But when I surveyed all that my hands had done, and what I had worked so hard to achieve, I realized that it was pointless—a chasing after wind. Nothing is to be gained under the sun.
My reflections then turned to wisdom, madness, and folly. What can the king's heir do but what has already been done?
I saw that wisdom is more beneficial than folly, as light is more beneficial than darkness.
The wise have eyes in their head, but fools walk around in darkness. But I also realized that the same fate happens to both of them.
So I thought to myself, What happens to the fool will also happen to me. So why have I been so very wise? I said to myself, This too is pointless.
There is no eternal memory of the wise any more than the foolish,a because everyone is forgotten before long. How can the wise die just like the fool?
So I hated life, because the things that happen under the sun were troublesome to me. Definitely, everything is pointless—just wind chasing.
I hated the things I worked so hard for here under the sun, because I will have to leave them to someone who comes after me.
And who knows whether that one will be wise or foolish? Either way, that person will have control over the results of all my hard work and wisdom here under the sun. That too is pointless.
I then gave myself up to despair, as I thought about all my laborious hard work under the sun,
because sometimes those who have worked hard with wisdom, knowledge, and skill must leave the results of their hard work as a possession to those who haven't worked hard for it. This too is pointless—it's a terrible wrong.