Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Avarice

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

"Avarice and happiness never saw each other, how then should they become acquainted." - Benjamin Franklin

"Avarice, sphincter of the heart." - Matthew Green

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

"Of all the vices, avarice is the most generally detested; it is the effect of an avidity common to all men; it is because men hate those from whom they; can expect nothing. The greedy misers rail at sordid misers." - Claude-Adrien Helvétius

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

"It is universally acknowledged that there is a great uniformity among the actions of men, in all nations and ages, and that human nature remains still the same, in its principles and operations. The same motives always produce the same actions: the same events follow the same causes. Ambition, avarice, self-love, vanity, friendship, generosity, public spirit: these passions, mixed in various degrees, and distributed through society, have been from the beginning of the world, and still are, the source of all the actions and enterprises, which have ever been observed among mankind." - David Hume

"Avarice and luxury, those pests which have ever been the ruin of every great state." -

"Five great enemies of peace inhabit with us - avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace." - Petrarch, anglicized from Italian name Francesco Petrarca NULL

"The lust of avarice has so totally seized upon mankind that their wealth seems rather to possess them than they possess their wealth." - Pliny the Elder, full name Casus Plinius Secundus NULL

"Avarice is as destitute of what it has, as poverty of what it has not." - Publius Syrus

"Avarice destroys honor, integrity, and all other noble qualities." - Sallust, full name Carus Valerius Sailustius Crispus NULL

"It is a world of mischief that may be done by a single example of avarice or luxury. One voluptuous palate makes many more." -

"It is only luxury and avarice that makes poverty grievous to us; for it is a very small matter that does our business; and when we have provided against cold, hunger, and thirst, all the rest if but vanity and excess." -

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

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

"There is no vice which mankind carries to such wild extremes as that of avarice." - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"There may be, and there often is, indeed, a regard for ancestry which nourishes only weak pride; as there is also a care for posterity, which only disguises an habitual avarice, or hides the workings of a low and groveling vanity. But there is also a moral and philosophical respect for our ancestors, which elevates the character and improves the heart." - Daniel Webster

"Money never can be well managed if sought solely through the greed of money for its own sake. In all meanness there is a defect of intellect as well as of heart. And event he cleverness of avarice is but the cunning of imbecility." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Politicians... rise predominantly from... the "lower middle class"; most are self-made men... ; most depend on their political jobs for their livelihood and most have little time, inclination, or opportunity for adult education; hence the dominating qualities of so many are greed, vulgarity, attention to special interest, avarice, and selfishness." - John Gunther

"A woman’s whole life is a history of the affections. The heart is her world; it is there her ambition strives for empire; it is there her avarice seeks for hidden treasures. She sends forth her sympathies on adventure, she embarks her soul in the traffic of affection; and, if shipwrecked, her case is hopeless, for it is a bankruptcy of the heart." - Washington Irving

"Astronomy was born of superstition; eloquence of ambition, hatred, falsehood, and flattery; geometry of avarice; physics of an idle curiosity; and even moral philosophy of human pride. Thus the arts and sciences owe their birth to our vices." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Prudery is a form of avarice." -

"He who has enough to satisfy what he wants, and nevertheless ceaselessly labors to acquire riches, either in order to obtain a higher social position, or that subsequently he may have enough to live without labor, or that his sons may become men of wealth and importance - all such are incited by a damnable avarice, sensuality and pride." - Henry of Langenstein NULL

"The toddler must say "no" in order to find out who she is. The adolescent says "no" to assert who she is not." - Louise J. Kaplan

"All the seven deadly sins are self destroying, morbid appetites, but in their early stages at least, lust and gluttony, avarice and sloth know some gratification, while anger and pride have power, even though that power eventually destroys itself. Envy is impotent, numbed with fear, never ceasing in its appetite, and it knows no gratification, but endless self torment. It has the ugliness of a trapped rat, which gnaws its own foot in an effort to escape." - Angus Wilson, fully Sir Angus Frank Johnstone Wilson

"Poverty wants some things, luxury many, avarice all things." -

"Poverty wants some things, luxury many, avarice all things." - Abraham Cowley

"The avarice of mankind is insatiable... it is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it." - Aristotle NULL

"Ennui, perhaps, has made more gamblers than avarice, more drunkards than thirst, and perhaps as many; suicides as despair." - Charles Caleb Colton

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

"Ambition makes the same mistake concerning power that avarice makes concerning wealth. She begins by accumulating power as a mean to happiness, and she finishes by continuing to accumulate it as an end." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Gambling is the child of avarice, but the parent of prodigality." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Three sparks - pride, envy, and avarice - have been kindled in all hearts." - Dante, full name Durante degli Alighieri, aka Dante Alighieri NULL

"Greater mischief happens often from folly, meanness, and vanity than from the greater sins of avarice and ambition." - Edmund Burke

"Great mischiefs happen more often from folly, meanness, and vanity, than from the greater sins of avarice and ambition." - Edmund Burke

"The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends the most to perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice. The possession of family wealth and of the distinction which attends hereditary possessions (as most concerned into it), are the natural securities for this transmission." - Edmund Burke

"The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends the most to the perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice." - Edmund Burke

"Avarice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road, the nearer we approach to our journey’s end?" - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"Poverty needs little; avarice; everything." -

"You fear to quit the medleys of the world, where vanity reigns, where avarice tarnishes the most beautiful virtues, where infidelity holds dominion with the sway of a despot, where virtue is trampled under foot and vice carries off the prize of honor." - Saint Francis de Sales NULL

"They have vanished before the avarice and oppression of the white man, as snow before the summer." - Tecumseh, aka Tecumtha or Tekamthi NULL

"Expel avarice, the mother of all wickedness, who, always thirst for more, opens wide her jaws for gold." - Claudian, latin Claudius Claudianus NULL

"Beauty is the disinterested one, without which the ancient world refused to understand itself, a word which both imperceptibly and yet unmistakably has bid farewell to our new world, a world of interests, leaving it to its own avarice and sadness." - Hans Urs von Balthasar

"Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic." - John Logan

"I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?" - John Steinbeck, fully John Ernst Steinbeck

"When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease ... But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight." - John Maynard Keynes

"The state is suffering from two opposite vices, avarice and luxury; two plagues which, in the past, have been the ruin of every great empire." - Livy, formally Titus Livius, aka Titus Livy NULL

"Love asks us to enjoy our life for nothing good can come of death. Who is alive? I ask. Those who are born of love. Seek us in love itself, seek love in us ourselves. Sometimes I venerate love, sometimes it venerates me." - Rumi, fully Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rumi NULL

"Courage, then, is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty." - Samuel Adams