The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Job
Not thine to know when the wild goats give birth on their high crags, to watch the hinds in their throes;
count the months while they carry their young, and know the time of their delivery.
Without thy aid they travail; born of those pangs,
the calves are soon weaned, and make for the pastures, go out to return no more.
Who gives the wild ass untrammelled liberty
to roam the wilderness, and make the salt plains his dwelling-place;
to spurn the din of cities, no driver crying after him,
and look about him at the slopes where he feeds, all that green world his pasturage?
Canst thou tame the wild ox✻ to thy service, feed him at thy stall,
bind him to the plough with thongs and lead him out to break clods in the valley?
Wouldst thou trust that great strength of his to do thy work for thee,
bring in thy harvest and fill thy threshing-floor?
Here is the ostrich, of one feather with heron and hawk,
yet she will leave her eggs on the bare earth; and canst thou give warmth to the dust to hatch them?✻
Heedless, though foot of man should trample or wild beast devour them,
she steels herself to pity as if the brood was none of hers; throws away all her hopes in causeless alarm.
God’s will it was to deny her sense; wisdom she might have none,
though she were swift, at need, to hoist her wings aloft, mocking the pains of horse and rider.
Ay, and what of the horse? Is it of thy gift his great strength comes, was it thou didst caparison with him terrors?✻
Thou wilt not scare him away like a locust; fiercely he breathes,
deeply he paws the ground, bravely he prances, as he goes out to meet the shock of battle.
Fear cannot daunt him, nor the sword drive him back;
clang quiver, let shield and spear dazzle as they may,
he swallows up the intervening distance, all heat and rage. Little recks he of the trumpet’s blast;
echoes exultantly the bugle’s note, while he scents from afar the combat, hears the shouting of captains, and the din of armies.
Is it of thy devising the hawk grows full-fledged, in time to spread her wings for the southward journey?
Is it at thy bidding the eagle soars, to make her eyrie in the heights,
cave and crag and inaccessible rock her familiar home,
whence her far-seeing eyes look round, searching for prey?
Blood-thirsty her brood, and where the carcase waits, waits she.
All this the Lord said to Job, and added besides,
What is this? One that would match himself with God, so easily put down! Nay, God thou didst challenge, God thou must refute.
And thus Job made the Lord answer:
So vain a pleader, I have no suit to make; finger on lip I will listen.
Once and again I have spoken the word I would fain unsay; more I dare not.✻
The Holy Bible