The above 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 the Sumerian belief, it was a sacred duty for the king to marry every year a priestess instead of Inanna, the goddess of fertility and sexual love, 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 New Year festival and it was sung at banquets and festivals accompanied by music and dance.    The following is the translation.

Bridegroom,

dear to my heart, Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet, Lion, dear to my heart, Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet. You have captivated me, Let me stand tremblingly before you. Bridegroom, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber. You have captivated me. Let me stand tremblingly before you. Lion I would be taken by you to the bedchamber. 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. Your spirit, I know where to cheer your spirit, Bridegroom, sleep in our house until dawn, Your heart, I know where to gladden your heart, Lion, sleep in our house until dawn. You, because you love me, Give me pray of your caresses…

*Addressed to the Sumerian king Shu-Sin, is the oldest love poem known.

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