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


A mask of gold hides all deformities.


A great fortune is a great slavery.


The heart contracts as the pocket expands.


Common sense among men of fortune is rare.


Riches are able to solder up abundance of flaws.


No good man ever became suddenly rich.


It is better to live rich than to die rich.


Riches are not an end of life, but an instrument of life.

Henry Ward Beecher.

The care of a large estate is an unpleasant thing.


Riches either serve or govern the possessor.


He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.


Riches, rightly used, breed delight.


The ungovernable passion for wealth.


If all were rich, gold would be penniless.


Satiety comes of riches and contumaciousness of satiety.


A man’s true wealth is the good he does in this world.


Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want.


To be thought rich is as good as to be rich.


Riches are well, if gotten well and spent well.


If a man wishes to become rich he must appear to be rich.


The smallness of our desires may contribute reasonably to our wealth.


The rich fool is like a pig that is choked by its own fat.


How many threadbare souls are to be found under silken cloaks and gowns!

Thomas Brooks.

He hath riches sufficient who hath enough to be charitable.

Sir Thomas Browne.

Riches are of no value in themselves; their use is discovered only in that which they procure.

Dr. Johnson.

Everything, virtue, glory, honor, things human and divine, all are slaves to riches.


Riches are apt to betray a man into arrogance.


In this world, it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.


Rich men without wisdom and learning are called sheep with golden fleeces.


Riches for the most part are hurtful to them that possess them.


  • Therefore, if at great things thou wouldst arrive,
  • Get riches first, get wealth.
  • Milton.

    Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.


    Ah, if the rich were rich as the poor fancy riches!


    That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.


    Riches without law are more dangerous than is poverty without law.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    Riches exclude only one inconvenience—that is, poverty.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Increasing wealth is attended by care and by the desire of greater increase.


    Superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.


    In these times gain is not only a matter of greed, but of ambition.


    Riches cannot rescue from the grave, which claims alike the monarch and the slave.


    His best companions innocence and health, and his best riches ignorance of wealth.


    Great abundance of riches cannot of any man be both gathered and kept without sin.


    It is more pitiable once to have been rich than not to be rich now.

    J. Petit-Senn.

    Riches, perhaps, do not so often produce crimes as incite accusers.


    Riches expose a man to pride and luxury, and a foolish elation of heart.


    Few men are both rich and generous; fewer are both rich and humble.

    Cardinal Manning.

    Riches are of little avail in many of the calamities to which mankind are liable.


    Riches do not exhilarate us so much with their possession as they torment us with their loss.


    However rich or elevated, a nameless something is always wanting to our imperfect fortune.


    O, my God! withhold from me the wealth to which tears and sighs and curses cleave. Better none at all than wealth like that.

    Christian Scriver.

    No man can make haste to be rich without going against the will of God, in which case it is the one frightful thing to be successful.

    George MacDonald.

    Riches do not consist in having more gold and silver, but in having more in proportion than our neighbors.


    It was wisely said, by a man of great observation, that there are as many miseries beyond riches as on this side of them.

    Izaak Walton.

    Men who have great riches and little culture rush into business, because they are weary of themselves.

    Horace Greeley.

    Of all the riches that we hug, of all the pleasures we enjoy, we can carry no more out of this world than out of a dream.


    Riches without charity are nothing worth. They are a blessing only to him who makes them a blessing to others.


    Men who could willingly resign the luxuries and sensual pleasures of a large fortune cannot consent to live without the grandeur and the homage.


    It is not the greatness of a man’s means that makes him independent, so much as the smallness of his wants.


    We see how much a man has, and therefore we envy him; did we see how little he enjoys, we should rather pity him.


    For everything divine and human, virtue, fame and honor, now obey the alluring influence of riches.


    As riches and favor forsake a man, we discover him to be a fool, but nobody could find it out in his prosperity.

    La Bruyère.

    Seek not proud riches, but such as thou may’st get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly; yet have no abstract nor friarly contempt of them.


    The use we make of our fortune determines its sufficiency. A little is enough if used wisely, and too much if expended foolishly.


    Riches amassed in haste will dimmish; but those collected by hand and little by little will multiply.


    Men leave their riches either to their kindred or their friends, and moderate portions prosper best in both.


    Noble descent and worth, unless united with wealth, are esteemed no more than seaweed.


    If we are rich with the riches which we neither give nor enjoy, we are rich with the riches which are buried in the caverns of the earth.

    Veeshnoo Sarma.

    The god of this world is riches, pleasure and pride, wherewith it abuses all the creatures and gifts of God.


  • High-built abundance, heap on heap! for what?
  • To breed new wants, and beggar us the more,
  • Then, make a richer scramble for the throng.
  • Young.

    If I have but enough for myself and family, I am steward only for myself: if I have more, I am but a steward of that abundance for others.

    George Herbert.

    Worldly wealth is the devil’s bait; and those whose minds feed upon riches, recede, in general, from real happiness, in proportion as their stores increase.


    Riches should be admitted into our houses, but not into our hearts; we may take them into our possession, but not into our affections.


    There is one way whereby we may secure our riches, and make sure friends to ourselves of them,—by laying them out in charity.


    Labor not to be rich;***for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.


    May I deem the wise man rich, and may I have such a portion of gold as none but a prudent man can either bear or employ.


    He is rich whose income is more than his expenses; and he is poor whose expenses exceed his income.

    La Bruyère.

    The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.


    The rich are like beasts of burden, carrying treasure all day, and at the night of death unladen; they carry to their grave only the bruises and marks of their toil.

    St. Augustine.

    Never respect men merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.


    But Christian faith knows that wealth means responsibility, and that responsibility may come to mean only heavy arrears of sin.

    H. P. Liddon.

    He is the rich man who can avail himself of all men’s faculties. He is the richest man who knows how to draw a benefit from the labors of the greatest number of men,—of men in distant countries and in past times.


    The greatest and most amiable privilege which the rich enjoy over the poor is that which they exercise the least—the privilege of making them happy.


    Of riches it is not necessary to write the praise. Let it, however, be remembered that he who has money to spare has it always in his power to benefit others, and of such power a good man must always be desirous.


    The greatest luxury of riches is that they enable you to escape so much good advice. The rich are always advising the poor; but the poor seldom venture to return the compliment.

    Sir Arthur Helps.

    No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.


    If thou art rich, thou art poor; for, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows, thou bearest thy heavy riches but a journey, and death unloads thee.


    We see but the outside of a rich man’s happiness; few consider him to be like the silkworm, that, when she seems to play, is at the very same time consuming herself.

    Izaak Walton.

  • Extol not riches then, the toil of fools,
  • The wise man’s cumbrance, if not snare, more apt
  • To slacken virtue, and abate her edge,
  • Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise.
  • Milton.

  • To whom can riches give repute or trust,
  • Content or pleasure, but the good and just?
  • Judges and senates have been bought for gold,
  • Esteem and love were never to be sold.
  • Pope.

    The contempt of riches in the philosophers was a concealed desire of revenging on fortune the injustice done to their merit, by despising the good she denied them.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Riches, though they may reward virtues, yet they cannot cause them; he is much more noble who deserves a benefit than he who bestows one.


    The ways to enrich are many, and most of them foul. Parsimony is one of the best, and yet is not innocent; for it withholdeth men from works of liberality and charity.


    Riches in their acquisition bring pain and suffering, in their loss manifold trouble and sorrow, in their possession a wild intoxication. How can we say that they confer happiness?


    An eager pursuit of fortune is inconsistent with a severe devotion to truth. The heart must grow tranquil before the thought can become searching.


    When we see the shameful fortunes amassed in all quarters of the globe, are we not impelled to exclaim that Judas’ thirty pieces of silver have fructified across the centuries?

    Mme. Swetchine.

    Worldly riches are like nuts; many clothes are torn in getting them, many a tooth broke in cracking them, but never a belly filled with eating them.

    R. Venning.

    Riches, honors and pleasures are the sweets which destroy the mind’s appetite for its heavenly food; poverty, disgrace and pain are the bitters which restore it.

    Bishop Horne.

    Misery assails riches, as lightning does the highest towers; or as a tree that is heavy laden with fruit breaks its own boughs, so do riches destroy the virtue of their possessor.


    Wouldst thou multiply thy riches? diminish them wisely; or wouldst thou make thy estate entire? divide it charitably. Seeds that are scattered increase; but, hoarded up, they perish.


    There is a burden of care in getting riches, fear in keeping them, temptation in using them, guilt in abusing them, sorrow in losing them, and a burden of account at last to be given up concerning them.

    Matthew Henry.

    If the search for riches were sure to be successful, though I should become a groom with a whip in my hand to get them, I will do so. As the search may not be successful, I will follow after that which I love.


    If by the consecration of my earthly possessions to some extent I can make the Christian character practically more lovely, and illustrate, in my own case, that the highest enjoyments here are promoted by the free use of the good things intrusted to us, what so good use can I make of them?

    Amos Lawrence.

  • The rich man’s son inherits cares:
  • The bank may break, the factory burn,
  • A breath may burst his bubble shares,
  • And soft white hands could hardly earn
  • A living that would serve his turn.
  • James Russell Lowell.

    The riches of a country are to be valued by the quantity of labor its inhabitants are able to purchase, and not by the quantity of silver and gold they possess; which will purchase more or less labor, and therefore is more or less valuable, as is said before, according to its scarcity or plenty.

    Benjamin Franklin.

    Some of God’s noblest sons, I think, will be selected from those that know how to take wealth, with all its temptations, and maintain godliness therewith. It is hard to be a saint standing in a golden niche.


    Plenty and indigence depend upon the opinion every one has of them; and riches, no more than glory or health, have no more beauty or pleasure than their possessor is pleased to lend them.


    What real good does an addition to a fortune already sufficient prove? Not any. Could the great man, by having his fortune increased, increase also his appetites, then precedence might be attended with real amusement.


  • My purse is very slim, and very few
  • The acres that I number;
  • But I am seldom stupid, never blue,
  • My riches are an honest heart and true,
  • And quiet slumber.
  • Epes Sargent.

    Riches are for the comfort of life, and not life for the accumulation of riches. I asked a holy wise man, “Who is fortunate and who is unfortunate?” He replied: “He was fortunate who ate and sowed, and he was unfortunate who died without having enjoyed.”


  • O grievous folly to heap up estate,
  • Losing the days you see beneath the sun,
  • When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting Fate,
  • And gives th’ untasted portion you have won
  • With ruthless toil, and many a wretch undone,
  • To those who mock you, gone to Pluto’s reign.
  • Thomson.

  • Why lose we life in anxious cares,
  • To lay in hoards for future years?
  • Can those (when tortur’d by disease),
  • Cheer our sick hearts, or purchase ease?
  • Can those prolong one gasp of breath,
  • Or calm the troubled hour of death?
  • Gay.

    If thou art rich, then show the greatness of thy fortune, or what is better, the greatness of thy soul, in the meekness of thy conversation; condescend to men of low estate, support the distressed and patronize the neglected. Be great.


    Sir, money, money, the most charming of all things—money, which will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years. Perhaps you will say a man is not young, I answer, he is rich; he is not genteel, handsome, witty, brave, good-humored, but he is rich, rich, rich, rich, rich—that one word contradicts everything you can say against him.


    I cannot call riches better than the baggage of virtue; the Roman word is better, impedimenta; for as the baggage is to an army, so is riches to virtue; it cannot be spared nor left behind, but it hindereth the march; yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory: of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit.


    Riches are the pettiest and least worthy gifts which God can give a man. What are they to God’s word? Yea, to bodily gifts, such as beauty and health, or to the gifts of the mind, such as understanding, skill, wisdom? Yet men toil for them day and night, and take no rest. Therefore our Lord God commonly gives riches to foolish people to whom He gives nothing else.

    Martin Luther.

    Let us not repine, or so much as think the gifts of God unequally dealt, if we see another abound with riches, when, as God knows, the cares that are the keys that keep those riches hang often so heavily at the rich man’s girdle that they dog him with weary days and restless nights, even when others sleep quietly.

    Izaak Walton.

    Believe not much them that seem to despise riches; for they despise them that despair of them; and none are worse when they come to them. Be not penny-wise; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more.


    Do we, mad as we all are after riches, hear often enough from the pulpit the spirit of those words in which Dean Swift, in his epitaph on the affluent and profligate Colonel Chartres, announces the small esteem of wealth in the eyes of God, from the fact of His thus lavishing it upon the meanest and basest of His creatures?


    Providence has decreed that those common acquisitions—money, gems, plate, noble mansions and dominion—should be sometimes bestowed on the indolent and unworthy; but those things which constitute our true riches, and which are properly our own, must be procured by our own labor.


    Man was born to be rich, or inevitably grows rich by the use of his faculties, by the union of thought with nature. Property is an intellectual production. The game requires coolness, right reasoning, promptness and patience in the players. Cultivated labor drives out brute labor.


    He who recognizes no higher logic than that of the shilling may become a very rich man, and yet remain all the while an exceedingly poor creature; for riches are no proof whatever of moral worth, and their glitter often serves only to draw attention to the worthlessness of their possessor, as the glow-worm’s light reveals the grub.

    Samuel Smiles.

    Riches oftentimes, if nobody takes them away, make to themselves wings and fly away; and truly, many a time the undue sparing of them is but letting their wings grow, which makes them ready to fly away; and the contributing a part of them to do good only clips their wings a little and makes them stay the longer with their owner.


    I take him to be the only rich man that lives upon what he has, owes nothing, and is contented; for there is no determinate sum of money, nor quantity of estate, that can denote a man rich, since no man is truly rich that has not so much as perfectly satiates his desire of having more; for the desire of more is want, and want is poverty.


    Riches are valuable at all times, and to all men, because they always purchase pleasures such as men are accustomed to and desire; nor can anything restrain or regulate the love of money but a sense of honor and virtue, which, if it be not nearly equal at all times, will naturally abound most in ages of knowledge and refinement.


    We are all of us richer than we think we are; but we are taught to borrow and to beg, and brought up more to make use of what is another’s than our own. Man can in nothing fix and conform himself to his mere necessity. Of pleasure, wealth and power he grasps at more than he can hold; his greediness is incapable of moderation.


    A great estate is a great disadvantage to those who do not know how to use it, for nothing is more common than to see wealthy persons live scandalously and miserably; riches do them no service in order to virtue and happiness; therefore ’tis precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something.


    A man hath riches. Whence came they, and whither go they? for this is the way to form a judgment of the esteem which they and their possessor deserve. If they have been acquired by fraud or violence, if they make him proud and vain, if they minister to luxury and intemperance, if they are avariciously hoarded up and applied to no proper use, the possessor becomes odious and contemptible.

    Bishop Jortin.

  • Riches are oft by guilt and baseness earn’d;
  • Or dealt by chance to shield a lucky knave,
  • Or throw a cruel sunshine on a fool.
  • But for one end, one much-neglected use,
  • Are riches worth your care; (for nature’s wants
  • Are few, and without opulence supplied;)
  • This noble end is, to produce the soul;
  • To show the virtues in their fairest light;
  • To make humanity the minister
  • Of bounteous Providence; and teach the breast
  • The generous luxury the gods enjoy.
  • Armstrong.

  • Much learning shows how little mortals know;
  • Much wealth, how little worldlings can enjoy:
  • At best, it babies us with endless toys,
  • And keeps us children till we drop to dust.
  • As monkeys at a mirror stand amazed,
  • They fail to find what they so plainly see;
  • Thus men, in shining riches, see the face
  • Of happiness, nor know it is a shade;
  • But gaze, and touch, and peep, and peep again,
  • And wish, and wonder it is absent still.
  • Young.

    Nature does not conquer the world to God. It never has. It never will. In America, with its vast abounding wealth, its grand expanse of prairie, its reach of river, and its exuberant productiveness, there is danger that our riches will draw us away from God, and fasten us to earth; that they will make us not only rich, but mean; not only wealthy, but wicked. The grand corrective is the cross of Christ, seen in the sanctuary where the life and light of God are exhibited, and where the reverberation of the echoes from the great white throne are heard.

    R. S. Storrs.