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The Oldest Line in the World – Poetry

It is as tiny as the sleekest mobile phones that fit in the palm of the hand, but its message is anything but modern. A small tablet in a special display this month in the Istanbul Museum of the Ancient Orient is thought to be the oldest love poem ever found, the words of a lover from more than 4,000 years ago. [.]

“Bridegroom, dear to my heart, Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet,'” the first line in the cuneiform tablet reads. ‘”You have captivated me, let me stand trembling before you; Bridegroom, I would be taken to the bedchamber.”

He apparently does. “Bridegroom, you have taken your pleasure of me,” the poem continues. “Tell my mother, she will give you delicacies; my father, he will give you gifts.”

Poem recited by the annual brides of King Shu-Sin (c. 4000 BC)

Translated by Samuel Noah Kramer

Bridegroom, dear to my heart,
Goodly is you beauty, honeysweet,
Lion, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet.

You have captivated me, let me stand tremblingly before you.
Bridegroom, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber,
You have captivated me, let me stand tremblingly before you.
Lion, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber.

Bridegroom, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey,
In the bedchamber, honey-filled,
Let me enjoy your goodly beauty,
Lion, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey.

Bridegroom, you have taken your pleasure of me,
Tell my mother, she will give you delicacies,
My father, he will give you gifts.

Your spirit, I know where to cheer your spirit,
Bridegroom, sleep in our house until dawn,
Your heart, I know where to gladden your heart,
Lion, sleep in our house until dawn.

You, because you love me,
Give me pray of your caresses,
My lord god, my lord protector,
My Shu-Sin, who gladdens Enlil’s heart,
Give my pray of your caresses.

Your place goodly as honey, pray lay (your) hand on it,
Bring (your) hand over like a gishban-garment,
Cup (your) hand over it like a gishban-sikin-garment.

Nippur, located in modern-day Iraq, is the answer to the Geo Quiz.

Anchor Marco Werman talks to Dan Boylan about the unique tablet and the poem. [.]

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