Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


If there’s a power above us, (and that there is all nature cries aloud
Through all her works) he must delight in virtue.
Addison—Cato. Act V. Sc. 1.

No one finds fault with defects which are the result of nature.
Aristotle—Ethics. III. 5.

Nature’s great law, and law of all men’s minds?—
To its own impulse every creature stirs;
Live by thy light, and earth will live by hers!
Matthew Arnold—Religious Isolation. St. 4.

Nature means Necessity.
Bailey—Festus. Dedication.

The course of Nature seems a course of Death,
And nothingness the whole substantial thing.
Bailey—Festus. Sc. Water and Wood.

At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove,
When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill,
And nought but the nightingale’s song in the grove.
Beattie—The Hermit.

Nature too unkind;
That made no medicine for a troubled mind!
Beaumont and Fletcher—Philaster. Act III. Sc. 1.

Rich with the spoils of nature.
Sir Thomas Browne—Religio Medici. Pt. XIII.

There are no grotesques in nature; not anything framed to fill up empty cantons, and unnecessary spaces.
Sir Thomas Browne—Religio Medici. Pt. XV.

Now nature is not at variance with art, nor art with nature, they being both servants of his providence: art is the perfection of nature; were the world now as it was the sixth day, there were yet a chaos; nature hath made one world, and art another. In brief, all things are artificial; for nature is the art of God.
Sir Thomas Browne—Religio Medici. Pt. XVI.

I trust in Nature for the stable laws
Of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant
And Autumn garner to the end of time.
I trust in God—the right shall be the right
And other than the wrong, while he endures;
I trust in my own soul, that can perceive
The outward and the inward, Nature’s good
And God’s.
Robert Browning—A Soul’s Tragedy. Act I.

Go forth under the open sky, and list
To Nature’s teachings.

To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language.

See one promontory (said Socrates of old), one mountain, one sea, one river, and see all.
Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy. Pt. I. Sec. 2. Memb. 4. Subsec. 7.

I am a part of all you see
In Nature: part of all you feel:
I am the impact of the bee
Upon the blossom; in the tree
I am the sap—that shall reveal
The leaf, the bloom—that flows and flutes
Up from the darkness through its roots.
Madison Cawein—Penetralia.

Nature vicarye of the Almighty Lord.
Chaucer—Parlement of Foules. L. 379.

Not without art, but yet to Nature true.
Churchill—The Rosciad. L. 699.

Ab interitu naturam abhorrere.
Nature abhors annihilation.
Cicero—De Finibus. V. 11. 3.

Meliora sunt ea quæ natura quam illa quæ arte perfecta sunt.
Things perfected by nature are better than those finished by art.
Cicero—De Natura Deorum. II. 34.

All argument will vanish before one touch of nature.
George Colman the Younger—Poor Gentleman. Act V. 1.

Nature, exerting an unwearied power,
Forms, opens, and gives scent to every flower;
Spreads the fresh verdure of the field, and leads
The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads.
Cowper—Table Talk. L. 690.

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid Nature.
Cowper—The Task. Bk. I. The Sofa. L. 187.

What is bred in the bone will not come out of the flesh.
Quoted by DeFoe—Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop.
Drive the natural away, it returns at a gallop.
Destouches—Glorieux. IV. 3. Idea in La Fontaine—Fables. Bk. II. 18. “Chassez les prejugés par la porte, ils rentreront par la fenêtre.” As used by Frederick the Great. Letter to Voltaire. March 19, 1771.

Whate’er he did, was done with so much ease,
In him alone ’t was natural to please.
Dryden—Absalom and Achitophel. Pt. I. L. 27.

By viewing nature, nature’s handmaid, art,
Makes mighty things from small beginnings grow;
Thus fishes first to shipping did impart,
Their tail the rudder, and their head the prow.
Dryden—Annus Mirabilis. St. 155.

For Art may err, but Nature cannot miss.
Dryden—Fables. The Cock and the Fox. L. 452.

Out of the book of Nature’s learned breast.
Du Bartas—Divine Weekes and Workes. Second Week. Fourth Day. Bk. II. L. 566.

Ever charming, ever new,
When will the landscape tire the view?
John Dyer—Grongar Hill. L. 102.

Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.
Emerson—Essays. First Series. History.

By fate, not option, frugal Nature gave
One scent to hyson and to wall-flower,
One sound to pine-groves and to water-falls,
One aspect to the desert and the lake.
It was her stern necessity: all things
Are of one pattern made; bird, beast, and flower,
Song, picture, form, space, thought, and character
Deceive us, seeming to be many things,
And are but one.

Nature seems to wear one universal grin.
Henry Fielding—Tom Thumb the Great. Act I. Sc. 1.

As distant prospects please us, but when near
We find but desert rocks and fleeting air.
Garth—The Dispensary. Canto III. L. 27.

To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art.
Goldsmith—Deserted Village. L. 253.

E’en from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
E’en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
Gray—Elegy in a Country Churchyard. St. 23.

What Nature has writ with her lusty wit
Is worded so wisely and kindly
That whoever has dipped in her manuscript
Must up and follow her blindly.
Now the summer prime is her blithest rhyme
In the being and the seeming,
And they that have heard the overword
Know life’s a dream worth dreaming.
Henley—Echoes. XXXIII.

That undefined and mingled hum,
Voice of the desert never dumb!
Hogg—Verses to Lady Anne Scott.

Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurrit.
You may turn nature out of doors with violence, but she will still return.
Horace—Epistles. I. 10. 24. (“Expelles” in some versions.)

Nunquam aliud Natura aliud Sapientia dicit.
Nature never says one thing, Wisdom another.
Juvenal—Satires. XIV. 321.

No stir of air was there,
Not so much life as on a summer’s day
Robs not one light seed from the feather’d grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
Keats—Hyperion. Bk. I. L. 7.

Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-with-holding and free
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!
Sidney Lanier—Marshes of Glynn.

O what a glory doth this world put on
For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well performed, and days well spent!
For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves,
Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings.
Longfellow—Autumn. L. 30.

And Nature, the old nurse, took
The child upon her knee,
Saying: “Here is a story-book
Thy Father has written for thee.”

“Come, wander with me,” she said,
“Into regions yet untrod;
And read what is still unread
In the manuscripts of God.”
Longfellow—Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz.

The natural alone is permanent.
Longfellow—Kavanagh. Ch. XIII.

So Nature deals with us, and takes away
Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
Leads us to rest so gently, that we go,
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
Being too full of sleep to understand
How far the unknown transcends the what we know.
Longfellow—Nature. L. 9.

No tears
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.
Longfellow—Sunrise on the Hills. L. 35.

Nature with folded hands seemed there,
Kneeling at her evening prayer!
Longfellow—Voices of the Night. Prelude. St. 11.

I’m what I seem; not any dyer gave,
But nature dyed this colour that I have.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. XIV. Ep. 133. Trans. by Wright.

O maternal earth which rocks the fallen leaf to sleep!
E. L. Masters—Spoon River Anthology. Washington McNeely.

But on and up, where Nature’s heart
Beats strong amid the hills.
Richard Monckton Milnes (Lord Houghton)—Tragedy of the Lac de Gaube. St. 2.

Beldam Nature.
Milton—At a Vacation Exercise in the College. 1. 48.

Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable,
But all to please and sate the curious taste?
Milton—Comus. L. 710.

And live like Nature’s bastards, not her sons.
Milton—Comus. L. 727.

Into this wild abyss,
The womb of Nature and perhaps her grave.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. II. L. 910.

Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer’s rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature’s works to me expunged and rased,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. III. L. 40.

And liquid lapse of murmuring streams.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. VIII. L. 263.

Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part;
Do thou but thine!
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. VIII. L. 561.

Let us a little permit Nature to take her own way; she better understands her own affairs than we.
Montaigne—Essays. Experience.

And not from Nature up to Nature’s God,
But down from Nature’s God look Nature through.
Robert Montgomery—Luther. A Landscape of Domestic Life.

There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet.
Moore—The Meeting of the Waters.

And we, with Nature’s heart in tune,
Concerted harmonies.
Wm. Motherwell—Jeannie Morrison.

Eye Nature’s walks, shoot folly as it flies,
And catch the manners living as they rise.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 13.

Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise;
My footstool Earth, my canopy the skies.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 139.

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;
That chang’d thro’ all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth as in th’ ethereal frame;
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;
Lives thro’ all life, extends thro’ all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 267.

See plastic Nature working to this end,
The single atoms each to other tend,
Attract, attracted to, the next in place
Form’d and impell’d its neighbor to embrace.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. III. L. 9.

Slave to no sect, who takes no private road,
But looks through Nature up to Nature’s God.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 331. (Verbatim from Bolingbroke—Letters to Pope, according to Warton.)

Ut natura dedit, sic omnis recta figura.
Every form as nature made it is correct.
Propertius—Elegiæ. II. 18. 25.

Naturæ sequitur semina quisque suæ.
Every one follows the inclinations of his own nature.
Propertius—Elegiæ. III. 9. 20.

Natura abhorret vacuum.
Nature abhors a vacuum.
Rabelais—Gargantua. Ch. V.

Der Schein soll nie die Wirklichkeit erreichen
Und siegt Natur, so muss die Kunst entweichen.
The ideal should never touch the real;
When nature conquers, Art must then give way.
Schiller. To Goethe when he put Voltaire’s Mahomet on the Stage. St. 6.

Some touch of Nature’s genial glow.
Scott—Lord of the Isles. Canto III. St. 14.

Oh, Brignall banks are wild and fair,
And Greta woods are green,
And you may gather garlands there
Would grace a summer queen.
Scott—Rokeby. Canto III. St. 16.

In Nature’s infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read.
Antony and Cleopatra. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 9.

How hard it is to hide the sparks of Nature!
Cymbeline. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 79.

To hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to Nature; to shew virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 24.

Diseased Nature oftentimes breaks forth
In strange eruptions.
Henry IV. Pt. I. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 27.

And Nature does require
Her times of preservation, which perforce
I, her frail son, amongst my brethren mortal,
Must give my tendance to.
Henry VIII. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 147.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
Troilus and Cressida. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 175.

How sometimes Nature will betray its folly,
Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime
To harder bosoms!
Winter’s Tale. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 151.

Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean: so, over that art
Which, you say, adds to nature, is an art
That nature makes.
Winter’s Tale. Act IV. Sc. 4. L. 89.

My banks they are furnish’d with bees,
Whose murmur invites one to sleep;
My grottoes are shaded with trees,
And my hills are white over with sheep.
Shenstone—A Pastoral Ballad. Pt. II. Hope.

Certainly nothing is unnatural that is not physically impossible.
R. B. Sheridan—The Critic. Act II. Sc. 1.

Yet neither spinnes, nor cards, ne cares nor fretts,
But to her mother Nature all her care she letts.
Spenser—Faerie Queene. Bk. II. Canto VI.

For all that Nature by her mother-wit
Could frame in earth.
Spenser—Faerie Queene. Bk. IV. Canto X. St. 21.

What more felicitie can fall to creature
Than to enjoy delight with libertie,
And to be lord of all the workes of Nature,
To raine in th’ aire from earth to highest skie,
To feed on flowres and weeds of glorious feature.
Spenser—The Fate of the Butterfly. L. 209.

Once, when the days were ages,
And the old Earth was young,
The high gods and the sages
From Nature’s golden pages
Her open secrets wrung.
R. H. Stoddard—Brahma’s Answer.

A voice of greeting from the wind was sent;
The mists enfolded me with soft white arms;
The birds did sing to lap me in content,
The rivers wove their charms,—
And every little daisy in the grass
Did look up in my face, and smile to see me pass!
R. H. Stoddard—Hymn to the Beautiful. St. 4.

In the world’s audience hall, the simple blade of grass sits on the same carpet with the sunbeams, and the stars of midnight.
Rabindranath Tagore—Gardener. 74.

Nothing in Nature is unbeautiful.
Tennyson—Lover’s Tale. L. 348.

Myriads of rivulets hurrying through the lawn,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.
Tennyson—Princess. Canto VII. L. 205.

I care not, Fortune, what you me deny;
You cannot rob me of free Nature’s grace,
You cannot shut the windows of the sky,
Through which Aurora shows her brightening face;
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace
The woods and lawns, by living stream, at eve.
Thomson—Castle of Indolence. Canto II. St. 3.

O nature!***
Enrich me with the knowledge of thy works;
Snatch me to Heaven.
Thomson—Seasons. Autumn. L. 1,352.

Rocks rich in gems, and Mountains big with mines,
That on the high Equator, ridgy, rise,
Whence many a bursting Stream auriferous plays.
Thomson—Seasons. Summer. L. 646.

Nature is always wise in every part.
Lord Thurlow—Select Poems. The Harvest Moon.

Talk not of temples, there is one
Built without hands, to mankind given;
Its lamps are the meridian sun
And all the stars of heaven,
Its walls are the cerulean sky,
Its floor the earth so green and fair,
The dome its vast immensity
All Nature worships there!
David Vedder—Temple of Nature.

La Nature a toujours été en cux plus forte que l’education.
Nature has always had more force than education.
Voltaire—Life of Molière.

And recognizes ever and anon
The breeze of Nature stirring in his soul.
Wordsworth—The Excursion. Bk. IV.

Ah, what a warning for a thoughtless man,
Could field or grove, could any spot of earth,
Show to his eye an image of the pangs
Which it hath witnessed; render back an echo
Of the sad steps by which it hath been trod!
Wordsworth—The Excursion. Bk. VI.

The streams with softest sound are flowing,
The grass you almost hear it growing,
You hear it now, if e’er you can.
Wordsworth—The Idiot Boy. St. 57.

Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her.
Wordsworth—Lines Composed Above Tintern Abbey.

As in the eye of Nature he has lived,
So in the eye of Nature let him die!
Wordsworth—The Old Cumberland Beggar. Last Lines.

The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face.
Wordsworth—Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower.

Nature’s old felicities.
Wordsworth—The Trosachs.

To the solid ground
Of Nature trusts the Mind that builds for aye.
Wordsworth—A Volant Tribe of Bards on Earth.

Such blessings Nature pours,
O’erstock’d mankind enjoy but half her stores.
In distant wilds, by human eyes unseen,
She rears her flowers, and spreads her velvet green;
Pure gurgling rills the lonely desert trace
And waste their music on the savage race.
Young—Love of Fame. Satire V. L. 232.

Nothing in Nature, much less conscious being,
Was e’er created solely for itself.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night IX. L. 711.

The course of nature governs all!
The course of nature is the heart of God.
The miracles thou call’st for, this attest;
For say, could nature nature’s course control?
But, miracles apart, who sees Him not?
Young—Night Thoughts. Night IX. L. 1,280.