Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Harpist's Song: Poetry of Ancient Egypt

Found in an 18th Dynasty Tomb:
This great one is well!
Good is the destiny, good the destruction!
For a generation passes,
and another remains, since the time of the ancestors,
those gods who existed aforetime,
who rest in their pyramids,
and the blessed noble dead likewise,
buried in their pyramids.
The builders of chapels, their places are no more.
What has become of them?
I have heard the words of Imhotep and Hordedef,
whose sayings are so told:
what of their places? Their walls have fallen;
their places are no more, like those who never were.
None returns from there to tell their conditions,
to tell their state, to reassure us,
until we attain the place where they have gone.
May you be happy with this, forgetfulness giving you benediction.
Follow your heart while you live!
Put myrrh on your head!
Clothe yourself with fine linen!
Anoint yourself with true wonders of the divine rite!
Increase your happiness!
Be not weary-hearted! Follow your heart and happiness!
Make your things on earth! Do not destroy your heart,
until that day of lamentation comes for you!
The Weary-hearted does not hear their lamentation;
mourning cannot save a man from the tomb-pit.
Make holiday! Do not weary of it!
Look, no one can take his things with him.
Look, no one who has gone there returns again.

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