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Ecclesiastes 4

 
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1 καὶ ἐπέστρεψα ἐγὼ καὶ εἶδον σὺν πάσας τὰς συκοφαντίας τὰς γινομένας ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον καὶ ἰδοὺ δάκρυον τῶν συκοφαντουμένων καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῖς παρακαλῶν καὶ ἀπὸ χειρὸς συκοφαντούντων αὐτοὺς ἰσχύς καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῖς παρακαλῶν 2 καὶ ἐπῄνεσα ἐγὼ σὺν τοὺς τεθνηκότας τοὺς ἤδη ἀποθανόντας ὑπὲρ τοὺς ζῶντας ὅσοι αὐτοὶ ζῶσιν ἕως τοῦ νῦν 3 καὶ ἀγαθὸς ὑπὲρ τοὺς δύο τούτους ὅστις οὔπω ἐγένετο ὃς οὐκ εἶδεν σὺν τὸ ποίημα τὸ πονηρὸν τὸ πεποιημένον ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον 1 And then my thoughts would turn back to all the wrongs that are done under the sun’s eye. Innocent folk in tears, and who is to comfort them? Who is to comfort them, powerless against their oppressors? 2 The dead, it seemed, were more to be envied than the living; 3 better yet to be still unborn, never to have known the shameful deeds that are done, out here in the sunlight. 1

Verti me ad alia, et vidi calumnias
quæ sub sole geruntur,
et lacrimas innocentium,
et neminem consolatorem,
nec posse resistere eorum violentiæ,
cunctorum auxilio destitutos,
2
et laudavi magis mortuos quam viventes;
3
et feliciorem utroque judicavi
qui necdum natus est,
nec vidit mala quæ sub sole fiunt.
4 καὶ εἶδον ἐγὼ σὺν πάντα τὸν μόχθον καὶ σὺν πᾶσαν ἀνδρείαν τοῦ ποιήματος ὅτι αὐτὸ ζῆλος ἀνδρὸς ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑταίρου αὐτοῦ καί γε τοῦτο ματαιότης καὶ προαίρεσις πνεύματος 5 ὁ ἄφρων περιέλαβεν τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔφαγεν τὰς σάρκας αὐτοῦ 6 ἀγαθὸν πλήρωμα δρακὸς ἀναπαύσεως ὑπὲρ πλήρωμα δύο δρακῶν μόχθου καὶ προαιρέσεως πνεύματος 4 I thought, too, of human toil and striving; how much it owed to man’s rivalry with his fellows! All was frustration and lost labour here. 5 What wonder if the fool sits idle, and starves to death? 6 Better a handful (says he) quietly come by, than a whole armful that is all striving and labour lost.[1] 4
Rursum contemplatus sum omnes labores hominum,
et industrias animadverti patere invidiæ proximi;
et in hoc ergo vanitas et cura superflua est.
5
Stultus complicat manus suas,
et comedit carnes suas, dicens:
6
Melior est pugillus cum requie,
quam plena utraque manus cum labore et afflictione animi.
7 καὶ ἐπέστρεψα ἐγὼ καὶ εἶδον ματαιότητα ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον 8 ἔστιν εἷς καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν δεύτερος καί γε υἱὸς καὶ ἀδελφὸς οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτῷ καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν περασμὸς τῷ παντὶ μόχθῳ αὐτοῦ καί γε ὀφθαλμὸς αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐμπίπλαται πλούτου καὶ τίνι ἐγὼ μοχθῶ καὶ στερίσκω τὴν ψυχήν μου ἀπὸ ἀγαθωσύνης καί γε τοῦτο ματαιότης καὶ περισπασμὸς πονηρός ἐστιν 7 And there was another kind of frustration I marked, here under the sun. 8 Here is one that works alone, partner nor son nor brother to aid him, yet still works on, never content with his bright hoard, never asking, as he toils and stints himself, who shall gain by it. Frustration and lost labour, here too. 7
Considerans, reperi et aliam vanitatem sub sole.
8
Unus est, et secundum non habet,
non filium, non fratrem,
et tamen laborare non cessat,
nec satiantur oculi ejus divitiis;
nec recogitat, dicens:
Cui laboro, et fraudo animam meam bonis?
In hoc quoque vanitas est et afflictio pessima.
9 ἀγαθοὶ οἱ δύο ὑπὲρ τὸν ἕνα οἷς ἔστιν αὐτοῖς μισθὸς ἀγαθὸς ἐν μόχθῳ αὐτῶν 10 ὅτι ἐὰν πέσωσιν ὁ εἷς ἐγερεῖ τὸν μέτοχον αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐαὶ αὐτῷ τῷ ἑνί ὅταν πέσῃ καὶ μὴ ᾖ δεύτερος τοῦ ἐγεῖραι αὐτόν 11 καί γε ἐὰν κοιμηθῶσιν δύο καὶ θέρμη αὐτοῖς καὶ ὁ εἷς πῶς θερμανθῇ 12 καὶ ἐὰν ἐπικραταιωθῇ ὁ εἷς οἱ δύο στήσονται κατέναντι αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ σπαρτίον τὸ ἔντριτον οὐ ταχέως ἀπορραγήσεται 9 Better to be in partnership with another, than alone; partnership brings advantage to both. 10 If one falls, the other will give support; with the lonely it goes hard; when he falls, there is none to raise him. 11 Sleep two in one bed, each shall warm the other; for the lonely, there is no warmth. 12 Two may withstand assault, where one is no match for it; a triple cord is not lightly broken. 9

Melius est ergo duos esse simul quam unum;
habent enim emolumentum societatis suæ.
10
Si unus ceciderit, ab altero fulcietur.
Væ soli, quia cum ceciderit, non habet sublevantem se.
11
Et si dormierint duo, fovebuntur mutuo;
unus quomodo calefiet?
12
Et si quispiam prævaluerit contra unum,
duo resistunt ei;
funiculus triplex difficile rumpitur.
13 ἀγαθὸς παῖς πένης καὶ σοφὸς ὑπὲρ βασιλέα πρεσβύτερον καὶ ἄφρονα ὃς οὐκ ἔγνω τοῦ προσέχειν ἔτι 14 ὅτι ἐξ οἴκου τῶν δεσμίων ἐξελεύσεται τοῦ βασιλεῦσαι ὅτι καί γε ἐν βασιλείᾳ αὐτοῦ ἐγεννήθη πένης 15 εἶδον σὺν πάντας τοὺς ζῶντας τοὺς περιπατοῦντας ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον μετὰ τοῦ νεανίσκου τοῦ δευτέρου ὃς στήσεται ἀν{T'} αὐτοῦ 16 οὐκ ἔστιν περασμὸς τῷ παντὶ λαῷ τοῖς πᾶσιν ὅσοι ἐγένοντο ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν καί γε οἱ ἔσχατοι οὐκ εὐφρανθήσονται ἐν αὐτῷ ὅτι καί γε τοῦτο ματαιότης καὶ προαίρεσις πνεύματος 13 There is more hope for a wise servant[2] that is in hard straits, than for a dotard king that foresight has none. 14 Men have risen to a throne that till now were bound in prison; men born to rule a kingdom have died of want. 15 I have seen the whole world, from east to west, take part with the young man, the usurper that rises in the old king’s stead. 16 The old king, that had an immemorial line of ancestors;[3] and now posterity shall take no pride in him! All is frustration, and labour lost. 13
Melior est puer pauper et sapiens,
rege sene et stulto,
qui nescit prævidere in posterum.
14
Quod de carcere catenisque interdum quis egrediatur ad regnum;
et alius, natus in regno, inopia consumatur.
15
Vidi cunctos viventes qui ambulant sub sole
cum adolescente secundo, qui consurget pro eo.
16
Infinitus numerus est populi
omnium qui fuerunt ante eum,
et qui postea futuri sunt non lætabuntur in eo;
sed et hoc vanitas et afflictio spiritus.
17 φύλαξον πόδα σου ἐν ᾧ ἐὰν πορεύῃ εἰς οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐγγὺς τοῦ ἀκούειν ὑπὲρ δόμα τῶν ἀφρόνων θυσία σου ὅτι οὔκ εἰσιν εἰδότες τοῦ ποιῆσαι κακόν 17 Look well what thou art doing when thou goest into God’s house; present thyself there in a spirit of obedience. Obedience is far better than the sacrifice made by fools, that are guilty of unwitting sacrilege.[4] 17

Custodi pedem tuum ingrediens domum Dei,
et appropinqua ut audias.
Multo enim melior est obedientia quam stultorum victimæ,
qui nesciunt quid faciunt mali.
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Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.