The preacher sheweth that all human courses are vain:
Ecclesiastes 1:1 The wordis of Ecclesiastes, sone of Dauid, the kyng of Jerusalem. Ecclesiastes 1:2 The vanyte of vanytees, seide Ecclesiastes; the vanyte of vanytees, and alle thingis ben vanite. Ecclesiastes 1:3 What hath a man more of alle his trauel, bi which he traueilith vndur the sunne?
because the creatures are restless in their courses,
Ecclesiastes 1:4 Generacioun passith awei, and generacioun cometh; but the erthe stondith with outen ende. Ecclesiastes 1:5 The sunne risith, and goith doun, and turneth ayen to his place; Ecclesiastes 1:6 and there it risith ayen, and cumpassith bi the south, and turneth ayen to the north. The spirit cumpassynge alle thingis goith in cumpas, and turneth ayen in to hise cerclis. Ecclesiastes 1:7 Alle floodis entren in to the see, and the see fletith not ouer the markis set of God; the floodis turnen ayen to the place fro whennus tho comen forth, that tho flowe eft. Ecclesiastes 1:8 Alle thingis ben hard; a man may not declare tho thingis bi word; the iye is not fillid bi siyt, nether the eere is fillid bi hering.
they bring forth nothing new, and all old things are forgotten,
Ecclesiastes 1:9 What is that thing that was, that that schal come? What is that thing that is maad, that that schal be maad? Ecclesiastes 1:10 No thing vndir the sunne is newe, nether ony man may seie, Lo! this thing is newe; for now it yede bifore in worldis, that weren bifore vs. Ecclesiastes 1:11 Mynde of the formere thingis is not, but sotheli nether thenkyng of tho thingis, that schulen come afterward, schal be at hem that schulen come in the last tyme.
and because he hath found it so in the studies of wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 1:12 I Ecclesiastes was king of Israel in Jerusalem; Ecclesiastes 1:13 and Y purposide in my soule to seke and enserche wiseli of alle thingis, that ben maad vndur the sunne. God yaf this werste ocupacioun to the sones of men, that thei schulden be ocupied therynne. Ecclesiastes 1:14 I siy alle thingis that ben maad vndur the sunne, and lo! alle thingis ben vanyte and turment of spirit. Ecclesiastes 1:15 Weiward men ben amendid of hard; and the noumbre of foolis is greet with outen ende. Ecclesiastes 1:16 I spak in myn herte, and Y seide, Lo! Y am made greet, and Y passide in wisdom alle men, that weren bifore me in Jerusalem; and my soule siy many thingis wiseli, and Y lernede. Ecclesiastes 1:17 And Y yaf myn herte, that Y schulde knowe prudence and doctryn, and errours and foli. And Y knew that in these thingis also was trauel and turment of spirit; Ecclesiastes 1:18 for in myche wisdom is myche indignacioun, and he that encressith kunnyng, encreessith also trauel.