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Author: Luther, Martin, 1483-1546.
Title: An exposition of Salomons booke called Ecclesiastes or the preacher. Seene and allowed.
Publication info: Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan, Digital Library Production Service
2011 April (TCP phase 2)

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Print source: An exposition of Salomons booke called Ecclesiastes or the preacher. Seene and allowed.
Luther, Martin, 1483-1546.

At London: Printed by Iohn Daye, dwellyng ouer Aldersgate, An. 1573.
Alternate titles: Ecclesiastes odder prediger Salomo. English Ecclesiastes odder prediger Salomo. Annotations vpon the Ecclesiastes. Annotations upon the Ecclesiastes.
Anonymous. By Martin Luther.
At foot of title page: Cum gratia & priuilegio Regiæ Maiestatis.
Formerly also STC 2763.
An English translation of: Luther, Martin. Ecclesiastes odder prediger Salomo.
Leaf 187 misnumbered 181.
Running title reds: Annotations vpon the Ecclesiastes.
Some print show-through.
Reproduction of the original in the Bodleian Library.
Subject terms:
Bible. -- O.T. -- Ecclesiastes -- Commentaries -- Early works to 1800.

title page
❧ An admonition to the Reader.
❧The Preface vppon the booke of Salomon, called the Preacher.
The Argument vpon Salomons booke called the Preacher.
The first Chapter.
¶The Preacher or oration of the son of Dauid, King of Hierusalem.
¶All is but most vaine vanitie sayth the Preacher.
Most vayne vanitie.
What hath a man of all the labour he taketh vnder the Sunne?
Vnder the Sunne.
One generation passeth away, and an other commeth, but the earth abydeth, or indureth still.
The sunne riseth and goeth down, and returneth to hys place agayne breathyng, that hee may rise vp a∣gayn. The wynde goeth toward the South, and turneth to the North, fetcheth his compasse, whyrleth a∣bout, goeth forth, and returneth a∣gaine to his circuites from whence he dyd come.
And breathing againe to his place.
The wynde whyrleth and turneth about.
All flouds runne into the sea, and yet the sea runneth not ouer. The flouds returne to the place from whence they flowed, that they may from thence flow out agayne.
All thinges are hard to be knowen, neither is any man able to expresse them.
The eye is not satisfied with seyng, nor the eare with hearyng.
What thing is that that hath been? euen the same that is to come. What is that that hath been done? euen the same that shall be done. And there is no new thyng vnder the sonne. Is there any thyng, wher¦of it may be sayd, Loe, this is new, for the lyke hath been in the times that haue been before vs. There is no remembraunce of thinges past. no more shall there be any remem∣braunce of thynges to come here∣after.
What is that that hath been?
There is no new thing vnder the Sunne, neither any thing whereof it may be sayd, loe, this is new.
There is no remembraunce of thinges passed.
I my selfe the preacher was a kyng of Israell at Hierusalem, and dyd apply my mynde to seeke & search out the knowledge of all thinges that are vnder heauen.
I did apply my minde to seeke and search out the knowledge of all thynges, that are vnder the sonne.
Such trauell and labour hath God giuen to the childrē of men, to ex∣ercise them selues therin.
I considered all the thyngs that are done vnder the sunne, and lo, they are all but vanitie and vexation of mynde. Thynges crooked can not be straight, nor the imperfection of thynges can be numbred.
Crookednesse can not bee made straight, nor the imperfection in thynges be numbred.
I communed with mine owne hart saying: loe, I am come to great e∣state, and haue gotten more wise∣dome then all they that haue been before me in Hierusalem: yea my hart had great experience of wys∣dome & knowledge, for therunto I applyed my mynde, that I might know what were wisdome and vn∣derstanding, what errour and foo∣lishnes, and I perceaued that this also was but a vexation of mynde: for where much wisdome is, there is also great trauell and disquiet∣nes, and the more knowledge a mā hath, the more is his care.
Wisdome and knowledge.
Errour and foolishnes.
For where much wisdome is, there is also great trauell.
The second Chapter.
Then sayd I thus in my hart: go to, I will take myne ease, & haue good dayes. But loe, that is vanitie also.
I sayd in my hart, I will take myne ease.
I sayd in my hart, I will goe, and and take my pleasure.
I sayd vnto the man geuē to laugh∣ter, thou art mad, and to the man geuen to mirth, what doost thou?
And I thought in myne hart to ab∣steine from wyne, and to gouerne my hart wisely, and to comprehēd foolishnes, vntill I might perceaue what was good for the children of men, to doe vnder heauen as long as they lyued.
And to gouerne my hart wisely.
I made gorgeous fayre workes, I buylded me houses, and planted vineyardes. I made me orchardes and gardens of pleasure, and plan∣ted trees in thē of all maner frutes. I made pooles of water to water the greene & frutefull trees withall. I bought seruātes and maydēs, & some I had borne at home. I bought cat∣tle and sheepe & had more substance then all they that were before me in Hierusalem. I gathered togither sil∣uer and golde, euen a treasure of kynges and landes. I prouided mee singers and women that playde on instruments, to make men mirth and pastime. I gat me Psalteries & songes of Musike, and I was greater and in more worshippe, then all my prede∣cessours In Hierusalem. For wisdome remayned with me, and looke what∣soeuer myne eyes desired, I let them haue it, and whatsoeuer my hart de∣lyted, or had any pleasure in, I with∣held it not from it. Thus my hart re∣ioysed in all that I did, and thys was my portion of all my trauell. But when I cōsidered all my workes that my handes had wrought, and all the labour that I had taken therein, loe, all was but vanitie and vexation of mynde, and nothyng of any value vnder the Sunne.
I prouided me singers, and women playeng on Instrumentes, to make myrth and passe tyme.
And whatsoeuer myne eyes desi∣red, I let them haue it.
Loe all this was but vanitie, and ve∣xation of mynde.
Nothyng of any value vnder the Sunne.
Then dyd I turne me, to consider wisedome, errour, and foolishnes. For what is hee among men, that might be cōpared to me the kyng, in such workes? And I sawe that wisedome excelleth foolishenes, as farre as light doth darkenes. For a wise man hath his eyes in his head, but the foole goeth in darkenesse. I perceaued also that they both had one end.
And I saw that wisedome excelleth foolishnesse as farre as light doth darkenes.
A wyse man hath his eyes in hys head, but the foole. &c.
A wise man hath his eyes in his head.
For what man is able to imitate the kyng that made him before. &c.
And made vs before (to say) that we were.
And I saw that the successe of both these men were alike.
Then sayd I in my mynde, if it hap∣pen vnto the foole as it doth vnto me, what neede I labour then any more for wisdome? So I sayde in myne hart, that this also was but vanitie.
So I sayd in mine hart this also was but vanitie.
For the wyse are euer as little in re∣membraunce as the foolishe. For the dayes shall come, when all shal be forgotten.
And the wyse man dyeth as well as the foole.
Wherefore I was weary of my lyfe because I saw that all thinges done vnder the sunne were naught. For all was but vanitie and vexation of mynde.
And I was weary of all my labour which I had takē vnder the sunne, because I should be fayne to leaue them to an other man that com∣meth after me, who whether hee shal be a wise mā or a foole I know not. And yet shall he be Lord of all my labours.
So I turned me to refrayne my mynde, from such trauell as I had takē vnder the sunne. For so much as a man should weary hym selfe with wisedome, with vnderstan∣dyng, and industrie, & yet be fayne to leaue his labours to an other, that neuer swet for them. This al∣so is a vayne thyng and great mise∣rie. For what getteth a man of all the labour & trauell of his mynde, that hee taketh vnder the sunne, but heauines, sorow, and disquiet∣nesse all the dayes of his lyfe. In so much that his hart can not rest in the night. This is also a vayne thyng.
For when a man hath wearied him selfe, with wisedome, vnderstan∣dyng, and diligence &c.
For what getteth a man of all hys trauell &c. This is but copy &c. Nor can rest in the night.
Is it not better therefore for a man to eate and drinke, and his soule to be mery in his labour?
I saw that this was a gift of God.
For who hath eaten, or done more thinges abroad then I?
God geueth to the mā that is good before him, wisdome, vnderstan∣ding, and gladnesse. But vnto the sinner he geueth wearines and su∣perfluous care, that he may gather and heape togither the thyng that afterward shalbe geuen vnto hym, whom it pleaseth God. Wherfore, this also is a vanitie and vexation of the mynde.
The third Chapter.
To all thinges there is an appoin∣ted tyme, and a tyme to euery pur∣pose vnder the heauen.
All thinges haue their tyme.
And euery purpose. &c.
There is a tyme to be borne, and a tyme to dye.
A tyme to plant, and a tyme to plucke vp.
A tyme to slea, and a time to heale: a time to breake downe, & a time to buylde, a tyme to weepe, and a tyme to laughe: a time to mourne, and a tyme to daunce: a tyme to cast away stones, and a tyme to ga∣ther stones: a tyme to embrace, & a tyme to absteine frō embracyng: a time to seeke, and a tyme to lose: a tyme to keepe, and a tyme to cast away: a tyme to reape, and a tyme to sow: a tyme to keepe silence, and a tyme to speake: a tyme to loue, & a time to hate: a time of warre, and a tyme of peace.
What profite hath he that worketh of the thyng wherin he trauelleth?
I haue seene the trauell that God hath geuen the sonnes of men, to humble them therby.
For God hath made all thynges beautifull in their time and season.
Also he hath set the world in theyr hart, yet can not man finde out the worke that God hath wrought frō the begynnyng to the end.
¶ But man findeth not out the worke. &c.
And I know that there is nothyng good in them, but to reioyce and to doe good in his lyfe. And also that euery man eateth and drin∣keth, and seeth the cōmoditie of al his labour, this is the gift of God.
I know that whatsoeuer God shall doe, shall be for euer: to it can no man adde, and from it cā none di∣minish. For God hath done it, that they should feare before him.
That that hath beene, is also nowe, and that that shall be, hath beene already, and God requireth the thinges that are past.
Because God requireth the things that are past.
Moreouer, I saw vnder the Sunne, the place of iudgemēt, where was wickednes, and the place of iustice wher was iniquitie. And I thought in myne hart, God will iudge the iust and the wicked: for there is a tyme for euery worke & purpose.
There is a tyme for euery worke and purpose.
I considered in myne hart the state of the children of men, that God hath purged them: yet, to see to, they are in themselues as beastes. For the condition of the children of mē, and the cōdition of beastes are euen as one. As the one dyeth: so dyeth the other.
The state (or fashion) of the chil∣dren of men.
For the condition of the childrē of men, and of beastes are all as one.
As the beastes dye, so dye men.
For they haue all one breath, and there is no excellency of mā aboue the beast. For all is vanitie. All goe to one place, & all was of the dust, and all shall returne to the dust.
All goe to one place &c.
Wherby he tryeth them.
Who knoweth whether the spirite of man ascende vpwarde, and the spirite of the beast descend down∣ward vnto the earth?
¶Therefore I see that there is no∣thing better, then that a mā should reioyse in his affaires, because that is his portion. For who shall bryng him to see, what shall be after him?
The fourth Chapiter.
So I turned and considered all the oppressions that are wrought vn∣der the sunne: & behold, the teares of the oppressed, and none cōfor∣teth them, nor deliuered them out of the hādes of their oppressours, to comfort them.
Wherefore I praysed those that are dead, aboue those that are lyuyng, and I coūted him that yet was vn∣borne better then them both. For he hath not seene the euill workes that are wrought vnder the sunne.
Also I beheld all trauayle and per∣fectiō of workes, that is in the en∣uie of a mā against his neighbour: This also is a vanitie and vexation of the mynde.
I saw the industrie and perfection that is in workemen.
This also is a vanitie and vexation of spirite.
The foole foldeth his handes, and eateth vp his owne fleshe.
¶The foole therefore foldeth hys handes.
He eateth his owne flesh.
¶Better is one handful with quiet∣nes, then two handes full with la∣bour and vexation of mynde.
I turned my selfe, and saw an other vanitie vnder the Sunne. There is one alone, and not a second, which hath neither sonne nor brother: yet is there no ende of his trauell, neyther can his eyes bee satisfied with riches, nether doth he thinke, for whom doe I trauell, & defraude my selfe of pleasure? This also is va∣nitie, and an euill trauell.
There is one alone. &c.
It is better therefore there be two then one, for of their labour com∣meth some profite. For if one fall, his fellow will lift him vp. Wo vnto him that is alone. For when he fal∣leth there is none to lift hym vp. And whē two sleepe together, they shall one warme an other. But how shal one becom whot. And though one may ouercome one, yet two may make resistaunce: a threefolde corde is not easely broken.
¶ A threefolde corde is not easely broken.
Better is a poore and wise childe, thē an old and foolish kyng, which will no more be admonished.
For out of the prison he commeth forth to reigne, where he that is borne a kyng loseth the same.
I beheld all the lyuing which walke vnder the Sunne, with the seconde childe, which shall stand vp in hys place. There is none ende of all the people, and of all that were before them, & they that come after shall shall not reioyce in hym. This is al∣so vanitie and vexation of spirit.
The fifth Chapter.
Take heede to thy foote, whē thou entrest into the house of God, and draw nere to heare: for that is bet∣ter then the Sacrifices of fooles, for they know not how much hurt they doe.
Take heede to thy foote, whē thou entrest into the house of God.
For this is better then the sacrifices of fooles.
For they know not how much hurt they doe.
Be not rashe with thy mouth, nor let thyne hart be hastye, to vtter a thing before God: for God is in heauen, and thou art on the earth. Therefore let thy wordes be fewe, for many cares breede dreames, and multitude of wordes decla∣reth a foole.
Before God.
Dreaming commeth through mul∣titude of cares.
And multitude of wordes bewray∣eth a foole.
For God is in heauen, but thou art on the earth.
When thou hast vowed a vowe vn∣to God, differre not to pay it, for he delighteth not in fooles. Paye therfore that thou hast vowed. It is better that thou vowest not, thē to vow, and not perfourme.
For he is not delighted in fooles.
Suffer not thy mouth to make thy fleshe to sinne, neyther say before the Angel, that this is ignoraunce, least god be angry with thy saying, and destroy the woorkes of thyne handes. Many wordes are but dreames, and vanities, but feare thou the Lord.
Before the Angell.
If in a countrey thou seest the op∣pression of the poore, and the de∣frauding of iudgment and iustice, be not astonied at the matter. For he that is higher then the highest regardeth, and there be higher then they, and the King is ouer all the earth, so se the ground tylled.
Let not this matter trouble thee.
For he that is higher thē the high∣est regardeth.
To see the grounde tylled.
He that loueth siluer shall not be satisfied with siluer, and he that lo∣ueth riches, shall be without the fruite therof: this also is a vanitie. When goods increase, they are in∣creased that eate them: and what good cōmeth to the owners there∣of, but the beholding of them with their eyes?
Where much goods are. &c.
And what good commeth to the Owners thereof. &c.
The sleepe of him that traueleth is sweet, whether he eat litle or much but the sacietie of the rich will not suffer him to sleepe.
I haue seene an euill sicknes vnder the sunne, to wyt, ryches conser∣ued to the owners for their euill. And these riches perish by euell tra¦uell, and he begetteth a sonne, and in his hand is nothing.
They perish with great calamitie.
And his borne of hym shall haue no possession of him.
Euen as he came naked out of his mothers belly, so shall he returne naked againe as he came, and shall beare away nothing of his labour. This is a vaine and miserable thing that in all pointes as they came they shall goe againe: & what pro∣fite hath he, that he hath trauelled for the wynde?
What profite hath he that he hath trauelled for the wynde?
All the dayes of his lyfe he eateth in darkenes, with much griefe, sor∣row and anger.
Therefore I see it is good for a man to eate and drinke, and to be mea∣ry in all his trauell that he taketh vnder the Sun, all the dayes of his life that God geueth him: for this is his portiō. But this is the gift of God, when he hath geuen man ry∣ches and substance, and power to eate & drinke his part therof, and to reioyce in his labour.
For this is his portion. &c.
The sixt Chapiter.
This is also an euill vnder the Sun, and much vsed among men: A mā to whom God hath geeuen ryches and treasures, and honour, & wan∣teth nothing for his soule of all that he desireth, and yet God suf∣fereth him not to eate thereof, but a straunge man shall eate it vp. This is a vayne thing and a miserable.
If he beget an hundreth children, and yet liue many yeares, and haue great riches al the dayes of his life, & yet his soule is not satisfied with goods, and his body not buryed: I say that an vntymely fruite is bet∣ter then he. For he commeth into vanitie, and goeth into darkenes, and his name shall be couered with darkenes.
And may want buryall.
I say that an vntymely fruite is bet∣ter then such an one.
For he commeth into vanitie, and goeth into darkenes.
And his name shall be couered in darkenes.
Also he hath not seene the Sunne nor can be quiet in any place.
Yea though he lyued two thowsād yeares, yet hath he no good lyfe. Come not all to one place.
Doo not all thinges goe. &c.
All the labour a man taketh is for him elfe, and yet his soule is ne∣uer satisfied acording to her desire
For what hath the wyse man more then the foole, or what profyteth it the poore, that he knoweth how to walke before the Lyuing.
Or what profiteth it the poore?
The sight of the eye is better then to walke after lustes. This is also a vanitie and vexation of Spirite.
What is that that hath beene? The name thereof is now named, and it is knowen that it is man: and he cā¦not striue with him, that is stron∣ger then he.
For he can not striue with him that is stronger then he.
For who knoweth what is good for mā liuing in the dayes of his vaine lyfe, which is but a shadow? Or who will tell a man, what shall hap∣pen after him vnder the Sonne?
Or who shall tell a man what shall happen. &c.
The Seuenth Chapter.
A good name is more worth then a precious oyntement, and the day of death is better then the daye of byrth.
Better is the day of death, then the day of byrth.
It is better to goe into a house of mourning, then into a house of feasting. For there is the ende of all men.
And the liuing shal lay it to his hart
Anger is better then laughter, for by a sad looke, the harte is made better.
Because thorough a sadde counte∣naunce, the hart is made better.
In the sadnes of the counte∣naunce. &c.
The hart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the hart of fooles is in the house of myrth.
In the house of mourning.
It is better to heare the rebuke of wise men then the song of fooles. For the laughing of fooles is lyke the cracking of thorns vnder a pot. This also is vanitye.
For lyke as the cracking of thornes vnder a pot, so is the laughing of a foole.
This also is a vanitie.
For a sclaunderer troubleth a wyse man, and destroyeth a liberall or bountifull hart.
The ende of a matter is better then the beginning.
The Patient in spirite is better then the high minded.
Be not hastyly angry in thy mynde, for anger resteth in the bosome of fooles.
¶ Anger resteth in the bosome of fooles.
¶Saye not thou, why is it that the daies of olde time were better then these? For thou doost not enquyre wysely of this thinge.
Wysedome is good with an inheri∣taunce, and excellent to them that see the sonne. For wisedome defen∣deth, and so doth money. But wise∣dome is much better, for it geueth life to him that hath it in possession
Wisdome with inheritaunce is bet∣ter then they that see the Sunne.
Beholde the workes of God. Who can make straight, that he hath made crooked?
Vse well the tyme of prosperitie, and remember the day of misfor∣tune. For God hath made this as well as that, so that man can finde nothing after hym.
For as God made this, so made hee that also, after his manner and custome.
That man can finde nothing after hym.
I haue seene all thinges in the daies of uanitie, there is a iust man that perisheth in his Iustice & a wicked man that contynueth long in his naughtines.
There is a iust man & he perisheth.
Be not iust ouermuch, neither make thy self ouerwise, least thou perish. Be not ouermuch wycked, neyther be thou foolish, least thou dye be∣fore thy tyme.
¶ Be not thou too wicked. &c.
It is good for thee to take holde of this, and not to let that goe out of thy hand: for he that feareth God, shall come forth with them all.
He that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
Wisedome shall comfort the wyse man more then tenne myghty men in the Citie.
Because there is no mā on the earth that doth good and sinneth not.
Take not heede vnto euery worde that is spoken, least thou heare thy seuaūt curse thee. For thine owne hart knoweth, that thou thy selfe also hast often tymes spoken euill by other men.
Least thou perhappes here thy Ser∣uaunt cursse thee.
All these thinges haue I proued by wysedome, for I thought I would be wise, but it wēt the farther from me. It is farre of. What may it be? And it is a profounde deepenes, Who can finde it?
¶It is a profound deepenes. &c.
I applied my minde also vnto know¦ledge, and to seeke and search out science, wysedome and vnderstan∣ding, to know the foolishnes of the vngodly, and the errors of doting fooles.
And I finde the woman more byt∣ter then death, whose hart is as nettes and snares, and her handes as bandes. He that is good before God, shall be deliuered from her, but the sinner shall be taken by her.
Beholde (sayth the Preacher) thys haue I founde, seeking one by one to finde the count, & yet my soule seeketh, but I finde it not. I haue founde one man among a thousād, but a woman haue I not founde a∣mong them all.
But a woman haue I not founde a∣mong them all.
Onely loe, this haue I founde, that God hath made mā righteous, but they haue sought many Inuentions
But they haue sought many inuen∣tions.
Who is wise, and who can declare these thinges?
The wisedome of a man maketh his face to shine, but vnshamefastnes putteth it out of fauour.
The viij. Chapiter.
Keepe the kynges Commaunde∣ment I warne thee, and the othe that thou hast made to God.
Be not hasty to goe out of his sight, nor stand not in an euill thing, for he will doe whatsoeuer pleaseth him. Where the word of the king is, there is power. And who shall say vnto him, what doost thou?
Stand not in an euill matter.
For he doth what pleaseth hym.
Whatsoeuer lyketh hym, that wyll he doe.
For the kinges worde is myghty.
He that keepeth his commaunde∣ment shall know none euell thing.
The harte of the wicked discerneth tyme and iudgement.
For to euery purpose there is a time and iudgement: for great is the mi∣sery of man vpō him. For he know∣eth not that which shall be, & Who can tell him when it shall be?
For great is the misery of hym (that obeyeth not the kinges commaun∣dement) for he knoweth not that which shall be.
For man is not Lorde ouer the Spi∣rit, to retayne the spirit, neyther hath he power in the day of death, nor deliueraunce in the battel, nei∣ther shall wickednes deliuer the possessers thereof.
Wickednes can not deliuer the pos∣sessours thereof.
All these things haue I considered, and haue geuen my mynde vnto e∣uery worke that is vnder the sūne, and I sawe how one man hath lord∣shipp ouer an other to his owne harme.
Lykewise I sawe the wicked bury∣ed, which walked in the holy place, and they were forgotten, that they had so behaued themselues. This also was a vanitie.
I saw the wicked buryed.
Because sentence agaynst an euyll worke is not executed speedely, therfore the hart of the children of mē is fully set in them to doe euill.
But though a sinner offend an hun∣dreth tymes, and God prolong hys dayes, yet I know that it shall goe well with them that feare the lord, and doe reuerence before him. But it shall not be well to the wicked, neyther shall he prolong his dayes: he shall be lyke a shadowe, because he feareth not God.
¶ And his dayes shall not be pro∣longed.
¶There is a vanitie also which is done vpon the Earth: that is, there be righteous men to whom it hap∣peneth as if they did the workes of the wicked: and there be also wyc∣ked to whom it commeth as if they did the workes of the iust, & I sayd: This also is a vanitye.
Therefore I praysed myrth & glad∣nes because a man hath no better thing vnder the sonne, then to eate and drinke, & to reioyce. For this is all he hath of his labour, all the dayes of his lyfe, that God geueth him vnder the Sunne.
And I applyed my mynde to know wisedome, and to beholde the bu∣sines that is done on the earth, that neyther daye nor night the eyes of man take sleepe.
Then I consydered all the workes of God, how man can not fynd out the worke that is wrought vnder the Sun. But the more he laboureth to searche it, the lesse he findeth, yea and although he thinke himself wise inough, yet he can not finde it.
The nineth Chapiter.
All these thinges I cast in mine hart to vnderstand. There are righteous men and wise, whose seruaunts are in the hand of God, and yet no mā knoweth the loue or the hatred of that that is before him.
And yet no man knoweth whether he is loued or hated.
They haue both lyke successe. For it happeneth to the righteous euen as to the wicked, to the good & cleane as to the vncleane, to him that of∣freth, as to him that offreth not. As it happeneth to the vertuous, euen so to the sinners: to him that for∣sweareth, as to him that feareth an othe. This is the woorste of all thinges that are donne vnder the Sunne, that it happeneth to all men alyke. Whereby the hart of man is fylled with wickednes, and foolish∣nes remaineth in their harts, all the dayes of their lyfe.
This is the woorst of all things that are donne vnder the Sunne.
This is the cause therefore that mēs hartes are fylled with wyckednes:
And foolishnes remayneth in their hartes vntill they dye.
For among all men lyuing, hope is chosen, for a lyuing dogge is bet∣ter then a dead Lyon.
For a lyuing dogge is better then a dead Lyon.
For the lyuing know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing at all, neyther haue they any more a rewarde: for their remembraunce is forgotten. Also their loue and their hatred and their enuy is now perished, and they haue no more portion for euer in all that is done vnder the Sunne.
The dead know nothing at all, nei∣ther are they rewarded any more.
They haue no more any rewarde.
¶ Their loue their hatred. &c.
¶ Moreouer they haue no parte or portion in this worde.
Goe therefore and eate thy breade with ioy, and drinke thy wine wyth a cherefull hart. For now thy works please God.
¶ For thy workes please God.
At all tymes let thy garmentes bee white, and let thyne heade be a∣noynted with oyle.
And anoynt thy hed with oyle.
Reioyce with the wife whom thou hast loued all the dayes of the lyfe of thy vanitie, which God hath ge∣uen thee vnder the Sunne, all the dayes of thy vanitie. For this is thy portion in the lyfe, and in thy tra∣uell wherein thou labourest vnder the Sunne.
All that thyne hand shall finde to doe, doe wyth all thy power: for there is neyther worke, nor inuen∣tion, nor knowledge, nor wisdome in the graue whether thou goest.
For in the graue there is no worke.
And I turned me vnto other things done vnder the sunne, and I sawe that in rūning, it helpeth not to be swifte, in battell not to be strong, to get liuing, not to be carefull, to get riches not to be wise, to be had in fauour, it helpeth not to be cun∣ning, but that all lyeth in tyme and fortune.
To be had in fauour it helpeth not to be cunning.
The Successe of all thinges depen∣deth on fortune.
Man knoweth not his tyme, but as the fyshes which are takē with the angle, & as birdes that are catched with springesse, so are they sna∣red in the perelous tyme, when it cometh svddenly vpon them.
And as fishes. &c.
This wisdome also haue I seene vn∣vnder the Sunne, and me thought it a great thinge. There was a lyttle Citie, and a fewe men within it: So there came a great kinge and besee∣ged it, & made great fortes against it: and in the Citie there was found a pore mā, but wise, which through his wisdōe deliuered the Citie: Yet was there no body that had any res¦pecte vnto such a simple man. Then sayde I, wysedome is better then strength. Neuertheles a poore mās wysdome is despised, & his wordes are not heard.
And no man remembred the man.
The tenth Chapiter.
The wordes of the wyse are more heard in quietnes, then the crye of him that ruleth among fooles.
The wordes of the wyse are hearde in quietnes. &c.
Better is wisdome then weapons of warre, but one sinner destroyeth much good.
For one Synner destroyeth much good.
Dead flyes cause the most precious oyntment to stinke.
Therefore a lytle folly sometyme, is better then wisdome and glory.
¶ The harte of a wise man is as his right hande, but the hart of a foole is at his left.
A foole walking in the way and be∣ing him selfe neuer so much a foole thynketh yet that all other are fooles.
Therefore if the spirit of thy superi∣our haue his purpose against thy mynde: be not thou disconten∣ted, for to giue place pacifieth great euill.
❀ There is a great euell that I haue seene vnder the Sunne, namely ig∣norance, that is much seene among Princes. For some foole is aduaū∣ced to great honour, and the riche syt in the dust. I haue seene seruāts on horse backe and some Princes lyke seruauntes goe on foote.
He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it, and he that breaketh a hedge, a serpent shal sting him. He that re∣moueth stones shall hurt himselfe thereby, & he that cleaueth wood, shall be in daunger thereby.
He that remooueth stones.
He that cleaueth wood, shall be in daunger thereof.
If the yron be so blunt, that one can not sharpen it, he must then put to more strength: but the excellencie to directe a thing is wisdome.
If the Serpent byte when he is not charmed, no better is a babler and blab of tounge:
The wordes of a wyse mans mouth haue grace, but the lips of a foole deuoureth him.
❀ The beginning of his woordes is foolishnes, and the latter ende of his taulke is madnes.
¶ The foole multiplieth woordes.
¶ Man knoweth not what is before him, & who can tell him what shall be after him?
The labour of the foolishe doth weary him, for hee knoweth not how to get into the Citie.
They know not how to goe into the Citie.
Woe to thee ó land, when thy king is a childe, and thy princes eate in the morning.
Whose princes eat in the morning.
Blessed art thou o lande, when thy king is the sonne of Nobles, & thy Princes eate in tyme, for strength, and not for drunkennes.
Whose Princes eate in their tyme.
¶Through slouthfulnes the balkes of the house decaye, and through Idle handes, it rayneth into the house.
With laughing thei get their liuing, and wyne maketh them meary.
Wyne maketh them meary.
But vnto mony all thinges are obe∣dient.
The eleuenth Chapiter.
Curse not the king in thy thought, nor the rich in thy bed chamber. for the soules of heauen shall carry thy voice, & they which haue wings shall bewraye it.
For the foules of heauen shall carry thy voyce, and they which haue winges shall bewray it.
Cast thy breade vpon the waters, for after many dayes thou shalt finde it.
For after many dayes thou shalt finde it.
Geue a portion to seuen and also to eight, for thou knowest not what e∣uell shall be vpon earth.
Because thou knowest me, what e∣uell. &c.
¶ If the Cloudes be full, they will powre fourth rayne vpō the earth.
¶The tree whether it falleth to the South, or to the North, in the place that it falleth there it shall be.
He that obserueth the wynde shall not sowe, and he that regardeth the Cloudes shall not reape.
As thou knowest not which is the waye of the Spirites, nor how the bones doe growe in the wombe of her that is with Childe: So thou knowest not the worde of God that worketh all.
And how the bones be ioyned to∣gether.
In the morning sowe thy seede, and in the euening let not thine hand rest: For thou knowest not whether shall prosper this or that, or whe∣ther both shall be alyke good.
Light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes, to see the Sunne.
Though a man lyue many yeares, and in them all reioyce, yet he shall remember the dayes of darkenes, because they are many, all that com¦meth is vanitie.
The xii. Chapiter.
Be meary therfore O young man in thine youth, and let thine hart be glad in thine young daies.
Let thyne hart be glad.
Walke in the wayes of thyne hart,
And walk in the sight of thine eyes
Put away greefe out of thyne hart, and cause euill to depart from thy fleshe: for childehode and youth are vanitie.
Put away euill from thy fleshe.
For childehode and youth. &c.
¶ Remember thy Creator now in thine youth, before the euell dayes come, & the yeares approch: where in thou shalt say, I haue no pleasure in them.
Whiles the sonne is not darke, nor the light, nor the Moone, nor the Starres, nor the Cloudes, returne after the rayne.
¶ When the Reapers of the house shall tremble.
❀And the strong men shall bowe them selues.
When the Grinders shall cease, be∣cause they are fewe.
¶ And they waxe darke that looke out at the wyndowes.
And the streat dores be shut with∣out, & the base sounde of the grin∣ding waxe weake.
When they shall ryse at the peping of the byrde, and all the daughters of singing shall waxe fainte.
The daughters of singing.
When the height shalbe afrayed, & feare in the waye.
¶ When the Almonde Tree shall florish.
❀ When the Grashopper shall be a burthen.
When pleasure and delight abateth
For man shall goe into the house of his age, and the mourners shall goe about in the streat.
Before the siluer corde be taken a∣way, and the golden Ewer broken.
Before the Pytcher be broken at the well, and the wheele at the Cesterne
And the dust returne to the earth, as it was in the beginning.
And the spirit returne to God that gaue it.
Vanitie of vanities sayth the Prea∣cher, and all is but vanitie.
This Preacher was not onely wyse, but also taught the people know∣ledge: he was very diligent, sought forth and gathered together ma∣ny Parables.
He sought to finde out pleasaunt wordes, and vprightly to write the worde of trueth.
The wordes of the wyse are lyke goades, and like nayles fastened by the masters of the Assemblies, and geuen by one Pastour.
But are geuen by one Pastour.
¶ Of other bookes beside these my sonne take thou heede.
¶ For there is none ende in making of bookes.
Much study and reading, is a weari∣nes of the fleshe.
Let vs heare the ende of all, feare God, and keepe his commaunde∣mentes.
¶ For this is the dutie of all men.
For God wil bring euery worke vn∣to iudgement, with euery secreat thing, whether it be good or euell.
¶ With euery secret thinge.