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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Songs of Laborers
Egyptian Literature
 
Translation of Francis Llewellyn Griffith

THE REAPERS, represented cutting corn in the tomb of Paheri (XVIIIth Dynasty), are supposed to be chanting a little song, the words of which are engraved above their figures. Such songs are very common among the fellâhîn of the present day, who thus mark time for their work in the fields or on the river. This song is introduced by a phrase which seems to speak of it as being “in answering chant”; and this perhaps gives us the technical Egyptian term for antiphonal singing.  1
  In answering chant they say:
  This is a good day! to the land come out | The north wind is out.
The sky works according to our heart | Let us work, binding firm our heart.
  2
  The following transcription of the original Egyptian may give some idea of the assonances of words and ordered repetitions which marked the poetical style; the main repetitions are here italicized.  3
  Khen en usheb, zet-sen:
  Hru pen nefer, per em ta | Ta mehyt perta.
Ta pet her art en àb-en | Bek-en mert àb-en.
  4
  In the same tomb there is another song, already well known but less noticeable in form than the above. It is sung to the oxen on the threshing-floor.
  Thresh for yourselves. Thresh for yourselves.
Thresh for yourselves. Thresh for yourselves.
Straw to eat; corn for your masters;
Let not your hearts be weary, your lord is pleased.
  5
 
 
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