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The Epic of Gilgamish, tr. by R. Campbell Thompson [1928], at



(Of Column I about ll. 1-36 are mutilated or missing, there being actually the beginnings of only sixteen lines. When the text becomes connected the heroes have reached the Gate of the Forest).

Column I.

(Enkidu addresses the Gate).

36. 1Enkidu lifted [his eyes] . . . and spake with the Gate as [’t were human(?)]:
"O thou Gate of the Forest without understanding(? . . .
Sentience which thou hast not, . . . .

p. 27

40.I for (full) forty leagues have admired thy [wonderful] timber,
(Aye), till I sighted the towering Cedar . . . .
(O but) thy wood hath no peer (in the country) . . .
Six gar thy height, and two gar thy breadth . . .
45.(Sooth, but) thy stanchion (?), thy socket (?), 1 thy pivot (?), thy lock (?), and thy shutter (?),
[(All of them) must have been fashion’d for thee] in the City of Nippur!
O, if I had but known, O Gate, that this was [thy grandeur],
This, too, the grace [of thy structure], then either an axe had I lifted
50.Or I had . . . or bound together . . . ."

(Of the next Column remains a fragment, and that only presumed to belong to one of the above fragments from its appearance, which speaks of terror, a dream, and sorrow: "let me pray the gods . . . . may thy? god be . . . the father of the gods." Again, of the third Column there is only a small portion left of the right half (this fragment, too, being also presumed to belong to the same tablet as that above-mentioned), speaking of Gilgamish, the Forest, and Enkidu. The fourth Column is entirely lost. Of Column V the latter part survives, in this case without any uncertainty. After a few broken lines it runs as follows, the first speaker being probably Enkidu, and the scene the Gate of the Forest):

6.". . . [O, haste] thee, withstand him, he will not [pursue(?) thee],
[We will] go on down into the wood not daunted, together (?)].
. . . Thou shall put on seven garments ..
. . . putting on, and six . . . (?) . . . "
10.He like a mighty wild bull . . .
Flung he the Portal afar, and [his] mouth was fill’d (with his challenge),
Cried to the Guard of the Forest: "Up (?) . . . !
[’Tis I will challenge] Humbaba like to a . . ."

(A small gap.)

Column VI.

(Enkidu is speaking)

"Trouble (?) [I foresee(?)] wherever I go . . . .
5.O my friend, I have [seen] 2 a dream which un- . . . ."
The day of the dream he had seen fulfilled . . . . 3

p. 28

(Enkidu is stricken with fear at thought of the combat).
Enkidu lay for a day, [yea, a second]—for Enkidu [lying]
10.(Prone) on his couch, was a third and a fourth day . . ., a fifth, sixth and seventh,
Eighth, ninth, [and tenth]. While Enkidu [lay in his] sickness . . ., th’ eleventh,
(Aye, till) the twelfth . . . on [his] couch was Enkidu [lying].
15.Call’d he to Gilgamish, . . . . . . . . .
"(O but), my comrade, . . . hateth me . . because within Erech
I was afraid of the combat, and . . . My friend, who in battle . . ."

(A small gap in which Gilgamish has answered. Enkidu replies):

26.[Enkidu open’d] his [mouth] and spake [unto Gilgamish, saying]:
("Nay, but), [my friend, let us no wise] go down [to the depths of the Forest],
(For) ’tis my hands [have grown weak], and [my arms] are stricken with palsy."


Gilgamish open’d his mouth and spake [unto Enkidu], saying:
30."Shall we, O friend, [play] the coward? . . . . . .
. . . . thou shalt surpass them all(?) . . . .
[Thou, O] my friend, art cunning in warfare, art [shrewd(?)] in the battle,
(So) shalt thou touch the . . . and of [death] have no terror,

(Two difficult and mutilated lines).

[So that] the palsy (now striking) thine arms [may] depart, and the weakness
Pass [from thy hands]! [Be brave(?)] and resist! O my comrade, together
We will go down—let the combat [in no wise diminish(?)] thy courage!
40.O forget death, and be fearful(?) of nothing(?) . . (for he who is) [valiant(?)],
Cautious (and) careful, by leading [the way] hath his own body guarded,
(He ’tis) will safeguard a comrade."
                                   A name by their [valour(?)] . .
They will establish. (And now) they together arrive at the barrier(?),
[Still’d into silence(?)] their speech, and they themselves (suddenly) stopping.


26:1 Assyrian Version.

27:1 Text has "and".

27:2 Or "the dream will be [fulfill’d]."

27:3 One text adds a horizontal line here.

Next: The Fifth Tablet: Of the Fight with Humbaba