1 Ye dwellers all on earth, give ear,
both rich and poor, and high and low!
For musings deep I will declare,
and wisdom from my tongue shall flow.
Mind ear I bend to mystic lays;
dark sayings on my harp expound.
Why should I fear in evil days,
when sinners hem me in around?
2 Mark those who on their wealth rely,
and glory in their store's increase;
not one a brother's life can buy,
nor from his God procure him peace.
The soul's redemption is so dear,
that no man can sufficient have
to purchase life for ever here,
or 'scape corruption in the grave.
3 Men see the fool and wise man fall,
and all their hoards to others passed;
yet by their names their lands they call,
and think their house will ever last.
But man's vain honour soon decays,
even as the brutish herd they die;
and though their seed their sayings praise,
their way is only vanity.
4 Like sheep they in the grave are laid,
where hungry death shall on them prey;
their glories in the dust shall fade,
and just men rise more blest than they.
But God my soul from death will free,
and home receive me to himself:
then fear thou not, if one thou see
surpassing thee in place or pelf:
5 For though his life more blest he thought,
and others did his path commend,
he to his grave shall carry nought,
nor shall his pomp to him descend.
No; to his fathers he must pass,
and lie in darkness out of sight.
Man, foolish man, in honoured place,
is like the beasts, which perish quite.