men of Izdubar,
While o'er the field fly the fierce gods of war.[paragraph continues]
Dark Nin-a-zu 7 her torch holds in her hand.
With her fierce screams directs the gory brand;
And Mam-mit 8 urges her with furious hand,
And coiling dragons 9 poison all the land
With their black folds and pestilential breath,
In fierce delight thus ride the gods of death.
The shouts of Accad mingle with the cries
Of wounded men and fiery steeds, which rise
From all the fields with shrieks of carnage, war,
Till victory crowns the host of Izdubar.
The chariots are covered with the slain,
And crushed beneath lie dead and dying men,
And horses in their harness wounded fall,
With dreadful screams, and wildly view the wall
Of dying warriors piling o'er their heads,
And wonder why each man some fury leads;
And others break across the gory plain
In mad career till they the mountain gain;
And snorting on the hills in wild dismay,
One moment glance below, then fly away;
Away from sounds that prove their masters, fiends,
Away to freedom snuffing purer winds,
Within some cool retreat by mountain streams,
Where peacefully for them, the sun-light gleams.
At last the foe is scattered o'er the plain,
And Accad fiercely slays the flying men;
When Izdubar beholds the victory won
By Accad's grand battalions of the sun,
His bugle-call the awful carnage stays,
Then loud the cry of victory they raise.
13:1 The above elegy is an Assyrian fragment remarkably similar to one of the psalms of the Jewish bible, and I believe it belongs to the Izdubar epic (W. A. I. IV. 19, No.; also see "Records of the Past" vol. xi. p. 160).
13:2 "Ul-bar," Bel's temple.
14:3 "Nin-a-rad," literally "servant of Nin," or "Nin-mar-ad," "Lord of the city of Marad."
14:4 "Nin," the god of the chase and war, or lord.
14:5 "Tar-u-ma-ni izzu sar-ri," "son of the faith, the fire-king."
15:6 "Nuk-khu," darkness (god of darkness).
16:7 "Nin-a-zu" god of fate and death.
16:8 "Mam-mit," or "Mam-mi-tu," goddess of fate.
16:9 "Dragons," gods of chaos and death.