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Futility Poem Language Analysis Essays

A brief introduction to the poem ‘Futility’ by war poet Wilfred Owen, and an analysis of its language

‘Futility’ was one of just five poems by Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) that were published before his death, aged 25, on 4 November 1918. Like all of his best-known work it’s a war poem, a brief lyric that focuses on a group of soldiers standing over the dead body of a fallen comrade. Below is Owen’s ‘Futility’ followed by a brief analysis of some of its linguistic features and its imagery.

Move him into the sun –
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds, –
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved – still warm – too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
– O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

The poem uses one of Owen’s favourite techniques, that of pararhyme or half-rhyme (sun/unsown, once/France, seeds/sides, star/stir) alongside full rhyme (snow/know, tall/all). But the two kinds of rhyme – one perfect and neat, the other denying us the sense of neatness or ‘closure’ provided by a full rhyme – meet in the rhyme at the end of the penultimate line of each stanza: that is to say, ‘now’ (‘If anything might rouse him now’) is a slight off-rhyme of snow/know, and ‘toil’ wants to rhyme with tall/all, but just misses. (Indeed, ‘at all’ in the last line even contains a ‘tall’ within it: ‘at all‘ – suggesting an inability to move beyond that paralysing final question. Similarly, in the first stanza, ‘sun’ rhymes – or half-rhymes – with ‘unsown’, but the sun threatens to reappear in ‘fields unsown’ – a fleeting and illusory reminder of the sunny days of yore when this soldier was ‘At home’ before the war.) This is worth mentioning because it points up Owen’s clever use of rhyme and pararhyme: from the beginning, there is something amiss in the scenario that is the subject of the poem.

This is revealed explicitly when we get to the second stanza, but the off-rhymes of the first stanza provide a hint of the dark thoughts and the sense of anger that dominate the second half of the speaker’s speech (if we can assume he is speaking the entire thing to his comrades – ‘Move him into the sun’). Although the speaker and his fellow soldiers seem to think that the ‘kind old sun’ will be able to revive their dead comrade, we readers know that this is hopeful optimism if not naivety on the part of the speaker. Sure enough, the first stanza features more purposeful and confident language: ‘Move him into the sun’, ‘Always it woke him’, ‘The kind old sun will know’. The second stanza begins in a similarly confident manner – with the imperative, ‘Think how it wakes the seeds’ – but this confident voice disappears in the ensuing lines, being replaced by the angry use of blunter questions. There is some reason to doubt whether they are meant to be rhetorical questions. If the speaker of the poem really does begin the poem believing that the sun will be able to rouse the dead man, it may be that the questions which appear in the second stanza are genuine, asked through disbelief and a growing disillusionment. (For what it’s worth, we think the dash at the start of the penultimate line of the second stanza marks the point at which the speaker goes from bewildered disbelief to out-and-out anger, and that this last question, at least, is a rhetorical one.)

A few words on the image of the sun might be worthwhile here. The second stanza starts with the speaker pointing out all of the seeming miracles the sun can perform: thanks to its power, seeds are transformed into flowers, and long ago, the sun even turned the ‘cold star’ that is Earth into the planet that it now is. ‘Was it for this the clay grew tall?’ picks up the idea in the Bible (specifically, the Book of Genesis) that the first man, Adam, was fashioned from clay which God took from the earth. Was the miracle of Creation all in vain – all, in a word, futile? (Hence the poem’s title, of course.) And going back further than this, why did the sun bother to wake the earth, to rouse it from its cold dead state so that life might flourish on the land, when man is doomed to die in a snowy field, as this soldier has?

The use of imagery is also very skilful. The ‘clays’ of Earth are echoed by the ‘clay’ that is mankind, pointing up the Bible’s link between man and the earth. Similarly, in that last line, the reference to ‘earth’s sleep’, as well as describing the dormant state of the earth before it warmed up and became habitable, also suggests the eternal ‘sleep’ of the dead soldier, once again connecting mankind and the earth.

‘Futility’ is not a difficult poem and its images and meaning are, on the whole, straightforward. Nevertheless, we hope this short analysis of the poem’s language, imagery, and themes has helped to bring out some of the subtler ideas in it. You can discover more of Owen’s poetry with our analysis of another of his great war poems, ‘Arms and the Boy’, and our discussion of his classic sonnet ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’.

If you found this analysis of Owen’s poem helpful, you might also like our short analysis of ‘The Windhover’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins and our piece on what makes ‘Adlestrop’ by Edward Thomas one of Britain’s best-loved poems. For more war poetry, check out our analysis of John McCrae’s classic poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.

Image: Wilfred Owen (author unknown: image taken from 1920 edition of Poems of Wilfred Owen), Wikimedia Commons.

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Futility - Language, tone and structure

Language in Futility

Plain language

The plain language of the poem adds to the poignancy of the subject matter: the death of a soldier and the theme of futility. Although it is not explicit, there is something about Owen’s diction that suggests that the dead soldier may be a young boy. Perhaps it is the way the command to move him is juxtaposed with the gentle touch of the sun. We imagine the order being given in that way too. Maybe it is the idea of him growing tall, as if this had only recently happened, that he was just grown up, that suggests he is not much more than a boy.

Positive diction

The words of the first stanza are positive, some even upbeat, full of hope: 

  • The ‘sun’ in line one is warm and life giving, waking the man to a new day. It is personified as ‘kind’ and, by implication, wise l.6-7
  • The adverb ‘gently’ of line two qualifies the ‘touch’ which ‘at home’ wakes him ‘whispering’ of ‘half sown fields’ and reinforcing the gentle kindness already established.
  • Owen’s use of ‘always’ in line four creates a comfortable sense of continuity and safety ‘even’ he tells us ‘in France’.
  • Hope is raised by the use of the word ‘rouse’ in line six. Owen is hoping the sun will be able to wake him. The use of the word ‘rouse’ is interesting because The Rouse is a bugle call used in the war and still to be heard at Remembrance Day ceremonies. On the Western front it would follow the call for Reveille which was the wake-up call. The Rouse was then used to get the men out of bed.
More on The Rouse and Remembrance...The Rouse is a bugle call commonly played following The Last Post at military services. It is often mistakenly referred to as ‘reveille’, a word from the French meaning ‘to awaken’. The Rouse was traditionally played after the Reveille bugle call.

Negative diction

In stanza two the diction changes after the initial line to be far more negative:

  • Moving from the idea of seeds in the earth, Owen uses the term ‘clays’ in line 8, a soil that is heavy, lumpen and hard to cultivate, as well as reminiscent of the sticky mud that characterised so many of the WWI battlefields
  • He refers to the earth in its earliest state of creation (according to the traditional biblical account in Genesis 1:9-10) as land that has not yet felt the light of the sun (Genesis 1:16) and is therefore ‘cold’
  • Referring to the world as a ‘star’, rather than as the planet it is, also adds to the feeling of distance and cool remoteness, of the lack of life. This is compounded by the description of the man’s limbs being in death ‘too hard to stir’ l.11 (a pararhyme of star)
  • Owen repeats ‘clay’ in line 12, this time in its biblical sense that God made man out of clay:

    Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

    Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8).

    yet all this creative activity is framed within a rhetorical question which highlights the pointlessness of the soldier’s fate
  • Owen’s final angry barb condemns the sun itself as ‘fatuous’ l.13, a word not dissimilar to the ‘futility’ of the poem’s title, as both mean useless / pointless. Each term has a soft ‘f’ followed by a hard ‘t’, allowing Owen’s anger to be almost spat out.

Sense of place 

Owen’s language in stanza one creates a strong sense of place in a few simple words. In the opening line we are immediately involved in the placing of the man’s body. He is moved ‘into the sun’ l.1, a place of life and light. At ‘home’ l.3 it woke him. Owen may be suggesting that he was a plough-man or plough-boy since the sun whispered of half-sown fields’ l.3, waking him and reminding that there was a job to be completed. The contrast with home is made by the phrase ‘even in France’ l.4. Owen is making a subtle comment about the difference between the rural England of the soldier’s home and the northern France (the Western front), where he really would rather not be.

Tone

Hopeful and optimistic

The opening of this poem is hopeful, optimistic even. This positive mood carries through to the last lines of the first stanza:

If anything can rouse him
The kind old sun will know

This hope spills over into the first line of the second stanza: ‘think how it wakes the seeds-’; but the dash brings with it a change of tone. 

Anger and despair

The sun which brings warmth and the promise of new life is now perceived as insufficient and helpless in the face of the destruction of humanity facing the speaker. Owen asks three angry rhetorical questions which also serve to emphasise the significance of individual human life. The young man’s body had been ‘tall’, ‘full-nerved’ and ‘warm’, a growth and development which had been costly but worth it (‘dear-achieved’ l.10). Yet this precious life has been wasted, not even in battle but by being left with insufficient protection from the cold. By the end of the poem, Owen’s tone reflects the title and the reader can only agree. 

Investigating language and tone in Futility

  • The tone of a poem is best tested by reading it aloud and listening to how expression helps with understanding. Read the poem out loud and emphasise the ‘f’ sound of ‘futility’ and ‘fatuous’. Put as much scorn in to your voice as you can to reflect Owen’s feelings about the death.
    • Now read the poem concentrating on the soft tone of the first stanza. Notice how you have to change your mood and expression between reading the first line of the second stanza and the second line.

Structure and versification in Futility

The two-stanza structure of Futility reflects the poem's change in tone, from hope and confidence to despair. The poem is written in a mixture of iambic and trochaictetrameter. The first and last lines of each stanza are trimeters, effectively opening and closing the scene. In lines one and eight Owen also opens with short imperative verbs, aimed first at his men and then at the reader, which have the effect of engaging us with the action.

The extra syllable of ‘whispering’ in line three, coupled with the sibilance of ‘fields unsown’ conveys the sense of sunlight and breeze rippling over open spaces, just as the ploughboy would have encountered at the start of a working day.

Versification

Rhyme

Owen uses the pararhymes to unite the poem but at the same time to create an unsettled feeling. Following an ab ab ccc rhyme-scheme, in the second stanza Owen links ‘seeds’ with ‘sides’, following through the metaphor of life growing from the nurture of creation. The negative coldness of ‘star’ prepares the reader for limbs that no longer ‘stir’, having been rendered inert. That the creation of life has taken effort (‘dear-achieved’) is emphasised by the linking of ‘tall’ and ‘toil’.

Both stanzas end with a true rhyme ‘snow/know’, ‘tall/all’ which pull the stanzas to a close with long vowel sounds. In particular the lingering drawn out ‘all’ leaves us to ponder the two final questions.

Rhythm

In Futility Owen often stresses the opening syllable of a line, which gives a positive energy to the lines, for example, ‘Move’ l.1, ‘Gently’ l.2, ‘Always’ l.4, ‘Think’ l.8. Only in line 12 does this emphasis become a strongly negative question: ‘Was it..’.

Sometimes this becomes a double stress (spondee) to give weight to particular phrases. In l.9 we slow down over ‘Woke, once’ and in l.11 Owen puts three spondees in a row to make the reader think and question: ‘full-nerved, --still warm, --too hard’. 

Investigating structure and versification in Futility

  • The regular stanza pattern of the poem contrasts with the irregular pattern of its rhymes and rhythms. Print off a copy of the poem and divide each line into feet to decide on the metre Owen is using
    • Annotate them with hard/soft stresses to identify either trochaic or iambic feet and see if you can spot any patterns that emerge
    • Try to say how the variance in stress, metre and rhythm affects the emotion of the poem

Represented or imagined as a person.

A word or phrase which qualifies, describes or adds to the meaning of a verb, adjective or another adverb.

After the Armistice was signed in 1918 this event took place on an annual basis from 1921 onwards, initially to remember the dead of WWI.

The line of fighting in western Europe in World War I.

A partial or imperfect rhyme which does not rhyme fully but uses similar rather than identical vowels

The Bible describes God as the unique supreme being, creator and ruler of the universe.

The line of fighting in western Europe in World War I.

A figure of speech where a question is apparently asked, but no answer is expected.

A term used of speech rhythms in blank verse; an iambic rhythm is an unstressed, or weak, beat followed by a stressed, or strong, beat. It is a rising metre.

Use of a metric foot in a line of verse, consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed. It is thus a falling metre.

A line of verse consisting of four metrical feet (in modern verse) or eight feet (in classical verse).

A line of verse of three feet or stresses.

Use of a verb to issue a command e.g. ‘Put your pens down and look at the board.’

term used to describe lines of verse in which 's' or 'z' sounds are enhanced

A partial or imperfect rhyme which does not rhyme fully but uses similar rather than identical vowels

The ordered or regular patterns of rhyme at the ends of lines or verses of poetry.

In English the letters a,e,i,o,u and y (in certain situations)

A unit of metre, being a foot of two long, or stressed, syllables.

  • English Standard Version
  • King James Version

1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.6And God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.7And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.8And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.9And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear. And it was so.10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.11And God said, Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth. And it was so.12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.14And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,15and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth. And it was so.16And God made the two great lights - the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night - and the stars.17And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.20And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.21So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.24And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds - livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds. And it was so.25And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.26Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.28And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.29And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.30And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so.31And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.13And the evening and the morning were the third day.14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.16And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.17And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.19And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

  • English Standard Version
  • King James Version

1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.6And God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.7And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.8And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.9And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear. And it was so.10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.11And God said, Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth. And it was so.12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.14And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,15and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth. And it was so.16And God made the two great lights - the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night - and the stars.17And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.20And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.21So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.24And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds - livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds. And it was so.25And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.26Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.28And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.29And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.30And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so.31And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.13And the evening and the morning were the third day.14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.16And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.17And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.19And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

  • English Standard Version
  • King James Version

1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.2And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.3So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.5When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up - for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground,6and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground - 7then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.9And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.10A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.11The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.12And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.13The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush.14And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.18Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.19Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.23Then the man said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.2And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,5And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.6But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.8And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.9And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.10And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.11The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;12And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.13And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.14And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

  • English Standard Version
  • King James Version

1Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence - 2as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil - to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence!3When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.4From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.5You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?6We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.7There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.8But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.9Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people.10Your holy cities have become a wilderness; Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.11Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised you, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins.12Will you restrain yourself at these things, O Lord? Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?

1Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,2As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!3When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.4For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.5Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.6But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.7And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.8But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.9Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.10Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.11Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.12Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

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