1 The wordis of hym that gaderith, of the sone spuynge. The prophesie which a man spak, with whom God was, and which man was coumfortid bi God dwellyng with hym,
2 and seide, Y am the moost fool of men; and the wisdom of men is not with me.
3 Y lernede not wisdom; and Y knew not the kunnyng of hooli men.
4 Who stiede in to heuene, and cam doun? Who helde togidere the spirit in hise hondis? who bonde togidere watris as in a cloth? Who reiside alle the endis of erthe? What is name of hym? and what is the name of his sone, if thou knowist?
5 Ech word of God is a scheld set a fiere, to alle that hopen in hym.
6 Adde thou not ony thing to the wordis of hym, and thou be repreued, and be foundun a liere.
7 I preiede thee twei thingis; denye not thou to me, bifor that Y die.
8 Make thou fer fro me vanyte and wordis of leesyng; yyue thou not to me beggery and richessis; yyue thou oneli necessaries to my lijflode;
9 lest perauenture Y be fillid, and be drawun to denye, and seie, Who is the Lord? and lest Y compellid bi nedynesse, stele, and forswere the name of my God.
10 Accuse thou not a seruaunt to his lord, lest perauenture he curse thee, and thou falle doun.
11 A generacioun that cursith his fadir, and that blessith not his modir.
12 A generacioun that semeth cleene to it silf, and netheles is not waischun fro hise filthis.
13 A generacioun whose iyen ben hiy, and the iye liddis therof ben reisid in to hiy thingis.
14 A generacioun that hath swerdis for teeth, and etith with hise wank teeth; that it ete nedi men of erthe, and the porails of men.
15 The watir leche hath twei douytris, seiynge, Brynge, bringe. Thre thingis ben vnable to be fillid, and the fourthe, that seith neuere, It suffisith;
16 helle, and the mouth of the wombe, and the erthe which is neuere fillid with water; but fier seith neuere, It suffisith.
17 Crowis of the stronde picke out thilke iye, that scorneth the fadir, and that dispisith the child beryng of his modir; and the briddis of an egle ete that iye.
18 Thre thingis ben hard to me, and outirli Y knowe not the fourthe thing;
19 the weye of an egle in heuene, the weie of a serpent on a stoon, the weie of a schip in the myddil of the see, and the weie of a man in yong wexynge age.
20 Siche is the weie of a womman auowtresse, which etith, and wipith hir mouth, and seith, Y wrouyte not yuel.
21 The erthe is moued bi thre thingis, and the fourthe thing, which it may not susteyne;
22 bi a seruaunt, whanne he regneth; bi a fool, whanne he is fillid with mete;
23 bi an hateful womman, whanne sche is takun in matrymonye; and bi an handmaide, whanne sche is eir of hir ladi.
24 Foure ben the leeste thingis of erthe, and tho ben wisere than wise men;
25 amtis, a feble puple, that maken redi mete in heruest to hem silf;
26 a hare, a puple vnmyyti, that settith his bed in a stoon;
27 a locust hath no kyng, and al goith out bi cumpanyes; an euete enforsith with hondis,
28 and dwellith in the housis of kingis.
29 Thre thingis ben, that goon wel, and the fourthe thing, that goith richeli.
30 A lioun, strongeste of beestis, schal not drede at the meetyng of ony man;
31 a cok gird the leendis, and a ram, and noon is that schal ayenstonde him.
32 He that apperith a fool, aftir that he is reisid an hiy; for if he hadde vndurstonde, he hadde sett hond on his mouth.
33 Forsothe he that thristith strongli teetis, to drawe out mylk, thristith out botere; and he that smytith greetli, drawith out blood; and he that stirith iris, bringith forth discordis.