The Forty-Third Chapter of Job

By George Sterling

1.    Moreover, the Lord made question of Job, and
asked,
2.    To what end dost thou search Me, seeing that
My wisdom is not as thine?
3.    Shalt thou question My ways, or have dreams
concerning My justice?  Am not I the Lord?
4.    Who hath strange laughter, Whose judgments
are not as those of the elders;
5.    Who leadeth the lamb from the den of the she-
wolf, and armies to the quicksand;
6.    Who slayest the prince in his youth, and rulers
at their marriage-feast, but maketh the slave
to grow old in his bondage;
7.    Whose rains go forth on bitter waters, tho the
land thirsteth; Who delivereth thee from the
javelin thou beholdest not;
8.    Who maketh the king in his secret place and him
that the vultures did devour to sleep the same
sleep;
9.    Who confoundeth the sea, but leadeth the ant
to her desire.
10.    Have not I sharpened the beak of the kite
against the day of thy hope; the raven's beak
against the eyes of thy young men?
11.    I shall bar thee from thy joy with a thread of
gossamer; I shall bind thy sin to thy children's
children with ropes of adamant.
12.    The rock is a bolt for My treasure-house. Thou
knockest in vain upon the doors thereof.
13.    Who art thou that eternity should hold parley
with thee, or the pits of the sky be thy fortress?
14.    Thou abidest in My sight as the smoke of a
sacrifice, or as the grey moth in the conspection
Of the stars.
15.    What hast thou if thou hast not Me? Thou
takest to thee strange wine, and the kiss of the
asp that it comfort thee.
16.    Awake, let it be always day with thee! Know
that I am the Lord.
17.    Who ordaineth His truth as the mountains, and
the dust as stars that conceive;
18.    Who  teacheth fear with an arrow, and bitter
Wisdom to thy young men of war;
19.    Who boundeth pain by peace, and setteth a
term unto love;
20.    Who hath no truce with the day, and slayeth
the dark with the sword of mighty mornings;
21.    Who buildeth the house of life with colored
Beams, and a house of death without a door;
22.    Who hath set harps in hell, and given pure
gold for the winding sheet of kings;
23.    By Whose breath are the Signs shaken; as a
swarm of gnats are they troubled by the wind
of His passing;    
24.    Who yoketh stars to His harrow, and the whirl-
wind to drag his plough on great waters.
25.    Take counsel of Me; behold what shapes I have
set as My servants.
26.    The sun is a coal of My hearth, the moon an
ember that I have quenched;
27.    Shall not I make her a desolation, and a rock
where devils worship?
28.    Shall not My gulfs conceive, and Mine angels
whet their scythes against the day of My reaping?
29.     Be thou abased, for they are yet unborn that
shall lay thee out; the worm is unhatched that
shall consume thee.
30.     Wilt thou hold forth to Me thy heart in thy
hand; or turn for Me its leaves that thou hast
writ?
31.    Thy wisdom profiteth thee nothing, neither the
guards within thy citadels.
32.    Shall I consider for long the mighty, or the
habitations of the strong?
33.     Behold! blood shall be in their courts for wine,
and the moaning of their concubines for the
voice of the viol.
34.    I shall break their temples as a shard; their
high pillars shall be snapt as a bow-string.
35.    My tempests shall neigh in the walled cities;
My grass shall lifted up her sword against them;
36.    The toad shall be judge there; the jackal shall
collect the tax;
37.    The owl shall feed her young on their altars;
the dung of lions shall be thereon for a testi-
mony
38.    Wert thou upon the flint when I confirmed it,
or upon the granite when I laid its sheets?
39.    The thunder, was it thou that didst call? Was
the rain the tears of they bringing-forth?
40.    Be thou bowed down, nor question the pains
that I have set over thee: for each thing have
I ordained its shadow.
41.    My thoughts are from eternity; I change not
by reason of thy dismay. Thou shalt know
Me for the Lord.
42.     Who setteth Capella and Achernar to be gods
for a term, and a guide upon the deep to strange
peoples;
43.    Who maketh Altair and Rigel the captains of
His host; Who leaneth His spear upon Sirius
ere the trumpets call;
44.    Who holdeth Vega His armor-bearer, and hang-
eth his bucker upon Aldebaran;
45.    Who hath convoked their chariots against the
lamps of Evil, and their swords against the
abyss.
46.    Who healeth the day with night, and thy heart's
wound with the hands of little children;
47.    Even they that seek the breast in the darkness,
hushing the voices that were aforetime.
48.    The wind cometh, the dust is troubled for a
season, but hath rest when the wind departeth.

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