My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe my ways.
For a prostitute is a deep pit;
an adulteress is a narrow well.
She lies in wait like a robber
and increases the traitors among mankind.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder.
Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart utter perverse things.
You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast.
“They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I must have another drink.”
26 is the only effective antidote to 27 and 28. Here it is both the earthly father, and God, speaking, the One through the other, for the father is in the place of God to his child. 27 and 28 demythologise the romanticism of unchastity. Is there not an urgent need for this demythologising today, when unchastity is held up to be so attractive, so right, so natural, when emotional feeling is made and allowed to overthrow all sense of honour, decency and justice. It is time that the harsh and brutal realism of these verses was brought to the forefront of people's thinking, and that a squalid and ugly thing was called by its proper name.
29-35 deal with another open sore on the body of society today. Six questions in 29 are answered in the verses that follow. One has only to read these questions and answers to realise the enormity of the tragedy and horror of drunkenness in the life of man, and to see the obscenity of the advertisements blazoned by the drink trade on the mass media. When one thinks of the pressure of psychological advertisement, and the groove that constant repetition makes in a man's mind, one realises that the power of such techniques is incalculable. The IRA may have killed their hundreds in Ulster, but the brewers have a far greater toll of guilt upon them, for the countless numbers of lives ruined - and homes and families - and children growing up into psychological misfits. Have we any conception of the terrible thing that is being done in society? The alcoholism clinics, the divorce courts the social service departments of our local councils could tell us the answer: in terms of sheer human misery and brokenness. It is always at the end of the line, and with the end-product of the process, that one sees the real issues, and society needs to look there much oftener than it does.