back

Ancient Egyptian Texts:  1.11


THE LAMENTATIONS OF ISIS AND NEPHTHYS


Text:   P. Berlin 3008   [ TM 57089 ]
Date:   2nd century B.C.
Language:   Hieratic
Translated by:   R.O. Faulkner
Format:   see key to translations

The content of this recitation is similar to the Songs of Isis and Nephthys. Both were designed to be performed at religious festivals; but being shorter, the Lamentations were also suitable to be used as a funeral text.

The translation is by R.O. Faulkner, in Mélanges Maspero - 1934, pp.337-348 ( archive.org ); the language has been updated in many places.


The recitation of praises which is performed by the Two Sisters in the temple of Osiris, First of the Westerners, the great god, Lord of Abydos, on the 25th day of the fourth month of Inundation, when the same is performed in every place belonging to Osiris in every festival of his; glorifying his soul, establishing his body, gladdening his ka, giving breath to the nose of him whose throat is constricted, making happy the heart of Isis and Nephthys, 1-10 placing Horus on his throne which belonged to his father, and giving life, stability and welfare to the Osiris Tentruty, born of Tekhao surnamed Persis, the justified; it is beneficial for whoever performs it even as for the gods.   

Recitation. 2-1 Declamation by Isis. She says : 

Come to your house, come to your house! O you of Heliopolis, come to your house, for your foes are not. O fair Sistrum-player, come to your house that you may see me, for I am your sister whom you love, and you shall not be parted from me. O fair youth, come to your house; for a very long while I have not seen you. My heart grieves for you, my eyes search for you, and I am seeking you in order to behold you . . . to see you, to see you, O fair Sovereign, . . . to see you; it is good to see you, it is good to see you, O you of Heliopolis, it is good to see you! Come to her whom you love, come to her whom you love; O you justified Onnophris, come to your sister, come to your wife, come to your wife! O you who are weary of heart, come to the mistress of your house, for I am your sister by your own mother, 2-10 and you shall not he far from me. The faces of gods and men are turned towards you, lamenting you in unison; while I can see I call upon you with tears, even to the height of heaven, but you do not hear my voice, although I am your sister whom you loved upon earth and you loved none other than me, O my brother, my brother! 

3-1 Declamation by Nephthys. She says : 

O fair Sovereign, come to your house and rejoice, for all your foes are not. Your two sisters are beside you as a protection to your bier, calling upon you with tears; turn yourself around upon your bier and behold the beauteous ones; speak unto us, O Sovereign our lord, that you may drive out all the misery which is in our hearts. Your entourage of gods and men behold you; turn your face to them, O Sovereign our lord, for our faces live by seeing your face. Your face scorns (?) not our faces 3-10 and our hearts are joyful at seeing you; O Sovereign, our hearts are happy at seeing you. I am Nephthys your sister whom you love; he who rebelled against you is fallen and shall not be, but I am with you as a protection to your body for ever and ever.   

4-1 Declamation by Isis. She says : 

Ho, you of Heliopolis ! you rise for us in the sky every day, and we do not cease to see your rays. Thoth is your protection, he causes your soul to arise within the Day-bark in this your name of "Moon"; I have come to see your beauty within the udjat-eye in this your name of "Lord of the Sixth-day festival"; your courtiers are beside you and will not forsake you, and you have captured heaven through the greatness of your majesty in this your name of "Prince of the Fifteenth-day festival". You arise for us like Rē every day, you shine for us like Atum ; gods and men live by seeing you. You arise for us, you illuminate the Two Lands, the horizon is filled with your manifestation; 4-10 the faces of gods and men are turned towards you, and there can be no evil deed against them when you arise. You cross the firmament, for your foes are not, and I am your daily protection. You come to us as a child in (?) moon and sun, and we do not cease to see you. Your sacred image, Orion in heaven, rises and sets every day; I am Sothis following after him and I will not forsake him. 5-1 The august image which went forth from you nourishes gods and men, reptiles and herds, and they live by it. You come out of your cavern for us at due season pouring out water to your soul and offering oblations to your ka in order to nourish gods and men alike. Ho my lord! There is no god like unto you! Heaven has your ba, earth has your semblance, and the Netherworld is filled with your secrets; your wife is your protection and your son Horus is ruler of the lands.   

Declamation by Nephthys. She says : 

O fair Sovereign, come to your house; O you justified Onnophris, come to Mendes; O lusty Bull, come to Anpet; O you whom the tomb (?) desired, come to the Mendesian nome, come to Mendes, the place which your ba loves. The bas of your fathers are second to you 5-5 and your little son Horus, born of the Two {sic} Sisters, is before you; I am in the light (?) as your protection every day and I will not forsake you for ever. O you of Heliopolis, come to Sais, for "Saite" is your name; come to the Saite nome that you may see your mother Neith; O fair child, you shall not be parted from her. Come to her breasts in which is abundance; O fair brother, you shall not be parted from her. O my son, come to Sais; O Osiris Tentruty surnamed Nyny, born of Persis, the justified, come to the Saite nome, your city, your place Ḥet-deb. You are at rest beside your mother for ever; she protects your body, she drives off him who rebels against you and she will be a protection to your body for ever. O fair Sovereign, come to your house; O Lord of Sais, come to Sais!   

Declamation by Isis. She says : 

Come to your house, come to your house! O fair Sovereign, come to your house! Come that you may see your son Horus as Sovereign of gods and men; he has conquered cities and nomes through the greatness of his majesty, 5-10 heaven and earth being in fear of him and the Land of the Bows in dread of him; your entourage of gods and men is his in the Two Shrines, performing your rites; your two sisters are beside you pouring libations to your ka, your son Horus makes for you an invocation-offering of bread and beer, oxen and fowl. Thoth recites your hymns and invokes you with his spells, the Children of Horus protect your body and praise your soul daily, your son Horus, the protector of your name and shrine, makes oblation to your ka, and the gods, their hands hearing water-jars, pour libations to your ka. Come to your courtiers, O Sovereign our lord, and do not forsake them. 

 

Now when this is read, the place is to be thoroughly sanctified, unseen and unheard by anyone except the Chief Lector and the setem-priest. There shall be brought two women beautiful of body, and they shall be made to sit down on the ground in the principal doorway of the Hall of Appearings, with writing on their arms, that is the names of Isis and Nephthys. Jars of faience filled with water shall be placed in their right hands and offering-cakes made in Memphis in their left hands, and their faces shall be bowed down. This shall be done in the third hour of the day and likewise in the eighth hour of the day, and you shall not fail to read this book in the hour of festival.   

It is at an end. 



Attalus' home page   |   17.07.20   |   Any comments?