Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: The Fight With The Winged Bull Of Anu (Part 28); Assyrian

The gods appear above to watch the fight,
And Erech’s “masari” rush in affright
To Izdubar, who sits upon his throne,
Before him fall in speechless terror prone.
A louder roar now echoes from the skies,
And Erech’s Sar without the palace flies.
He sees the monster light upon the plain,
And calls Heabani with the choicest men
Of Erech’s spearsmen armed, who fall in line
Without the gates, led by their Sar divine.

And now the monster rushed on Izdubar,
Who meets it as the god of chase and war.
With whirling sword before the monster’s face,
He rains his blows upon its front of brass
And horns, and drives it from him o’er the plain,
And now with spreading wings it comes again,
With maddened fury; fierce its eyeballs glare.
It rides upon the monarch’s pointed spear;
The scales the point have turned, and broke the haft.
Then as a pouncing hawk when sailing daft,
In swiftest flight o’er him drops from the skies,
But from the gleaming sword it quickly flies.
Three hundred warriors now nearer drew
To the fierce monster, which toward them flew;
Into their midst the monster furious rushed,
And through their solid ranks resistless pushed
To slay Heabani, onward fought and broke
Two lines and through the third, which met the shock
With ringing swords upon his horns and scales.
At last the seer it reaches, him impales
With its sharp horns: but valiant is the seer–
He grasps its crest and fights without a fear.
The monster from his sword now turns to fly;
Heabani grasps its tail, and turns his eye
Towards his king, while scudding o’er the plain.
So quickly has it rushed and fled amain,
That Izdubar its fury could not meet,
But after it he sprang with nimble feet.

Heabani loosed his grasp and stumbling falls,
And to his king approaching, thus he calls:
“My friend, our strongest men are overthrown:
But see! he comes! such strength was never known.
With all my might I held him, but he fled!
We both it can destroy! Strike at its head!”
Like Rimmon now he flies upon the air,
As sceptred Nebo,[1] he his horns doth bear,
That flash with fire along the roaring skies,
[2]Around the Sar and seer he furious flies.
Heabani grasps the plunging horns, nor breaks
His grasp; in vain the monster plunging shakes
His head, and roaring, upward furious rears.
Heabani’s strength the mighty monster fears;
He holds it in his iron grasp, and cries:
“Quick! strike!” Beneath the blows the monster dies;
And Izdubar now turned his furious face
Toward the gods, and on the beast doth place
His foot; he raised his gory sword on high,
And sent his shout defiant to the sky:
“‘Tis thus, ye foes divine! the Sar proclaims
His war against your power, and highest names!
Hurl! hurl! your darts of fire, ye vile “kal-bi!”[3]
My challenge hear! ye cravens of the sky!”

[Footnote 1: “Nebo,” the holder of the sceptre of power; also the god of prophecy.]–[Footnote 2: “Around” (“tarka”), or it may mean “between.”]–[Footnote 3: “Kal-bi,” dogs.]

SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature; Alcove II, Tablet V (1901): Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.

Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: The Curse Of Ishtar (Part 29); Assyrian

Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: Ishtar Complains To Anu, King Of Heaven, (Part 27)

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