The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Wisdom
Bold is her sweep from world’s end to world’s end, and everywhere her gracious ordering manifests itself.
She, from my youth up has been my heart’s true love, my heart’s true quest; she was the bride I longed for, enamoured of her beauty.
Was I moved by noble birth? No better claim than hers, who dwells in God’s palace, marked out by the Ruler of the world as his favourite;
the mistress of his craftsmanship, the arbiter of his plans.✻
Or should life’s dearest aim be wealth? Why then, who has more wealth at her disposal than wisdom, that turns all to account?
Or if sound judgement is man’s business, who else on earth goes to work so skilfully as she?✻
If thy desire be for honest living, man’s excellences are the fruit she labours to produce; temperance and prudence she teaches, justice and fortitude, and what in life avails man more?
Or if wide knowledge be thy ambition, she can inform thee of what is past, make conjecture of the future; she is versed in the subtleties of debate, in the reading of all riddles; marvels and portents she can foretell, and what events time or season will bring.
Her, then, I would take to myself, to share my home; to be my counsellor in prosperity, my solace in anxiety and grief.
Through her (said I) I shall win fame in the assembly, find honour, though so young, amidst the elders.
If I sit in judgement, quick wit shall be mine, that shall strike awe into the princes when I appear before them, the admiration of the great.
Am I silent? They wait my leisure; speak I, they take heed; flows my speech on, they listen, hand on lip.
She, too, will bring me immortality; imperishable the name I shall leave to after ages.
Mine to rule peoples, and have nations at my call;
dread tyrants to daunt by the very name of me, the name of a king so loved by his people, so brave in battle.
Then home again, to rest upon her bosom; no shrewish mate, no tedious housewife, joy and contentment all of her.
So ran my thoughts, and well in my heart I pondered them. Wisdom, that brought such kinship with immortality,
whose friendship was such dear delight, whose exercise brought me credit unfailing, her daily comradeship a training in sound judgement, the eloquence she inspired an earnest of renown; win her for myself I must, and went about to attain my purpose.
I was, indeed, a boy of good parts, and nobility of nature had fallen to my lot;
gentle birth above the common had endowed me with a body free from blemish.✻
But to be master of myself was a thing I could not hope to come by, except of God’s bounty; I was wise enough already to know whence the gift came. So to the Lord I turned, and made my request of him, praying with all my heart in these words following:
The Holy Bible