The Epic of Gilgamesh

Translated by Maureen Gallery Kovacs
Electronic Edition by Wolf Carnahan, I998

Tablet II

Enkidu sits in front of her.

[The next 30 lines are missing; some of the fragmentary lines from 35 on are restored
from parallels in the Old Babylonian.]

"Why ..."(?)
His own counsel ...
At his instruction ...
Who knows his heart...
Shamhat pulled off her clothing,
and clothed him with one piece
while she clothed herself with a second.
She took hold of him as the gods do'
and brought him to the hut of the shepherds.
The shepherds gathered all around about him,
they marveled to themselves:
"How the youth resembles Gilgamesh--
tall in stature, towering up to the battlements over the wall!
Surely he was born in the mountains;
his strength is as mighty as the meteorite(!) of Anu!"
They placed food in front of him,
they placed beer in front of him;
Enkidu knew nothing about eating bread for food,
and of drinking beer he had not been taught.
The harlot spoke to Enkidu, saying:
"Eat the food, Enkidu, it is the way one lives.
Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land."
Enkidu ate the food until he was sated,
he drank the beer-seven jugs!-- and became expansive and sang with joy!
He was elated and his face glowed.
He splashed his shaggy body with water,
and rubbed himself with oil, and turned into a human.
He put on some clothing and became like a warrior(!).
He took up his weapon and chased lions so that the shepherds could eat
He routed the wolves, and chased the lions.
With Enkidu as their guard, the herders could lie down.
A wakeful man, a singular youth, he was twice as tall (?) (as normal men

[The next 33 lines are missing in the Standard Version; lines 57-86 are taken from the
Old Babylonian.]

Then he raised his eyes and saw a man.
He said to the harlot:
"Shamhat, have that man go away!
Why has he come'? I will call out his name!"
The harlot called out to the man
and went over to him and spoke with him.
"Young man, where are you hurrying!
Why this arduous pace!"
The young man spoke, saying to Enkidu:
"They have invited me to a wedding,
as is the custom of the people.
... the selection(!) of brides(!) ..
I have heaped up tasty delights for the wedding on the ceremonial(!) platter.
For the King of Broad-Marted Uruk,
open is the veil(!) of the people for choosing (a girl).
For Gilgamesh, the King of Broad-Marted Uruk,
open is the veil(?) of the people for choosing.
He will have intercourse with the 'destined wife,'
he first, the husband afterward.
This is ordered by the counsel of Anu,
from the severing of his umbilical cord it has been destined
for him."
At the young man's speech his (Enkidu's) face flushed (with anger).
[Several lines are missing.]
Enkidu walked in front, and Shamhat after him.
[The Standard Version resumes.]
He (Enkidu) walked down the street of Uruk-Haven,
... mighty...
He blocked the way through Uruk the Sheepfold.
The land of Uruk stood around him,
the whole land assembled about him,
the populace was thronging around him,
the men were clustered about him,
and kissed his feet as if he were a little baby(!).
Suddenly a handsome young man ...
For Ishara the bed of night(?)/marriage(?) is ready,
for Gilgamesh as for a god a counterpart(!) is set up.
Enkidu blocked the entry to the marital chamber,
and would not allow Gilgamreh to be brought in.
They grappled with each other at the entry to the marital chamber,
in the street they attacked each other, the public square of the land.
The doorposts trembled and the wall shook,

[About 42 lines are missing from the Standard Version; lines 103-129 are taken from
the Old Babylonian version.]

Gilgamesh bent his knees, with his other foot on the ground,
his anger abated and he turned his chest away.
After he turned his chest Enkidu said to Gilgamesh:
"Your mother bore you ever unique(!),
the Wild Cow of the Enclosure, Ninsun,
your head is elevated over (other) men,
Enlil has destined for you the kingship over the people."
[19 lines are missing here.]

They kissed each other and became friends.
[The Old Babylonian becomes fragmentary. The Standard Version resumes]
"His strength is the mightiest in the land!
His strength is as mighty as the meteorite(?) of Anu,
The mother of Gilgamesh spoke to Gilgamesh, saying;
Rimat-Ninsun said to her son:
"(I!), Rimar-Ninsun...
My son...
Plaintively ...
She went up into his (Shamash's) gateway,
plaintively she implored ...:
"Enkidu has no father or mother,
his shaggy hair no one cuts.
He was born in the wilderness, no one raised him."
Enkidu was standing there, and heard the speech.
He ... and sat down and wept,
his eyes filled with tears,
his arms felt limp, his strength weakened.
They took each other by the hand,
and.., their hands like ...
Enkidu made a declaration to (Gilgamesh').
[32 lines are missing here.]
"in order to protect the Cedar Forest
Enlil assigned (Humbaba) as a terror to human beings,
Humbaba's roar is a Flood, his mouth is Fire, and his breath is Death!
He can hear 100 leagues away any rustling(?) in his forest!
Who would go down into his forest!
Enlil assigned him as a terror to human beings,
and whoever goes down into his forest paralysis(?) will strike!"
Gilgamesh spoke to Enkidu saying:
"What you say .. ."
[About 42 lines are missing here in the Standard Version; lines 228-249 are taken from
the Old Babylonian.]
"Who, my Friend, can ascend to the heavens!"
(Only) the gods can dwell forever with Shamash.
As for human beings, their days are numbered,
and whatever they keep trying to achieve is but wind!
Now you are afraid of death--
what has become of your bold strength!
I will go in front of you,
and your mouth can call out: 'Go on closer, do not be afraid!'
Should I fall, I will have established my fame.
(They will say:)'It was Gilgamesh who locked in battle with Humbaba the Terrible!'
You were born and raised in the wilderness,
a lion leaped up on you, so you have experienced it all!'
[5 lines are fragmentary]
I will undertake it and I will cut down the Cedar.
It is I who will establish fame for eternity!
Come, my friend, I will go over to the forge
and have them cast the weapons in our presence!"
Holding each other by the hand they went over to the forge.
[The Standard Version resumes at this point.]
The craftsmen sat and discussed with one another.
"We should fashion the axe...
The hatchet should he one talent in weight ...
Their swords should be one talent...
Their armor one talent, their armor ..."
Gilgamesh said to the men of Uruk:
"Listen to me, men...
[5 lines are missing here.
You, men of Uruk, who know ...
I want to make myself more mighty, and will go on a distant(!) journey!
I will face fighting such as I have never known,
I will set out on a road I have never traveled!
Give me your blessings! ...
I will enter the city gate of Uruk ...
I will devote(?) myself to the New Year's Festival.
I will perform the New Year's (ceremonies) in...
The New Year's Festival will take place, celebrations ...
They will keep shouting 'Hurrah!' in...""
Enkidu spoke to the Elders:
"What the men of Uruk...
Say to him that he must nor go to the Cedar Forest--
the journey is not to be made!
A man who...
The Guardian of the Cedar Forest ...
The Noble Counselors of Uruk arose and
delivered their advice toGilgamesh:
"You are young, Gilgamesh, your heart carries you off
you do not know what you are talking about!
...gave birth to you.
Humbaba's roar is a Flood,
his mouth is Fire, his breath Death!
He can hear any rustling(!) in his forest 100 leagues away!
Who would go down into his forest!
Who among (even!) the Igigi gods can confront him?
In order to keep the Cedar safe, Enlil assigned him as a terror
to human beings."
Gilgamesh listened to the statement of his Noble Counselors.
[About 5 lines are missing to the end of Tablet II.]