Beckett: Poetry – No. 2212, No Rest for the Wicked

Based on Psalm 55.


Let Your ear receive my prayer;
do not hide from my despair.
     It is Your mercy I implore.
Please answer me with Your care.

For the enemy is vociferous
and their schemes are vigorous.
     For all they conceive is trouble,
and they rage with indifference.

Thus, my heart is in anguish,
for me they wish to vanquish.
     I fear the future of Your people;
this is why I languish.

Sometimes I wish I could fly away
to find rest in this factious day.
     But there is no rest for the wicked;
therefore, I continue to say:

Destroy, O Lord, their divisive tongues,
for everywhere violence has sprung!
     They go about it day and night;
they do not depart from sinful dung.

Oftentimes it is not an enemy
who loves to slander me,
     but one I thought a friend
who maligns with impunity.

Release Death from its delay,
for it is You they betray.
     For evil is their livelihood, —
their god to which they give way.

As for me, I give way to You,
for Your salvation shall come through.
     Every day I lift my prayers;
You never leave them overdue.

You have come with redemption
in my battle’s contention.
     I may be surrounded,
but my soul You always strengthen.

My prayer Your ear shall hear;
their pride will not persevere,
     for they laugh at repentance
and possess no godly fear.

My friends betray a confidence
and thus violate our covenant
     to help retain the other’s good,
yet they prefer wickedness.

They spoke words of loyalty,
yet sedition was their faculty.
     They spoke words of peace
to hide their vile cruelty.

Cast this burden on the Lord
and He will defend you with His sword, —
     He will sustain you in His Word,
for the righteous don’t go ignored.

He will cast them all into the pit
dug for every demonic convict.
     Wicked people shorten their lives,
digging their graves in Hell’s crypt.

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