ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

An Ancient Egyptian Poem: "Your Love, Dear Man, is as Lovely to Me"

Updated on October 8, 2017
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

After I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa 1962, poetry became my passion.

Bust of Nefertiti

Source

The name of the poet is unknown, but it was translated by John L. Foster; this poem offers a glimpse of an ancient culture, but because it is a translation of an ancient work, it must be taken with a grain of salt.

Somewhat amateurish, this ancient Egyptian poem, "Your Love, Dear Man, is as Lovely to Me," consists of four unevenly sectioned versagraphs; the first versagraph contains two lines, the second and third three, and the final consists of six lines. The original poem was probably written in an Egyptian language, so it could be the translator's discretion that accounts for some of the anomalies of the poem, such as the "flesh of Gods" and the term "nipple-berries."

First Versagraph: "Your love, dear man, is as lovely to me"

In the first versagraph, the speaker addresses her mate, celebrating her feelings for him. She tells him that her feelings for him give her comfort as a tired person feels when being rubbed with oil. Of course, she dramatizes his "love," calling it "as lovely to me." The oil is "sweet" and "soothing." A tired, dusty, "restless" individual would be restored and comforted by the likes of such sweet oil as his love.

Second Versagraph: "As clean ritual robes to the flesh of Gods"

The speaker continues in the second versagraph to relate to her beloved how lovely his love is to her. Not only is it as lovely as the sweet oil, but it is also "[a]s clean ritual robes to the flesh of Gods." That she would put "flesh" on "Gods" reminds the reader that this is a woman writing in ancient Egypt under the influence of a pagan religion.

Still, it is an anomaly that the translator chose to capitalize "gods." She then brings herself squarely back to the material level by asserting that his love is as lovely to her as the pleasant odor of "incense to one coming home." After experiencing the "smells of the street," the individual coming home to the "fragrance of incense" again will be comforted and refreshed. His love makes her feel comfortable in all these ways.

Third Versagraph: "It is like nipple-berries ripe in the hand"

In the third versagraph, the speaker begins a new sentence: "It is like nipple-berries ripe in the hand." "It" refers to that lovely love she has thus far been describing. Here she brings in the physicality of the body. She has enjoyed him carnally: his nipples are like ripe berries in her hand. He tastes "like grainmeal mingled with beer" and "[l]ike wine to the palate when taken with white bread." "White bread" used to be a delicacy only the rich could afford.

Fourth Versagraph: "While unhurried days come and go"

In the final versagraph, the speaker states rather prosaically that she hopes they will stay together their whole lives. But as she promulgates this wish, she qualifies the life she hopes to lead with "her lord," that is, the head of her household, her husband. She hopes that their life will be leisurely with "unhurried days." She hopes their affection will be "quiet" and that they "[w]alk in peace to the edge of old age." She will be a "woman given her wish" if she can see his face "[f]or a lifetime."

Final Comment

When experiencing a translated poem this old, it is good to remember that time and cultural differences may be at play and that the poem may have lost many special attributes and may have taken on nuances not originally featured by the poet. The amateurishness may not be entirely the fault of the poet; the translator might have undone some of the poet's fine work.

Reading of "Your Love, Dear Man, is as Lovely to Me"

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)