At early dawn the shining ranks are massed,
And Erech echoes with the trumpet’s blast;
The chosen men of Erech are in line,
And Ishtar in her car above doth shine.
The blazing standards high with shouts are raised,
As Samas’ car above grand Sumir blazed.
The march they sound at Izdubar’s command,
And thus they start for King Khumbaba’s land;
The gods in bright array above them shine,
By Ishtar led, with Samas, moon-god Sin,
On either side with Merodac and Bel,
And Ninip, Nergal, Nusku with his spell,
The sixty gods on chargers of the skies,
And Ishtar’s chariot before them flies.
Across Cazina’s desert far have come,
The armies now have neared Khumbaba’s home;
Beneath grand forests of tall cedar, pine,
And the dark shades near Khar-sak’s brow divine.
A brazen gate before them high appeared,
And massive walls which their great foe had reared;
The mighty gates on heavy pivots hung,
They broke, and on their brazen hinges swung
With clanging roars against the solid wall,
And sent through all the wilds a clarion call.
Within his halls Khumbaba is enthroned,
In grand Tul-Khumba’s walls by forests zoned
With her bright palaces and templed shrines,
The sanctuaries of the gods, where pines
Sigh on the wafting winds their rich perfumes;
Where Elam’s god with sullen thunder dooms
From Kharsak’s brow the wailing nation’s round,
And Elam’s hosts obey the awful sound.
The giant here his castled city old
Had strengthened, wrung his tributes, silver, gold;
His palace ceiling with pure silver shines,
And on his throne of gold from Magan’s mines
In all his pride the conqueror exults,
With wealth has filled his massive iron vaults.
Oft from his marble towers the plains surveys,
And sees his foes’ most ancient cities blaze;
While his “pa-te-si” lead his allied hosts,
And o’er his famous victories he boasts.
With Rimsin he allied when Erech fell,
The King of Sarsa, whose great citadel
Was stormed by Nammurabi the great Sar,
Ninrad of Erech, our King Izdubar.
Khumbaba’s ally was by him o’erthrown,
And thus appeared to take Khumbaba’s throne.
And now within his palace came a sound
That roared through all the forest, shook the ground:
“Our foes! our foes! the gate! hear how it rings!”
And from his throne the giant furious springs:
“Ho! vassals! sound the trump! ’tis Izdubar,
To arms! our foes are on us from afar!”
His weapons seizes, drives his men in fear
Before him with his massive sword and spear,
And as a tempest from his lips he pours
His orders, while his warrior steed he spurs
Along his serried lines of bristling spears;
Among the pines the army disappears.
The men of Accad now in squadrons form,
Arrayed to take Khumbaba’s towers by storm;
While Izdubar the forest black surveyed
Of pines and cedars thickly grown, and made
A reconnoitre of his hidden foe.
The road was straight; afar the turrets glow
With Samas’ light, and all the gods arrayed,
Ride o’er the pines and flash through their dark shade.
The glorious blaze of Accad’s glistening spears
One “kaspu” pass, and now the foe appears;
Beneath the deepest shadows of the pines
Khumbaba stands with solid battle lines
Before the marching host of Izdubar.
The forest echoes with the shouts of war,
As they sweep on with ringing battle cries,
Now loudly echoed from the woods and skies:
““Kar-ro! kar-ra!” we follow Izdubar!”
And through the forests fly the bolts of war.
The foe beheld the gods in wrath above,
And Accad’s charging lines toward them move,
But bravely stand to meet the onset fierce,
Their mailed armor, shields, no arrows pierce.
And now in direst conflict meet the mass,
And furious still meets ringing bronze and brass,
Khumbaba on his mighty steed of war,
Above the ranks towers high a giant Sar,
And sweeps the men of Accad with his blade,
Till to his breast a heap of corpses made,
And fiercely urged his men to fight, to die;
And Izdubar, with helmet towering high,
His men has led with fury on the foe,
And massacres each man with one fell blow,
Who dares to stand in front with sword or spear,
And fighting by him stands his valiant seer.
The gods now rushing from the gleaming sky,
With blazing weapons carry victory;
The foe no longer stand before the sight,
And shouting fly away in wild affright.
Their monarch turned and slowly rode away;
And Accad’s hosts his men pursue and slay,
Until the forest deep resounds with cries.
To save himself each man in terror flies.
[Footnote 1: “Mag-an” or “Mizir,” Egypt, or the famous mines of Africa.]–[Footnote 2: “Karra! kar-ra!” (cry out) “Hurrah! hurrah!”]
SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature (1901): Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.