1 I said in my heart, Come now, I will prove thee with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it? 3 I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, my heart yet guiding [me] with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all the days of their life. 4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards; 5 I made me gardens and parks, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit; 6 I made me pools of water, to water therefrom the forest where trees were reared; 7 I bought men-servants and maid-servants, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of herds and flocks, above all that were before me in Jerusalem; 8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, musical instruments, and that of all sorts.
9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced because of all my labor; and this was my portion from all my labor. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do; and, behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun.
12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what [can] the man [do] that cometh after the king? [even] that which hath been done long ago. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. 14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, and the fool walketh in darkness: and yet I perceived that one event happeneth to them all. 15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so will it happen even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then said I in my heart, that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance for ever; seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. And how doth the wise man die even as the fool! 17 So I hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun was grievous unto me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind.
18 And I hated all my labor wherein I labored under the sun, seeing that I must leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19 And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labor wherein I had labored under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skilfulness; yet to a man that hath not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what hath a man of all his labor, and of the striving of his heart, wherein he laboreth under the sun? 23 For all his days are [but] sorrows, and his travail is grief; yea, even in the night his heart taketh no rest. This also is vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a man [than] that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? 26 For to the man that pleaseth him [God] giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that pleaseth God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.