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p. 133



A gate half opened shows the silvery sea
Yet distant shining lambent on his way.
And now he sees young Siduri, 1 whose breast
Infuses life; all nature she hath blest,
Whose lips are flames, her arms are walls of fire,
Whose love yields pleasures that can never tire,
She to the souls who joy on earth here miss,
Grants them above a holier, purer bliss.
The maiden sits within a holy shrine
Beside the gate with lustrous eyes divine,
And beckons to the King, who nearer comes,
And near her glows the Happy Palace domes.

And lo! 'tis she his lips have fondly kissed
Within the garden, when like fleeing mist
She disappeared with the bright spirit Seven, 2
The Sabit, who oft glide from earth to Heaven.
And lo I one of the Seven, Sabitu,
Emerging from the gate doth jealous view
The coming hero who hath kissed her mate,
She angry springs within to close the gate,
And bars it, enters then the inner halls,
And Izdubar to her now loudly calls,
"O Sabitu! what see-est thou, my maid?
Of Izdubar is Sabitu afraid?
Thy gate thou barrest thus before my face.
Quick, open for me! or I'll force the brass!"
The maid now frightened opens wide the door.

p. 134

The Sar and Siduri now tread the floor
Of the bright palace where sweet joy doth reign.
Through crystal halls 'neath golden roofs the twain
Next go within a lofty ceilinged hall,
With shining pearlèd columns, golden wall,
And purple silken hangings at each door,
With precious gems inlaid upon the floor;
Where couches grand are spread for one to rest
Beneath the softened rays that sweet invest
The senses with a thrill of happiness;
Where Siduri with joy all souls doth bless.
The maid sits on a couch and turns her face
Toward the King with that immortal grace
That love to gods and men will e'er bestow.
Their eyes now mingling with a happy glow,
The maiden sweetly says: "Where wouldst thou go?
Within these Happy Halls we joy but know,
And if thou wilt, my King, my heart is thine!
Our love will ever bring us bliss divine."

"Alas, my maid, thy love to me is dear,
And sad am I that I must go from here.
I came from Erech by advice from one
I loved more than thou canst e'er know, but gone
From me is my Heabani, faithful seer.
Across a desert waste have I come here,
And he has there to dust returned,--to dust--
O how the love of my friend I did trust!
I would that we had never started here,
I now must find the great immortal seer."

The maiden turns her glowing eyes on him,
Replies: "My King, thou knowest joy may gleam,
Take courage, weary heart, and sing a song!
The hour of sorrow can never be long;
The day will break, and flood thy soul with joy,
And happiness thy heart will then employ!
Each day must end with all its sorrow, woe,
Oh, sing with me, dear heart! I love thee so!"
And lo! the curtains flung aside, now comes

p. 135

The joyous Sabitu from yonder rooms,
And gathering round, a song they gayly sing,
Oh, how with music the bright walls now ring!
If evil thou hast done, my King,

        Oh, pray! oh, pray!
And to the gods thy offerings bring,
        And pray! and pray!
The sea is roaring at thy feet,
The storms are coming, rain and sleet;
        To all the gods,
Oh, pray to them I oh, pray!


        To all the gods,
Oh, pray to them! oh, pray!

Thy city we will bless, O Sar!
        With joy, with joy!
And prosper thee in peace and war
        With joy, with joy!
And bless thee every day and night,
Thy kingly robes keep pure and bright;
        Give thee bright dreams,
O glorious king of war!


        Give thee bright dreams,
O glorious king of war!

And if thy hand would slay thy foes
        In war, in war!
With thee returning victory goes
        In war, in war!
We grant thee victory, my King;
Like marshes swept by storms, we bring
        Our power to thee
With victory in war!

p. 136


        Our power to thee
With victory in war!

And if thou wouldst the waters pass,
        The sea, the sea!
We'll go with thee in every place,
        With thee, with thee!
To Hea's halls and glorious throne,
Where he unrivalled reigns alone,
        To Hea go
Upon his throne of snow.


        To Hea go
Upon his throne of snow.

And if thine anger rules thy heart
        As fire, as fire!
And thou against thy foes would start
        With ire, with ire!
Against thy foes thy heart be hard,
And all their land with fire be scarred,
        Destroy thy foes!
Destroy them in thine ire!


        Destroy thy foes!
Destroy them in thine ire!

And lo! young Siduri hath disappeared,
And with the Zisi crowned she now appeared;
The corn-gods in a crescent round their queen,
She waves before the king her Nusku 3 green,
And sings with her sweet voice a joyful lay,
And all the Zisi join the chorus gay:

p. 137

 4 A heifer of the corn am I,
        Kara! Kara! 5
Yoked with the kine we gayly fly,
        Kara! Kara!
The ploughman's hand is strong and drives
The glowing soil, the meadow thrives!
        Before the oxen
Sa-lum-mat-u na-si. 6


        Before the oxen
Sa-lum-mat-u na-si.

The harvesters are in the corn!
        Kara! Kara!
Our feet are flying with the morn,
        Kara! Kara!
We bring thee wealth! it is thine own!
The grain is ripe! oh, cut it down!
        The yellow grain
Sa-lum-mat-u na-si.


        The yellow grain
Sa-lum-mat-u na-si.

The fruit of death, oh, King, taste it not!
        Taste not! taste not!
With fruit of Life the land is fraught
        Around! around!
The fruit of Life we give to thee
And happiness, oh, ever see.
        All joy is thine
Through Earth and Heaven's bound.


        All joy is thine
Through Earth and Heaven's bound.

p. 138

Our corn immortal there is high
        And ripe! and ripe!
And ever ripens 'neath that sky
        As gold! as gold!
Our corn is bearded, 7 thus 'tis known,
And ripens quickly when 'tis grown.
        Be joy with thee,
Our love around thee fold!


        Be joy with thee,
Our love around thee fold!

Our King from us now goes, now goes!
        Away! away!
His royal robe behind him glows
        Afar! afar!
Across the waves where Hea reigns
The waters swollen he soon gains!
        To our great seer,
He sails to him afar!


        To our great seer,
He sails to him afar!

And he will reach that glorious land
        Away! away!
Amid our fruit-trees he will stand
        That day! that day!
Our fruit so sweet the King will eat,
Nor bitter mingle with the sweet.
        In our seer's land
That glows afar away!


        In our seer's land
That glows afar away!


p. 139

The singing spirits from them fled, and he
Alone stood thinking by young Siduri.

The King leaned on his bow, and eyed the maid,
A happy look came in his eyes,--and fled,
For lo! the curtain quick aside is pushed,
And Sabitu within upon them rushed.
She stately glides across the shining floor,
And eyes them both, then turns toward the door.
But Izdubar is equal to the task,
With grace now smiling, of the maid doth ask:
"O Sabitu! wouldst thou tell me the way
To Khasisadra? for I go this day.
If I the sea may cross, how shall I go?
Or through the desert? thou the path mayst know."
The maiden startled looks upon his face,
And thus she answers him with queenly grace:
"So soon must go? Thou canst not cross the sea,
For thou wilt perish in the waves that way.
Great Samas once the way of me did ask,
And I forbade him, but the mighty task
He undertook, and crossed the mighty deep,
Where Death's dark waters lie in wait asleep:
His mighty car of gold swept through the skies,
With fiery chargers now he daily flies.
When I approach thee, thou from me wouldst flee?
But if thou must so soon thus go, the sea
Perhaps thou too canst cross, if thou wilt 'void
Death's waters, which relentless ever glide.
But Izdubar, Ur-Hea, here hath come!
The boatman of the seer, who to his home
Returns. He with an axe in yonder woods
A vessel builds to cross the raging floods.
If thou desirest not to cross with him,
We here will welcome thee through endless time;
But if thou goest, may they see thy face
Thou seekest,--welcome thee, and thy heart bless."


133:1 "Siduri," the "pourer" or "shedder forth," the "all-bountiful," the goddess who brings the rain and mists, and running streams to fill the vegetable world with its productions; the goddess who presides over productive nature. She was also called "the Goddess of Wisdom."

133:2 Seven spirits of the earth and heaven, the daughters of Hea.

136:3 "Nusku," a budding or blooming rub or branch, the wand of the Queen, used in magical incantations, which was called the plant of Nusku, the divining-rod.

137:4 See Accadian songs, "C. I. W. A" vol. ii. 16, and translated by Mr. Sayce in "Records of the Past, vol. xi. pp. 154, 155.

137:5 "Kara!" cry out, sing, shout.

137:6 "Sa-lum-mat-u na-si," lift up the shadows, or be joyful.

138:7 "Our corn is bearded." This refers to the heads of wheat which are bearded. See translation by Mr. Sayce, "the corn is bearded." ("Records of the Past," vol. xi. p. 156.)

Next: Column II. The King and Ur-Hea Build a Ship and Sail Through the Waters of Death