“Instructions of Ptahhotep”

(ca. 2200 BCE)

Document Text

Instruction of the Mayor of the city, the Vizier Ptahhotep, under the Majesty of King Isesi, who lives for all eternity. The mayor of the city, the vizier Ptahhotep, said:

O king, my lord!

Age is here, old age arrived,

Feebleness came, weakness grows,

“Childlike” one sleeps all day.

Eyes are dim, ears deaf,

Strength is waning through weariness,

The mouth, silenced, speaks not,

The heart, void, recalls not the past,

The bones ache throughout.

Good has become evil, all taste is gone,

What age does to people is evil in everything.

The nose, clogged, breathes not,

“Painful” are standing and...

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Pyramid tombs of Giza (Library of Congress)

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