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The Epic of Gilgamesh Translation

Translated by Stephen Langdon, University of Pennsylvania

smithsonian.com

Gilgamish arose interpreting dreams,
addressing his mother.
"My mother! during my night
I, having become lusty, wandered about
in the midst of omens.
And there came out stars in the heavens,
Like a … of heaven he fell upon me.
I bore him but he was too heavy for me.
He bore a net but I was not able to bear it.
I summoned the land to assemble unto him,
that heroes might kiss his feet.
He stood up before me
and they stood over against me.
I lifted him and carried him away unto thee."
The mother of Gilgamish she that knows all things,
said unto Gilgamish:—
"Truly oh Gilgamish he is
born in the fields like thee.
The mountains have reared him.
Thou beholdest him and art distracted[?]
Heroes kiss his feet.
Thou shalt spare him….
Thou shalt lead him to me."
Again he dreamed and saw another dream
and reported it unto his mother.
"My mother, I have seen another
[dream. I beheld] my likeness in the street.
In Erech of the wide spaces
he hurled the axe,
and they assembled about him.
Another axe seemed his visage.
I saw him and was astounded.
I loved him as a woman,
falling upon him in embrace.
I took him and made him
my brother."
The mother of Gilgamish she that knows all things
[said unto Gilgamish:—]
that he may join with thee in endeavor."
[Thus] Gilgamish solves [his] dream.
Enkidu sitting before the hierodule
[ ] forgot where he was born.
Six days and seven nights
came forth Enkidu
and cohabited with the courtesan.
The hierodule opened her mouth
speaking unto Enkidu.
"I behold thee Enkidu; like a god thou art.
Why with the animals
wanderest thou on the plain?
Come! I will lead thee
into the midst of Erech of the wide places,
even unto the holy house, dwelling place of Anu.
Oh Enkidu, arise, I will conduct thee
unto Eanna dwelling place of Anu,
where Gilgamish [oppresses] the souls of men[?]
And as I ............
thou shalt ........ thyself.
Come thou, arise from the ground
unto the place yonder [?] of the shepherd."
He heard her speak and accepted her words with favor.
The advice of the woman
fell upon his heart.
She tore off one garment
and clothed him with it.
With a second garment
she clothed herself.
She clasped his hand,
guiding him like ..............
unto the mighty presence of the shepherd,
unto the place of the ... of the sheepfolds.
In ......... to shepherd
.............................
[About two lines broken away.]
Milk of the cattle
he drank.
Food they placed before him.
He broke bread
gazing and looking.
But Enkidu understood not.
Bread to eat,
beer to drink,
he had not been taught.
The hierodule opened her mouth
and said unto Enkidu:—
"Eat bread, oh Enkidu!
It is the conformity of life,
of the conditions and the fate of the land."
Enkidu ate bread,
until he was satiated.
Beer he drank
seven times[?].
His thoughts became unbounded and he shouted loudly.
His heart became joyful,
and his face glowed.
He stroked.................
the hair of the head. His body
with oil he anointed.
He became like a man.
He attired himself with clothes
even as does a husband.
He seized his weapon,
which the panther and lion
fells in the night time cruelly.
He captured the wild mountain goats.
The panther he conquered.
Among the great sheep for sacrifice
Enkidu was their guard.
A man, a leader,
A hero.
Unto .......... he elevated
[About five lines broken away.]
And he made glad.
He lifted up his eyes,
and beheld the man,
and said unto the hierodule:—
"Oh harlot, take away the man.
Wherefore did he come to me?
I would forget the memory of him."
The hierodule called unto the man
and came unto him beholding him.
She sorrowed and was astonished
how his ways were ............
Behold she opened her mouth
saying unto Enkidu:—
"At home with a family [to dwell??]
is the fate of mankind.
Thou shouldest design boundaries[??]
for a city. The trencher-basket put [upon thy head].
.... ......an abode of comfort.
For the king of Erech of the wide places
open, addressing thy speech as unto a husband.
Unto Gilgamish king of Erech of the wide places
open, addressing thy speech
as unto a husband.
He cohabits with the wife decreed for him,
even he formerly.
But henceforth
in the counsel which god has spoken,
in the work of his presence
shall be his fate."
At the mention of the hero
his face became pale.
[About five lines broken away.]
going .......................
and the harlot ..... after him.
He entered into the midst of Erech of the wide places.
The artisans gathered about him.
And as he stood in the street
of Erech of the wide places,
the people assembled
disputing round about him:—
"How is he become like Gilgamish suddenly?
In form he is shorter.
In ........ he is made powerful.
Milk of the cattle
he drank.
Continually in the midst of Erech weapons
the heroes purified.
A project was instituted.
Unto the hero whose countenance was turned away,
unto Gilgamish like a god
he became for him a fellow.
For Išhara a couch
was laid.
Gilgamish ...................
In the night he ..............
embracing her in sleep.
They ........ in the street
halting at the ................
of Gilgamish.
.......... mightily[?]
A road[?] ....................
Gilgamish ...................
in the plain ..................
his hair growing thickly like the corn.
He came forth ...
into his presence.
They met in the wide park of the land.
Enkidu held fast the door
with his foot,
and permitted not Gilgamish to enter.
They grappled with each other
goring like an ox.
The threshold they destroyed.
The wall they demolished.
Gilgamish and Enkidu
grappled with each other,
goring like an ox.
The threshold they destroyed.
The wall they demolished.
Gilgamish bowed
to the ground at his feet
and his javelin reposed.
He turned back his breast.
After he had turned back his breast,
Enkidu unto that one
spoke, even unto Gilgamish.
"Even as one did thy mother
bear thee,
she the wild cow of the cattle stalls,
Ninsunna,
whose head she exalted more than a husband.
Royal power over the people
Enlil has decreed for thee."

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