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LEIDEN HYMNS

How Splendid you ferry theSkyways

 How splendid you ferry the skyways,Horus of Twin Horizons,

The needs of each new day firm in your timeless pattern,

Who fashion the years, weave months into order

Days, nights and the very hours move to the gait of your striding.

Refreshed by your diurnal shining, you quicken, vright above yesterday,

Making the zone of night sparkle although you belong to the light,

Sole one awake there - sleep is for mortals,

Who go to rest grateful: your eyes oversee.

And theirs by the millions you open when your face new-rises, beautiful;

Not a bypath escapes your affection during your season on earth.

Stepping swift over stars, riding the lightning flash,

You circle the earth in an instant, with god's ease crossing heaven,

Treading dark paths of the underworld, yet, sun on each roadway,

You deign to walk daily with men. The faces of all are upturned to you,

As mankind and gods alike lift their morningsong:

"Lord of the daybreak, Welcome!"

 

God is a Master Craftsman

God is a master craftsman; yet none can draw the lines of his Person.

Fair features first came into being in the hushed dark where he mused along;

He forged his own figure there, hammered his likeness out of himself-

All powerful one (yet kindly, whose heart would lie open to men).

He mingled his heavenly god-seed with the inmost parts of his being.

Planting his image there in the unknown depths of his mystery.

He cared, and the sacred form took shape and contour, splendid at birth!

God, skilled in the intricate ways of the craftsaman, first fashioned Himself to perfection.

 

 

Questions to Ponder:

 

1. Why do you think that the sun god, Horus, is the ultimate god of the universe?  How is he characterized in these poems?

2.  What is the mood of the poem?  Identify the words that contribute to this mood?

 3.  Why is god depicted as a ferryman?  What inferences can you make about the attitude of  the speaker of this poem as he talks about god?

 4.  This poem was written before the Old and New Testament. Are there similarities or  differences in the perception of the gods or the attitude of the people to the gods?

 5.  Identify curious words and phrases that are unique to the time period of ancient Egypt.Which phrases are hard to understand?

 6.  What does this poem reveal about life in Egypt at the time of the New Kingdom?

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