Dispute Between a Man and His Soul
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Dispute Between a Man and His Soul

 

 

Dispute Between a Man and His Soul

 

Papyrus Berlin 3024

Spoke to my soul that I might answer what it said:

To whom shall I speak today?

Brothers and sisters are evil and friends today are not worth loving.

Hearts are great with greed and everyone seizes his or her neigh­bor's goods.

Kindness has passed away and violence is imposed on everyone.

To whom shall I speak today?

People willingly accept evil and goodness is cast to the ground everywhere.

Those who should enrage people by their wrongdoing

make them laugh at their evil deeds.

People plunder and everyone seizes _his or her neighbor's goods.

To whom shall I speak today?

The one doing wrong is an intimate friend and the brother with whom one used to deal is an enemy.

No one remembers the past and none return the good deed that is done.

Brothers and sisters are evil

and people turn to strangers for righteousness or affection.

To whom shall I speak today?

Faces are empty and all turn their faces from their brothers and sisters.

 

Hearts are great with greed

and there is no heart of a man or woman upon which one might lean.

None are just or righteous and the land is left to the doers of evil.

To whom shall I speak today?

There are no intimate friends

and the people turn to strangers to tell their troubles.

None are content and those with whom one used to walk no longer exist.

I am burdened with grief and have no one to comfort me.

There is no end to the wrong which roams the earth.

I face death today like a sick man regaining health,

like one coming out after imprisonment.

I face death today like the scent of myrrh,

like sitting before the sail on a windy day.

I face death today like the scent of the lotus,

like sitting on the edge of drunkenness.

I face death today like a familiar road,

like a man returning home from the battlefield.

I face death today like the clearing of the sky,

like a man discovering the unknown.

I face death today like a man eager to see his home

after many years in captivity.

 

Surely, one who reaches the beyond will be a living god,

punishing the offenses of the wrongdoer.

Surely, one who reaches the beyond

will be one who stands in the Sun Bark of Ra,

causing abundant gifts to be given to the temples.

Surely, one who reaches the beyond

will be considered wise and will not be pre­vented

from appealing to Ra when he or she speaks.

And my soul said to me.

Cast your complaints aside,

my comrade and brother.

Make offerings on the sacri­ficial fire

and cling to life as I have said.

Love me, your soul, here.

Set aside thoughts of death and desire death

only when your body joins the earth. Then

will alight on you after you have become truly weary

and we shall dwell together forever.

 

[...] you in order to say [...] their [tongues] cannot question, for it will be crookedness [...] payments their tongues cannot question.

I opened my mouth to my soul, that I might answer what it had said: / This is too much for me today, that my soul does not argue with me; it is too great for [exaggeration], it is as if one ignored me.  Let my soul not depart, that it may attend to it for me [...] in my body like a net of cord, / but it will not succeed in escaping the day of trouble. See, my soul misleads me, but I do not listen to it; draws me toward death ere <i> have come to it and casts <me> on the fire to burn me [...] / it approaches me on the day of trouble and it stands on yonder side as does a ... Such is he who goes forth that he may bring himself for him. O my soul, too stupid to ease misery in life and yet holding me back from death ere I come to it, sweeten / the West for me. Is it (to much) trouble? Yet life is a transitory state, and even trees fall. Trample on wrong, for my misery endures. May Thoth who pacifies the gods judge me; may Khons defend me, / even he who writes truly; may Re hear my plaint, even he who commands the solar bark; may Isdes defend me in the Holy Chamber, [because] the needy one is weighed down with [the burden] which he has lifted up from me; it is pleasant that / the gods should ward off the secret (thoughts) of my body.

What my soul said to me: Are you not a man? Indeed you are alive, but what do you profit? Yet you yearn for life like a man of wealth.

I said: I have not gone, (even though) that is on the ground. Indeed, you leap away, but you will / not be cared for. Every prisoner says: "I will take you," but you are dead, though your name lives. Yonder is a resting place attractive to the heart; the West is a dwelling place, rowing [...] face. If my guiltless soul listens to me / and its heart is in accord with me, it will be fortunate, for I will cause it to attain the West, like one who is in his pyramid, to whose burial a survivor attended. I will [...over] your corpse, so that you make another soul envious / in weariness. I will...., then you will not be cold, so that you make envious another soul which is hot. I will drink water at the eddy, I will raise up shade so that you make envious another soul which is hungry. If/ you hold me back from death in this manner, you will find nowhere you can rest in the West. Be so kind, my soul, my brother, as to become my heir who shall make offering and stand at the tomb on the day of burial, that he may prepare a bier / for the necropolis. 

My soul opened its mouth to me that it might answer what I had said: If you think of burial, it is a sad matter; it is a bringer of weeping through making a man miserable; it is taking a man from his house, he being cast on the high ground, never again will you go up that you may see / the sun. those who built in granite and constructed halls in goodly pyramids with fine work, when the builders became gods their stelae were destroyed, like the weary ones who died on the riverbank through lack of a survivor, / the flood having taken its toll and the sun likewise to whom talk the fishes of the banks of the water. Listen to me; behold it is good for men to hear. Follow the happy day and forget care. 

A peasant ploughed his plot and loaded his harvest / aboard a ship, towing it when his time of festival drew near. He saw the coming of the darkness of the norther, for he was vigilant in the boat when the sun set. He escaped with his wife and children, but came to grief on a lake infested by / night with crocodiles. At last he sat down and broke silence, saying: I weep not for yonder mother, who has no more going forth from the West for another (term) upon earth; I sorrow rather for her children broken in the egg, who have looked in the face of the crocodile god / ere they have lived.

A peasant asked for a meal, and his wife said to him: There is <...> for supper. he went out to... for a moment and returned to his house (raging) as if he were an ape. His wife reasoned with him, but he would not listen to her, he.... and the bystanders were helpless.

I opened my mouth to my soul that I might answer what it had said:

Behold, my name is detested,
Behold, more than the smell of vultures
On a summer's day when the sky is hot.

Behold, my name is detested,
Behold, <more than the smell of> a catch of fish
/ On a day of catching when the sky is hot.

Behold, my name is detested,
Behold, more than the smell of ducks,
More than a covert of reeds full of waterfowl.

Behold, my name is detested,
Behold, more than the smell of fishermen,
More than the creeks / of the marshes where they have fished.

Behold, my name is detested,
Behold, more than the smell of crocodiles,
More than sitting by sandbanks full of crocodiles.

Behold, my name is detested,
Behold, more than a woman
About whom lies are told to a man.

Behold, / my name is detested,
Behold, more than a sturdy child
Of whom it is said: "he belongs to his rival."

Behold, my name is detested,
Behold, <more than> a town belonging to the monarch
Which mutters sedition when his back is turned.

To whom can I speak today?
Brothers are evil
And the friends of today unlovable.

To whom can I speak / today?
Hearts are rapacious
And everyone takes his neighbor's goods.

<To whom can I speak today?>
Gentleness has perished
And the violent man has come down on everyone.

To whom can I speak today?
Men are contented with evil
And goodness is neglected everywhere.

To whom can I speak / Today?
He who should enrage a man by his ill deeds,
he makes everyone laugh <by> his wicked wrongdoing.

To whom can I speak today?
Men plunder
And every man robs his neighbor.

To whom can I speak today?
The wrongdoer is an intimate friend
And the brother with whom one used to act is become / an enemy.

To whom can I speak today?
None remember the past,
And no one now helps him who used to do (good).

To whom can I speak today?
Brothers are evil,
And men have recourse to strangers for affection.

To whom can I speak today?
Faces are averted,
And every man looks askance at / his brethren.

To whom can I speak today?
Hearts are rapacious
And there is no man's heart in which one can trust.

To whom can I speak today?
There are no just persons
And the land is left over to the doers of wrong.

To whom can I speak today?
There is a lack of an intimate friend
And men have recourse to someone unknown / in order to complain to him.

To whom can I speak today?
There is no contented man,
And that person who once walked with him no longer exists.

To whom can I speak today?
I am heavy-laden with trouble
Through lack of an intimate friend.

To whom can I speak today?
The wrong which roams the earth,
/ There is no end to it.

Death is in my sight today
<As when> a sick man becomes well,
Like going out-of-doors after detention.

Death is in my sight today
Like the smell of myrrh,
Like sitting under an awning on a windy day.

Death is in my sight today
/ Like the perfume of lotuses,
Like sitting on the shore of the Land of Drunkenness.

Death is in my sight today
Like a trodden way,
As when a man returns home from an expedition.

Death is in my sight today
Like the clearing of the sky,
Like a man who.../... for something which he does not know.

Death is in my sight today.
As when a man desires to see home
When he has spent many years in captivity.

Verily, he who is yonder will be a living god,
Averting the ill of him who does it.

Verily, he who is yonder will be one who stands in the Bark of the Sun,
Causing choice things to be given / therefrom for the temples.

Verily, he who is yonder will be a sage
Who will not be prevented from appealing to Re when he speaks.

What my soul said to me: Cast complaint upon the peg, my comrade and brother; make offering on the brazier / and cleave to life, according as I have said. Desire me here, thrust the West aside, but desire that you may attain the West when your body goes to earth, that I may alight after you are weary; then will we make an abode together.

It is finished / from its beginning to its end, just as it was found in writing.

 
 
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