¶ Is not the life of man upon earth a very battle? Are not his days like the days of an hired servant? For like as a bond servant desireth the shadow, and as an hireling would fain have an end of his work: Even so have I laboured whole months long (but in vain) and many a careful night have I told. When I laid me down to sleep, I said: O when shall I rise? Again, I longed sore for the night. Thus am I full of sorrow, till it be dark. My flesh is clothed with worms, filthiness and dust: my skin is withered, and crumpled together: my days pass over more speedily, than a weaver can weave out his web: and are gone, or I am a warre.
¶ O remember, that my life is but a wind, and that mine eye shall no more see the pleasures thereof, yea and that none other man's eye shall see me anymore. For if thou fasten thine eyes upon me, I come to naught like as a cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, even so he that goeth down to hell, cometh no more up, nor turneth again into his house, neither shall his place know him any more. Therefore I will not spare my mouth, but will speak in the trouble of my spirit, in that bitterness of my mind will I talk. Am I a sea, or a whalefish, that thou keepest me so in prison? When I think: my bed shall comfort me. I shall have some refreshing by talking by myself upon my couch: Then troublest thou me with dreams, and makest me so afraid thorow visions, that my soul wisheth rather to be strangled, and my bones to be dead. I can see no remedy, I shall live no more: O spare me then, for my days are but vain.
¶ What is man, that thou hast him in such reputation, and setest so much by him? Thou takest diligent care for him, and suddenly doest thou try him. Why goest thou not from me, nor letest me alone, so long till I swallow down my spittle? I have offended, what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? Why hast thou made me to stond in thy way, and am so heavy a burden unto myself? Why doest thou not forgive my sin? Wherefore takest thou not away my wickedness. Behold, now must I sleep in the dust: And if thou seekest me tomorrow in the morning, I shall be gone.