The Epic of Gilgamesh

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

Tablet VII

"My friend, why are the Great Gods in conference?
(In my dream) Anu, Enlil, and Shamash held a council,
and Anu spoke to Enlil:
'Because they killed the Bull of Heaven and have also slain
the one of them who pulled up the Cedar of the Mountain
must die!'
Enlil said:'Let Enkidu die, but Gilgamesh must not die!'
Bur the Sun God of Heavenl replied to valiant Enlil:
'Was it not at my command that they killed the Bull of
Heaven and Humbaba!
Should now innocent Enkidu die!'
Then Enlil became angry at Shamash, saying:
'it is you who are responsible because you traveled daily
with them as their friend!"'
Enkidu was lying (sick) in front of Gilgamesh.
His tears flowing like canals, he (Gilgamesh) said:
"O brother, dear brother, why are they absolving me instead of
my brother)"
Then Enkidu said:) "So now must 1 become a ghost,
to sit with the ghosts of the dead, to see my dear brother
In the Cedar Forest where the Great (Gods dwell, I did not kill the Cedar."
Enkidu addressed Gilgamesh,
saying to Gilgamesh, his Friend:
"Come, Friend,...
The door...
Enkidu raised his eyes,...and spoke to the door as if it were human:
"You stupid wooden door,
with no ability to understand... !
Already at 10 leagues I selected the wood for you,
until I saw the towering Cedar ...
Your wood was without compare in my eyes.
Seventy-two cubits was your height, 14 cubits your width, one
cubit your thickness,
your door post, pivot stone, and post cap ...
I fashioned you, and I carried you; to Nippur...
Had I known, O door, that this would he your gratitude
and this your gratitude...,
I would have taken an axe and chopped you up,
and lashed your planks into...
in its ... I erected the...
and in Uruk...they heard
But yet, O door, I fashioned you, and I carried you to Nippur!
May a king who comes after me reject you, may the god...
may he remove my name and set his own name there!"
He ripped out.., threw down.
He(Gilgamesh) kept listening to his words, and retorted quickly,
Gilgamesh listened to the words of Enkidu, his Friend, and his tears flowed.
Gilgamesh addressed Enkidu, raying:
'Friend, the gods have given you a mind broad and ...
Though it behooves you to be sensible, you keep uttering
improper things!
Why, my Friend, does your mind utter improper things?
The dream is important but very frightening,
your lips are buzzing like flies.
Though there is much fear, the dream is very important.
To the living they (the gods) leave sorrow,
to the living the dream leaves pain.
I will pray, and beseech the Great Gods,
I will seek..., and appeal to your god.
... Enlil, the Father of the Gods,
...Enlil the
I will fashion a statue of you of gold without measure,
do nor worry..., gold...
What Enlil says is not...
What he has said cannot go back, cannot ...,
What... he has laid down cannot go back, cannot...
My friend,... of fate goes to mankind."
just as dawn began to glow, Enkidu raised his head and cried out to Shamash,
at the (first) gleam of the sun his tears poured forth.
"I appeal to you, O Shamash, on behalf of my precious life (?),
because of that notorious trapper
who did not let me attain the same as my friend
May the trapper not get enough to feed himself .
May his profit be slashed, and his wages decrease,
may... be his share before you,
may he not enter ... but go out of it like vapor(?)!"
After he had cursed the trapper to his satisfaction,
his heart prompted him to curse the Harlot.
"Come now, Harlot, I am going to decree your fate,
a fate that will never come to an end for eternity!
I will curse you with a Great Curse,
may my curses overwhelm you suddenly, in an instant!
May you not be able to make a household,
and not be able to love a child of your own (?)!
May you not dwell in the ... of girls,
may dregs of beer (?) stain your beautiful lap,
may a drunk soil your festal robe with vomit(?),
... the beautiful (?)
... of the potter.
May you never acquire anything of bright alabaster,
may the judge. ..
may shining silver(?), man's delight, not be cast into your house,
may a gateway be where you rake your pleasure,'
may a crossroad be your home
may a wasteland be your sleeping place,
may the shadow of the city wall be your place to stand,
may the thorns and briars skin your feet,
may both the drunk and the dry slap you on the cheek,
... in your city's streets (?),
may owls nest in the cracks of your walls!
may no parties take place...
... present(?).
and your filthy "lap" ... may.., be his(?)
Because of me...
while I, blameless, you have... against me.
When Shamash heard what his mouth had uttered,
he suddenly called out to him from the sky:
"Enkidu, why are you cursing the harlot, Shamhat,
she who fed you bread fit for a god,
she who gave you wine fit for a king,
she who dressed you in grand garments,
and she who allowed you to make beautiful Gilgamesh your
Now Gilgamesh is your beloved brother-friend!
He will have you lie on a grand couch,
will have you lie on a couch of honor.
He will seat you in the seat of ease, the seat at his left,
so that the princes of the world kiss your feet.
He will have the people of Uruk go into mourning and moaning over you,
will fill the happy people with woe over you.
And after you he will let his body bear a filthy mat of hair,
will don the skin of a lion and roam the wilderness."
As soon as Enkidu heard the words of valiant Shamash,
his agitated heart grew calm, his anger abated.
Enkidu spoke to the harlot, saying:
"Come, Shamhat, I will decree your fate for you.
Let my mouth which has cursed you, now turn to bless you!
May governors and nobles love you,
May he who is one league away bite his lip (in anticipation of you),
may he who is two leagues away shake our his locks (in preparation)!
May the soldier not refuse you, but undo his buckle for you,
may he give you rock crystal(!), lapis lazuli, and gold,
may his gift to you be earrings of filigree(?).
May... his supplies be heaped up.
May he bring you into the ... of the gods.
May the wife, the mother of seven (children),
be abandoned because of you!"
Enkidu's innards were churning,
lying there so alone.
He spoke everything he felt, saying to his friend:
"Listen, my friend, to the dream that I had last night.
The heavens cried out and the earth replied,
and I was standing between them.
There appeared a man of dark visage--
his face resembled the Anzu,"
his hands were the paws of a lion,
his nails the talons of an eagle!--
he seized me by my hair and overpowered me.
I struck him a blow, but he skipped about like a jump rope,
and then he struck me and capsizcd me like a raft,
and trampled on me like a wild bull.
He encircled my whole body in a clamp.
'Help me, my friend" (I cried),
but you did not rescue me, you were afraid and did not.. ."
"Then he... and turned me into a dove,
so that my arms were feathered like a bird.
Seizing me, he led me down to the House of Darkness,
the dwelling of Irkalla,
to the house where those who enter do not come out,
along the road of no return,
to the house where those who dwell, do without light,
where dirt is their drink, their food is of clay,
where, like a bird, they wear garments of feathers,
and light cannot be seen, they dwell in the dark,
and upon the door and bolt, there lies dust.
On entering the House of Dust,
everywhere I looked there were royal crowns gathered in heaps,
everywhere I listened, it was the bearers of crowns,
who, in the past, had ruled the land,
but who now served Anu and Enlil cooked meats,
served confections, and poured cool water from waterskins.
In the house of Dust that I entered
there sat the high priest and acolyte,
there sat the purification priest and ecstatic,
there sat the anointed priests of the Great Gods.
There sat Etana, there sat Sumukan,
there sat Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Netherworld.
Beletseri, the Scribe of the Netherworld, knelt before her,
she was holding the tablet and was reading it out to her Ereshkigal.
She raised her head when she saw me----
'Who has taken this man?'

[50 lines are missing here]
...I (?) who went through every difficulty,
remember me and forget(?) not all that I went through with you.
"My friend has had a dream that bodes ill?"
The day he had the dream ... came to an end.
Enkidu lies down a first day, a second day,
that Enkidu ... in his bed;
a third day and fourth day, that Enkidu ... in his bed;
a fifth, a sixth, and seventh, that Enkidu ... in his bed;
an eighth, a ninth, a tenth, that Enkidu ... in his bed.
Enkidu's illness grew ever worse.
Enkidu drew up from his bed,
and called out to Gilgamesh ...:
"My friend hates me ...
while he talked with me in Uruk
as I was afraid of the battle he encouraged me.
My friend who saved me in battle has now abandoned me!
I and you ...

[About 20 lines are missing]

At his noises Gilgamesh was roused ...
Like a dove he moaned ...
"May he not be held, in death ...
O preeminent among men ..."
To his friend ...
"I will mourn him (?)
I at his side ..."