Showing posts with label Pearl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pearl. Show all posts

Friday, 27 December 2019

Noah’s Cave

You can, of course - 
You can drink yourself to Death.

And that's rather pleasant.

And that's what you tried to do?
You tried to drink yourself to death...?

I Had a Go, yeah.
- R.B.




UTNAPISHTIM: 
Old Babylonian Utanapishtim, Sumerian Ziusudra
In the Sumerian poems he is a 
Wise King and Priest of Shurrupak

Iin the Akkadian sources he is a  
Wise Citizen of Shurrupak. 

He is the son of Ubara Tutu,
 and his name is usually translated, 
'He Who Saw Life'

He is the protege of the god Ea, by whose connivance he Survives The Flood, with his family and with 
'the seed of all living creatures'

Afterwards he is taken by the gods to live for ever at 
'the mouth of the rivers' and given the epithet 'Faraway

Or according to the Sumerians he lives in
 Dihnun where The Sun Rises



RODNEY :
What about Albert, though.

DEL :
We got to find something for him to do.
Yeah, well I've sorted it all out.

UNCLE ALBERT :
I wouldn't waste your time boys.
‘Cos I'm not going.

DEL :
Oi, come here Albert, what you mean not going? 

UNCLE ALBERT :

Listen to me son —
I've spent three-quarters of my life sailing round This World.
Now, all I want is a place to sit down and stay there.
When I come to live with you two I hoped that I would end My Days here.

RODNEY :
Yeah, well so did we.
But, I mean, this is a great opportunity for us Unc.

UNCLE ALBERT :
Yeah.
It's a young man's oppertunity Rodney.
I'll be alright here on my own.

DEL :
Alright, if that's what you really want Unc.
Listen, I'll make sure you're alright for a few bob.

UNCLE ALBERT :
Yeah, you're a good boy Del.





"Well.... There was a second or two, I think, perhaps about.... a year ago, when, ah, I didn't fancy much... staying alive."


Really? You contemplated suicide?


"Oh, no...!
No, I wouldn't kill myself... in there ordinary sense of The Word..

I wouldn't take pills, or drugs, or.... anything, really, in that sense, but -

I did suddenly wake up one morning, and found how splendidnly rich, and extraordinary The World was,


And I couldn't bear it's richness, and it's beauty.
And in order obviate  the idea of the richness and the extraordinary beauty of The World -
I Thought, 'It's best  to leave it.'

How do you leave it, if you don't top yourself?

Well, you can kill yourself any second -
I don't mean by... any obvious means.

You can, of course - 
You can drink yourself to death.

And that's rather pleasant.


It's better than falling on a sword...!
And that's what you tried to do?
You tried to drink yourself to death...?

I Had a Go, yeah.
 








THE SEARCH FOR EVERLASTING LIFE

BITTERLY Gilgamesh wept for his friend Enkidu; he wandered over the wilderness as a hunter, he roamed over the plains; in his bitterness he cried, 'How can I rest, how can I be at peace? Despair is in my heart. What my brother is now, that shall I be when I am dead. Because I am afraid of death I will go as best I can to find Utnapishtim whom they call the Faraway, for he has entered the assembly of the gods.' 

So Gilgamesh travelled over the wilderness, he wandered over the grasslands, a long journey, in search of Utnapishtim, whom the gods took after the deluge; and they set him to live in the land of Dilmun, in the garden of the sun; and to him alone of men they gave everlasting life.

At night when he came to the mountain passes Gilgamesh prayed: 'In these mountain passes long ago I saw lions, I was afraid and I lifted my eyes to the moon; I prayed and my prayers went up to the gods, so now, O moon god Sin, protect me.'  

When he had prayed he lay down to sleep, until he was woken from out of a dream. He saw the lions round him glorying in life; then he took his axe in his hand, he drew his sword from his belt, and he fell upon them like an arrow from the string, and struck and destroyed and scattered them.

So at length Gilgamesh came to Mashu, the great mountains about which he had heard many things, which guard the rising and the setting sun. 

Its twin peaks are as high as the wall of heaven and its paps reach down to the underworld. At its gate the Scorpions stand guard, half man and half dragon; their glory is terrifying, their stare strikes death into men, their shimmering halo sweeps the mountains that guard the rising sun. 

When Gilgamesh saw them he shielded his eyes for the length of a moment only; then he took courage and approached. 

When they saw him so undismayed the Man-Scorpion called to his mate, 'This one who comes to us now is flesh of the gods.

The mate of the Man-Scorpion answered, 'Two thirds is god but one third is man.'

Then he called to the man Gilgamesh, he called to the child of the gods: ' Why have you come so great a journey; for what have you travelled so far, crossing the dangerous waters; tell me the reason for your coming?'  

Gilgamesh answered, 'For Enkidu; I loved him dearly, together we endured all kinds of hardships; on his account I have come, for the common lot of man has taken him. 

I have wept for him day and night, I would not give up his body for burial, I thought my friend would come back because of my weeping. 

Since he went, my life is nothing; that is why I have travelled here in search of Utnapishtim my father; for men say he has entered the assembly of the gods, and has found everlasting life: I have a desire to question him, concerning the living and the dead.' 

The Man-Scorpion opened his mouth and said, speaking to Gilgamesh, 'No man born of woman has done what you have asked, no mortal man has gone into the mountain; the length of it is twelve leagues of darkness; in it there is no light, but the heart is oppressed with darkness. 

From the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun there is no light.' 

Gilgamesh said, 'Although I should go in sorrow and in pain, with sighing and with weeping, still I must go. Open the gate ' of the mountain:' 

 And the Man-Scorpion said, 'Go, Gilgamesh, I permit you to pass through the mountain of Mashu and through the high ranges; may your feet carry you safely home. 

The gate of the mountain is open.'

When Gilgamesh heard this he did as the Man-Scorpion had said, he followed the sun's road to his rising, through the mountain. 

When he had gone one league the darkness became thick around him, for there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him. 

After two leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him. 

After three leagues the darkness was thick, and there was no w light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him. 

After four leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him. 

At the end of five leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him. 

At the end of six leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him. 

When he had gone seven leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him. 

When he had gene eight leagues Gilgamesh gave a great cry, for the darkness was thick and he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him. 

After nine leagues he felt the north-wind on his face, but the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him. 

After ten leagues the end was near: 

After eleven leagues the dawn light appeared. 

At the end of twelve leagues the sun streamed out.

There was the garden of the gods; all round him stood bushes bearing gems. 

Seeing it he went down at once, for there was fruit of carnelian with the vine hanging from it, beautiful to look at; lapis lazuli leaves hung thick with fruit, sweet to see. 

For thorns and thistles there were haematite and rare stones, agate, and pearls from out of the sea. 


While Gilgamesh walked in the garden by the edge of the sea Shamash saw him, and he saw that he was dressed in the skins of animals and ate their flesh. 

He was distressed, and he spoke and said, 'No mortal man has gone this way before, nor will, as long as the winds drive over the sea.' 

And to Gilgamesh he said, 'You will never find the life for which you are searching.' 

Gilgamesh said to glorious Shamash, 'Now that I have toiled and strayed so far over the wilderness, am I to sleep, and let the earth cover my head for ever? Let my eyes see the sun until they are dazzled with looking. 

Although I am no better than a dead man, still let me see the light of the sun.'

Beside the sea she lives, the woman of the vine, the maker, of wine

Siduri sits in the garden at the edge of the sea, with the golden bowl and the golden vats that the gods gave her. 

She is covered with a veil; and where she sits she sees Gilgamesh coming towards her, wearing skins, the flesh of the gods in his body, but despair in his heart, and his face like the face of one who has made a long journey. 

She looked, and as she scanned the distance she said in her own heart, 'Surely this is some felon; where is he going now?' 

And she barred her gate against him with the cross-bar and shot home the bolt. 

But Gilgamesh, hearing the sound of the bolt, threw up his head and lodged his foot in the gate; he called to her,  
'Young woman, maker of wine, why do you bolt your door; what did you see that made you bar your gate? 

I will break in your door and burst in your gate, for I am Gilgamesh who seized and killed the Bull of Heaven, I killed the watchman of the cedar forest, I overthrew Humbaba who lived in the forest, and I killed the lions in the passes of the mountain.'

Then Siduri said to him, 'If you are that Gilgamesh who seized and killed the Bull of Heaven, who killed the watchman of the cedar forest, who overthrew Humbaba that lived in the forest, and killed the lions in the passes of the mountain, why are your cheeks so starved and why is your face so drawn? 

Why is despair in your heart and your face like the face of one who has made a long journey? 

Yes, why is your face burned from heat and cold, and why do you come here wandering over the pastures in search of the wind?

Gilgamesh answered her, 'And why should not my cheeks be starved and my face drawn? 

Despair is in my heart and my face is the face of one who has made a long journey, it was burned with heat and with cold. 

Why should I not wander over the pastures in search of the wind? 

My friend, my younger brother, he who hunted the wild ass of the wilderness and the panther of the plains, nay friend, my younger brother who seized and killed the Bull of Heaven and overthrew Humbaba in the cedar forest, my friend who was very dear to me and who endured dangers beside me, Enkidu my brother, whom I laved, the end of mortality has overtaken him. 

I wept far him seven days and nights till the worm fastened on him. 

Because of my brother I am afraid of death
because of my brother I stray through the wilderness and cannot rest. 

But now, young woman, maker of wine, since I have seen your face do not let me see the face of death which I dread so much.'

She answered, 'Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? 

You will never find that life for which you are looking. 

When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. 

As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. 

Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man.'

But Gilgamesh said to Siduri, the young woman, 'How can I be silent, how can I rest, when Enkidu whom I love is dust, and I too shall die and be laid in the earth. 

You live by the sea-shore and look into the heart of it; young woman, tell me now, which is the way to Utnapishtim, the son of Ubara-Tutu? 

What directions are there for the passage; give me, oh, give me directions. 

I will cross the Ocean if it is possible; if it is not I will wander still farther in the wilderness.' 

The wine-maker said to him, 'Gilgamesh, there is no crossing the Ocean; whoever has come, since the days of old, has not been able to pass that sea. 

The Sun in his glory crosses the Ocean, but who beside Shamash has ever crossed it? 

The place and the passage are difficult, and the waters of death are deep which flow between. Gilgamesh, how will you cross the Ocean? 

When you come to the waters of death what will you do? 

But Gilgamesh, down in the woods you will find Urshanabi, the ferryman of Utnapishtim; with him are the holy things, the things of stone. 

He is fashioning the serpent prow of the boat. 

Look at him well, and if it is possible, perhaps you will cross the waters with him; but if it is not possible, then you must go back.'

When Gilgamesh heard this he was seized with anger. 

He took his axe in his hand, and his dagger from his belt. 

He crept forward and he fell on them like a javelin. 

Then he went into the forest and sat down. 

Urshanabi saw the dagger flash and heard the axe, and he beat his head, for Gilgamesh had shattered the tackle of the boat in his rage. 

Urshanabi said to him, 'Tell me, what is your name? I am Urshanabi, the ferryman of Utnapishtim the Faraway.'' 

He replied to him, 'Gilgamesh is my name, I am from Uruk, from The House of Anu.' 

Then Urshanabi said to him, 'Why are your cheeks so starved and your face drawn? 

Why is despair in your heart and your face like the face of one who has made a long journey; yes, why is your face burned with heat and with cold, and why do you come here wandering over the pastures in search of the wind?

Gilgamesh said to him, 'Why should not my cheeks be starved and my face drawn? 

Despair is in my heart, and my face is the face of one who has made a long journey. 

I was burned with heat and with cold. 

Why should I not wander over the pastures? 

My friend, my younger brother who seized and killed the Bull of Heaven, and overthrew Humbaba in the cedar forest, my friend who was very dear to me, and who endured dangers beside me, Enkidu my brother whom I loved, the end of mortality has overtaken him. 

I wept for him seven days and nights till the worm fastened on him. 

Because of my brother I am afraid of death, because of my brother I stray through the wilderness. 

His fate lies heavy upon me. How can I be silent, how can I rest? 

He is dust and I too shall die and be laid in the earth for ever. 

I am afraid of death, therefore, Urshanabi, tell me which is the road to Utnapishtim? 

If it is possible I will cross the waters of death; if not I will wander still farther through the wilderness.'

Urshanabi said to him, 'Gilgamesh, your own hands have prevented you from crossing the Ocean; when you destroyed the tackle of the boat you destroyed its safety.' 

 Then the two of them talked it over and Gilgamesh said, 'Why are you so angry with me, Urshanabi, for you yourself cross the sea by day and night, at all seasons you cross it' 

'Gilgamesh, those things you destroyed, their property is to carry me over the water, to prevent the waters of death from touching me. 

It was for this reason that I preserved them, but you have destroyed them, and the urnu snakes with them. 

But now, go into the forest, Gilgamesh; with your axe cut poles, one hundred and twenty, cut them sixty cubits long, paint them with bitumen, set on them ferrules and bring them back.'

When Gilgamesh heard this he went into the forest, he cut poles one hundred and twenty; he cut them sixty cubits long, he painted them with bitumen, he set on them ferrules, and he brought them to Urshanabi. Then they boarded the boat, Gilgamesh and Urshanabi together, launching it out on the waves of Ocean. 

For three days they ran on as it were a journey of a month and fifteen days, and at last Urshanabi brought the boat to the waters of death: Then Urshanabi said to Gilgamesh, 'Press on, take a pole and thrust it in, but do not let your hands touch the waters. Gilgamesh, take a second pole, take a third, take a fourth pole. Now, Gilgamesh, take a fifth, take a sixth and seventh pole. Gilgamesh, take an eighth, and ninth, a tenth pole. Gilgamesh, take an eleventh, take a twelfth pole.' 

After one hundred and twenty thrusts Gilgamesh had used the last pole. 

Then he stripped himself, he held up his arms for a mast and his covering for a sail. 

So Urshanabi the ferryman brought Gilgamesh to Utnapishtim, whom they call The Faraway, who lives in Dihnun at the place of the sun's transit, eastward of the mountain. 

To him alone of men the gods had given everlasting life.

Now Utnapishtim, where he lay at ease, looked into the distance and he said in his heart, musing to himself, 'Why does the boat sail here without tackle and mast; why are the sacred stones destroyed, and why does the master not sail the boat? 

That man who comes is none of mine; where I look I see a man whose body is covered with skins of beasts. 

Who is this who walks up the shore behind Urshanabi, for surely he is no man of mine? 

So Utnapishtim looked at him and said, 'What is your name, you who come here wearing the skins of beasts, with your cheeks starved and your face drawn? 

Where are you hurrying to now? 

For what reason have you made this great journey, crossing the seas whose passage is difficult? 

Tell me the reason for your coming.'

He replied, 'Gilgamesh is my name. I am from Uruk, from the house of Anu.'  

Then Utnapishtim said to him, 'If you are Gilgamesh, why are your cheeks so starved and your face drawn? 

Why is despair in your heart and your face like the face of one who has made a long journey? 

Yes, why is your face burned with heat and cold; and why do you come here, wandering over the wilderness in search of the wind?

Gilgamesh said to him, 'Why should not my cheeks be starved and my face drawn? 

Despair is in my heart and my face is the face of one who has made a long journey. 

It was burned with heat and with cold. 

Why should I not wander over the pastures? 

My friend, my younger brother who seized and killed the Bull of Heaven and overthrew Humbaba in the cedar forest, my friend who was very dear to me and endured dangers beside me, Enkidu, my brother whom I loved, the end of mortality has overtaken him. 

I wept for him seven days and nights till the worm fastened on him. Because of my brother I am afraid of death; because of my brother I stray through the wilderness. 

His fate lies heavy upon me. 

How can I be silent, how can I rest? 

He is dust and I shall die also and be laid in the earth for ever.' 

Again Gilgamesh said, speaking to Utnapishtim, 'It is to see Utnapishtim whom we call the Faraway that I have come this journey. 


For this I have wandered over the world, I have crossed many difficult ranges, I have crossed the seas, I have wearied myself with travelling; my joints are aching, and I have lost acquaintance with sleep which is sweet. 

My clothes were worn out before I came to the house of Siduri. 

I have killed the bear and hyena, the lion and panther, the tiger, the stag and the ibex, all sorts of wild game and the small creatures of the pastures. 

I ate their flesh and I wore their skins; and that was how I came to the gate of the young woman, the maker of wine, who barred her gate of pitch and bitumen against me. 

But from her I had news of the journey; so then I came to Urshanabi the ferryman, and with him I crossed over the waters of death. 

Oh, father Utnapishtim, you who have entered the assembly of the gods, I wish to question you concerning the living and the dead, how shall I find the life for which I am searching?

Utuapishtim said, 'There is no permanence. 

Do we build a house to stand for ever, do we seal a contract to hold for all time? 

Do brothers divide an inheritance to keep for ever, does the flood-time of rivers endure? 

It is only the nymph of the dragon-fly who sheds her larva and sees the sun in his glory. 

From the days of old there is no permanence. 

The sleeping and the dead, how alike they are, they are like a painted death. 

What is there between the master and the servant when both have fulfilled their doom? 

When the Anunnaki, the judges, come together, and Mammetun the mother of destinies, together they decree the fates of men. 

Life and death they allot but the day of death they do not disclose.'

Then Gilgamesh said to Utnapishtim the Faraway, 'I look at you now, Utnapishtim, and your appearance is no different from mine; there is nothing strange in your features. 

I thought I should find, you like a hero prepared for battle, but you he here taking your ease on your back. 

Tell me truly, how was it that you came to enter the company of the gods and to possess everlasting life?'  

Utnapishtim said to Gilgamesh, 'I will reveal to you a mystery, I will tell you a secret of the gods.'

5

THE STORY OF THE FLOOD

'You know the city Shurrupak, it stands on the banks of Euphrates? That City grew old and the gods that were in it were old. 

There was Anu,-lord of the firmament, their father, and warrior Enlil their counsellor, Ninurta the helper, and Ennugi watcher over canals; and with them also was Ea. 

In those days the world teemed, the people multiplied, the world bellowed like a wild bull, and the great god was aroused by the clamour. 

Enlil heard the clamour and he said to the gods in council, "The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel."  

So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind. 

Enlil did this, but Ea because of his oath warned me in a dream. He whispered their words to my house of reeds, "Reed-house, reed-house! Wall, O wall, hearken reed-house, wall reflect; O man of Shurrupak, son of Ubara-Tutu; tear down your house and build a boat, abandon possessions and look for life, despise worldly goods and save your soul alive. Tear down your house, I say, and build a boat. These are the measurements of the barque as you shall build her: let hex beam equal her length, let her deck be roofed like the vault that covers the abyss; then take up into the boat the seed of all living creatures."

'When I had understood I said to my lord, "Behold, what you have commanded I will honour and perform, but how shall I answer the people, the city, the elders?" 

 Then Ea opened his mouth and said to me, his servant, "Tell them this: I have learnt that Enlil is wrathful against me, I dare no longer walk in his land nor live in his city; I will go down to the Gulf to dwell with Ea my lord. But on you he will rain down abundance, rare fish and shy wild-fowl, a rich harvest-tide. In the evening the rider of the storm will bring you wheat in torrents."

'In the first light of dawn all my household gathered round me, the children brought pitch and the men whatever was necessary. On the fifth day I laid the keel and the ribs, then I made fast the planking. The ground-space was one acre, each side of the deck measured one hundred and twenty cubits, making a square. I built six decks below, seven in all, I divided them into nine sections with bulkheads between. I drove in wedges where needed, I saw to the punt poles, and laid in supplies. The carriers brought oil in baskets, I poured pitch into the furnace and asphalt and oil; more oil was consumed in caulking, and more again the master of the boat took into his stores. I slaughtered bullocks for the people and every day I killed sheep. I gave the shipwrights wine to drink as though it were river water, raw wine and red wine and oil and white wine. There was feasting then as -there is at the time of the New Year's festival; I myself anointed my head. On the seventh day the boat was complete.

-'Then was the launching full of difficulty; there was shifting of ballast above and below till two thirds was submerged. I loaded into her all that 1 had of gold and of living things, my family, my kin, the beast of the field both wild and tame, and all the craftsmen. I sent them on board, for the time that Shamash had ordained was already fulfilled when he said, "in the evening, when the rider of the storm sends down the destroying rain, enter the boat and batten her down." The time was fulfilled, the evening came, the rider of the storm sent down the rain. I looked out at the weather and it was terrible, so I too boarded the boat and battened her down. All was now complete, the battening and the caulking; so I handed the tiller to Puzur-Amurri the steersman, with the navigation and the care of the whole boat.

'With the first light of dawn a black cloud came from the horizon; it thundered within where Adad, lord of the storm was riding. In front over hill and plain Shullat and Hanish, heralds of the storm, led on. Then the gods of the abyss rose up; Nergal pulled out the dams of the nether waters, Ninurta the war-lord threw down the dykes, and the seven judges of hell, the Annunaki, raised their torches, lighting the land with their livid flame. A stupor of despair went up to heaven when the god of the storm turned daylight to darkness, when he smashed the land like a cup. One whole day the tempest raged, gathering fury as .it went, it poured over the people like the tides of battle; a imam could not see his brother nor the people be seen from heaven. Even the gods were terrified at the flood, they fled to the highest heaven, the firmament of Ann; they crouched against the walls, cowering like curs. Then Ishtar the sweet-voiced Queen of Heaven cried out like a woman in travail: "Alas the days -of old are turned to dust because I commanded evil; why did I command thus evil in the council of all the gods? I commanded wars to destroy the people, but are they not my people, for I brought them forth? Now like the spawn of fish they float in the ocean." 

The great gods of heaven and of hell wept, they covered their mouths.

'For six days and six nights the winds blew, torrent and tempest and flood overwhelmed the world, tempest and flood raged together like warring hosts. When the seventh day dawned the storm from the south subsided, the sea grew calm, the, flood was stilled; I looked at the face of the world and there was silence, all mankind was turned to clay. The surface of the sea stretched as flat as a roof-top; I opened a hatch and the light fell on my face. Then I bowed low, I sat down and I wept, the tears streamed down my face, for on every side was the waste of water. I looked for land in vain, but fourteen leagues distant there appeared a mountain, and there the boat grounded; on the mountain of Nisir the boat held fast, she held fast and did not budge. One day she held, and -a second day on the mountain of Nisir she held fast and did not budge. 

A third day, and a fourth day she held fast on the mountain and did not budge; a fifth day and a sixth day she held fast on the mountain. When the seventh day dawned I loosed a dove and let her go. She flew away, but finding no resting-place she returned. Then I loosed a swallow, and she flew away but finding no resting-place she returned. I loosed a raven, she saw that the waters had retreated, she ate, she flew around, she cawed, and she did not come back. Then I threw everything open to the four winds, I made a sacrifice and poured out a libation on the mountain top. 

Seven and again seven cauldrons I set up on their stands, I heaped up wood and cane and cedar and myrtle. When the gods smelled the sweet savour, they gathered like flies over the sacrifice. Then, at last, Ishtar also came, she lifted her necklace with the jewels of heaven that once Anu had made to please her. "O you gods here present, by the lapis lazuli round my neck I shall remember these days as I remember the jewels of my throat; these last days I shall not forget. Let all the gods gather round the sacrifice, except Enlil. He shall not approach this offering, for without reflection he brought the flood; he consigned my people to destruction."

'When Enlil had come, when he saw the boat, he was wrath and swelled with anger at the gods, the host of heaven, "Has any of these mortals escaped? Not one was to have survived the destruction." Then the god of the wells and canals Ninurta opened his mouth and said to the warrior Enlil, "Who is there of the gods that can devise without Ea? It is Ea alone who knows all things." Then Ea opened his mouth and spoke to warrior Enlil, "Wisest of gods, hero Enlil, how could you so senselessly bring down the flood?

Lay upon the sinner his sin,
Lay upon the transgressor his transgression,
Punish him a little when he breaks loose,
Do not drive him too hard or he perishes,
Would that a lion had ravaged mankind
Rather than the f loud,
Would that a wolf had ravaged mankind
Rather than the flood,
Would that famine had wasted the world
Rather than the flood,
Would that pestilence had wasted mankind
Rather than the flood.

It was not I that revealed the secret of the gods; the wise man learned it in a dream. Now take your counsel what shall be done with him."

'Then Enlil went up into the boat, he took me by the hand and my wife and made us enter the boat and kneel down on either side, he standing between us. He touched our foreheads to bless us saying, "In time past Utnapishtim was a mortal man; henceforth he and his wife shall live in the distance at the mouth of the rivers." 

Thus it was that the gods took me and placed me here to live in the distance, at the mouth of the rivers.'

6

THE RETURN

UTNAPISHTIM said, 'As for you, Gilgamesh, who will assemble the gods for your sake, so that you may find that life for which you are searching? But if you wish, come and put into the test: only prevail against sleep for six days and seven nights.'  

But while Gilgamesh sat there resting on his haunches, a mist of sleep like soft wool teased from the fleece drifted over him, and Utnapishtim said to his wife, 'Look at him now, the strong man who would have everlasting life, even now the mists of sleep are drifting over him.' 

 His wife replied, 'Touch the man to wake him, so that he may return to his own land in peace, going back through the gate by which he came.' 

 Utnapishtim said to his wife, 'All men are deceivers, even you he will attempt to deceive; therefore bake loaves of bread, each day one loaf, and put it beside his head; and make a mark on the wall to number the days he has slept.'

So she baked loaves of bread, each day one loaf, and put it beside his head, and she marked on the wall the days that he slept; and there came a day when the first loaf was hard, the second loaf was like leather, the third was soggy, the crust of the fourth had mould, the fifth was mildewed, the sixth was fresh, and the seventh was still on the embers. Then Utnapishtim touched him and he woke. 

Gilgamesh said to Utnapishtim the Faraway, 'I hardly slept when you touched and roused me.' But Utnapishtim said, 'Count these loaves and learn how many days you slept, for your first is hard, your second like leather, your third is soggy, the crust of your fourth has mould, your fifth is mildewed, your sixth is fresh and your seventh was still over the glowing embers when I touched and woke you.'  

Gilgamesh said, 'What shall I do, O Utnapishtim, where shall I go? Already the thief in the night has hold of my limbs, death inhabits my room; wherever my foot rests, there I find death.'

Then Utnapishtim spoke to Urshanabi the ferryman: 'Woe to you Urshanabi, now and for ever more you have become hateful to this harbourage; it is not for you, nor for you are the crossings of this sea. Go now, banished from the shore. But this man before whom you walked, bringing him here, whose body is covered with foulness and the grace of whose limbs has been spoiled by wild skins, take him to the washing-place. There he shall wash his long hair clean as snow in the water, he shall throve off his skins and let the sea carry them away, and the beauty of his body shall be shown, the fillet on his forehead shall be renewed, and he shall be given clothes to cover his nakedness. Till he reaches his own city and his journey is accomplished, these clothes will show no sign of age, they will wear like a new garment.'  

So Urshanabi took Gilgamesh and led him to the washing-place, he washed his long hair as clean as snow in the water, he threw off his skins, which the sea carried away, and showed the beauty of his body. He renewed the fillet on his forehead, and to cover his nakedness gave him clothes which would show no sign of age, but would war like a new garment till he reached his own city, and his journey was accomplished.

Then Gilgamesh and Urshanabi launched the boat on to the water and boarded it, and they made ready to sail away; but the wife of Utnapishtim the Faraway said to him, `Gilgamesh came here wearied out, he is worn out; what will you give him to carry him back to his own country? 


So Utnapishtim spoke, and Gilgamesh took a pole and brought the boat in to the bank. `Gilgamesh, you came here a man wearied out, you have worn yourself out; what shall I give you to carry you back to your own country? Gilgamesh, I shall reveal a secret thing, it is a mystery of the gods that I am telling you. There is a plant that grows under the water, it has a prickle like a thorn, like a rose; it will wound your hands, but if you succeed in taking it, then your hands will hold that which restores his lost youth to a man:

When Gilgamesh heard this he opened the sluices so that a sweet water current might carry him out to the deepest channel; he tied heavy stones to his feet and they dragged him down to the water-bed. There he saw the plant growing;; although it pricked him he took it in his hands; then he cut the heavy stones from his feet, and the sea carried him and threw him on to the shore. Gilgamesh said to Urshanabi the ferryman, `Come here, and see this marvellous plant. By its virtue a man may win back all his former strength. I will take it to Uruk of the strong walls; there I will give it to the old men to eat. Its name shall be "The Old Men Are Young Again"; and at last I shall eat it myself and have back all my lost youth.' So Gilgamesh returned by the gate through which he had come, Gilgamesh and Urshanabi went together. They travelled their twenty leagues and then they broke their fast; after thirty leagues they stopped for the night.

Gilgamesh saw a well of cool water and he went down and bathed; but deep in the pool there was lying a serpent, and the serpent sensed the sweetness of the flower. It rose out of the water and snatched it away, and immediately it sloughed its skin and returned to the well. Then Gilgamesh sat down and wept, the tears ran down his face, and he took the hand of Urshanabi; 'O Urshanabi, was it for this that I toiled with my hands, is it for this I have wrung out my heart's blood? For myself I have gained nothing; not I, but the beast of the earth has joy of it now. Already the stream has carried it twenty leagues back to the channels where I found it. I found a sign and now I have lost it. Let us leave the boat on the bank and go.'

After twenty leagues they broke their fast, after thirty leagues they stopped for the night; in three days they had walked as much as a journey of a month and fifteen days. When the journey was accomplished they arrived at Uruk, the strong-walled city. Gilgamesh spoke to him, to Urshanabi the ferryman, 'Urshanabi, climb up on to the wall of Uruk, inspect its foundation terrace, and examine well the brickwork; see if it is not of burnt bricks; and did not the seven wise men lay these foundations? One third of the whole is city, one third is garden, and one third is field, with the precinct of the goddess Ishtar. These parts and the precinct are all Uruk.'

This too was the work of Gilgamesh, the king, who knew the countries of the world. He was wiseä he saw mysteries and knew secret things, he brought us a tale of the days before the flood. He went a long journey, was weary, worn out with labour, and returning engraved on a stone the whole story.

7

THE DEATH OF GILGAMESH

THE destiny was fulfilled which the father of the gods, Enlil of the mountain, had decreed for Gilgamesh: 'In nether-earth the darkness will show him a light: of mankind, all that are known, none will leave a monument for generations to come to compare with his. The heroes, the wise men, like the new moon have their waxing and waning. Men will say, "Who has ever ruled with might and with power like him?" 

As in the dark month, the month of shadows, so without him there is no light. O Gilgamesh, this was the meaning of your dream. You were given the kingship, such was your destiny, everlasting life was not your destiny. Because of this do not be sad at heart, do not be grieved or oppressed; he has given you power to bind and to loose, to be the darkness and the light of mankind. He has given unexampled supremacy over the people, victory in battle from which no fugitive returns, in forays and assaults from which there is no going back. But do not abuse this power, deal justly with your servants in the palace, deal justly before the face of the Sun.'

The king has laid himself down and will not rise again,
The Lord of Kullab will not rise again;
He overcame evil, he will not come again;
Though he was strong of arm he will not rise again;
He had wisdom and a comely face, he will not come again;
He is gone into the mountain, he will not come again;
On the bed of fate he lies, he will not rise again,
Front the couch of many colours he will not come again.

The People of The City, Great and Small, are not silent; they lift up, the lament, all men of flesh and blood lift up the lament. Fate has spoken; like a hooked fish he lies stretched on the bed, like a gazelle that is caught in a noose. Inhuman Namtar is heavy upon him, Namtar that has neither hand nor foot, that drinks no water and eats no meat.

For Gilgamesh, son of Ninsun, they weighed out their offerings; his dear wife, his son, his concubine, his musicians, his jester, and all his household; his servants, his stewards, all who lived in the palace weighed out their offerings for Gilgamesh the son of Ninsun, the heart of Uruk. They weighed out their offerings to Ereshkigal, the Queen of Death, and to all the gods of the dead. To Namtar, who is fate, they weighed out the offering. Bread for Ned the Keeper of the Gate, bread for Ningizzida the god of the serpent, the lord of the Tree of Life; for Dumuzi also, the young shepherd, for Enki and Ninki, for Endukugga and Nindukugga, for Enmul and Nimnul, all the ancestral gods, forbears of Enlil. A feast for Shulpae the god of feasting. For Samuqan, god of the herds, for die mother Ninhursag, and the gods of creation in the place of creation, for the host of heaven, priest and priestess weighed out the offering of the dead.

Gilgamesh, the son of Ninsun, lies in the tomb. At the place of offerings he weighed the bread-offering, at the place of libation he poured out the wine. In those days the lord Gilgamesh departed, the son of Ninsun, the kung, peerless, without an equal among men, who did not neglect Enlil his master. O Gilgamesh, lord of Kullab, great is thy praise.

GLOSSARY OF NAMES

A SHORT description of the gods and of other persons and places mentioned in the Epic will be found in this Glossary. The gods were credited at different times with a variety of attributes and characteristics, sometimes contradictory; only such as are relevant to the material of the Gilgamesh Epic are given here. The small number of gods and other characters who play a more important part in the story are described in the introduction; in their case a page reference to this description is given at the end of the Glossary note. Cross-references to other entries in the Glossary are indicated by means of italics.

ADAD: Storm-, rain-, and weather-god.

ANUNNAKI: Usually gods of the underworld, judges of the dead and offspring of Anu.

ANSHAN: A district of Elam in south-west Persia; probably the source o£ supplies of wood for making bows. Gilgamesh has a 'bow of Anshan'.

ANTUM: Wife of Anu.

ANU: Sumerian An; father of gods, and god of the firmament, the 'great above'. In the Sumerian cosmogony there was, first of all, the primeval sea, from which was born the cosmic mountain consisting of heaven, 'An', and earth, 'Ki'; they were separated by Enlil, then An carried off the heavens, and Enlil the earth. Ann later retreated more and more into the background; he had an important temple in Uruk.

APSU: The Abyss; the primeval waters under the earth; in the later mythology of the Enuma Elish, more particularly the sweet water which mingled with the bitter waters of the sea and with a third watery element, perhaps cloud, from which the first gods were engendered. The waters of Apsu were thought of as held immobile underground by the 'spell' of Ea in a death-like sleep.

ARURU: A goddess of creation, she created Enkidu from clay in the image of Anu.

AYA: The dawn, the bride of the Sun God Shamash.

BELIT-SHERI: Scribe and recorder of the underworld gods:

BULL of HEAVEN: A personification of drought created by Anu for Ishtar.

DILMUN: The Sumerian paradise, perhaps the Persian Gulf; sometimes described as 'the place where the sun rises' and 'the Land of the Living'; the scene of a Sumerian creation myth and the place where the deified Sumerian hero of the flood, Ziusudra, was taken by the gods to live for ever. See p. 39.

DUMUZI: The Sumerian form of Tammuz; a god of vegetation and fertility, and so of the underworld, also called 'the Shepherd and 'lord of the sheepfolds'. As the companion of Ningizzida 'to all eternity' he stands at the gate of heaven. In the Sumerian 'Descent of Inanna' he is the husband of the goddess Inanna, the Sumerian counterpart of Ishtar. According to the Sumerian King-List Gilgamesh was descended from 'Dumuzi a shepherd'.

EA: Sumerian Enki; god of the sweet waters, also of wisdom, a patron of arts and one of the creators of mankind, towards whom he is usually well-disposed. The chief god of Eridu, where he had a temple, he lived 'in the deep'; his ancestry is uncertain, but he was probably a child of Anu.

EANNA: The temple precinct in Uruk sacred to Anu and Ishtar.

EGALMAH: The 'Great Palace' in Uruk, the home of the goddess Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh.

ENDUSUGGA: With Nindukugga, Sumerian gods living in the underworld; parents of Enlil.

ENKIDU: Moulded by Aruru, goddess of creation, out of clay is the image and 'of the essence of Anu', the sky-god, and of Ninurta the war-god. The companion of Gilgamesh, he is wild or natural reran; he was later considered a patron or god of anima b and may have been the hero of another cycle. See P. 30.

ENLIL: God of earth, wind, and the universal air, ultimately spirit; the executive of Anu. In the Sumerian cosmogony he was born of the union of An heaven, and Ki earth. These he separated, and he then carried off earth as his portion. In later times he supplanted Anu as chief god. He was the patron of the city of Nippur. See p. 24.

ENMUL: See Endukugga.

ENNUGI: God of irrigation and inspector of Canals.

ENUMA ELLISH: The Semitic creation epic which describes the creation of the gods, the defeat of the powers of chaos by the young god Marduk, and the creation of man from the blood of Kingu, the defeated champion of chaos. The title is taken from the first words of the epic 'When on high'.

ERESHKIGAL: The Queen of the underworld, a counterpart of Persephone; probably once a sky-goddess. In the Sumerian cosmogony she was carried off to the underworld after the separation of heaven and earth. See p. 27.

ETANA: Legendary king of Kish who reigned after the flood; in the epic which bears his name he was carried to heaven on the back of an eagle.

GILGAMESH: The hero of the Epic; son of the goddess Ninsun and of a priest of Kullab, fifth king of Uruk after the flood, famous as a great builder and as a judge of the dead. A cycle of epic poems has collected round his name.

HANISH: A divine herald of storm and bad weather.

HUMBABA: Also Huwawa; a guardian of the cedar forest who opposes Gilgamesh and is killed by him and Enkidu. A nature divinity, perhaps an Anatolian, Elamite, or Syrian god. See p. 32.

IGIGI: Collective name for the great gods of heaven.

IRKALLA: Another name for Ereshkigal; the Queen of the underworld.

ISHTAR: Sumerian Inanna; the goddess of love and fertility, also goddess of war, called the Queen of Heaven. She is the daughter of Anu and patroness of Uruk, where she has a temple. See p. 25.

ISHULLANA: The: gardener of Anu, once loved by Ishtar whom he rejected; he was turned by her into a mole or frog.

KI: The earth.

KULLAS:Part of Uruk.

LUGULEANDA: Third king of the post-diluvian dynasty of Uruk, a god and shepherd, and hero of a cycle of Sumerian poems; protector of Gilgamesh.

MAGAN: A land to the west of Mesopotamia, sometimes Egypt or Arabia, and sometimes the land of the dead, the underworld:

MAGILUM: Uncertain meaning, perhaps 'the boat of the dead'.

MAMMETUM: Ancestral goddess responsible for destinies.

MAN-SCORPION: Guardian, with a similar female monster, of the mountain into which the sun descends at nightfall. Shown on sealings and ivory inlays as a figure with the upper part of the body human and the lower part ending in a scorpion's mil. According to the Enuma Elish created by the primeval waters in order to fight the gods.

MASHU: The word means 'twins' in the Akkadian language. A mountain with twin peaks into which the sun descends at nightfall and from which it returns at dawn. Sometimes thought of as Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon.

NAMTAR: Fate, destiny in its evil aspect; pictured as a demon of the underworld, also a messenger and chief minister of Ereshkigal; a bringer of disease and pestilence.

NEDU: See Ned.

NERGAL: Underworld god, sometimes the husband of Ereshkigal, he is the subject of an Akkadian poem which describes his translation from heaven to the underworld; plague-god.

NETI: The Sumerian form of Nedu, the chief gatekeeper in the

underworld.

NINDUKUGGA: With Endukugga, parental gods living in the underworld:

NINGAL: Wife of the Moon God and mother of the Sun.

NINGIESU: An earlier form of Ninurta; god of irrigation and fertility, he had a field near Lagash where all sorts of plants flourished; he was the child of a she-goat.

NINGIZZIDA: Also Gizzida; a fertility god, addressed as 'Lord of the Tree of Life'; sometimes he is a serpent with human head, but later he was a god of healing and magic; the companion of Tammuz, with whom he stood at the gate of heaven.

NINHURSAG: Sumerian mother-goddess; one of the four principal Sumerian gods with An, Enlil, and Enki; sometimes the wife of Enki, she created all vegetation. The name means 'the Mother'; she is also called 'Nintu', lady of birth, and IG, the earth.

NINKI: The 'mother' of Enlil, probably a form of Ninhursag.

NINLIL: Goddess of heaven, earth, and air and in one aspect of the underworld; wife of Enlil and mother of the Moon; worshipped with Enlil in Nippur.

NINSUM The mother of Gilgamesh, a minor goddess whose house was in Uruk; she was noted for wisdom, and was the wife of Lugulbaada.

NINURTA: The later forth of Ningirsu; a warrior and god of war, a herald, the south wind, and god of wells and irrigation. According to one poem he once dammed up the bitter waters of the underworld and conquered various monsters.

NISABA: Goddess of grain.

NISIR: Probably means 'Mountain of Salvation'; sometimes identified with the Pir Oman Gudrun range south. of the lower Zab, or with the biblical Ararat north of Lake Van.

PUZUR-AMURRI: The steersman of Utnapishtim during the flood.

SAMUQAN: God of cattle;

SEVEN SAGES: Wise men who brought civilization to the seven oldest cities of Mesopotamia.

SHAMASH: Sumerian Utu; the sun; for the Sumerians he was principally the judge and law-giver with some fertility attributes. For the Semites he was also a victorious warrior, the god of wisdom, the son of Sin, and 'greater than his father'. He was the husband and brother of Ishtar. He is represented with the saw with which he cuts decisions. In the poems 'Shamash' may mean the god, or simply the sun.

SHULLAT: A divine herald of storm and of bad weather.

SHULPAE: A god who presided over feasts and feasting.

SHURRUPAX: Modem Fara, eighteen miles north-west of Uruk; one of the oldest cities of Mesopotamia, and one of the five named by the Sumerians as having existed before the flood. The home of the hero of the flood story.

SIDURI: The divine wine-maker and brewer; she lives on the shore of the sea (perhaps the Mediterranean), in the garden of the sun. Her name in the Hurrian language means 'young woman' and she may be a form of Ishtar.

SILILI: The mother of the stallion; a divine mare?

SIN: Sumerian Nama, the moon. The chief Sumerian astral deity, the father of Utu-Shamash, the sun, and of Ishtar. Ills parents were Enlil and Ninlil. His chief temple was in Ur.

TAMMUZ: Sumerian Dunuzi; the dying god of vegetation, bewailed by Ishtar, the subject of laments and litanies. In an Akkadian poem Ishtar descends to the underworld in search of her young husband Tammuz; but in the Sumerian poem on which this is based it is Inanna herself who is responsible for sending Dumuzi to the underworld because of his pride and as a hostage for her own safe return.

UBARA-TUTU: A king of Shurrupak and father of Utnapishtim The only king of Kish named in the prediluvian Ring-List, apart from Utnapishtim.

URSHANABI: Old Babylonian Sursunabu; the boatman of Utnapishtim who ferries daily across the waters of death which divide the garden of the sun from the paradise where Utnapishtim lives for ever (the Sumerian Dilmun). By accepting Gilgamesh as a passenger he forfeits this right, and accompanies Gilgamesh back to Uruk instead.

URUK: Biblical Erech, modem Warka, in southern Babylonia between Fara (Shutrupak) and Ur. Shown by excavation to have been an important city from very early times, with great temples to the gods Anu and Ishtar. Traditionally the enemy of the city of Kish, and after the flood the seat of a dynasty of kings, among whom Gilgamesh was the fifth and most famous.

UTNAPISHTIM: Old Babylonian Utanapishtim, Sumerian Ziusudra; in the Sumerian poems he is a wise king and priest of Shurrupak; in the Akkadian sources he is a wise citizen of Shurrupak. He is the son of Ubara Tutu, and his name is usually translated, 'He Who Saw Life'. He is the protege of the god Ea, by whose connivance he Survives the flood, with his family and with 'the seed of all living creatures'; afterwards he is taken by the gods to live for ever at 'the mouth of the rivers' and given the epithet 'Faraway'; or according to the Sumerians he lives in Dihnun where the sun rises