Poets Feature Sampler - Flipbook - Page 23
as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
For she cares nothing about the path to life.
She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.
So now, my sons, listen to me.
Never stray from what I am about to say:
Stay away from her!
Don’t go near the door of her house!
If you do, you will lose your honor
and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
Strangers will consume your wealth,
and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
In the end you will groan in anguish
when disease consumes your body.
You will say, “How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace.”
Drink water from your own well—
share your love only with your wife.
Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
having sex with just anyone?
You should reserve it for yourselves.
Never share it with strangers.
My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt
or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger—
if you have trapped yourself by your agreement
and are caught by what you said—
follow my advice and save yourself,
for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy.
Now swallow your pride;
go and beg to have your name erased.
Don’t put it off; do it now!
Don’t rest until you do.
Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter,
like a bird fleeing from a net.
Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
Learn from their ways and become wise!
Though they have no prince
or governor or ruler to make them work,
they labor hard all summer,
gathering food for the winter.
But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
When will you wake up?
A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts satisfy you always.
May you always be captivated by her love.
Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?
What are worthless and wicked people like?
They are constant liars,
signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye,
a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers.
Their perverted hearts plot evil,
and they constantly stir up trouble.
But they will be destroyed suddenly,
broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.
For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
examining every path he takes.
An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
they are ropes that catch and hold him.
He will die for lack of self-control;
he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
There are six things the Lord hates—
no, seven things he detests:
a lying tongue,
hands that kill the innocent,
a heart that plots evil,