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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Instruction of Dauf
Egyptian Literature
 
Revised from the German of Professor Adolf Erman’s translation

WHEN Dauf the sage of Sebennytus went up to the Royal Residence with his son Pepy to take him to the “Court Writing-School,” he admonished him “to set his heart upon writing, to love it as his mother, for there is naught that surpasseth it.” He thereupon composes a poem in praise of the profession, to the disparagement of all other callings:—
  “Behold, there is no profession that is not under rule;
Only the man of learning himself ruleth.”
And then,

  “Never have I seen the engraver an ambassador,
Or the goldsmith with an embassy;
But I have seen the smith at his work
At the mouth of his furnace;
His fingers were as crocodile [hide],
He stank more than fish-roe.
  
“A craftsman who plieth the chisel
Is wearied more than he who tilleth the soil;
Wood is his field, and bronze his implement;
At night—is he released?
He worketh more than his arms are able;
At night he lighteth a light.”

Etc., etc.
  1
 
  [The praise of learning was a favorite subject with pedagogue and parent. According to other sages] “the unlearned whose name no man knoweth, is like unto a heavy-laden ass, driven by the scribe,” while “he who hath set learning in his heart” is exempt from labor “and becometh a wise noble.” “The rank of a scribe is princely; his writing outfit and his papyrus roll bring comfort and wealth.” “The scribe alone guideth the labor of all men; but if labor in writing is hateful to him, then the goddess of good fortune is not with him.”  2
  “O scribe, be not lazy, be not lazy, else thou shalt be soundly chastised; give not thy heart to vain desires, or thou wilt come to ruin. Book in hand, read with thy mouth, and take the advice of those who know more than thyself. Prepare for thyself the office of a noble, that thou mayest attain thereto when thou art become old. Happy is the scribe clever in all his offices. Be strong and diligent in daily work. Pass no day idly, or thou wilt be flogged, for the ears of a boy are on his back, and he heareth when he is flogged. Let thine heart hear what I say; it will bring thee to fortune. Be strong in asking advice; do not overlook it in writing; be not disgusted at it. Therefore let thine heart hear my words; thou shalt find fortune thereby.”  3
 
 
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