Friday, February 23, 2024

Gilgamesh was an elven king

I woke up with a few lines of verse in my head, all I could remember from a dream:

Gilgamesh was an elven king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing.
The sun and moon of heart's desire --
Oh, Troy town's down, tall Troy's on fire!

After jotting that down, while I was trying to remember more of the dream, a few more lines, in a different meter, came to me. I'm not at all confident that these were from the dream -- in fact I'm rather sure they were not -- but they came to mind as I was trying to call back the dream, suggesting that there is some connection:

O Smith, declared th' earth-shaking god:
Should Mars the debt refuse,
Thou hast my word that I will pay
To thee thy lawful dues.

None of this material is original. The quatrain from the dream takes, with minimal modification, two lines from a poem in The Lord of the Rings and two from "Troy Town" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The main change is the replacement of Tolkien's Gil-galad with the much less "elven" name Gilgamesh.

The second quatrain is taken nearly verbatim from Sir Charles Du Cane's 1880 translation of the Odyssey. The lines are from Book VIII, and the context is that Poseidon is trying to convince Hephaestus to release Ares from the golden chains with which he bound him after catching him in bed with Aphrodite. (In Du Cane's original text, the god is addressed as Vulcan, not Smith, but the lines are immediately followed by "Him answered then the smith renowned . . . .") The larger context of the Odyssey is, of course, that Troy town's down.

Torn from that context, though, Du Cane's lines suggest another reading: If Smith is not avenged by war, he will be avenged by natural disaster.

Shortly after writing down the two quatrains, I checked William Wright's blog and read his latest post, "Coriantumr and Donald Trump, the light-minded highness," in which he proposes that Trump is the reincarnation of the Book of Mormon figure Coriantumr. Unlike some of the other reincarnations William has proposed, this one immediately clicked with me at an intuitive level and made more sense the more I thought about it. I'm calling it a bull's-eye.

Then my mind jumped from Coriantumr back to Gilgamesh. Here's how Coriantumr's name is first introduced in the Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass in the days of Mosiah, there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God. And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons (Omni 1:20-21).

Since Coriantumr was the only survivor of the carnage recounted on the stone, he must have engraved it himself. This reminds me of the famous ending of Gilgamesh, after the hero goes on an epic quest for immortality and utterly fails:

He went on a long journey, was weary, worn-out with labor, returning he rested, he engraved on a stone the whole story.

Coriantumr was the last of the Jaredites, who spoke a lost language no one else could understand. That's why his engravings on the stone had to be translated "by the gift and power of God" rather than by ordinary means. Similarly, in the They Might Be Giants song "The Mesopotamians," Gilgamesh and friends say:

And they wouldn't understand a word we say
So we'll scratch it all down into the clay
Half believing there will sometime come a day
Someone gives a damn
Maybe when the concrete has crumbled to sand

The "secret combination" theme from the Coriantumr story also appears in that song:

In Mesopotamia
(But no one's ever seen us)
The kingdom where we secretly reign
(And no one's ever heard of our band)
The land where we invisibly rule

My dream, and William Wright's post, were both on February 22, and it's still February 22 now in the US. While I was in the act of writing this post, which quotes a little-read translation of the Odyssey, Zenith of the Alpha posted a new video saying:

The strongest Synchronicities I've ever experienced connected with THE ODYSSEY and the date 2/2/22. Now, 2 years later I see ODYSSEUS is news on 2/22.


WanderingGondola said...

Not sure what to make of this, except that I'm reminded of an old post of yours, in conjunction with this movie clip (shared a few times by a certain associate of mine).

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

From Wikipedia:

"Coriantumr's arc follows the 'Martyred Hero' in a tragic predicament pattern that folklorist Bruce Rosenberg identified in the biblical king Saul, bearing a strong enough resemblance as to make Coriantumr Saul's doppelgänger."

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