Conceal that heaven of yours,
Zeus, behind a veil of cloud,
And keep practising,
Like a boy beheading thistles,
On oaks and mountain tops.
But my world
You must let be,
And my hut, which you did not build,
And my hearth
Whose glow
You envy me.

I know nothing under the sun
More impoverished than you gods.
You grub scant nourishment
From the tax of ritual offerings
And from the breath of prayer
To sustain your majesty.
You would perish
Were children and beggars
Not hope-filled fools.

When I was a child
And did not know my way about,
I turned my errant gaze
Up to the sun, as if
Beyond, there were an ear
To hear my lament,
A heart like mine
To pity the oppressed.

Who helped me
Counter the Titans’ arrogance?
Who saved me from death?
From slavery?
Was the achievement not all yours,
My blessed, glowing heart?
Yet ardently, young and pure,
But deceived,
Did you not give thanks for your deliverance
To him, sleeping up there?

I, honour you? For what?
Have you ever eased the pain
Of one afflicted?
Or relieved the tears
Of one full of fear?

Was I not wrought a man
By all-powerful time
And eternal fate,
The masters of both me and you?

Did you somehow imagine
That I would hate life,
Would run off into the wilderness,
Just because a youth’s blossoming
Dreams did not come to fruition?

I sit here and fashion men
In my image,
A race which shall be like me,
Who will suffer, weep,
Know joy and pleasure,
And who will ignore you,
As do I.