Quotes by John Burroughs

Leap, and the net will appear.
- John Burroughs
If you think you can do it, you can.
- John Burroughs
Life is a struggle, but not a warfare.
- John Burroughs
Check our mobile app on:
The secret of happiness is something to do.
- John Burroughs
A somebody was once a nobody who wanted to and did.
- John Burroughs
I have discovered the secret of happiness. It is work.
- John Burroughs
The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.
- John Burroughs
We are really here to be happy and to make others happy.
- John Burroughs
The Kingdom of Heaven is not a place, but a state of mind.
- John Burroughs
All sounds are sharper in winter; the air transmits better.
- John Burroughs
Follow us on:
To learn something new, take the path that you took yesterday.
- John Burroughs
Whitman was Emerson translated from the abstract into the concrete.
- John Burroughs
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
- John Burroughs
One may summon his philosophy when they are beaten in battle, not till then.
- John Burroughs
England is not a country of granite and marble, but of chalk, marl, and clay.
- John Burroughs
The naturist must see all things in the light of his experiences in this world.
- John Burroughs
Joy in the universe, and keen curiosity about it all - that has been my religion.
- John Burroughs
It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative.
- John Burroughs
How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.
- John Burroughs
You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think.
- John Burroughs
To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, to imagine your facts is another.
- John Burroughs
To strong, susceptible characters, the music of nature is not confined to sweet sounds.
- John Burroughs
Naturalists, like poets, are born and then made only by years of painstaking observation.
- John Burroughs
I seldom go into a natural history museum without feeling as if I were attending a funeral.
- John Burroughs
The spirit of man can endure only so much and when it is broken only a miracle can mend it.
- John Burroughs
A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.
- John Burroughs
As with other phases of nature, I have probably loved the rocks more than I have studied them.
- John Burroughs
We now use the word 'nature' very much as our fathers used the word 'God.'
- John Burroughs
The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are.
- John Burroughs
The love of nature is a different thing from the love of science, though the two may go together.
- John Burroughs
There is hardly a man on earth who will take advice unless he is certain that it is positively bad.
- John Burroughs
Some men are like nails, very easily drawn; others however are more like rivets never drawn at all.
- John Burroughs
A sap run is the sweet goodbye of winter. It is the fruit of the equal marriage of the sun and frost.
- John Burroughs
Wisdom cannot come by railroad or automobile or aeroplane, or be hurried up by telegraph or telephone.
- John Burroughs
I went to the Lake District to see what kind of a country it could be that would produce a Wordsworth.
- John Burroughs
My motto is never to try to imitate anybody: I have always looked inward and followed the inward voice.
- John Burroughs
My books are, in a way, a record of my life - that part of it that came to flower and fruit in my mind.
- John Burroughs
Man has climbed up from some lower animal form, but he has, as it were, pulled the ladder up after him.
- John Burroughs
Sometimes I am worried by the thought of the effect that life in the city will have on coming generations.
- John Burroughs
He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.
- John Burroughs
Without the emotion of the beautiful, the sublime, the mysterious, there is no art, no religion, no literature.
- John Burroughs
Travel and society polish one, but a rolling stone gathers no moss, and a little moss is a good thing on a man.
- John Burroughs
We are beginning to see that money, after all, is not the main thing. The real values cannot be bought and sold.
- John Burroughs
How many thorns of human nature are bristling conceits, buds of promise grown sharp for want of congenial climate.
- John Burroughs
A man can get discouraged many times but he is not a failure until he begins to blame somebody else and stops trying.
- John Burroughs
I am for 100 per cent Americanism, 100 per cent efficiency, and 100 per cent life. I expect to live to be 100 years old.
- John Burroughs
Emerson's fame as a writer and thinker was firmly established during his lifetime by the books he gave to the world.
- John Burroughs
If we take science as our sole guide, if we accept and hold fast that alone which is verifiable, the old theology must go.
- John Burroughs
The Nature Lover is not looking for mere facts but for meanings, for something he can translate into terms of his own life.
- John Burroughs
The human body is a steed that goes freest and longest under a light rider, and the lightest of all riders is a cheerful heart.
- John Burroughs
Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral.
- John Burroughs
All birds are incipient or would-be songsters in the spring. I find corroborative evidence of this even in the crowing of the cock.
- John Burroughs
Father knew me not. All my aspirations in life were a sealed book to him, as much as his peculiar religious experiences were to me.
- John Burroughs
The red squirrel is more common and less dignified than the gray, and oftener guilty of petty larceny about the barns and grain-fields.
- John Burroughs
Science has done more for the development of western civilization in one hundred years than Christianity did in eighteen hundred years.
- John Burroughs
Even in rugged Scotland, nature is scarcely wilder than a mountain sheep, certainly a good way short of the ferity of the moose and caribou.
- John Burroughs
It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.
- John Burroughs
In October, a maple tree before your window lights up your room like a great lamp. Even on cloudy days, its presence helps to dispel the gloom.
- John Burroughs
The life of a swarm of bees is like an active and hazardous campaign of an army: the ranks are being continually depleted and continually recruited.
- John Burroughs
Unadulterated, unsweetened observations are what the real nature-lover craves. No man can invent incidents and traits as interesting as the reality.
- John Burroughs
No one else looks out upon the world so kindly and charitably as the pedestrian; no one else gives and takes so much from the country he passes through.
- John Burroughs
I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
- John Burroughs
Writing is reporting what we saw after the vision has left us. It is catching the fish which the tide has left far up on our shores in the low and depressed places.
- John Burroughs
The country is more of a wilderness, more of a wild solitude, in the winter than in the summer. The wild comes out. The urban, the cultivated, is hidden or negatived.
- John Burroughs
Blessed is the man who has some congenial work, some occupation in which he can put his heart, and which affords a complete outlet to all the forces there are in him.
- John Burroughs
Fear, love, and hunger were the agents that developed the wits of the lower animals, as they were, of course, the prime factors in developing the intelligence of man.
- John Burroughs
We talk of communing with Nature, but 'tis with ourselves we commune... Nature furnishes the conditions - the solitude - and the soul furnishes the entertainment.
- John Burroughs
England is like the margin of a spring-run: near its source, always green, always cool, always moist, comparatively free from frost in winter and from drought in summer.
- John Burroughs
Emerson was such an important figure in our literary history, and in the moral and religious development of our people, that attention cannot be directed to him too often.
- John Burroughs
To regard the soul and body as one, or to ascribe to consciousness a physiological origin, is not detracting from its divinity; it is rather conferring divinity upon the body.
- John Burroughs
For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice - no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service.
- John Burroughs
There never was a happier or more devoted husband than the male bluebird. He is the gay champion and escort of the female at all times, and while she is sitting, he feeds her regularly.
- John Burroughs
I have discovered the secret of happiness - it is work, either with the hands or the head. The moment I have something to do, the draughts are open and my chimney draws, and I am happy.
- John Burroughs
If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature. And the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature.
- John Burroughs
It seems to me that evolution adds greatly to the wonder of life because it takes it out of the realm of the arbitrary, the exceptional, and links it to the sequence of natural causation.
- John Burroughs
The queen, I say, is the mother bee; it is undoubtedly complimenting her to call her a queen and invest her with regal authority, yet she is a superb creature and looks every inch a queen.
- John Burroughs
Next to the laborer in the fields, the walker holds the closest relation to the soil; and he holds a closer and more vital relation to nature because he is freer and his mind more at leisure.
- John Burroughs
There is something very human in this apparent mirth and mockery of the squirrels. It seems to be a sort of ironical laughter, and implies self-conscious pride and exultation in the laughter.
- John Burroughs
The common bees will never use their sting upon the queen; if she is to be disposed of, they starve her to death, and the queen herself will sting nothing but royalty, nothing but a rival queen.
- John Burroughs
Like tens of thousands of others, I have been a spectator of, rather than a participator in, the activities - political, commercial, sociological, scientific - of the times in which I have lived.
- John Burroughs
Most young people find botany a dull study. So it is, as taught from the text-books in the schools; but study it yourself in the fields and woods, and you will find it a source of perennial delight.
- John Burroughs
Whitman will always be a strange and unwonted figure among his country's poets, and among English poets generally: a cropping out again, after so many centuries, of the old bardic prophetic strain.
- John Burroughs
Man takes root at his feet, and at best, he is no more than a potted plant in his house or carriage till he has established communication with the soil by the loving and magnetic touch of his soles to it.
- John Burroughs
The animal world seizes its food in masses little and big, and often gorges itself with it, but the vegetable, through the agency of the solvent power of water, absorbs its nourishment molecule by molecule.
- John Burroughs
The trunk of a tree is like a community where only one generation at a time is engaged in active business, the great mass of the population being retired and adding solidity and permanence to the social organism.
- John Burroughs
Nearly every season, I make the acquaintance of one or more new flowers. It takes years to exhaust the botanical treasures of any one considerable neighborhood, unless one makes a dead set at it, like an herbalist.
- John Burroughs
As life nears its end with me, I find myself meditating more and more upon the mystery of its nature and origin, yet without the least hope that I can find out the ways of the Eternal in this or in any other world.
- John Burroughs
Emerson stands apart from the other poets and essayists of New England, and of English literature generally, as of another order. He is a reversion to an earlier type, the type of the bard, the skald, the poet-seer.
- John Burroughs
To me, nothing else about a tree is so remarkable as the extreme delicacy of the mechanism by which it grows and lives: the fine, hair-like rootlets at the bottom and the microscopical cells of the leaves at the top.
- John Burroughs
Why, we have invented the whole machinery of the supernatural, with its unseen spirits and powers, good and bad, to account for things, because we found the universal everyday nature too cheap, too common, too vulgar.
- John Burroughs
Our flying squirrel is in no proper sense a flyer. On the ground, he is more helpless than a chipmunk, because less agile. He can only sail or slide down a steep incline from the top of one tree to the foot of another.
- John Burroughs
When Darwin published his conclusion that man was descended from an apelike ancestor who was again descended from a still lower type, most people were shocked by the thought; it was intensely repugnant to their feelings.
- John Burroughs
Living in the city is a discordant thing, an unnatural thing. The city, a place to which one goes to do business, is a place where men overreach each other in the fight for money. But it is not a place in which one can live.
- John Burroughs
The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds - how many human aspirations are realized in their free, holiday-lives, and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!
- John Burroughs
One of the most graceful of warriors is the robin. I know few prettier sights than two males challenging and curveting about each other upon the grass in early spring. Their attentions to each other are so courteous and restrained.
- John Burroughs
I always feel that I have missed some good fortune if I am away from home when my bees swarm. What a delightful summer sound it is! How they come pouring out of the hive, twenty or thirty thousand bees, each striving to get out first!
- John Burroughs
August is the month of the high-sailing hawks. The hen hawk is the most noticeable. He likes the haze and calm of these long, warm days. He is a bird of leisure and seems always at his ease. How beautiful and majestic are his movements!
- John Burroughs
Robin is one of the most native and democratic of our birds; he is one of the family, and seems much nearer to us than those rare, exotic visitants, as the orchard starling or rose-breasted grossbeak, with their distant, high-bred ways.
- John Burroughs
Some scenes you juggle two balls, some scenes you juggle three balls, some scenes you can juggle five balls. The key is always to speak in your own voice. Speak the truth. That's Acting 101. Then you start putting layers on top of that.
- John Burroughs
The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life, large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song.
- John Burroughs
I am sure I was an evolutionist in the abstract, or by the quality and complexion of my mind, before I read Darwin, but to become an evolutionist in the concrete, and accept the doctrine of the animal origin of man, has not for me been an easy matter.
- John Burroughs
The dog is often quick to resent a kick, be it from man or beast, but I have never known him to show anger at the door that slammed to and hit him. Probably, if the door held him by his tail or his limb, it would quickly receive the imprint of his teeth.
- John Burroughs
If one gains an interest in the history of the earth, he is quite sure to gain an interest in the history of the life on the earth. If the former illustrates the theory of development, so must the latter. The geologist is pretty sure to be an evolutionist.
- John Burroughs
The pond-lily is a star and easily takes the first place among lilies; and the expeditions to her haunts, and the gathering her where she rocks upon the dark, secluded waters of some pool or lakelet, are the crown and summit of the floral expeditions of summer.
- John Burroughs
Emerson is the spokesman and prophet of youth and of a formative, idealistic age. His is a voice from the heights which are ever bathed in the sunshine of the spirit. I find that something one gets from Emerson in early life does not leave him when he grows old.
- John Burroughs
More than any other poet, Whitman is what we make him; more than any other poet, his greatest value is in what he suggests and implies rather than in what he portrays, and more than any other poet must he wait to be understood by the growth of the taste of himself.
- John Burroughs
When the woodpecker is searching for food, or laying siege to some hidden grub, the sound of his hammer is dead or muffled and is heard but a few yards. It is only upon dry, seasoned timber, freed of its bark, that he beats his reveille to spring and wooes his mate.
- John Burroughs

Quotes Categories