¶ The words of Agur the son of Iakeh The prophecy of a true faithful man, whom God hath helped, whom God had comforted and nourished. For though I am the least of all, and have no man's understanding (for I never learned wisdom) yet have I understanding, and am well informed in godly things. Who hath climbed up into heaven? Who hath come down from thence? Who hath holden the wind fast in his hand? Who hath comprehended the waters in a garment? Who hath set all the ends of the world? What is his name, or his son's name? Canst thou tell? All the words of God are pure and clean, for he is a shield unto all them that put their trust in him. Put thou nothing therefore unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found as a liar.
¶ Two things I require of thee, that thou will not deny me before I die. Remove from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches, only grant me a necessary living. Lest I be so full, I deny thee, and say: What fellow is the LORD? And lest I being constrained thorow poverty, fall unto stealing, and foreswear the name of my God.
¶ Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he speak evil of thee also, and thou be hurt. He that bringeth up an evil report upon the generation of his father and mother, is not worthy to be commended. The generation that think themselves clean, shall not be cleansed from their filthiness. There are people that have a proud look, and cast up their eyelids. This peoples teeth are swords, and with their chaft bones they consume and devour the simple of the earth, and the poor from among men.
¶ This generation which is like an horseleach, hath two daughters: the one is called fetch hither, and the other bring hither. There be three things that are never satisfied, and the fourth sayeth never hoo. The hell, a woman's womb, and the earth hath never water enough. As for fire, it sayeth never, hoo. Who so laugheth his father to scorn, and setteth his mothers commandment at naught: the ravens pick out his eyes in the valley, and devoured be he of the young Aegles.
¶ There be three things too high for me, and as for the fourth, it passeth my knowledge. The way of an Aegle in the air, the way of a serpent over a stone, the way of a ship in the sea, and the way of a man with a young woman. Such is the way also of a wife that breaketh wedlock, which wipeth her mouth like as when she hath eaten, and sayeth: As for me, I have done no harm. Thorow three things the earth is disquieted, and the fourth may it not bear: thorow a servant that beareth rule, thorow a fool that hath great riches, thorow an idle housewife, and thorow an handmaiden that is heir to her mistress.
¶ There be four things in the earth, the which are very little: but in wisdom they exceed the wise. The Emmettes are but a weak people, yet gather they their meat together in the harvest. The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their couches among the rocks. The grasshoppers have not a guide, yet go they forth together by heaps. The spider laboureth with her hands, and that in the kings' palace.
¶ There be three things that go stiffly, but the going of the fourth is the goodliest of all. A Lion which is king of beasts, and giveth place to no man: A cock ready to fight: A ram: and a king that goeth forth with his people. If thou be so foolish to magnify thyself, or meddlest with any such thing, then lay thine hand upon thy mouth. Who so churneth milk, maketh butter: he that rubbeth his nose, maketh it bleed: and he that causeth wrath, bringeth forth strife.