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The Epic of Gilgamish, tr. by R. Campbell Thompson [1928], at

p. 57



Column I.

(How the dead haunt the living).

 1(Then), what time that the seine had pass’d through the Architect 's dwelling,
(Aye, and) the net [had taken its toll] . . . . [said he]:
"Lord, what [is’t I may do] . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Now, what time that) the seine hath [pass’d through the Architect's 2 dwelling],
5.(Aye and) the net [hath taken its toll] . . . . . . . . . . . ."
Gilgamish [unto him spake] . . . . . . . . . . . .
"If unto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(About two lines wanting, in which Gilgamish presumably asks how the dead may be made to haunt the mourner).

"Gilgamish, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."

(The Mourner's Duty).

"If to the . . . [thou drawest], unto the temple 3 . . . . . . . . . .
15.Raiment clean [shalt not don], (but) like to a townsman shalt . . . .
Nor with sweet oil from the cruse be anointed, (lest) at its fragrance
Round thee they gather: nor mayst thou set bow to the earth, (lest) around thee
20.Circle those shot by the bow; nor a stick in thy hand mayst thou carry,
(Lest) (stricken) ghosts should gibber against thee: nor shoe to thy footsole
Put on, nor make on the ground a (loud) echo: thy wife, whom thou lovest,
25.Kiss (her) thou mayst not, thy wife whom thou hatest—thou mayst not chastise (her),
(Aye, and) thy child whom thou lovest not kiss, nor thy child whom thou hatest
Mayst not chastise, (for) the mourning of earth doth hold thee enthralléd.

p. 58

    "She who dead lieth,
    She who dead lieth,
    Mother of Ninazu,
    She who dead lieth,
    30.No more with mantle are
    Veil’d her fair shoulders,
    No more her bosom
    Drawn 1, like the lard cruse!"

(Gilgamish by contravening these customs attempts to raise Enkidu).

(So) did he draw [the . . . to . . ., and came to the temples,
[Put on clean raiment] . . . (and) like to a townsman . . .
35.(Aye), with [sweet] oil from the cruse [was] anointed: (then) at [its] fragrance
Round him they gather 'd: 2 the bow did he set (?) [to the earth], and around him
Circled the spirits, (yea,) those who were [shot] by the bow at him gibber’d,
[Carried] a stick in his hand [and the (stricken) ghosts at him gibber’d(?)].
40.[Put on] a shoe to [his foot-sole, and made on the ground a (loud)] echo.
[Kiss’d he] his wife [whom he lovéd, chastiséd his] wife whom he hated,
45.[Kiss’d he his child] whom he lovéd, chastiséd [his] child whom he hated.
(Aye, in good sooth, ’twas) the mourning of earth which did hold him enthralléd:
    "She who (dead) lieth,
    [She who] (dead) lieth,
    Mother of Ninazu,
    She who (dead) lieth,
    No (more) with mantle are
    Veil’d [her] fair shoulders,
    No (more) her bosom
    Drawn, like the lard cruse."
50.Cried(?) [he] (for) Enkidu out of the earth to ascend: "[Not] (the Plague-god),
Namtar, hath [seized] him, nor fever, (but only) the earth: 3 nor the Croucher,
[Nergal], the ruthless, hath seized him, (but only) the earth: neither fell he
There where was [battle] of mortals; ’twas only the earth [which hath seized him.] "3
(So) 4 . . . for his servitor Enkidu sorrow’d the offspring of Nin-sun,

p. 59

55.(Aye), as he went all alone unto [Ekur], the temple of Enlil:
"[Enlil], (my) Father, (’tis now) that the seine hath stricken me also,
Down to the earth—the net to the earth hath stricken me also.
Enkidu ’tis—whom [I pray thee] to raise [from the earth]—not (the Plague-god),
60.Namtar, hath seized him, nor fever, [but only the earth]: nor the Croucher,
Nergal, the ruthless, hath seized shim, but only the earth]: [neither fell he]
There where was battle of mortals: [’twas only the earth which hath seized him]."
(But) no answer did Enlil, the father vouchsafe.
                                  [To the Moon-god he hied him (?)]:
"Moon-god, (my) Father, (’tis now) that the seine [hath stricken me also,
Down to the earth]—the net [to the earth hath stricken me also].
65.Enkidu ’tis—whom [I pray thee] to raise [from the earths—not (the Plague-god),
Namtar, hath seized him, [nor] fever, [but only the earth: nor] the Croucher,
Nergal, [the ruthless, hath seized him, but only the earth]: [neither fell he]
There where [was battle of mortals: ’twas only the earth which hath seized him."
70.[(But) no answer the Moon-god vouchsafed:
                                            (Then) to Ea he hied him:]
["Ea, (my) Father, ’tis now that the seine hath stricken me also,]
[Down to the earth—the net to the earth hath stricken me also.]
[Enkidu ’tis,—whom I pray thee to raise from the earth—not (the Plague-god),]
75.Nam[tar, hath seized him, nor fever, but only the earth: nor] the Croucher,
Nergal, the ruthless, [hath seized him, but only the earth: neither fell he]
There where was battle of mortals: [’twas only the earth which hath seized him]."
Ea, the father, [gave ear (and) to Nergal], the warrior-hero,
[Spake he]: "O Nergal, O warrior-hero, [give ear to my speaking(?)]!
80.[Ope now,] a hole [in the earth], that the spirit of [Enkidu, (rising)],
[May from the earth issue forth, and so have speech] with [his] brother."
Nergal, the warrior-hero, [gave ear to the speaking of Ea],
85.Oped, then, a hole in the earth, and the spirit of Enkidu issued
Forth from the earth like a wind. They embraced and . . . . .
Communed together, mourning.
"Tell, O my friend, O tell, O my friend, (O) tell (me, I pr’y thee),
What thou hast seen of the laws of the Underworld?" "(Nay, then,) O comrade;

p. 60

90.I will not tell thee, (yea,) I will not tell thee—(for), were I to tell thee,
What I have seen of the laws of the Underworld,—sit thee down weeping!"
"(Then) let me sit me down weeping."

(The wretched lot of all who must die).

                                  "(So be it): [the friend(?)] thou didst fondle
(Thereby) rejoicing thee—[into his body(?), as though ’twere a] mantle
95.Old, hath the worm made its entry: (in sooth, then) [the bride(?)] thou didst fondle,
(Thereby) rejoicing thee—fill’d with the dust [is her body] . . . .
. . . . he hath spoken and [into the"' ground (?) is he sunken,
. . . he hath spoken and [into the ground (?) is he sunken."
"[He who fell in . . . .]
100.[Didst thou see him?]." "(Aye), I saw . . . ."

(About seventeen lines missing).

118."As a pillar beautiful
[Props?] an inner por[tico (?)] . . .

(About twenty-five lines missing).

145."He who falleth from a pole
Didst thou see him? "(Aye), I saw]:
Straightway for . . . .
By removal of a plug . . . . . ."
"He whom death . . . . . . . . .
"Didst thou see him?" "[(Aye) I saw]:
He's at rest upon a couch,
Limpid water doth he drink."
"(Then, the hero) slain in fight,
Didst thou see him?" "(Aye) I saw:
150.Father, mother 1 raise his head,
O’er him wife 2 [in bitter woe]."
"He whose corpse in desert lieth,
Hast thou seen him?" "(Aye), I saw;
Not in earth doth rest his spirit."
"He whose ghost hath none to tend,
Didst thou see him?" "(Aye), I saw,
Lees of cup, and broken bread
Thrown into the street he eateth."











57:1 Assyrian Version. Apparently the previous tablet has ended with the short description of Erech and its architecture by Gilgamish, as a cue for the opening lines of the Twelfth Tablet. The "Architect" must be Gilgamish: and the description of seine and net passing through his house, parallel to the phrase in the First Tablet, Column II, must a be a euphemism for the death of Enkidu. Gilgamish, having failed to learn the secret of eternal life is now reduced to calling up his dead friend to know the worst which he may expect. He asks what must the mourner do to avoid being haunted by the ghost: and then proceeds to do exactly the contrary in order that. Enkidu may return to haunt him.

57:2 Or, if it is the Architect speaking, "my dwelling."

57:3 These lines are capable of two restorations: either "If thou [drawest] . . . unto . . ., then the ghosts will accompany thee to thy Temple," or "If thou [drawest] . . . unto . ., or go to the Temple." Some slight restoration can be made from I. 31.

58:1 Shaddata, shadadu being used in medicine for sucking or drawing vapour through a tube. This short poem may be the regular lament of the professional mourner.

58:2 There is a little confusion in the next three or four lines, in comparison with the previous parallel text, and it may be that we should boldly emend or correct them accordingly.

58:3 Lit. "’twas the earth [seized h]im," or "’twas the earth [ditto]."

58:4 It is uncertain what is to be restored for the two mutilated words at the beginning.

60:1 Lit. "his father and his mother."

60:2 Lit. "and o’er him his wife ...."