The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Job
So frail man’s life, woman-born, so full of trouble,
brief as a flower that blooms and withers, fugitive as a shadow, changing all the while;
and is he worth that watchfulness of thine, must thou needs call him to account?
(Who can cleanse what is born of tainted stock, save thou alone, who alone hast being?✻ )
Brief, brief are man’s days; thou keepest count of the months left to him, thou dost appoint for him the bound he may not pass.
And wilt thou not leave him undisturbed for a little, till the welcome day comes when drudgery is at an end?
Were he but as the trees are! A tree has hope to live by: pollarded, it still grows green, and fresh branches spring from it.
Root and stock old and withered, down in the dusty earth,
but at the breath of water it revives, and the leaves come, as they came when it first was planted.
For us mortal men, death; a stripping, and a breathing out of the soul, and all is over.
Where is the sea, when its waters dry up, the river when its bed is empty?
So man falls asleep, never to rise again while heaven endures; from that sleep there is no waking, there is no rousing him.
Ah, if the grave were only a place of shelter, where thou wouldst hide me away until thy anger was spent, with a time appointed when thou wouldst bethink thyself of me again!✻
Ah, if the dead might live again! Then I could wait willingly enough, all the time of my campaigning, till I were relieved at my post;
thou wouldst summon me at last, and I would answer thy summons, thy creature, safe in thy loving hand!✻
So jealous a record thou keepest of every step I take, and hast thou never a blind eye for my faults?
Instead, must thou seal up every wrong-doing of mine, as in a casket; embalm the memory of my transgressions?✻
Nay there is no help for it; mountain-side or cliff that begins to crumble scales away and vanishes at last,
water hollows into the hard rock, and floods wear away the firm ground at last, and thou hast made no less inevitable man’s doom.
His brief mastery thou takest away for ever; the lively hue changes, and he is gone.
His children rise to honour, sink to shame, and he none the wiser;
nothing man feels save the pains that rack him in life, the griefs that fret his soul.✻
The Holy Bible