Greater than other kings, lofty in stature, a hero born in Uruk, a wild and rampaging bull was he. He leads forth at the front, the leader; he brings up the rear, a trusted companion. He is a great net who protects his men, a thrashing flood-wave capable of devastating even walls of stone. As son of Lugalbanda, Gilgamesh is perfection in his strength, son too of the august cow, Ninsun, the goddess. Gilgamesh is tall, glorious, and terrific. It was he who cut open the passes through the mountains, who dug the wells on the slopes of the mountainsides, and who crossed the ocean itself, the great sea, to meet the sunrise, exploring every part of the whole world for the secret of life. It was he who by his strength alone reached Utnapishtim, the distant, who restored the holy places that the Flood had destroyed, and who for the teeming masses instilled the rites of heaven.
Of Uruk, its great rampart he built, and the wall of the sacred Eanna temple, the holy sanctuary. Behold the outer walls which gleam with the brilliance of copper; see the inner wall which none might rival. Touch the threshold stone—it is from ancient days. Goest thou into the Eanna temple, yea, the dwelling place of Ishtar, the like of which no subsequent king or living man might equal. Ascend and walk about on the wall of Uruk, inspect the corner-stone, and examine its brick-work, whether its wall is not made of burned brick, and its foundation laid by the Seven Sages. One third for city, one third for garden, one third for field, and a precinct for the temple of Ishtar. These parts and the precinct comprise Uruk. Unveil the tablet box of copper. Unlatch the clasp of its brazen lock. Unbind the fastenings of the hidden opening. Bring forth and read out the lapis lazuli tablet that tells of the great hardships endured by Gilgamesh.
When the gods fashioned Gilgamesh, to him they gave a perfect form. The glorious sun Shamash bestowed upon him glory; Adad the terrible god of storms bestowed upon him courage. The great gods perfected his magnificence beyond all others, terrible like the great wild bull. Two thirds god they made him; one third man they made him.
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Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
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