The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Who handles pitch, with pitch is defiled; who throws in his lot with insolence, of insolence shall have his fill.
A heavy burden thou art shouldering, if thou wouldst consort with thy betters; not for thee the company of the rich.
Pot and kettle are ill matched; it is the pot breaks when they come together;
rich man, that has seized all he can, frets and fumes for more; poor man robbed may not so much as speak.
If thou hast favours to bestow, thy rich friend will make use of thee; if none, he bids thee farewell;
thy guest, he will eat up all thou canst give, and have no pity to waste on thee.
Has he need of thee? Then, to be sure, he will ply his arts, all smiles and fair speeches, and eagerness to know what thy need is;
he encumbers thee, now, with hospitality. So, twice and three times, he will drain thee dry; then he will turn on thee with a laugh, and if he meets thee again, it will be to pass thee by with a toss of the head.
Learn to abase thyself before God, and wait for his hand to beckon thee,
instead of courting false hopes, that bring their own abasement.
For all thy wisdom, do not hold thyself too cheap, or thou wilt lower thyself to folly.
If a great man bids thee come close, keep thy distance; he will but bid thee the more;
do not court a rebuff by wearying him, nor yet withdraw altogether, and be forgotten.
Affable though he should be, treat him never familiarly; all his friendly talk is but a lure to drag thy secrets out of thee.
All that thou sayest his pitiless heart will hold against thee; never a blow, never a chain the less.
Have a care of thyself, give good heed to this warning, thou that walkest with ruin ever at thy side;
wake from sleep at the hearing of it, and see thy peril.
Love God all thy days, and pray that he will send thee good deliverance.
Every beast consorts with its own kind, and shall not man with his fellow?
Like to like is nature’s rule, and for man like to like is still the best partnership;
as well match wolf with lamb as rogue with honest liver.
Consecrated person✻ and prowling dog, what have they in common? And what fellowship can there be between rich man and poor?
Poor man is to rich as wild ass is to lion out in the desert, his prey;
wealth hates poverty, as the proud heart scorns humble rank.
Totters the lordly house, it has friends to sustain it; the poor man in his ruin is driven from familiar doors.
Trips the rich man, he has many to keep him in countenance; his insolent talk finds acquittal;
trips the poor man, he is called to account for it; even for what he said to the purpose, no allowance is made him.
Speaks the rich man, all must listen in silence, and afterwards extol his utterance to the skies;
speaks the poor man, Why, say all, who is this? And if his words offend, it is the undoing of him.
Yet, where there is no sin to smite a man’s conscience, a full purse is a blessing, and poverty itself is a great evil when it goes with a blasphemer’s tongue.✻
Heart of man changes his mien, for good or ill,
but where that pleasant mien is, that comes of a generous heart, no short or easy way there is to discover.✻
The Holy Bible