Prince Zaidu on his steed now hastes away,
Upon the plains he travelled all that day;
Next morn the Za-Gabri he slow ascends,
Along the mountain sides the horseman wends
Beneath the Eri-ni, and cliffs, and sees
The plains and mountains o’er the misty trees
From the wild summit, and old Khar-sak glow
Above them all with its twin crests of snow.
He plunges in the wild to seek the cave;
Three days unceasing sought young Zaidu brave,
And now at last within the glen he rode,
And near approached Heabani’s wild abode.
At last he sees the seer before his home,
And with his monster now toward him come,
That walked subdued beside the hermit seer,
Thus they upon the rocks above appear.
“Why art thou here in warrior’s array?”
The hermit cries. “I know thee not! away!”
“O holy seer, ’tis Zaidu, from our Sar!
The king of Erech, chieftain Izdubar.”
“What seekest thou within my mountain lair?”
Heabani angry cried. “What brings thee here?”
“For thee! if true Heabani is thy name;
I seek the hermit seer of wondrous fame.
My king doth offer thee rich gifts of state,
And sent me to thee here to make thee great.”
“No empty honors do I seek, which void
Of all true happiness, all men have cloyed.
Return then to thy haunts of pleasure, pain,
For thy king’s embassy is all in vain.”
The seer returns within his lonely cave
And leaves the prince alone the beast to brave.
At last it slinks away within the gloom;
No more from their wild home doth either come,
Three days Prince Zaidu watches the dark lair,
But now his courage turns to blank despair:
The seer hath changed his mind since Samas sought
To urge him forth to leave his lonely lot.
The prince the mountain precipice now climbs,
And peers within while clinging to the limbs
Of stunted oaks, and views the mountain lair;
But all in vain his calls ring on the air.
Then mounting wearily his steed he turns
Away, and unsuccessful thus returns.
[Footnote 1: “Eri-ni,” cedar-trees.]–[Footnote 2: A carnivorous animal supposed to have been either a lion or a tiger, more probably a lion.]
THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE®
SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature, Alcove 1, Tablet 2, Column 5, Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.
CONTRIBUTOR: John Hague