Now the wealth of the mines and the worth of things will be spoken of. Searching out within the layers of the earth is just recently a source of concern since elsewhere it (the earth) is being dug for riches as a career by people seeking gold, silver, amber, bronze, gems, and other delights, even pigments for wall panels. Elsewhere, reckless men seek iron, even more welcome than gold among wars and slaughter. We persistently pursue all of these things to the bowels of the earth and we live over the hole, wondering that at last it splits open or has tremors as if this is not able to be compelled by the displeasure of our sacred parents. We seek wealth in the deepest heart of earth and in the dwelling place of the dead, just as if that, which is being walked on, is not generous or fertile enough. And among these things, we also seek the least important favor of a cure; for what small thing are medicines the motive to compel this defilement, although, on the top part, the earth bestowed this on its people as there is corn and easy abundance in all things and whatever is useful.
These things destroy us; these matters drive us to the nether regions to that which is concealed and buried; these things (which are not to be found suddenly just like the mind, turning over to some futile thought would suddenly reconsider) are that which is to be the end of all things and must be used up entirely as far as greed can reach them. How blameless; how happy, rather even how comfortable life would truly be if man would covet nothing other than what was already above ground, in short nothing but what he already has.
What would Pliny say about the wars and disasters that have attended the production of oil? I dare say he might have gotten up to his gouty feet and smacked somebody over the head for that.