Man mai longe liues weene
Man may ween long life

Middle English Modern English
Mon mai longe liues wene;
Ac ofte him liedh þe wrench.
Feir weder turnedh ofte into reine;
An wunderliche hit makedh his blench.
Þaruore mon þu þe bi-þench;
Al schal falewi þi grene;
Weilawei nis kin ne quene;
Þat ne schal drinche of deaþes drench.
Mon er þu falle of þi bench.
Þine sunne þu aquench.

Nis non so strong ne sterch ne kene.
Þat mai ago deaþes wiþer-blench.
Ȝung and olde, brihet and schene.
Alle he riueþ in one strench.
Fox and ferlich is his wrench.
Ne mai no mon þar-to-ȝeines.
Weilawei þreting ne bene.
Mede. liste; ne leches drench.
Mon let sunne and lustes þine.
Wel þu do and wel þu þench.

Do bi salemones rede.
Mon and þenne þu schald wel do.
Do ase he þe tahte and seide.
Þat þin endinge þe bringeþ to.
Þenne ne schal þu neuer mis-do.
Ac sore þu miȝt þe adrede.
Weilawei shuc wenedh to lede.
Long lif; and blisse under-fo.
Ac deþ luteþ in his scho,
Him stilliche to for-do.

Mon hwi nultu þe bi-cnowe.
Mon hwi nultu þe bi-seo.
Of fole fulþe þu art isowe.
Wormes fode þu schald beo.
Her nauestu blisse daies þreo.
Ac þi lif al þu last ine wowe.
Weilawei. deþ þe schal adun þrowe.
Þer þu wenest heȝest to steo.
Ine dedh schal þi lif endi.
And ine wop al þi gleo.

World and weole þe bi-swikedh
Iwis heo beodh þin ifo.
Ȝef þe world widh weole þe slikedh.
Þat is for to do þe wo.
Þare-fore let lust ouer-go.
And eft-ȝones hit þe likedh
Weilawei sore he him biswikedh
Þat for on stunde oþer two.
Wurcheþ him pine euer-mo.
Mon ne do þu nowt swo.
Man may ween long life,
But often the trick belies him.
Fair weather turns often into rain,
And wondrously it makes its deceit.
Therefore, man, bethink yourself;
All your green shall grow fallow.
Wellaway! There is not king nor queen
That shall not drink of death’s draught.
Man, ere you fall off your seat,
quench your sins.

There is none so strong nor lusty nor keen
That may escape death’s withering trick.
Young and old, bright and beautiful:
All he rives with his strength.
Crafty and sudden is his trick.
No man may thereto avail.
Wellaway! Neither threatening nor pleading,
bribery, cunning, nor doctor’s draught.
Man, leave your sins and lusts.
Do well and think well.

Act by Solomon’s counsel,
Man, and then you shall do well.
Do as he taught you and said,
Who brings you to your ending.
Then you shall never misdo,
But sorely you might be afraid.
Wellaway! Such a one weens to lead
A long life and receive bliss,
But death lurks in his shoe
To secretly destroy him.

Man, why won’t you beknow yourself?
Man, why won’t you besee yourself?
Fully of filth you are begotten.
Worm’s food you shall be.
Here you have not three days’ bliss,
But all your life you pass in woe.
Wellaway! Death shall throw you down.
You expect most highly only to fall there.
In death shall your life end,
And in weeping all your glee.

World and wealth deceive you;
Indeed they are your foes.
If the world and wealth flatter you,
That is in order to do you harm.
Therefore let desire pass you by,
And afterwards it will please you.
Wellaway! Sorely he deceives himself,
Who, for an hour or two,
Earns himself pain evermore.
Man, do not do so.