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"A Good Name Is Better Than Precious Ointment"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The preacher is crying out against vanity. He says: "For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?" "Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit." He continues: "For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?" The proverb about the value of a good name was used by Publilius Syrus (c. 42 B.C.), by Cervantes in Don Quixote, Part II, Book II, Chapter 33 (1615), and by many others. The preacher says:

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.