Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Hymns to Amen Ra
Egyptian Literature
Translation of Francis Llewellyn Griffith
  The following collection of hymns to Amen Ra 1 is from the orthodox worship of the New Kingdom; that is to say, it dates from the period beginning in the XVIIth Dynasty, about 1700 B.C. The series is contained in a papyrus now preserved in the museum at Gîzeh and in very perfect condition.
  In the original, the lines are punctuated with red dots, and the stanzas are marked by rubrics, a very valuable clue being thus provided both as to meanings and form.
  The first hymn is divided into five stanzas of seven lines each, 2 but the fourth stanza contains an error of punctuation which has perhaps prevented this arrangement from being noticed hitherto. The other hymns do not appear to be so divisible.
  The text presents several instances of embellishment by far-fetched, and to our minds very feeble, puns and punning assonances. It is impossible to reproduce these to the English reader, but some lines in which they occur are here marked with asterisks indicating the words in question.
  Although these hymns have been much admired, it must be confessed that they are somewhat arid in comparison with the simple expression of Akhenaten’s devotion in the ‘Hymn to the Aten.’ To the Egyptians, however, the mythological references were full of meaning, while to us they are never fully intelligible. Such an enumeration as that of the symbols and insignia of divine royalty which we find in the second hymn, is as empty to us as references to the Stars and Stripes, the White House, the Spread Eagle, the Union Jack, the Rose, the Shamrock, and the Thistle may be to the lords of the world in 5000 to 6000 A.D.

          Praise of Amen Ra!
The bull in Heliopolis, the chief of all the gods,
The beautiful and beloved god
Who giveth life to all warm-blooded things,
To all manner of goodly cattle!        5
  HAIL to thee, Amen Ra! lord of the thrones of the two lands,
Thou who dwellest in the sanctuary of Karnak.
Bull of his mother, he who dwelleth in his fields,
Wide-ranging in the Land of the South.
Lord of the Mezau, 3 ruler of Punt,        10
Prince of heaven, heir of earth,
Lord of all things that exist!
  Alone in his exploits even amongst the gods,
The goodly bull of the Ennead 4 of the gods,
Chiefest of all the gods,        15
Lord of truth, father of the gods,
Maker of men, creator of animals,
Lord of the things which are, maker of fruit-trees,
Maker of pasture, who causeth the cattle to live!
  Image made by Ptah, 5 youth fair of love!        20
The gods give praise unto him;
Maker of things below and of things above, he illuminateth the two lands:
He traverseth the sky in peace.
King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ra the Justified, chief of the two lands.
Great one of valor, lord of awe;        25
Chief, making the earth in its entirety!
  Nobler in thy ways than any god,
The gods rejoice in his beauties!
To him are given acclamations in the Great House,
Glorious celebrations in the House of Flame;        30
The gods love his odor when he cometh from Punt.
Prince of the dew, he entereth the land of the Mezau!
Fair of face, coming to the Divine Land! 6
  The gods gather as dogs at his feet,
Even as they recognize his majesty as their lord.        35
Lord of fear, great one of terror,
Great of soul, lordly in manifestations,
Flourishing of offerings, maker of plenty,
Acclamations to thee, maker of the gods,
Thou who dost upraise the sky, and press down the ground!        40
  Wake in health, Min-Amen!
Lord of the everlasting, maker of eternity,
Lord of adorations, dwelling in [Khemmis],
Established of two horns, fair of face,
Lord of the uræus crown with lofty double plume,        45
Beautiful of diadem, with lofty white crown,
The kingly coif with the two uræi are on his forehead.
He is adorned within the palace,
With the Sekhet crown, the Nemes cap, and the Khepersh helmet.
Fair of face, he taketh the Atef crown,        50
Loving its south and its north.
Lord of the Sekhemt sceptre, receiving the Ames sceptre,
Lord of the Meks sceptre, holding the Nekhekh,
  Beautiful Ruler, crowned with the white crown!
Lord of rays, making light!        55
The gods give praises unto him
Who giveth his two hands [for aid] to him that loveth him,
Who casteth his enemies in the fire;
His eye it is which overthroweth the wicked;
It casteth its lance at the devourer of Nu;        60
It causeth the serpent Nak to cast up that which it swallowed.
  Hail to thee, Ra, lord of truth,
Whose sanctuary is hidden! lord of the gods,
Khepera in the midst of his bark,
He gave command, and the gods were created.        65
Tum, maker of the Rekhyt,
Distinguishing their kinds, making their lives,
Distinguishing their complexions one from another.
  Hearing the complaint of him who is oppressed,
Kindly of heart when called upon.        70
He delivereth the timid from him who is of a froward heart,
He judgeth the cause of the weak and the oppressed.
  Lord of Understanding, Taste is on his lips,
The Nile cometh at his desire.
Lord of sweetness, great one of love,        75
He maketh the Rekhyt to live,
He giveth keenness to every eye.
He is made out of Nu,
Creating the rays of light.
The gods rejoice in his beauties,        80
Their hearts live when they behold him.
  Ra, exalted in Karnak!
Great of splendor in the House of the Obelisk
Ani, lord of the New Moon festival,
To whom are celebrated the festival of the sixth day and of the quarter month.        85
Liege lord, to whom Life, Prosperity, Health! lord of all the gods,
Who see him [?] in the midst of the horizon,
Chief over the Pat and Hades,
His name is more hidden* than his birth,
In his name of Amen,* the hidden One.        90
  Hail to thee who art in peace!
Lord of enlargement of heart, lordly in manifestations,
Lord of the uræus crown, with lofty double plume;
Fair of diadem, with lofty white crown!
The gods love the sight of thee,        95
The Sekhemt* crown is established upon thy forehead.
Thy loveliness is shed* abroad over the two lands;
Thy rays shine forth in the eyes of men; fair for the Pat and the Rekhyt is thy rising,
Weary are the flocks when thou art radiant.
Thy loveliness is in the southern sky, thy sweetness in the northern sky,        100
Thy beauties conquer hearts,
Thy loveliness maketh arms to droop,
Thy beautiful form maketh hands to fail;
Hearts faint at the sight of thee.
  Sole figure, who didst make all that is!        105
One and only one, maker of all that are,
From whose eyes mankind issued,
By whose mouth the gods were created,
Who makest the herbage, and makest to live the cattle, goats, swine, and sheep,
The fruit-trees for the Henememt.        110
He maketh the life of fishes in the river,
The fowl of the air,
Giving breath to that which is in the egg;
Making the offspring of the serpent to live;
Making to live therewith the flies,        115
The creeping things, and the leaping things, and the like.
Making provision for the mice in their holes;
Making to live the birds in every tree,
  Hail to thee, maker of all these!
One and only one, with many arms!        120
At night wakeful while all sleep,
Seeking good for his flock.
Amen,* who *establishest all things!
Tum Horus of the horizon!
Praises be to thee in that all say,        125
“Acclamations to thee, for that thou outweariest thyself with us!
Obeisance to thee for that thou didst make us!”
  Hail to thee, from all animals!
Acclamations to thee from every land,
To the height of heaven, to the breadth of earth,        130
To the depth of the great waters!
The gods bow before thy majesty,
Exalting the mighty spirit that formed them;
They rejoice at the coming of him who begat them;
They say unto thee:—“Come, come in peace!        135
Father of the fathers of all the gods,
Thou who dost upraise the sky and press down the ground.”
Maker of that which is, former of those which have being,
Liege lord—to whom Life, Prosperity, Health!—chief of the gods,
We adore thy mighty spirit even as thou madest us;        140
Who were made for thee when thou fashionedst us.
We give praises unto thee for that thou outweariest thyself with us.
  Hail to thee who didst make all that is!
Lord of truth, father of the gods,
Maker of men, fashioner of animals,        145
Lord of corn,
Making to live the animals of the desert.
Amen, bull fair of face,
Beloved in Thebes,
Great one of splendors in the House of the Obelisk,        150
Twice crowned in Heliopolis,
Thou who judgest between the twain in the Great Hall!
  Chief of the great Ennead of the gods,
One and only one, without his peer,
Dwelling in Thebes,        155
Ani in his divine Ennead,
He liveth on truth every day.
God of the horizon, Horus of the East,
Who hath made the hills that have silver, gold,
Real lapis lazuli, at his pleasure:        160
Gums and incense are mingled for the Mezau,
Fresh incense for thy nostrils.
Fair of face he cometh to the Mezau,
Amen Ra, lord of the throne of the two lands,
He who dwelleth in Thebes,        165
Ani in his sanctuary.
  Sole King is he, even in the midst of the gods;
Many are his names, none knoweth their number.
He riseth on the horizon of the east, he is laid to rest on the horizon of the west.
He overthroweth his enemies        170
In the daily task of every day;
In the morning he is born each day;
Thoth raiseth his eyes,
And propitiateth him with his benefits;
The gods rejoice in his beauties,        175
Exalting him who is in the midst of adorers!
Lord of the Sekti and of the Madet bark,
Which traverse for thee Nu in peace!
  Thy crew rejoice
When they see the overthrow of the wicked one,        180
Whose members taste the knife;
The flame devoureth him;
His soul is more punished than his body;
That Nak serpent, he is deprived of movement.
The gods are in exultation,        185
The crew of Ra are in peace,
Heliopolis is in exultation,
The enemies of Tum are overthrown.
Karnak is in peace, Heliopolis is in exultation.
The heart of the uræus goddess is glad,        190
The enemies of her lord are overthrown;
The gods of Kheraha are in acclamation,
The dwellers in the sanctuaries are in obeisance;
They behold him mighty in his power.
Mighty prince of the gods!        195
Great one of Justice,* lord of Karnak,
In this thy name, “Doer of Justice,”*
Lord of Plenty, Peaceful Bull;*
In this thy name, “Amen, Bull of his Mother,”
  Making mankind,* creating* all that is,        200
In this thy name of “Tum* Khepera,”*
  Great hawk, adorning the breast!
Fair of face adorning the bosom.
Figure lofty of diadem.
The two uræi fly on wings before him,        205
The hearts of men run up to him [like dogs],
The illuminated ones turn towards him.
Adorning the two lands by his coming forth,
Hail to thee, Amen Ra, lord of the throne of the two lands!
His city loveth his rising.

  This is the end,
    in peace,
as it was found.
Note 1. Amen was god of Thebes; and under the XVIIIth Dynasty, when Thebes was the capital of the whole country and Egypt was at the height of her power, Amen took the first place in the national pantheon. He was then identified with Ra the Sun god, perhaps to make him more acceptable to the nation at large. Hence a hymn to Amen Ra was practically a hymn to the supreme Sun god. [back]
Note 2. Compare the seven-line stanza in the inscription of Una. [back]
Note 3. Mezau and Punt were on and about the east coast of Africa, in Nubia and Somaliland. [back]
Note 4. The supreme god was surrounded by eight other gods, and together they formed an Ennead, or group of nine. [back]
Note 5. Ptah was the great god of Memphis, the ancient capital of the country. [back]
Note 6. Or the “Land of the Gods,” a name for the lands of the East, and especially for “Punt.” [back]

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