1And now I am the laughing-stock of people who are younger than I am and whose parents I wouldhave disdained to put with the dogs guarding my flock. 2And what use to me was the strength of their hands? - enfeebled as they were, 3worn out by want and hunger, for they used to gnaw the roots of the thirsty ground -- that place ofgloom, ruin and desolation- 4they used to pick saltwort among the scrub, making their meals off roots of broom. 5Outlawed from human company, which raised hue and cry against them, as against thieves, 6they made their homes in the sides of ravines, in holes in the earth or in clefts of rock. 7You could hear them braying from the bushes as they huddled together in the thistles. 8Children of scoundrels, worse, nameless people, the very outcasts of society! 9And these are the ones who now make up songs about me and use me as a byword! 10Fil ed with disgust, they keep their distance, on seeing me, they spit without restraint. 11And since God has loosened my bow-string and afflicted me, they too throw off the bridle in mypresence. 12Their brats surge forward on my right, to see when I am having a little peace, and advance on mewith threatening strides. 13They cut off all means of escape seizing the chance to destroy me, and no one stops them. 14They move in, as if through a wide breach, and I go tumbling beneath the rubble. 15Terror rounds on me, my confidence is dispersed as though by the wind, my hope of safety vanisheslike a cloud. 16And now the life in me trickles away, days of grief have gripped me. 17At night-time sickness saps my bones I am gnawed by wounds that never sleep. 18Violently, he has caught me by my clothes, has gripped me by the col ar of my coat. 19He has thrown me into the mud; I am no more than dust and ashes. 20I cry to you, and you give me no answer; I stand before you, but you take no notice. 21You have grown cruel to me, and your strong hand torments me unmerciful y. 22You carry me away astride the wind and blow me to pieces in a tempest. 23Yes, I know that you are taking me towards death, to the common meeting-place of al the living. 24Yet have I ever laid a hand on the poor when they cried out for justice in calamity? 25Have I not wept for those whose life is hard, felt pity for the penniless? 26I hoped for happiness, but sorrow came; I looked for light, but there was darkness. 27My stomach seethes, is never stil , days of suffering have struck me. 28Sombre I go, yet no one comforts me, and if I rise in the council, I rise to weep. 29I have become brother to the jackal and companion to the ostrich. 30My skin has turned black on me, my bones are burnt with fever. 31My harp is tuned to dirges, my pipe to the voice of mourners.
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