Hymns To Ra

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Hymns To Ra

"Homage to thee, O thou who hast come as Khepera, Khepera the creator

of the gods. Thou risest and thou shinest, and thou makest light to be

in thy mother Nut (_i.e._, the sky); thou art crowned king of the

gods. Thy mother Nut doeth an act of homage unto thee with both her

hands. The laud of Manu (_i.e._, the land where the sun sets)

receiveth thee with satisfaction, and the goddess Ma[=a]t embraceth

thee both, at morn and at eve. [Footnote: _i.e._, Ma[=a]t, the goddess

of law, order, regularity, and the like, maketh the sun to rise each

day in his appointed place and at his appointed time with absolute and

unfailing regularity.] Hail, all ye gods of the Temple of the Soul,

[Footnote: _i.e._, the soul referred to above in the account of the

creation; see p. 24.] who weigh heaven and earth in the balance, and

who provide divine food in abundance! Hail, Tatunen, thou One, thou

Creator of mankind and Maker of the substance of the gods of the south

and of the north, of the west and of the east! O come ye and acclaim

R[=a], the lord of heaven and the Creator of the gods, and adore ye

him in his beautiful form as he cometh in the morning in his divine


"O R[=a], those who dwell in the heights and those who dwell in the

depths adore thee. The god Thoth and the goddess Ma[=a]t have marked

out for thee [thy course] for each and every day. Thine enemy the

Serpent hath been given over to the fire, the serpent-fiend Sebau hath

fallen down headlong; his arms have been bound in chains, and thou

hast hacked off his legs; and the sons of impotent revolt shall

nevermore rise up against thee. The Temple of the Aged One [Footnote:

_i.e._, R[=a] of Heliopolis.] (_i.e._, R[=a]) keepeth festival, and

the voice of those who rejoice is in the mighty dwelling. The gods

exult when they see thy rising, O R[=a], and when thy beams flood the

world with light. The Majesty of the holy god goeth forth and

advanceth even unto the land of Manu; he maketh brilliant the earth at

his birth each day; he journeyeth on to the place where he was


"Homage to thee, O thou who art R[=a] when thou risest and Temu when

thou settest. Thou risest, thou risest, thou shinest, thou shinest, O

thou who art crowned king of the gods. Thou art the lord of heaven,

thou art the lord of earth; thou art the creator of those who dwell in

the heights, and of those who dwell in the depths. Thou art the One

God who came into being in the beginning of time. Thou didst create

the earth, thou didst fashion man, thou didst make the watery abyss of

the sky, thou didst form Hapi (_i.e._, the Nile), thou didst create

the great deep, and thou dost give life unto all that therein is. Thou

hast knit together the mountains, thou hast made mankind and the

beasts of the field to come into being, thou hast made the heavens and

the earth. Worshipped be thou whom the goddess Maat embraceth at morn

and at eve. Thou dost travel across the sky with thy heart swelling

with joy; the great deep of heaven is content thereat. The

serpent-fiend Nak [Footnote: A name of the Serpent of darkness which

R[=a] slew daily.] hath fallen, and his arms are cut off. The Sektet

[Footnote: The boat in which R[=a] sailed from noon to sunset.] boat

receiveth fair winds, and the heart of him that is in the shrine

thereof rejoiceth.

"Thou art crowned Prince of heaven, and thou art the One [dowered with

all sovereignty] who appearest in the sky. R[=a] is he who is true of

voice. [Footnote: _i.e._, whatsoever R[=a] commandeth taketh place

straightway; see the Chapter on the Judgment of the Dead, p. 110.]

Hail, thou divine youth, thou heir of everlastingness, thou

self-begotten One! Hail, thou who didst give thyself birth! Hail, One,

thou mighty being, of myriad forms and aspects, thou king of the

world, prince of Annu (Heliopolis), lord of eternity, and ruler of

everlastingness! The company of the gods rejoice when thou risest and

dost sail across the sky, O thou who art exalted in the Sektet boat."

"Homage to thee, O Amen-R[=a], [Footnote: On the god Amen, see the

chapter, "The Gods of the Egyptians."] who dost rest upon Maat;

[Footnote: _i.e._, "thy existence, and thy risings and settings are

ordered and defined by fixed, unchanging, and unalterable law."] thou

passest over heaven and every face seeth thee. Thou dost wax great as

thy Majesty doth advance, and thy rays are upon all faces. Thou art

unknown, and no tongue can declare thy likeness; thou thyself alone

[canst do this]. Thou art One... Men praise thee in thy name, and they

swear by thee, for thou art lord over them. Thou hearest with thine

ears, and thou seest with thine eyes. Millions of years have gone over

the world. I cannot tell the number of those through which thou hast

passed. Thy heart hath decreed a day of happiness in thy name of

'Traveller.' Thou dost pass over and dost travel through untold spaces

[requiring] millions and hundreds of thousands of years [to pass

over]; thou passest through them in peace, and thou steerest thy way

across the watery abyss to the place which thou lovest; this thou

doest in one little moment of time, and then thou dost sink down and

dost make an end of the hours."

The following beautiful composition, part hymn and part prayer, is of

exceptional interest.

"Hail, thou Disk, thou lord of rays, who risest on the horizon day by

day! Shine thou with thy beams of light upon the face of Osiris Ani,

who is true of voice; for he singeth hymns of praise unto thee at

dawn, and he maketh thee to set at eventide with words of adoration,

May the soul of Ani come forth with thee into heaven, may he go forth

in the M[=a]tet boat, may he come into port in the Sektet boat, and

may he cleave his path among the never-resting stars in the heavens.

"Osiris Ani, being in peace and triumph, adoreth his lord, the lord of

eternity, saying, 'Homage to thee, O Heru-Khuti (Harmachis), who art

the god Khepera, the self-created one; when thou risest on the horizon

and sheddest thy beams of light upon the lands of the North and of the

South, thou art beautiful, yea beautiful, and all the gods rejoice

when they behold thee, the king of heaven. The goddess Nebt-Unnut is

stablished upon thy head; and her uraei of the South and of the North

are upon thy brow; she taketh up her place before thee. The god. Thoth

is stablished in the bows of thy boat to destroy utterly all thy foes.

Those who are in the Tuat (underworld) come forth to meet thee, and

they bow low in homage as they come towards thee, to behold thy

beautiful form. And I have come before thee that I may be with thee to

behold thy Disk each day. May I not be shut up [in the tomb], may I

not be turned back, may the limbs of my body be made new again when I

view thy beauties, even as [are those of] all thy favoured ones,

because I am one of those who worshipped thee upon earth. May I come

unto the land of eternity, may I come even unto the everlasting land,

for behold, O my lord, this hast thou ordained for me.'

"'Homage to thee, O thou who risest in thy horizon as R[=a], thou

restest upon Ma[=a]t, [Footnote: _i.e._, unchanging and unalterable

law.] Thou passest over the sky, and every face watcheth thee and thy

course, for thou hast been hidden from their gaze. Thou dost show

thyself at dawn and at eventide day by day. The Sektet boat, wherein,

is thy Majesty, goeth forth with might; thy beams are upon [all]

faces; thy rays of red and yellow cannot be known, and thy bright

beams cannot be told. The lands of the gods and the eastern lands of

Punt [Footnote: _i.e._, the east and west coasts of the Red Sea, and

the north-east coast of Africa.] must be seen ere that which, is

hidden [in thee] may be measured. [Footnote: I am doubtful about the

meaning of this passage.] Alone and by thyself thou, dost manifest

thyself [when] thou comest into being above Nu. May I advance, even as

thou dost advance; may I never cease [to go forward], even as thy

Majesty ceaseth not [to go forward], even though it be for a moment;

for with strides dost thou in one brief moment pass over spaces which

[man] would need hundreds of thousand; yea, millions of years to pass

over; [this] thou doest, and then thou dost sink to rest. Thou puttest

an end to the hours of the night, and thou dost count them, even thou;

thou endest them in thine own appointed season, and the earth,

becometh light, Thou settest thyself before thy handiwork in the

likeness of R[=a]; thou risest in the horizon.'

"Osiris; the scribe Ani, declareth his praise of thee when thou

shinest, and when thou risest at dawn he crieth in his joy at thy

birth, saying:--

"'Thou art crowned with the majesty of thy beauties; thou mouldest thy

limbs as thou dost advance, and thou bringest them forth without

birth-pangs in the form of R[=a], as thou dost rise up in the

celestial height. Grant thou that I may come unto the heaven which is

everlasting, and unto the mountain where dwell thy favoured ones. May

I be joined unto those shining beings, holy and perfect, who are in

the underworld; and may I come forth with them to behold thy beauties

when thou shinest at eventide, and goest to thy mother Nut. Thou dost

place thyself in the west, and my hands adore [thee] when thou settest

as a living being. [Footnote: _i.e._, "because when thou settest thou

dost not die."] Behold, thou art the everlasting creator, and thou art

adored [as such when] thou settest in the heavens. I have given my

heart to thee without wavering, O thou who art mightier than the


"A hymn of praise to thee, O thou who risest like unto gold, and who

dost flood the world with light on the day of thy birth. Thy mother

giveth thee birth, and straightway thou dost give light upon the path

of [thy] Disk, O thou great Light who shinest in the heavens. Thou

makest the generations of men to flourish through the Nile-flood, and

thou dost cause gladness to exist in all lands, and in, all cities,

and in all temples. Thou art glorious by reason of thy splendours, and

thou makest strong thy KA (_i.e._ Double) with, divine foods, O thou

mighty one of victories, thou Power of Powers, who dost make strong

thy throne against evil fiends--thou who art glorious in Majesty in

the Sektet boat, and most mighty in the [=A]tet [Footnote: The Sun's

evening and morning boats respectively.] boat!" This selection may be

fittingly closed by a short hymn [Footnote: From the Papyrus of Nekht

(Brit. Mus. No. 10,471).] which, though, of a later date, reproduces

in a brief form all the essentials of the longer hymns of the XVIIIth

dynasty (about B.C. 1700 to 1400).

"Homage to thee, O thou glorious Being, thou who art dowered [with all

sovereignty]. O Temu-Harma-chis, [Footnote: The evening and morning

sun respectively.] when thou risest in the horizon of heaven, a cry of

joy cometh forth, to thee from the mouth of all peoples, O thou

beautiful Being, thou dost renew thyself in thy season in the form of

the Disk within thy mother Hathor; [Footnote: Like Nut, a goddess of

the sky, but particularly of that portion of it in which the sun

rises.] therefore in every place every heart swelleth with joy at thy

rising for ever. The regions of the North and South come to thee with

homage, and send forth, acclamations at thy rising in the horizon of

heaven; thou illuminest the two lands with rays of turquoise light.

Hail, R[=a], thou who art R[=a]-Harmachis, thou divine man-child, heir

of eternity, self-begotten and self-born, king of the earth, prince of

the underworld, governor of the regions of Aukert (_i.e._ the

underworld)! Thou didst come forth, from the water, thou hast sprung

from the god Nu, who cherisheth thee and ordereth thy members. Hail,

god of life, thou lord of love, all men live when thou shinest; thou

art crowned king of the gods. The goddess Nut doeth homage unto thee,

and the goddess Ma[=a]t embraceth thee at all times. Those who are in

thy following sing unto thee with joy and bow down their foreheads to

the earth when they meet thee, thou lord of heaven, thou lord of

earth, thou king of Right and Truth, thou lord of eternity, thou

prince of everlastingness, thou sovereign of all the gods, thou god of

life, thou creator of eternity, thou maker of heaven, wherein thou art

firmly established. The company of the gods rejoice at thy rising, the

earth is glad when it beholdeth thy rays; the peoples that have been

long dead come forth with cries of joy to see thy beauties every day.

Thou goest forth each day over heaven and earth, and art made strong

each day by thy mother Nut. Thou passest through the heights of

heaven, thy heart swelleth with joy; the abyss of the sky is content

thereat. The Serpent-fiend hath fallen, his arms are hewn off, and the

knife hath cut asunder his joints, R[=a] liveth in Ma[=a]t the

beautiful. The Sektet boat draweth on and cometh into port; the South

and the North, the West and the East, turn, to praise thee, O thou

primeval substance of the earth who didst come into being of thine own

accord, Isis and Nephthys salute thee, they sing unto thee songs of

joy at thy rising in the boat, they protect thee with their hands. The

souls of the East follow thee, the souls of the West praise thee. Thou

art the ruler of all the gods, and thou hast joy of heart within thy

shrine; for the Serpent-fiend Nak hath been condemned to the fire, and

thy heart shall be joyful for ever."


"Homage to thee, O thou who art in the form of Khepera,
Khepera the creator of the gods. Thou risest, thou shinest, thou
illuminest thy mother [the sky]. Thou art crowned King of the Gods.
Mother Nut[1] welcometh thee with bowings. The Land of Sunset (Manu)
receiveth thee with satisfaction, and the goddess Maat[2] embraceth thee
at morn and at eve. Hail, ye gods of the Temple of the Soul (_i.e._
heaven), who weigh heaven and earth in a balance, who provide celestial
food! And hail, Tatunen,[3] One, Creator of man, Maker of the gods of
the south and of the north, of the west and of the east! Come ye and
acclaim Ra, the Lord of heaven, the Prince--life, health, strength be to
him!--the Creator of the gods, and adore ye him in his beautiful form as
he riseth in his Morning Boat (Antchet).
"Those who dwell in the heights and those who dwell in the depths
worship thee. Thoth and the goddess Maat have laid down thy course for
thee daily for ever. Thine Enemy the Serpent hath been cast into the
fire, the fiend hath fallen down into it headlong. His arms have been
bound in chains, and Ra hath hacked off his legs; the Mesu Betshet[4]
shall never more rise up. The Temple of the Aged God [in Anu] keepeth
festival, and the sound of those who rejoice is in the Great House. The
gods shout for joy when they see Ra rising, and when his beams are
filling the world with light. The Majesty of the Holy God goeth forth
and advanceth even unto the Land of Sunset (Manu). He maketh bright the
earth at his birth daily, he journeyeth to the place where he was
yesterday. O be thou at peace with me, and let me behold thy beauties!
Let me appear on the earth. Let me smite [the Eater of] the Ass.[5] Let
me crush the Serpent Seba.[6] Let me destroy Aapep[7] when he is most
strong. Let me see the Abtu Fish in its season and the Ant Fish[8] in
its lake. Let me see Horus steering thy boat, with Thoth and Maat
standing one on each side of him. Let me have hold of the bows of [thy]
Evening Boat and the stern of thy Morning Boat.[9] Grant thou unto the
Ka of me, the Osiris the scribe Ani, to behold the disk of the Sun, and
to see the Moon-god regularly and daily. Let my soul come forth and walk
hither and thither and whithersoever it pleaseth. Let my name be read
from the list of those who are to receive offerings, and may offerings
be set before me, even as they are set before the Followers of Horus.
Let there be prepared for me a seat in the Boat of Ra on the day when
the god goeth forth. Let me be received into the presence of Osiris, in
the Land where Truth is spoken."