1 Hear this, all people, and give ear,
all in the world that dwell;
2 Both low and high, both rich and poor.
3 My mouth shall wisdom tell;
My heart shall knowledge meditate.
4 I will incline mine ear
To parables, and on the harp
my sayings dark declare.
5 Amidst those days that evil be,
why should I, fearing, doubt?
When of my heels th’ iniquity
shall compass me about.
6 Whoe’er they be that in their wealth
their confidence do pitch,
And boast themselves, because they are
become exceeding rich:
7 Yet none of these his brother can
redeem by any way;
Nor can he unto God for him
sufficient ransom pay,
8 (Their soul’s redemption precious is,
and it can never be,)
9 That still he should for ever live,
and not corruption see.
10 For why? he seeth that wise men die,
and brutish fools also
Do perish; and their wealth, when dead,
to others they let go.
11 Their inward thought is, that their house
and dwelling-places shall
Stand through all ages; they their lands
by their own names do call.
12 But yet in honour shall not man
But passing hence, may be compar’d
unto the beasts that die.
13 Thus brutish folly plainly is
their wisdom and their way;
Yet their posterity approve
what they do fondly say.
14 Like sheep they in the grave are laid,
and death shall them devour;
And in the morning upright men
shall over them have pow’r:
Their beauty from their dwelling shall
consume within the grave.
15 But from hell’s hand God will me free,
for he shall me receive.
16 Be thou not then afraid when one
enriched thou dost see,
Nor when the glory of his house
advanced is on high:
17 For he shall carry nothing hence
when death his days doth end;
Nor shall his glory after him
into the grave descend.
18 Although he his own soul did bless
whilst he on earth did live;
(And when thou to thyself dost well,
men will thee praises give;)
19 He to his fathers’ race shall go,
they never shall see light.
20 Man honour’d wanting knowledge is
like beasts that perish quite.
Common Metre (8,6,8,6)
123 St Neot