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.
From a Dialogue between a Man and his Soul
Egyptian Literature
Translation of Francis Llewellyn Griffith
  [The following is found on a papyrus of the XIIth Dynasty, preserved at Berlin. After some obscure arguments the man apparently admits that the present life is full of dissatisfaction, and proceeds.]

DEATH is ever before me [?] like the healing of a sick man, or like a rise in life after a fall.
Death is ever before me like the smell of frankincense, or like sitting under an awning on a day of cool breeze. 1
Death is ever before me like the scent of lotuses, like sitting on the bank of the Land of Intoxication. 2
Death is ever before me like a road watered [?], or as when a man cometh from a campaign to his home.
Death is ever before me like the unveiling of the sky, or as when a man attaineth to unexpected fortune.        5
Death is ever before me like as a man desireth to see his house when he hath spent many years in pulling [the oars?]. 3
Verily he that is therein is as a living god punishing the error of the evil-doer.
Verily he that is therein standeth in the boat of Ra and causeth choice viands to be given thence to the temples. 4
Verily he that is therein is as a wizard; he is not prevented from complaining to Ra even as he would speak.

  My soul said unto me: 5 “Lay aside [?] mourning, O Nessu my brother, that thou mayest offer upon the altar even as thou fightest for life, as thou sayest, ‘Love me continually.’ Thou hast refused the grave; desire then that thou mayest reach the grave, that thy body may join the earth, that I may hover [over thee] after thou art weary. Let us then make a dwelling together.”
Note 1. The sunshine may be taken for granted in Egypt. [back]
Note 2. Our “on the verge of intoxication” is an almost identical expression, but without a poetical significance. [back]
Note 3. A slight correction of the original would give “in captivity” (kidnapped). [back]
Note 4. The advantages of the life beyond seem to consist in being like gods and in full communion with the greatest of them, Ra. [back]
Note 5. This closing speech of the soul is barely intelligible. [back]

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