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Ancient Egypt: Hymns to the Aten
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Hymns to the Aten

The Great Hymn

Praise of Re Har-akhti, Rejoicing on the Horizon, in His Name as Shu Who Is in the Aton-disc, living forever and ever; the living great Aton who is in jubilee, lord of all that the Aton encircles, lord of heaven, lord of earth, lord of the House of Aton in Akhet-Aton; (and praise of) the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, who lives on truth, the Lord of the Two Lands: Nefer-kheperu-Re Wa-en-Re; the Son of Re, who lives on truth, the Lord of Diadems: Akh-en-Aton, long in his lifetime; (and praise of) the Chief Wife of the King, his beloved, the Lady of the Two Lands: Nefer-neferu-Aton Nefert-iti, living, healthy, and youthful forever and ever; (by) the Fan-Bearer on the Right Hand of the King ... Eye.
 
He says:
 
Thou appearest beautifully on the horizon of heaven,
Thou living Aton, the beginning of life!
When thou art risen on the eastern horizon,
Thou hast filled every land with thy beauty.
Thou art gracious, great, glistening, and high over every land;
Thy rays encompass the lands to the limit of all that thou hast made:
As thou art Re, thou reachest to the end of them;
(Thou) subduest them (for) thy beloved son.
Though thou art far away, thy rays are on earth;
Though thou art in their faces, no one knows thy going.
 
When thou settest in the western horizon,
The land is in darkness, in the manner of death.
They sleep in a room, with heads wrapped up,
Nor sees one eye the other.
All their goods which are under their heads might be stolen,
(But) they would not perceive (it).
Every lion is come forth from his den;
All creeping things, they sting.
Darkness is a shroud, and the earth is in stillness,
For he who made them rests in his horizon.
 
At daybreak, when thou arisest on the horizon,
When thou shinest as the Aton by day,
Thou drivest away the darkness and givest thy rays.
The Two Lands are in festivity every day,
Awake and standing upon (their) feet,
For thou hast raised them up.
Washing their bodies, taking (their) clothing,
Their arms are (raised) in praise at thy appearance.
All the world, they do their work.
 
All beasts are content with their pasturage;
Trees and plants are flourishing.
The birds which fly from their nests,
Their wings are (stretched out) in praise to thy ka.
All beasts spring upon (their) feet.
Whatever flies and alights,
They live when thou hast risen (for) them.
The ships are sailing north and south as well,
For every way is open at thy appearance.
The fish in the river dart before thy face;
Thy rays are in the midst of the great green sea.
 
Creator of seed in women,
Thou who makest fluid into man,
Who maintainest the son in the womb of his mother,
Who soothest him with that which stills his weeping,
Thou nurse (even) in the womb,
Who givest breath to sustain all that he has made!
When he descends from the womb to breathe
On the day when he is born,
Thou openest his mouth completely,
Thou suppliest his necessities.
When the chick in the egg speaks within the shell,
Thou givest him breath within it to maintain him.
When thou hast made him his fulfillment within the egg, to break it,
He comes forth from the egg to speak at his completed (time);
He walks upon his legs when he comes forth from it.
 
How manifold it is, what thou hast made!
They are hidden from the face (of man).
O sole god, like whom there is no other!
Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,
Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,
And what is on high, flying with its wings.
 
The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,
Thou settest every man in his place,
Thou suppliest their necessities:
Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.
Their tongues are separate in speech,
And their natures as well;
Their skins are distinguished,
As thou distinguishest the foreign peoples.
Thou makest a Nile in the underworld,
Thou bringest forth as thou desirest
To maintain the people (of Egypt)
According as thou madest them for thyself,
The lord of all of them, wearying (himself) with them,
The lord of every land, rising for them,
The Aton of the day, great of majesty.
 
All distant foreign countries, thou makest their life (also),
For thou hast set a Nile in heaven,
That it may descend for them and make waves upon the mountains,
Like the great green sea,
To water their fields in their towns.
How effective they are, thy plans, O lord of eternity!
The Nile in heaven, it is for the foreign peoples
And for the beasts of every desert that go upon (their) feet;
(While the true) Nile comes from the underworld for Egypt.
 
Thy rays suckle every meadow.
When thou risest, they live, they grow for thee.
Thou makest the seasons in order to rear all that thou hast made,
The winter to cool them,
And the heat that they may taste thee.
Thou hast made the distant sky in order to rise therein,
In order to see all that thou dost make.
Whilst thou wert alone,
Rising in thy form as the living Aton,
Appearing, shining, withdrawing or approaching,
Thou madest millions of forms of thyself alone.
Cities, towns, fields, road, and river --
Every eye beholds thee over against them,
For thou art the Aton of the day over the earth...
 
Thou are in my heart,
And there is no other that knows thee
Save thy son Nefer-kheperu-Re Wa-en-Re,
For thou hast made him well-versed in thy plans and in thy strength.
 
The world came into being by thy hand,
According as thou hast made them.
When thou hast risen they live,
When thou settest they die.
Thou art lifetime thy own self,
For one lives (only) through thee.
Eyes are (fixed) on beauty until thou settest.
All work is laid aside when thou settest in the west.
(But) when (thou) risest (again),
[Everything is] made to flourish for the king,...
Since thou didst found the earth
And raise them up for thy son,
Who came forth from thy body: the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, ...
Ak-en-Aton, ... and the Chief Wife of the King ... Nefert-iti, living
and youthful forever and ever.

Source: Pritchard, James B., ed., The Ancient Near East - Volume 1: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1958, pp. 227-230.

The Small Hymn to the Aten

A hymn of praise to the living Horus of the two horizons, who rejoiceth in the horizon in his name of "Shu, who is in the Aten" (i.e., disk), the giver of life, for ever and ever, by the king who liveth in truth, the lord of the two lands, Nefer-kheperu-ra Ua-en-ra, son of Ra, who liveth in truth, lord of the crowns, Aakhunaten, great in the duration of his kife, giver of life for ever and ever.   -Nefer-kheperu-ra: Akhenaten, c.1350-1334 BCE
[He saith]:--
Thou risest gloriously, O thou Living Aten, Lord of Eternity! Thou art sparkling (or coruscating), beautiful, [and] mighty. Thy love is mighty and great . . . thy light, of diverse colours, leadeth captive (or, bewitcheth) all faces. Thy skin shineth brightly to make all hearts to live. Thou fillest the Two Lands with thy love, O thou god, who did[st] build [thy]self. Maker of every land, Creator of whatsoever there is upon it, [viz.] men and women, cattle, beasts of every kind, and trees of every kind that grow on the land.
  -sparkling (or coruscating): Lichtheim: radiant
-leadeth captive (or, bewitcheth): Lichtheim: light up
-Thy skin shineth brightly to make all hearts to live: Lichtheim: Your bright hue gives life to hearts
-men and women, cattle, beasts of every kind: Lichtheim: All peoples, herds, and flocks
They live when thou shinest upon them. Thou art the mother [and] father of what thou hast made; their eyes, when thou risest, turn their gaze upon thee. Thy rays at dawn light up the whole earth. Every heart beateth high at the sight of thee, [for] thou risest as their Lord.
Thou settest in the western horizon of heaven, they lie down in the same way as those who are dead. Their heads are wrapped up in cloth, their nostrils are blocked, until thy rising taketh place at dawn in the eastern horizon of heaven. Their hands then are lifted up in adoration of thy KA (or person); thou vivifiest hearts with thy beauties (or, beneficent acts), which are life. Thou sendest forth thy beams, [and] every land is in festival. Singing men, singing women, [and] chorus men make joyful noises in the Hall of the House of the Benben Obelisk, [and] in every temple in [the city of] Aakhut-Aten, the Seat of Truth, wherewith thy heart is satisfied. Within it are dedicated offerings of rich food (?)
  -shinest upon them: Lichtheim: dawn for them
-beateth high: Lichtheim: acclaims
-eastern horizon: Lichtheim: eastern lightland
-thou vivifiest hearts with thy beauties (or, beneficent acts), which are life. Thou sendest forth thy beams, [and] every land is in festival: Lichtheim: you nourish the hearts by your beauty; One lives when you cast your rays, Every land is in festivity
-in the Hall of the House of the Benben Obelisk: Lichtheim: in the court of the benben-shrine
Thy son is sanctified (or, ceremonially pure) to perform the things which thou willest, O thou Aten, when he showeth himself in the appointed processions.
Every creature that thou hast made skippeth towards thee, thy honoured son [rejoiceth], his heart is glad, O thou Living Aten, who [appearest] in heaven every day. He hath brought forth his honoured son, UA-EN-RA, like his own form, never ceasing so to do. The son of Ra supporteth his beauties (or beneficent acts).
  -the things which thou willest: Lichtheim: your praises
-appointed processions: Lichtheim: his risings
-skippeth towards thee: Lichtheim: leap before you
-He hath brought forth his honoured son, UA-EN-RA, like his own form, never ceasing so to do. The son of Ra supporteth his beauties (or beneficent acts): Lichtheim:Your offspring, your august son, Sole one of Re; The Son of Re does not cease to extol his beauty,
Nefer-kheperu-Ra Ua-en-Ra [saith]:--
I am thy son, satisfying thee, exalting thy name. Thy strength [and] thy power are established in my heart. Thou art the Living Disk, eternity is thine emanation (or, attribute). Thou hast made the heavens to be remote so that thou mightest shine therein and gaze upon everything that thou hast made. Thou thyself art alone, but there are millions of [powers of] life in thee to make them (i.e., thy creatures) live. Breath of life is it to [their] nostrils to see thy beams. Buds burst into flower (?), [and] the plants which grow on the waste lands send up shoots at thy rising; they drink themselves drunk before thy face. All the beasts frisk about on their feet; all the feathered fowl rise up from their nests and flap their wings with joy, and circle round in praise of the Living Aten. . . .

 
E.A.W. Budge, Tutankhamen: Amenism, Atenism and Egyptian Monotheism, New York, 1923, pp. 116-121
  -Ua-en-Ra: Lichtheim: Sole-one-of Re
-satisfying thee: Lichtheim: who serves you
-eternity is thine emanation (or, attribute): Lichtheim: whose image endures,
-Thou thyself art alone, but there are millions of [powers of] life in thee to make them (i.e., thy creatures) live. Breath of life is it to [their] nostrils to see thy beams. Buds burst into flower (?): Lichtheim: You are One yet a million lives are in you. To make them live (you give) the breath of life to their noses; By the sight of your rays all flowers exist,
-flap their wings with joy, and circle round in praise Lichtheim: Their folded wings unfold in praise
 
M. Lichtheim. Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.2 pp.91-92


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