(FLIES FROM THE EARTH AND INTERCEDES FOR THE RELEASE OF ISHTAR, AND HEA GRANTS HIS PRAYER)
O Hope! thou fleeting pleasure of the mind,
Forever with us stay, our hearts to bind!
We cling to thee till life has fled away;
Our dearest phantom, ever with us stay!
Without thee, we have naught but dread despair,
The worst of all our torments with us here;
Oh, come with thy soft pinions, o’er us shine!
And we will worship thee, a god divine:
The “ignis fatuus” of all our skies
That grandly leads us, vanishes and dies,
And we are left to grope in darkness here,
Without a ray of light our lives to cheer.
Oh, stay! sweet Love’s companion, ever stay!
And let us hope with love upon our way!
We reck not if a phantom thou hast been,
And we repent that we have ever seen
Thy light on earth to lead us far astray;
Forever stay! or ever keep away!
When Papsukul beheld in man’s abodes
The change that spread o’er blasted, lifeless clods,
And heard earth’s wailing through the waning light,
With vegetation passing out of sight,
From the doomed world to Heaven he quickly flies,
While from the earth are rising fearful cries.
To Samas’ throne he speeds with flowing tears,
And of the future dark he pours his fears.
To Sin, the moon-god, Pap-su-kul now cries
O’er Ishtar’s fate, who in black Hades lies;
O’er Earth’s dire end, which with Queen Ishtar dies;
To Hea he appeals with mournful cries:
“O Hea, our Creator, God and King!
Queen Ishtar now is lying prone.
To Earth, our godly queen again, oh, bring!
I trust thy love, O Holy One!
To all the gods who reign o’er us on high
I pray! thus Hope thine aid implores,
Release our queen! To Hades quickly fly!
Thy Pap-su-kul with faith adores.
“The bull hath left the lowing kine bereaved,
And sulking dies in solitude;
The ass hath fled away, his mates hath grieved,
And women are no more imbued
With love, and drive their husbands far away,
And wives enjoy not their caress;
All peace and love have gone from earth this day,
And love on earth knows not its bliss.
“The females die through all the living world,
Among all beasts, and men, and plants;
All love from them on earth have madly hurled,
For blissful love no more each pants;
And Samas’ light is turned away from Earth,
And left alone volcanoes’ fire;
The land is filled with pestilence and dearth,
All life on earth will soon expire.”
When Hea heard the solemn chant of Hope,
From his high throne he let his sceptre drop,
And cried: “And thus, I rule o’er all mankind!
For this, I gave them life, immortal mind;
To earth’s relief, my herald shall quick go,
I hear thy prayer, and song of Ishtar’s woe.”
“Go! At-su-su-namir, with thy bright head!
With all thy light spring forth! and quickly speed;
Towards the gates of Hades, turn thy face!
And quickly fly for me through yonder space.
Before thy presence may the seven gates
Of Hades open with their gloomy grates;
May Allat’s face rejoice before thy sight,
Her rage be soothed, her heart filled with delight;
But conjure her by all the godly names,
And fearless be,–towards the roaring streams
Incline thine ear, and seek the path there spread.
Release Queen Ishtar! raise her godly head!
And sprinkle her with water from the stream;
Her purify! a cup filled to the brim
Place to her lips that she may drink it all.
The herald as a meteor doth fall,
With blazing fire disparts the hanging gloom
Around the gates of that dark world of doom.”
SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature; Alcove II, Tablet VI (1901): Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.