I am A Man of Letters. I’ve been reading lately, and I have found some words I would like to share. Today, selections from “Ecclesiastes.” “Ecclesiastes” is found in the Christian Bible as well as the Hebrew Torah. It was composed by an anonymous author in the Third Century.
Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so does a little folly in him that has a reputation for wisdom and honor.
A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.
Yes, also, when he that is a fool walks by the way, his wisdom fails him, and he says to every one that he is a fool.
If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, leave not your place; for yielding pacifies great offenses.
There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceeds from the ruler:
Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.
I have seen servants upon horses, and Princes walking as servants upon the Earth.
He that digs a pit will fall into it; and whoso breaks a hedge, a serpent will bite him.
Whoso removes stones will be hurt by stones; and he that cleaves wood will be endangered by wood.
If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what will be; and what will be after him, who can tell him?
The labor of the foolish wearies every one of them, because he knows not how to go to the city.
Woe to you, O land, when your King is a child, and your Princes eat in the morning!
Blessed are you, O land, when your King is the son of nobles, and your Princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!
By much slothfulness the building decays; and through idleness of the hands the house drops through.
A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry: but money answers all things.
Curse not the King, no not in your thought; and curse not the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the air will carry the voice, and that which has wings will tell the matter.
Cast your bread upon the waters: for you will find it after many days.
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for you know not what evil will be upon the Earth.
If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the Earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will be.
He that observes the wind will not sow; and he that regards the clouds will not reap.
As you know not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so you know not the works of God who makes all.
In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hand: for you know not whether will prosper, either this or that, or whether they both will be alike good.
Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they will be many. All that comes is vanity.
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes: but know, that for all these things God will bring you judgment.
Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when you shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
In the day when the keepers of the house will tremble, and the strong men will bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
And the doors will be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he will rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music will be brought low;
Also when they will be afraid of that which is high, and fears will be in the way, and the almond tree will flourish, and the grasshopper will be a burden, and desire will fail: because man returns to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Then will the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit will return unto God who gave it.
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one Shepherd.
And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Thank you for listening. For more information about the words I have read, please visit A Man of Letters. amoletters.com.
Until I return, I am A Man of Letters.
Art Jarrett – My Dancing Lady (MGM 1933)
Bernhard Ette – In einer kleinen Konditorei (Kristall 3004A 1929?)