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The ‘Loyalist’ Teaching

1 Beginning of the Teaching1 The teacher is introduced by a series of high-ranking titles (see The Tale of Sinuhe, n. 1). God's Father, whom the God loves is a priestly title. The next two epithets with were often applied to viziers. The Sem-priest acted in rituals as the son of the god; he was associated with the rites of clothing the god and the king, hence the title referring to the ritual Kilt. The titles suggest that the teacher was a vizier, holder of the highest office in society after the king. His name, however, is lost. One possible, if unlikely, candidate is the historical vizier of Senwosret I, Montuhotep. made by the Patrician and Count, the God's Father, whom the God loves, the Privy Counsellor of the Palace (l.p.h.!), the Head of the Entire Land, Sem-priest and Controller of Every Kilt, [………………]. He speaks a Teaching before his children, ‘I shall speak a great matter, and shall cause you to hear,2 A rhetorical introduction proclaims the Teaching's importance and its eternal concerns. The verses envisage an easy progression from speech to obedience, and hence to a wisdom through which eternal principles are embodied in daily life, enabling the pupil to enter blessedness as one of the dead. cause you to know the counsels of eternity, the way of living truly, the passing into blessedness.

2 Praise the king within your bodies!3 The first stanza of the Teaching proper opens with injunctions to praise the king. The first half of the Teaching advocates loyalty to the king, since this will guarantee success and ensure that virtue is rewarded. The loyal relationship ranges from the very intimate and personal to the cosmic. Be close to his Majesty in your hearts! Put terror of him throughout the day! Create acclamation for him at every season! He is the Perception which is in breasts:4 Having urged homage, the stanza continues to eulogize the king as a personal force, who is all-knowing, and whose Perception penetrates every heart. Perception is a divine power used in creation by the Sungod: this divine aspect is developed in the following verses. The assimilation with the Sungod takes up the earlier allusion to day (2.3); the complementary evocation of shade is an image of royal protection, the reward for virtue. The sequence of sentences beginning ‘He is …’ is characteristic of eulogies; the identifications with gods express the various aspects of the king's power; although the king was in many senses divine, they are metaphorical. his eyes probe every body. He is the Sungod under whose governance one lives: the man under his shade will have great possessions. He is the Sungod by whose rays one sees:5 From describing the king's power as a personal force, the stanza progresses to images of his power as universal and cosmic, embracing the whole of Egypt (the Two Lands). he illumines the Two Lands more than the sun.

3 His heat burns more than a tongue of flame.6 This stanza continues the imagery of the fiery sun, and develops the theme of royal fearsomeness. The two sides of kingship—love and ferocity—are juxtaposed throughout the subsequent stanzas. He consumes 〈in〉 his moment more than fire. He makes thrive more than the great Nileflood:7 The Nileflood and the Sungod are often associated as the two forces controlling life (the association is expressed by repetition of Two Lands from 2.10). Both are potentially dangerous forces, but here the sage gives assurance of their revitalizing force. Noses are blocked in the dusty dry season when the Nileflood was absent (according to a contemporaneous hymn to the Nile). The imagery presents a sequence of light, water, and air, basic life forces which the king can give and withhold. he has filled the Two Lands with the strength of life. Noses are blocked when he falls into storm. He is calm, and then the air is breathed. To those in his following he gives sustenance;8 The assimilation to the Nile colours the rest of the stanza, which describes the king, like the Nileflood, as supplying provisions. The stanza moves from principles of royal power to its realization in deeds, described in antithetical verses. The final couplet provides a summary. he feeds the man who keeps to his way. The man he favours will be a lord of provisions; his adversary will be a nobody. The king's supporter will be someone blessed. [He secures] the Two Lands, and he casts his opponents away.

4 It is his power that fights for him.9 This poorly preserved stanza continues the balanced descriptions of the king's life-or-death power over his subjects, expressing this as physical might. At the end of the stanza his power is broadened to include the otherworld: his enemies are not only slaughtered, but are deprived of a burial on land that would ensure otherworldly survival; this resumes the imagery of water (3.3–4), which can give life or death. His ferocity emits dread of him. The man who looks upon [him will be….]. Our [well-being] is based on praising his beauty. He will reveal [his] appearance [to …‥]. [……] love […‥] his heart. He is life to the man who gives praise to him. His opponents will sink [into distress]. [Their] corpses [are to be thrown into the water].

5 The king is Sustenance; his speech is Plenty.10 A final stanza of royal eulogy extols the king as the quasi-divine benefactor of mankind. The opening verse takes the motif of provisions (3.7–9) onto a more elevated level, that of creation: Sustenance has a spiritual edge, and Plenty is homonymous with ‘Utterance’—one of the powers of creation. These powers recall the earlier mention of another, less material, creative power, Perception (2.5 and n. 4). The teacher now turns to the king's relationship with his divine superiors, as opposed to his mortal inferiors. He is the linchpin of society, conceived in the grandest terms, both temporal and hierarchical. The gods legitimize his actions against his enemies. The man he makes is someone who will always exist. He is the heir of every god, the protector of his creators. They strike his opponents for him. Now, his Majesty is in his palace (l.p.h.!)11 The king at his most divine (in the palace) is again assimilated with the gods; as the heir of the ancient gods he is the present people's god. Atum is the All-lord creator, who created people's bodies (joining necks). Each divine assimilation is followed by a verse on the results for humanity. Khnum is another fashioner of men's bodies: the king creates individuals, and is literally the father of his country. Bastet and Sekhmet are complementary feline goddesses, cat and lion, who can be aspects of the same deity: one is protective, the other aggressive and destructive. The two aspects of the king are manifest in his treatment of the two types of underling, loyal and disloyal. he is an Atum of joining necks: his protective might is behind the man who promotes his power. He is a Khnum of every limb, the begetter and creator of the folk. He is a Bastet who protects the Two Lands: the man who praises him will be sheltered by his arm. He is a Sekhmet against the man who transgresses his command: the man he disfavours will sink to distress.

6 Fight for his name! Respect his oath!12 After the implicit advice in the preceding three stanzas, this stanza returns to explicitly didactic verses, and prescribes appropriate behaviour towards the king. The first half urges loyalism (fight echoes 4.1 and looks forward to 14.1): oaths were taken on the king's name. The second verse implies that the king is inclined to generosity, and is frustrated only by mankind's rebelliousness. Dual expressions suggest the totality of royal power: the Red-king is the king who wears the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, while the White Crown represents Upper Egypt. The Double Crown symbolizes the unity of the state under single rule: the king is presented in his essential regalia. Make no opposition against a reward of his giving. Acclaim the Red-king! Worship the White Crown! Pay homage to the uplifter of the Double Crown! You should do these things, so that your limbs may prosper!13 The second half of the stanza describes the enduring personal rewards of virtue in two couplets. You will find this good for all time— being on earth, without sorrow, passing lifetime in peace!

7 Enter into the earth which the king gives!14 In this stanza, the sage moves to discuss prosperity in the future life, which is also dependent on the king: a full state burial was literally in his giving. A triplet on funerary preparations employs phrases from mortuary inscriptions referring to the tomb (earth, place, cavern). A formulaic wish follows for social continuity in offices held in the family, and a final couplet implies that such success will result from obeying the Teaching. The Teaching is itself a means of social continuity—a theme developed in the next stanza. Rest in the place of all time! Join with the eternal cavern!— with your children's homes full of love for you, your heirs remaining in your positions. Conform 〈to〉 my example! Do not neglect my words! Make good the rule of my making!

8 May you speak to your children!15 The advice to speak to your children recalls the context of the Teaching. The injunction at the end of the previous stanza (7.7) is developed: obedience involves passing the Teaching (the speech) on to the next generation. Wisdom ensures and comprises social continuity, from the primeval rule of the gods to mankind's descendants. The following verses give three reasons for obeying the teacher's advice: its antiquity, the personal authority of the teacher, and the resulting success. The stanza ends with a rhetorical question, that is answered in the second half of the Teaching. Speech has taught, since the time of the God. I am a noble to be listened to, whose understanding is recognized by his lord. Do not overstep my example! Do not be indifferent to my pattern! You should be free from disloyal action! The son who hears will be a faultless man. Can any plan of his not succeed?

9 You will praise these things after years,16 This injunction sounds like the conclusion of the Teaching, with its reference to landfall, which is both success in this life and burial. The teacher, however, now turns to people who are socially inferior, rather than superior, to his audience, and the pronoun referring to the audience is now singular (an individual official in charge of his servants) rather than plural (a group of officials collectively exhorted to loyalism). Another method is a phrase found in medical texts: wisdom is the remedy for society's ills. This subtitle introduces the second half. for their soundness gives landfall. Another method for developing your hearts, —which is even better—concerning your servants: care for men, organize people, that you may secure servants who are active! It is mankind who create all that exists;17 A grandiloquent verse states that the created world owes its existence to workers. The following verse explains this statement, and a third summarizes the élite's dependence on workers in pragmatic terms. one lives on what comes from their hands. They are lacking, and then poverty prevails.

10 The professions are what provide provisions.18 A more elaborate stanza develops the notion of society's dependence on lowly professions with an increased use of metaphor. In the first triplet, the way in which they sustain a household is considered. The sound of them represents their presence, and the image gives their support a miraculous aspect—their voices are enough to restore and revive a ruined house. A house is empty, with its foundations uprooted, and the very sound of them re-establishes its walls! The man who sleeps until dawn is a lord of many;19 Being able to sleep is a sign of security and prosperity: the antithesis of a man with many servants is the solitary man who isolates himself from society. He is antisocial like the lion (a solitary and proverbially unsleeping animal), and will not thrive on social tasks, or reap their rewards. there will be no sleep for the solitary man. No one sends a lion on a mission. No herd can isolate itself from the walled enclosure;20 From the animal imagery of the preceding verse, another triplet develops the image of mankind as a herd that needs a shepherd (i.e. a leader, king, or god): the herd outside its shelter is prey to animals such as the lion. In the description of a doomed animal, society is presented as a man-made shelter (walled enclosure and well). The stanza ends on a starkly negative note. its voice is like the thirsty creature's outside the well, with [decay] around it, and the wailing of birds.

11 One must long for the Nileflood, then one profits by it;21 This stanza describes a man's need for peasants to tend his land, but it also affirms metaphorically that care is needed for society to flourish, just as one must prepare for the annual Nileflood and plough fields to gain from the harvest. The opening mention of the Nile continues the imagery previously used to extol the king (3.3–4 and n. 7). The imagery of cattle presents the need for order to be imposed from above on creatures (including mankind). Read literally, the verses deal with the officials’ need of peasant shepherds to tend their cattle, while metaphorically they allude to mankind's need for a ruler; this double reference expresses the inseparable nature of all living beings. The happy flock is in sharp contrast with the situation portrayed at the end of the preceding stanza (10.7–9). no ploughed field exists of itself. The cattle who belong to a cowherd are great: it is the cattleherd who can drive the wild bull. it is [the herdsman] who brings [the animals] across to land. [The shepherded] will be a plentiful flock, without number! To God, [these are] excellent professions.22 The second half of the stanza demonstrates the practical value of social solidarity in the worth of labourers. The professions are literally the peasant shepherds, who are servants to be valued, but metaphorically they are the official and his king who control society. Care for society and the principle of reciprocity are expounded in pragmatic terms; the problem of people becoming vagabonds in order to flee labour duty is well attested in contemporaneous documents. Someone who is capable in them is a clever man. Do not make a field-worker wretched with taxes— let him be well off, and he will still be there for you the next year. If he lives, you have his hands; you ruin him, and then he plans to turn vagabond.

12 The man who fixes the taxes in proportion to the barley23 This stanza describes the results of being just or unjust to one's inferiors. The first couplet evokes a wide range of reference from taxes to God. In a following quatrain on the consequences of injustice, the imagery alludes to the idea that Justice and Truth are the only true means of life; all other wealth is transient, and time brings retribution on the unjust. is [a just] man in God's eyes. The riches of the unjust man cannot stay; his children cannot benefit from any remainder of his. The man who afflicts is making the end of his own life: there are no children of his close to him. Serfs belong to the man who passes over himself:24 A second quatrain, structured antithetically, demonstrates the various qualities that the official must possess and shun. Selflessness and justice towards servants are associated with success for one's heirs. The final verse reformulates the second verse of the stanza (12.2) in negative terms: the opinion of society is in perfect accord with that of god. The stanza starts at an abstract level in God's eyes, moves though future survival (children and heirs), and ends with the general attitude of society (in all eyes). there are no heirs for the man with a restless heart. Great is the reverence paid to the master of his temperament; the vociferous man is unjust in all eyes.

13 It is the evil man who destroys his own mound;25 This symmetrically structured stanza, which begins and ends on evil, continues to develop the subject of the preceding one on a wider social scale, to affirm that evil is self-destructive. The mound is a settlement (towns were built on mounds to avoid the flood waters of the Nile). The stanza centres around a quatrain on the enduring value of virtue and ends with a couplet that returns to antithetical structure and the metaphor of cattle. a town is founded for the man who is loved. Patience is a man's monument. Quietness is excellent, [calmness] is good. The man who foresees what will come [has never been thwarted]; the man with powerful authority prevails. The merciful—the cow bears for him; the bad herdsman—his herd is small.

14 Fight for men in every respect!26 The opening of the stanza echoes 6.1, where the audience was urged to fight for the king: the official has responsibilities to society both above and below him. This injunction is justified by the next verse, in which men are good, just as the shepherd seems excellent and is beneficial to god; the metaphorical aspect of the cattle motif (11.3–6 and nn. 21, 22) is made explicit here. Men are a benefit in both life and death, present and future. This final stanza moves into the next world, with reference to society, just as the final stanza of the first half did, with reference to the king (7.1–5). They are a flock, good for their lord. Evidently by them alone one lives;27 The teacher now turns to another group of underlings—funerary servants. The survival of a man after burial depends on the maintenance of his funerary cult, which requires the continuing goodwill or obedience of his priests and his children. The teacher affirms that virtue transcends family bonds, a sentiment which suits the wide perspective of the teaching, but which is striking in a teaching addressed to children. The heir—a representative of social continuity—was ideally the son, but here he is instead a loyal servant. they are good also when joining the earth. You should look to [your … who …]! You should watch over your funerary priests: the son is disloyal, but the priest remains! It is a kind man who is named “heir”. Lay the noble dead to rest; make invocations in their name;28 Reciprocity functions not just within society, but through time—from generation to generation, as well as between the worlds of the living and the dead. The beneficiary is a dead man for whom a funerary cult is performed. A final quatrain begins with injunctions and ends with generalizing statements on the mutual benefits of virtue and reciprocity. The style matches the content, since these phrases are also found in tomb inscriptions. [honour] the blessed dead; bring food-offer[ings]! [This is better for] the doer than for the man for whom it is done— the beneficiary protects the man who is still on earth.’

So it ends, from start to finish, as found in writing.

Notes:

1. The teacher is introduced by a series of high-ranking titles (see The Tale of Sinuhe, n. 1). God's Father, whom the God loves is a priestly title. The next two epithets with were often applied to viziers. The Sem-priest acted in rituals as the son of the god; he was associated with the rites of clothing the god and the king, hence the title referring to the ritual Kilt. The titles suggest that the teacher was a vizier, holder of the highest office in society after the king. His name, however, is lost. One possible, if unlikely, candidate is the historical vizier of Senwosret I, Montuhotep.

2. A rhetorical introduction proclaims the Teaching's importance and its eternal concerns. The verses envisage an easy progression from speech to obedience, and hence to a wisdom through which eternal principles are embodied in daily life, enabling the pupil to enter blessedness as one of the dead.

3. The first stanza of the Teaching proper opens with injunctions to praise the king. The first half of the Teaching advocates loyalty to the king, since this will guarantee success and ensure that virtue is rewarded. The loyal relationship ranges from the very intimate and personal to the cosmic.

4. Having urged homage, the stanza continues to eulogize the king as a personal force, who is all-knowing, and whose Perception penetrates every heart. Perception is a divine power used in creation by the Sungod: this divine aspect is developed in the following verses. The assimilation with the Sungod takes up the earlier allusion to day (2.3); the complementary evocation of shade is an image of royal protection, the reward for virtue. The sequence of sentences beginning ‘He is …’ is characteristic of eulogies; the identifications with gods express the various aspects of the king's power; although the king was in many senses divine, they are metaphorical.

5. From describing the king's power as a personal force, the stanza progresses to images of his power as universal and cosmic, embracing the whole of Egypt (the Two Lands).

6. This stanza continues the imagery of the fiery sun, and develops the theme of royal fearsomeness. The two sides of kingship—love and ferocity—are juxtaposed throughout the subsequent stanzas.

7. The Nileflood and the Sungod are often associated as the two forces controlling life (the association is expressed by repetition of Two Lands from 2.10). Both are potentially dangerous forces, but here the sage gives assurance of their revitalizing force. Noses are blocked in the dusty dry season when the Nileflood was absent (according to a contemporaneous hymn to the Nile). The imagery presents a sequence of light, water, and air, basic life forces which the king can give and withhold.

8. The assimilation to the Nile colours the rest of the stanza, which describes the king, like the Nileflood, as supplying provisions. The stanza moves from principles of royal power to its realization in deeds, described in antithetical verses. The final couplet provides a summary.

9. This poorly preserved stanza continues the balanced descriptions of the king's life-or-death power over his subjects, expressing this as physical might. At the end of the stanza his power is broadened to include the otherworld: his enemies are not only slaughtered, but are deprived of a burial on land that would ensure otherworldly survival; this resumes the imagery of water (3.3–4), which can give life or death.

10. A final stanza of royal eulogy extols the king as the quasi-divine benefactor of mankind. The opening verse takes the motif of provisions (3.7–9) onto a more elevated level, that of creation: Sustenance has a spiritual edge, and Plenty is homonymous with ‘Utterance’—one of the powers of creation. These powers recall the earlier mention of another, less material, creative power, Perception (2.5 and n. 4). The teacher now turns to the king's relationship with his divine superiors, as opposed to his mortal inferiors. He is the linchpin of society, conceived in the grandest terms, both temporal and hierarchical. The gods legitimize his actions against his enemies.

11. The king at his most divine (in the palace) is again assimilated with the gods; as the heir of the ancient gods he is the present people's god. Atum is the All-lord creator, who created people's bodies (joining necks). Each divine assimilation is followed by a verse on the results for humanity. Khnum is another fashioner of men's bodies: the king creates individuals, and is literally the father of his country. Bastet and Sekhmet are complementary feline goddesses, cat and lion, who can be aspects of the same deity: one is protective, the other aggressive and destructive. The two aspects of the king are manifest in his treatment of the two types of underling, loyal and disloyal.

12. After the implicit advice in the preceding three stanzas, this stanza returns to explicitly didactic verses, and prescribes appropriate behaviour towards the king. The first half urges loyalism (fight echoes 4.1 and looks forward to 14.1): oaths were taken on the king's name. The second verse implies that the king is inclined to generosity, and is frustrated only by mankind's rebelliousness. Dual expressions suggest the totality of royal power: the Red-king is the king who wears the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, while the White Crown represents Upper Egypt. The Double Crown symbolizes the unity of the state under single rule: the king is presented in his essential regalia.

13. The second half of the stanza describes the enduring personal rewards of virtue in two couplets.

14. In this stanza, the sage moves to discuss prosperity in the future life, which is also dependent on the king: a full state burial was literally in his giving. A triplet on funerary preparations employs phrases from mortuary inscriptions referring to the tomb (earth, place, cavern). A formulaic wish follows for social continuity in offices held in the family, and a final couplet implies that such success will result from obeying the Teaching. The Teaching is itself a means of social continuity—a theme developed in the next stanza.

15. The advice to speak to your children recalls the context of the Teaching. The injunction at the end of the previous stanza (7.7) is developed: obedience involves passing the Teaching (the speech) on to the next generation. Wisdom ensures and comprises social continuity, from the primeval rule of the gods to mankind's descendants. The following verses give three reasons for obeying the teacher's advice: its antiquity, the personal authority of the teacher, and the resulting success. The stanza ends with a rhetorical question, that is answered in the second half of the Teaching.

16. This injunction sounds like the conclusion of the Teaching, with its reference to landfall, which is both success in this life and burial. The teacher, however, now turns to people who are socially inferior, rather than superior, to his audience, and the pronoun referring to the audience is now singular (an individual official in charge of his servants) rather than plural (a group of officials collectively exhorted to loyalism). Another method is a phrase found in medical texts: wisdom is the remedy for society's ills. This subtitle introduces the second half.

17. A grandiloquent verse states that the created world owes its existence to workers. The following verse explains this statement, and a third summarizes the élite's dependence on workers in pragmatic terms.

18. A more elaborate stanza develops the notion of society's dependence on lowly professions with an increased use of metaphor. In the first triplet, the way in which they sustain a household is considered. The sound of them represents their presence, and the image gives their support a miraculous aspect—their voices are enough to restore and revive a ruined house.

19. Being able to sleep is a sign of security and prosperity: the antithesis of a man with many servants is the solitary man who isolates himself from society. He is antisocial like the lion (a solitary and proverbially unsleeping animal), and will not thrive on social tasks, or reap their rewards.

20. From the animal imagery of the preceding verse, another triplet develops the image of mankind as a herd that needs a shepherd (i.e. a leader, king, or god): the herd outside its shelter is prey to animals such as the lion. In the description of a doomed animal, society is presented as a man-made shelter (walled enclosure and well). The stanza ends on a starkly negative note.

21. This stanza describes a man's need for peasants to tend his land, but it also affirms metaphorically that care is needed for society to flourish, just as one must prepare for the annual Nileflood and plough fields to gain from the harvest. The opening mention of the Nile continues the imagery previously used to extol the king (3.3–4 and n. 7). The imagery of cattle presents the need for order to be imposed from above on creatures (including mankind). Read literally, the verses deal with the officials’ need of peasant shepherds to tend their cattle, while metaphorically they allude to mankind's need for a ruler; this double reference expresses the inseparable nature of all living beings. The happy flock is in sharp contrast with the situation portrayed at the end of the preceding stanza (10.7–9).

22. The second half of the stanza demonstrates the practical value of social solidarity in the worth of labourers. The professions are literally the peasant shepherds, who are servants to be valued, but metaphorically they are the official and his king who control society. Care for society and the principle of reciprocity are expounded in pragmatic terms; the problem of people becoming vagabonds in order to flee labour duty is well attested in contemporaneous documents.

23. This stanza describes the results of being just or unjust to one's inferiors. The first couplet evokes a wide range of reference from taxes to God. In a following quatrain on the consequences of injustice, the imagery alludes to the idea that Justice and Truth are the only true means of life; all other wealth is transient, and time brings retribution on the unjust.

24. A second quatrain, structured antithetically, demonstrates the various qualities that the official must possess and shun. Selflessness and justice towards servants are associated with success for one's heirs. The final verse reformulates the second verse of the stanza (12.2) in negative terms: the opinion of society is in perfect accord with that of god. The stanza starts at an abstract level in God's eyes, moves though future survival (children and heirs), and ends with the general attitude of society (in all eyes).

25. This symmetrically structured stanza, which begins and ends on evil, continues to develop the subject of the preceding one on a wider social scale, to affirm that evil is self-destructive. The mound is a settlement (towns were built on mounds to avoid the flood waters of the Nile). The stanza centres around a quatrain on the enduring value of virtue and ends with a couplet that returns to antithetical structure and the metaphor of cattle.

26. The opening of the stanza echoes 6.1, where the audience was urged to fight for the king: the official has responsibilities to society both above and below him. This injunction is justified by the next verse, in which men are good, just as the shepherd seems excellent and is beneficial to god; the metaphorical aspect of the cattle motif (11.3–6 and nn. 21, 22) is made explicit here. Men are a benefit in both life and death, present and future. This final stanza moves into the next world, with reference to society, just as the final stanza of the first half did, with reference to the king (7.1–5).

27. The teacher now turns to another group of underlings—funerary servants. The survival of a man after burial depends on the maintenance of his funerary cult, which requires the continuing goodwill or obedience of his priests and his children. The teacher affirms that virtue transcends family bonds, a sentiment which suits the wide perspective of the teaching, but which is striking in a teaching addressed to children. The heir—a representative of social continuity—was ideally the son, but here he is instead a loyal servant.

28. Reciprocity functions not just within society, but through time—from generation to generation, as well as between the worlds of the living and the dead. The beneficiary is a dead man for whom a funerary cult is performed. A final quatrain begins with injunctions and ends with generalizing statements on the mutual benefits of virtue and reciprocity. The style matches the content, since these phrases are also found in tomb inscriptions.

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