1. Do you know when mountain goats give birth? Have you ever watched deer in labour?
2. Have you ever counted the months that they carry their young? Do you know when they give birth?
3. They crouch to drop their young, they get rid of their burdens
4. and the calves, having grown big and strong, go off into the desert and never come back to them.
5. Who has given the wild donkey his freedom, who has undone the harness of the brayer?
6. I have given him the wastelands as his home, the salt plain as his habitat.
7. He scorns the turmoil of the town, obeys no donkey-man's shouts.
8. The mountains are the pastures that he ranges in quest of anything green.
9. Is the wild ox willing to serve you or spend a night beside your manger?
10. If you tie a rope round his neck will he harrow the furrows for you?
11. Can you rely on his massive strength and leave him to do your heavy work?
12. Can you depend on him to come home and pile your grain on your threshing-floor?
13. Can the wing of the ostrich be compared with the plumage of stork or falcon?
14. She leaves her eggs on the ground with only earth to warm them;
15. forgetting that a foot may tread on them or a wild animal crush them.
16. Cruel to her chicks as if they were not hers, little she cares if her labour goes for nothing.
17. God, you see, has deprived her of wisdom and given her no share of intelligence.
18. Yet, if she bestirs herself to use her height, she can make fools of horse and rider too.
19. Are you the one who makes the horse so brave and covers his neck with flowing mane?
20. Do you make him leap like a grasshopper? His haughty neighing inspires terror.
21. Exultantly he paws the soil of the valley, and charges the battle-line in all his strength.
22. He laughs at fear; he is afraid of nothing, he recoils before no sword.
23. On his back the quiver rattles, the flashing spear and javelin.
24. Trembling with impatience, he eats up the miles; when the trumpet sounds, there is no holding him.
25. At each trumpet blast he neighs exultantly. He scents the battle from afar, the thundering of the commanders and the war cry.
26. Is it your wisdom that sets the hawk flying when he spreads his wings to travel south?
27. Does the eagle soar at your command to make her eyrie in the heights?
28. She spends her nights among the crags with a needle of rock as her fortress,
29. from which she watches for prey, fixing it with her far-ranging eye.
30. Even her young drink blood; where anyone has been killed, she is there.