Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Kramer's Translation of a Gilgamesh Prologue

After heaven and earth had been separated
     and mankind had been created,
after An±m, Enlil and Ereskigal had taken posesssion
         of heaven, earth and the underworld;
after Enki had set sail for the underworld
     and the sea ebbed and flowed in honor of its lord;
on this day, a huluppu tree
     which had been planted on the banks of the Euphrates
     and nourished by its waters
was uprooted by the south wind
     and carried away by the Euphrates.
A goddess who was wandering among the banks
     siezed the swaying tree
And -- at the behest of Anu and Enlil --
     brought it to Inanna's garden in Uruk.
Inanna tended the tree carefully and lovingly
     she hoped to have a throne and a bed
     made for herself from its wood.
After ten years, the tree had matured.
But in the meantime, she found to her dismay
     that her hopes could not be fulfilled.
because during that time
     a dragon had built its nest at the foot of the tree
     the Zu-bird was raising its young in the crown,
     and the demon Lilith had built her house in the middle.
[1]
But Gilgamesh, who had heard of Inanna's plight,
     came to her rescue.
He took his heavy shield
     killed the dragon with his heavy bronze axe,
     which weighed seven talents and seven minas.
Then the Zu-bird flew into the mountains
     with its young,
while Lilith, petrified with fear,
     tore down her house and fled into the wilderness

Notes

[1] In a subsequent translation with Wolkstein, this passage is given as:
...a serpent who could not be charmed
     made its nest in the roots of the tree,
The Anzu bird set his young in the branches of the tree,
     And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trunk.
(Wolkstein 83: p. 8)