The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Sinned if thou hast, my son, be not emboldened to sin further; to prayer be-take thee, and efface the memory of sins past.
Sin dread thou not less than the serpent’s encounter; its fangs will not miss thee, if once thou come close.
Teeth so sharp no lion ever had, to catch human prey,
nor ever two-edged sword gave wound so incurable as the law’s defiance.
Browbeat and oppress the poor, thy own wealth shall dwindle; riches that are grown too great the proud cannot long enjoy; pride shrivels wealth.
Swiftly comes their doom, because the poor man’s plea reached their ears, but never their hearts.✻
Where reproof is unregarded, there goes the sinner; no God-fearing man but will come to a better mind.
To the glib speaker, fame comes from far and wide; only the wise man knows the slips of his own heart.
Wouldst thou build thy fortunes on earnings that are none of thine? As well mightest thou lay in stones for winter fuel.
When knaves come together, it is like heaping up tow; the flame burns all the brighter.
How smoothly paved is the path of sinners! Yet death lies at the end of it, and darkness, and doom.
If thou wouldst be master of thy own thought, first keep the law;
no wisdom or discernment but is the fruit of God’s fear.
Without shrewdness✻ thou wilt never advance in the school of virtue;
yet shrewdness there is that breeds abundance of mischief; where the stream runs foul, there can be no rightness of mind.
Where true wisdom is, there discernment flows in full tide, there prudence springs up, an inexhaustible fountain of life.
Heart of fool is leaking bucket, that loses all the wisdom it learns.
Truths that wisdom will prize and cherish, the profligate hears no less, but hearing despises, and casts them to the winds.
Listening to a fool is like journeying with a heavy pack; there is no pleasing the ear, where sense is none.
How they hang on the lips of a wise man, the folk assembled, ay, and ponder in their hearts over the word said!
A fool takes refuge in wise talk as a man takes shelter in a ruin; learning without sense, that cannot abide scrutiny.
To the fool, instruction seems but a fetter to clog him, gyves that cramp his wrist.
A fool laughs loud; smiling, the wise compress their lips.
Precious as an ornament of gold, close-fitting as a bracelet to the right arm, is instruction to a wise man.
Folly sets foot over every threshold, where the experienced mind stands, as in a royal presence, abashed;
folly peeps in at windows, where experience waits patiently without;
listens thoughtlessly behind open doors, where prudence hangs back for very shame.✻
Fools break out into rash utterance, where the prudent are at pains to weigh their words;
with the one, to think is to speak, with the other, to speak is to think.
Let the sinner curse the foul fiend that spites him,✻ on his own head the curse shall recoil.
The tale-bearer is his own enemy, shunned by all; court his friendship, and thou wilt court hatred; shut lips and calm judgement shall bring thee a good name.
The Holy Bible