I too am mortal like everyone else,
a descendant of the first man formed from the earth.
I was modelled in flesh inside a mother’s womb,
where, for ten months, in blood I acquired substance —
the result of virile seed and pleasure, sleep’s companion.
I too, when I was born, drew the common air,
I fell on the same ground that bears us all,
and crying was the first sound I made, like everyone else.
I was nurtured in swaddling clothes, with every care.
No king has known any other beginning of existence;
for there is only one way into life, and one way out of it.
And so I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I entreated, and the Spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones;
compared with her, I held riches as nothing.
I reckoned no precious stone to be her equal,
for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand,
and beside her, silver ranks as mud.
I loved her more than health or beauty,
preferred her to the light,
since her radiance never sleeps.
In her company all good things came to me,
and at her hands incalculable wealth.
All these delighted me, since Wisdom brings them,
though I did not then realise that she was their mother.
What I learned diligently, I shall pass on liberally,
I shall not conceal how rich she is.
For she is to human beings an inexhaustible treasure,
and those who acquire this win God’s friendship,
commended to him by the gifts of instruction.
This is the Word of God given to king Solomon