C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


The love of money is the root of all evil.

1 Timothy vi. 10.

Avarice is the vice of declining years.

George Bancroft.

There is thy gold; worse poison to men’s souls.


Avarice is always poor.

Dr. Johnson.

If you wish to remove avarice you must remove its mother, luxury.


Avarice, where it has full dominion, excludes every other passion.


Avarice is insatiable, and is always pushing on for more.


A captive fettered at the oar of gain.


To be thankful for what we grasp exceeding our proportion, is to add hypocrisy to injustice.


Poverty is in want of much, but avarice of everything.

Publius Syrus.

Avarice increases with the increasing pile of gold.


  • Wealth in the gross is death, but life diffus’d,
  • As poison heals, in just proportion us’d.
  • Pope.

    Avarice is the miser’s dream, as fame is the poet’s.


    Those who covet much suffer from the want.


    It is surely very narrow policy that supposes money to be the chief good.


    Avarice is more opposite to economy than liberality.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    How quickly nature falls into revolt when gold becomes her object!


  • Some o’erenamor’d of their bags run mad,
  • Groan under gold, yet weep for want of bread.
  • Young.

    Avarice is to the intellect what sensuality is to the morals.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    The avaricious man is kind to no person, but he is most unkind to himself.

    John Kyrle.

    You despise a man for avarice; but you do not hate him.

    Dr. Johnson.

    It is natural to covet just what we have not.

    Achilles Poincelot.

    Poverty wants some, luxury many, and avarice all things.


    In plain truth, it is not want, but rather abundance, that creates avarice.


    Avarice is only prudence and economy pushed to excess.


    When money is unreasonably coveted, it is a disease of the mind which is called avarice.


  • So for a good old-gentlemanly vice,
  • I think I must take up with avarice.
  • Byron.

    Avarice is always poor, but poor by her own fault.


    The love of pelf increases with the pelf.


    To me avarice seems not so much a vice as a deplorable piece of madness.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    There is no vice which mankind carries to such wild extremes as that of avarice.


    What must be the wealth that avarice, aided by power, cannot exhaust!

    James Otis.

    This avarice sticks deeper; grows with more pernicious root than summer-seeding lust.


    It is but shaping the bribe to the taste, and every one has his price.


  • Why Mammon sits before a million hearths
  • Where God is bolted out from every house.
  • Bailey.

  • And in his lap a masse of coyne he told
  • And turned upside down, to feede his eye
  • And covetous desire with his huge treasury.
  • Spenser.

  • When all the sins are old in us,
  • And go upon crutches, covetousness
  • Does but lie in her cradle.
  • Decker.

  • O cursed lust of gold; when for thy sake
  • The fool throws up his interest in both worlds,
  • First starved in this, then damn’d in that to come.
  • Blair.

    Some men make fortunes, but not to enjoy them; for, blinded by avarice, they live to make fortunes.


    If, of all vices, avarice is the most generally detested, it is the effect of an avidity common to all men.


  • ’Tis strange the miser should his cares employ
  • To gain those riches he can ne’er enjoy.
  • Pope.

    Expel avarice, the mother of all wickedness, who, always thirsty for more, opens wide her jaws for gold.


    A poor spirit is poorer than a poor purse. A very few pounds a year would ease a man of the scandal of avarice.


    Some men are called sagacious, merely on account of their avarice; whereas a child can clench its fist the moment it is born.


    Avarice starves its possessor to fatten those who come after, and who are eagerly awaiting the demise of the accumulator.


    Avarice is the most opposite of all characters to that of God Almighty, whose alone it is to give and not receive.


    The lust of avarice has so totally seized upon mankind that their wealth seems rather to possess them than they possess their wealth.


    Many have been ruined by their fortunes; many have escaped ruin by the want of fortune. To obtain it, the great have become little, and the little great.


    There are two considerations which always imbitter the heart of an avaricious man—the one is a perpetual thirst after more riches, the other the prospect of leaving what he has already acquired.


    Because men believe not in Providence, therefore they do so greedily scrape and hoard. They do not believe in any reward for charity, therefore they will part with nothing.


    Avarice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road, the nearer we approach to our journey’s end?


  • He sat amid his bags, and, with a look
  • Which hell might be ashamed of, drove the poor
  • Away unalmsed; and midst abundance died—
  • Sorest of evils!—died of utter want.
  • Pollok.

    All the good things of this world are no further good to us than as they are of use; and whatever we may heap up to give to others, we enjoy only as much as we can use, and no more.

    De Foe.

    We are at best but stewards of what we falsely call our own; yet avarice is so insatiable that it is not in the power of liberality to content it.


    It is by bribing, not so often by being bribed, that wicked politicians bring ruin on mankind. Avarice is a rival to the pursuits of many.


    It is one of the worst effects of prosperity to make a man a vortex instead of a fountain; so that, instead of throwing out, he learns only to draw in.


    Parsimony is enough to make the master of the golden mines as poor as he that has nothing; for a man may be brought to a morsel of bread by parsimony as well as profusion.

    Henry Home.

    He who is always in a hurry to be wealthy and immersed in the study of augmenting his fortune has lost the arms of reason and deserted the post of virtue.


    Study rather to fill your mind than your coffers; knowing that gold and silver were originally mingled with dirt, until avarice or ambition parted them.


    The avaricious man is like the barren, sandy ground of the desert, which sucks in all the rain and dews with greediness, but yields no fruitful herbs or plants for the benefit of others.


  • There grows
  • In my most ill-compos’d affection such
  • A stanchless avarice, that, were I king,
  • I should cut off the nobles for their lands.
  • Shakespeare.

    The objects of avarice and ambition differ only in their greatness. A miser is as furious about a halfpenny as the man of ambition about the conquest of a kingdom.

    Adam Smith.

    Extreme avarice is nearly always mistaken; there is no passion which is oftener further away from its mark, nor upon which the present has so much power to the prejudice of the future.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    The character of covetousness is what a man generally acquires more through some niggardliness or ill grace in little and inconsiderable things, than in expenses of any consequence.


    The avarice of the miser may be termed the grand sepulchre of all his other passions, as they successively decay. But unlike other tombs, it is enlarged by repletion and strengthened by age.


  • In all the world there is no vice
  • Less prone t’ excess than avarice;
  • It neither cares for food nor clothing;
  • Nature’s content with little—that with nothing.
  • Butler.

    Avarice has ruined more men than prodigality, and the blindest thoughtlessness of expenditure has not destroyed so many fortunes as the calculating but insatiable lust of accumulation.


    It may be remarked for the comfort of honest poverty that avarice reigns most in those who have but few good qualities to recommend them. This is a weed that will grow in a barren soil.


    Avarice often produces opposite effects; there is an infinite number of people who sacrifice all their property to doubtful and distant expectations; others despise great future advantages to obtain present interests of a trifling nature.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Avarice begets more vices than Priam did children, and like Priam survives them all. It starves its keeper to surfeit those who wish him dead, and makes him submit to more mortifications to lose heaven than the martyr undergoes to gain it.


    Avarice is generally the last passion of those lives of which the first part has been squandered in pleasure, and the second devoted to ambition. He that sinks under the fatigue of getting wealth lulls his age with the milder business of saving it.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Objects close to the eye shut out much larger objects on the horizon; and splendors born only of the earth eclipse the stars. So a man sometimes covers up the entire disc of eternity with a dollar, and quenches transcendent glories with a little shining dust.


    Avarice is a uniform and tractable vice; other intellectual distempers are different in different constitutions of mind. That which soothes the pride of one will offend the pride of another, but to the favor of the covetous bring money, and nothing is denied.


    It would not be more unreasonable to transplant a favorite flower out of black earth into gold dust than it is for a person to let money-getting harden his heart into contempt, or into impatience, of the little attentions, the merriments and the caresses of domestic life.


  • The lust of gold succeeds the lust of conquest;
  • The lust of gold, unfeeling and remorseless!
  • The last corruption of degenerate man.
  • Dr. Johnson.

    It is not the nature of avarice to be satisfied with anything but money. Every passion that acts upon mankind has a peculiar mode of operation. Many of them are temporary and fluctuating; they admit of cessation and variety. But avarice is a fixed, uniform passion.

    Thomas Paine.

    It is a bitter thought to an avaricious spirit that by and by all these accumulations must be left behind. We can only carry away from this world the flavor of our good or evil deeds.


  • Riches, like insects, when conceal’d they lie,
  • Wait but for wings, and in their season fly.
  • Who sees pale Mammon pine amidst his store,
  • Sees but a backward steward for the poor;
  • This year a reservoir, to keep and spare;
  • The next a fountain, spouting thro’ his heir
  • In lavish streams to quench a country’s thirst,
  • And men and dogs shall drink him till they burst.
  • Pope.

  • The love of gold that meanest rage,
  • And latest folly of man’s sinking age,
  • Which, rarely venturing in the van of life,
  • While nobler passions wage their heated strife,
  • Comes skulking last with selfishness and fear
  • And dies collecting lumber in the rear!
  • Moore.

    When a miser contents himself with giving nothing, and saving what he has got, and is in other respects guilty of no injustice, he is, perhaps, of all bad men the least injurious to society; the evil he does is properly nothing more than the omission of the good he might do. If, of all the vices, avarice is the most generally detested, it is the effect of an avidity common to all men; it is because men hate those from whom they can expect nothing. The greedy misers rail at sordid misers.


    Had covetous men, as the fable goes of Briareus, each of them one hundred hands, they would all of them be employed in grasping and gathering, and hardly one of them in giving or laying out, but all in receiving, and none in restoring; a thing in itself so monstrous that nothing in nature besides is like it, except it be death and the grave—the only things I know which are always carrying off the spoils of the world and never making restitution. For otherwise all the parts of the universe, as they borrow of one another, so they still pay what they borrow, and that by so just and well-balanced an equality that their payments always keep pace with their receipts.


    It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of God—His love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem.

    Richard Fuller.