The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremias
Chapter 4
1 2 3 4 5
All dim, now, and discoloured, the gold that once shone so fair! Heaped up at every street-corner lie hallowed stones.

Bright they shone once in all their renown, the men of Sion, and now what are they? Little regarded as common earthenware, of the potter’s fashioning.

Cub of jackal is fed at its dam’s breast; and has my people grown unnatural towards its own children, like some ostrich in the desert?

Dry throat and parching tongue for babe at the breast; children asking for bread, and never a crust to share with them!

Ever they fared daintily, that now lie starved in the streets; ever went richly arrayed, and now their fingers clutch at the dung-hill.

Faithless Juda! Heavier punishment she must needs undergo than guilty Sodom, that perished all in a moment, and never a blow struck.

Gone, the fair bloom of princely cheeks, snowy-pure, cream-white, red as tinted ivory, and all sapphire-clear;

Here is no recognizing them, out in the streets, coal-black, skin clinging to bones, dry as wood!

It were better to have fallen at the sword’s point than yield thus to the stab of hunger, wasted away through famine.

Juda brought low, and mother-love forgotten; that women should eat their own children, cooked with their own hands!

Kindled at last is the Lord’s anger; rains down from heaven the storm of his vengeance, lighting a flame that burns Sion to the ground.

Little dreamed they, king and common folk the world over, that any assault of the foe should storm Jerusalem gates;

Malice and lawlessness it was of priest and prophet, whereby innocent men came to their deaths, that brought such punishment.

Now, as they walk blindly through the streets, they are defiled with blood; no help for it, gather their skirts about them as they may;

Out of my way! cries one to another; Back, pollution, do not touch me! The very Gentiles protest in alarm, Here is no place for them!

Protection the Lord gives them no longer, they are dispersed under his frown; the priesthood no honour claims, old age no pity.

Quenched is the hope our eyes strained for, while hope was left us; looking for help so eagerly to a nation that had none to give!

Refuge for us in the treacherous highways is none; we are near the end; all is over, this is the end;

Swifter than flight of eagles the pursuit; even on the mountains they give chase, even in the desert take us by surprise.

Through our fault he who is breath of life to us, our anointed king, is led away captive; under his shadow we hoped our race should thrive.

Until thy turn comes, shout on, Edom, triumph on, land of Hus; the same cup thou too shalt drink, and be drunken, and stripped bare.

Vengeful audit-day! Sion’s account closed, recovered her fortunes; Edom called to account, discovered her guilt!