The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Job
And now? Now I am a laughing-stock, even to younger men; a flock of such base breed as theirs sheep-dog of mine never tended!
So profitless their puny strength, I would have let them die before ever they came to maturity.✻
Starveling creatures, they should browse in the waste, unkempt, haggard and woe-begone,
cropping mallow and tree-bark and juniper-root for their diet,
and making great hue and cry after such dainties, as they pluck them from the hill-slopes!
Barren ravine and cave and rock their dwelling-place,
they were glad of so much shelter; a bramble thicket should be their welcome refuge.
A senseless and a nameless breed, earth is well rid of them.
O that I should be a song and a by-word on such lips as these!
That they loathe and shun me, and make bold to spit in my face, being what they are!
Now God has made me a mark for his archery, now he has put a bit in my mouth;
when my fair spring was overcast by calamity,✻ every passer-by might throw me down; like a flood they swept over me,
trampled down my path, took me unawares and overcame me, when there was none to bring rescue.
One breach made, one gate forced, they might fall upon me all at once, and add their weight to my misery.
All that I was, is gone, the ambition, the happiness that was mine swept away like clouds before the storm;
my heart is dead within me, a prey to long despairs.
By night, anguish racks my frame; sleepless the cares that consume me,
their poison✻ seems to eat away the very garments I wear, clings fast about me like the collar of my coat.
No better I than mud in the streets, little thought of as dust or ashes;
unheard I cry to thee, unregarded I stand in thy presence;
so hardened is thy heart, so pitilessly thy blows fall upon me.
Didst thou exalt me, lift me so high in air, only to hurl me down in ruin?
I know well enough that thou wilt bring me to the grave at last; it is the home thou hast appointed for all living men;
but surely thou dost not exert thy power only to destroy, surely thou hast mercy on the fallen?
I myself know what it is to pity the afflicted, to shed tears over human need!
But no, hope I for better things, I hope in vain; ever deeper the darkness shews to eyes straining for the light.
Still my heart is in turmoil, greeted still by fresh despairs;
I go mourning, my face blacker than ever the sun’s heat made it, rise up in public, and claim audience for my wrongs;
crying so dismally as if I had jackals✻ for my brothers, ostriches for my company.
And all the while, fever to discolour this flesh, to shrivel this frame!
What wonder if all, with me, is mourning and lament, if the music of harp and flute is heard no more?
The Holy Bible