I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this, also, was like the chasing after wind. For in much wisdom is much grief. And he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?”
I built great works, I built myself houses, and planted myself orchards. I made myself gardens, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and chasing after wind. There was no profit under the sun.
Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.