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The Poem of the Righteous Sufferer (Ludlul bēl nēmeqi), Tablet II, entire tablet, read by Karl Hecker
By kind permission of Professor B. R. Foster, the translation below is taken from his work Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature (Bethesda, 2005), with minor modifications (most of which follow the translation of W. G. Lambert). The transcription is based on the transliteration provided in the editio princeps by W. G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature (Oxford, 1960 repr. Winona Lake, 1996), with minor modifications. Owing to differences in Babylonian and English word order, it is not always easy for the English translation to mirror the two half lines of the Babylonian original. When the match is not exact, the translation begins with an asterisk (as e.g. in line 07). Original Transcript English Translation 1 I survived to the next year, | the appointed time passed. 1 akšudma ana balāṭ | adanna ītiq 2 asaḫḫurma | lemun lemunma 2 As I turned around, | it was more and more terrible; 3 zapurtī ūtaṣṣapa | išartī ul uttu 3 My ill luck was on the increase, | I could find no good fortune. 4 ila alsīm | ul iddina pānīšu 4 I called to my god, | but he did not show me his face, 5 usalli ištarī | ul ušaqqâ rēšīša 5 I prayed to my goddess, | but she did not raise her head. 6 bārû ina bīr | arkat ul iprus 6 The diviner with his inspection | did not get to the bottom 7 ina maššakka šāˀilu | ul ušāpi of it, dīnī 7 *Nor did the dream priest with his incense | clear up my case 8 zaqīqu abālma | ul upatti uznī 8 I beseeched a dream spirit, | but it did not enlighten me; 9 mašmaššu ina kikiṭṭê | kimiltī 9 And the incantation priest with his ritual | did not appease the divine wrath against me. ul ipṭur 10 ayyīte epšēti | šanāti mātitān 10 What bizarre actions | there were everywhere! 11 āmurma arkat | ridâti ippīru 11 I looked behind, | there was persecution, trouble. 12 kī ša tamqītum ana ili lā 12 *Like one who has not | made libations to his god, uktinnu 13 *nor with a food offering | invoked his goddess, 13 u ina mākalê ištari lā zakru 14 appi lā enû | šukînni lā amru 14 who is not wont to prostrate himself, | nor has been seen 15 ina pîšu ipparkû | suppû to bow down, teslītu 15 from whose mouth there has been no issue | of prayer or 16 ibṭilu ūmu ili | išēṭu eššēšī supplication 17 iddû ahšuma | mēšunu imēšu 16 who has skipped holy days | and despised festivals, 18 palāhu u itˀudu | lā ušalmidu 17 who has been neglectful | and scorned the god's rites, 18 who has not taught his people | reverence and worship, nišīšu 19 ilšu lā izkur | īkul akalšu 19 who has not invoked his god | but eaten his food offering, 20 īzib ištartašu | mashatu lā 20 who has snubbed his goddess | by not bringing a flour ubla offering, 21 ana ša imhû | bēlšu imšû 21 like one possessed | who has forgotten his lord, 22 nīš ilīšu kabti | qalliš izkur 22 who has casually sworn | a solemn oath by his god, 22a anāku amšal 22a (like such a one) did I seem! 23 aḫsusma raman | suppû teslīti 23 I, for my part, was mindful | of supplication and prayer:
35 ša ina libbīšu mussukat | eli 35 What in one's own heart seems abominable | could be ilīš damqat good to a god! 36 *Who can learn the reasoning | of the gods in heaven? 36 ayyu ṭēm ilī | qirib šamê 37 *Who understands the plans | of the underworld gods? ilammad 37 milik ša zanunzê | ihakkim 38 *Where might humans | have learned the way of a god? mannu 38 ēkamma ilmadā | alakti ilī apâti 39 He who was alive yesterday | is dead today. 30 the goddess's precious name | did I teach my people to 30 šumi ištar šūqur | nišīya value.html 24 teslītī tašīmat | niqû sakkûˀa 24 to me prayer was the natural recourse. not read] 54-59 [These lines are . 45 *When sated they rival their gods. 51 imhullu [ištu išid] | šamê 53 An malignant spectre | has come forth from its hidden izīqa 52 [u]ltu irat erṣētim | išīha ṭīˀi depth. 28 u nēgûtašu | ana damiqti 28 His fanfare | was as if for (my own) good omen. | sacrifice my rule. 45 išebbâma | išannâ | ilšin 46 ina ṭâbi itammâ | ili šamāˀī 46 In good times they speak | of scaling heaven 47 ūtaššašāma idabbubā | arād 47 When it goes badly. 40 surriš uštādir | zamar uḫtabbar 41 ina ṣibit appi | izammur elīla 41 One moment | he sings in exaltation. not 48 [The line is fragmentary. 43 kī pitê u katāmi | ṭēnšina šitni 43 *The people's condition changes | like opening and shutting (the legs) (i. uštāhiz 31 tanādāti šarri | iliš umaššil 31 Praise for the king | I made like a god's 32 u puluhti ekalli | ummān 32 And reverence for the palace | I taught the populace.e. šumma 29 uššar ana māti | mê ili naṣāri 29 I instructed my land | to observe the god's rites. they complain | of going down to hell. | then suddenly full of uddiš cheer. 42 ina pīt purīdi | uṣarrap lallāriš 42 Another | he groans like a professional mourner.http://www. | that was my joy. tatturu 27 ikribi šarri | šī hidûtī 27 Praying for the king. 39 ša ina amšat ibluṭu | imūt 40 For a minute someone is downcast. 25 ūmu palāh ilī |ṭūb libbīya 26 The day of the goddess's procession | was my profit and 26 ūmu ridûti ištar | nēmeli return. in a twinkling).ac. | a whirlind is driving me! mehû 50 Debilitating Disease | is let loose upon me.uk/baplar/recordings/the-poem-of-the-righteous-sufferer-ludlul-bl-nmeqitablet-ii-entire-tablet-read-by-karl-hecker. 50 murṣu munnišu | elīya 52 *Headache has surged upon me | from the breast of the innešra underworld. ušalmid 33 lū idi kī itti ili | itamgur 33 *I wish I knew that these things | were pleasing to a god! annâti 34 ša damqat ramānuš | ana 34 What seems good to oneself | could be an offence to a ili gullultu[m] god.soas. 44 immuṣāma | immâ | šalamtiš 44 *When starving they become like corpses. 25 The day for reverencing the gods | was a joy to my heart. the exhausted one. 53 šūlu lemnu | ittaṣâ apsuššu 54-59 [These lines are fragmentary. 51 *An evil wind has blown | [from the ends] of the sky. irkalla 48 [The line is fragmentary. not read] read] 49 [u] yâti šūnu[hu] | ireddi 49 As for me.
| I choke it down like stinkweed. 79 *My feel had forgotten their motion. 61 labânī ētiqū | urammû kišādu 62 They thwacked my chest. 74 petâ | ul išemmâ | uznāya 75 kal pagrīya | ītahaz | remûtu 75 *Numbness had grasped my whole body. | they tw[isted] my fingers 64 [ina r]ēš libbīya | ippuhū 66 With coughing and hacking | they infected [my lungs]. not read] šēpāya 80-83 [These lines are fragmentary. | my 'drinking place' blocked.ac. 92 šīrī ištahha | dāmī izzū[ba] 93 My bones were loose. | is sickening to me. 63 šīrī ilputū | raˀība iddû 65 They churned up my bowels. 93 eṣettum ussuqat | arimat 94 My tissues were inflamed. 89 siriš napšat nišī | elīya imtarṣu 90 appūnāma | ēterik silītu 90 Truly. | the malady drags on. 70 kī ulilte annābik | buppāniš 70 I was throw down like a dried fig. 85 u napraku | sekir | šaptīya 85 And a bolt | barred | my lips. 86 [b]ābī edil | pehi mašqûˀa 86 My way in was barred.http://www. not read] 84 ina pîya | nahbal | nadīma 84 *A snare was laid on my mouth. | going out was exhausting. šittu 73 palṣāma | ul inaṭṭal | īnāya 73 *My eyes stared.uk/baplar/recordings/the-poem-of-the-righteous-sufferer-ludlul-bl-nmeqitablet-ii-entire-tablet-read-by-karl-hecker. 72 *Drowsiness covered me | like a net. the sustenance of mankind. | I was tossed onto my annadi face. 69 gattī rapšat | urubāˀiš ušnīla 69 My robust figure | they laid down like a bulrush.soas. 63 They affected my flesh | and caused convulsions. | they were covered (only) with my skin. | my eyes were in flood. īnāya 61 They wrenched my neck muscles | made my neck limp. | my gullet constricted.html fragmentary. 91 ina lā mākalê | zīmūˀa 91 Through lack of food | my features changed. 88 ašnan šumma | daddāriš 88 When grain is served. 94 šerˀānūˀa nuppuhū| uriqtum mah[rū] 95 I took to a bed of bondage. but did not hear. išāt[u] 65 qerbīya idluhū | u<bā>nātīya 67 They wasted my limbs | and made my fat quake. 87 arkat bubūtī | katim urˀudī 87 My hunger was chronic. | they had caught the uriqtummaš[kī] disease. utti[kū] 66 šūlu u hahhu | ulaˀˀibū ha[šêya] 67 mešrêtīya ulaˀˀibā| uniššū pitrī 68 lāna zaqru | ībutū igāriš 68 My lofty stature | they toppled like a wall. itta[krū] 92 My flesh was wasted. 71 *The alû-demon had clothed himself | in my body for a 71 alû zumrī | ītediq ṣubātī 72 kīma šuškalli | ukattimanni garment. 95 āhuz erši mēsiri | mūṣê 96 *My house turned into a prison tānīh[u] . 79 mašâma | nammuššīša | 80-83 [These lines are fragmentary. not read] 60 [būnēya] ikkilū | inaˀˀilū 60 [My face] was gloomy. | my blood had run dry. 62 irtī imhaṣū | tūlê iṭṭirû 64 [In] my epigastrium | they kindled a fire. 76 mišittu | imtaqut | eli šīrīya 76 Paralysis | had fallen | upon my flesh 77 Stiffness | had seized | my arms. 77 mangu | iṣbat | idīya 78 luˀtu| imtaqut | eli birkīya 78 Impotence | had fallen | on my loins. but did not see. 74 *My ears were open. | pounded my breast. alaˀˀut 89 Beer.
| his features lit pānūšu up. | laments for me were over. 115 adi lā mītūtīya | bikītī gamrat 116 kāl mātīya | kī habil iqbûni 116 All of my country | said "How he was crushed!". 118 hādītī ubassirū | kabattašu 118 *The tidings reached her who gloated at me. šukānūˀa 115 (Even) before I was dead. 120 ša qirib mūdê | šamassun 120 When. danna[t] 101 A crop pierced me. 109 *And the diviner has been perplexed by my omens. | my funerary goods were ready. iddin 112 My god has not come to the rescue | nor taken me by the 112 ul irūṣa ilī | qātī ul iṣbat 113 ul irēmanni ištarī | idāya ul hand.html 96 ana kisukkīya | itūra bītum 97 illurtu šīrīya | nadâ idāya 97 My flesh was a shackle. 107 ubtallil | kī immeri | ina tabaštāniya 108 sakīkīya | išhuṭū | mašmaššu 108 *The exorcist recoiled from my symptoms. 98 maškan ramnīya | muqqutā 98 My self was a fetter. 119 īdi ūmu | ša gimir kimtīya 119 But I know the day | for my whole family. 106 ina rubṣīya | abīt | kī alpi 107 *Like a sheep I wallowed in my excrement.soas. . 104 From writhing. 109 u têrētīya | bārû | ūtešši 110 ul ušāpi āšipu | šikin 110 The exorcist could not diagnose | the nature of my illness. and her ipperdu heart rejoiced. | my feet being limp. | the blow was severe. 100 qinnazu iṭṭânni | malâti ṣillātum 101 paruššu usahhilanni | ziqata labšat 102 kāl ūmu | ridû ireddâ[nni] 102 All day long | the tormentor tormented [me].http://www. šēpāya 99 niṭâtūˀašumruṣā | mihiṣtu 99 My afflictions were grievous. 113 My goddess has not shown me pity | nor gone at my illik side.ac. | my joints were separated 104 ina ittablakkuti | puṭṭurū 105 My limbs were splayed | and knocked about. | their Sun-god will have irêm mercy. riksūˀa 105 mešrētūˀa suppuhā | ittaddâ ahītum 106 *I spent the night in my dung like an ox. 117 išmēma hādûˀa | immerū 117 When anyone who gloated at me heard. | my arms being useless. 100 A scourge has whipped me. | one covered in stings. | one full of barbs. murṣiya 111 u adanna siliˀtīya | bārû ul 111 *Nor could the diviner | put a time limit on my illness.uk/baplar/recordings/the-poem-of-the-righteous-sufferer-ludlul-bl-nmeqitablet-ii-entire-tablet-read-by-karl-hecker. 114 piti kimahhu | ersû 114 My grave was open. among my friends. 103 ina šāt mūši | ul 103 (Even) in the middle of the night | he would not let me unappašanni surriš breathe freely for an instant.
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