1 I said in my heart, 'Pray, come, I try thee with mirth, and look thou on gladness;' and lo, even it is vanity. 2 Of laughter I said, 'Foolish!' and of mirth, 'What is this it is doing?' 3 I have sought in my heart to draw out with wine my appetite, (and my heart leading in wisdom), and to take hold on folly till that I see where is this -- the good to the sons of man of that which they do under the heavens, the number of the days of their lives.
4 I made great my works, I builded for me houses, I planted for me vineyards. 5 I made for me gardens and paradises, and I planted in them trees of every fruit. 6 I made for me pools of water, to water from them a forest shooting forth trees. 7 I got men-servants, and maid-servants, and sons of the house were to me; also, I had much substance -- herd and flock -- above all who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I gathered for me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces. I prepared for me men-singers and women-singers, and the luxuries of the sons of man -- a wife and wives. 9 And I became great, and increased above every one who had been before me in Jerusalem; also, my wisdom stood with me. 10 And all that mine eyes asked I kept not back from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced because of all my labour, and this hath been my portion, from all my labour, 11 and I have looked on all my works that my hands have done, and on the labour that I have laboured to do, and lo, the whole is vanity and vexation of spirit, and there is no advantage under the sun!
12 And I turned to see wisdom, and madness, and folly, but what is the man who cometh after the king? that which is already -- they have done it! 13 And I saw that there is an advantage to wisdom above folly, like the advantage of the light above the darkness.
14 The wise! -- his eyes are in his head, and the fool in darkness is walking, and I also knew that one event happeneth with them all; 15 and I said in my heart, 'As it happeneth with the fool, it happeneth also with me, and why am I then more wise?' And I spake in my heart, that also this is vanity: 16 That there is no remembrance to the wise -- with the fool -- to the age, for that which is already, in the days that are coming is all forgotten, and how dieth the wise? with the fool! 17 And I have hated life, for sad to me is the work that hath been done under the sun, for the whole is vanity and vexation of spirit.
18 And I have hated all my labour that I labour at under the sun, because I leave it to a man who is after me. 19 And who knoweth whether he is wise or foolish? yet he doth rule over all my labour that I have laboured at, and that I have done wisely under the sun! this also is vanity. 20 And I turned round to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour that I laboured at under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity, and to a man who hath not laboured therein he giveth it -- his portion! Even this is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what hath been to a man by all his labour, and by the thought of his heart that he laboured at under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail sadness; even at night his heart hath not lain down; this also is vanity.
24 There is nothing good in a man who eateth, and hath drunk, and hath shewn his soul good in his labour. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who eateth and who hasteth out more than I? 26 For to a man who is good before Him, He hath given wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; and to a sinner He hath given travail, to gather and to heap up, to give to the good before God. Even this is vanity and vexation of spirit.