The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Wilt thou pine away with care for riches, lose thy sleep for thinking of it?
These solicitudes breed a madness in the brain, such as only grave sickness can expel.
Toils rich man for gain, till he can rest and enjoy what is his;
toils poor man to fend off need, and when he ceases he is a poor man still.
Love money, and thou shalt be called to account for it; thy quest corruption, of corruption thou shalt have thy fill.
Many have given themselves up to the lure of gold, and in its beauty found their ruin;
its worship was a snare to catch their feet; alas, poor fools that went searching for it, and themselves were lost!
Blessed is the man who lives, for all his wealth, unreproved, who has no greed for gold and puts no trust in his store of riches!
Shew us such a man, and we will be loud in his praise; here is a life to wonder at.
A man so tested and found perfect wins eternal honour; he kept clear of sin, when sinful ways were easy, did no wrong, when wrong lay in his power.
His treasure is safely preserved in the Lord’s keeping and wherever faithful men are met, his alms-deeds will be remembered.
Sit thou at a rich man’s table, be not quick to remark upon it;
it is ill done to cry out, Here is a table well spread!
Be sure a covetous eye shall do thee no good;
eye is a great coveter, and for that, like no other part of thy face, condemned to weep.
Be not quick to reach out thy hand, and be noted, to thy shame, for greed;
jostling goes ill with a feast.
Learn from thy own conjecture thy neighbour’s need;
take sparingly the good things set before thee, nor court ill-will by thy gluttony.
For manners’ sake, leave off eating betimes, or thy greed shall give offence.
When there are many about thee, do not be quick to stretch out thy hand, quick to call for wine.
For a man well disciplined a little wine is enough; spare thyself the uneasy sleep, the pains that shall rack thee;
wakeful nights come of excess, and bile and griping pains.
For the temperate man, there is sound sleep; sleep that lasts till morning, and contents his whole being;
though thou have been constrained to eat beyond thy wont, thou hast but to leave the table and vomit, and thou shalt find relief, nor come to any bodily harm.
Take good heed, my son, do not belittle this advice of mine; thou shalt live to prove it true.
Put thy heart into all thou doest, and no infirmity of purpose shall hinder thee.✻
The generous host is on all men’s lips; ever they bear witness to his loyal friendship;
the niggard has the ill word of a whole city; men form shrewd judgement of a niggard.
Never challenge hard drinker to a drinking-bout; wine has been the ruin of many.
Fire tests the strength of steel; and a proud man fuddled with wine betrays his quality.
Easy flow wine, easy flow life, but to men of sober habit; sobriety must drink within measure.
To the drunkard,✻ life is no life at all;
wine is death, when it so deprives a man of life.
Wine was made for mirth, never for drunkenness;
drink wisely, and it shall rejoice thy heart and thy whole being;
health it brings to mind and body, wine wisely taken.
Wine drunk in excess brings anger and quarrelling and calamities a many;
it is the poison of a man’s life.
What does the false courage of the drunkard? It takes him unawares, and makes him less a man; grievous wounds come of it.
When the wine goes round, do not find fault with thy neighbour, or think the worse of him for being merry;
never taunt him, never press him to repay the debt.
The Holy Bible