C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


The bright consummate flower.


Flowers are love’s truest language.

Park Benjamin.

Prophets of fragrance, beauty, joy, and song.

Ebenezer Elliott.

Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower.


Flowers preach to us if we will hear.

Christina G. Rossetti.

How like they are to human things!


Ye pretty daughters of the earth and sun.

Sir Walter Raleigh.

The amen! of nature is always a flower.


They speak of hope to the fainting heart.

Mrs. Hemans.

Where flowers degenerate man cannot live.


The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly.


Flowers are like the pleasures of the world.


That queen of secrecy, the violet.


These stars of earth, these golden flowers.


There spring the wild-flowers—fair as can be.

Eliza Cook.

The flowers are gone when the fruits appear to ripen.


Flora peering in April’s front.


A snow of blossoms, and a wild of flowers.


Hope’s gentle gem, the sweet forget-me-not.


Beautiful objects of the wild-bee’s love.


Sweet flowers are slow, and weeds make haste.


The moss-clad violet, fragrant and concealed like hidden charity.

J. F. Hollings.

The plants look up to heaven, from whence they have their nourishment.


Flowers are sent to do God’s work in unrevealed paths, and to diffuse influence by channels that we hardly suspect.

Henry Ward Beecher.

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance;***and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.


Flowers are the sweetest things that God ever made and forgot to put a soul into.


  • But the rose leaves herself upon the brier
  • For winds to kiss and grateful bees to feed.
  • Keats.

  • The daisy is fair, the day-lily rare,
  • The bud o’ the rose as sweet as it’s bonnie.
  • Hogg.

  • Roses, and pinks, and violets, to adorn
  • The shrine of Flora in her early May.
  • Keats.

  • Flowers are words
  • Which even a babe may understand.
  • Bishop Coxe.

  • To me the meanest flower that blows can give
  • Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
  • Wordsworth.

  • Hope smiled when your nativity was cast,
  • Children of Summer!
  • Wordsworth.

    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air.


    Look how the blue-eyed violets glance love to one another!

    T. B. Read.

    Ye living flowers, that skirt the eternal frost!


    The milk-white lilies that lean from the fragrant hedge.

    Alice Cary.

    Fade, flowers, fade! Nature will have it so; ’tis but what we in our autumn do.


    With fragrant breath the lilies woo me now, and softly speaks the sweet-voiced mignonette.

    Julia C. R. Dorr.

    The sweet forget-me-nots that grow for happy lovers.


    The daisies’ eyes are a-twinkle with happy tears of dew.

    Fitz-Hugh Ludlow.

    Sweet flowers alone can say what passion fears revealing.


    Flowers, leaves, fruit, are the air-woven children of light.


    Foster the beautiful, and every hour thou callest new flowers to birth.


    The buttercups across the field made sunshine rifts of splendor.

    Miss Mulock.

    And the spring arose on the garden fair like the spirit of Love felt everywhere.


    Like saintly vestals, pale in prayer, their pure breath sanctifies the air.

    Julia C. R. Dorr.

    Flowers may beckon towards us, but they speak toward heaven and God.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    The opening and the folding flowers, that laugh to the summer’s day.

    Mrs. Hemans.

    He who does not love flowers has lost all love and fear of God.

    Ludwig Tieck.

  • These children of the meadows, born
  • Of sunshine and of showers!
  • Whittier.

    Flowers spring up unsown and dip ungathered.


    Floral apostles! that in dewy splendor weep without woe, and blush without a crime.

    Horace Smith.

    I always think the flowers can see us, and know what we are thinking about.

    George Eliot.

  • The gentle race of flowers
  • Are lying in their lowly beds.
  • William Cullen Bryant.

    Emblems of our own great resurrection, emblems of the bright and better land.


    In eastern lands they talk in flowers, and they tell in a garland their loves and cares.


    Lovely flowers are smiles of God’s goodness.


    I do love violets; they tell the history of woman’s love.

    L. E. Landon.

    Happy are they who can create a rose tree or erect a honeysuckle.


    How the universal heart of man blesses flowers! They are wreathed round the cradle, the marriage altar, and the tomb.

    Mrs. L. M. Child.

  • The snowdrop and primrose our woodlands adorn,
  • And violets bathe in the wet o’ the morn.
  • Burns.

    The breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air (where it comes and goes like the warbling of music) than in the hand.


    It is with flowers as with moral qualities; the bright are sometimes poisonous; but, I believe, never the sweet.


    Who that has loved knows not the tender tale which flowers reveal, when lips are coy to tell?


    E’en the rough rocks with tender myrtle bloom, and trodden weeds send out a rich perfume.


    Flowers are the beautiful hieroglyphics of nature, with which she indicates how much she loves us.


    If thou wouldest attain to thy highest, go look upon a flower; what that does willessly, that do thou willingly.


    The daffodil is our door-side queen; she pushes up the sward already, to spot with sunshine the early green.


  • May-flowers blooming around him,
  • Fragrant, filling the air with a strange and wonderful sweetness.
  • Longfellow.

    I regard them, as Charles the Emperor did Florence, that they are too pleasant to be looked upon except on holidays.

    Izaak Walton.

    Most gladly would I give the blood-stained laurel for the first violet which March brings us, the fragrant pledge of the new-fledged year.


    There is not the least flower but seems to hold up its head and to look pleasantly, in the secret sense of the goodness of its Heavenly Maker.


    A passion for flowers is, I really think, the only one which long sickness leaves untouched with its chilling influence.

    Mrs. Hemans.

    The Omnipotent has sown His name on the heavens in glittering stars; but upon earth He planteth His name by tender flowers.


    Leaves are the Greek, flowers the Italian, phase of the spirit of beauty that reveals itself through the flora of the globe.

    T. Starr King.

    I think I am quite wicked with roses. I like to gather them, and smell them till they have no scent left.

    George Eliot.

  • As timid violets lade the ambient air
  • With their heart’s richest fragrance, unaware
  • The fragrance whispers that the flower is there.
  • Anna Katharine Green.

    Sweet flower, thou tellest how hearts as pure and tender as thy leaf, as low and humble as thy stem, will surely know the joy that peace imparts.


  • The harebells nod as she passes by,
  • The violet lifts its tender eye,
  • The ferns bend her steps to greet,
  • And the mosses creep to her dancing feet.
  • Julia C. R. Dorr.

  • And all the meadows, wide unrolled,
  • Were green and silver, green and gold,
  • Where buttercups and daisies spun
  • Their shining tissues in the sun.
  • Julia C. R. Dorr.

  • Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,
  • One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
  • When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
  • Stars, that in earth’s firmament do shine.
  • Longfellow.

    Your voiceless lips, flowers, are living preachers—each cup a pulpit, and each leaf a book.

    Horace Smith.

    The herb feeds upon the juice of a good soil, and drinks in the dew of heaven as eagerly, and thrives by it as effectually, as the stalled ox that tastes everything that he eats or drinks.


  • I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
  • Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows;
  • Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
  • With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine.
  • Shakespeare.

    Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm. Beauteous soul! when a storm approaches thee, be as fragrant as a sweet-smelling flower.


  • Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,
  • Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day,
  • Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
  • Buds that open only to decay.
  • Longfellow.

  • The purple heath and golden broom
  • On moory mountains catch the gale,
  • O’er lawns the lily sheds perfume,
  • The violet in the vale.
  • Montgomery.

    Not a flower but shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain, of His unrivaled pencil. He inspires their balmy odors, and imparts their hues,


  • The rose is fragrant, but it fades in time:
  • The violet sweet, but quickly past the prime:
  • White lilies hang their heads, and soon decay,
  • And white snow in minutes melts away.
  • Dryden.

    What a pity flowers can utter no sound! A singing rose, a whispering violet, a murmuring honeysuckle—oh, what a rare and exquisite miracle would these be!


    Flowers and fruits are always fit presents—flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.


    Yellow japanned buttercups and star-disked dandelions—just as we see them lying in the grass, like sparks that have leaped from the kindling sun of summer.

    O. W. Holmes.

  • Underneath large blue-bells tented
  • Where the daisies are rose-scented,
  • And the rose herself has got
  • Perfume which on earth is not.
  • Keats.

  • Now blooms the lily by the bank,
  • The primrose down the brae;
  • The hawthorn’s budding in the glen,
  • And milkwhite is the slae.
  • Burns.

    To analyze the charms of flowers is like dissecting music; it is one of those things which it is far better to enjoy than to attempt to understand.


    What a desolate place would be a world without a flower! It would be a face without a smile, a feast without a welcome. Are not flowers the stars of the earth, and are not our stars the flowers of heaven?

    Mrs. Balfour.

  • They speak of hope to the fainting heart,
  • With a voice of promise they come and part,
  • They sleep in dust through the wintry hours,
  • They break forth in glory—bring flowers, bright flowers!
  • Mrs. Hemans.

  • A love-tint flushes the wind-flower’s cheek,
  • Rich melodies gush from the violet’s beak,
  • On the rifts of the rock, the wild columbines grow,
  • Their heavy honey-cups bending low.
  • Sarah Helen Whitman.

    Learn, O student, the true wisdom. See yon bush aflame with roses, like the burning bush of Moses. Listen, and thou shalt hear, if thy soul be not deaf, how from out it, soft and clear, speaks to thee the Lord Almighty.


    Flowers are the bright remembrances of youth; they waft us back, with their bland odorous breath, the joyous hours that only young life knows, ere we have learnt that this fair earth hides graves.

    Countess of Blessington.

    There is to the poetical sense a ravishing prophecy and winsome intimation in flowers that now and then, from the influence of mood or circumstance, reasserts itself like the reminiscence of childhood, or the spell of love.


    As for marigolds, poppies, hollyhocks, and valorous sunflowers, we shall never have a garden without them, both for their own sake and for the sake of old-fashioned folks, who used to love them.


    Doubtless botany has its value; but the flowers knew how to preach divinity before men knew how to dissect and botanize them; they are apt to stop preaching, though, so soon as we begin to dissect and botanize them.

    H. N. Hudson.

    The instinctive and universal taste of mankind selects flowers for the expression of its finest sympathies, their beauty and their fleetingness serving to make them the most fitting symbols of those delicate sentiments for which language itself seems almost too gross a medium.


  • The loveliest flowers the closest cling to earth,
  • And they first feel the sun: so violets blue;
  • So the soft star-like primrose—drenched in dew—
  • The happiest of spring’s happy, fragrant birth.
  • Keble.

  • They know the time to go!
  • The fairy clocks strike their inaudible hour
  • In field and woodland, and each punctual flower
  • Bows at the signal an obedient head
  • And hastes to bed.
  • Susan Coolidge.

  • Flowers are Love’s truest language; they betray,
  • Like the divining rods of Magi old,
  • Where precious wealth lies buried, not of gold,
  • But love—strong love, that never can decay!
  • Park Benjamin.

    Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and hollyhock.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

  • With roses musky-breathed,
  • And drooping daffodilly,
  • And silver-leaved lily,
  • And ivy darkly-wreathed,
  • I wove a crown before her,
  • For her I love so dearly.
  • Tennyson.

    Flowers belong to Fairyland: the flowers and the birds and the butterflies are all that the world has kept of its golden age—the only perfectly beautiful things on earth—joyous, innocent, half divine—useless, say they who are wiser than God.


    To cultivate a garden is to walk with God, to go hand in hand with nature in some of her most beautiful processes, to learn something of her choicest secrets, and to have a more intelligent interest awakened in the beautiful order of her works elsewhere.


    There is to me a daintiness about early flowers that touches me like poetry. They blow out with such a simple loveliness among the common herbs of pastures, and breathe their lives so unobtrusively, like hearts whose beatings are too gentle for the world.


    Every rose is an autograph from the hand of the Almighty God on this world about us. He has inscribed His thoughts in these marvelous hieroglyphics which sense and science have been these many thousand years seeking to understand.

    Theodore Parker.

    Flowers should deck the brow of the youthful bride, for they are in themselves a lovely type of marriage. They should twine round the tomb, for their perpetually renewed beauty is a symbol of the resurrection. They should festoon the altar, for their fragrance and their beauty ascend in perpetual worship before the Most High.

    Mrs. L. M. Child.

    “If flowers have souls,” said Undine, “the bees, whose nurses they are, must seem to them darling children at the breast. I once fancied a paradise for the spirits of departed flowers.” “They go,” answered I, “not into paradise, but into a middle state; the souls of lilies enter into maidens’ foreheads, those of hyacinths and forget-me-nots dwell in their eyes, and those of roses in their lips.”


    The little flower which sprung up through the hard pavement of poor Picciola’s prison was beautiful from contrast with the dreary sterility which surrounded it. So here amid rough walls, are there fresh tokens of nature. And O, the beautiful lessons which flowers teach to children, especially in the city! The child’s mind can grasp with ease the delicate suggestions of flowers.


  • Yet, no—not words, for they
  • But half can tell love’s feeling;
  • Sweet flowers alone can say
  • What passion fears revealing:
  • A once bright rose’s wither’d leaf,
  • A tow’ring lily broken—
  • Oh, these may paint a grief
  • No words could e’er have spoken.
  • Moore.

  • Daffodils,
  • That come before the swallow dares, and take
  • The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
  • But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes,
  • Or Cytherea’s breath; pale primroses,
  • That die unmarried ere they can behold
  • Bright Phœbus in his strength—a malady
  • Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and
  • The crown-imperial; lilies of all kinds,
  • The flower-de-luce being one!
  • Shakespeare.

  • I remember, I remember
  • The roses, red and white,
  • The violets, and the lily-cups,
  • Those flowers made of light!
  • The lilacs, where the robin built,
  • And where my brother set
  • The laburnum on his birthday—
  • The tree is living yet.
  • Hood.

    Often a nosegay of wild flowers, which was to us, as village children, a grove of pleasure, has in after years of manhood, and in the town, given us by its old perfume, an indescribable transport back into godlike childhood; and how, like a flower goddess, it has raised us into the first embracing Aurora clouds of our first dim feelings!


  • Sweet is the rose, but grows upon a brere;
  • Sweet is the juniper, but sharp his bough;
  • Sweet is the eglantine, but sticketh nere;
  • Sweet is the firbloome, but its braunches rough;
  • Sweet is the cypress, but its rynd is tough;
  • Sweet is the nut, but bitter is his pill;
  • Sweet is the broome-flowre, but yet sowre enough;
  • And sweet is moly, but his root is ill.
  • Spenser.

  • Here eglantine embalm’d the air,
  • Hawthorne and hazel mingled there;
  • The primrose pale, and violet flower,
  • Found in each cliff a narrow bower;
  • Fox-glove and nightshade, side by side,
  • Emblems of punishment and pride,
  • Group’d their dark hues with every stain
  • The weather-beaten crags retain.
  • Scott.

  • There bloomed the strawberry of the wilderness;
  • The trembling eyebright showed her sapphire blue,
  • The thyme her purple, like the blush of Even;
  • And if the breath of some to no caress
  • Invited, forth they peeped so fair to view,
  • All kinds alike seemed favorites of heaven.
  • Wordsworth.

  • Sweet letters of the angel tongue,
  • I’ve loved ye long and well,
  • And never have failed in your fragrance sweet
  • To find some secret spell—
  • A charm that has bound me with witching power,
  • For mine is the old belief,
  • That midst your sweets and midst your bloom,
  • There’s a soul in every leaf!
  • M. M. Ballou.

  • He bore a simple wild-flower wreath:
  • Narcissus, and the sweet brier rose;
  • Vervain, and flexile thyme, that breathe
  • Rich fragrance; modest heath, that glows
  • With purple bells; the amaranth bright,
  • That no decay, nor fading knows,
  • Like true love’s holiest, rarest light;
  • And every purest flower, that blows
  • In that sweet time, which Love most blesses,
  • When spring on summer’s confines presses.
  • Thomas Love Peacock.

    He must have an artist’s eye for color and form who can arrange a hundred flowers as tastefully, in any other way, as by strolling through a garden, and picking here one and there one, and adding them to the bouquet in the accidental order in which they chance to come. Thus we see every summer day the fair lady coming in from the breezy side hill with gorgeous colors and most witching effects. If only she could be changed to alabaster, was ever a finer show of flowers in so fine a vase? But instead of allowing the flowers to remain as they were gathered, they are laid upon the table, divided, rearranged on some principle of taste, I know not what, but never again have that charming naturalness and grace which they first had.


  • The foxglove, with its stately bells
  • Of purple, shall adorn thy dells;
  • The wallflower, on each rifted rock,
  • From liberal blossoms shall breathe down,
  • (Gold blossoms frecked with iron-brown,)
  • Its fragrance; while the hollyhock,
  • The pink, and the carnation vie
  • With lupin and with lavender,
  • To decorate the fading year;
  • And larkspurs, many-hued, shall drive
  • Gloom from the groves, where red leaves lie,
  • And Nature seems but half alive.
  • D. M. Moir.

  • The windflower and the violet, they perished long ago,
  • And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow;
  • But on the hills the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood,
  • And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood,
  • Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men,
  • And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland glade and glen.
  • Bryant.