I was a young man; in the past, I had strayed — but then I found her. She came to me in shapely form, and I will seek her to the end. “Even a withered blossom delights the heart when the grapes ripen.” My foot walked straightforwardly — for I knew her from my youth. I inclined my ear, just a little, and I discovered an abundance of teaching. Then she became [my] nurse. (I give my honor to my instructor!) I thought, “let’s have fun!” I craved pleasure unrepentantly. My spirit burned for her; I couldn’t turn my face away. My spirit obsessed over her; I couldn’t ignore her stature. My hand opened [her gates] [and] I contemplated her nudity. I cleansed my hand […]
13 While I was still young, before I went on my travels, I sought wisdom openly in my prayer. 14 Before the temple I asked for her, and I will search for her until the end. 15 From the first blossom to the ripening grape my heart delighted in her; my foot walked on the straight path; from my youth I followed her steps. 16 I inclined my ear a little and received her, and I found for myself much instruction. 17 I made progress in her; to him who gives wisdom I will give glory. 18 For I resolved to live according to wisdom, and I was zealous for the good, and I shall never be disappointed. 19 My soul grappled with wisdom, and in my conduct I was strict; I spread out my hands to the heavens, and lamented my ignorance of her. 20 I directed my soul to her, and in purity I found her. With her I gained understanding from the first; therefore I will never be forsaken. 21 My heart was stirred to seek her; therefore I have gained a prize possession. 22 The Lord gave me my tongue as a reward, and I will praise him with it. 23 Draw near to me, you who are uneducated, and lodge in the house of instruction. 24 Why do you say you are lacking in these things, and why do you endure such great thirst? 25 I opened my mouth and said, Acquire wisdom for yourselves without money. 26 Put your neck under her yoke, and let your souls receive instruction; it is to be found close by. 27 See with your own eyes that I have labored but little and found for myself much serenity. 28 Hear but a little of my instruction, and through me you will acquire silver and gold. 29 May your soul rejoice in God's mercy, and may you never be ashamed to praise him. 30 Do your work in good time, and in his own time God will give you your reward.