Quotations about:
    wealth


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To what extremes, O cursèd lust for gold
will you not drive man’s appetite?
 
[Per che non reggi tu, o sacra fame
de l’oro, l’appetito de’ mortali?]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 22, l. 40ff (22.40-41) [Statius] (1314) [tr. Musa (1981)]
    (Source)

Statius is quoting Virgil (whose shade stands in front of him) from The Aeneid, Book 3, ll. 56-57:

Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,
Auri sacra fames?

Unlike the phrase in that pagan book, which is purely about the corrupting power of greed and gold-lust, Dante's Italian and some translators make reference to a "holy hunger," a virtue/rule of proper attitude toward money and spending, criticized here for it not restraining humans from the sins of being either spendthrifts or misers -- a nod to Aristotle making sin about extremes and virtue about moderation. See Ciardi, Durling, Kirkpatrick, Princeton, and Sayers for more discussion.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Why, thou cursed thirst
Of gold! dost not with juster measure guide
The appetite of mortals?
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Why should'st thou not restrain accursèd thirst
Of gold, the appetite of mortals lost?
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

To what impellest thou not, O cursed hunger
Of gold, the appetite of mortal men?
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Why restrainest thou not, O holy hunger of gold, the desire of mortals?
[tr. Butler (1885)]

To what lengths, O thou cursed thirst of gold,
Dost thou not rule the mortal appetite?
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

O cursed hunger of gold, to what dost thou not impel the appetite of mortals?
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Wherefore dost thou not regulate the lust of mortals, O hallowed hunger of gold?
[tr. Okey (1901)]

To what, O cursed hunger for gold, dost thou not drive the appetite of mortals?
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

O hallowed hunger of gold, why dost thou not
The appetite of mortal men control?
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

With what constraint constran'st thou not the lust
Of mortals, thou devoted greed of gold!
[tr. Sayers (1955)]

To what do you not drive man's appetite,
O cursèd gold-lust!
[tr. Ciardi (1961)]

Why do you not control the appetite
Of mortals, O you accurst hunger for gold?
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Why cannot you, o holy hunger
for gold, restrain the appetite of mortals?
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

O sacred hunger for gold, why do you not rule human appetite?
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Why do you, O holy hunger for gold, not
govern the appetite of mortals?
[tr. Durling (2003)]

You, awestruck hungering for gold! Why not
impose a rule on mortal appetite?
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]

To what end, O cursèd hunger for gold,
do you not govern the appetite of mortals?
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Accursed craving for money, what is there, in
This world, you don't lead human beings to?
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
Added on 23-Feb-24 | Last updated 23-Feb-24
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How far, O rich, do you extend your senseless avarice? Do you intend to be the sole inhabitants of the earth? Why do you drive out the fellow sharers of nature, and claim it all for yourselves? The earth was made for all, rich and poor, in common. Why do you rich claim it as your exclusive right? The soil was given to the rich and poor in common — wherefore, oh, ye rich, do you unjustly claim it for yourselves alone? Nature gave all things in common for the use of all; usurpation created private rights. Property hath no rights. The earth is the Lord’s, and we are his offspring. The pagans hold earth as property. They do blaspheme God.

St Ambrose
Ambrose of Milan (339-397) Roman theologian, statesman, Christian prelate, saint, Doctor of the Church [Aurelius Ambrosius]
(Attributed)

Frequently quoted in the early 20th Century in various social justice writings, and in the years since then, but all citations I can find fall back to its inclusion in Upton Sinclair, The Cry for Justice, Book 8 "The Church" (1915) (though it can be found somewhat earlier than that).
 
Added on 21-Feb-24 | Last updated 21-Feb-24
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There are such things as to speak well, to speak easily, to speak correctly, and to speak seasonably. We offend against the last way of speaking if we mention a sumptuous entertainment we have just been present at before people who have not had enough to eat; if we boast of our good health before invalids; if we talk of our riches, our income, and our fine furniture to a man who has not so much as an income or a dwelling; in a word, if we speak of our prosperity before people who are wretched; such a conversation is too much for them, and the comparison which they then make between their condition and ours is very painful.

[Il y a parler bien, parler aisément, parler juste, parler à propos. C’est pécher contre ce dernier genre que de s’étendre sur un repas magnifique que l’on vient de faire, devant des gens qui sont réduits à épargner leur pain; de dire merveilles de sa santé devant des infirmes; d’entretenir de ses richesses, de ses revenus et de ses ameublements un homme qui n’a ni rentes ni domicile; en un mot, de parler de son bonheur devant des misérables: cette conversation est trop forte pour eux, et la comparaison qu’ils font alors de leur état au vôtre est odieuse.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 5 “Of Society and Conversation [De la Société et de la Conversation],” § 23 (5.23) (1688) [tr. Van Laun (1885)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Some men talk well, easily, justly, and to the purpose: those offend in the last kind, who speak of the Banquets they are to be at, before such as are reduc'd to spare their Bread; of sound Limbs, before the Infirm; of Demesnes and Revenues, before the Poor and Needy; of fine Houses and Furniture, before such as have neither Dwelling or Moveables: in a word, who speak of Prosperity, before the Miserable. This conversation is too strong for 'em, and the comparison you make between their condition and yours is odious.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

There is speaking well, speaking easily, speaking justly, and speaking seasonably: 'Tis transgressing the last rule, to speak ofthe sumptuous Entertainments you have made, before such as are reduc'd to want of Bread; of a healthy Constitution of Body, before the Infirm; of Demesnes, Revenues and Furniture, before a Man who has neither Dwelling, Rents, nor Movables; in a word, to speak of your Prosperity before the Miserable: this Conversation is too strong from them, and the Comparison they make between their Condition and yours is odious.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

There is speaking well, speaking easily, speaking justly, and speaking seasonably: It is offending against the last, to speak of Entertainments before the Indigent; of sound Limbs and Health before the Infirm; of Houses and Lands before one who has not so much as a Dwelling; in a Word, to speak of your Prosperity before the Miserable; this Conversation is cruel, and the Comparison which naturally rises in them betwixt their Condition and yours is excruciating.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

There is a difference between speaking well, speaking easily, speaking with judgement and speaking opportunely. We fail in this last respect when we enlarge upon the splendid meal we have just enjoyed in front of people who have to be thrifty of their bread; or boast of our health in the presence of invalids; or talk about our wealth, our fortune and property to a man who has neither home nor income; in a word, when we speak of our happiness in front of those who are wretched; such conversation is too painful for them, and the comparison they are bound to make between your state and their own is intolerable.
[tr. Stewart (1970)]

 
Added on 20-Feb-24 | Last updated 20-Feb-24
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Speak not of wealth; I can’t admire a god
whom even the basest man can get into his hold.

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Æolus [Αἴολος], frag. 20 (TGF)
    (Source)

Nauck frag. 20, Barnes frag. 15, Musgrave frag. 14. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Talk not of Plutus; I despise the God
Whom every villain may with ease possess.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

 
Added on 20-Feb-24 | Last updated 20-Feb-24
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Why, if all the rich men in the world divided up their money amongst themselves, there wouldn’t be enough to go round!

christina stead
Christina Stead (1902-1983) Australian writer
House of All Nations, sc. 12 “The Revolution” [Jules] (1938)
    (Source)

Pooh-poohing the idea that confiscating wealth from the rich would provide enough money to the poor. The line is also included in the "Credo" at the beginning of the novel, attributed to the character, Jules Bertillon.
 
Added on 7-Feb-24 | Last updated 7-Feb-24
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As favour and riches forsake a man, we discover in him the foolishness they concealed, and which no one perceived before.
 
[À mesure que la faveur et les grands biens se retirent d’un homme, ils laissent voir en lui le ridicule qu’ils couvraient, et qui y était sans que personne s’en aperçût.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 6 “Of Gifts of Fortune [Des Biens de Fortune],” § 4 (6.4) (1688) [tr. Van Laun (1885)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

When Riches and Favour forsake a Man, we see presently he was a Fool, but no body could find it out in his Prosperity.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

In proportion as Riches and Favour forsake a Man, we discover he was a Fool, which no body cou'd find out in his Prosperity.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

As Riches and Favour forsake a Man, we discover him to be a Fool, but no body could find it out in his Prosperity.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

As a man falls out of favour and his wealth declines, we discover for the first time the ridiculous aspects of his character, which were always there but which wealth and favour had concealed.
[tr. Stewart (1970)]

 
Added on 6-Feb-24 | Last updated 6-Feb-24
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What Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows,
‘Tis thus we eat the bread another sows:
But how unequal it bestows, observe,
‘Tis thus we riot, while who sow it, starve.
What Nature wants (a phrase I much distrust)
Extends to Luxury, extends to Lust;
And if we count among the Needs of life
Another’s Toil, why not another’s Wife?
Useful, we grant, it serves what life requires,
But dreadful too, the dark Assassin hires:
Trade it may help, Society extend;
But lures the Pyrate, and corrupts the Friend:
It raises Armies in a nation’s aid,
But bribes a Senate, and the Land’s betray’d.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Epistle to Allen, Lord Bathurst: Of the Use of Riches” (1733), Moral Essays, Epistle 3 (1735)
    (Source)
 
Added on 17-Jan-24 | Last updated 17-Jan-24
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Earthly riches can neither bless us nor our children with happiness; we must either lose them in this life or leave them to be enjoyed after our death by one, we cannot tell whom, perhaps by those we would not should have them.
 
[Felices enim uel nos uel filios nostros non diuitiae terrenae faciunt aut nobis uiuentibus amittendae aut nobis mortuis a quibus nescimus uel forte a quibus nolumus possidendae.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
City of God [De Civitate Dei], Book 5, ch. 18 (5.18) (AD 412-416) [tr. Healey (1610)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For it is not earthly riches which make us or our sons happy; for they must either be lost by us in our lifetime, or be possessed when we are dead, by whom we know not, or perhaps by whom we would not.
[tr. Dods (1871)]

The riches of this earth can make neither us nor our children happy, if they are to be lost while we are alive or, after we are dead, are to pass to people we do not know or, perhaps, dislike.
[tr. Zema/Walsh (1950)]

For neither we nor our children are made happy by earthly riches, since they are bound either to be lost while we are living or to be acquired after our death by persons unknown and perhaps unwelcome.
[tr. Green (Loeb) (1963)]

Happiness, whether for us or for our children, is not the result of earthly riches, which must either be lost by us in our lifetime or else must pass after our death into the possession of those we do not know or, it may be, of those whom we do not wish to have them.
[tr. Bettenson (1972)]

For neither we nor our sons are made happy by earthly riches. These things must either be lost while we are still alive or, after we are dead, acquired by someone whom we do not know, or perhaps by someone whom we would not wish to have them.
[tr. Dyson (1998)]

For earthly riches do not make either us or our children happy; they will either be lost while we are still alive or will pass, after our death, to someone we do not know or even to someone we do not want.
[tr. Babcock (2012)]

 
Added on 15-Jan-24 | Last updated 15-Jan-24
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If you desire power, desire nothing
but contentment, which is its own kingdom.

Sa'adi (1184-1283/1291?) Persian poet [a.k.a. Sa'di, Moslih Eddin Sa'adi, Mushrif-ud-Din Abdullah, Muslih-ud-Din Mushrif ibn Abdullah, Mosleh al-Din Saadi Shirazi, Shaikh Mosslehedin Saadi Shirazi]
Gulistān [Rose Garden, گُلِستان], ch. 2 “On the Morals of Dervishes,” Story 28 (1258) [tr. Rehatsek/Newman (2004)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

If you want riches, seek only for contentment which is inestimable wealth.
[tr. Gladwin (1806)]

Wouldest thou be rich, seek, but content to gain;
For this a treasure is that ne'er will harm.
[tr. Eastwick (1852)]

If thou wishest for power, covet nothing
Except contentment which is sufficient happiness.
[tr. Burton (1888)]

If thou covetest riches, ask not but for contentment, which is an immense treasure.
[tr. Ross (1900)]

Seek not, if thou desire riches,
Aught but contentment, for it is an agreeable treasure.
[tr. Platts (1904)]

 
Added on 26-Dec-23 | Last updated 26-Dec-23
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Well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money — if all you want to do is make a lot of money.

Joseph Mankiewicz (1909-1993) American screenwriter, director, producer
Citizen Kane [Mr. Bernstein] (1941) [with Orson Welles]
    (Source)
 
Added on 20-Dec-23 | Last updated 20-Dec-23
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That man is the richest whose pleasures are cheapest.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
Journal (1856-03-11)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Dec-23 | Last updated 12-Dec-23
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I have never been in any rich man’s house which would not have looked the better for having a bonfire made outside of it of nine-tenths of all that it held.

William Morris (1834-1896) British textile designer, writer, socialist activist
“The Art of the People,” speech, Birmingham Society of Arts (1879-02-19)
    (Source)
 
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Whilst that for which all virtue now is sold,
And almost every vice, almighty gold ….

Ben Jonson (1572-1637) English playwright and poet
“Epistle to Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland” (1599)
    (Source)

Reprinted in The Forest, Poem 12.
 
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Any man with few needs appears a menace to the rich for he is always in a position to escape from them, and the tyrants see that thus they lose a slave.

[Tout homme qui a peu de besoins semble menacer les riches d’être toujours prêt à leur échapper. Les tyrans voient par là qu’ils perdent un esclave.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 3, ¶ 266 (1795) [tr. Mathers (1926)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Any man whose needs are few seems to threaten the rich with the possibility of his escaping them. Tyrants are thereby faced with the prospect of losing a slave.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

Any man who has few needs seems to threaten the rich with his readiness to escape from them. Thereby tyrants realize that they are losing a slave.
[tr. Pearson (1973)]

Every man who has few needs seems to menace the wealthy with the constant threat of escaping from them. Tyrants see in such a proposition the loss of a slave.
[tr. Siniscalchi (1994)]

Anyone whose needs are small seems threatening to the rich, because he's always ready to escape their control. This is how tyrants recognize that they're losing a slave.
[tr. Parmée (2003)]

 
Added on 4-Dec-23 | Last updated 4-Dec-23
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Thou art an heyre to fayre lyving, that is nothing, if thou be disherited of learning, for better were it to thee to inherite righteousnesse then riches, and far more seemely were it for thee to have thy Studie full of bookes, then thy pursse full of mony: to get goods is the benefit of Fortune, to keepe them the gift of Wisedome.
 
[Thou art an heir to fair living; that is nothing if thou be disinherited of learning, for better were it to thee to inherit righteousness than riches and far more seemly were it for thee to have thy study full of books than thy purse full of money. To get goods is the benefit of fortune, to keep them the gift of wisdom. (1916 ed.)]

John Lyly (c. 1553-1606) was an English writer [also Lilly or Lylie]
Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit, “Letter to Alcius” (1579)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Nov-23 | Last updated 25-Nov-23
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Better is a little with contentment than great Treasure; and trouble therewith.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to Mary Smith Cranch (1790-02-20)
    (Source)
 
Added on 14-Nov-23 | Last updated 14-Nov-23
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Whoever said money can’t solve your problems must not have had enough money to solve them.

Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande (b. 1993) American singer, songwriter, actress
“7 Rings”, Thank U, Next (2018)
    (Source)
 
Added on 8-Nov-23 | Last updated 8-Nov-23
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Call me a scoundrel, only call me rich!
All ask how great my riches are, but none
Whether my soul is good.

[ἔα με κερδαίνοντα κεκλῆσθαι κακόν]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bellerophon [Βελλεροφῶν], frag. 181 (Nauck, TGF) (c. 430 BC) [tr. Gummere (1925)]
    (Source)

Barnes frag. 65. Found (in Latin) in Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 115.14:

Sine me vocari pessimum, ut dives vocer.
An dives, omnes quaerimus, nemo, an bonus.

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

If any gain ensue, I am content.
To be term'd wicked. We all ask this question,
Whether a man be rich, not whether virtuous.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

Let me be called a scoundrel, but a rich one.
We all ask if he’s rich, not if he’s good.
[Source]

 
Added on 7-Nov-23 | Last updated 7-Nov-23
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He that is rich need not live sparingly, and he that can live sparingly need not be rich.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard (1734 ed.)
    (Source)
 
Added on 31-Oct-23 | Last updated 31-Oct-23
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But the rich man is tortured by fears, wasted with griefs, aflame with greed, never free from care, always restless and uneasy, out of breath from unending struggles with his enemies. It is true enough that he increases his holdings beyond measure by going through these miseries; but at the same time, thanks to that very increase, he also multiples his bitter cares. In contrast, the individual of moderate means is satisfied with his small and limited property; he is loved by family and friends; he enjoys sweet peace with his relations, neighbors, and friends; he is devout in his piety, benevolent of mind, sound of body, moderate in his style of life, unblemished in character, and untroubled in conscience. I do not know whether anyone would be so foolish as to have any doubt about which of the two to prefer.

[Alium praediuitem cogitemus; sed diuitem timoribus anxium, maeroribus tabescentem, cupiditate flagrantem, numquam securum, semper inquietum, perpetuis inimicitiarum contentionibus anhelantem, augentem sane his miseriis patrimonium suum in inmensum modum atque illis augmentis curas quoque amarissimas aggerantem; mediocrem uero illum re familiari parua atque succincta sibi sufficientem, carissimum suis, cum cognatis uicinis amicis dulcissima pace gaudentem, pietate religiosum, benignum mente, sanum corpore, uita parcum, moribus castum, conscientia securum. Nescio utrum quisquam ita desipiat, ut audeat dubitare quem praeferat.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
City of God [De Civitate Dei], Book 4, ch. 3 (4.3) (AD 412-416) [tr. Babcock (2012)]
    (Source)

On wealth and power as the foundation for happiness.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Let my wealthy man take with him fears, sorrows, covetousness, suspicion, disquiet, contentions, making immense additions to his estate only by adding to his heap of most bitter cares; and let my poor man take with him sufficiency with little, love of kindred, neighbours, friends, joyous peace, peaceful religion, soundness of body, sincereness of heart, abstinence of diet, chastity of carriage, and security of conscience. Where should a man find any one so sottish as would make a doubt which of these to prefer in his choice?
[tr. Healey (1610)]

But the rich man is anxious with fears, pining with discontent, burning with covetousness, never secure, always uneasy, panting from the perpetual strife of his enemies, adding to his patrimony indeed by these miseries to an immense degree, and by these additions also heaping up most bitter cares. But that other man of moderate wealth is contented with a small and compact estate, most dear to his own family, enjoying the sweetest peace with his kindred neighbors and friends, in piety religious, benignant in mind, healthy in body, in life frugal, in manners chaste, in conscience secure. I know not whether any one can be such a fool, that he dare hesitate which to prefer.
[ed. Dods (1871)]

But, our wealthy man is haunted by fear, heavy with cares, feverish with greed, never secure, always restless, breathless from endless quarrels with his enemies. By these miseries, he adds to his possessions beyond measure, but he also piles up for himself a mountain of distressing worries. The man of modest means is content with a small and compact patrimony. He is loved by his own, enjoys the sweetness of peace, in his relations with kindred, neighbors, and friends, is religious and pious, of kindly disposition, healthy in body, self-restrained, chaste in morals, and at peace with his conscience. I wonder if there is anyone so senseless as to hesitate over which of the two to prefer.
[tr. Zema/Walsh (1950)]

Let us suppose that the rich man is troubled by fears, pining with grief, burning with desire, never secure, always restless, panting in ceaseless struggles with his foes, though he does, to be sure, by dint of such suffering accumulate great additions to his estate even beyond measure, these additions adding also their quota of corrosive anxieties. Let the man of modest means, on the other hand, be self-sufficient on his trim and tiny property, beloved by his family, enjoying the most agreeable relations with his kindred, neighbours and friends, devoutly religious, kindly disposed, in good physical condition, leading a simple life, free from vice and untroubled in conscience. I don’t suppose that there is anyone so foolish as to think of doubting which one he would prefer.
[tr. Green (Loeb) (1963)]

But the rich man is tortured by fears, worn out with sadness, burnt up with ambition, never knowing serenity of repose, always panting and sweating in his struggles with opponents. It may be true that he enormously swells his patrimony, but at the cost of those discontents, while by this increase he heaps up a load of further anxiety and bitterness. The other man, the ordinary citizen, is content with his strictly limited resources. He is loved by family and friends; he enjoys the blessing of peace with his relations, neighbours, and friends; he is loyal, compassionate, and kind, healthy in body, temperate in habits, of unblemished character, and enjoys the serenity of a good conscience. I do not think anyone would be fool enough to hesitate about which he would prefer.
[tr. Bettenson (1972)]

The wealthy man, however, is troubled by fears; he pines with grief; he burns with greed. He is never secure; he is always unquiet and panting from endless confrontations with his enemies. To be sure, he adds to his patrimony in immense measure by these miseries; but alongside these additions he also heaps up the most bitter cares. By contrast, the man of moderate means is self-sufficient on his small and circumscribed estate. He is of his own family, and rejoices in the most sweet peace with kindred, neighbours and friends. He is devoutly religious, well disposed in mind, healthy in body, frugal in life, chaste in morals, untroubled in conscience. I do not know if anyone could be such a fool as to dare to doubt which to prefer.
[tr. Dyson (1998)]

 
Added on 30-Oct-23 | Last updated 29-Jan-24
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My ethical state,
Were I wealthy and great,
Is a subject you wish I’d reply on.
Now who can foresee
What his morals might be?
What would yours be if you were a lion?
 
[Saepe rogare soles, qualis sim, Prisce, futurus,
Si fiam locuples simque repente potens.
Quemquam posse putas mores narrare futuros?
Dic mihi, si fias tu leo, qualis eris?]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 92 (12.92) (AD 101) [tr. Nixon (1911)]
    (Source)

"To Priscus." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Priscus! you've often ask'd me how I'd live,
Should Fate at once both wealth and honour give?
What soul his future conduct can foresee?
Tell me what sort of lion you would be?
[tr. Lewis (<1752)]

What would I do, the question you repeat,
if on a sudden I were rich and great?
Who can himself with future conduct charge?
What would you do, a lion, and at large?
[tr. Hay (1755), ep. 93]

You've often been used, my good friend, for to ask
What sort of man I might prove
Was I rich or soon great? but 'tis no easy talk,
For 'faith I can't tell you, by Jove!
For who do You think, of the men that are here
Can his manners divine, that You see?
And was you as Jonathan's bull or a bear,
Pray what sort of beast would you be?
[tr. Scott (1773)]

Thou asketh oft, how I should brook the hour,
Of wealth o'erwhelming, and resistless pow'r.
His future self what seer can prophesy?
What lion, Priscus, should'st thou make? Reply.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 2.143]

Priscus! you often ask me what wouild be my future conduct, if I were made suddenly rich or powerful? Who can be competent to judge of his future character under such contingencies? Tell me, if you were metamorphosed into a lion, what kind of lion would you be?
[tr. Amos (1858), ep. 94]

You often ask me, Priscus, what sort of person I should be, if I were to become suddenly rich and powerful. Who can determine what would be his future conduct? Tell me, if you were to become a lion, what sort of a lion would you be?
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

You are often wont to ask me what sort of person I should be, Priscus, if I became rich and were suddenly powerful. Do you think any man can declare his character in the future? Tell me, if you became a lion, what sort of lion will you be?
[tr. Ker (1919)]

What should I be if great and rich?
That is the sort of question which
One cannot prophesy on;
Apply it to yourself: e.g.,
What sort of lion will you be
If you become a lion?
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "Riddles"]

You often ask me, Priscus, how I'ld use
My fortune if I stood in rich men's shoes.
'Tis hard forecasting the effect of pelf;
What sort of lion would you make, yourself?
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 687]

Your question: would my character,
And how, change if I suddenly were
Powerful and rich? Who can foresee
The sort of person he might be?
Supposing, Priscus, you became
A lion, would you be fierce or tame?
[tr. Michie (1972)]

You are wont to ask me, Priscus, what sort of person I should be if I were suddenly to become rich and powerful. Do you suppose that anybody can foretell his character? Tell me, if you were to become a lion, what would you be like?
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Priscus, your perennial party game
Is "How would you handle wealth and power?"
Who knows? But back at you the same:
If you were a lion, would you rage or cower?
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

If I were what I am not, rich,
Would I become a king?
If you were what you are not, brave,
Would you be anything?
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Priscus, you often ask what I'd be like
if I got wealth and power suddenly.
Can anyone foretell his future conduct?
If you were a lion, what kind would you be?
[tr. McLean (2014)]

 
Added on 20-Oct-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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More quotes by Martial

The prosperous fortunes, and the haughty wealth
Of an unrighteous man, we never ought
To deem establish’d on a solid base,
Or that the children of th’ unjust can prosper:
For Time, who from no Father springs, applies
His levell’d line, and shews man’s foul misdeeds.
 
[οὐδέποτ᾽ εὐτυχίαν κακοῦ ἀνδρὸς ὑπέρφρονά τ᾽ ὄλβον
βέβαιον εἰκάσαι χρεών,
οὐδ᾽ ἀδίκων γενεάν” ὁ γὰρ οὐδενὸς ἐχφὺς
χρόνος δικαίους ἐπάγων κανόνας
δείκνυσιν ἀνθρώπων καχότητας ἐμοί.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bellerophon [Βελλεροφῶν], frag. 303 (c. 430 BC) [tr. Wodhull (1809)]
    (Source)

Nauck (TGF) frag. 305, Barnes frag. 33, Musgrave frag. 6.

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Think not that the prosperity and riches of the wicked can endure, nor yet the generation of the bad; for Time, sprung from eternity, having a just rule in his hand, shows the wickedness of men.
[Source (1878)]

One ought never to imagine the success of a bad man, and his proud wealth, as secure, nor the lineage of unjust men; for time, which was born from nothing, adduces standards which are just and shows the wickedness of men in spite of all.
[tr. Collard, Hargreaves, Cropp (1995)]

It must not be believed
that the wicked thrive securely
though puffed-up-proud in their prosperity
nor the long line of injustices go on and on
uninterrupted -- Self-generating Time
(slowly -- slowly) lays
the yardstick of justice --
into the open (at least) brings
all iniquities of men.
For all that. For all that.
[tr. Stevens (2012)]
 
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More quotes by Euripides

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen (1775-1817) English novelist
Pride and Prejudice, ch. 1, Opening Lines (1813)
    (Source)
 
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Money was made, not to command our Will,
But all our lawful pleasures to fulfil.
Shame and Woe to us, if we our Wealth obey;
The Horse doth with the Horseman run away.

Abraham Cowley
Abraham Cowley (1618-1667) English poet and essayist
“Paraphrase upon the 10th Epistle of the First Book of Horace,” l. 75ff.
    (Source)
 
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Others lash the unknown seas with oars,
Rush at the sword, pay court in royal halls.
One destroys a city and its homes
To drink from jewelled cups and sleep on scarlet;
One hoards his wealth and lies on buried gold.
One gapes dumbfounded at the speaker’s stand;
At the theater, still another, open-mouthed,
Reels before crescendos of applause
From the tiers where mob and dignitaries sit.
Others are keen to drench themselves in blood,
Their brothers’ blood, and, exiled, change their homes
And winsome hearths, to range abroad for room
To live in, underneath a foreign sun.

[Sollicitant alii remis freta caeca ruuntque
in ferrum, penetrant aulas et limina regum;
hic petit excidiis urbem miserosque Penatis,
ut gemma bibat et Sarrano dormiat ostro;
condit opes alius defossoque incubat auro;
hic stupet attonitus rostris; hunc plausus hiantem
per cuneos — geminatus enim plebisque patrumque —
corripuit; gaudent perfusi sanguine fratrum,
exsilioque domos et dulcia limina mutant
atque alio patriam quaerunt sub sole iacentem.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Georgics [Georgica], Book 2, l. 504ff (2.504-513) (29 BC) [tr. Bovie (1956)]
    (Source)

Virgil contrasting violent, ambitious, vain, and rootless life of city folk (evoking the Roman civil wars), in contrast to the bucolic peace and sense of home enjoyed by farmers.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Some vex the Sea, and some to war resorts,
Attend on Kings, and waite in Princes Courts.
This would his Countrey, and his God betray
To drink in Jems, and on proud scarlet lye.
This hides his wealth, and broods on hidden gold,
This loves to plead, and that to be extold
Through all the seats of Commons, and the sires.
To bathe in's brothers blood this man desires.
Some banish'd, must their native seats exchange,
And Countries, under other Climates range.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

Some to the Seas, and some to Camps resort, ⁠
And some with Impudence invade the Court.
In foreign Countries others seek Renown,
With Wars and Taxes others waste their own.
And Houses burn, and household Gods deface,
To drink in Bowls which glitt'ring Gems enchase:
⁠ To loll on Couches, rich with Cytron Steds,
And lay their guilty Limbs in Tyrian Beds.
This Wretch in Earth intombs his Golden Ore,
Hov'ring and brooding on his bury'd Store.
Some Patriot Fools to pop'lar Praise aspire, ⁠
By Publick Speeches, which worse Fools admire.
While from both Benches, with redoubl'd Sounds,
Th' Applause of Lords and Commoners abounds.
Some through Ambition, or thro' Thirst of Gold;
Have slain their Brothers, or their Country sold: ⁠
And leaving their sweet Homes, in Exile run
To Lands that lye beneath another Sun.
[tr. Dryden (1709), l. 720ff]

Some rush to battle, vex with oars the deep,
Or in the courts of Kings insidious creep;
For cups of gem, and quilts of Tyrian, die,
Others remorseless loose each public tie:
On hoarded treasures these ecstatic gaze,
Those eye the Rostra, stupid with amaze:
This for the theatre's applauding roar
Sighs: with the blood of brothers sprinkled o'er
From their dear homes to exile others run,
And seek new seats beneath a distant sun.
[tr. Nevile (1767), l. 565ff]

Some vex with restless oar wild seas unknown.
Some rush on death, or cringe around the throne;
Stern warriors here beneath their footsteps tread
The realm that rear'd them, and the hearth that fed,
To quaff from gems, and lull to transient rest
The wound that bleeds beneath the Tyrian vest.
These brood with sleepless gaze o'er buried gold,
The rostrum these with raptur'd trance behold,
Or wonder when repeated plaudits raise
'Mid peopled theatres the shout of praise;
These with grim joy, by civil discord led,
And stain'd in battles where a brother bled.
From their sweet household hearth in exile roam,
And seek beneath new suns a foreign home.
[tr. Sotheby (1800)]

Some vex the dangerous seas with oars, some rush into arms, some work their way into courts, and the palaces of kings. One destines a city and wretched families to destruction, that he may drink in gems and sleep on Tyrian purple. Another hoards up wealth, and broods over buried gold. One, astonished at the rostrum, grows giddy; another peals of applause along the rows, (for it is redoubled both by the people and the fathers,) have captivated, and set agape; some rejoice when stained with their brother's blood; and exchange their homes and sweet thresholds for exile, and seek a country lying under another sun.
[tr. Davidson (1854)]

While others vex dark Hellespont with oars,
Leap on the sword, or dash through royal stores,
Storm towns and homesteads, in their vile desire
To quaff from pearl, and sleep on tints of Tyre;
While others hoard and brood on buried dross,
And some are moonstruck at the pleader's gloss;
While this man gapes along the pit, to hear
The mob and senators renew their cheer;
And others, reeking in fraternal gore,
With songs of triumph quit their native shore,
Abjure sweet home for banishment, and run
In quest of country 'neath another sun --
[tr. Blackmore (1871), l. 602ff]

Others are startling the darkness of the deep with oars, rushing on the sword's pint, winning their way into the courts and ante-chambers of kings; another is dooming a city to ruin and its homes to misery, that he may drink from jewelled cups and sleep on Tyrian purple; another hoards his wealth, and broods o'er buried gold; this man is dazzled and amazed by the eloquence of the rostra; that man the applause of commoners and senators, as it rolls redoubled through the benches, transports agape with wonder; they steep their hands in brothers' blood and joy, they change their homes and the thresholds of affection for the land of exile, and seek a fatherland that lies beneath another sun.
[tr. Wilkins (1873)]

Others vex
The darksome gulfs of Ocean with their oars,
Or rush on steel: they press within the courts
And doors of princes; one with havoc falls
Upon a city and its hapless hearths,
From gems to drink, on Tyrian rugs to lie;
This hoards his wealth and broods o'er buried gold;
One at the rostra stares in blank amaze;
One gaping sits transported by the cheers,
The answering cheers of plebs and senate rolled
Along the benches: bathed in brothers' blood
Men revel, and, all delights of hearth and home
For exile changing, a new country seek
Beneath an alien sun.
[tr. Rhoades (1881)]

These dare the ocean, and invite the storm,
This rage, and this the courtier’s wiles deform;
All faith, all right the traitor’s acts defy,
From gems to drink, on Tyrian purple lie;
One broods in misery o’er his hoarded gold.
And one in chains the people’s plaudits hold.
There stains of blood pollute a brother’s hand,
And he in terror flies his father’s land.
[tr. King (1882), l. 514ff]

Some vex the dangerous seas with oars, or rush into arms, or work their way into courts and the palaces of kings: one marks out a city and its wretched homes for destruction, that he may drink from jewelled cups and sleep on Tyrian purple. Another hoards up wealth, and lies sleepless on his buried gold. One, in bewildered amazement, gazes at the Rostra; another, in open-mouthed delight, the plaudits of the commons and the nobles, redoubled along benches, have arrested: some take pleasure in being drenched with a brother’s blood; and exchange their homes and dear thresholds for exile, and seek a country lying under another sun.
[tr. Bryce (1897)]

Others vex blind sea-ways with their oars, or rush upon the sword, pierce the courts and chambers of kings; one aims destruction at the city and her wretched homes, that he may drink from gems and sleep on Tyrian scarlet; another heaps up wealth and broods over buried gold; one hangs rapt in amaze before the Rostra; one the applause of populace and senate re-echoing again over the theatre carries open-mouthed away: joyfully they steep themselves in blood of their brethren, and exchange for exile the dear thresholds of their homes, and seek a country spread under an alien sun.
[tr. Mackail (1899)]

Others may tempt with oars the printless sea, may fling
Their lives to the sword, may press through portals and halls of a king.
This traitor hath ruined his country, hath blasted her homes, thereby
To drink from a jewelled chalice, on Orient purple to lie;
That fool hoards up his wealth, and broods o'er his buried gold;
That simple-one gazes rapt on the rostra: the loud cheers rolled
Down the theatre-seats, as Fathers and people acclaiming stood,
Have entranced yon man; men drench them with joy in their brethren's blood;
Into exile from home and its sweet, sweet threshold some have gone
Seeking a country that lieth beneath an alien sun.
[tr. Way (1912), l. 503ff]

Let strangers to such peace
Trouble with oars the boundless seas or fly
To wars, and plunder palaces of kings;
Make desolate whole cities, casting down
Their harmless gods and altars, that one's wine
May from carved rubies gush, and slumbering head
On Tyrian pillow lie. A man here hoards
His riches, dreaming of his buried gold;
Another on the rostrum's flattered pride
Stares awe-struck. Him th' applause of multitudes.
People and senators, when echoed shouts
Ring through the house approving, quite enslaves.
With civil slaughter and fraternal blood
One day such reek exultant, on the next
Lose evermore the long-loved hearth and home.
[tr. Williams (1915)]

Others brave with oars seas unknown, dash upon the sword, or press their way into courts and the chambers of kings. One wreaks ruin on a city and its wretched homes, and all to drink from a jewelled cup and sleep on Tyrian purple; another hoards wealth and gloats over buried gold; one stares in admiration at the rostra; another, open-mouthed, is carried away by the applause of high and low which rolls again and again along the benches. They steep themselves in their brothers’ blood and glory in it; they barter their sweet homes and hearths for exile and seek a country that lies beneath an alien sun.
[tr. Fairclough (Loeb) (1916)]

Other men dare the sea with their oars blindly, or dash
On the sword, or insinuate themselves into royal courts:
One ruins a whole town and the tenements of the poor
In his lust for jewelled cups, for scarlet linen to sleep on,
One piles up great wealth, gloats over his cache of gold;
One gawps at the public speakers; one is worked up to hysteria
By the plaudits of senate and people resounding across the benches:
These shed their brothers’ blood
Merrily, they barter for exile their homes beloved
And leave for countries lying under an alien sun.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1940)]

Others churn blind straits with their oars, and rush to the sword, force their way across the thresholds and into the courts of kings; [...] They rejoice, soaked in their brothers’ blood, exchange their own sweet thresholds for exile and seek a fatherland under another sun.
[tr. Miles (1980)]

Some vex with oars uncharted waters, some
Rush on cold steel, some seek to worm their way
Into the courts of kings. One is prepared
To plunge a city's homes in misery
All for a jewelled cup and a crimson bedspread;
Another broods on a buried hoard of gold.
This one is awestruck by the platform's thunder;
That one, enraptured, gapes ad the waves of applause
from high and low rolling across the theater.
Men revel steeped in brothers' blood, exchange
The hearth they love for banishment, and seek
A home in lands benath an alien sun.
[tr. Wilkinson (1982)]

Others trouble unknown seas with oars, rush on
their swords, enter the gates and courts of kings.
This man destroys a city and its wretched houses,
to drink from a jewelled cup, and sleep on Tyrian purple:
that one heaps up wealth, and broods about buried gold:
one’s stupefied, astonished by the Rostra: another, gapes,
entranced by repeated applause, from people and princes,
along the benches: men delight in steeping themselves
in their brothers’ blood, changing sweet home and hearth for exile,
and seeking a country that lies under an alien sun.
[tr. Kline (2001)]

Others slap their oars on dark, unknown seas, fall on their swords,
or thrust themselves into royal courts and palaces.
One man aims to destroy a city and its humble homes -- just
to drink from a jeweled goblet and sleep on Tyrian purple;
another stores up treasures and broods on his buried gold.
Wide-eyed, one gawks at the forum's speakers; another,
mouth agape, is swept away when lower class and upper both
applaud a statesman. Dripping with their brothers' gore,
they exult, exchanging familiar homes and hearths for exile,
they seek a fatherland that lies beneath a foreign sun.
[tr. Lembke (2004)]

Others fret with oars uncharted seas, or rush
upon the sword, or infiltrate the courts and vestibules of kings.
One visits devastation on a city and its wretched hearths
that he may slurp from a jewelled cup and snore on Tyrian purple.
Another hoards treasure and broods over buried gold.
One wonders thunderstruck at the podium, one gapes
transported by the applause of senators and commonfolk
resounding through the galleries. Drenched in their brothers' blood
they exult, and trade exile for their homes and sweet porches,
and seek a homeland under an alien sun.
[tr. Johnson (2009)]

There are those who with their oars disturb the waters
Of dangerous unknown seas, and those who rush
Against the sword, and those who insinuate
Their way into the chamber of a king:
There's one who brings down ruin on a city
And all its wretched households, in his desire
To drink from an ornate cup and go to sleep
On Tyrian purple coverlets at night;
There's the man who heaps up gold, and hides it away,
There's he who stares up stupefied at the Rostrum;
There's the open-mouthed, undone astonishment
Of the one who hears the waves and waves of the wild
Applause of the close packed crowd in the theater;
There are those who bathe in their brothers' blood, rejoicing;
And those who give up house and home for exile,
Seeking a land an alien sun shines on.
[tr. Ferry (2015)]

 
Added on 27-Sep-23 | Last updated 4-Oct-23
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More quotes by Virgil

Where large sums of money are concerned, it is advisable to trust nobody.

Agatha Christie (1890-1976) English writer
Endless Night, ch. 21 [Mr. Lippincott] (1967)
    (Source)
 
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Nature never said to me: Do not be poor; still less did she say: Be rich; her cry to me was always: Be independent.

[La Nature ne m’a point dit: ne sois point pauvre; encore moins: sois riche; mais elle me crie: sois indépendant.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 4, ¶ 281 (1795) [tr. Mathers (1926)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Nature has not said to me: Be not poor; still less: Be rich. But she cries out to me: Be independent.
[tr. Hutchinson (1902)]

Nature did not say to me, “Do not be poor”; still less, “Be rich”; but she cried out to me, “Be independent.”
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

Nature did not tell me, "Do not be poor"; still less did it say "Be rich"; but it does cry to me: "Be independent."
[tr. Pearson (1973)]

Nature never urged me, "Be not poor," much less, "Be rich." Instead, she shouts: "Be independent."
[tr. Dusinberre (1992)]

Nature didn't tell me, "Don't be poor!"; and certainly didn't say: "Get rich!"; but she did shout: "Always be independent!"
[tr. Parmée (2003), ¶174]

Nature didn't say to me "Never be poor."; still less "Be rich."; but it cried "Be independant."
[tr. Sinicalchi]

 
Added on 18-Sep-23 | Last updated 18-Sep-23
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More ease than masters, servants lives afford:
Think on that, Tom; nor wish to be your lord.
On a coarse rug you most securely snore:
Deep sunk in down he counts each sleepless hour.
Anxious betimes to every statesman low
He bows; much lower than to him you bow.
Behold him with a dun at either ear,
“Pray, pay,” the word; a word you never hear.
Fear you a cudgel? view his gouty state;
Which he would change for many a broken pate.
You know no morning qualm; no costly whore:
Think then, though not a lord, that you are more.

[Quae mala sint domini, quae servi commoda, nescis,
Condyle, qui servum te gemis esse diu.
Dat tibi securos vilis tegeticula somnos,
Pervigil in pluma Gaius, ecce, iacet.
Gaius a prima tremebundus luce salutat
Tot dominos, at tu, Condyle, nec dominum.
‘Quod debes, Gai, redde’ inquit Phoebus et illinc
Cinnamus: hoc dicit, Condyle, nemo tibi.
Tortorem metuis? podagra cheragraque secatur
Gaius et mallet verbera mille pati.
Quod nec mane vomis nec cunnum, Condyle, lingis,
Non mavis, quam ter Gaius esse tuus?]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 9, epigram 92 (9.92) (AD 94) [tr. Hay (1755)]
    (Source)

Masters often think themselves more put-upon than their lazy, "carefree" servants/slaves, as do the rich versus the poor. "To Condylus" (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

The weal of a servant, and woe of his lord,
Thou know'st not, who so long hast service abhorr'd.
Securest of slumbers thy coverlet crown:
Thy master, my Condyl, lies watching in down.
Lords many hails he, the chill morn just begun:
Thou own'st no such duty, saluting scarce one.
To him this and that wight: Pray, pay what you ow.
To thee not a mortal pretends to say so.
Thou feat'st but a flogging: he's rackt with the gout.
A thousand sound lashes he'd rather stand out.
Nor sick thou at morning, nor pale with disease:
Who's moire, prithee, thou or thy master at ease?
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 4, Part 2, ep. 35]

Of the troubles of a master, and the pleasures of a slave, Condylus, you are ignorant, when you lament that you have been a slave so long. A common rug gives you sleep free from all anxiety; Caius lies awake all night on his bed of down. Caius, from the first dawn of day, salutes with trembling a number of patrons; you, Condylus, salute not even your master. "Caius, pay what you owe me," cries Phoebus on the one side, and Cinnamus on the other; no one makes such a demand on you, Condylus. Do you fear the torturer? Caius is a martyr to the gout in his hands and feet, and would rather suffer a thousand floggings than endure its pains. You indulge neither gluttonous nor licentious propensities. Is not this preferable to being three times a Caius?
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

The lowliest cot will give thee powerful sleep,
While Caius tosses on his bed of down.
[ed. Harbottle (1897), 9.93.3]

What are a master's ills, what a slave's blessings you do not know, Condylus, who groan that you are so long a slave. Your common rush-mat affords you sleep untoubled; wakeful all night on down, see, Gaius lies! Gaius from early morn salutes trembling many masters; but you, Condylus, not even your master. "What you owe, Gaius, pay," says Phoebus, and after him Cinnamus: this no one Condylus says to you. Do you dread the torturer? By gout in food and hand Gaius is stabbed, and would choose instead to endure a thousand blows. You do not vomit in the morning, nor are you given to filthy vice, Condylus: do you not prefer this to being your Gaius three times over?
[tr. Ker (1919)]

"How easy live the free," you say, and brood
Upon your long but easy servitude.
See Gaius tossing on his downy bed;
Your sleep’s unbroken tho’ the couch be rude;
He pays his call ere chilly dawn be red,
You need not call on him, you sleep instead;
He’s deep in debt, hears many a summons grim
From creditors that you need never dread,
You might be tortured at your master’s whim;
Far worse the gout that racks his every limb;
Think of the morning qualms, his vicious moods.
Would you for thrice his freedom change with him?
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "True Servitude"]

Condylus, you lament that you have been so long a slave; you don't know a master's afflictions and a slave's advantages. A cheap little mat gives you carefree slumbers: there's Gaius lying awake all night on feathers. From daybreak on Gaius in fear and trembling salutes so many masters: but you, Condylus, do not salute even your own. "Gaius, pay me back what you owe," says Phoebus, and from yonder so says Cinnamus: nobody says that to you, Condylus. You fear the torturer? Gaius is cut by gout in foot and hand and would rather take a thousand lashes. You don't vomit of a morning or lick a cunt, Condylus; isn't that better than being your Gaius three times over?
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Never the pros & cons of "slave," or "master,"
can you, mourning long servitude, discern.
The cheapest matting yields you dreamless sleep;
Gaius's feather-bed keeps him awake.
From crack of down Gaius respectfully
greets many masters; yours goes ungreeted.
"Pay day, Gaius, pay!" says Phoebus. "Pay! Pay!"
chimes Cinnamus. What man speaks thus to you?
Screw & rack, you dread? Gaius' gout stabs so
he'ld far prefer the thumbscrew or the rack.
You've no hangover habit, oral sex:
is not one life of yours worth three of his?
[tr. Whigham (2001)]

 
Added on 15-Sep-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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The poor have little, beggars none, the rich too much, enough not one.

Franklin - The poor have little, Beggars none, The rich too much, Enough, none - wist.info quote

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard (1733)
    (Source)

Repeated in Poor Richards (1740).
 
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You can be young without money but you can’t be old without it. You’ve got to be old with money because to be old without it is just too awful, you’ve got to be one or the other, either young or with money, you can’t be old and without it.

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) American playwright
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Act 1 [Margaret] (1955)
    (Source)
 
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Money never remains just coins and pieces of paper. Money can be translated into the beauty of living, a support in misfortune, an education, or future security. It also can be translated into a source of bitterness.

Sylvia Porter
Sylvia Porter (1913-1991) American economist, journalist, author
Sylvia Porter’s Money Book, Part 1, ch. 1 (1975)
    (Source)
 
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But the best state for human nature is that in which, while no one is poor, no one desires to be richer, nor has any reason to fear being thrust back, by the efforts of others to push themselves forward.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
Principles of Political Economy, Book 4, ch. 6 (1871)
    (Source)
 
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The whole trouble with the Republicans is their fear of an increase in income tax, especially on higher incomes. They speak of it almost like a national calamity. I really believe if it come to a vote whether to go to war with England, France and Germany combined, or raise the rate on incomes of over $100,000, they would vote war.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Daily Telegrams” column (1931-02-27)
    (Source)
 
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Money poisons you when you’ve got it, and starves you when you haven’t.

David Herbert "D. H." Lawrence (1885-1930) English novelist
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, ch. 19 [Mellors] (1928)
    (Source)
 
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You don’t seem to realize that a poor person who is unhappy is in a better position than a rich person who is unhappy. Because the poor person has hope. He thinks money would help. I tell you there is no despair like the despair of the man who has everything.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
Poor Richard, Act 1 [Sydney] (1963)
    (Source)
 
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Money is a singular thing. It ranks with love as man’s greatest source of joy. And with death as his greatest source of anxiety.

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) Canadian-American economist, diplomat, author
The Age of Anxiety, ch. 6 “The Rise and Fall of Money” (1977)
    (Source)
 
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Ah, Constantine! what mischief in the gift —
Not thy conversion, but the dower you gave
For the first wealthy Father to receive.

[Ahi, Costantin, di quanto mal fu matre,
non la tua conversion, ma quella dote
che da te prese il primo ricco patre!]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 19, l. 115ff (9.115-117) [Dante] (1320) [tr. Bannerman (1850)]
    (Source)

According to legend, the Emperor Constantine, having been cured of leprosy through baptism by Pope Sylvester, both showered Sylvester with riches and moved his own capital to Constantinople, leaving the Pope as temporal ruler of the West. This "Donation of Constantine" was fabricated in the 8th century, and first used by Pope Adrian I to encourage Charlemagne to give generously and acknowledge papal power over the emperor. It was largely believed true until the 15th Century. Dante, both author and character, traced the Church's corruption by power and wealth from that legend.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Ah! Constantine, of how much ill was Cause
Not thy Conversion, but those rich Domains
That the first wealthy Pope received of thee!
[tr. Milton (1641)]

Ah, Constantine, what are the many Ills
You have been parent of: I do not mean
By your Conversion, but that pompous Gift
By which our Holy Father you enrich'd!
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 112ff]

Lamented ever be that lib'ral hand,
Whose gifts allur'd the Apostolic band
To leave that humble path where long they trod.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 19]

Ah, Constantine! to how much ill gave birth,
Not thy conversion, but that plenteous dower,
Which the first wealthy Father gain’d from thee!
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Ah, Constantine! what ills have we to rue --
I say not from thine own conversion sprung,
But from thy dower, the first rich father drew!
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Ah Constantine! to how much ill gave birth, not thy conversion, but that dower which the first rich Father took from thee!
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Oh, Constantine, of how much ill the source!
Not thy conversion, but that fatal dower
Which the first Father took from the in gift!
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Ah, Constantine! of how much ill was mother,
⁠Not thy conversion, but that marriage-dower
⁠Which the first wealthy Father took from thee!
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Ah, Constantine, of how great ill was mother, not thy conversion, but that dowry which the first rich pope got from thee!
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Ah, Constantine, of how much ill was cause,
Not thy conversion but the fatal dower
Which the first wealthy father from thee draws!
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Ah Constantine! of how much ill was mother, not thy conversion, but that dowry which the first rich Father received from thee!
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Ah! Constantine, of how great ill was mother,
Not thy conversion, but that fatal dowry,
Which from thy hands received the first rich Father.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Ah, Constantine, of how much evil gave birth,
not thy conversion, but that dower
the first rich Father had from thee.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Ah, Constantine, what evil fruit did bear
Not they conversion, but that dowry broad
Thou on the first rich Father didst confer!
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Ah, Constantine! What ills were gendered there --
No, not from thy conversion, but the dower
The first rich Pope received from thee as heir?
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

Ah Constantine, what evil marked the hour --
not of your conversion, but of the fee
the first rich Father took from you in dower!
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

Ah, Constantine, of how much ill was mother, not your conversion, but that dowry which the first rich Father took from you!
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

Oh, Constantine, what evil did you sire,
not by your conversion, but by the dower
that the first wealthy Father got from you!
[tr. Musa (1971)]

Ah, Constantine, what wickedness was born --
and not from your conversion -- from the dower
that you bestowed upon the first rich father!
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Ah, Constantine, how much ill you produced,
Not by your conversion, but by that endowment
Which the first rich father accepted from you.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Ah Constantine! What measure of wickedness
Stems from that mother -- not your conversion, I mean:
Rather the dowry that the first rich Father
Accepted from you!
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 108ff]

Ah, Constantine, not your conversion, but that dowry which the first rich father took from you, has been the mother of so much evil!
[tr. Durling (1996)]

Ah, Constantine, how much evil you gave birth to, not in your conversion, but in that Donation that the first wealthy Pope, Sylvester, received from you!
[tr. Kline (2002)]

What harm you mothered, Emperor Constantine!
Not your conversion but the dowry he --
that first rich Papa -- thus obtained from you!
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

Ah, Constantine, to what evil you gave birth,
not by your conversion, but by the dowry
that the first rich Father had from you!
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Ah, Constantine, the evil thrown in the world
Was not your conversion to Christ, but the wealth and grandeur
The first rich Pope and Father took from your hands!
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Constantine! You set the spurs
To evil, not by cleaving to your new
Religion, but by how, when you moved east,
You gave Sylvester, just to stay behind,
The Western Empire's wealth.
[tr. James (2013)]

 
Added on 19-May-23 | Last updated 19-May-23
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People feel shameful to be poor and underprivileged in a well-run country. You should feel shameful if you are rich and aristocratic in a decadent and corrupt country.

[邦有道、貧且賤焉、恥也、邦無道、富且貴焉、恥也。]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 8, verse 13, sec. 3 (8.13.3) (6th C. BC – AD 3rd C.) [tr. Li (2020)]
    (Source)

Brooks (below) says that this analect was added into Book 8 at the time of Book 14 being produced.

(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:

When a country is well-governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill-governed, riches and honour are things to be ashamed of.
[tr. Legge (1861)]

Under a good government it will be a disgrace to him if he remain in poverty and low estate; under a bad one it would be equally disgraceful to him to hold riches and honours.
[tr. Jennings (1895)]

When there is justice and order in the government of his own country, he should be ashamed to be poor and without honour; but when there is no justice in the government of his own country he should be ashamed to be rich and honoured.
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898)]

When law and order prevail in his State, he is ashamed to be needy and of no account. When law and order fail, he is ashamed to be in affluence and honour.
[tr. Soothill (1910)]

When a state is functioning, poverty and meanness are shameful; when a state is in chaos (ill governed) riches and honours are shameful. [Let us say: under a corrupt government.]
[tr. Pound (1933)]

When the Way prevails in your own land, count it a disgrace to be needy and obscure; when the Way does not prevail in your land, then count it a disgrace to be rich and honoured.
[tr. Waley (1938)]

If a state is following The Right Way, it is a disgrace to be in poverty and a low estate therein; if not, it is a disgrace to be rich and honored therein.
[tr. Ware (1950)]

It is a shameful matter to be poor and humble when the Way prevails in the state. Equally, it is a shameful matter to be rich and noble when the Way falls into disuse in the state.
[tr. Lau (1979)]

When the Way prevails in your own state, to be made poor and obscure by it is a disgrace; but when teh Way does not prevail in your own state, to be made rich and honourable by it is a disgrace.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

In a country where the Way prevails, it is shameful to remain poor and obscure; in a country which has lost the Way, it is shameful to become rich and honored.
[tr. Leys (1997)]

When the state possesses the Way and you are poor and lowly, it is a shame; when the state loses the Way and you are rich and noble, it is also a shame.
[tr. Huang (1997)]

If the country is on the right way, it is the shame to be poor and low; If the country is not on the right way, it is the shame to be rich and honor.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), #201]

It is a disgrace to remain poor and without rank when the way prevails in the state; it is a disgrace to be wealthy and of noble rank when it does not.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

When the state has the Way, to be poor and humble in it is shameful; when the state has not the Way, to be wealthy and honored in it is shameful.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998)]

When the Way rules in your country, there's shame in poverty and obscurity; when the Way's lost in your country, there's shame in wealth and renown.
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

In a state that has the Way, to be poor and of low status is a cause for shame; in a state that is without the Way, to be wealthy and honored is equally a cause for shame.
[tr. Slingerland (2003)]

When the state follows the Way, being poor and lowly is a cause for shame. When the state is without the Way, being rich and eminent is a cause for shame.
[tr. Watson (2007)]

When the moral way prevails in a state, being poor and lowly is a cause for shame. When the moral way does not prevail in the world, having wealth and position is a cause for shame.
[tr. Chin (2014)]

 
Added on 15-May-23 | Last updated 15-May-23
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Gold and silver are the gods you adore
In what are you different from the idolater,
save that he worships one, and you a score?

[Fatto v’avete dio d’oro e d’argento;
e che altro è da voi a l’idolatre,
se non ch’elli uno, e voi ne orate cento?]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 19, l. 112ff (19.112-114) [Dante] (1320) [tr. Ciardi (1954)]
    (Source)

Chiding the damned shade of Pope Nicholas III (reigned 1280-1303), who was infamous for his corruption, extorting lands for the Church from nobles before giving his blessing, taking bribes, and selling holy offices (simonism); the last has landed him in the Eighth Circle, third Bolgia, with the other simoniacs.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

But you of silver and gold have made
Your God: What differs your Idolatry
From that of others, but that they did one
Alone, and you a hundred Gods adore.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 109ff]

Go, seek your Saviour in the delved mine.
And bid the Idolater the palm resign;
Thine is a Legion, his a single God!
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 19]

Of gold and silver ye have made your god,
Diff’ring wherein from the idolater,
But he that worships one, a hundred ye?
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Silver and gold ye make your god: what more
Divides the brute idolater and you,
Save that he one, a hundred ye adore?
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Ye have made you a god of gold and silver; and wherein do ye differ from the idolater, save that he worships one, and ye a hundred?
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Of gold and silver you have made your god,
Idols of yours and others to recount,
Theirs to one, to a hundred yours amount.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

Or gold and silver ye your gods have made;
And what is 'twist th' idolater and you,
But he to one -- ye to a hundred pray.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Ye have made yourselves a god of gold and silver;
⁠And from the idolater how differ ye,
⁠Save that he one, and ye a hundred worship?
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Ye have made a god of gold and silver, and what else is there between you and the idolater save that he worships one, and you a hundred.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Ye've made your God of silver and of gold.
Ye from idolaters what line withdraws.
Save they sin once, and ye a hundredfold?
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Ye have made you a god of gold and silver: and what difference is there between you and the idolater save that he worships one and ye a hundred?
[tr. Norton (1892)]

A god ye have made yourselves of gold and silver,
And from idolaters what else divides you,
Save that they pray to one and you a hundred?
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

You have made you a god of gold and silver, and what is there between you and teh idolaters but that they worship one and you a hundred?
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

A God of silver and gold ye have made to adore;
And how do ye differ from the idolater
Sav e that he worships one, and ye five-score?
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

You deify silver and gold; how are you sundered
In any fashion from the idolater,
Save that he serves one god and you an hundred?
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

You have made you a god of gold and silver; and wherein do you differ from the idolaters, save that they worship one, and you a hundred?
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

You have built yourselves a God of gold and silver!
How do you differ from the idolater,
except he worships one, you worship hundreds?
[tr. Musa (1971)]

You’ve made yourselves a god of gold and silver;
how are you different from idolaters,
save that they worship one and you a hundred?
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

You have made a god of gold and silver:
And how do you differ from an idolater,
Except that he prays to one, and you to a hundred?
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

You made a god of gold and silver: wherein
Is it you differ from the idolatrous --
Save that you worship a hundred, they but one?
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 105ff]

You have made gold and silver your god; and what difference is there between you and the idol-worshipper, except that he prays to one, and you to a hundred?
[tr. Durling (1996)]

You have made a god for yourselves of gold and silver, and how do you differ from the idolaters, except that he worships one image and you a hundred?
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Silver and gold you have made your god. And what’s
the odds -- you and some idol-worshipper?
He prays to one, you to a gilded hundred.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

You have wrought yourselves a god of gold and silver.
How then do you differ from those who worship idols
except they worship one and you a hundred?
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

The god you made for yourself is silver and gold --
And where are you different, you and worshippers
Of idols? They have one, and you a hundred.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

You thieves reigned,
Making a God of gold and silver. Room
Does not exist between the idolaters
And you, except they worship one, and you
A hundred.
[tr. James (2013)]

 
Added on 12-May-23 | Last updated 12-May-23
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

The great question for our time is, how to make sure that the continuing scientific revolution brings benefits to everybody rather than widening the gap between rich and poor. To lift up poor countries, and poor people in rich countries, from poverty, to give them a chance of a decent life, technology is not enough. Technology must be guided and driven by ethics if it is to do more than provide new toys for the rich.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
“Progress in Religion,” Templeton Prize acceptance speech, Washington National Cathedral (9 May 2000)
    (Source)
 
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You now can see, dear son, the short-lived pranks
that goods consigned to Fortune’s hand will play,
causing such squabbles in the human ranks.
For all the gold that lies beneath the moon —
or all that ever did lie there — would bring
no respite to these worn-out souls, not one.

[Or puoi, figliuol, veder la corta buffa
d’i ben che son commessi a la fortuna,
per che l’umana gente si rabuffa;
ché tutto l’oro ch’è sotto la luna
e che già fu, di quest’anime stanche
non poterebbe farne posare una.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 7, l. 61ff (7.61-66) [Virgil] (1320) [tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]
    (Source)

On the never-ending labor and contention between the hoarders and the wasters. (Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Therefore, my Son, the vanity you may
Of Fortune's gifts perceive, for which Mankind
Raise such a bustle, and so much contend.
Not all the Gold which is beneath the moon,
Or which was by these wretched Souls possess'd,
Could ever satisfy their craving minds.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 53ff]

Learn hence of mortal things how vain the boast,
Learn to despise the low, degen'rate host,
And see their wealth how poor, how mean their pride;
Not all the mines below the wand'ring moon,
Not all the sun beholds at highest noon,
Can for a moment bid the fray subside.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 11]

Now may’st thou see, my son! how brief, how vain,
The goods committed into fortune’s hands,
For which the human race keep such a coil!
Not all the gold, that is beneath the moon,
Or ever hath been, of these toil-worn souls
Might purchase rest for one.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Now may'st thou, son, behold how brief the shuffle
Of goods by shifting Fortune held in store,
For which the human kind so fiercely ruffle:
Since all below the moon of golden ore
That lies, or all those weary souls possessed,
Could purchase none a moment's peace the more.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

But thou, my Son, mayest [now] see the brief mockery of the goods that are committed unto Fortune, for which the human kind contend with each other.
For all the gold that is beneath the moon, or ever was, could not give rest to a single one of these weary souls.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Now see, my son, how frivolous and vain
The goods committed unto Fortune's hand,
For which the race will so rebutting stand.
Not all the gold that is beneath the moon,
Nor all these toil-worn creatures have possessed,
could purchase for them but a moment's rest.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

And now, my son, behold the folly brief
of the world's goods to fortune's guidance given,
And for which men so struggle and dispute.
Not all the gold that is beneath the moon,
Or ever was, unto these wearied souls
Could give one hour of respite or of peace.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Now canst thou. Son, behold the transient farce
Of goods that are committed unto Fortune,
For which the human race each other buffet;
For all the gold that is beneath the moon,
Or ever has been, of these weary souls
Could never make a single one repose.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Now canst thou, my son, see the short game of the goods which are entrusted to Fortune, for which the human race buffet each other. For all the gold that is beneath the moon and that ever was, of these wearied souls could never make one of them rest.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Now thou canst see, O son, the short-lived day
Of good, committed unto Fortune's 'hest,
For which the human race so strives alway.
Since all the gold beneath the moon possest,
Or ever owned by those worn souls of yore,
Could not make one of them one moment rest.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Now canst thou, son, see the brief jest of the goods that are committed unto Fortune, for which the human race so scramble; for all the gold that is beneath the moon, or that ever was, of these weary souls could not make a single one repose.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Here mayest thou see, my son, the fleeting mockery of wealth that is the sport of Fortune, for sake of which men strive with one another. For all the gold that is, or ever hath been beneath the moon, could not procure repose for one of these weary souls.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Now canst thou see, my son, how vain and short-lived
Are the good things committed unto fortune,
For which sake human folk set on each other.
For all the gold on which the moon now rises,
Or ever rose, would be quite unavailing
To set one of these weary souls at quiet.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Now mayst thou see, my son, the brief mockery of wealth committed to fortune, for which the race of men embroil themselves; for all the gold that is beneath the moon, or ever was, could not give rest to one of these weary souls.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Now, my son, see to what a mock are brought
The goods of Fortune's keeping, and how soon!
Though to possess them still is all man's thought.
For all the gold that is beneath the moon,
Or ever was, never could buy repose
For one of those souls, faint to have that boon.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

See now, my son, the fine and fleeting mock
Of all those goods men wrangle for -- the boon
That is delivered into the hand of Luck;
For all the gold that is beneath the moon,
Or ever was, could not avail to buy
Repose for one of these weary souls -- not one.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

Now may you see the fleeting vanity
of the goods of Fortune for which men tear down
all that they are, to build a mockery.
Not all the gold that is or ever was
under the sky could buy for one of these
exhausted souls the fraction of a pause.
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

Now you can see, my son, the brief mockery of the goods that are committed to Fortune, for which humankind contend with one another; because all the gold that is beneath the moon, or ever was, would not give rest to a single one of these weary souls.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

You see, my son, the short-lived mockery
of all the wealth that is in Fortune's keep,
over which the human race is bickering;
for all the gold that is or ever was
beneath the moon won't buy a moment's rest
for even one among these weary souls.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

Now you can see, my son, how brief's the sport
of all those goods that are in Fortune's care,
for which the tribe of men contend and brawl;
for all the gold that is or ever was
beneath the moon could never offer rest
to even one of these exhausted spirits.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Now you can see, my son, how short a life
Have the gifts which are distributed by Fortune,
And for which people get rough with one another:
So that all the gold there is beneath the moon
And all there ever was, could never give
A moment's rest to one of these tired souls.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Now you can see, my son, how ludicrous
And brief are all the goods in Fortune's ken,
Which humankind contend for: you see from this
How all the gold there is beneath the moon,
Or that there ever was, could not relieve
One of these weary souls.
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 55ff]

Now you can see, my son, the brief mockery of the goods that are committed to Fortune, for which the human race so squabbles;
for all the gold that is under the moon and that ever was, could not give rest to even one of these weary souls.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

But you, my son, can see now the vain mockery of the wealth controlled by Fortune, for which the human race fight with each other, since all the gold under the moon, that ever was, could not give peace to one of these weary souls.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Now you see, my son, what brief mockery
Fortune makes of goods we trust her with,
for which the race of men embroil themselves.
All the gold that lies beneath the moon,
or ever did, could never give a moment's rest
to any of these wearied souls.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Now see, my son, the futile mockery
Of spending a life accumulating possessions,
Competing with fortune and men for worthless frippery:
Take all the gold still lying under the moon,
Add all that ever was and you could not buy
A moment of rest for one of these souls -- not one.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

You see it clear,
My son: the squalid fraud as brief as life
Of goods consigned to Fortune, whereupon
Cool heads come to the boil, hands to the knife.
For all the gold there is, and all that's gone,
Would give no shred of peace to even one
Of these drained souls.
[tr. James (2013), l. 56ff]

 
Added on 17-Feb-23 | Last updated 17-Feb-23
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A conservative is a man who has plenty of money and doesn’t see any reason why he shouldn’t always have plenty of money.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“We’re Off to a Flying Start,” Column #535 (26 Mar 1933)
    (Source)

Collected in Steven Grager, ed., Will Rogers' Weekly Articles, Vol. 6 "The Roosevelt Years, 1933-1935" (2011 ed.). Also reprinted in abbreviated format, in Donald Day, ed., The Autobiography of Will Rogers (1949).
 
Added on 15-Sep-22 | Last updated 15-Sep-22
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Rich men’s houses are seldom beautiful, rarely comfortable, and never original. It is a constant source of surprise to people of moderate means to observe how little a big fortune contributes to Beauty.

Margot Asquith
Margot Asquith (1864-1945) British socialite, author, wit [Emma Margaret Asquith, Countess Oxford and Asquith; Margot Oxford; née Tennant]
Autobiography, Vol. 2, 5 May 1908 (1922)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Aug-22 | Last updated 22-Aug-22
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Some people think they are worth a lot of money just because they have it.

Fannie Hurst (1889-1968) American novelist
(Attributed)

This is sometimes cited to an unknown issue of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 1952, but a search of the site does not turn it up.
 
Added on 28-Jul-22 | Last updated 28-Jul-22
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When citizens are relatively equal, politics has tended to be fairly democratic. When a few individuals hold enormous amounts of wealth, democracy suffers. The reason for this pattern is simple. Through campaign contributions, lobbying, influence over public discourse, and other means, wealth can be translated into political power. When wealth is highly concentrated — that is, when a few individuals have enormous amounts of money — political power tends to be highly concentrated, too. The wealthy few tend to rule. Average citizens lose political power. Democracy declines.

Benjamin Page
Benjamin I. Page (b. 1940) American political scientist, academic, researcher
Democracy in America?: What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It, Part 1, ch. 2 (2017) [with Martin Gilens]
    (Source)
 
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The company of just and righteous men is better
than wealth and a rich estate.

[κρεῖσσον δὲ πλούτου καὶ βαϑυσπόρου χϑονὸς
ἀνδρῶν δικαίων χἀγαϑῶν ὁμιλίαι]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Ægeus [Αἰγέως], Frag. 7 (TGF) [tr. Morgan]
    (Source)
 
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They tell me thou art rich, my country: gold
     In glittering flood has poured into thy chest;
     Thy flocks and herds increase, thy barns are pressed
With harvest, and thy stores can hardly hold
Their merchandise; unending trains are rolled
     Along thy network rails of East and West;
     Thy factories and forges never rest;
Thou art enriched in all things bought and sold!

But dost thou prosper? Better news I crave.
     O dearest country, is it well with thee
     Indeed, and is thy soul in health?
A nobler people, hearts more wisely brave,
     And thoughts that lift men up and make them free, —
          These are prosperity and vital wealth!

Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933) American clergyman and writer
“America’s Prosperity” (1 Oct 1916), The Red Flower: Poems Written in War Time (1917)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Jul-22 | Last updated 11-Jul-22
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There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
Griffin v. Illinois, 351 US 12, 19 (1956) [majority opinion]
    (Source)

On the Constitutional requirement for states to ensure not only that trial defense is available to poor defendants, but that appeals costs be addressed as well.
 
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Dignity of character ought to be graced by a house; but from a house it is not wholly derived. A master is not to be honored by a house; but a house by its master.

[Ornanda enim est dignitas domo, non ex domo tota quaerenda, nec domo dominus, sed domino domus honestanda est.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 39 (1.39) / sec. 139 (44 BC) [tr. McCartney (1798)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

It is well if a man can enhance that credit and reputation he has gotten by the splendour of his house; but he must not depend on his house alone for it; for the master ought to bring honour to his fine seat, and not the fine seat bring honour to its master.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

For dignity should be adorned by a palace, but not be wholly sought from it: -- the house ought to be ennobled by the master, and not the master by the house.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

In truth, high standing in the community should be adorned by a house, not sought wholly from a house; nor should the owner be honored by the house, but the house by the owner.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

The house should not constitute, though it may enhance, the dignity of the master; let the master honour the house, not the house the master.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

Your house may add lustre to your dignity, but it will not suffice that you should derive all your dignity from your house: the master should ennoble the house, not the house the master.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

The truth is, a man's dignity may be enhanced by the house he lives in, but not wholly secured by it; the owner should bring honour to his house, not the house to its owner.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

A house may enhance a man's dignity, but it should not be the only source of dignity; the house should not glorify its owner, but he should enhance it.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
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It would be difficult for anyone with normal powers of observation to believe that there is a link between having money and behaving well.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist, etiquette expert [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Twitter (2022-01-16)
    (Source)
 
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The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
(Attributed)
 
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Remember that we can own only what we can assimilate and appreciate, no more. Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) American architect, interior designer, writer, educator [b. Frank Lincoln Wright]
On Architecture: Selected Writings (1894-1940) (1941)
    (Source)
 
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A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
(Attributed)

Not found in Kipling's written works.
 
Added on 28-Dec-21 | Last updated 28-Dec-21
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Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor,
shall yourselves find blessing.

John Mason Neale
John Mason Neale (1818-1866) English cleric, scholar, hymnist
“Good King Wenceslas” (1853)
    (Source)
 
Added on 24-Dec-21 | Last updated 24-Dec-21
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Most of us could scrape by on twice our present income.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 9 (1963)
    (Source)

Originally published in The Atlantic (1960).
 
Added on 9-Dec-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
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