I said to myself, Come, I will make you experience pleasure; enjoy what is good! But this too was pointless!
Merriment, I thought, is madness; pleasure, of no use at all.
I tried cheering myself with wine and by embracing folly—with wisdom still guiding me—until I might see what is really worth doing in the few days that human beings have under heaven.
I took on great projects: I built houses for myself, planted vineyards for myself.
I made gardens and parks for myself, planting every kind of fruit tree in them.
I made reservoirs for myself to water my lush groves.
I acquired male servants and female servants; I even had slaves born in my house. I also had great herds of cattle and sheep, more than any who preceded me in Jerusalem.
I amassed silver and gold for myself, the treasures of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers for myself, along with every human luxury, treasure chests galore!
So I became far greater than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Moreover, my wisdom stood by me.
I refrained from nothing that my eyes desired. I refused my heart no pleasure. Indeed, my heart found pleasure from the results of my hard work; that was the reward from all my hard work.
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.