Friday, October 1, 2010

Nin-me-sar-ra (Adoration of Inanna) - III

This is the third of a four-part translation of the oldest surviving lyric poem in human history. In this segment, the poet calls forth multiple gods to help her escape her banishment from the holy temple, where she was supplanted as priestess by an unidentifiable male entity.

Sin, tell Heaven of my heart-wrenching fate.
Declare it unto Heaven, and Heaven will deliver me.
Report it into Heaven, and we will be released.
"The Lady will seize the kingship,
Foreign lands and flooded sands lie at her feet.
Woman so exalted, who can make the cities tremble
Step forward, let her heart be soothed for me."
En-hedu-Ana am I, I say to you now in a prayer
My tears, like the sweetest beer
I shed them freely for you, Inanna,
"Your judgment" I submit myself to.

As for Asimbabbar, concern yourself not!
He changed the rites and altered everything.
He stripped great Heaven of its power.
He did not stand in awe of the greatest God.
He turned that temple of endless abundance,
Inexhaustible beauty, into a ruined house
Which he entered as if my companion, but really it was envy!
My wild holy cow, drive out the man! Capture the man!
In this place where life is made possible - where do I stand?
Heaven should force them to surrender the city!
Heaven should strike the despised rebels down!
Enlil should curse them!

The mother shall not soothe her crying child!
O Queen with your lamenting all over the land
May your ship of lamentation be left for the enemy behind!
Must I die for my holy songs?
I - My Nanna has not decided my case.
In renegade land, he destroyed me utterly.
He has not passed a final judgment on me!
Has he pronounced it or not? Does it mean anything?
He stood there in triumph, and drove me from the temple.
He made me fly like a swallow from the window - my life was devoured
—And so I must go to the thorns of the mountain.
He stripped me of my rightful tiara
And gave me a eunuch, saying "this is now your crown!"

One and only Queen, beloved of Heaven, may your heart beat
On my behalf! Beloved wife of Dumuzi
You are the Queen from Horizon to Zenith.
The great gods, the Anuna, submitted to you.
You were born a younger sister
But now you're so much greater!
The Anuna put their lips to the ground before you
But my trial is not yet over, a strange verdict hangs as if my verdict.
To the fruitful bed I did not reach out my hand
And the holy commands I did not reveal to man
Radiant High Priestess of Nanna that I am.
My Queen, beloved of Heaven, may your heart forgive me.

It must be known! It must be known! Nanna has not yet spoken a decree
—"It is yours" is what it said!
Be it known you are as high as the sky!
Be it known you are as wide as the world!
Be it known that you massacre the rebellious!
Be it known that you roar against trespassers!
Be it known how you crush skulls!
Be it known how you devour the dead like a dog!
Be it known your terrible gaze!
Be it known how you raise your terrible gaze!
Be it known of your flashing eyes!
Be it known you are uncompromising!
Be it known you stand triumphant at all times!

That Nanna has not spoken out, and said that "It is yours"
Only makes it sweeter, it makes your power more!
My Queen, beloved of Heaven, I'll reveal to all your wrath!
In the censor I have heaped the coals, the lustration is prepared,
The nuptial chamber waits for you. May your heart be gratified!

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