Ancient Egyptian Love Poetry

Ancient Egyptian Love Poetry

the Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel.
the Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel.

An excerpt from an article titled Ancient Egyptian Love Poems Reveal a Lust for Life
by Cameron Walker for National Geographic News, pub. April 20, 2004 (source)

Written during Egypt’s New Kingdom (1539-1075 B.C.) but likely composed much earlier, these songs are surprisingly direct about love and romance in ancient Egypt, using metaphors, repetition, and other poetic techniques familiar to poetry readers today.

The Flower Song (Excerpt)

To hear your voice is pomegranate wine to me:
I draw life from hearing it.
Could I see you with every glance,
It would be better for me
Than to eat or to drink.

(Translated by M.V. Fox)


The Crossing (Excerpt)

I’ll go down to the water with you,
and come out to you carrying a red fish,
which is just right in my fingers.

(Translated by M. Fox)


The Harper’s Song for Inherkhawy (Excerpt)

So seize the day! hold holiday!
Be unwearied, unceasing, alive
you and your own true love;
Let not the heart be troubled during your
sojourn on Earth,
but seize the day as it passes!

(Translated by J.L. Foster)

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