The Poem Reader
The Poem Reader
The Vanity of Wealth

The Vanity of Wealth

By Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

No more thus brooding o'er yon heap,

With avarice painful vigils keep:

Still unenjoy'd the present store,

Still endless sighs are breathed for more.

O! quit the shadow, catch the prize,

Which not all India's treasure buys!

To purchase with heaven has gold the power?

Can gold remove the mortal hour?

In life can love be bought with gold?

Are friendship's pleasures to be sold?

No! - all that's worth a wish - a thought,

Fair virtue gives unbribed, unbought,

Cease then on trash thy hopes to bind,

Let noble views engage thy mind.

With science tread the wondrous way,

Or learn the Muses' moral lay;

In social hours indulge thy soul,

Where mirth and temperance mix the bowl;

To virtuous love resign thy breast,

And be, by blessing beauty, - bless'd.

Thus taste the feast by Nature spread,

Ere youth and all its joys are fled;

Come taste with me the balm of life,

Secure from pomp, and wealth, and strife.

I boast whate'er for man was meant,

In health, and Stella, and content;

And scorn! (oh! let that scorn be thine!)

Mere things of clay, that dig the mine.

The Poem Reader
The Poem Reader
For lovers of language. Every week a new poem read aloud.
Listen on
Substack App
RSS Feed
Appears in episode
Dominic Frisby