Study Guide

Avarice

by George Herbert

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Text of the Poem

Money, thou bane of blisse, and source of wo,
    Whence com'st thou, that thou art so fresh and fine?
    I know thy parentage is base and low:
Man found thee poore and dirtie in a mine.

Surely thou didst so little contribute 
    To this great kingdome, which thou now hast got,
That he was fain, when thou wert destitute,
    To digge thee out of thy dark cave and grot.

Then forcing thee, by fire he made thee bright: 
    Nay, thou hast got the face of man; for we
Have with our stamp and seal transferr'd our right:
    Thou art the man, and man but drosse to thee.

Man calleth thee his wealth, who made thee rich;
And while he digs out thee, falls in the ditch.

Ed. Scott Locklear