The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
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Proverbs: collection 25: translation

Proverb no. 25.1

1-4 It became cloudy, but it did not rain. It rained, but no one undid their belt. Although the Tigris was on its high tide, no water reached the arable lands. It rained on the riverbank, but the dry land did not get any of it.

Proverb no. 25.2

5-6 The en priest eats fish and eats leeks; but cress makes him ill.

Proverb no. 25.3

7-8 The lord (= An (?)) cursed Unug, but he himself was cursed by the lady of E-ana (i.e. Inana).

Proverb no. 25.4

9-15 Nani cherished his old age. He had not finished the building of Enlil's temple. He ...... the building of the wall of Nibru. He had abandoned the building of the E-ana, ....... He had captured Simurum, but had not managed to carry off (?) its tribute. Mighty kingship was not bestowed upon him. Was not Nani thus brought to the nether world with a depressed heart?

Proverb no. 25.5

16-20 Although the number of unhappy days is endless (?), yet life is better than death ....... When I ......
2 lines fragmentary

Proverb no. 25.6

21-22 Into a plague-stricken city one has to be driven like a pack-ass.

Proverb no. 25.7

23-24 A house built by a righteous man is destroyed by a treacherous man.

Proverb no. 25.8

25-26 The palace is a slippery place, where one slips. Watch your step when you decide to go home!

Proverb no. 25.9

27-99 The palace bows down, but only of its own accord.

Proverb no. 25.10

28-99 The palace -- one day a lamenting mother, the next day a mother giving birth.

Proverb no. 25.11

29-30 Even the palace cannot avoid the wasteland. Even a barge cannot avoid straw. Even a nobleman cannot avoid corvée work.

Proverb no. 25.12

31-34 What flows in is never enough to fill it, and what flows out can never be stopped -- don't envy the king's property!

Proverb no. 25.13

35-36 When a man sailing downstream encounters a man whose boat is travelling upstream, an inspection is an abomination to Suen.

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Revision history

22.xi.2000 : GZ : adapting translation
07.xii.2000 : JAB : proofreading
10.xii.2000 : GZ : SGML tagging
19.i.2001 : ER : proofreading SGML
19.i.2001 : ER : converting to HTML 4.0
29.x.2001 : ER : minor typographical correction in proverb 25.4