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The Burden of Isis, The Chants


(The Laments of Isis and Nephthys Home Hymn to Osiris-Sokar)

The Chants

(B.M. PAP. 10188)

BEGINNING in front of the temples, during the Heb-festivals of Isis and Nephthys, and performed before the shrine of Osiris, Khent-Amentit,1 the great God, lord of Abydos, in the 4th month of Inundation, on the 22nd day and continued to the 26th day. Purify all that which appertains to the temple; bring forth the utensils of the priestesses, who have performed the ablutions, their arms not being bared, their hair flowing over their shoulders and their heads crowned with woollen scarves; a musical instrument in their arms, and their names inscribed upon their shoulders, dedicated to the service of Isis and Nephthys. Let them utter praises in the temples according to this writing, before this God. Let them say,--


Behold the lord Osiris! (Repeat four times the formula.)
Is not his Kher-Heb priest1 held in awe in this temple--great in heaven and great on earth? (Repeat four times the formula.)
Are not the two impersonators of the goddesses, and Hunnu,2 the beautiful, approaching to thy shrine at this moment? (Repeat twice.)
Do we not behold the excellent sistrum-bearer approaching to thy temple and drawing nigh, though thou hast departed from us?
Lo, Hunnu,2 the beautiful, passeth over the land hourly and yearly, at his proper-season;
He, the purified image of his father Tenen,3 the essence of deep mysteries:
He proceedeth from Tum, the most excellent lord:
Perfect is he, like his father, the eldest god born of the body of his mother!
Come thou to us with thy attributes
Let those among us who travel not thy path be embraced by thee:
Beautiful of face and greatly beloved is the image of Tenen,3 male lord of love, adored when he exhibiteth himself.
His limbs fail from his being bound;--
Come thou in peace, oh thou lord of those among us who behold the two goddesses united!
Afflictions and evils exist not for thy members, for they are not of thy creation.
Oh thou, our chief, turn again thy face toward us,--thou mighty one, great one among the gods!
The path that is visible to thee is one that cannot be described, oh thou child Hunnu,
For it doth remain, though thou goest forth through heaven and earth with thy attributes!
Lo, thou art as the Bull of the two goddesses--come thou, child growing in peace, our lord!
Behold us! Thy essence existeth with us like as the essence of Tebba1 existeth in the place of his destruction.
Come thou in peace, oh great child of his father Mentu!
Within thy temple fear thou not:
Thy son Horus avengeth thee, and he woundeth and carrieth away him who lurked in his den,
He whose name a daily flame destroyeth from among the gods--Tebha1 perisheth as waste matter.
As for thee, thou hast thy temple
Therein fear thou not Set, nor every calamity done by him or brought about by him.
Nut2 proceedeth forth, and embraceth thee with joyfulness;
Travel thou through the land among us, odorous at thy coming forth.
Rebels behold us gazing upon thy face, glowing in its marvellousness.
Behold! our lord is upon our left hand, and behold the beautiful face of the beloved lord turned toward us!
Lo! the Bull, begotten of the two cows Isis and Nephthys!
Lo! there cometh the bearer of the bronze-coloured sistrum, as the praises increase;
Beautiful when he beholdeth him, the lord, among the seated ones,--
He, the progeny of the two cows Isis and Nephthys, the child surpassingly beautiful!
He appeareth unto us in thy image, like the one beloved.
Behold thou me, thy sister Isis, loved of thy heart, loved by thy body;
Loved art thou, because of the inundation of the land this day.
Travel thou among us, oh thou praised one,--
Raise us living in place of what thou hast made empty.
Come thou in peace, oh our lord, whom we behold; our prince!
Approach in peace; drive away tempest from before our temple;
Send thy protection over us like a male protector (Repeat.)
Lo! the two goddesses! Behold Osiris, bull of Amentit, who is alone established!
Very great is he among the gods; the virile infant, the great heir of Sab,1 born the image of the God of Gods!
Come thou to the two widowed goddesses
There goeth about thee the whole, circle of the gods, and they meet with thee!
Behold, Set2 cometh--grievous is his name when uttered near thy shrine, in presence of thy father, oh Ra;--
He is cast forth to contend with opponents
Come surely to thy priests, striving and grieving before thy temple;
Come surely to thy priests, in none other than thine own image!
Our lord sitteth down in his temple in peace alone; the great conqueror is his name.
After his long suffering he resteth, taking dangerous council against his enemies
He smiteth the land in his designs.
Go forth, great one with the gods;
And with thee the circle of the gods in front, with the instrument-for-opening-the-mouth,3 that it may equal thy perfection before the gods.
Walk through the land entirely, great one which art a body, with the royal Uraeus upon his forehead.
He is carried within his heart;
At his coming, the whole speech of the god loved alone is found; his soul is exceedingly beloved.
Live thou in repeated union with the two goddesses;
Thy arms shall attain their desire now as formerly;
Thou hast proclaimed thyself under thy signet as a king of the circle of the gods--the lord!
Thy priests surely come; thy father Ra smiteth that which hath evil designs.
The circle of the gods surroundeth thy pathway, and they meet with thee:
Destroy thou the evil ones and the great calamity which has fallen upon the two counterparts, Isis and Nephthys:
Thy house is holding festival for the calamity (of evil-doers).
His enemies are cut off by disaster from him, when they behold him:
He overfloweth the land as is his custom.
He hath driven away disaster from Nut; the surface, of the earth hath he laid bare, and carried it away in his chariot:
He hath carried away and smitten the enemies of thy father, oh Ra, to justify himself. Thy son Horus is fettered so that he may not answer to thee:
Traverse thou the land in thy manifestations, stride thou like Nut over the four quarters of the world.
Thou passest over the land, above the godly temples of the two goddesses, Isis and Nephthys:
At thy proceeding thou art exalted twice over.
Behold, Set in his chariot--thy enemies are not his enemies!
Come thou into thy temple, oh Osiris, and seek for thy place;
Behold thou, and hearken to the speech of Horus, lying in the arms of his mother, Isis:
Overcome thou indeed in the two lands, oh lord!
Carry out thy word, preserve it in the temple, inscribe thou it, oh great God;
Restrain with thy manifestations, in thy going forth from thy temple, oh Osiris!
Come thou in peace to thy seat, oh lord, Conqueror!
Show us the great Bull, the lovable lord, as he shall become!
Thy duck, thy sister, Isis, produceth the sweet odours belonging to thee and with thee,
Yet thy way doth not tend toward us, oh our lord!
Give thou life from the beginning unto believers!
Hail! Guard thou the inundation in the land of Tesdu,1 like as thou hast never done before!
Thy sister cometh to thee; she openeth for thee her arms, oh great god, living, great, beloved!
She dandleth thy son in front of thee, at the head of the south and the north!
The lord of ornamentation, the great male one in the heaven of the gods, is decorated!
Thou camest from thy mother, Nut; she spread herself out before thee at thy coming forth from her;
She protected thy limbs from all evil; she followed thee as her babe.
She drove away every danger from thy limbs, chiefly that which was harmful to thee, thou child, the lord.
He goeth forth from Nut; he gazeth upon this land as its head, he the only lord, the child!
Thou goest forth from this cow which conceiveth from the gods, oh thou opener of the underworld in its time!
Lo! the child followeth; thy father Ra remains not;
Thy son Horus shall take vengeance for thee upon the enemy for every calamity brought about by him.
Come thou to thy temple, and fear thou not!
Come thou to thy temple, and fear thou not!
Behold the two impersonators of the goddesses behold the excellent sistrum-bearers!
Approach to thy temple! Be thou exalted twice over in thy temple!
Lo, the gods are in their places! I am the glorious sister of her elder brother!
Thy wife, the elder of thy mother!
Come thou to me, running after my heart, which would look upon thee;
Thy back hath never been beheld by me-make clear the way to us, before me.
Behold Ra in heaven! Protect, oh Nut, the land!
Make a shadow in the land as doth Ra: inflame the heart, that thou mayest escape evil:
Inflame the heart, to cause thee to come after me!
Lo! thou canst not prevent it from turning me toward thee.
Firm are the dwellings of Osiris returning on his paths!
I am seeking after love: behold me existing in the city, great are its walls,
I grieve for thy love toward me-come thou only, now that thou hast departed!
Behold thy son, who causeth Tebha1 to retreat from destruction!
Hidden am I among the plants, and concealed is thy son that he cannot answer to thee, while this great calamity remaineth!
Yet concerning thee, there is no likeness of thy flesh left:
I follow thee alone and surround the plants, each of which holdeth danger for thy son,--
Lo, I, a woman, in front of all!
Behold this male child! Lo, I know, I and the Opener-of-Ways, Osiris.
I go about thy ways, I turn back towards my elder brother, escaping from danger.
I inflame the hearts of hundreds of thousands, and ponder greatly upon the gods.
Behold us, oh lord! let thy love not lack before our faces, thou male one, sweet lord, ruler of Egypt, lord eternal!
Fly thou with life, prince everlasting; destroy the ones who know not the goddess, thou ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt, the lord!
Command over Deseret:1--there thou remainest not,
For full of me is the heart which existeth in him, the elder, the lord!
Command over the Nome of Iqertet!2
Come to me with thy attributes Come in peace!
Come in peace, oh ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt, thou prince!
Come in peace because of our love for thee--come like the breath, like my love at beholding thee!
My arms are raised for thy protection; love thou me!
Love thou me in the two orbits of the Realms of Osiris, full of my pondering about thee!
There thou dost receive a fillet for the hair among them who dwell therein;
Breezes blow for thee with perfume, oh husband, elder, lord beloved!
Come thou in peace to thy temple--lo, the excellent sistrum-bearer approacheth to thy house, with his instrument of music on his arm. (Repeat twice.)
Thou dost take from thy shrine thy possessions as the male one of Amentit, the place of thy shrine;
Thy body is before the temple of Hennu. Hail! in thy name of prince everlasting!
Horus cometh to thee in strength;
He removeth thy limbs and he collecteth thine emanations and that which goeth forth from thee:
The great god approacheth at thy word, and is restrained by thy attributes.
Come thou in peace, oh our lord, the child, for continually thy son Horus doth avenge thee.
Come before thy temple-grant abundance to thy p. 39 holy temple which thou lovest, oh prince, leader, strong one!
Break open before us as the only Egg, oh strong one, valorous son!
Lo, this one is the opener-of-the-body, the masterful one--the god Seb is before his mother.
Great are my adornings, for that done in Amentit is beloved:
He hath vanquished disaster, he is lord of the dead, the Bull of Amentit, born of Horus-Ra of the two horizons, the child lovely to the one beholding him.
Come thou to us in peace twice renewed--remove thou thy penalties;
Drive away the evil moment, oh our lord!
Come thou to us in peace twice renewed! Praise the child!
The elder cometh in peace, rejoicing, and there cometh the looked-for ruler of Egypt, the prince eternal, as "Still Heart."1
As "Still Heart" is thy heart, oh our lord; come thou to thy temple--fear thou not the great evils.
Dost thou not behold and hear the words uttered at thy Heb-festival?
Behold, the excellent sistrum-bearer!
There cometh to thy temple the circle of the gods, seeking to see thee, oh child, lord, first maker of the body.
The babe whom thou lovest is before thy face, the heir overcoming at the beginning, the excellent son.
There proccedeth from the temple, visibly and audibly, the grieving of Isis concerning thee, upon the path to thy place.
Grant deliverance before those whom thou lovest
They weep for thee with hair unbound,--before Un-Nofer, the lord of bounty, the prince great in his terror, the god above the heavens!
The gods produce the inundation for thee--begotten is it by thee daily.
Lo! the divine essence of the gods is spread upon his limbs:
Behold! he causeth to live those of the older time and human beings since,--he the lord of bounty, prince making fertile,
Great lord, plant giving life, granting twice over the peace of the gods!
There are funeral offerings for the souls of the deceased, and for Seshta,1 the lord of the funeral couch, the lord of the sacred eye, in the holy horizon of the temple.
He shineth at his season, and is brilliant in his hour,--
Thou art Khu, who art accompanied by radiances.
Shine thou at the left hand of Tum--
Behold, thou art upon the seat of Ra, revealing his brilliances.
Thy mummy flieth with thy soul toward Ra.
Thou illuminest at the daybreak, and thou restest at evening, this being thy daily work;
For thou art at the left hand of Tum the everlasting, eternal. Thou risest, and hateful wickedness is restrained even before it is conceived) before its calamity cometh upon thee.
He turneth back the attack of foes that come fiercely against him.
The god Imsehti,1 he is thy heir;
Cause thou every one of the gods to praise him.
Exalt the circle of the gods by thy victory occupy thyself with Ra every day.
Behold thou the image on thy left hand--behold thou the image of living beings, for thou art Tum, the forerunner of Ra.
There cometh to thee the entire circle of the gods above thy head, invoking joy upon thy head, and falling flame upon thine enemies.
There is praise to thee from us, that thy flesh may embrace again thy bones; thy word is decreed every day.
Approach. thou like Tum in his season, turning not: thy sinews are strong in thee, oh thou Opener-of-Ways!
He bringeth thee to the mountains, he heweth the place of burial;
There belongeth to thee all Ta-Deseret.1
For thee are the two, Isis and Nephthys--do thou strengthen us, for they ponder on thy image.
Thy limbs are as mutilated unto thee; they seek to bind together thy dead body.
No calamity cometh to them when approaching to thee with hair unbound!
Come thou to us entirely, for thou rememberest
Thou comest with thy attributes before the land modify thy power.
For thy peace is proclaimed to us, oh lord, heir of the two thrones, god alone excellent, designed of the gods: every god adoreth thee!
Thou comest; it is thy temple; fear not, beloved of Ra, beloved of thy two images;
Be peaceful in thy temple; thy words are eternal!
Lo! the two representatives of the goddesses! Lo! the excellent sistrum-bearer!
Come to thy temple--he rejoiceth twice over in thy temple because of thee, oh child, like one beloved!
Behold thou! Come, come to us: great is thy protection, thou whom we love: come thou to thy temple, nor fear thou.
Behold the gods existing in heaven! Behold the gods existing on earth!
Behold the gods existing in the Place of the Dead! Behold the gods existing in the expanse of the universe!
Come after us who are under thy lady, every one beloved by thee, the eldest-born, lord of love; to him be praise!
Come to me, thou uniter of heaven to earth, who causeth his shadow daily in the land, messenger of heaven to earth!
Hail! Approach thou to us with me, eldest-born wife, in the city!
Seek for our lord-traverse the land toward our lord!
Come to me, thou messenger of heaven, who changeth things:
Cause the god to come to his house, breathing again with the breath of thy nostrils!
Behold! the breath from the lord is in his great temple!
Praise Ra, the avenger; he doth not oppose that which is thine; but he hath produced calamity after the desire of thy heart!
Behold thou, rejoicing king, beautiful child! Hail oh lord beloved!
Come to me, oh lord; thou who art beheld daily, thou elder one!
Come, behold us; great are thy two arms! Lo! thine avenger! The two arms lift thee up twice over!
They are thy protection, male, lord, child, babe!
It is the avenger, our lord--lo, I am son of Seb!
Depart not from me in thy time-lo! it is not ever his time!
I follow after thy ways, after thy going thence, lord beloved of me;
Thou who hoverest over the lands, nor restest in thy passage:
I am inflamed with loving thee! Hail! Approach!
Behold, I weep for thee alone; come to me who runneth because of my desire to behold thee;
While I am behind thee I desire to behold thy face!
Hail, thou who art invoked in thy temple, being protected twice over in peace!
Hail to thee twice over! Our lord cometh to his temple; our arms shall protect him behind his temple.
Our lord cometh in peace to his place: when thou art established in thy temple, fear thou not!
Lo! praised twice over is our lord, with acclamation, because God is great.
Come thou in peace and truth; go thou forth under Ra, masterful among the gods, approved one!
Come in Peace, thou looked-for child!
Come thou with thy attributes as a child p. 45 the evil one has fallen; Horus is as a prince.
He is great toward thee; he is not exalted above thee in his circuit.
Lo, the two goddesses, the ones loving the father, lord of rejoicings!
The hearts of the circle of the gods of the region of Faym rejoice for thee;
Thy holy temple holdeth thy beauties; the circle of the gods is filled with awe at thy terribleness and the land trembleth at thy terror.
I am thy wife, made as thou art, the elder sister, soul of her brother.
He cometh and is visible, the lord beloved, praised twice over, the great Egg.
He cometh and is visible, the babe; the child advanceth, he cometh and is visible.
The extent of the earth weepeth for thee; the regions lament for thee, Seshta;1
Heaven and earth weep for thee, for great art thou among the gods
There are not a few who adore thy soul--come to thy temple, nor fear thou.
Thy son Horus embraceth the circuit of heaven; Bebi2 prevaileth; fear thou not.
Thy son Horus taketh vengeance before thee; he overthroweth for thee the evil ones and plotters.
Hail, oh lord, whose increase in brightness is daily beheld; the odour of thy limbs is like odours of Punt.
Praised are those who are dead and at peace and the entire circle of the gods rejoiceth.
Come thou to thy wife in peace; her heart fluttereth for thy love; she is not embraced since thy going from her.
Her heart shall delight to behold thee--thy beauties go forth of thee to her in thy shrine.
She removeth from thy limbs calamity and evil, such as hath never happened unto thee formerly.
Come thou to life in front of thy wife! Hail!
Guard thou the inundation in the fields of Aphroditopolis this day--grant grain twice over--let there be no likeness of evil.
The Cow1 weepeth for thee with her voice; thou art beloved in her heart; her heart fluttereth, enchanted for thee;
She embraceth thy limbs with her two arms, and cometh running steadily toward thee, for peace.
Behold, her vengeance is accomplished for thee she is caused to be mighty by thee;
Thy flesh hath she bound with thy bones for thee; she hath gathered for thee thy breath in front of thee, and made thy bones entire.
Thy mother Nut cometh to thee in peace, she hath built up life from her own body
The renewed soul is made doubly steadfast--thy soul it is, oh male begotten, lord of women!
There is unguent for the hair at thy coming to the regions of the gods--
Unguent for thine anointed hair. Lo, he goeth forth himself--he cometh
Come in peace twice over, King of Egypt, prince!
Come in peace, lord of Sais; her1 two arms are stretched toward thee, oh Shenthit,2 and her heart goeth forth to thee!
Thou art as God--come forth with godly amulets, for lo! they are not over his child to protect him.
Thy hair is like turquoise over his body, at thy coming into the cultivated fields:
With turquoise is thy hair twined and with lapis lazuli, the finest of lapis lazuli:
Lo! the lapis lazuli is above thy hair: thy skin and thy flesh are like iron of the south thy bones are formed of silver.
I am as a child: thy teeth are to thee as fine lapis lazuli:
Sweet-scented odours are upon thy hair, with unguents that proceed from himself.
Chiefs are before thee as lapis lazuli. Sab lifts p. 48 up himself with offerings unto thee, causing him, the great God, to approach,
He, who goeth forth in front of the great heir, who goeth forth from Ra, the eldest one, beautiful prince, of god-like face, the living soul of Istennu (Thoth)--
The child, proceeding from the God of seeing and hearing, the eldest one, prince of eastern
and western horizons, heir of Sab.
He giveth to thee every circuit of the Sun God Aten--come to thy temple, oh Osiris, Opener-of-Ways to the Gods:
Thou openest thy two eyes and thou dost behold among them.
Remove thou storms of rain and give thou sunshine to the land, with fecundity during the night-time.
Come to thy temple, oh Osiris Khent-Amentit; come to thy temple!
Come with the body of the Uraeus on thy head: his two eyes shine over the two regions of the gods;
Exalted twice over is the prince, our lord.
Thy foes are destined for slaughter, since they are not steadfast at all because of thy name.
Make firm thy limbs for thee, oh Un-Nofer--life, stability and health;
For thy flesh causeth the heart to rest, oh Osiris, beautiful.
Lo, there goeth forth with thee, and in front of thee, this god Hu,1 and Tatenen, thy father, who supporteth heaven; and thou art the fourth god who progresseth therein.
Thy soul flyeth to the east, because thou art as the image of Ra.
Those existing in the realms of the dead are accepted with rejoicing:
Sab, who existeth therein, openeth unto thee.
They come to thee with an offering, and travel to thee with an offering from Deddu.2
Osiris is exalted before thee--he is exalted twice over in peace.
There cometh unto thee Isis, lady of the horizon, who hath begotten herself alone in the image of the gods.
It is she who is avenged before thee--it is she who is avenged before thee!
She hath taken vengeance before Horus, the woman who was made a male by her father Osiris.
Go forth and behold the "Opener-of-Ways,"3 the revered, the Uraeus-wearer!
Come forth as Ra; come forth as the pupil of the eye that beholdeth Tum, when Ra shineth as chief twice over!

Behold! He cometh!

COLOPHON

This litany compiled by the priest of the temple of Het,1 the Recorder of Amen of the rank of Sa,2 the priest Nes-Amsu, son of the priest Pedi-Amen, for the King of the two lands, he being the sistrum-bearer of Amen-Ra, and son of Ta-Mut, she who belongeth to Tunra.

Writings of the 12th year, 4th month of summer, in the day of the Pharaoh (life, stability and health) Alexander,3 son of Alexander, prince of the god and father;--he being also priest of Amen-Ra, king of the Gods, priest of Horus the Ra, the great child, supreme, firstborn of Amen; priest of the Amen-of-the-two-Horus, priest of Khensu in the midst of Bennit,4 priest of Osiris-of-the-great-persea-trees, priest of Osiris-in-the-midst-of-Ishrel, priest of Amen-haset-in-the-midst-of-Ipui, Uab-priest of the Ra in the chief temple of the temples of Amen, over the Sa-priests of second rank; recorder of the treasury of the God Amen, over the Sa-priests of second rank; deputy of Amen, of the Sa-priests of second and fourth rank; priest of Nofer-Hotep, the great God; priest of Nofer-Hotep the child, priest of Osiris, Horus, Isis and Nephthys, priest of the temple of Het,1 priest of Amsu; priest of Hathor, lady of Het-Sekhem;1 priest of Mehyt, priest of Tum, lord of Het-Sekhem, deputy of Nofer-Hotep of the four grades of Sa-priests, priest of the chief of Nofer-Hotep, priest of the Gods.

(The Laments of Isis and Nephthys Home Hymn to Osiris-Sokar)

Footnotes

28:1 Title of Osiris--"Within the underworld." 29:1 Officiates at Heb-festival. 29:2 Sun god. 29:3 Osiris. 30:1 Name of Set. 30:2 Goddess of night, mother of Osiris. 32:1 God of earth, father of Osiris. 32:2 Sutekh. 32:3 Religious ceremony. 35:1 Aphroditopolis 36:1 Set. 37:1 Land of the dead. 37:2 Underworld. 39:1 Osiris. 40:1 One of the gods of the underworld. 41:1 God of light. 42:1 Land of the Dead. 45:1 Here used for Osiris. 45:2 Son of Osiris. 46:1 Hathor. 47:1 I.e. the City's. 2 Osiris. 49:1 A god of earth. 49:2 The Celestial City. 49:3 Osiris. 50:1 Diospolis Parva. 50:2 Priest's grade. 50:3 Alexander II, son of Philip Aridaeus. 50:4 Part of Thebes. 51:1 Capital of VII Nome, Upper Egypt.


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