The covetous man is a downright servant, a man condemned to work in mines, which is the lowest and hardest condition of servitude; and, to increase his misery, a worker there for he knows not whom: He heapeth up riches, and knows not who shall enjoy them: it is only sure that he himself neither shall nor can enjoy them. He is an indigent, needy slave; he will hardly allow himself clothes and board-wages; he defrauds not only other men, but his own genius; he cheats himself for money. But the servile and miserable condition of this wretch is so apparent, that I leave it, as evident to every mans sight as well as judgment.
Let not the covetous design of growing rich induce you to ruin your reputation, but rather satisfy yourself with a moderate fortune; and let your thoughts be wholly taken up with acquiring to yourself a glorious name.
I have just occasion to complain of them who, because they understand not Chaucer, would hoard him up as misers do their grandam gold, only to look on it themselves, and hinder others from making use of it.
Rich people who are covetous are like the cypress-tree: they may appear well, but are fruitless; so rich persons have the means to be generous, yet some are not so: but they should consider that they are only trustees for what they possess, and should show their wealth to be more in doing good than merely in having it. They should not reserve their benevolence for purposes after they are dead: for those who give not till they die, show that they would not then, if they could keep it any longer.
The character of covetousness is what a man generally acquires more through some niggardliness or ill grace in little and inconsiderable things than in expenses of any consequence. A very few pounds a year would ease that man of the scandal of avarice.
The covetous man heaps up riches, not to enjoy them, but to have them; and starves himself in the midst of plenty, and most unnaturally cheats and robs himself of that which is his own; and makes a hard shift to be as poor and miserable with a great estate as any man can be without it.