The Courtship of Inanna & Dumuzi


Inanna spoke:  "What I tell you   Let the singer weave into song.   What I tell you,   Let it flow from ear to mouth,   Let it pass from old to young:  My vulva, the horn,   The Boat of Heaven,   Is full of eagerness like the young moon.   My untilled land lies fallow.  As for me, Inanna,   Who will plow my vulva!   Who will plow my high field!   Who will plow my wet ground!  As for me, the young woman,   Who will plow my vulva!   Who will station the ox there!   Who will plow my vulva!"  Dumuzi replied:  "Great Lady, the king will plow your vulva.  I, Dumuzi the King, will plow your vulva." Inanna:  "Then plow my vulva, man of my heart!  Plow my vulva!"  At the king’s lap stood the rising cedar.   Plants grew high by their side.   Grains grew high by their side.   Gardens flourished luxuriantly.  Inanna sang:  "He has sprouted; he has burgeoned;   He is lettuce planted by the water.   He is the one my womb loves best.  My well-stocked garden of the plain,   My barley growing high in its furrow,   My apple tree which bears fruit up to its crown,   He is lettuce planted by the water.  My honey-man, my honey-man sweetens me always.   My lord, the honey-man of the gods,   He is the one my womb loves best.   His hand is honey, his foot is honey,   He sweetens me always.  My eager impetuous caresser of the navel,   My caresser of the soft thighs,   He is the one my womb loves best,   He is lettuce planted by the water." Dumuzi sang:  "O Lady, your breast is your field.   Inanna, your breast is your field.   Your broad field pours out plants.   Your broad field pours out grain.   Water flows from on high for your servant.   Bread flows from on high for your servant.   Pour it out for me, Inanna.   I will drink all you offer."  Inanna sang: "Make your milk sweet and thick, my bridegroom.   My shepherd, I will drink your fresh milk.   Wild bull, Dumuzi, make your milk sweet and thick.   I will drink your fresh milk.  Let the milk of the goat flow in my sheepfold.   Fill my holy churn with honey cheese.   Lord Dumuzi, I will drink your fresh milk. My husband, I will guard my sheepfold for you.   I will watch over your house of life, the storehouse,   The shining quivering place which delights Sumer?  The house which decides the fates of the land,   The house which gives the breath of life to the people.   I, the queen of the palace, will watch over your house." Dumuzi spoke:  "My sister, I would go with you to my garden.   Inanna I would go with you to my garden.   I would go with you to my orchard.   I would go with you to my apple tree.  There I would plant the sweet, honey-covered seed."  Inanna spoke:  "He brought me into his garden.  My brother, Dumuzi, brought me into his garden.   I strolled with him among the standing trees,   I stood with him among the fallen trees,   By an apple tree I knelt as is proper.  Before my brother coming in song,   Who rose to me out of the poplar leaves,   Who came to me in the midday heat,   Before my lord Dumuzi,   I poured out plants from my womb.   I placed plants before him,   I poured out plants before him.   I placed grain before him,   I poured out grain before him.   I poured out grain from my womb." Inanna sang:  "Last night as I, the queen, was shining bright,   Last night as I, the Queen of Heaven, was shining bright,   As I was shining bright and dancing,   Singing praises at the coming of the night–  He met me–he met me!   My lord Dumuzi met me.   He put his hand into my hand.   He pressed his neck close against mine.  My high priest is ready for the holy loins.   My lord Dumuzi is ready for the holy loins.   The plants and herbs in his field are ripe.   O Dumuzi! Your fullness is my delight!"  She called for it, she called for it, she called for the bed!   She called for the bed that rejoices the heart.   She called for the bed that sweetens the loins.   She called for the bed of kingship.   She called for the bed of queenship. Inanna called for the bed:  "Let the bed that rejoices the heart be prepared!   Let the bed that sweetens the loins be prepared!   Let the bed of kingship be prepared!   Let the bed of queenship be prepared!   Let the royal bed be prepared!"  Inanna spread the bridal sheet across the bed. She called to the king:  "The bed is ready!"   She called to her bridegroom:  "The bed is waiting!"  He put his hand in her hand.   He put his hand to her heart.   Sweet is the sleep of hand-to-hand.   Sweeter still the sleep of heart-to-heart.Inanna spoke:  "I bathed for the wild bull,   I bathed for the shepherd Dumuzi,   I perfumed my sides with ointment,   I coated my mouth with sweet-smelling amber,   I painted my eyes with kohl.  He shaped my loins with his fair hands,   The shepherd Dumuzi filled my lap with cream and milk,  He stroked my pubic hair, He watered my womb.  He laid his hands on my holy vulva,   He smoothed my black boat with cream,   He quickened my narrow boat with milk,   He caressed me on the bed.  Now I will caress my high priest on the bed,   I will caress the faithful shepherd Dumuzi,   I will caress his loins, the shepherdship of the land,   I will decree a sweet fate for him."  The Queen of Heaven,   The heroic woman, greater than her mother,   Who was presented the me by Enki,   Inanna, the First Daughter of the Moon,   Decreed the fate of Dumuzi:  "In battle I am your leader,   In combat I am your armor-bearer,   In the assembly I am your advocate,   On the campaign I am your inspiration.   You, the chosen shepherd of the holy shrine,   You, the king, the faithful provider of Uruk,   You, the light of An’s great shrine,   In all ways you are fit:  To hold your head high on the lofty dais,   To sit on the lapis lazuli throne,   To cover your head with the holy crown,   To wear long clothes on your body,   To bind yourself with the garments of kingship,   To carry the mace and sword,   To guide straight the long bow and arrow,   To fasten the throw-stick and sling at your side,   To race on the road with the holy sceptre in your hand,   And the holy sandals on your feet,   To prance on the holy breast like a lapis lazuli calf.  You, the sprinter, the chosen shepherd,   In all ways you are fit.  May your heart enjoy long days.  That which An has determined for you–may it not be altered.   That which Enlil has granted–may it not be changed.   You are the favorite of Ningal.   Inanna holds you dear." Ninshubur, the faithful servant of the holy shrine of Uruk,   Led Dumuzi to the sweet thighs of Inanna and spoke:   "My queen, here is the choice of your heart,   The king, your beloved bridegroom.  May he spend long days in the sweetness of your holy loins.   Give him a favorable and glorious reign.   Grant him the king’s throne, firm in its foundations.   Grant him the shepherd’s staff of judgment.   Grant him the enduring crown with the radiant and noble diadem.  From where the sun rises to where the sun sets,   From south to north,   From the Upper Sea to the Lower Sea,   From the land of the huluppu-tree to the land of the cedar,   Let his shepherd’s staff protect all of Sumer and Akkad.  As the farmer, let him make the fields fertile,   As the shepherd, let him make the sheepfolds multiply,   Under his reign let there be vegetation,   Under his reign let there be rich grain.  In the marshland may the fish and birds chatter,   In the canebrake may the young and old reeds grow high,   In the steppe may the mashgur-trees grow high,   In the forests may the deer and wild goats multiply,   In the orchards may there be honey and wine,  In the gardens may the lettuce and cress grow high,   In the palace may there be long life.  May there be floodwater in the Tigris and Euphrates,   May the plants grow high on their banks and fill the meadows,   May the Lady of Vegetation pile the grain in heaps and mounds.  O my Queen of Heaven and Earth,   Queen of all the universe,   May he enjoy long days in the sweetness of your holy loins."  The king went with lifted head to the holy loins.   He went with lifted head to the loins of Inanna.   He went to the queen with lifted head.  He opened wide his arms to the holy priestess of heaven.Inanna spoke:  "My beloved, the delight of my eyes, met me.   We rejoiced together.   He took his pleasure of me.   He brought me into his house.  He laid me down on the fragrant honey-bed.   My sweet love, lying by my heart,   Tongue-playing, one by one,   My fair Dumuzi did so fifty times.  Now, my sweet love is sated.  Now he says:  ‘Set me free, my sister, set me free.   You will be a little daughter to my father.   Come, my beloved sister, I would go to the palace.  Set me free…’"  Inanna spoke:  "My blossom-bearer, your allure was sweet.   My blossom-bearer in the apple orchard,   My bearer of fruit in the apple orchard,   Dumuzi-abzu, your allure was sweet.  My fearless one,   My holy statue,   My statue outfitted with sword and lapis lazuli diadem,   How sweet was your allure…"

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