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Mar 2020
The Love Song Of Shu-Sin
Earth’s Oldest Love Song (circa 2,000 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Darling of my heart, my belovéd,
your enticements are sweet, far sweeter than honey.
Darling of my heart, my belovéd,
your enticements are sweet, far sweeter than honey.

You have captivated me; I stand trembling before you.
Darling, lead me swiftly into the bedroom!
You have captivated me; I stand trembling before you.
Darling, lead me swiftly into the bedroom!

Sweetheart, let me do the sweetest things to you!
My precocious caress is far sweeter than honey!
In the bedchamber, dripping love's honey,
let us enjoy life's sweetest thing.
Sweetheart, let me do the sweetest things to you!
My precocious caress is far sweeter than honey!

Bridegroom, you will have your pleasure with me!
Speak to my mother and she will reward you;
speak to my father and he will award you gifts.
I know how to give your body pleasure—
then sleep, my darling, till the sun rises.

To prove that you love me,
give me your caresses,
my Lord God, my guardian Angel and protector,
my Shu-Sin, who gladdens Enlil's heart,
give me your caresses!
My place like sticky honey, touch it with your hand!
Place your hand over it like a honey-*** lid!
Cup your hand over it like a honey cup!

This is a balbale-song of Inanna.

NOTE: This may be earth’s oldest love poem, written around 2,000 BC, long before the Bible’s “Song of Solomon,” which had been considered to be the oldest extant love poem by some experts. “The Love Song of Shu-Sin” was discovered when the archaeologist Austen Henry Layard began excavations at Kalhu in 1845, assisted by Hormuzd Rassam. Layard’s account of the excavations, published in 1849 CE, was titled "Nineveh and its Remains." Due to Nineveh’s fame from the Bible, the book became a best seller. But it turned out that the excavated site was not Nineveh, after all!

Shu-Sin was a Mesopotamian king who ruled over the land of Sumer close to four thousand years ago. The poem seems to be part of a rite, performed each year, known as the “sacred marriage” or “divine marriage,” in which the king would symbolically marry the goddess Inanna, mate with her, and so ensure fertility and prosperity for the coming year. The king would accomplish this amazing feat by marrying and/or having *** with a priestess or votary of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility and war. Her Akkadian name was Istar or Ishtar, and she was also known as Astarte. Whichever her name, she was the most prominent Mesopotamian female goddess. Inanna's primary temple was the Eanna, located in Uruk. But there were many other temples dedicated to her worship. The high priestess would choose a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, the consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Akitu (New Year) ceremony, at the spring Equinox. The name Inanna derives from the Sumerian words for “Lady of Heaven.” She was associated with lions–a symbol of power–and was frequently depicted standing on the backs of two lionesses. Her symbol was an eight-pointed star or a rosette. Like other female love and fertility goddesses, she was associated with the planet Venus. The Enlil mentioned was Inanna’s father, the Sumerian storm god, who controlled the wind and rain. In an often-parched land, the rain god would be ultra-important, and it appears that one of the objects of the “divine marriage” was to please Enlil and encourage him to send rain rather than destructive storms!
Written by
Michael R Burch  62/M/Nashville, Tennessee
(62/M/Nashville, Tennessee)   
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