1 Hear this, all people, and give ear,
all in the world that dwell,
2 both low and high, both rich and poor;
3 my mouth shall wisdom tell:
my heart shall knowledge meditate.
4 I will incline mine ear
to parables, and on the harp
my sayings dark declare.
5 Amidst those days that evil be,
why should I fearing doubt?
When my pursuers' wickedness
shall compass me about.
6 Whoe’er they be that in their wealth
their confidence do place,
and who themselves because
their riches grow apace;
7 Yet none of these his brother can
redeem by any way;
nor can he unto God for him
sufficient ransom pay;
8 that he should still for ever live
and not corruption see:
9 their souls's redemption costly is,
nor can it ever be.
10 Because he sees that wise men die,
that fools and brutish all
do perish, and, when dead, their wealth
doth unto others fall.
11 Their inward thought is that their homes
and dwelling places all
shall stand for evermore; their lands
by their own names they call.
12 But yet in honour shall not man
but passing hence may be compared
unto the beasts that die.
13 Thus brutish folly plainly is
their wisdom and their way;
yet their posterity approve
what they do fondly say.
14 Like sheep they in the grave are laid,
and death shall them devour;
and in the morning upright men
shall over them have power:
their beauty from their dwelling shall
consume within the grave.
15 But from death’s hand God will me free,
for he shall me receive.
16 Be not afraid then when a man
enriched thou dost see;
nor when the glory of his house
17 For he shall carry nothing hence,
when death his days doth end;
nor shall his glory after him
into the grave descend.
18 Although he his own soul did bless,
whilst he on earth did live;
(and when thou to thyself dost well,
men will thee praises give;)
19 he to his fathers’ race shall go;
they never shall see light.
20 Man honoured wanting knowledge is
like beasts that perish quite.