Egyptian Love Poetry From The Old and Middle Kingdom

The Egyptian Love Poetry included in this selection are chosen from the earliest period of its history.

There are three periods of Egypts ancient history, covering three thousand years namely,

The Old Kingdom(2686-2040BC)

The Middle Kingdom(2040-1540BC)

The New Kingdom(1540-1087BC)

Most of the Egyptian love poetry discovered are from the New Kingdom but I have included two examples from earlier times......

Taken From a 3000 year Papyrus

She is one girl, there is no one like her.

She is more beautiful than any other.

Look, she is like a star goddess arising

at the beginning of a happy new year;

brilliantly white, bright skinned;

with beautiful eyes for looking,

with sweet lips for speaking;

she has not one phrase too many.

With a long neck and white breast,

her hair of genuinelapis lazuli;

her arm more brilliant than gold;

her fingers like lotus flowers,

with heavy buttocks and girt waist.

Her thighs offer her beauty,

with a brisk step she treads on ground.

She has captured my heart in her embrace.

She makes all men turn their necks

to look at her.

One looks at her passing by this one,

the unique one.

This earliest example of Egyptian love poetry is one of my favorites. Here is another....

Egyptian Love Poetry(Middle Kingdom c2000)

I. Your love has penetrated all within me Like honey plunged into water,

Like an odor which penetrates spices, As when one mixes juice in... ......

Nevertheless you run to seek your sister, Like the steed upon the battlefield,

As the warrior rolls along on the spokes of his wheels.

For heaven makes your love Like the advance of flames in straw,

And its longing like the downward swoop of a hawk.

II. Disturbed is the condition of my pool. The mouth of my sister is a rosebud.

Her breast is a perfume. Her arm is a............bough Which offers a delusive seat.

Her forehead is a snare of meryu-wood.

I am a wild goose, a hunted one, My gaze is at your hair,

At a bait under the trap That is to catch me.

III. Is my heart not softened by your love- longing for me?

My dogfoot-(fruit) which excites your passions

Not will I allow it To depart from me.

Although cudgeled even to the "Guard of the overflow,"

To Syria, with shebod-rods and clubs, To Kush, with palm-rods,

To the highlands, with switches To the lowlands, with twigs,

Never will I listen to their counsel To abandon longing.

IV. The voice of the wild goose cries, Where she has seized their bait,

But your love holds me back, I am unable to liberate her.

I must, then, take home my net! What shall I say to my mother,

To whom formerly I came each day Loaded down with fowls?

I shall not set the snares today For your love has caught me.

V. The wild goose flies up and soars, She sinks down upon the net.

The birds cry in flocks, But I hasten homeward,

Since I care for your love alone.

My heart yearns for your breast,

I cannot sunder myself from your attractions.

VI. Thou beautiful one! My heart's desire is To procure for you

your food as your husband, My arm resting upon your arm.

You have changed me by your love. Thus say I in my heart, In my soul, at my prayers:

"I lack my commander tonight, I am as one dwelling in a tomb."

Be you but in health and strength, Then the nearness of your countenance

Sheds delight, by reason of your well-being, Over a heart ,

which seeks you with longing.

VII. The voice of the dove calls, It says: "The earth is bright."

What have I to do outside?

Stop, thou birdling! You chide me!

I have found my brother in his bed,

My heart is glad beyond all measure. We each say:

"I will not tear myself away."

My hand is in his hand. I wander together with him

To every beautiful place. He makes me the first of maidens,

Nor does he grieve my heart.

VIII. Sa'am plants are in it, In the presence of

which one feels oneself uplifted!

I am your darling sister, I am to you

like a bit of land, With each shrub of grateful fragrance.

Lovely is the water -conduit in it, Which your hand has dug,

While the north wind cooled us. A beautiful place to wander,

Your hand in my hand, My soul inspired My heart in bliss,

Because we go together.

New wine it is, to hear your voice;

I live for hearing it. To see you with each look,

Is better than eating and drinking.

IX. Ta-'a-ti-plants are in it! I take your garlands away,

When you come home drunk,

And when you are lying in your bed

When I touch your feet, And children are in your.......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I rise up rejoicing in the morning

Your nearness means to me health and strength.

These two examples of Egyptian love poetry from the earliest period are quite eloquent.

I have more Egyptian Love Poetry from a later period for your enjoyment click here for Egyptian Love Poetry from the New Kingdom

For further great examples Click here for Egyptian Love Poetry from the Modern Era

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