1Follow thou not evil men (Do not thou follow evil people), desire thou not to be with them.
2For the soul of them bethinketh (on) ravens, and their lips speak frauds. (For their minds think about robberies, and their lips speak lies.)
3An house shall be builded by wisdom, and it shall be made strong by prudence, (or by understanding).
4[The] Cellars shall be filled in teaching, with all riches precious and full fair. (By knowledge and study, the cellars shall be filled with all precious and beautiful things of riches.)
5A wise man is strong, and a learned man is stalworthy and mighty.
6For why battle is begun with ordinance; and health shall be, where many counsels be. (For battle is begun with forethought; and victory shall be, where there be many plans, or much good advice.)
7Wisdom is high to a fool; in the gate he shall not open his mouth. (Wisdom is too high for a fool to reach; in court/at the city gates, he shall not even dare to open his mouth.)
8He that thinketh to do evils, shall be called a fool.
9The thought of a fool is (a) sin; and a backbiter is abomination of men (and a backbiter is an abomination to everyone).
10If thou hast slid, despairest (thou) in the day of anguish, (for) thy strength shall be made less.
11Deliver thou them, that be led to death (Rescue thou them, who be led to death); and cease thou not to deliver them, that be drawn to death.
12If thou sayest, Strongholds suffice not; he that is [the] beholder of the heart, understandeth, and nothing deceiveth the keeper of thy soul, and he shall yield to a man after his works.
13My son, eat thou honey, for it is good; and the honeycomb for it is full sweet to thy throat.
14So and the teaching of wisdom is good to thy soul; and when thou hast found it, thou shalt have hope in the last things, and thine hope shall not perish. (And so the teaching of wisdom is good for thy soul; and when thou hast found it, thou shalt have hope unto the end, and thy hope shall never perish.)
15Ambush thou not, and seek not (to bring) wickedness in the house of a just man, neither waste thou, his rest(ing) (place). (Do not thou ambush, and do not seek to bring wickedness into the house of a righteous person, nor destroy thou his resting place.)
16For a just man shall fall seven times in the day, and shall rise again; but wicked men shall fall into evil. (For a righteous person shall fall seven times in a day, and shall rise up again each time; but the wicked shall fall into evil, and shall never get out of it.)
17When thine enemy falleth, have thou not joy; and thine heart have not full out joying in his falling;
18lest peradventure the Lord see, and it displease him, and he take away his ire from him.
19Strive thou not with the worst men, neither follow thou wicked men. (Argue thou not with the wicked, nor follow thou the wicked.)
20For why evil men have not hope of things to come, and the lantern of wicked men shall be quenched. (For evil people have no hope in things to come, and the lantern of the wicked shall be quenched.)
21My son, dread thou God, and the king; and be thou not meddled with backbiters. (My son, fear thou God/have thou reverence for God, and the king; and be thou not mixed in, or mingled, with backbiters.)
22For their perdition shall rise together suddenly (For their perdition shall suddenly rise up, or shall happen), and who knoweth the fall of ever either?
23Also these things that follow be to wise men. It is not good to know a person in doom. (And these things that follow also be for the wise. It is not good to know a person whom thou is judging.)
24Peoples shall curse them that say to a wicked man, Thou art just; and lineages shall hold them abominable. (The peoples, or the nations, shall curse those who say to a wicked person, Thou art righteous; and the tribes, or all the people, shall hold them as abominable.)
25They that reprove justly sinners, shall be praised (They who justly rebuke sinners, shall be praised); and blessing shall come [up]on them.
26He that answereth (with) rightful words, shall kiss lips. (Lips shall kiss him, who answereth with upright words.)
27Make ready thy work withoutforth, and work thy field diligently, that thou build thine house afterward. (Do all thy work outside, and work thy field diligently, and then afterward, thou shalt build thy house.)
28Be thou not a witness without reasonable cause against thy neighbour; neither flatter thou any man with thy lips.
29Say thou not, As he did to me, so I shall do to him, and I shall yield to each man after his work.
30I passed by the field of a slow man, and by the vinery of a fond man; (I passed by a lazy man’s field, and by a foolish person’s vineyard;)
31and lo! nettles had filled all, thorns had covered the higher part thereof, and the wall of stones without mortar was destroyed.
32And when I had seen this thing, I setted (it) in mine heart, and by ensample, I learned (the) teaching. (And when I had seen this, I put it in my heart, and by example, I learned the lesson.)
33How long sleepest thou, slow man? when shalt thou rise from sleep? Soothly thou shalt sleep a little, thou shalt nap a little, thou shalt join together the hands a little, to take rest; (How long sleepest thou, O lazy man? when shalt thou rise from sleep? Truly thou shalt sleep a little, thou shalt nap a little, and then thou shalt join together thy hands a little, and take rest again;)
34and then thy neediness as a courier shall come to thee, and thy beggary as an armed man.
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