Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: The King’s Second Dream; [Part 8](Col-2); Assyrian

Early Ride Upon Sumir’s Plain, And Hand-To-Hand Conflict on The Banks Of The Euphrates

The night is fleeing from the light of dawn,
Which dimly falls upon the palace lawn;
The King upon his royal “dum-khi”[1] sleeps,
And to his couch again Queen Ishtar creeps.
In spite his dream to dismal thoughts she turns,
Her victim tosses, now with fever burns:
He wildly starts, and from his “dum-khi” springs,
While loud his voice throughout the palace rings:
“Ho! vassals! haste to me! your King!” he cries,
And stamping fiercely while his passions rise.
The “sukhu-li”[2] and “masari”[3] rush in:
“What trouble, Sar? have foes here come within?”
Then searching around they in his chamber rush,
And eagerly aside the curtains push.
The King yet paces on the floor with strides
That show the trouble of his mind, and chides
Them all as laggards; “Soon the sun will rise:
My steed prepared bring hence!” he turning cries.
He mounts and gallops through the swinging gates,
Nor for attendance of his vassals waits.
Nor turns his face toward the “nam-za-khi”,[4]
Who quickly opened for the King to fly
Without the gates; across the plains he rides
Away unmindful where his steed he guides.
The horse’s hoofs resound upon the plain
As the lone horseman with bewildered brain,
To leave behind the phantoms of the night,
Rides fiercely through the early morning light,
Beyond the orange orchards, citron groves,
‘Mid feathery date-palms he reckless roves.
The fields of yellow grain mid fig-trees flash
Unseen, and prickly pears, pomegranates, dash
In quick succession by, till the white foam
From his steed’s mouth and quiv’ring flanks doth come;
Nor heeds the whitened flowing mane, but flies,
While clouds of dust him follow, and arise
Behind him o’er the road like black storm clouds,
While Zu[5] the storm-bird onward fiercely goads
The seven[6] raven spirits of the air,
And Nus-ku[7] opens wide the fiery glare
Of pent-up lightnings for fierce Gibil’s[8] hand,
Who hurls them forth at Nergal’s[9] stern command,
And Rimmon[10] rides triumphant on the air,
And Ninazu[11] for victims doth prepare,
The King rides from the road into the wild,
Nor thought of danger, his stern features smiled
As the worn steed from a huge lion shied,
Which turning glanced at them and sprang aside;
Now Zi-pis-au-ni[12] fly before the King.
And yellow leopards through the rushes spring.
Upon Euphrates’ banks his steed he reins,
And views the rosy wilds of Sumir’s plains.

He looked toward the east across the plain
That stretched afar o’er brake and marshy fen,
And clustering trees that marked the Tigris’ course;
And now beyond the plain o’er fields and moors,
The mountain range of Zu[13] o’er Susa’s land.
Is glowing ‘neath the touch of Samas’ hand;
For his bright face is rising in the east,
And shifting clouds from sea and rising mist,
The robes of purple, violet and gold,
With rosy tints the form of Samas fold.
The tamarisk and scarlet mistletoe,
With green acacias’ golden summits glow,
And citron, olives, myrtle, climbing vine,
Arbutus, cypress, plane-tree rise divine;
The emerald verdure, clad with brilliant hues,
With rose-tree forests quaffs the morning dews.
The King delighted bares his troubled brow,
In Samas’ golden rays doth holy bow.
But see! a shadow steals along the ground!
And trampling footsteps through the copses sound,
And Izdubar, his hand placed on his sword,
Loud cries:
“Who cometh o’er mine Erech’s sward?”
An armed warrior before him springs;
The King, dismounted, his bright weapon swings.
“‘Tis I, Prince Dib-bara,[14] Lord Izdubar,
And now at last alone we meet in war;
My soldiers you o’erthrew upon the field,
But here to Nuk-khu’s[15] son thine arm shall yield!”
The monarch eyes the warrior evil-born,
And thus replies to him with bitter scorn:
“And dost thou think that Samas’ son shall die
By a vile foe who from my host did fly?
Or canst thou hope that sons of darkness may
The Heaven-born of Light and glory slay?
As well mayst hope to quench the god of fire,
But thou shalt die if death from me desire.”
The giant forms a moment fiercely glared,
And carefully advanced with weapons bared,
Which flash in the bright rays like blades of fire,
And now in parry meet with blazing ire.
Each firmly stood and rained their ringing blows,
And caught each stroke upon their blades, till glows
The forest round with sparks of fire that flew
Like blazing meteors from their weapons true;
And towering in their rage they cautious sprung
Upon each, foiled, while the deep Suk-ha[16] rung.
At last the monarch struck a mighty blow,
His foeman’s shield of gold, his blade cleft through;
And as the lightning swung again his sword,
And struck the chieftain’s blade upon the sward,
A Sedu springs from out the tangled copse,
And at his feet the sword still ringing drops.
The King his sword placed at his foeman’s throat
And shouted:

“Hal-ca[17] to yon waiting boat!
Or I will send thy body down this stream!
“Ca is-kab-bu! va kal-bu!”[18] whence you came!”
The chief disarmed now slunk away surprised,
And o’er the strength of Sar-dan-nu[19] surmised.
The King returns, and rides within the gate
Of Erech, and the council entered late.

[Footnote 1: “Dum-khi,” couch.]—-[Footnote 2: “Su-khu-li rabi,” attendants of the King.]—-[Footnote 3: “Masari,” guards of the palace.]—-[Footnote 4: “Nam-za-ki,” openers of the gates.]—-[Footnote 5: “Zu,” the divine bird of the storm-cloud, the god worshipped by Izdubar, the god who stole the tablets of heaven.]—-[Footnote 6: The seven wicked spirits in the form of men with faces of ravens.]—-[Footnote 7: “Nus-ku,” the gate-keeper of thunder.]—-[Footnote 8: “Gibil,” the god of fire and spells and witchcraft.]—-[Footnote 9: “Ner-gal,” director of the storms, the giant King of War, the strong begetter.]—-[Footnote 10: “Rimmon,” the god of storms and hurricanes.]—-[Footnote 11: “Nin-a-zu,” the goddess of fate and death.]—-[Footnote 12: “Zi-pis-au-ni,” spirits of the papyri, or reeds.]—-[Footnote 13: Mountain range of Zu. The ancient name is unknown, but as Susa takes its name from Zu, the divine bird of the storm-cloud, we have given the mountains of Susiana their probable ancient name.]—-[Footnote 14: “Dib-bara” (“the darkening one”), the son of Nuk-khu. He is supposed to have been the viceroy of Khumbaba, and led the attack upon Erech.]—-[Footnote 15: “Nuk-hu,” or “Nuk-khu,” the god of darkness and sleep. He is sometimes called “Cus-u.”]—-[Footnote 16: “Suk-ha,” wood or grove, or a forest.]—-[Footnote 17: “Hal-ca!” “Go!”]—-[Footnote 18: “Ca is-kab-bu! va kal-bu!” “Thou fool and dog!” “Ca” (“thou”) is the short form of “cat-ta” or “ca’a”; generally it appears as “at-ta.”]—-[Footnote 19: “Sar-dan-nu,” the great King.]

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE®

SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature (1901); Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.
CONTRIBUTOR: John Hague

Advertisements

World News Headlines: 11-24-2018

GERMANY (DW) Climate change will batter US economy, study warns, as Donald Trump downplays threat; A new report has warned climate change could bring widespread hardship to the United States if nothing is done to stop it. President Donald Trump has downplayed the threat amid freezing temperatures this week.

(DW) How California became Donald Trump’s most hated state; Donald Trump’s recent attack on California over forest management was the latest in a series of potshots he and other Republicans have taken against the Golden State. Why do Republicans love to hate California?

(DW) Threatening Brexit ‘veto,’ Spain demands written commitment from UK on Gibraltar; EU leaders are set to sign off on the exit deal for the UK at the weekend. But Spain wants a commitment in writing from London ahead of the summit.

(DW) Will the yellow vest protests push France further to the right?; France’s so-called yellow vest protests are a vehicle for those who feel left behind by politicians in the capital. The demonstrations could boost support for far-right parties. Lisa Louis reports from Paris.

(DW) Amnesty International decries Europe’s ‘outdated’ rape laws; Germany is one of only eight European countries that define rape as sex without consent. Amnesty International says governments must overhaul “outdated” laws that let perpetrators off the hook.

(DW) Taiwan votes on gay marriage, controversial name change; Millions of Taiwanese are voting for local representatives in a set of referendums on Saturday. The outcome of one referendum threatens to further burden an already volatile relationship between Taiwan and China.

(DW) UN grants North Korea sanctions exemption for North-South rail survey;
North and South Korea want to explore reconnecting their rail and road systems as part of efforts to ease tensions in the region. The South needed an exemption from the United Nations sanctions regime for that to happen.

(DW) Pakistani police arrest cleric behind Asia Bibi protests; Pakistani police have arrested the leader of a hard-line Islamist party who staged nationwide rallies against the acquittal of Christian woman Asia Bibi. The cleric’s protests brought major cities to a standstill.

(DW) China consulate attack: Why Pakistan’s Baloch separatists are against Beijing; The attack on a Chinese consulate in Karachi has raised concerns about the security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan. Experts say it also highlights the opposition to China’s economic projects in Baluchistan province.

(DW) Mexico: Caravan migrants shun Tijuana jobs, hoping to get to the US; With many migrants stranded in Tijuana, local authorities are trying to offer them jobs in the Mexican border town. But most migrants are determined to reach the US. Tobias Käufer reports from Tijuana.

(DW) Donald Trump pushes Supreme Court to rule on transgender military ban; The Trump administration has requested the US top court rule on cases involving his ban on transgender people serving in the military. Critics have accused Trump of enacting discriminatory policy in the armed forces.

(DW) Israeli settlers sue Airbnb for delisting West Bank homes; Airbnb is facing a class-action lawsuit in Israel for delisting homes in the occupied West Bank. Settlers claim Airbnb is unfairly targeting them, citing several other disputed territories where Airbnb listings remain.

FRANCE (France24) Report calls for France to return art taken during colonialism to Africa; President Emmanuel Macron announced Friday that France would return 26 works of art to Benin, hours after he was presented with a report calling for thousands of African artworks in French museums and taken during the colonial period to be returned.

(France24) France braces for further ‘yellow vest’ protests; France is preparing for another wave of ‘yellow vest’ protests on Saturday, as protesters’ anger over rising fuel prices shows no sign of dying down.

(France24) DR Congo opposition figures Tshisekedi and Kamerhe form joint ticket; Congolese presidential candidate Vital Kamerhe endorsed rival Felix Tshisekedi on Friday, creating a second opposition bloc that will contest the December 23 election against President Joseph Kabila’s preferred successor.

(France24) UN envoy to Yemen arrives in Hodeida to encourage calm; UN envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in the battleground Yemeni port city of Hodeida on Friday to encourage the warring sides to exercise restraint ahead of planned peace talks in December.

(France24) Dozens killed as bomb hidden in vegetables tears through Pakistan market; At least 31 people were killed and 50 wounded when a bomb hidden in a carton of vegetables ripped through a crowded marketplace in Pakistan’s restive northwestern tribal region Friday, officials said.

JAPAN (NHK) Matsui to move fast on Expo organizing body; he governor of Osaka has pledged to swiftly establish an organizing body for the city’s World Expo to be held in 2025. Governor Ichiro Matsui appeared on NHK on Saturday, after Osaka beat 2 other host candidates in the vote at the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris. Matsui said he feels the weight of his new responsibilities at the start of preparations.

(NHK) French minister backs Nissan-Renault alliance; The French economy minister says both the French and Japanese governments are committed to supporting the alliance between automakers, Nissan and Renault. Bruno Le Maire told reporters in Paris on Friday that the world’s top automotive alliance is contributing to investment and innovation. Nissan and Renault, together with their partner Mitsubishi Motors, became top car sellers globally in the first half of this year.

(NHK) Taiwan elections a test for President Tsai; Voters in Taiwan are casting their ballots in local elections, with a focus on whether President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party can retain its seats. The island-wide poll includes races to choose 22 mayors and governors. The Democratic Progressive Party holds 13 of the posts. The vote is widely seen as a rehearsal for the 2020 presidential election. Polls opened at 8 AM on Saturday. President Tsai and former president Ma Ying-jeou of the opposition Nationalist Party voted in the morning.

(NHK) Japan, Russia FMs agree to deepen discussions; Foreign ministers of Japan and Russia have reaffirmed that they will deepen their discussions after the 2 countries’ leaders agreed to speed up talks on a peace treaty based on a decades-old joint declaration. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Rome on Friday on the sidelines of an international conference. Kono later told reporters that they had a frank exchange on peace treaty negotiations.

(NHK) D&G founders apologize amid video ad outrage; The co-founders of Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana have asked China for “forgiveness” after an internet ad campaign went disastrously wrong. A video ad for the luxury brand showed an Asian woman struggling to use chopsticks as she eats pizza and other Italian food. Users of social media have accused the company of racism. They say the ads imply Chinese people are too stupid to know how to eat food from other countries. Designer Domenico Dolce and co-founder Stefano Gabbana issued an apology online on Friday.

(NHK) Kono to help arrange Pope Francis’ visit to Japan; apan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, who serves as the Vatican’s foreign minister, have confirmed that they will work together to arrange a visit by Pope Francis to Japan next year. The 2 met in the Vatican on Friday after Kono attended an international conference in Rome. It was Kono’s first visit to the Vatican since taking office. Kono said he welcomed Pope Francis’ wish to visit Japan next year, and pledged to help make it possible. The 2 said that they will cooperate through diplomatic channels. The last pope to visit Japan was John Paul the Second in 1981.

(NHK) China: Situation is severe on swine fever; Chinese authorities dealing with multiple outbreaks of African swine fever have described the situation as “severe”. The virus is not harmful to humans but is highly contagious and almost always fatal for hogs. It is also known as hog cholera. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs gave a news conference in Beijing on Friday as the disease spreads across the country. Feng Zhongwu, deputy director of the husbandry and veterinary bureau, said 73 cases have been reported since August, and 600,000 pigs have been culled. He said it could take more than 30 years to eradicate the virus, and it is necessary to implement measures with a long-term perspective. Feng said some local authorities have been making false reports concerning infections. He said the government will tighten its oversight. The Chinese government previously said the situation was under control, but it’s now stepping up efforts to contain the virus.

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrainis vote on Saturday in a parliamentary election from which opposition groups have been barred in a crackdown on dissent in the Western-allied kingdom as tensions with the Shi’ite Muslim opposition show no signs of abating. Activists have called for a boycott of what they describe as “farce” elections, raising doubts about the credibility of the polls. The government says the elections are democratic. Bahrain’s Sunni-Muslim ruling Al Khalifa family has kept a lid on dissent since the Shi’ite opposition staged a failed uprising in 2011. Saudi Arabia sent in troops to help crush the unrest in a mark of concern that any power-sharing concession by Bahrain could inspire Saudi Arabia’s own Shi’ite minority.

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) – Unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable migrants risk falling victim to crime in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, where thousands of Central Americans from caravans may be stuck for months as authorities tighten up asylum rules, advocates say. Some 4,600 migrants from the bedraggled caravans whose advance has angered U.S. President Donald Trump are camped out with blankets and little food in an overcrowded stadium in Tijuana, whose mayor has declared a “humanitarian crisis.”

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE®

CONTRIBUTOR: Staff