I thought in my heart,
“Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.”
But that also proved to be meaningless.
“Laughter, “ I said, “is foolish.
And what does pleasure accomplish?”
I tried cheering myself with wine,
and embracing folly—
my mind still guiding me with wisdom.
I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven
during the few days of their lives.
I undertook great projects:
I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.
I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.
I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house.
I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me.
I amassed silver and gold for myself,
and the treasure of kings and provinces.
I acquired men and women singers,
and a harem as well—
the delights of the heart of man.
I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me.
In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless,
a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun