1It pertaineth to man to make ready the soul; and it pertaineth to the Lord to govern the tongue. (Each person must prepare their own soul, or their own life; but it is God who governeth their tongue, or telleth them what to say.)
2All the ways of men be open to the eyes of God (All the ways of people be before God); the Lord is a weigher of spirits, that is, of wills, yielding to man after his deservings.
3Show thy works to the Lord; and thy thoughts shall be (ad)dressed. (Commit thy plans to the Lord; and they shall succeed.)
4The Lord wrought all things for himself; and he made ready a wicked man to the evil day. (The Lord made everything for its own purpose; and he made the wicked for the day of evil.)
5Abomination of the Lord is each proud man (Each proud person is an abomination to the Lord); yea, though the hand is to the hand, he shall not be innocent. The beginning of [the] good way is to do rightwiseness; forsooth it is more acceptable with God, than to offer sacrifices.
6Wickedness is again-bought by mercy and truth; and men boweth away from evil by the dread of the Lord. (Wickedness is redeemed by love and faithfulness; and people can turn away from evil by the fear of the Lord/through reverence for the Lord.)
7When the ways of (a) man please the Lord, he shall convert, yea, his enemies to peace.
8Better is a little with rightfulness, than many fruits with wickedness.
9The heart of a man shall dispose his way; but it pertaineth to the Lord to (ad)dress his steps. (A person’s heart shall ordain his way; but it pertaineth to the Lord to direct his steps.)
10Divining is in the lips of a king; his mouth shall not err in doom. (The king speaketh with divine authority; his mouth shall not err in any judgement.)
11The dooms of the Lord be weight and balance; and his works be all the stones of the world. (The Lord’s justice be equal weights and an honest balance; yea, each of the stones in the world is his own work.)
12They that do wickedly be abominable to the king; for the throne of the realm is made steadfast by rightfulness.
13The will of kings is just lips; he that speaketh rightful things, shall be (ad)dressed. (The desire of kings is just, or truthful, words; he who speaketh upright things shall be favoured.)
14[The] Indignation of the king is (like) messengers of death; and a wise man shall please him (but a wise person shall please him).
15Life is in gladness of the king’s cheer; and his mercy is as rain coming late. (Life is in the gladness of the king’s face; and his mercy is like the rain that cometh late.)
16Wield thou wisdom, for it is better than gold; and get thou prudence, for it is preciouser than silver. (Possess thou wisdom, for it is better than gold; and get thou prudence, for it is more precious than silver.)
17The path of just men boweth away (from) evils (The path of the righteous turneth away from evil); the keeper of his soul keepeth his way (safe).
18Pride goeth before sorrow; and the spirit shall be enhanced before falling (and the spirit shall be raised up before a fall).
19It is better to be made meek with mild men, than to part spoils with proud men. (It is better to be made poor with the humble, than to part spoils with the proud.)
20A learned man in word shall find goods (A person learned in understanding shall obtain good things); and he that hopeth in the Lord is blessed.
21He that is wise in heart, shall be called prudent; and he that is sweet in speech, shall find greater things. (He who is wise in heart, shall be called prudent; and he who useth sweet, or pleasant, speech, shall increase his knowledge/shall help others to learn.)
22The well of life is the learning of him that wieldeth (it); the teaching of fools is folly.
23The heart of a wise man shall teach his mouth; and shall increase grace to his lips. (The heart of a wise person shall teach his mouth; and his lips shall bring an increase of favour.)
24Words well-set together is a comb of honey; health of bones is the sweetness of soul. (Kind words be like a honeycomb; sweet to the soul, and health for the bones.)
25A way there is that seemeth rightful to a man (There is a way that seemeth right to someone); and the last things thereof lead to death.
26The soul of a man travailing travaileth to himself; for his mouth compelled him. (A person labouring laboureth for himself; for his hunger compelled him.)
27An unwise man diggeth evil; and fire burneth in his lips. (The unwise person diggeth up evil; and fire burneth on his lips.)
28A wayward man raiseth strives; and a man full of words separateth princes. (A wayward person raiseth up strife, or arguments; and a person full of words separateth leaders.)
29A wicked man flattereth his friend; and leadeth him by a way not good.
30He that thinketh shrewd things with eyes astonied, biteth his lips, and performeth evil. (With astonished eyes, he thinketh depraved things, and biteth his lips, and performeth evil.)
31A crown of dignity is eld (age), that shall be found in the ways of rightfulness.
32A patient man is better than a strong man; and he that is lord of his soul, is better than an overcomer of cities. (A patient person is better than a strong person; and he who is lord over himself, or over his own nature, is better than an overcomer of cities.)
33Lots be sent into the bosom; but they be tempered of the Lord. (Lots can be cast into the lap; but they shall be decided, or determined, by the Lord.)
Wycliffe’s Old Testament
Wycliffe’s New Testament
and JOHN PURVEY
A modern-spelling edition of their
14TH century Middle English translation,
the first complete English vernacular version,
with an Introduction by
TERENCE P. NOBLE
Used by Permission