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TEXTS CHIEFLY ALLUDED TO IN THIS BOOK.
I said in mine heart, 'Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure.' Eccles. chap. ii. ver. 1.
I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards, ver. 4.
I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits, ver. 5.
I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees, ver. 6.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun, ver. 11.
I gat me men-singers, and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts, ver. 8.
I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, (yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom) and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was TEXTS CHIEFLY ALLUDED TO IN THIS BOOK.
that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven, all the days of their life, ver. 3.
Then said I in my heart, 'As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me: and why was I then more wise?' Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. Eccles, chap. ii. ver. 15.
Therefore I hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me, chap. ii. ver. 17.
Dead Aies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour; so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour, chap. X. ver. 1.
The memory of the just is blessed; but the name of the wicked shall rot. Prov. chap. x. ver. 7.
ARGUMENT. Solomon, again seeking happiness inquires if wealth and greatness
can produce it; begins with the magnificence of gardens and buildings; the luxury of music and feasting; and proceeds to the hopes and desires of love. In two episodes are shown the follies and troubles of that passion. Solomon, still disappointed, falls under the temptations of libertinism and idolatry; recovers his thought ; reasons aright; and concludes that, as to the pursuit of pleasure and sensual delight, ALL IS VANITY AND VEXA. TION OF SPIRIT.
Try then, O man, the moments to deceive
I commun'd thus : the power of wealth I tried, And all the various luxe of costly pride ; Artists and plans reliev'd my solemn hours; I founded palaces and planted bow'rs. Birds, fishes, beasts, of each exotic kind I to the limits of my court confin'd. To trees transfer'd I gave a second birth, And bid a foreign shade grace Judah's earth. Fish-ponds were made where former forests grew, And hills were levell’d to extend the view. Rivers, diverted from their native course, And bound with chains of artificial force, From large cascades in pleasing tumult rollid, Or rose through figur'd stone or breathing gold. From furthest Africa's tormented womb The marble brought, erects the spacious dome, Or forms the pillars' long-extended rows, [grows. On which the planted grove and pensile garden
The workmen here obey the master's call
A thousand artists show their cunning pow'r
* The murex is a shell. fish, of the liquor whereof a purple colour is made.
Till from the Parian isle and Libya's coast
My full design, with vast expense achiev'd,
To my new courts sad Thought did still repair,
I spake my purpose, and the cheerful choir