God of the righteous and the unrighteous,
man’s company has devastated me.
Not once has he rebelled against my rule;
he has closed his eyes to himself, and has not found himself. 2510
His dust is a stranger to the joy of disobedience,
a stranger to the spark of pride.
The prey says to the huntsman, ‘Seize me’:
save me from the all too obedient servant!
Set me free from such a quarry; 2515
remember my obedience of yesterday.
My lofty aspiration through him has been abased;
alas for me, alas for me, alas for me!
His nature is raw, his resolution weak,
this opponent cannot withstand one blow from me. 2520
I need a servant of God possessed of vision,
I need a riper adversary!
Take back this plaything of water and clay:
a child’s toy suits not a man of a certain age.
What is man? A handful of straw; 2525
one spark from me is enough for a handful of straw.
If nothing but straw existed in this world,
what profited it to endow me with so much fire?
It were a shame to melt a piece of glass;
to melt a rock-that is a proper task! 2530
I have become so saddened by all my triumphs
that now I come to You for recompense;
I seek from You one who dares to deny me—
guide me, to such a man of God.
I need a man who will twist my neck, 2535
whose glance will set my body quivering,
one who will say, ‘Depart from my presence’,
one in whose eyes I am not worth two barleycorns.
Grant me, O God, one living man of faith;
haply I shall know delight at last in defeat. 2540