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Riches (Poem)

Though man the whole world gain,
And give his soul in fee,
He soon will find that all is vain,
That all is vanity.

A man may still be poor
E’en though a vast estate
He owns, and has a golden store,
And men account him great.

For if man in himself
Can no real riches see,
Whatever he may have is pelf,
And a mere pauper he.

The truest riches far
Is character alone,
For ’tis not what men have, but are,
That maketh gold or stone.

Ay, character; for this
Alone a man may take
To an eternal shame or bliss
Which he himself may make.

The wise man, if he become poor, if there be sorrow on his mind or evil in his house, if any deceive or mock him, keepeth silence.
—Phocion

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