Preceding Generations Forgotten
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities! all is vanity.
3 What profit hath man of all his labour wherewith he laboureth under the sun?
4 [One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh, but the earth standeth for ever.
5 The sun also riseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to its place where it ariseth.
6 The wind goeth towards the south, and turneth about towards the north: it turneth about continually, and the wind returneth again to its circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full: unto the place whither the rivers go, thither they go again.
8 All things are full of toil; none can express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 That which hath been is that which shall be; and that which hath been done is that which will be done: and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already in the ages which were before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be remembrance of things that are to come with those who shall live afterwards.
With Wisdom Comes Sorrow
12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I applied my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: this grievous occupation hath God given to the children of men to weary themselves therewith.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and pursuit of the wind.
15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight; and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I have become great and have acquired wisdom more than all they that have been before me over Jerusalem; and my heart hath seen much of wisdom and knowledge.
17 And I applied my heart to the knowledge of wisdom, and to the knowledge of madness and folly: I perceived that this also is a striving after the wind.
18 For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Ecclesiastes, 1 chapter. Darby Bible Translation.