Tablet 1

Oh him who found out all things, I shall tell the land,
Of him who experienced everything, I shall teach the whole.
He searched lands everywhere.
He who experienced the whole gained complete wisdom.
He found out what was secret and uncovered what was hidden, He brought back a tale of times before the Flood.
He had journeyed far and wide, weary and at last resigned.
He engraved all toils on a memorial monument of stone.
He had the wall of Uruk built, the sheepfold
Of holiest Eanna, the pure treasury.
See its wall, which is like a copper band.
Survey its battlements, which nobody else can match,
Take the threshold, which is from time immemorial,
Approach Eanna, the home of Ishtar,
Which no future king nor any man will ever match!
Go up on the wall of Uruk and walk around!
Inspect the foundation platform and scrutinize the brickwork!
Testify that its bricks are baked bricks,
And that the Seven Counsellors must have laid its foundations!
One square mile is city, one square mile is orchards,
one square mile is claypits, as well as the open ground of Isthar's temple.
Three square miles and the open ground comprise Uruk.
Look for the copper tablet-box,
Undo its bronze lock,
Open the door to its secret,
Lift out the lapis lazuli tablet and read it,
The story of that man, Gilgamesh, who went through all kinds of sufferings.
He was superior to other kings, a warrior lord of great stature,
A hero born of Uruk, a goring wild bull.
He marches at the front as leader,
He goes behind, the support of his brothers,
A strong net, the protection of his men,
The raging flood wave, which can destroy even a stone wall.
Son of Lugalbanda, Gilgamesh, perfect in strength,
Son of the lofty cow, the wild cow Ninsun.
He is Gilgamesh, perfect in splendour,
Who opened up passes in the mountains,
Who could dig pits even in the mountainside, Who crossed the ocean, the broad seas, as far as the sunrise.
Who inspected the edges of the world, kept searching for eternal life,
Who reached Ut-napishtim the far-distant, by force.
Who restored to their rightful place cult centers which the Flood had ruined.
There is nobody among the kings of teeming humanity
Who can compare with him,
Who can say 'I am king' beside Gilgamesh.
Gilgamesh was named from birth for fame.
Two-thirds of him was divine, and one-third mortal.
Belet-ili designed the shape of his body,
Made his form perfect and was proud.

In Uruk the Sheepfold he would walk about,
He was the shepherd.
He was their shepherd yet
Powerful, superb, knowledgable and expert,
Gilgamesh would not leave young girls alone,
The daughters of warriors, the brides of young men.
The gods often heard their complaints
He was the shepherd.
He was their shepherd yet
Powerful, superb, knowledgable and expert,
Gilgamesh would not leave young girls alone,
The daughters of warriors, the brides of young men.
The gods often heard their complaints
Show himself superior, his head held high like a wild bull.
He had no rival, and at his pukku
His weapons would rise up, his comrades have to rise up.
The young men or Uruk became dejected in their private quarters.
Gilgamesh would not leave any son alone for his father.
Day and night his behavior was overbearing.
He was the shepherd.
He was their shepherd yet
Powerful, superb, knowledgable and expert,
Gilgamesh would not leave young girls alone,
The daughters of warriors, the brides of young men.
The gods often heard their complaints.
The gods of heaven, the lord of Uruk.
Did Aruru create such a rampant wild bull?
Is there no rival? At the pukku
His weapons rise up, his comrades have to rise up.
Gilgamesh will not leave any son alone for his father.
Day and night his behavior was overbearing,
He was the shepherd.
He was their shepherd yet
Powerful, superb, knowledgable and expert,
Gilgamesh would not leave young girls alone,
The daughters of warriors, the brides of young men.
Anu often hears their complaints.
They called upon great Aruru:
'You, Aruru, you created mankind!
Now create someone for him, to match the ardour of his energies!
Let them be regular rivals, and let Uruk be allowed peace!
When Aruru heard this, she created inside herself the word of Anu.
Aruru washed her hands, pinched off a piece of clay,
cast it out into open country.

She created a primitive man, Enkidu the warrior:
offspring of silence, sky-bolt of Ninurta.
His whole body was shaggy with hair, he was
furnished with tresses like a woman,
His locks of hair grew luxuriant like grain.
He knew neither people nor country; he was dressed as cattle are.
With gazelles he eats vegetation,
With cattle he quenches his thirst at the watering place.
With wild beasts he satisfies his need for water.
A hunter, a brigand,
Came face to face beside the watering place.
He saw him on three successive days beside the watering place.
The hunter looked at him, and was dumbstruck to see him.
In perplexity he went back in his house
And was afraid, stayed mute, was silent,
And was ill at ease, his face worried.
The grief in his innermost being.
His face was like that of a long distance traveller.

The hunter made his voice heard and spoke, he said to his father,
'Father, there was a young man who came from the mountain,
He was strong, he was powerful.
His strength was very hard, like a sky-bolt of Anu.
He walks about on the mountain all the time,
All the time he eats vegetation with cattle,
All the time he puts his feet in the water at the watering place.
I am too frightened to approach him.
He kept filling the pits that I dug.
He kept pulling out the traps that I laid.
He kept helping cattle, wild beasts of open country, to escape my grasp.
He will not allow me to work in the open country.
His father spoke to him, to the hunter,
Uruk, Gilgamesh.
His strength is very hard, like a sky-bolt of Anu.
Go, set your face towards Uruk...
The hunter listened to the advice of his father.
The hunter went off to see Gilgamesh.
He took the road, set his face toward Uruk,
Entered the presence of Gilgamesh:
'There was a young man who came from the mountain,
On the land he was strong, he was powerful.
His strength is very hard, like a sky-bolt of Anu.
He walks about on the mountain all the time.
All the time he eats vegetation with cattle,
All the time he puts his feet in the water at the watering place.
I am too frightened to approach him.
He kept filling the pits that I dug.
He kept pulling out the traps that I laid.
He kept helping cattle, wild beasts of open country, to escape my grasp.
He will not allow me to work in the open country.'
Gilgamesh spoke to him, to the hunter,
'Go, hunter, lead forth the harlot Shamhat,
And when he approaches the cattle at the watering place,
She must take off her clothes and reveal her attractions.
He will see her and go close to her.
Then his cattle, who have grown up in open country with him, will become alien to him.'
The hunter went; he led forth the harlot Shamhat with him,
And they took the road, they made the journey.
In three days they reached the appointed place.
Hunter and harlot sat down in their hiding place.
For one day, then a second, they sat at the watering place.
Then cattle arrived at the watering place; they drank.

Then wild beasts arrived at the water; they satisfied their need.
And he, Enkidu, whose origin is the mountain,
Who eats vegetation with gazelles,
Drinks at the watering place with cattle,
Satisfied his need for water with wild beasts.
Shamhat looked at the primitive man,
The murderous youth from the depths of open country.
'Here he is Shamhat, bare your bosom,
Open your legs and let him take in your attractions!
Do not pull away, take wind of him!
He will see you and come close to you.
Spread open your garments, and let him lie upon you.
Do for him, the primitive man, as women do.
Then his cattle, who have grown up in open country with him,
will become alien to him.
His love-making he will lavish upon you!'
Shambat loosened her undergarments, opened her legs and he took in her attractions.
She did not pull away. She took wind of him,
Spread open her garments, and he lay upon her,
She did for him, the primitive man, as women do.
His love-making he lavished upon her.
For six days and seven nights Enkidu was aroused and poured himself into Shamhat.
When he was sated with her charms,
He set his face towards the open country of his cattle.
The gazelles saw Enkidu and scattered,
The cattle of open country kept away from his body.
For Enkidu had stripped; his body was to clean.
His legs, which used to keep pace with his cattle were at a standstill.
Enkidu had been diminished, he could not run as before.
Yet he had acquired judgement, had become wiser.