Belânu and Iltani - Part 12

Iltani, to her dear lord, Bel├ónu: May Bêl-Marduk and Ishtar, Mistress of the gods, cause my lord to live forever. Such was also my prayer to them all the night that is past. Iltani tells her lord that she did not sleep. Iltani tells her dear lord, that she lay on a couch in the garden this night that is gone, because of the house being too little for her heart. But sleep visited her not. The Star of Ishtar was her companion. All night she gazed upon the Star of Ishtar. Iltani has no sister — the Star was her sister. A mother she has — but the Star was more than a mother. There are things the Star of Ishtar comprehendeth which mothers do not comprehend. All night it smiled upon me, though my thoughts were not of its Lady but of my Lord. Iltani tells her lord that she has made a little shrine and set upon it his beautiful words. Not one of them has she broken, nor ever will break. She has burnt frankincense before them as before an image of a god. If this be wrong, she is sorry, but she cannot do otherwise. The gods must do as they decree. If they will punish, they will punish. Iltani will bear it even with gladness. To burn the frank-incense comforts her heart which has pain to write so poor a letter to her lord. Why did not the gods make me a poet also? I send my lord by the hand of Damgula his dear slave-mother and mine, a girdle of faded jasmine. By my fingers it was woven. It is faded because of being all night around me. It seemed to Iltani that the girdle of jasmine was her lord's arm around her. This lotus flower I send is crushed because it lay all night beneath Iltani's head. It seemed to her sweet, like the hand of her lord, of her beloved. Iltani has sharp pain in her heart because of sending such poor, naked words. She would wish to send words beautiful as precious stones. Iltani prays all the gods and goddesses, both great and small, to give her the gift of beautiful speech that she may write worthily to her lord. May my lord live forever and ever, though Iltani should remain after death in the dark Cave of Arala.
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