Pelf – money; riches; but it often conveys the idea of something ill gotten or worthless

“The writer of this legend then records

Its ghostly application in these words:

The image is the Adversary old,

Whose beckoning finger points to realms of gold,

Our lusts and passions are the downward air;

The archer, Death; the flaming jewel, Life;

Terrestrial goods, the goblet and the knife;

The knights and ladies, all whose flesh and bone

By avarice have been hardened into stone;

The clerk, the scholar whom the love of pelf

Temps from his books and from his nobler self.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus