The Burden of Isis/The Laments of Isis and Nephthys

The Burden of Isis (1910)
translated by James Teackle Dennis
The Laments of Isis and Nephthys
79588The Burden of Isis — The Laments of Isis and Nephthys1910James Teackle Dennis


(Berlin Pap. 1425)

Invocation concerning the glorious things done by the two goddesses of th temple of Osiris, Khent-Amentit,[1] the great God of Abydos; performed in the 4th summer month, 25th day; likewise to be performed in every shrine of Osiris at every one of his Heb-festivals.[2]

Glorify his soul! Establish his dead body!
Praise his spirit! Give breath to his nostrils and to his parched throat!
Give gladness unto the heart of Isis and to that of Nephthys;
Place Horus upon the throne of his Father;
Give life, stability and power to Osiris Thentirti,[3]
Born of the great forsaken one, she who is called also Pelses, the truthful—
Glorious are her acts, according to the words of the gods.

Behold now, Isis speaketh,—
Come to thy temple, come to thy temple, oh An![4]
Come to thy temple, for thine enemies are not!
Behold the excellent sistrum-bearer—come to thy temple!
Lo I, thy sister, love thee—do not thou depart from me!
Behold Hunnu,[5] the beautiful one!
Come to thy temple immediately—come to thy temple immediately! Behold thou my heart, which grieveth for thee;
Behold me seeking for thee—I am searching for thee to behold thee!
Lo, I am prevented from beholding thee—
I am prevented from beholding thee, oh An![4]
It is blessed to behold thee—come to the one who loveth thee!
Come to the one who loveth thee, oh thou who art beautiful, Un-Nofer,[6] deceased.
Come to thy sister—come to thy wife—
Come to thy wife, oh thou who makest the heart to rest.
I, thy sister, born of thy mother, go about to every temple of thine,
Yet thou comest not forth to me:
Gods, and men before the face of the gods, are weeping for thee at the same time, when they behold me!
Lo, I invoke thee with wailing that reacheth high as heaven,—
Yet thou hearest not my voice. Lo I, thy sister, I love thee more than all the earth—
And thou lovest not another as thou dost thy sister—
Surely thou lovest not another as thou dost thy sister!

Behold now, Nephthys speaketh,—
Behold the excellent sistrum-bearer! Come to thy temple!
Cause thy heart to rejoice, for thy enemies are not!
All thy sister-goddesses are at thy side and behind thy couch,
Calling upon thee with weeping—yet thou art prostrate upon thy bed!
Hearken unto the beautiful words uttered by us and by every noble one among us!
Subdue thou every sorrow which is in the hearts of us thy sisters,
Oh thou strong one among the gods,—strong among men who behold thee!
We come before thee, oh prince, our lord;
Live before us, desiring to behold thee;
Turn not thou away thy face before us;
Sweeten our hearts when we behold thee, oh prince!
Beautify our hearts when we behold thee!
I, Nephthys, thy sister, I love thee:
Thy foes are subdued, there is not one remaining.
Lo, I am with thee; I shall protect thy limbs for ever, eternally.

Behold now, Isis speaketh,—
Praised be An[7]; thou shinest upon us from heaven every day,
Yet can we not behold thy beams.
Tehuti[8] protecteth thee, he causeth thy soul to be established within the Maadet boat,[9] by the power of thy name of "Iah"!
Come to me; for I would behold thee and thy beauties by means of the Uazit eye,—[10]
By the power of thy name of "Lord of the six festivals"!
Thy royal attendants are by thy side, nor go they forth from thee;
Thou takest possession of heaven by the greatness of thy terrors, and by the power of thy name of "Prince of the fifteen festivals"!
Thou shinest upon us like Ra, the lord—
Glow thou above us like Tum.
Gods and men live when beholding thee—shine thou upon us;
Brighten thou the two lands;[11]
The two horizons are fitted for thy pathways.
Gods together with men are with thee;
No harm cometh unto them from thy shining,
Nor from thy journeying in the celestial boat[12] above.
Thy enemies have ceased to be, for I am protecting thee, oh Ra, lord!
Come thou to us as a babe, thou first great Sun god.
Depart not from us who behold thee!
There proceedeth from thee the strong Orion in heaven at evening, at the resting of every day!
Lo, it is I, at the approach of the Sothis period, who doth watch for him,
Nor will I leave off watching for him; for that which proceedeth from thee is revered.
An emanation from thee causeth life to gods and men, reptiles and animals, and they live by means thereof.
Come thou to us from thy chamber, in the day when thy soul begetteth emanations,—
The day when offerings upon offerings are made to thy spirit, which causeth the gods and men likewise to live.
Praise be to the Lord, for there is no god like unto thee, oh Tum![13]
Thy soul possesseth the earth, and thy likenesses the underworld;
Lo, it is prepared for and containeth thy hidden shrine.
Thy wife is ready to protect thee, and thy son Horus also, as prince of the lands.

Behold now, Nephthys speaketh,—
Behold the excellent sistrum-bearer! Come to thy temple, Un-Nofer, deceased,—come to Deddu![14]
Behold the bull, the begotten one!
Come thou to Anep (Mendes), the beloved enclosure!
Come to Khar! Come to the two Deddus (Mendes and Busiris), the place which thy soul loveth, and the souls of thy fathers likewise!
Thy son, thy child Horus, born of thy sister-goddesses, is before thy face.
It is I who doth illuminate and protect thee every day—
I will not depart from thee for ever!
Oh, An, come thou to Sais, for thy name is "Sau" (protector)![15]
Come to Aper! Behold thou thy mother, Nut, oh thou lovely child!
Depart thou not from her! Come to her breasts; abundance is therein!
Thy sister, too, is beautiful, depart thou not from her, oh son!

Come to Sais, oh Osiris, and to Tarud,
She who is called also Nisep, born of Pelses, deceased!
Come to Aper, thy city, thy seat, and to the temple of Deb!
Thou shalt rest beside thy mother eternally;
She preserveth thy limbs and procureth terror among thy enemies, for she protecteth thy members for ever.
Behold the excellent sistrum-bearer! Come to thy temple!
Come, behold thou thy son Horus as prince of gods and men;
He taketh possession of the cities and the nomes by the magnitude of his terrors;
Heaven and earth are filled with fear of him,
And the barbarians are submissive under his terrors. Thy children are among gods and men,
And the eastern and western horizons are among the attributes of thy producing;
Thy two sisters are at thy side, purifying thy soul,
And thy son Horus admitteth thine attributes. There cometh forth funereal and other offerings—beer, bulls and geese—for thee:
Tehuti proclaimeth thy Heb-festival, and invoketh thee with his protecting formulae;
Horus covereth thy limbs with his protections;
Every day thy son Horus glorifieth thy spirit,
And he avengeth thy name by offerings for thy soul placed at thy secret shrine.
As for the gods, their arms bear libation vases for the purifying of thy spirit.
Come to thy children, oh prince, our lord, nor depart thou from them.

Lo! he comes!

  1. A title of Osiris—"Within the underworld"
  2. Heb—a special festival.
  3. Thentirti—name of Osiris.
  4. 4.0 4.1 An, the sun (or moon) god.
  5. Name of the sun god.
  6. One of the titles of Osiris.
  7. The sun god.
  8. Thoth, God of Wisdom.
  9. Sunset boat.
  10. Magic eye of Osiris—bringing health and happiness to wearer.
  11. Upper and Lower Egypt.
  12. Boat of Ra, sun god.
  13. Tum or Atum—sun, father of Osiris, god of Heliopolis.
  14. Mendes, not the celestial Deddu, is here meant.
  15. A pun on the word "Sais."