(His Death In The Clouds–Funeral Procession Of The Gods–Ishtar’s Elegy Over The Death Of Tammuz–His Revival In Hades, Where He Is Crowned As The Lord Of Hades–Ishtar’s Return Brings Light And Love Back To Earth.)
But see! they pass from those dark gates and walls,
And fly upon the breeze from Hades’ halls,
Hark! hark! the sounding harp is stilled! it falls
From Tammuz’s hands! Oh, how its wailing calls
To you bright “zi-ni” flying through the skies,
See! one sweet spirit of the wind swift flies
And grasps the wailing harp before it ends
Its wail of woe, and now beneath it bends,
With silent pinions listening to its strings,
Wild sobbing on the winds;–with wailing rings
The conscious harp, and trembles in her hands.
A rush of pinions comes from myriad lands,
With moanings sends afar the awful tale,
And mourners brings with every whispering gale.
And see! the queen’s companion fainting sinks!
She lays him on that cloud with fleecy brinks!
And oh! his life is ebbing fast away!
She wildly falls upon his breast, and gray
Her face becomes with bitter agony.
She tearless kneels, wrapt in her misery
And now upon his breast she lays her head,
With tears that gods, alas! with men must shed;
She turning, sobs to her sweet waiting maids,
Who weeping o’er her stand with bended heads:
“Assemble, oh, my maids, in mourning here,
The gods! and spirits of the earth bring near!”
They come! they come! three hundred spirits high,
The heavenly spirits come! the I-gi-gi!
From Heaven’s streams and mouths and plains and vales,
And gods by thousands on the wings of gales.
The spirits of the earth, An-un-na-ci,
Now join around their sisters of the sky.
Hark! hear her weeping to the heavenly throng,
Imploring them to chant their mournful song:
“With your gold lyres, the dirge, oh, sing with me!
And moan with me, with your sweet melody;
With swelling notes, as zephyrs softly wail,
And cry with me as sobbing of the gale.
O Earth! dear Earth! oh, wail with thy dead trees!
With sounds of mountain torrents, moaning seas!
And spirits of the lakes, and streams, and vales,
And Zi-ku-ri of mountains’ trackless trail,
Join our bright legions with your queen! Oh, weep
With your sad tears, dear spirits of the deep!
Let all the mournful sounds of earth be heard,
The breeze hath carried stored from beast and bird;
Join the sweet notes of doves for their lost love
To the wild moans of hours,–wailing move;
Let choirs of Heaven and of the earth then peal,
All living beings my dread sorrow feel!
Oh, come with saddest, weirdest melody,
Join earth and sky in one sweet threnody!”
Ten thousand times ten thousand now in line,
In all the panoplies of gods divine;
A million crowns are shining in the light,
A million sceptres, robes of purest white!
Ten thousand harps and lutes and golden lyres
Are waiting now to start the Heavenly choirs.
And lo! a chariot from Heaven comes,
While halves rise from yonder sapphire domes;
A chariot incrusted with bright gems,
A blaze of glory shines from diadems.
See! in the car the queen o’er Tammuz bends,
And nearer the procession slowly wends,
Her regal diadem with tears is dimmed;
And her bright form by sorrow is redeemed
To sweeter, holier beauty in her woe;
Her tears a halo form and brighter flow.
Caparisoned with pearls, ten milk-white steeds
Are harnessed to her chariot that leads;
On snow-white swans beside her ride her maids,
They come! through yonder silver cloudy glades!
Behind her chariot ten sovereigns ride;
Behind them comes all Heaven’s lofty pride,
On pale white steeds, the chargers of the skies.
The clouds of snowy pinions rustling rise!
But hark! what is that strain of melody
That fills our souls with grandest euphony?
Hear how it swells and dies upon the breeze!
To softest whisper of the leaves of trees;
Then sweeter, grander, nobler, sweeping comes,
Like myriad lyres that peal through Heaven’s domes.
But, oh! how sad and sweet the notes now come!
Like music of the spheres that softly hum;
It rises, falls, with measured melody,
With saddest notes and mournful symphony.
From all the universe sad notes repeat
With doleful strains of woe transcendent, sweet;
Hush! hear the song! my throbbing heart be still!
The songs of gods above the heavens fill!
“Oh, weep with your sweet tears, and mourning chant,
O’er this dread loss of Heaven’s queen.
With her, O sisters, join your sweetest plaint
O’er our dear Tammuz, Tammuz slain.
Come, all ye spirits, with your drooping wings,
No more to us sweet joy he brings;
Ah, me, my brother!
Oh, weep! oh, weep! ye spirits of the air,
Oh, weep! oh, weep! An-un-na-ci!
Our own dear queen is filled with dread despair.
Oh, pour your tears, dear earth and sky,
Oh, weep with bitter tears, O dear Sedu,
O’er fearful deeds of Nin-azu;
Ah, me, my brother!
Let joy be stilled! and every hope be dead!
And tears alone our hearts distil.
My love has gone!–to darkness he has fled;
Dread sorrow’s cup for us, oh, fill!
And weep for Tammuz we have held so dear,
Sweet sisters of the earth and air;
Ah, me, my sister!
Oh, come ye, dearest, dearest Zi-re-nu,
With grace and mercy help us bear
Our loss and hers; our weeping queen, oh, see!
And drop with us a sister’s tear.
Before your eyes our brother slain! oh, view;
Oh, weep with us o’er him so true;
Ah, me, his sister!
The sky is dead; its beauty all is gone,
Oh, weep, ye clouds, for my dead love!
Your queen in her dread sorrow now is prone.
O rocks and hills in tears, oh, move!
And all my heavenly flowerets for me weep,
O’er him who now in death doth sleep;
Ah, me, my Tammuz!
Oh, drop o’er him your fragrant dewy tears,
For your own queen who brings you joy,
For Love, the Queen of Love, no longer cheers,
Upon my heart it all doth cloy.
Alas! I give you love, nor can receive,
O all my children for me grieve;
Ah, me, my Tammuz!
Alas! alas! my heart is dying–dead!
With all these bitter pangs of grief
Despair hath fallen on my queenly head,
Oh, is there, sisters, no relief?
Hath Tammuz from me ever, ever, gone?
My heart is dead, and turned to stone;
Ah, me, his queen!
My sister spirits, O my brothers dear,
My sorrow strikes me to the earth;
Oh, let me die! I now no fate can fear,
My heart is left a fearful dearth.
Alas, from me all joy! all joy! hath gone;
Oh, Ninazu, what hast thou done?
Ah, me, his queen!”
To Hades’ world beyond our sight they go,
And leave upon the skies Mar-gid-da’s glow,
That shines eternally along the sky,
The road where souls redeemed shall ever fly.
Prince Tammuz now again to life restored,
Is crowned in Hades as its King and Lord,
And Ishtar’s sorrow thus appeased, she flies
To earth, and fills with light and love the skies.
[Footnote 1: “Zi-ni,” pronounced “Zee-nee,” spirits of the wind.]–[Footnote 2: “Ah, me, my brother, and, ah, me, my sister! Ah, me, Adonis (or Tammuz), and ah, me, his lady (or queen)!” is the wailing cry uttered by the worshippers of Tammuz or Adonis when celebrating his untimely death. It is referred to in Jer. xxii. 18, and in Ezek. viii. 14, and Amos viii. 10, and Zech. xii. 10, 11. See Smith’s revised edition of “Chal. Acc. of Genesis,” by Sayce, pp. 247, 248.]–[Footnote 3: “Mar-gid-da,” “the Long Road.” We have also given the Accadian name for “The Milky Way.” It was also called by them the “River of Night.”]–[Footnote 4: “Lord of Hades” is one of the titles given to Tammuz in an Accadian hymn found in “C.I.W.A.,” vol. iv. 27, 1, 2. See also translation in “Records of the Past,” vol. xi. p. 131.]
SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature; Alcove II, Tablet VI (1901): Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.