01 January 2011

From "Dialogue of Pessimism," ancient Akkadian text, anonymous

Slave, listen to me!
Here I am, master, here I am!
Quickly! Fetch me my chariot. I am going to hunt!
Drive, master, drive! A hunter gets his belly filled!
The hunting dog will break the bones of the prey!
The raven that scours the country can feed its nest!
The fleeting onager finds rich pastures!
Ah no, slave, I will not hunt!
Do not go, master, do not go!
The hunter´s luck changes!
The hunting dog´s teeth will get broken!
The raven that scours the country has a hole in the wall as a home.
The fleeting onager has the desert as his stable.

...

Slave, listen to me!
Here I am, master, here I am!
I want to lead a revolution!
So lead, master, lead!
If you do not lead a revolution, where will your clothes come from?
And who will enable you to fill your belly?
Ah no, slave, I do not want to lead a revolution!
Do not lead, master, do not lead a revolution!
The man who leads a revolution is either killed or flayed,
Or has his eyes put out, or is arrested and thrown to jail!

Slave, listen to me!
Here I am, master, here I am!
I want to make love to a woman!
Make love, master, make love!
The man who makes love to a woman forgets sorrow and fear!
Ah no, slave, I do not want to make love to a woman!
Do not make love, master, do not make love!
Woman is a real pitfall, a hole, a ditch,
Woman is a sharp iron dagger that cuts a man´s throat!

...

Slave, listen to me!
Here I am, master, here I am!
I want to perform a public benefit for my country!
So do it, master, do it!
The man who performs a public benefit for his country:
his actions are disposed to the circle of Marduk!
Ah no, slave, I do not want to perform a public benefit for my country!
Do not perform, master, do not perform!
Go up the ancient tells and walk about.
See the mixed skulls of plebeians and nobles.
Which is the malefactor and which is the benefactor?

Slave, listen to me!
Here I am, master, here I am!
What then is good? 
To have my neck and yours broken 
Or to be thrown into the river, is that good?
Who is so tall as to ascend to heaven?
Who is so broad as to encompass the entire world?
Ah no, slave, I will kill you and send you first!
Yes, but my master would certainly not survive me for three days!

No comments:

Post a Comment