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Hymns to Aten

THE GREAT HYMN

Your appearing is beautiful
in the horizon of heaven,

The Living Aten, the beginning of life;
you rise in the horizon of the east,
you fill every land with your beauty.

You are very beautiful, brilliant
and exalted above earth.

Your beams encompass all lands
which you have made.

You are the sun, you set their bounds,
You bind them with your love.

You are afar off, but your beams are upon the land;
you are on high, but the day passes with your going.

You rest 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 comes 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 you rise in the horizon,
shining as the Aten in the day;
the darkness flees,
for you give your beams,

Both lands are rejoicing every day.

Men awake and stand upon their feet,
for you lift them up;
they bathe their limbs,
they clothe themselves,
they lift their heads in adoration of your rising,
throughout the land they do their labours.

The cattle all rest in their pastures,
where grow the trees and herbs;
the birds fly in their haunts,
their wings adoring your ka,
all the flocks leap upon their feet,
the small birds live when you rise upon them.

The ships go forth north and south,
for every way opens at your rising.

The fishes in the river swim up to greet you,
your beams are within the depth of the great sea.

You created conception in women,
making the issue of mankind;
you make the son to live in the body of his mother,
you quiet him that he should not mourn,
nursing him in the body,
giving the spirit that all his growth may live.

When he comes forth on the day of his birth,
you open his mouth to speak,
you do what he needs.

The small bird in the egg, sounding within the shell,
you give to it breath within the egg,
to give life to that which you make.

It gathers itself to break forth from the egg,
it comes from the egg, and chirps with all its might,
it runs on its feet, when it has come forth.

How many are the things which you have made!

You created the land by your will, you alone,
with peoples, herds and flocks,
everything on the face of the earth that
walks on its feet,
everything in the air that flies with its wings.

In the hills from Syria to Kush,
and the plain of Egypt,
you give to every one his place,
you frame 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 you divide the strange peoples.

When you have made the Nile beneath the earth,
you bring it according to your will
to make the people to live:

Even as you have formed them unto yourself,
you are throughout their Lord,
even in their weakness.

O Lord of the land that rises for them.

Aten of the day,
revered by every distant land,
you make their life,
you placed 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 your 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 comes from below the earth
is for the land of Egypt,
that it may nourish every field.

You shine and they live by you.

You make the seasons of the year
to create all your works;
the winter making them cool,
the summer giving warmth.

You make the far-off heaven,
that you may rise in it,
that you may see all that you made
when you were alone.

Rising in your 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 you before them,
you are the Aten of the day over all the land.

You are in my heart,
there is none who knows you,
excepting your son Akhnaten;
you cause that he should have understanding,
in your ways and in your might.

The land is in your hand,
even as you have made them;
You shine and they live,
and when you set they die;
for by you the people live,
they look on your excellencies until your setting;
they lay down all their labours
when you set in the west,
and when you rise, they grow.

....... * .......

Since the day that you laid the
foundations of the earth,
you raised them up for your son
who came forth from your substance,
the king of Egypt, living in Truth,
lord of both lands, Akhnaten,
son of the sun, living in Truth, Akhenaten,
great in his duration;
Nefer'neferu'Aten
Nefer'iti, living and flourishing
for ever eternally.

Based on the translation of Griffith, as quoted by Sir Flinders Petrie in A History of Egypt (1899), Vol. 2, pp. 215-218.

A HYMN OF PRAISE

A Hymn of Praise to Aten when he rises like a great falcon in the heights of the Two Horizons. Homage to you, Aten, Beautiful One of every day! You shoot up at sunrise without fail - how many are your works, O Great Creator. Your radiance is in your face, and as far as bright copper metal it does not resemble your splendours.

Self-existent One, you moulded your members into physical forms; giving birth, but he was not born; One by himself by reason of his power or abilities, Traverser of Eternity, He who is over the ways of millions of years, maintaining his Divine Form.

As are the beauties of the celestial regions even so are your beauties. More brilliant is your complexion than that of heaven. You sail across the heavens, all faces look at you as you go, though you yourself are hidden from their eyes.

You manifest the symbol of your power at break of day in beams of light, strong is your Divine Boat under your majesty. In a little day you journey over a road of millions and hundreds of thousands of minutes. When your day passes, you set.

The hours of the night likewise you make to fulfil themselves. No interruption takes place in your toil. All eyes direct their gaze upon you, they cease not to do so. You quickly rise up early in the morning, your sparkling rays flash in the eyes.

Praise be to you, O Aten of the day, Creator of mortals and Creator of their life. Praise be to you!

You are like a Great Hawk whose feathers are many-coloured, you, O Creator, who raise yourself up from non-existence! He exists by his own power, he was not born, he who dwells in the heights. Humankind cries out joyfully at his rising and at his setting likewise. He is the fashioner of what the ground produces, conqueror of the Two Lands, from the great one to the little one.

You, Mother, splendid over all gods and men, artificer, gracious one, exceedingly great, progressing in her work. The cattle cannot be counted. The strong herdsman, driving his strong beasts, you provide shelter for them.

He provides the sustenance for their life, springing up, traversing the course of the Creator, manifesting himself and raising up his beautiful form. He illumines the Two Lands with his Divine Symbol the Disc, he is the primeval substance of the Two Lands. He made himself.

He looks on what he has made, the One Lord, bringing along into captivity countless lands every day, observing those who walk about upon the earth; shining in the sky he performs transformations by day. He makes the seasons from the months. He loves the heat of summer.

He loves the cold of winter. He makes every member of the body to droop. He embraces every land. All of creation cries out in adoration of him when he rises daily.

His son Akhnaten says, "I am the representative of the throne of Aten for the earth and overseer of works in his sanctuary which, as his beloved son, the Lord of the Two Lands, the giver of life, which Aten made for you. My Lord appointed me to be the officer in charge of the great city of God and all its monuments and treasures.

"I keep watch diligently, I serve the office of director strenuously, performing the laws of the heart of Aten. I know how to teach you so as to have rest upon the Truth, making you great to do it upon the earth. I am truth who abominates false words and deeds.

"I never take pleasure in any conversation wherein are words of exaggeration and lies. I take pleasure in your affairs."

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(The above Hymn is based on the British Museum Stele No. 475-9 published by Pierret, Recueil, tome I., p. 20 and by Birch, Trans. Soc. Bibl. Arch., Vol. VIII: p. 143 ff.)
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A HYMN TO ATEN WHEN HE RISES ON THE HORIZON AND WHEN HE SETS

Praise be to you, O Aten, who rises as the One God in the circle above the earth.

You are adored. Your beauties are before my eyes, and your splendour falls upon my body.

You go to your setting in the Divine Boat with fair winds, and your heart is glad. The hearts of your worshippers rejoice.

You stride over the heavens in peace, all your foes being cast down.

The stars and the planets which never rest sing hymns to you, and the stars which never vanish glorify you as you set to rest in the horizon of the celestial heights.

You are beautiful at morning and at evening, O Living Lord, the Unchanging One, my Lord.

Homage to you who rise in the east and set in the west in your beauty.

You rise and shine across the sky, O you who are crowned king of the gods.

They sky pays homage to you, and law and Truth embrace you at morning and evening.

Joyfully you stride over the heavens and the great watery abyss in the heavens is content. Your enemies are cast down headlong, their arms and hands are cut off, and your dagger has severed the joints of their backbone.

Aten comes like a cool wind, his Boat advances and comes into port.

The winds of the South, the North, the West and the East praise you, O divine substance, from whom all forms of life spring forth.

When you speak earth is flooded with silence, O Self-Existing One, who dwell in heaven before ever the earth and the mountain came into being.

O Shepherd, O Lord, O Self-Existent One, Creator of all things, you make the tongue of all the spirit beings. You have made all that spring forth from the waters, and you shoot up from them over the land of the pools of the Divine Lake.

Let me breathe the air which comes from your nostrils and the north wind which is from the Mother. Glorify my spirit, and make divine my soul.

O Lord of the gods, you are worshipped at setting in peace, and are exalted because of all your wondrous works, shine upon my body each day.

A HYMN TO ATEN, WHEN HE RISES IN THE EAST

Praise be to you Aten, Lord of rays, who rise on the horizon day by day! Shine with your beams of light upon the face of those who speak truth, who sing hymns to you at dawn, and adore you in the evening. Let their souls appear with you in heaven. Let them sail out in the Divine Boat and arrive in port, and let them cleave their way among the stars that never vanish.

Praise be to you, O Aten, who are the Creator, the Self-Existent One!

When you rise and send forth your beams upon the lands of the South and the North, you are beautiful, yes, you are beautiful, and all the spirits rejoice when they see you, the King of Heaven.

The denizens of the underworld come to meet you, they bow before you in homage at the sight of your Beautiful Form.

I would come before you daily to be with you and to behold your Beautiful and Divine Symbol. Let me be neither prevented nor repulsed.

Grant that when I look upon your beauties my members may be made young again, even as are the members of your favoured ones.

I am one who worship you on earth. Let me enter the Eternal Land in the Everlasting Country. O my Lord, I beseech you to decree this for me.

Praise be to you who rise in the east as Aten on your horizon and rest in the west!

You pass over the sky, all eyes observe your course, you yourself being unseen. You show yourself at dawn and at evening daily.

The Divine Boat of your Majesty goes forth like a mighty ship, your beams fall upon every face, your variegated lights and colours cannot be numbered, and cannot be comprehended.

May I go forward as you advance without pause, and in a moment pass over untold leagues and as you sink to rest even so may I.

You are crowned with the majesty of your beauties, you fashion your members as you advance, and produce them without the pangs of labour in the form of Aten, and rise up into the heights.

Grant that I may come into the everlasting heaven and the mountain where your favoured ones dwell. Let me join myself to those who are holy and perfect in the divine Other World, and let me appear with them to behold your beauties in the evening. I lift my hands to you in adoration when you the living One set. You are the Eternal Creator and are adored at your setting in heaven.

I have given my heart to you without wavering, O you who are the mightiest of all.

(Based on the Papyrus of Ani, sheets 18 and 19)