A Hymn of Praise

An illustration from the Encyclopaedia Biblica...

Illustration from the Encyclopaedia Biblica

A Hymn of Praise to Aten* when he rises like a great falcon in the heights of the Two Horizons. Homage to you, Aten, Beautiful One of every day! You shoot up at sunrise without fail - how many are your works, O Great Creator. Your radiance is in your face, and as far as bright copper metal it does not resemble your splendours.

Self-existent One, you moulded your members into physical forms; giving birth, but he was not born; One by himself by reason of his power or abilities, Traverser of Eternity, He who is over the ways of millions of years, maintaining his Divine Form.

As are the beauties of the celestial regions even so are your beauties. More brilliant is your complexion than that of heaven. You sail across the heavens, all faces look at you as you go, though you yourself are hidden from their eyes.

You manifest the symbol of your power at break of day in beams of light, strong is your Divine Boat under your majesty. In a little day you journey over a road of millions and hundreds of thousands of minutes. When your day passes, you set.

The hours of the night likewise you make to fulfil themselves. No interruption takes place in your toil. All eyes direct their gaze upon you, they cease not to do so. You quickly rise up early in the morning, your sparkling rays flash in the eyes.

Praise be to you, O Aten of the day, Creator of mortals and Creator of their life. Praise be to you!
You are like a Great Hawk whose feathers are many-coloured, you, O Creator, who raise yourself up from non-existence! He exists by his own power, he was not born, he who dwells in the heights. Humankind cries out joyfully at his rising and at his setting likewise. He is the fashioner of what the ground produces, conqueror of the Two Lands, from the great one to the little one.

You, Mother, splendid over all gods and men, artificer, gracious one, exceedingly great, progressing in her work. The cattle cannot be counted. The strong herdsman, driving his strong beasts, you provide shelter for them.
He provides the sustenance for their life, springing up, traversing the course of the Creator, manifesting himself and raising up his beautiful form. He illumines the Two Lands with his Divine Symbol the Disc, he is the primeval substance of the Two Lands. He made himself.

He looks on what he has made, the One Lord, bringing along into captivity countless lands every day, observing those who walk about upon the earth; shining in the sky he performs transformations by day. He makes the seasons from the months. He loves the heat of summer.

He loves the cold of winter. He makes every member of the body to droop. He embraces every land. All of creation cries out in adoration of him when he rises daily.

His son Akhnaten says, “I am the representative of the throne of Aten for the earth and overseer of works in his sanctuary which, as his beloved son, the Lord of the Two Lands, the giver of life, which Aten made for you. My Lord appointed me to be the officer in charge of the great city of God and all its monuments and treasures.
“I keep watch diligently, I serve the office of director strenuously, performing the laws of the heart of Aten. I know how to teach you so as to have rest upon the Truth, making you great to do it upon the earth. I am truth who abominates false words and deeds.

“I never take pleasure in any conversation wherein are words of exaggeration and lies. I take pleasure in your affairs.”

(* The name “Aten” is in reference to God - not the sun nor any “sun god.”  It is similar to the Hebrew “Adon” meaning “Lord.” The above Hymn is based on the British Museum Stele No. 475-9 published by Pierret, Recueil, tome I., p. 20 and by Birch, Trans. Soc. Bibl. Arch., Vol. VIII: p. 143 ff.)

One thought on “A Hymn of Praise

  1. Pingback: The Great Hymn to Aten and Psalm 104 « Smenkhkare

Leave a Reply