“Lover of my heart, my beloved one
Your allure is a sweet thing, [is as sweet as] honey”
This inscription, dating from the 8th century BC and belonging to the Ancient Babylonian Era, is described as the world’s oldest known love poem. According to Sumerian belief, it was a sacred duty for the king to marry a priestess of Inanna, the goddess of fertility and sexual love, every year in order to make the soil and women fertile. This poem was most probably written by a bride chosen for Shu-Sin in order to be sung at the Festival of the New Year accompanied by music and dance.
Bridegroom, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet,
Lion, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet.
Bridegroom, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey,
In the bedchamber, honey-filled,
Let me enjoy your goodly beauty,
Lion, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey.
Bridegroom, you have taken your pleasure of me,
Tell my mother, she will give you delicacies,
My father, he will give you gifts.
You, because you love me,
Give me, pray, of your caresses,
My lord god, my lord protector,
My SHU-SIN, who gladdens ENLIL’s heart,
Give me, pray, of your caresses