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.
IX. Penitential Psalms
Accadian-Babylonian and Assyrian Literature
        The Suppliant:
          I, THY servant, full of sin cry to thee.
          The sinner’s earnest prayer thou dost accept,
          The man on whom thou lookest lives,
          Mistress of all, queen of mankind,
          Merciful one, to whom it is good to turn,        5
          Who acceptest the sigh of the heart.
        The Priest:
          Because his god and his goddess are angry, he cries to thee.
          To him turn thy face, take his hand.
        The Suppliant:
          Beside thee there is no god to guide me.
          Look in mercy on me, accept my sigh,        10
          Say why do I wait so long.
          Let thy face be softened!
          How long, O my lady!
          May thy kindness be turned to me!
          Like a dove I mourn, full of sighing.        15
        The Priest:
          With sorrow and woe
          His soul is full of sighing,
          Tears he sheds, he pours out laments.
        O mother of the gods, who performest the commands of Bel,
        Who makest the young grass sprout, queen of mankind,        20
        Creator of all, guide of every birth,
        Mother Ishtar, whose might no god approaches,
        Exalted mistress, mighty in command!
        A prayer I will utter, let her do what seems her good.
        O my lady, make me to know my doing,        25
        Food I have not eaten, weeping was my nourishment,
        Water I have not drunk, tears were my drink,
        My heart has not been joyful nor my spirits glad.
        Many are my sins, sorrowful my soul.
        O my lady, make me to know my doing,        30
        Make me a place of rest,
        Cleanse my sin, lift up my face.
        May my god, the lord of prayer, before thee set my prayer!
        May my goddess, the lady of supplication, before thee set my supplication!
        May the storm-god set my prayer before thee!

  [The intercession of a number of gods is here invoked.]
        Let thy eye rest graciously on me….
        Turn thy face graciously to me….
        Let thy heart be gentle, thy spirit mild….
        O lady, in sorrow of heart sore oppressed I cry to thee.
        O lady, to thy servant favor show.        40
        Let thy heart be favorable,
        To thy servant full of sorrow show thy pity,
        Turn to him thy face, accept his prayer.
        To thy servant with whom thou art angry graciously turn,
        May the anger of my lord be appeased,        45
        Appeased the god I know not!
        The goddess I know, the goddess I know not,
        The god who was angry with me,
        The goddess who was angry with me be appeased!
        The sin which I have committed I know not.        50
        May my god name a gracious name,
        My goddess name a gracious name,
        The god I know, the god I know not
        Name a gracious name,
        The goddess I know, the goddess I know not        55
        Name a gracious name!
        Pure food I have not eaten,
        Pure water I have not drunk,
        The wrath of my god, though I knew it not, was my food,
        The anger of my goddess, though I knew it not, cast me down.        60
        O lord, many are my sins, great my misdeeds.

  [These phrases are repeated many times.]
        The lord has looked on me in anger,
        The god has punished me in wrath,
        The goddess was angry with me and hath brought me to sorrow.
        I sought for help, but no one took my hand,        65
        I wept, but no one to me came,
        I cry aloud, there is none that hears me,
        Sorrowful I lie on the ground, look not up.
        To my merciful god I turn, I sigh aloud,
        The feet of my goddess I kiss [.]        70
        To the known and unknown god I loud do sigh,
        To the known and unknown goddess I loud do sigh,
        O lord, look on me, hear my prayer,
        O goddess, look on me, hear my prayer.
*        *        *        *        *
        Men are perverse, nothing they know.        75
        Men of every name, what do they know?
        Do they good or ill, nothing they know.
        O lord, cast not down thy servant!
        Him, plunged into the flood, seize by the hand!
        The sin I have committed turn thou to favor!        80
        The evil I have done may the wind carry it away!
        Tear in pieces my wrong-doings like a garment!
My god, my sins are seven times seven—forgive my sins!
My goddess, my sins are seven times seven—forgive my sins!
Known and unknown god, my sins are seven times seven—forgive my sins!        85
Known and unknown goddess, my sins are seven times seven—forgive my sins!
Forgive my sins, and I will humbly bow before thee.
May the lord, the mighty ruler Adar, announce my prayer to thee!
May the suppliant lady Nippur announce my prayer to thee!
May the lord of heaven and earth, the lord of Eridu, announce my prayer to thee!        90
The mother of the great house, the goddess Damkina, announce my prayer to thee!
May Marduk, the lord of Babylon, announce my prayer to thee!
May his consort, the exalted child of heaven and earth, announce my prayer to thee!
May the exalted minister, the god who names the good name, announce my prayer to thee!
May the bride, the first-born of the god, announce my prayer to thee!        95
May the god of storm-flood, the lord Harsaga, announce my prayer to thee!
May the gracious lady of the land announce my prayer to thee!

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