The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Proverbs
When thou art sitting at table with a prince, mark well what is set before thee,
and, have thou thy appetite under control, guard as with a drawn knife thy gullet.
Hanker thou never after those good things of his; they are bait to lure thee.✻
Do not be at pains to amass riches; let thy scheming✻ have its bounds.
Never let thy eyes soar to the wealth that is beyond thy reach, eagle-winged against thy pursuit.
Shun the niggard’s table; not for thee his dainties.
Abstracted he sits, like soothsayer brooding over false dreams; Eat and drink, he tells thee, but his mind is far away.
For that grudged food thou wilt have no stomach; all gracious speech will die away on thy tongue.✻
Speak not with fools for thy hearers; of thy warning utterance they will reck nothing.
Leave undisturbed the landmarks of friendless folk, nor encroach on the orphan’s patrimony;
a strong Champion they have, to grant them redress.
Still let thy heart be attentive to warnings, open be thy ear to words of instruction.
Nor ever from child of thine withhold chastisement; he will not die under the rod;
rather, the rod thou wieldest shall baulk the grave of its prey.
Wise heart of thine, my son, is glad heart of mine;
speak thou aright, all my being thrills.
Do not envy sinners their good fortune, but abide in the fear of the Lord continually;
the future holds blessings for thee, never shall that hope play thee false.
Listen, then, my son, and shew thyself wise, keeping still an even course.
Be not of their company, that drink deep and pile the dishes high at their revels;
ruined they shall be, sot and trencherman, and wake from their drunken sleep to find themselves dressed in rags.
Thine to obey the father who begot thee, nor leave thy mother without reverence in her grey hairs;
truth to covet, hold wisdom, and self-command, and discernment for treasured heirlooms.
Joy there is and pride in an upright man’s begetting for the glad father of a wise son;
such joy let thy father have, such pride be hers, the mother who bore thee!
My son, give me the gift of thy heart, scan closely the path I shew thee.
What pit so deep as the harlot’s greed, what snare holds so close as wanton wife?
Like a footpad she lurks beside the way, a deadly peril to all that forget their troth.
Unhappy son of an unhappy father, who is this, ever brawling, ever falling, scarred but not from battle, blood-shot of eye?
Who but the tosspot that sits long over his wine?
Look not at the wine’s tawny glow, sparkling there in the glass beside thee; how insinuating its address!
Yet at last adder bites not so fatally, poison it distils like the basilisk’s own.
Eyes that stray to forbidden charms, a mind uttering thoughts that are none of thine,
shall make thee helpless as mariner asleep in mid ocean, when the tiller drops from the helmsman’s drowsy grasp.
What! thou wilt say, blows all unfelt, wounds that left no sting! Could I but come to myself, and be back, even now, at my wine!
The Holy Bible