HYMNS OF AKHNATON TO THE SUN
Thy appearing is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,
The Living Aten1, the beginning of life;
Thou risest in the horizon of the east,
Thou fillest every land with thy beauty.
Thou art very beautiful, brilliant and exalted above earth,
Thy beams encompass all lands which thou hast made.
Thou art the sun, thou settest their bounds,
Thou bindest them with thy love.
Thou art afar off, but thy beams are upon the land;
Thou art on high, but the day passes with thy going.
Thou restest in the western horizon of heaven,
And the land is in darkness like the dead.
They lie in their houses, their heads are covered,
Their breath is shut up, and eye sees not to eye;
Their things are taken, even from under their heads, and they know it not.
Every lion cometh forth from his den,
And all the serpents then bite;
The night shines with its lights,
The land lies in silence;
For he who made them is in his horizon.
The land brightens, for thou risest in the horizon,
Shining as the Aten in the day;
The darkness flees, for thou givest thy beams,
Both lands are rejoicing every day.
Men awake and stand upon their feet,
For thou liftest them up;
They bathe their limbs, they clothe themselves,
They lift their heads in adoration of thy rising,
Throughout the land they do their labours.
1 The name of the Solar Disk is written Aten by some authors, such as Sir Flinders Petrie, Sir Wallis Budge, Griffith, etc., and Aton by others, such as A. Weigall and J. Breasted. All through this book we have written Aton.
The cattle all rest in their pastures,
Where grow the trees and herbs;
The birds fly in their haunts,
Their wings adoring thy ka,
All the flocks leap upon their feet,
The small birds live when thou risest upon them.
The ships go forth north and south,
For every way opens at thy rising.
The fishes in the river swim up to greet thee,
Thy beams are within the depth of the great sea.
Thou createst conception in women, making the issue of mankind;
Thou makest the son to live in the body of his mother,
Thou quietest him that he should not mourn,
Nursing him in the body, giving the spirit that all his growth may live.
When he cometh forth on the day of his birth,
Thou openest his mouth to speak, thou doest what he needs.
The small bird in the egg, sounding within the shell,
Thou givest to it breath within the egg,
To give life to that which thou makest.
It gathers itself to break forth from the egg,
It cometh from the egg, and chirps with all its might,
It runneth on its feet, when it has come forth.
How many are the things which thou hast made!
Thou createst the land by thy will, thou alone,
With peoples, herds and flocks,
Everything on the face of the earth that walketh on its feet,
Everything in the air that flieth with its wings.
In the hills from Syria to Kush, and the plain of Egypt,
Thou givest to every one his place, thou framest their lives,
To every one his belongings, reckoning his length of days;
Their tongues are diverse in their speech,
Their natures in the colour of their skin.
As the divider thou dividest the strange peoples.
When thou hast made the Nile beneath the earth,
Thou bringest it according to thy will to make the people to live:
Even as thou hast formed them unto thyself,
Thou art throughout their lord, even in their weakness.
O lord of the land that risest for them.
Aten of the day, revered by every distant land, thou makest their life,
Thou placest a Nile in heaven that it may rain upon them,
That it may make waters upon the hills like the great sea,
Watering their fields amongst their cities.
How excellent are thy ways!
O Lord of eternity, the Nile in Heaven is for the strange people,
And all wild beasts that go upon their feet.
The Nile that cometh from below the earth is for the land of Egypt,
That it may nourish every field.
Thou shinest and they live by thee.
Thou makest the seasons of the year to create all thy works;
The winter making them cool, the summer giving warmth.
Thou makest the far-off heaven, that thou mayest rise in it,
That thou mayest see all that thou madest when thou wast alone.
Rising in thy forms as the living Aten,
Shining afar off and returning.
The villages, the cities, and the tribes, on the road and the river,
All eyes see thee before them,
Thou art the Aten of the day over all the land.
Thou art in my heart, there is none who knoweth thee, excepting thy son Nefer . kheperu . ra .ua . en . ra;
Thou causest that he should have understanding, in thy ways and in thy might.
The land is in thy hand, even as thou hast made them;
Thou shinest and they live, and when thou settest they die;
For by thee the people live, they look on thy excellencies until thy setting;
They lay down all their labours when thou settest in the west,
And when thou risest, they grow. . . .
Since the day that thou laidest the foundations of the earth,
Thou raisest them up for thy son who came forth from thy substance,
The king of Egypt, living in Truth, lord of both lands, Nefer . kheperu . ra . ua . en . ra,
Son of the sun, living in Truth, Akhenaten, great in his duration; Nefer . neferu . Aten
Nefer . iti, living and flourishing for ever eternally.
Translated by Griffith, quoted by Sir Flinders Petrie in A History of Egypt (Edit. 1899), Vol. II, pp. 215-218.
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 life, Giver of Life for ever and ever.
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. 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; 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 (?).
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).
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. . . .
A hymn of praise of Her-aakhuti, the living one, exalted in the Eastern Horizon in his name of Shu-who-is-in-the-Aten, who liveth for ever and ever, the living and great Aten, he who is in the Set-Festival, the Lord of the Circle, the Lord of the Disk, the Lord of heaven, the Lord of earth, the Lord of the House of the Aten in Aakhut-Aten (of) the King of the South and the North, who liveth in Truth, Lord of the Two Lands (i.e., Egypt),
NEFER-KHEPERU-RA UA-EN-RA, the son of Ra, who liveth in Truth, Lord of Crowns, AAKHUN-ATEN, great in the period of his life (and of) the great royal woman (or wife) whom he loveth, Lady of the Two Lands, NEFER-NEFERU-ATEN NEFERTITI, who liveth in health and youth for ever and ever.
Thy rising (is) beautiful in the horizon of heaven, O Aten, ordainer of life. Thou dost shoot up in the horizon of the East, thou fillest every land with thy beneficence. Thou art beautiful and great and sparkling, and exalted above every land. Thy arrows (i.e., rays) envelop (i.e., penetrate) everywhere all the lands which thou hast made.
Thou art as Ra. Thou bringest (them) according to their number, thou subduest them for thy beloved son. Thou thyself art afar off, but thy beams are upon the earth; thou art in their faces, they (admire) thy goings.
Thou settest in the horizon of the west, the earth is in darkness, in the form of death. Men lie down in a booth wrapped up in cloths, one eye cannot see its fellow. If all their possessions, which are under their heads, be carried away, they perceive it not.
Every lion emergeth from his lair, all the creeping things bite, darkness (is) a warm retreat. The land is in silence. He who made them hath set in his horizon.
The earth becometh light, thou shootest up in the horizon, shining in the Aten in the day, thou scatterest the darkness. Thou sendest out thine arrows (i.e., rays), the Two Lands make festival, (men) wake up, stand upon their feet, it is thou who raisest them up. (They) wash their members, they take (their apparel), and array themselves therein, their hands are (stretched out) in praise at thy rising, throughout the land they do their works.
Beasts and cattle of all kinds settle down upon the pastures, shrubs and vegetables flourish, the feathered fowl fly about over their marshes,
their feathers praising thy Ka. All the cattle rise up on their legs, creatures that fly and insects of all kinds spring into life when thou risest up on them.
The boats drop down and sail up the river, likewise every road openeth (or showeth itself) at thy rising, the fish in the river swim towards thy face, thy beams are in the depths of the Great Green (i.e., the Mediterranean and Red Seas).
Thou makest offspring to take form in women, creating seed in men. Thou makest the son to live in the womb of his mother, making him to be quiet that he crieth not; thou art a nurse in the womb, giving breath to vivify that which he hath made. (When) he droppeth from the womb . . . on the day of his birth (he) openeth his mouth in the (ordinary) manner, thou providest his sustenance.
The young bird in the egg speaketh in the shell, thou givest breath to him inside it to make him to live. Thou makest for him his mature form so that he can crack the shell (being) inside the egg. He cometh forth from the egg, he chirpeth with all his might, when he hath come forth from it (the egg) he walketh on his two feet.
O how many are the things which thou hast made!
They are hidden from the face, O thou One God, like whom there is no other. Thou didst create the earth by thy heart (or will), thou alone existing, men and women, cattle, beasts of every kind that are upon the earth, and that move upon feet (or legs), all the creatures that are in the sky and that fly with their wings, (and) the deserts of Syria and Kesh (Nubia) and the Land of Egypt.
Thou settest every person in his place. Thou providest their daily food, every man having the portion allotted to him, (thou) dost compute the duration of his life. Their tongues are different in speech, their characteristics (or forms) and likewise their skins (in colour), giving distinguishing marks to the dwellers in foreign lands.
Thou makest Hapi (the Nile) in the Tuat (Underworld), thou bringest it when thou wishest to make mortals live, inasmuch as thou hast made them for thyself, their Lord who dost support them to the uttermost, O thou Lord of every land, thou shinest upon them, O ATEN of the day, thou great one of majesty.
Thou makest the life of all remote lands. Thou settest a Nile in heaven, which cometh down to them.
It maketh a flood on the mountains like the Great Green Sea, it maketh to be watered their fields in their villages. How beneficent are thy plans, O Lord of Eternity! A Nile in heaven art thou for the dwellers in the foreign lands (or deserts), and for all the beasts of the desert that go upon feet (or legs). Hapi (the Nile) cometh from the Tuat for the land of Egypt. Thy beams nourish every field; thou risest up (and) they live, they germinate for thee.
Thou makest the Seasons to develop everything that thou hast made:
The season Pert (i.e., November 16 to March 16) so that they may refresh themselves, and the season Heh (i.e., March 16 to November 16)
in order to taste thee. Thou hast made the heaven which is remote that thou mayest shine therein and look upon everything that thou hast made. Thy being is one, thou shinest (or, shootest up) among thy creatures as the LIVING ATEN, rising, shining, departing afar off, returning. Thou hast made millions of creations (or, evolutions) from thy one self, (viz.) towns and cities, villages, fields, roads and rivers. Every eye (i.e., all men) beholdeth thee confronting it. Thou art the Aten of the day at its zenith.
At thy departure thine eye . . . thou didst create their faces so that thou mightest not see . . . ONE thou didst make . . . Thou art in my heart. There is no other who knoweth thee except thy son Nefer-kheperu-Ra Ua-en-Ra. Thou hast made him wise to understand thy plans (and) thy power. The earth came into being by thy hand, even as thou hast created them (i.e., men). Thou risest, they live; thou settest, they die. As for thee, there is duration of life in thy members, life is in thee. (All) eyes (gaze upon) thy beauties until thou settest, (when) all labours are relinquished. Thou settest in the West, thou risest, making to flourish . . . for the King. Every man who (standeth on his) foot, since thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, thou hast raised up for thy son who came forth from thy body, the King of the South and the North, Living in Truth, Lord of Crowns, Aakhun-Aten, great in the duration of his life (and for) the Royal Wife, great of Majesty, Lady of the Two Lands, Nefer-neferu-Aten Nefertiti, living (and) young for ever and ever.
Translated by Sir E. Wallis Budge, in Tutankhamen, Amenism, Atenism, and Egyptian Monotheism, London, 1923, pp. 116-135.
Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of the sky,
O living Aton, Beginning of life!
When thou risest in the Eastern horizon,
Thou fillest every land with thy beauty.
Thou art beautiful, great, glittering, high above every land,
Thy rays, they encompass the lands, even all that thou hast made.
Thou art Re, and thou carriest them all away captive;
Thou bindest them by thy love.
Though thou art far away, thy rays are upon earth;
Though thou art on high, thy footprints are the day.
When thou settest in the western horizon of the sky,
The earth is in darkness like the dead;
They sleep in their chambers,
Their heads are wrapped up,
Their nostrils are stopped,
And none seeth the other,
While all their things are stolen
Which are under their heads,
And they know it not.
Every lion cometh forth from his den,
All serpents, they sting.
Darkness . . .
The world is in silence,
He that made them restest in his horizon.
Bright is the earth when thou risest in the horizon.
When thou shinest as Aton by day
Thou drivest away the darkness.
When thou sendest forth thy rays,
The Two Lands (Egypt) are in daily festivity,
Awake and standing upon their feet
When 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 their pasturage,
The trees and the plants flourish,
The birds flutter in their marshes,
Their wings uplifted 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 dawnest.
The fish in the river leap up before thee.
Thy rays are in the midst of the great green sea.
Creator of the germ in woman,
Maker of seed in man,
Giving life to the son in the body of his mother,
Soothing him that he may not weep,
Nurse (even) in the womb,
Giver of breath to animate every one that he maketh!
When he cometh forth from the body . . . on the day of his birth,
Thou openest his mouth in speech,
Thou suppliest his necessities.
When the fledgling in the egg chirps in the shell,
Thou givest him breath therein to preserve him alive.
When thou hast brought him together
To (the point of) bursting it in the egg,
He cometh forth from the egg
To chirp with all his might.
He goeth about upon his two feet
When he hath come forth therefrom.
How manifold are thy works!
They are hidden from before (us),
O sole God, whose powers no other poessesseth.
Thou didst create the earth according to thy heart
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 foreign countries, Syria and Kush,
The land of Egypt;
Thou settest every man into his place,
Thou suppliest their necessities.
Every one has his possessions,
And his days are reckoned.
Their tongues are diverse in speech,
Their forms likewise and their skins are distinguished.
(For) thou makest different the strangers.
Thou makest the Nile in the Nether World,
Thou bringest it as thou desirest,
To preserve alive the people.
For thou hast made them for thyself,
The lord of every land, who risest for them,
Thou Sun of day, great in majesty.
All the distant countries,
Thou makest (also) their life,
Thou hast set a Nile in the sky;
When it falleth for them,
It maketh waves upon the mountains,
Like the great green sea,
Watering the fields in their towns.
How excellent are thy designs, O lord of eternity!
There is a Nile in the sky for the strangers
And for the cattle of every country that go upon their feet.
(But) the Nile, it cometh from the Nether World for Egypt.
Thy rays nourish every garden;
When thou risest they live,
They grow by thee.
Thou makest the seasons
In order to create all thy work:
Winter to bring them coolness,
And heat that they may taste thee.
Thou didst make the distant sky to rise therein,
In order to behold all that thou hast made,
Thou alone, shining in thy form as living Aton,
Dawning, glittering, going afar and returning.
Thou makest millions of forms
Through thyself alone;
Cities, towns, and tribes, highways and rivers.
All eyes see thee before them,
For thou art Aton of the day over the earth.
Thou art in my heart,
There is no other that knoweth thee
Save thy son Ikhnaton1.
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 length of life of thyself,
Men live through thee,
While (their) eyes are upon thy beauty
Until thou settest.
All labour is put away
When thou settest in the west.
Thou didst establish the world,
And raise them up for thy son,
Who came forth from thy limbs,
The King of Upper and Lower Egypt,
Living in Truth, Lord of the Two Lands,
Nefer-khepru-Re, Wan-Re (Ikhnaton),
Son of Re, living in Truth, lord of diadems,
Ikhnaton, whose life is long;
(And for) the chief royal wife, his beloved,
Mistress of the Two Lands, Nefer-nefru-Aton, Nofretete
Living and flourishing for ever and ever.
Translated by J. H. Breasted, in Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt, Chicago, 1912, pp. 324-328.
1 The King’s name is given different spellings by different Egyptologists. Sir Flinders Petrie writes it Akhenaten; Sir Wallis Budge, Aakhun-Aten; J. H. Breasted, Ikhnaton; and Arthur Weigall, Akhnaton, the spelling which we have adopted in this book.