1 Hear this all people, and give ear,
all in the world that dwell
2 Sons both of low and higher men,
The rich and poor as well.
3 I with my mouth variety
Of wisdom will impart;
Of understanding much shall be
the musing of my heart.
4 Unto a speech proverbial
I will encline mine ear;
I will upon the harp withal
My doctrine dark declare.
5 Why should I be at all afraid
In days that evil be?
When that my heels iniquity
About shall compass me.
6 Those men that make their great estates
Their stay to trust unto;
Who in the plenty of their wealth
Themselves do boast also:
7 There's not a man of them that can
By any means redeem
His brother, nor to God can give
A ransom meet for him.
8 (So dear their souls redemption is,
And ever ceaseth it.)
9 That he should still for ever live,
And never see the pit.
10 For he doth see that wise men die,
The fool and brutish too
Do perish; and their rich estate
To others leave they do.
11 They think their houses are for aye,
To generations all
Their dwelling places; and their lands
They by their names do call.
12 But man in honour being set
Abideth not at night;
But he becometh like unto
The beast that perish quite.
13 This way of theirs their folly is;
Yet their posterity
Delighting in that which they say
Approve it veh'mently.
14 Like sheep so are they laid in grave,
Death shall them feed upon;
And th' upright over them i' th' morn
Shall have dominion.
And from the place whereas they dwell,
The beauty which they have
Shall utterly consume away
Within the rotting grave.
15 But surely God redemption
Unto my soul will give,
Ev'n from the grave's prevailing pow'r,
For he will me receive.
16 Be not afraid when as a man
In wealth is made to grow;
And when the glory of his house
Abundantly doth flow.
17 For when as he doth come to die,
Nought shall he take away:
Nor shall there after him descend
His glorious array.
18 Although in his life time his soul
For blessed he did take,
And men will praise thee when as thou
Much of thy self dost make.
19 He shall go to his fathers face,
They never shall see light.
20 In honour man that knows not, is
Like beasts that perish quite.