Anatomy of Melancholy, 282-285 — Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. III, Subsect. 12 — Covetousness, φιλαργυρίαν, a Cause

Well, if you don’t have a pile of “money-bags” to sleep on “open-mouthed” (“Congestis undique saccis indormit inhians”) this section will make you feel better about yourself, because at least now you know how to insult Jeff Bezos in Latin. Apparently all those Uncle Scrooges are in actual fact miserable “dust worms” and “fools, dizzards, madmen, miserable wretches” etc. This subsection was a goldmine of insults. I need to work on that list of A of M insults.

Back to it: Covetousness “is indeed the pattern, image, epitome of all melancholy, the fountain of many miseries, much discontented care and woe; this ‘inordinate, or immoderate desire of gain, to get or keep money,’ as Bonaventure defines it: or, as Austin describes it, a madness of the soul.”

“He is a perpetual drudge, restless in his thoughts, and never satisfied… His wealth increaseth, and the more he hath, the more he wants… They are in continual suspicion, fear, and distrust.”

Have you ever spent five minutes in a room full of toddlers with a big bucket of toys? Let me tell you, if there is one thing that will make you completely lose faith in human nature, it’s twenty toddlers fighting over a single toy when there is an actual bin filled with more toys RIGHT THERE. You just want to shout at them, “COVETOUSNESS IS THE EPITOME OF ALL MELANCHOLY.” I try not to, but it’s hard. Toddlers are such jerks.


This post is part of a long, tedious, and very illustrated read-along of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. More info here and follow along on Facebook here. Illustrations posted via devon_isadevon on Instagram.

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