Egyptian Literature/The Book of the Dead/Hymn to Ra

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[From the Papyrus of Ani (British Museum No. 10,470, sheet 20).]

A Hymn of Praise to Ra when he riseth in the eastern part of heaven. Those who are in his train rejoice, and lo! Osiris Ani, victorious, saith:

“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 victorious; 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 Osiris Ani, the triumphant one, come forth with thee into heaven, may he go forth in the Mātet 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 in triumph, adoreth his lord, the lord of eternity, saying: “Homage to thee, O Herukhuti (Harmachis), who art the god Khepera, the self-created; 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 uræi 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 in homage as they come toward thee, to behold [thy] beautiful Image. And I have come before thee that I may be with thee to behold thy Disk every 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 favored ones, because I am one of those who worshipped thee [whilst I lived] upon earth. May I come in unto the land of eternity, may I come even unto the everlasting land, for behold, O my lord, this hast thou ordained for me.”

And lo, Osiris Ani triumphant in peace, the triumphant one, saith: “Homage to thee, O thou who risest in thy horizon as Rā, thou reposest upon law [which changeth not nor can it be altered]. Thou passest over the sky, and every face watcheth thee and thy course, for thou hast been hidden from their gaze. Thou dost shew thyself at dawn and at eventide day by day. The Sektet boat, wherein is thy Majesty, goeth forth with might; thy beams [shine] upon [all] faces; [the number] of thy red and yellow rays cannot be known, nor can thy bright beams be told. The lands of the gods, and the eastern lands of Punt[1] must be seen, ere that which is hidden [in thee] may be measured. Alone and by thyself thou dost manifest thyself [when] thou comest into being above Nu (i.e., the sky). May Ani advance, even as thou dost advance; may he 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 little moment pass over the spaces which would need hundreds of thousands and millions of years [for man to pass over; this] thou doest, and then dost thou 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 Ra; thou risest in the horizon.”

Osiris, the scribe Ani, triumphant, declareth his praise of thee when thou shinest, and when thou risest at dawn he crieth in his joy at thy birth: “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 Rā, as thou dost rise up into the upper air. Grant thou that I may come unto the heaven which is everlasting, and unto the mountain where dwell thy favored 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 Nu. Thou dost place thyself in the west, and my two hands are [raised] in adoration [of thee] when thou settest as a living being. Behold, thou art the maker of eternity, and thou art adored [when] thou settest in the heavens. I have given my heart unto thee without wavering, O thou who art mightier than the gods.”

Osiris Ani, triumphant, saith: “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 upon [her] hand, and thou dost give light unto the course of the Disk. O thou great Light, who shinest in the heavens, thou dost strengthen the generations of men with the Nile-flood, and thou dost cause gladness in all lands, and in all cities, and in all the temples. Thou art glorious by reason of thy splendors, and thou makest strong thy ka (i.e., Double) with hu and tchefau foods. O thou who art the mighty one of victories, thou who art the Power of [all] powers, who dost make strong thy throne against evil fiends; who art glorious in majesty in the Sektet boat, and who art exceeding mighty in the Atet boat, make thou glorious Osiris Ani with victory in the underworld; grant thou that in the netherworld he may be without evil. I pray thee to put away [his] faults behind thee: grant thou that he may be one of thy venerable servants who are with the shining ones; may he be joined unto the souls which are in Ta-tchesertet; and may he journey into the Sekhet-Aaru by a prosperous and happy decree, he the Osiris, the scribe, Ani, triumphant."

And the god saith:

“Thou shalt come forth into heaven, thou shalt pass over the sky, thou shalt be joined into the starry deities. Praises shall be offered unto thee in thy boat, thou shalt be hymned in the Atet boat, thou shalt behold Rā within his shrine, thou shalt set together with his Disk day by day, thou shalt see the Ant fish when it springeth into being in the waters of turquoise, and thou shalt see the Abtu fish in his hour. It shall come to pass that the Evil One shall fall when he layeth a snare to destroy thee, and the joints of his neck and of his back shall be hacked asunder. Rā [saileth] with a fair wind, and the Sektet boat draweth on and cometh into port. The mariners of Rā rejoice, and the heart of Nebt-ānkh[2] is glad, for the enemy of her lord hath fallen to the ground. Thou shalt behold Horus on the standing-place of the pilot of the boat, and Thoth and Maāt shall stand one upon each side of him. All the gods shall rejoice when they behold Rā coming in peace to make the hearts of the shining ones to live, and Osiris Ani, victorious, the scribe of the divine offerings of the lords of Thebes, shall be along with them!”


  1. I.e., the land on each side of the Red Sea and on the coast of Africa.
  2. I.e., “Lady of life,” a name of Isis.