The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiastes
Do not forget thy Maker, now, while youth lasts; now, while the evil days are still far off, the years that pass unwelcomed.
Not yet the obscuration of sun and moon and starlight; and the clouds that still gather when the rainy season is done.
One day, palsy will shake those door-keepers, those stalwart guards will be bowed with age; rarer, now, the busy maidens at the mill, dimmer, now, those bright glances from the windows.
The street-doors shut, muffled the hum of the mill, bird-song for waking-time, and all the echoes✻ of music faint!
Fear upon every height, terrors on the road; almond-blossom matched for whiteness; the grasshopper’s weight a burden now; the spiced food untasted!✻ Man is for his everlasting home, and already the mourners are astir in the streets.
That, or else yonder cord of silver will be loosed, yonder golden skein unravelled; pitcher broken beside the fountain, wheel lost in the well;✻
with that, back goes dust to its parent earth, and the spirit✻ returns to God who gave it.
A shadow’s shadow, he, the Spokesman, tells us, a world of shadows!
Abundant wisdom the Spokesman had, to be the oracle of his people; the story of his life he made known to them, laid secrets bare, and proverbs framed a many.
Sayings of much import he devised, and nothing his pen set down but was truth unalloyed.
Sharp goads they are to sting us, sharp nails driven deep home, these wise words left to us by many masters, but all echoing one shepherd’s voice.
Let these, my son, be all the wisdom thou cravest; this writing of books is an endless matter, and from overmuch study nature rebels.
Conclude we then thus in general; Fear God, and keep his commandments; this is the whole meaning of man.
No act of thine but God will bring it under his scrutiny, deep beyond all thy knowing, and pronounce it good or evil.
The Holy Bible