I have said enough of this sort of covetousness, which
makes a man live the life of an ass or ant. But there is
another sort of it which is more savage, that calumniates
and gets inheritance by bad arts, that pries into other
men's affairs, that is full of thoughtfulness and cares,
counting how many of their friends are yet alive, and
after all enjoying nothing of what by all these arts has
been heaped up.
As therefore we have a greater aversion and hatred
against vipers, poisonous flies, and spiders than against
bears and lions, because they kill and destroy men, but
serve themselves no farther of their carcasses, which they
do not feed upon as those other wild beasts do; so they
that become bad and ill men through sordidness and parsimony deserve more of our abhorrence than those that
prove such by luxurious living and excess, for they deprive others of what they are neither able nor inclined to
make use of themselves. Hence it is that the luxurious,
when they are rich and well provided, give some truce to
their debaucheries; as Demosthenes said to some that
were of opinion that Demades ceased to be an ill man.
Now, says he, you see him full and glutted, like lions,
that then hunt not after prey. But as for the others,
who in the management of affairs propose no end to
themselves either of pleasure or profit, their covetous desires have no truce or cessation, they being always empty
and standing in need of all things.