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The First Love Poem Known in History

Old Babylonian Period, 18th century BC
In Sumerian literature, hymn, praise and love poems, which are referred to as poetry, have an important place. Such poems, especially love poems from the group of lyric poems, are very few. Two of them are known today (Ni.2461 and Ni.2463). Both are not really love poems from one lover to another. It emphasizes the crazy words of love spoken to the king during New Year’s rites by a girl who was a fan of King Šu-sin, one of the kings of the New Sumerian Period (21 BC), and her desire to meet him. Containing words of sexual connotation and invitation uttered by a young girl (probably a nun) during New Year’s rites; It is a poem with exaggerated elements to seduce her. The purpose of this is to glorify and bring to the fore the king. At the end of the poem, the desire for sexual intercourse seems to be told in a language that is not well understood. The poem is written in female dialect (eme-sal). In the last line of the poem (30.), it is stated that this poem is the Balbale song of the goddess Inanna (Ishtar). In the years following 1951, Ni. Although the tablet numbered 2461 was discovered and made famous by launching it as the first love poem/song in history (S.Noah Kramer, From the tablets of Sumer 1956, 1969 and 1981 editions, it was translated into Turkish by Muazzez İlmiye Çığ under the name of History Sumer’de Başlar (Atatürk Kültür, Language and History High Institution, Turkish History Institution Publications X.Dizi – Sa.11.TTKB 1990) on pages 191-92 and pages 253-54 of the same book, the translations given due to the similarity with the Song of Songs mentioned in the Torah, the translation of the poem in the light of recent studies on the texts. partially changed. (see SNKramer, Belleten 16 (1952) 360 ff.; Imprint: SMR (1969) 92-93; Th.Jacobsen, TIT (1970) 171 translation of lines 1-15); B. Alster, RA 79 (1985) 135 ff., Th. Jacobsen, Harps (1987) 88-89; B. Alster, Studies Hallo (1993) 22 No. 11 (lines: 11-17). Sefati, Love Songs in Sumerian Literature, Bar-Ilan Studies in Near Eastern Languages and C ultra Bar –Ilan University Press 1998, pp:353-359. There are comments about the poem in Sumerian and English translation. We, our esteemed viewers, have also presented the English translation of Y.Sefati (354-55). Especially because of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, it should be clear what those who will dedicate the poem to each other say to their lovers.
First Love Poem

The stewpan of my heart, you [I love]
Charm is a sweet thing, [sweet as honey]; My heart’s lover, you are my favorite
Charm is a sweet thing, sweet as honey.

You have fascinated me, I will come to you of my own will,
Bridegroom, let me run after you to the sofa;

You have blown my mind, I will come to you of my own will,

Darling, let me run after you to the sofa.

Bridegroom, (look) what sweetness I’ll make for you,
My precious sweetheart, I’ll bring the honey to you,

Dripping honey in the bedroom-

Let’s have fun with the charm, with that sweet thing!

Darling, look what sweetness I’ll make for you,

Precious honey, I’ll bring the honey to you..

Oh! Bridegroom in love with me,
Speak to my mother (and) I will give myself to you,
(Talk) to my father, he will give (me to you) as a gift.

I know how to calm the reins, how to calm the reins,

Bridegroom, sleep until dawn in our house;

How to please a heart I know your heart,

My darling, sleep until dawn in our house.

You, like you love me,

Darling, if only you could do those sweet things to me,

My lord god, my guardian angel lord,

My Šusin, who pleases Enlil’s heart,

If only you could do your sweet things!
If only you could put your hand in “that place” which is sweet as honey,

Cover it like a measuring cup lid for me,
Move your hand over it like an old measuring cup stopper for me.

(This is Inanna’s balbale-song).

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