1 Let all the list'ning World attend,
2 and my Instructions hear:
Let High and Low, and Rich and Poor,
with joint Consent give Ear:
3 My Mouth, with sacred Wisdom fill'd,
shall good Advice impart;
The sound Result of prudent Thoughts,
digested in my Heart.
4 To Parables of weighty Sense
I will my Ear incline;
While to my tuneful Harp I sing,
dark Words of deep Design.
5 Why should my Courage fail in Times
of Danger, and of Doubt;
When Sinners, that would me supplant,
have compass'd me about?
6 Those Men, that all their Hope and Trust
in Heaps of Treasure place;
And boasting, triumph, when they see
their ill-got Wealth increase;
7 Are yet unable from the Grave
their dearest Friend to free;
Nor can, by Force of costly Bribes,
reverse God's firm Decree.
8,9 Their vain Endeavours they must quit;
the Price is held too high:
No Sums can purchase such a Grant,
that Man should never die.
10 Not Wisdom can the Wise exempt,
nor Fools their Folly save;
But both must perish, and, in Death,
their Wealth to others leave.
11 For tho' they think their stately Seats
shall ne'er to Ruin fall;
But their Remembrance last in Lands
which by their Names they call;
12 Yet shall their Fame be soon forgot,
how great soe'er their State:
With Beasts their Memory, and they,
shall share one common Fate.
13 How great their Folly is, who thus
absurd Conclusions make!
And yet their Children, unreclaim'd,
repeat the gross Mistake.
14 They all, like Sheep to Slaughter led,
the Prey of Death are made;
Their Beauty, while the Just rejoice,
within the Grave shall fade.
15 But God will yet redeem my Soul;
and from the greedy Grave
His greater Pow'r shall set me free,
and to Himself receive.
16 Then fear not thou, when worldly Men
in envy'd Wealth abound;
Nor thou, their prosp'rous House increase,
with State and Honour crown'd.
17 For, when they're summon'd hence by Death;
they leave all this behind;
No Shadow of their former Pomp
within the Grave they find:
18 And yet they tho't their State was blest,
caught in the Flatt'rer's Snare;
Who praises those that slight all else,
and of themselves take care.
19 In their Forefathers Steps they tread;
and when, like them, they die,
Their wretched Ancestors, and they,
in endless Darkness lie.
20 For Man, how great soe'er his State;
unless he's truly wise,
As like a sensual Beast he lives,
so, like a Beast, he dies.