Egypt During the Reign of Akhenaton
Hymns to Aton
"Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,
O living Aton, Beginning of life!
When Thou risest in the eastern horizon of heaven,
Thou fillest every land with Thy beauty;
For Thou art beautiful, great, glittering, high over the earth;
Thy rays, they encompass the lands, even all Thou hast made.
Thou art Ra, and Thou hast carried them all away captive;
Thou bindest them by Thy love.
Though Thou art from afar, Thy rays are on earth;
Though Thou art on high, Thy footprints are the day.
When Thou settest in the western horizon of heaven,
The world is in darkness like the dead.
Men sleep in their chambers,
Their heads are wrapped up,
Their nostrils stopped, and none seeth the other.
Stolen are all their things that are under their heads,
While they know it not.
Every lion comes forth from his den,
All serpents, they sting.
The world is in silence:
He that made them has gone to rest in His horizon.
Bright is the earth, when Thou risest in the horizon,
When Thou shinest as Aton by day.
The darkness is banished
When Thou sendest forth Thy rays;
The two lands [of Egypt] are in daily festivity,
Awake and standing upon their feet,
For Thou hast raised them up.
Their limbs bathed, they take their clothing,
Their arms uplifted in adoration to Thy dawning,
Then in all the world they do their work.
All cattle rest upon the herbage,
All trees and plants flourish;
The birds flutter in in their marshes,
Their wings flutter in adoration to Thee.
All the sheep dance upon their feet,
All winged things fly,
They live when Thou hast shone upon them.
The barques sail up-stream and down-stream alike.
Every highway is open because Thou has dawned.
The fish in the river leap up before Thee,
And thy rays are in the midst of the great sea.
Thou art He who creates the man-child in woman,
Who makest seed in man,
Who giveth life to the son in the body of his mother,
Who sootheth him that he may not weep,
A nurse [even] in the womb.
Who giveth breath to animate every ojne that He maketh.
When he comes forth from the body . . .
On the day of his birth,
Thou openist his mouth in speech,
Thou suppliest his necessities.
When the chicken crieth in the egg-shell,
Thou givest him breath therein, to preserve him alive;
When Thou hast perfected him
That he may pierce the egg,
He cometh forth from the egg.
To chirp with all his might;
He runneth about upon his two feet,
When he hath come forth therefrom.
How manifold are all Thy works!
They are hidden before us,
O Thou sole God, whose powers no other possesseth.
Thou dids't create the earth according to Thy desire,
While Thou wast alone:
Men, all cattle large and small,
All that are upon the earth,
That go about upon their feet;
All that are on high,
That fly with their wings.
The countries of Syria and Nubia
The land of Egypt;
Thou settest every man in his place
Thou suppliest their necessities.
Every one has his possessions,
And his days are reckoned.
Their tongues are divers in speech,
Their form likewise and their skins,
For Thou, divider, hast divided the peoples.
Thou makest the Nile in the Nether world,
Thou bringest it at Thy desire, to preserve the people alive.
O Lord of them all, when feebleness is in them,
O Lord of every house, who risest for them,
O sun of day, the fear of every distant land,
Thou makest [also] their life.
Thou hast set a Nile in heaven,
That it may fall for them,
Making floods upon the mountains, like the great sea,
And watering their fields among their towns.
How excellent are Thy designs, O Lord of eternity!
The Nile in heaven is for the strangers,
And for the cattle of every land that go upon their feet;
But the Nile, it cometh from the nether woorld for Egypt.
Thus Thy rays nourish every garden;
When Thou risest they live, and grow by Thee.
Thou makest the seasons, in oprder to create all Thy works;
Winter bringeth them coolness,
And the heat [the summer bringeth].
Thou hast made the distant heaven in order to rise therein,
In order to behold all that Thou didst make,
While Thou wast alone,
Rising in Thy form as Living Aton,
Dawning, shining far off, and returning.
Thou makest the beauty of form through Thyself alone,
Cities, towns, and settlements,
On highway or on river,
All eyes see Thee before then,
For Thou art Aton [or Lord] of the day over the earth.
Thou art in my heart;
There is no other that knoweth Thee,
Save Thy son Akhnaton.
Thou hast made him wise in Thy designs
And in Thy might.
The world is in Thy hand,
Even as Thou hast made them.
When Thou hast risen they live;
When Thou settest they die.
For Thou art duration, beyond mere limbs;
By Thee man liveth,
And their eyes look upon Thy beauty
Until Thou settest.
All labour is laid aside
When Thou settest in the west.
When Thou risest they are made to grow. . . .
Since Thou didst establish the earth,
Thou hast raised them up for Thy son,
Who came forth from Thy limbs,
The King, living in truth, . . .
Akhnaton, whose life is long;
[And for] the great royal wife, his beloved,
Mistress of the Two Lands, . . . Nefertiti,
Living and flourishing for ever and ever."
This was found in King Ay's Tomb; translated by Professor Breasted, quoted in "The Life and Times of Akhnaton, Pharoah of Egypt" (Arthur Weigall, published by Thornton Butterworth Ltd, London 1922 edition)
The Hymn to the Aton, translated by John A. Wilson,
in The Ancient Near East, Vol. I. An Anthology of Texts and Pictures, edited by James B. Pritchard.
Thou appearest beautifully on the horizon of heaven,
Thou living Aton, the beginning of life!
When thou art rise on the eastern horizon,
Thou has filled every land with they beauty....
Thy rays encompass the lands to the limit of all that thou hast made....
When thou settest in the western horizon,
The land is in darkness in the manner of death...
At daybreak, when thou arisest on the horizon,
When thou shinest as the Aton by day,
Thou drivest away the darkness...