The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
See, where a king rules his folk justly! His nobles, too, make right award;✻
to them men look, as for shelter against the wind, cover in a storm; for running streams in drought, shade of towering rock in a parched land.
Eyes they will have to see with, no darkness there; ears that are strained to listen attentively;
rude minds shall learn wise thoughts, the stammering tongue speak out readily and clear.
Noble rank shall no longer be for the reckless, or lordly titles for the crafty.
The reckless man, that speaks ever recklessly, his heart set on mischief, still full of empty show, and blasphemy against the Lord; food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty denying still!
And the crafty man, an ill craft is his, false pleas devising to ruin harmless folk, cheat the poor of their rights!
From a noble nature spring noble acts; title is none to greatness higher than this.
Bestir you, fine ladies, and listen; for ears untroubled by alarm I have a message.
Swiftly the days pass, the year goes round, and you shall have trouble enough, anxious foreboding, when the vintage fails, and no fruit-harvest comes.
Bewildered, the minds that were once at ease, full of foreboding, those untroubled hearts; you must go stripped and shame-faced now, with sackcloth about your loins,
mourn for lost fruitfulness, for the fields once so smiling, for the vineyards that bore so well.
That thorns and briers should come up in these lands of yours; come up over haunts you loved, in the city that was all mirth!
Empty, now, the palace, forgotten the hum of yonder streets; nothing but gloom, where a man must pick his way through caverns✻ endlessly; loved haunts of the wild ass, a pasture-ground for the flock.
All this, until the spirit is poured out on us from above; fruitful as Carmel then the wilderness, to make your well-tilled lands seem but waste.
Alike desert and fruitful field the home, now, of innocence,
the abode of loyalty; loyalty, that has peace for its crown, tranquillity for its harvest, repose for ever undisturbed.
In quiet homes this people of mine shall live, in dwelling-places that fear no attack; all shall be ease and plenty.
But first the hail-storm must do its work, forest be laid low, city levelled with the ground.
Ah, blessed race, their seed sowing, their oxen and asses driving, by every stream that flows!✻
The Holy Bible