I communed|comoned| with mine own heart, saying: Lo, I am come to a great estate, and have gotten more wisdom, than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem. Yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge,
So I thought in my heart, to withdraw my flesh from wine, to apply my mind unto wisdom, and to comprehend foolishness until the time that among all the things which are under the Sun, I might see what were best for men to do, so long as they live under heaven.
I gathered silver and gold together, even a treasure of kings and lands. I provided me singers and women which could play of instruments, to make man mirth and pastime. I gat me drinking cups also and glasses.
And look whatsoever mine eyes desired, I let them have it: and wherein soever my heart delighted, or had any pleasure, I withheld it not from it. Thus my heart rejoiced in all that I did, and this I took for the portion of all my travail.
For so much as a man should weary himself with wisdom, with understanding and opportunity, and yet be fain to leave his labours unto another, that never sweat for them. This is also a vain thing and a great misery.
He giveth unto man, what it pleaseth him: whether it be wisdom, understanding, or gladness. But unto the sinner he giveth weariness and sorrow, that he may gather and heap together the thing, that afterward shall be given unto him whom it pleaseth God. This is now a vain thing, yea a very disquietness and vexation of mind.
All this hath he ordained marvelous goodly, to every thing his due time. He hath planted|plated| ignorance also in the hearts of men, that they should not find out the ground of his works, which he doth from the beginning to the end.
For it happeneth unto men as it doth unto beasts, and as the one dieth, so dieth the other: yea they have both one manner of breath, so that (in this) a man hath no preeminence above a beast, but all are subdued unto vanity.
So I turned me, and considered all the violent wrong that is done under the Sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and there was no man to comfort them or that would deliver and defend them from the violence of their oppressors.
There is one man, no more but himself alone, having neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of his careful travail, his eyes can not be satisfied with riches, (yet doth he not remember himself, and say:) For whom do I take such travail? For whose pleasure do I thus consume away my life? This is also a vain and miserable thing.
When thou comest into the house of God, keep thy foot|Some read. For he is readier to hear (understand thy word) than to receive the sacrifices that fools give.| and draw nye,|Some read: rather to hear, than to give, as fools offering sacrifice.| that thou mayest hear: that is better than the offerings of fools, for they know not what evil they do.
Use not thy mouth to cause thy flesh for to sin, that thou sayest not before the angel: my foolishness is in the fault. For then God will be angry at thy voice, and destroy all the works of thine hands.
If thou seest the poor to be oppressed and wrongously dealt withal, so that equity and the right of the law is wrasted in the land: marvel not thou at such judgement, for one great man keepeth touch with another, and the mighty help themselves together.
Therefore me think it a better and fairer thing, a man to eat and drink, and to be refreshed of all his labour, that he taketh under the Sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him, for this is his portion.
When God giveth a man riches, goods and honour, so that he wanteth nothing of all that his heart can desire: and yet God giveth him not leave to enjoy the same, but another man spendeth them. This is a vain thing and a miserable plague.
If a man beget an hundredth children, and live many years, so that his days are many in number, and yet can not enjoy his good, neither be buried: as for him I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.
And I found, that a woman is bitterer than death: for she is a very angle, her heart is a net, and her hands are chains. Who so pleaseth God shall escape from her, but the sinner will be taken with her.
Neither is there any man that hath power over the spirit, to keep still the spirit, nor to have any power in the time of death: it is not he also that can make an end of the battle, neither may ungodliness deliver him that meddleth withall.
For I have oft seen the ungodly brought to their graves, and fallen down from the high and glorious place: insomuch that they were forgotten in the city, where they were had in so high and great reputation. This is also a vain thing.
Yet is there a vanity upon earth: there be just men, unto whom it happeneth, as though they had the works of the ungodly: Again, there be ungodly, with whom it goeth as though they had the works of the righteous. This me think also a vain thing.
Therefore I commend gladness, because a man hath no better thing under the Son, than to eat and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall he have of his labour all the days of his life, which God giveth him under the Son.
I understood of all the works of God, that it is not possible for a man, to attain unto works that are done under the Son: and though he bestow his labour to seek them out, yet can he not reach unto them: yea though a wise man would undertake to know them, yet might he not find them.
For all these things purposed I in my mind to seek out. The righteous and wise, yea and their works|servants| also are in the hand of God: and there is no man that knoweth either the love or hate of the thing that he hath before him.|which is albefore him|
It happeneth unto one as unto another: It goeth with the righteous as with the ungodly: with the good and clean as with the unclean: with him that offereth as with him that offereth not: like as it goeth with the virtuous, so goeth it also with the sinner: As it happeneth unto the perjured, so happeneth it also unto him that is afraid to be foresworn.|man sworn|
Among all things that come to pass under the Son, this is a mystery, that it happeneth unto all alike. This is the cause also that the hearts of men are full of wickedness, and mad foolishness is in their hearts, as long as they live, until they die.
Use thy self to live joyfully with thy wife whom thou lovest, all the days of thy life, which is but vanity, that God hath given thee under the Son, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, of all thy labor and travail that thou takest under the Son.
So I turned me unto other things under the Son, and I saw, that in running, it helpeth not to be swift: in battle, it helpeth not to be strong: to feeding, it helpeth not to be wise: to riches, it helpeth not to be suttle: to be had in favour, it helpeth not to be cunning: but that all lieth in time and fortune.
Cease not thou therefore with thy hands to sow thy seed, whether it be in the morning or in the evening: for then knowest not whether this or that shall prosper, and if they both take, it is the better.
Be glad then (O thou young man) in thy youth, and let thine heart be merry in thy young days: follow the ways of thine own heart, and the lust of thine eyes: but be thou sure, that God shall bring thee into judgment for all these things.
when the doors in the streets shall be shut, and when the voice of the miller shall be laid down: when men shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and when all the daughters of music shall be brought low:
When men shall fear in high places, and be afraid in the streets: when the Almond tree shall be despised, the grasshopper born out, and when great poverty shall break in: when man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.