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Ecclesiastes 10

 
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1 μυῖαι θανατοῦσαι σαπριοῦσιν σκευασίαν ἐλαίου ἡδύσματος τίμιον ὀλίγον σοφίας ὑπὲρ δόξαν ἀφροσύνης μεγάλης 1 No ointment can perfumer brew so sweet, but it grows foul when dead flies are lodged in it. And wouldst thou barter away wisdom and honour both, for a moment’s folly? 1

Muscæ morientes perdunt suavitatem unguenti.
Pretiosior est sapientia et gloria,
parva et ad tempus stultitia.
2 καρδία σοφοῦ εἰς δεξιὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ καρδία ἄφρονος εἰς ἀριστερὸν αὐτοῦ 3 καί γε ἐν ὁδῷ ὅταν ἄφρων πορεύηται καρδία αὐτοῦ ὑστερήσει καὶ ἃ λογιεῖται πάντα ἀφροσύνη ἐστίν 2 The fool’s wits are astray; the wise man’s right is to him left.[1] 3 By his way of it, every passer-by on the road is a fool, save he. 2
Cor sapientis in dextera ejus,
et cor stulti in sinistra illius.
3
Sed et in via stultus ambulans,
cum ipse insipiens sit,
omnes stultos æstimat.
4 ἐὰν πνεῦμα τοῦ ἐξουσιάζοντος ἀναβῇ ἐπὶ σέ τόπον σου μὴ ἀφῇς ὅτι ἴαμα καταπαύσει ἁμαρτίας μεγάλας 4 Though a prince’s anger should mount against thee, do not desert thy post; great harm by thy healing touch may yet be assuaged. 4
Si spiritus potestatem habentis ascenderit super te,
locum tuum ne demiseris,
quia curatio faciet cessare peccata maxima.
5 ἔστιν πονηρία ἣν εἶδον ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον ὡς ἀκούσιον ὃ ἐξῆλθεν ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ ἐξουσιάζοντος 5 This is a source of trouble I have marked, here under the sun; the causeless whim of tyrants. 5

Est malum quod vidi sub sole,
quasi per errorem egrediens a facie principis:
6 ἐδόθη ὁ ἄφρων ἐν ὕψεσι μεγάλοις καὶ πλούσιοι ἐν ταπεινῷ καθήσονται 7 εἶδον δούλους ἐ{F'} ἵππους καὶ ἄρχοντας πορευομένους ὡς δούλους ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς 6 Fools come to the top, down go rank and riches; 7 slaves you will see riding on horseback, and princes going afoot at their bridle-rein. 6
positum stultum in dignitate sublimi,
et divites sedere deorsum.
7
Vidi servos in equis,
et principes ambulantes super terram quasi servos.
8 ὁ ὀρύσσων βόθρον ἐν αὐτῷ ἐμπεσεῖται καὶ καθαιροῦντα φραγμόν δήξεται αὐτὸν ὄφις 9 ἐξαίρων λίθους διαπονηθήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς σχίζων ξύλα κινδυνεύσει ἐν αὐτοῖς 8 Fall into pit thou shalt not, if thou dig none; breach no walls, if thou wouldst avoid the adder’s sting. 9 Stone crushes his foot that stone carries, and wood scratches him that wood cuts. 8
Qui fodit foveam incidet in eam,
et qui dissipat sepem mordebit eum coluber.
9
Qui transfert lapides affligetur in eis,
et qui scindit ligna vulnerabitur ab eis.
10 ἐὰν ἐκπέσῃ τὸ σιδήριον καὶ αὐτὸς πρόσωπον ἐτάραξεν καὶ δυνάμεις δυναμώσει καὶ περισσεία τοῦ ἀνδρείου σοφία 11 ἐὰν δάκῃ ὁ ὄφις ἐν οὐ ψιθυρισμῷ καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν περισσεία τῷ ἐπᾴδοντι 10 Blunt tool that has grown dull from long disuse shall cost thee pains a many;[2] if thou hadst been wise sooner, thou shouldst have toiled less.[3] 11 Bite snake ere the spell begins, he is no better off that has the master-word.[4] 10
Si retusum fuerit ferrum,
et hoc non ut prius, sed hebetatum fuerit,
multo labore exacuetur,
et post industriam sequetur sapientia.
11
Si mordeat serpens in silentio,
nihil eo minus habet qui occulte detrahit.
12 λόγοι στόματος σοφοῦ χάρις καὶ χείλη ἄφρονος καταποντιοῦσιν αὐτόν 13 ἀρχὴ λόγων στόματος αὐτοῦ ἀφροσόνη καὶ ἐσχάτη στόματος αὐτοῦ περιφέρεια πονηρά 14 καὶ ὁ ἄφρων πληθύνει λόγους οὐκ ἔγνω ὁ ἄνθρωπος τί τὸ γενόμενον καὶ τί τὸ ἐσόμενον ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ τίς ἀναγγελεῖ αὐτῷ 12 Wise utterance wins favour; the fool that opens his mouth does but ruin himself, 13 his preface idle talk, his conclusion madness. 14 Of words a fool has no stint …

… What went before, is lost to man’s view, and what shall befall when he is gone, none can tell him.[5]
12
Verba oris sapientis gratia,
et labia insipientis præcipitabunt eum;
13
initium verborum ejus stultitia,
et novissimum oris illius error pessimus.
14
Stultus verba multiplicat.
Ignorat homo quid ante se fuerit;
et quid post se futurum sit, quis ei poterit indicare?
15 μόχθος τῶν ἀφρόνων κοπώσει αὐτούς ὃς οὐκ ἔγνω τοῦ πορευθῆναι εἰς πόλιν 15 He is on a fool’s errand, that does not even know his way to town.[6] 15
Labor stultorum affliget eos,
qui nesciunt in urbem pergere.
16 οὐαί σοι πόλις ἧς ὁ βασιλεύς σου νεώτερος καὶ οἱ ἄρχοντές σου ἐν πρωίᾳ ἐσθίουσιν 17 μακαρία σύ γῆ ἧς ὁ βασιλεύς σου υἱὸς ἐλευθέρων καὶ οἱ ἄρχοντές σου πρὸς καιρὸν φάγονται ἐν δυνάμει καὶ οὐκ αἰσχυνθήσονται 16 Woe to the land that has young blood on the throne, whose court sits feasting till daybreak! 17 And happy the land whose king is of true princely breed, whose courtiers feast when feast should be, to comfort their hearts, not all in revelry. 16

Væ tibi, terra, cujus rex puer est,
et cujus principes mane comedunt.
17
Beata terra cujus rex nobilis est,
et cujus principes vescuntur in tempore suo,
ad reficiendum, et non ad luxuriam.
18 ἐν ὀκνηρίαις ταπεινωθήσεται ἡ δόκωσις καὶ ἐν ἀργίᾳ χειρῶν στάξει ἡ οἰκία 18 Roof sags where idleness dwells; a leaking gutter means nerveless hands within. 18
In pigritiis humiliabitur contignatio,
et in infirmitate manuum perstillabit domus.
19 εἰς γέλωτα ποιοῦσιν ἄρτον καὶ οἶνος εὐφραίνει ζῶντας καὶ τοῦ ἀργυρίου ἐπακούσεται σὺν τὰ πάντα 19 Food will cheer thee, wine bring thee gladness, but money, it answers every need. 19
In risum faciunt panem et vinum
ut epulentur viventes;
et pecuniæ obediunt omnia.
20 καί γε ἐν συνειδήσει σου βασιλέα μὴ καταράσῃ καὶ ἐν ταμιείοις κοιτώνων σου μὴ καταράσῃ πλούσιον ὅτι πετεινὸν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἀποίσει σὺν τὴν φωνήν καὶ ὁ ἔχων τὰς πτέρυγας ἀπαγγελεῖ λόγον 20 Of the king, no treasonable thought; of the nobles, no ill word even in thy bed-chamber; the very birds in heaven will catch the echoes of it, and fly off to betray thy secret. 20
In cogitatione tua regi ne detrahas,
et in secreto cubiculi tui ne maledixeris diviti:
quia et aves cæli portabunt vocem tuam,
et qui habet pennas annuntiabit sententiam.
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Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.