For all these thinges purposed I in my mynde to seeke out: The righteous & wise, yea & their seruauntes also are in the hand of God, and there is no man that knoweth eyther loue or hate, but all thinges are before them.
It happeneth vnto one as vnto another, it goeth with the righteous as with the vngodly, with the good and cleane, as with the vncleane, with hym that offereth, as with him that offereth not: like as it goeth with the vertuous, so goeth it also with the sinner: as it happeneth vnto the pariured, so happeneth it also to hym that is afrayde to be forsworne.
Among all thinges that come to passe vnder the sunne, this is a miserie, that it happeneth vnto all alike: This is the cause also that the heartes of men are full of wickednesse, and madde foolishnesse is in their heartes as long as they liue, vntyll they dye.
And why?
as long as a man liueth, he hath an hope: for a quicke dogge [say they] is better then a dead lion.
For they that be liuing knowe that they shall dye: but they that be dead knowe nothing, neither deserue they any more, for their memoriall is forgotten.
Also their loue, and their hatred, and their enuie is nowe perished, neither haue they any more part in the worlde in all that is done vnder the sunne.
Go thou thy way then, eate thy bread with ioy, & drinke thy wine with a glad heart, for thy workes please god:
Let thy garmentes be alwayes white, and let thy head lacke no oyntment.
Use thy selfe to liue ioyfully with thy wife whom thou louest all the dayes of thy life whiche is but vayne, that God geueth thee vnder the sunne all the dayes of thy vanitie: for that is thy portion in this life of al thy labour and trauayle that thou takest vnder the sunne.
Whatsoeuer thou takest in hande to do, that do with al thy power: for in the graue that thou goest vnto, there is neither worke, counsayle, knowledge, nor wysdome.
So I turned me vnto other thinges vnder the sunne, & I sawe that in running it helpeth not to be swift, in battell it helpeth not to be strong, to feeding it helpeth not to be wyse, to riches it helpeth not to be a man of muche vnderstanding, to be had in fauour it helpeth not to be cunning: but that all lieth in tyme and fortune.
For a man knoweth not his tyme: but like as the fishes are taken with the angle, and as the byrdes are caught with the snare: euen so are men taken in the perillous time, when it commeth sodaynly vpon them.
This wysdome haue I seene also vnder the sunne, and me thought it a great thing:
There was a litle citie and a few men within it: so there came a great kyng and besieged it, and made great bulwarkes against it.
And in the citie there was founde a poore man, but he was wyse, whiche with his wysdome deliuered the citie, yet was there no body that had any respect to such a simple man.
Then sayd I, wysdome is better then strength: Neuerthelesse, a simple mans wysdome is despised, and his wordes are not hearde.
A wyse mans counsayle that is folowed in scilence, is farre aboue the crying of a captaine among fooles.
For wysdome is better then harnesse: but one sinner alone destroyeth muche goodnesse.