before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain;
when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint;15
when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home2 and mourners3 go about the streets.
Remember him--before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns4 to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God5 who gave it.68
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher.a7 "Everything is meaningless!8"
Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.910
The Teacher10 searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.1111
The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails12--given by one Shepherd.
Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.13