The king while hunting where a forest grows,
Around sweet hyacinths and budding rose,
Where a soft zephyr o’er them gently flows
From the dark “sik-ka-ti” where Kharsak glows;
And Sedu softly dances on the leaves,
And a rich odorous breath from them receives;
Where tulips peep with heliotrope and pink,
With violets upon a gleaming brink
Of silver gliding o’er a water-fall
That sings its purling treasures o’er a wall
Of rugged onyx sparkling to the sea:
A spot where Zir-ri sport oft merrily,
Where Hea’s arm outstretched doth form a bay,
Wild, sheltered, where his sea-daughters play;
A jasper rock here peeps above the waves
Of emerald hue; with them its summit laves.
Around, above, this cool enchanting cove
Bend amorous, spicy branches; here the dove
Oft coos its sweetest notes to its own mate,
And fragrance pure, divine, the air doth freight,
To sport with gods no lovelier place is found,
With love alone the mystic woods resound.
Here witching Zi-na-ki oft drag within
The waves unwilling Zi-si; here the din
Of roars of sullen storms is never known
When tempests make the mighty waters groan;
Nor sound of strife is heard, but rippling rills,
Or softest note of love, the breezes fills.
And here the king in blissful dreams oft lies
‘Mid pure ambrosial odors, and light flies
The tune in bliss; away from kingly care,
And hollow splendor of the courtly glare;
Away from triumphs, battle-fields afar,
The favorite haunt of huntsman Izdubar.
The Queen of Love the glowing spot surveys,
And sees the monarch where he blissful lays;
And watching till he takes his bow and spear
To chase the wild gazelles now browsing near,
She, ere the king returns, near by arrives
With her two maids; with them for love connives,
Joy and seduction thus voluptuous fly
Her Samkhatu, Kharimtu from the sky,
As gently, lightly as a spirit’s wing
Oft carries gods to earth while Sedu sing.
Thus, they, with lightest step, expectant stood
Within this lovely spot beneath the wood.
Their snowy limbs they bare, undraped now stand
Upon the rock at Ishtar’s soft command.
Like marble forms endued with life they move,
And thrill the air with welcome notes of love.
The “its-tu-ri Same mut-tab-ri” sang
Their sweetest notes, and the “Khar-san-u” rang
With songs of thrushes, turtle-doves and jays,
And linnets, with the nightingale’s sweet lays,
Goldfinches, magpies and the wild hoopoes;
With cries of green-plumed parrots and cuckoos,
Pee-wits and sparrows join the piercing cries
Of gorgeous herons, while now upward flies
The eagle screaming, joyful spreads his wings
Above the forest; and the woodchuck rings
A wild tattoo upon the trees around;
And humming-birds whirr o’er the flowering ground
In flocks, and beat the luscious laden air
With emerald and gold, and scarlet, where
These perfect forms with godly grace divine,
In loveliness upon the rock recline.
Sweet joy is slender formed, with bright black eyes
That sparkle oft and dance with joy’s surprise;
Seduction, with her rare voluptuous form,
Enchanteth all till wildest passions warm
The blood and fire the eye beneath her charm;
All hearts in heaven and earth she doth disarm.
The Queen with every perfect charm displayed
Delights the eye, and fills the heart, dismayed
With fear, lest the bright phantom may dissolve
To airy nothingness, till fierce resolve
Fills each who her beholds, while love doth dart
From liquid eyes and captivates the heart.
She is the queen who fills the earth with love
And reigns unrivalled in her realms above.
Beware, ye hearts! beware! who feel the snare
Of Ishtar, lest ye tread upon the air;
When ye her rosy chain of fragrance wear,
When blindness strikes the eye, and deaf the ear
Becomes, and heartstrings only lead you then,
Till ye return to common sense again;
Enthralled mayhap and captive led in chains,
Ye then will leisure have to bear your pains;
Or if perchance a joy hath come to thee,
Through all thy joyous life, then happy be!
[Footnote 1: “Sik-ka-ti,” narrow mountain gorges.]—-[Footnote 2: “Khar-sak,” the Deluge mountain, where the ark rested.]—-[Footnote 3: “Se-du,” a spirit of the earth, and rivers.]—-[Footnote 4: “Zir-ri,” the spirits of the rivers, water-nymphs.]—-[Footnote 5: “Hea,” the god of the ocean.]—-[Footnote 6: “Zi-na-ki,” pronounced “zee-na-kee,” spirits of purity.]—-[Footnote 7: “Zi-si,” corn-gods, or spirits of the corn.]—-[Footnote 8: “Sam-kha-tu,” one of the maids of Ishtar, “Joy.”]—-[Footnote 9: “Kha-rima-tu,” one of the maids of Ishtar, “Seduction.”]—-[Footnote 10: “Its-tu-ri Same mut-tab ri,” “the winged birds of heaven.”]—-[Footnote 11: “Khar-san-u,” forest.]
THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE®
SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature, (Alc-1, Tab-1, Col-5) (1901); Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.
CONTRIBUTOR: John Hague