1 I said in my heart, Come now, I will prove thee with mirth, and behold thou good: and, behold, this is also vanity. 2 I said to laughter, Madness: and to mirth, Why doest thou this?
3 And I examined whether my heart would excite my flesh as with wine, (though my heart guided me in wisdom,) and I desired to lay hold of mirth, until I should see of what kind is the good to the sons of men, which they should do under the sun all the days of their life. 4 I enlarged my work; I built me houses; I planted me vineyards. 5 I made me gardens and orchards, and planted in them every kind of fruit-tree. 6 I made me pools of water, to water from them the timber-bearing wood. 7 I got servants and maidens, and servants were born to me in the house: also I had abundant possession of flocks and herds, beyond all who were before me in Jerusalem. 8 Moreover I collected for myself both silver and gold also, and the peculiar treasures of kings and provinces: I procured me singing men and singing women, and delights of the sons of men, a butler and female cupbearers.
9 So I became great, and advanced beyond all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom was established to me. 10 And whatever mine eyes desired, I withheld not from them, I withheld not my heart from all my mirth: for my heart rejoiced in all my labour; and this was my portion of all my labour. 11 And I looked on all my works which my hands had wrought, and on my labour which I laboured to perform: and, behold, all was vanity and waywardness of spirit, and there is no advantage under the sun.
12 Then I looked on to see wisdom, and madness, and folly: for who is the man who will follow after counsel, in all things wherein he employs it? 13 And I saw that wisdom excels folly, as much as light excels darkness. 14 The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walks in darkness: and I perceived, even I, that one event shall happen to them all.
15 And I said in my heart, As the event of the fool is, so shall it be to me, even to me; and to what purpose have I gained wisdom? I said moreover in my heart, This is also vanity, because the fool speaks of his abundance. 16 For there is no remembrance of the wise man with the fool for ever; forasmuch as now in the coming days all things are forgotten: and how shall the wise man die with the fool?
17 So I hated life; because the work that was wrought under the sun was evil before me: for all is vanity and waywardness of spirit. 18 And I hated the whole of my labour which I took under the sun; because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? and whether he will have power over all my labour in which I laboured, and wherein I grew wise under the sun? this is also vanity. 20 So I went about to dismiss from my heart all my labour wherein I had laboured under the sun. 21 For there is such a man that his labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in fortitude; yet this man shall give his portion to one who has not laboured therein. This is also vanity and great evil. 22 For it happens to a man in all his labour, and in the purpose of his heart wherein he labours under the sun. 23 For all his days are days of sorrows, and vexation of spirit is his; in the night also his heart rests not. This is also vanity.
24 A man has nothing really good to eat, and to drink, and to shew his soul as good in his trouble. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who shall eat, or who shall drink, without him? 26 For God has given to the man who is good in his sight, wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but he has given to the sinner trouble, to add and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God; for this is also vanity and waywardness of spirit.