Egyptian Love Poetry From The New Kingdom

There are numerous Egyptian Love Poetry from this period of ancient Egyptian history.

The love poems from this period illustrate much of the lives and attitudes of the Egyptians and also influenced other civilisations and races, notably the Hebrews whose own love poetry bear a close resemblance.

I have included about a dozen examples of Egyptian Love Poetry from this period. Most of them typically of ancient verse, do not have titles or authors names, and are referred to by their first lines.......

The Flower Song (Excerpt)

To hear your voice

is pomegranate wine to me:

I draw life from hearing it.

Could I see you with every glance,

It would be better for me

Than to eat or to drink.

If I could just be the washerman

doing her laundry for one month only,

I would be faithful to pick up the bundles,

Sturdy to beat clean the heavy linens,

But gentle to touch those finespun things

lying closest the body I love.

I would rinse with pure water the perfumes

that linger still in her tunics,

And I’d dry my own flesh with the towels

she yesterday held to her face.

The touch of her clothes, their textures,

her softness in them . . . Thank god for the body,

its youthful vigor!

Part 2

And I'd say, standing there tall in the shallows:

Look at my fish, love, how it lies in my hand,

How my fingers caress it, slip down its sides . . .

But then I'd say softer, eyes bright with your seeing:

A gift, love. No words. Come closer and look,

it's all me.

I wish I were your mirror so that you always looked at me.

I wish I were your garment so that you would always wear me.

I wish I were the water that washes your body.

I wish I were the unguent, O woman, that I could annoit you.

And the band around your breasts, and the beads around your neck.

I wish I were your sandal that you would step on me! (Not sure about that last sentence!)

O my beautiful one, I wish I were part of your affairs, like a wife.

With your hand in mine your love would be returned.

I implore my heart: "If my true love stays away tonight,

I shall be like someone already in the grave."

Are you not my health and my life?

How joyful is your good health for the heart that seeks you!

That was quite passionate was it not? Ancient Egyptian Love Poetry, like most love poetry is certainly not for the faint hearted! Here is yet another example of passionate Egyptian Love poetry...

The love of my sister is on yonder side

Of the stream in the midst of the fish.

A crocodile stands on the sandbank

Yet I go down into the water.

I venture across the current;

My courage is high upon the waters.

It is thy love which gives me strength;

For thou makest a water-spell for me.

When I see my sister coming,

Then my heart rejoices. My arms are open wide to embrace her;

My heart is glad in its place.

Did you notice how that example of Egyptian Love Poetry was full of reference to the River Nile culture?

Ancient Egypt was particularly a great civilisation, and the significance of the contribution of the river Nile to its development (still the largest river in the world) cannot be overlooked.

The next poem again illustrates the passionate obsession of ancient Egyptian Love Poetry...

If only I were her Nubian maid, her attendant in secret!

I would be the one who brings her a bowl of mandragoras.

She would give pleasure to me while it is in her hand;

She would allow me to see the beauty of her body!

If only I were the laundryman of my sister’s linen garment even for one month!

I would be strengthened by grasping the clothes that touch her body.

I would be the one who washed out the moringa oils that are in her kerchief;

I would rub my body with her cast-off garments!

If only I were her little seal-ring, the keeper of her finger!

I would see her each and every day. [ The text is broken at this point ]

I would be the one who stole her heart!

This next example of Egyptian Love Poetry is, if anything even more daring in expression.....

Is there anything sweeter than this hour?

for I am with you, and you lift up my heart --

for is there not embracing and fondling when you visit me

and we give ourselves up to delights?

If you wish to caress my thigh,

then I will offer you my breast also -- it won't thrust you away!

Would you leave because you are hungry?

- are you such a man of your belly?

Would you leave because you need something to wear?

- I have a chestful of fine linen!

Would you leave because you wish something to drink?

Here, take my breasts! They are full to overflowing, and all for you!

Glorious is the day of our embracings;

I treasure it a hundred thousand millions!


Your love has gone all through my body like honey in water,

as a drug is mixed into spices, as water is mingled with wine.

Oh that you would speed to see your sister

like a charger on the battlefield,

like a bull to his pasture!

For the heavens are sending us love

like a flame spreading through straw and

desire like the swoop of the falcon!

Here is another example of Egyptian Love Poetry of this period, this time a much shorter one....

He is the love-wolf gobbling in my cave,

within... the pebbles beneath ... the moringa tree

... eating of the bread offered to the gods

The Wine Of Love

Oh! when my lady comes, And I with love behold her,

I take her into my beating heart And in my arms enfold her;

My heart is filled with joy divine

For I am hers and she is mine.

Oh! when her soft embraces Do give my love completeness,

The perfumes of Arabia Anoint me with their sweetness;

And when her lips are pressed to mine

I am made drunk and need not wine.

When we kiss, and her warm lips half open,

I fly cloud-high without beer!

What paradise gained, what fulfillment,

what a heavenly turn of affairs!

Oh, raise one to Menkat, Our Lady of Liquor,

but keep your mouth tight on the girl!

Love, how I'd love to slip down to the pond,

bathe with you close by on the bank.

Just for you I'd wear my new Memphis swimsuit,

Made of sheer linen, fit for a queen--

Come see how it looks in the water!

Couldn't I coax you to wade in with me?

Let the cool creep slowly around us?

Then I'd dive deep down and come up for you dripping,

Let you fill your eyes with the little red fish that I'd catch.


Lost! Lost! Lost! O lost my love to me!

He passes by my house, nor turns his head,

I deck myself with care; he does not see.

He loves me not.

Would God that I were dead!

God! God! God! O Amun, great of might!

My sacrifice and prayers, are they in vain?

I offer to thee all that can delight,

Hear thou my cry and bring my love again.

Sweet, sweet, sweet as honey in my mouth,

His kisses on my lips, my breast, my hair;

But now my heart is as the sun-scorched South,

Where lie the fields deserted, grey and bare.

Come! Come! Come! And kiss me when I die,

For life, compelling life, is in thy breath;

And at that kiss, though in the tomb I lie,

I will arise and break the bands of Death.

I hope you enjoyed those examples of Egyptian Love Poetry from long ago. In spite of its antiquity, we can clearly observe how they used their arts to express their deep passions and feelings so clearly.

There are even more Egyptian Love Poetry this time, from the Modern Era.

Please click here for more Egyptian Love Poetry Egyptian Love Poetry from Modern Times.

If you want to see more examples from the old and middle kingdom Click here for more Egyptian Love Poetry

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