Hymn to Ishtar
Lady of ladies, goddess without peer,
Ishtar who shapes the lives of all mankind,
Thou stately world queen, sovran of the sky,
And lady ruler of the host of heaven–
Illustrious is thy name . . . O light divine,
Gleaming in lofty splendour o’er the earth–
Heroic daughter of the moon, oh! hear;
Thou dost control our weapons and award
In battles fierce the victory at will
O crown’d majestic Fate. Ishtar most high,
Who art exalted over all the gods,
Thou bringest lamentation; thou dost urge
With hostile hearts our brethren to the fray;
The gift of strength is thine for thou art strong;
Thy will is urgent, brooking no delay;
Thy hand is violent, thou queen of war
Girded with battle and enrobed with fear . . .
Thou sovran wielder of the wand of Doom,
The heavens and earth are under thy control.
Adored art thou in every sacred place,
In temples, holy dwellings, and in shrines,
Where is thy name not lauded? where thy will
Unheeded, and thine images not made?
Where are thy temples not upreared? O, where
Art thou not mighty, peerless, and supreme?
Anu and Bel and Ea have thee raised
To rank supreme, in majesty and pow’r,
They have established thee above the gods
And all the host of heaven . . . O stately queen,
At thought of thee the world is filled with fear,
The gods in heaven quake, and on the earth
All spirits pause, and all mankind bow down
With reverence for thy name . . . O Lady Judge, p. 19
Thy ways are just and holy; thou dost gaze
On sinners with compassion, and each morn
Leadest the wayward to the rightful path.
Now linger not, but come! O goddess fair,
O shepherdess of all, thou drawest nigh
With feet unwearied . . . Thou dost break the bonds
Of these thy handmaids . . . When thou stoopest o’er
The dying with compassion, lo! they live;
And when the sick behold thee they are healed.
Hear me, thy servant! hearken to my pray’r,
For I am full of sorrow and I sigh
In sore distress; weeping, on thee I wait.
Be merciful, my lady, pity take
And answer, “’T is enough and be appeased”.
How long must my heart sorrow and make moan
And restless be? How long must my dark home
Be filled with mourning and my soul with grief?
O lioness of heaven, bring me peace
And rest and comfort. Hearken to my pray’r!
Is anger pity? May thine eyes look down
With tenderness and blessings, and behold
Thy servant. Oh! have mercy; hear my cry
And unbewitch me from the evil spells,
That I may see thy glory . . . Oh! how long
Shall these my foes pursue me, working ill,
And robbing me of joy? . . . Oh! how long
Shall demons compass me about and cause
Affliction without end? . . . I thee adore–
The gift of strength is thine and thou art strong–
The weakly are made strong, yet I am weak . . .
O hear me! I am glutted with my grief–
This flood of grief by evil winds distressed;
My heart hath fled me like a bird on wings,
And like the dove I moan. Tears from mine eyes
Are falling as the rain from heaven falls,
And I am destitute and full of woe.
. . . . . . . . . p. 20
What have I done that thou hast turned from me?
Have I neglected homage to my god
And thee my goddess? O deliver me
And all my sins forgive, that I may share
Thy love and be watched over in thy fold;
And may thy fold be wide, thy pen secure.
. . . . . . . . .
How long wilt thou be angry? Hear my cry,
And turn again to prosper all my ways–
O may thy wrath be crumbled and withdrawn
As by a crumbling stream. Then smite my foes,
And take away their power to work me ill,
That I may crush them. Hearken to my pray’r!
And bless me so that all who me behold
May laud thee and may magnify thy name,
While I exalt thy power over all
Ishtar is highest! Ishtar is the queen!
Ishtar the peerless daughter of the moon!
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