Utnapishtim replied, "There is no
Do we build houses to stand forever,
Do we seal a contract to hold for all time?
Do brothers divide an inheritance to keep forever,
Does hatred persist for ever in the land?
Does the river for ever rise (and) bring on floods?
Doeshe dragon-fly leave (its) shell
That its face might (but) glance on the face of the sun?
From the days of old there is no permanence."
10. Utnapishtim said to him in swift
"Only one as bold as you would dare expect
such knowledge. But I shall tell you what
no person has ever been told.
High up the constant Euphrates
there rests a place you call Shuruppak
where gods and goddesses recline.
Then came the flood, sent by gods'
Mama, Anu, and Enlil were at Shuruppak.
So too was their coachman, Ninurta,
20. and Ennugi, the beastiarilis,
and one who watches over precious infants,
the ever vigilant Ea.
And Ea refrained their chant to the
upon the shore, giving this advice to me:
'Arise! Arise! Oh wall-like reeds.
Arise and hear my words:
Citizen of Shurtippak, child of
abandon your home and build a boat.
Reject the corpse-like stench of wealth.
Choose to live and choose to love;
30. choose to rise above and give back
what you yourself were given.
Be moderate as you flee for survival
in a boat that has no place for riches.
Take the seed of all you need aboard
with you and carefully weigh anchor
after securing a roof that will let in no water.'
"Then I said back in reverent prayer:
'I understand, great Ea.
I shall do just as you say to honor god,
40. but for myself
I'll have to find a reason to give the people.'
"Then Ea voiced a fair reply:
'Tell those who'll need to know
that Enlil hates you.
Say: "I must flee the city now
and go by sea to where Enlil waits to take my life.
I will descend to the brink of Hell
to be with Ea, god,
who will send riches to you like the rain:
50. all manner of birds;
birds ... bonds ... burds...
and the rarest of rare fish.
The land will fill with crops full grown
at break of day.
Ea will begin to shower
gifts of life upon you all"."'
Then Utnapishtim continued, saying words like these:
"By week's end I engineered designs
for an acre's worth of floor upon the ark we built
so that its walls rose straight toward heaven;
60. with decks all round did I design
120 cubits measured its deck.
With division of six and of seven
I patterned its squares and stairs;
left space for portals too,
secured its beams and stockpiled
all that ever could be used.
Pitch for the hull I poured into the
and ordered three full volumes of oil
to start with and two times three more yet.
For what is security?
70. Each day I sacrificed the holy bulls
and chosen sheep for the people
and pushed the laborers to great fatigue
and thirst, allayed alone by wine
which they drank as if it were water running
from barrels set up for holding cheer
in preparation for a New Year's party they expected.
I set up an ointment box
and cleaned my fingers with its cream.
"After one week, the ark was done,
80. though launching was more work than fun
since hull boards caught and snapped
until the water burst most of its great ton.
I supplied the craft with all I owned
of silver, gold, and seed.
My clan brought on the food they'd eat
and all the things we thought we'd need.
At last, it was my turn just then
to shepherd beasts and birds and
babies wet and loud.
90. It was Shamash who ordained the
'Prepare the way for your whole boat
and set to sail when the storm
begins to threaten you.'
"The Anunnaki too then cried for them.
The gods themselves, finally suffering, sat up
and let their first tears flow down
cheeks and over lips pressed closed.
"For the whole next week
the sky screamed and storms wrecked the earth
100. and finally broke the war
which groaned as one in labor's throes.
Even Ishtar then bemoaned the
fates of her sad people.
Then I see a dawn so still;
all humans beaten to dirt
and earth itself like some vast roof.
110. I peeked through the portal into a
then turned, knelt and cried.
Tears flooded down my face.
"Then I searched high and low for the
finally spotting an island near and dear.
Our boat stuck fast beside Mt. Nimush.
Mt. Nimush held the hull that could not sway
for one whole week.
"I released the watch-bird, to soar in
search of land.
The bird came back within a day
exhausted, unrelieved from lack of rest.
120. I then released a swallow, to soar
in search of land,
The bird came back within a day
exhausted, unrelieved from lack of rest.
I then released a raven, to soar in search of land.
The bird took flight above more shallow
found food and found release and found no
need to fly on back to me.
"These birds I then released to carth's
and offered sacrifice,
a small libation to the heights of many mountains,
130. from numbered chalices that I
Under these I spread the scents that gods favored
and when the gods smelled the sweet perfume of sacrifice,
they gathered in flight all above, like apparitions.
"From distant heights with heavenly
the female of all female gods descended then;
Aruru who aroused the wry thought
that Anu made for intercourse.
'Great gods from far and wide
keep always in my mind
140. this thought for intercourse,
tokened by the sacred blue medallion on my neck,
Let me recall with smiles
these days in days to come.
Gods of my shoreline, gods of my sky,
come round this food that I prepared for you;
but do not let Enlil enjoy this too,
since he's the one who drowned my relatives
without telling the gods what he set out to do.'
When Enlil saw the boat, he released
150. his calm reason and let in the lgigi, monsters of blood.
'What force dares defy my anger!?
How dare a man be still alive!?'
Then with these words Ninurta said to Enlil:
'Can any of us besides Ea, maker of words,
create such things as speech?'
Then with these words Ea himself said to
and tough fighter,
160. how dare you drown so many little people
without consulting me?
Why not just kill the one who offended you,
drown only the sinner?
Keep hold of his lifecord; harness his
Rather than killing rains, set cats at people's throats.
Rather than killing rains, set starvation on dry, parched throats.
Rather than killing rains, set sickness on the minds and hearts
I was not the one who revealed our
Blame Utnapishtim, Mr. Know-it-all,
170. who sees everything,
who knows everything."
"Reflect on these stories, my
"Then Enlil swooped down around my boat;
he gently raised me from the slime,
placed my wife beside my kneeling form
and blessed us both at once with hands upon our bowed heads.
So was it ordained.
So we were ordained."
Earlier than that time, Utnapishtim was
180. Then with his wife he was deified
and sent to rule the place where rivers start.
"Gods sent me everywhere to rule the place where rivers start."
The destiny was fulfilled,
which the father of the gods, Enlil of the mountain,
had decreed for Gilgamesh:
"In nether-earth the darkness will show him a light:
of mankind, all that are known, none will leave a monument
for generations to come to compare with Gilgamesh's.
The heroes, the wise men,
like the new moon have their waxing and waning.
Men will say, 'Who had ever ruled with might and with power like Gilgamesh?'
As in the dark months, the month of shadows,
so without him there is no light.
O Gilgamesh, this was the meaning of your dream.
You were given the kingdom such was your destiny.
Because of this do not be sad at heart,
do not be grieved or oppressed;
he has given you power to bind and to loose,
to be the darkness and the light of mankind.
He has given unexampled supremacy over the people,
victory in battle from which no fugitive returns,
in forays and assaults from which there is returning.
But do not abuse your power,
be just with your servants in the palace,
and act justly in the light of day.
Gilgamesh, the son of Ninsun, lies in
At the place of offerings he weighed the bread-offering,
at the place of libation he poured out the wine.
In those days the lord Gilgamesh departed,
the son of Ninsun,
peerless, without an equal among men,
who did not neglect Enlil his master.
O Gilgamesh, lord of Kullab,
Great is thy praise.