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Avaritia.

Avarice

Heu miser in mediis sitiens stat Tantalus undis,
Et poma esuriens proxima habere nequit.
Nomine mutato de te id dicetur avare,
Qui, quasi non habeas, non frueris quod habes.[1]

Alas, poor Tantalus stands thirsting in the midst of waters, nor can he, for all his hunger, get the fruit close by. Miser, change the name and this will apply to you, since you get no more enjoyment out of what you have than if you didn’t have it.

Notes:

1.  quasi non habeas, non frueris quod habes: ‘you get no more enjoyment out of what you have than if you didn’t have it’. Cf. Tam deest avaro quod habet quam quod non habet, ‘the miser is deprived of what he has as much as what he has not’, a well-known proverb of Publilius Syrus, quoted e.g. in Quintilian, Institutio oratoria, 8.5.5. See Erasmus, Adagia, 1514 (Tantali poenae).


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