Allegedly written by Akhenaten himself, around 1360 BCE, this hymn of love and fervor conveys a vibrancy unparalleled in all the literature bequeathed to us from Ancient Egypt. Several versions and variations were discovered in the devastated tombs of the Tell el Amarna dignitaries. Below you will find the main excerpts from the completest version, found in the tomb of Ay:
When thou settest in the Western horizon,
The earth is in darkness after the manner of death.
Men spend the night indoors with their head covered,
The eye not seeing its fellow.
Their possessions might be stolen, even when under their heads,
And they would be unaware of it.
Every lion comes forth from its lair
And all snakes bite.
Darkness lurks and the earth is silent
When their Creator rests in his habitation.
The earth brightens when thou arisest in the Eastern horizon, [...]
Thou drivest away the night when thou givest forth thy beams.
The Two Lands are in festival.
They awake and stand upon their feet
For thou hast raised them up.
They wash their limbs, they put on raiment
And raise their arms in adoration at thy appearance.
The entire earth performs its labors.
When you rise you stir everyone for the King,
Every leg is on the move since you founded the earth.
You rouse them for your son who came from your body,
The King who lives by Maat, the Lord of the Two Lands,
Neferkheperure, Sole-one-of Re,
The son of Re who lives by Maat, the lord of crowns,
Akhenaten, great in his lifetime;
And the great Queen whom he loves, the Lady of the Two Lands,
Nefer-nefru-Aten Nefertiti, living forever.!»