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


Nature is God’s Old Testament.

Theodore Parker.

Nature is a revelation of God.


Nature alone is permanent.


The living, visible garment of God.


Nature, the vicar of the Almighty Lord.


Nature and wisdom never are at strife.


There is but one book for genius,—nature.

Madame Deluzy.

Nature is frugal, and her wants are few.


Art may err, but nature cannot miss.


Nature is a vast repository of manly enjoyments.

Henry Ward Beecher.

The poetry of earth is never dead.


Nature and wisdom always say the same.


We by art unteach what Nature taught.


Love can be founded upon Nature only.


Nature is always wise in every part.

Lord Thurlow.

Looks through nature up to nature’s God.


Nature means Necessity.


There is no solitude in nature.


Every form as nature made it is correct.


Nature never gives everything at once.


Nature is a volume of which God is the author.


Nothing in nature is unbeautiful.


The natural alone is permanent.


To hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature.


Nature ever provides for her own exigencies.


Nature tells every secret once.


The laws of nature are the thoughts of God.


Extremes in nature equal ends produce.


Laws of nature are God’s thoughts thinking themselves out in the orbits and the tides.

Charles H. Parkhurst.

Nature, in her most dazzling aspects or stupendous parts, is but the background and theatre of the tragedy of man.

John Morley.

Nature is the chart of God, mapping out all His attributes.


Nature cannot be surprised in undress. Beauty breaks in everywhere.


Nature is man’s religious book, with lessons for every day.

Theodore Parker.

Nature has given us the seeds of knowledge, not knowledge itself.


Nature, through all her kingdoms, insures herself.


  • Nature never did betray
  • The heart that loved her.
  • Wordsworth.

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


    One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.


    Nature is but a name for an effect, whose cause is God.


  • All Nature is but art unknown to thee;
  • All chance direction, which thou canst not see.
  • Pope.

    Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.


  • Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part;
  • Do thou but thine!
  • Milton.

    Nature has given man no better thing than shortness of life.

    Pliny the Elder.

  • E’en from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
  • E’en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
  • Gray.

    In nature things move violently to their place, and calmly in their place.


    Go forth under the open sky, and list to nature’s teaching.


    So true it is, that nature has caprices which art cannot imitate.


    All nature is a vast symbolism; every material fact has sheathed within it a spiritual truth.


  • Nature ever faithful is
  • To such as trust her faithfulness.
  • Emerson.

    All art, all education, can be merely a supplement to nature.


    Where nature is sovereign, there is no need of austerity and self-denial.


    You may turn nature out of doors with violence, but she will return.


    Virtue, as understood by the world, is a constant struggle against the laws of nature.

    De Finod.

    Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of the One breaks in everywhere.


    Not a ray is dimmed, not an atom worn; nature’s oldest force is as good as new.


    Come forth into the light of things; let nature be your teacher.


    Nature and wisdom are not, but should be, companions.


    A tree is a nobler object than a prince in his coronation-robes.


    Drive away what springs from nature; it returns at a gallop.

    P. N. Destouches.

    Nothing in nature, much less conscious being, was e’er created solely for itself.


    Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in night; God said, Let Newton be; and all was light.


    All things are artificial, for nature is the art of God.

    Sir T. Browne.

    Where order in variety we see, and where, though all things differ, all agree.


  • No tears
  • Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.
  • Longfellow.

    All things in the natural world symbolize God, yet none of them speak of Him but in broken and imperfect words.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.


    Nature and truth are one, and immutable, and inseparable as beauty and love.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    Nature is no spendthrift, but takes the shortest way to her ends.


    Nature repairs her ravages,—repairs them with her sunshine and with human labor.

    George Eliot.

  • Hear ye not the hum
  • Of mighty workings?
  • Keats.

    Hill and valley, seas and constellations, are but stereotypes of divine ideas appealing to and answered by the living soul of man.


    There is a majesty and mystery in nature, take her as you will. The essence of poetry comes breathing to a mind that feels from every province of her empire.


    The path of nature is, indeed, a narrow one, and it is only the immortals that seek it, and, when they find it, do not find themselves cramped therein.


    Nature, the handmaid of God Almighty, does nothing but with good advice, if we make research into the true reason of things.

    James Howell.

  • Read nature; nature is a friend to truth;
  • Nature is Christian, preaches to mankind;
  • And bids dead matter aid us in our creed.
  • Young.

    Nature is just to all mankind, and repays them for their industry. She renders them industrious by annexing rewards in proportion to their labor.


    Nature is an Æolian harp, a musical instrument whose tones are the re-echo of higher strings within us.


  • And not from Nature up to Nature’s God,
  • But down from Nature’s God look Nature through.
  • Robert Montgomery.

    Nature, like a kind and smiling mother, lends herself to our dreams and cherishes our fancies.

    Victor Hugo.

    If we did not take great pains, and were not at great expense to corrupt our nature, our nature would never corrupt us.


    Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction.


    If we see nature as pausing, immediately all mortifies and decays; but seen as progressing, she is beautiful.


    Thou fool! Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom; that idle crag thou sittest on is six thousand years of age.


    Since a true knowledge of nature gives us pleasure, a lively imitation of it in poetry or painting must produce a much greater.


    I follow nature as the surest guide, and resign myself with implicit obedience to her sacred ordinances.


    O Lord, how manifold are Thy works; in wisdom, hast Thou made them all; the earth is full of Thy riches.


    I have often thought that the nature of women was inferior to that of men in general, but superior in particular.


    Everything made by man may be destroyed by man; there are no ineffaceable characters except those engraved by nature; and nature makes neither princes nor rich men nor great lords.


    Nature has perfections, in order to show that she is the image of God; and defects, in order to show that she is only His image.


    Nature is the most thrifty thing in the world; she never wastes anything; she undergoes change, but there’s no annihilation, the essence remains—matter is eternal.


  • The day is Thine, the night also is Thine;
  • Thou hast prepared the light and the sun,
  • Thou hast set all the borders of the earth,
  • Thou hast made summer and winter.
  • Bible.

  • Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,
  • One clear, unchanged, and universal light,
  • Life, force, and beauty must to all impart,
  • At once the source, and end, and test of art.
  • Pope.

    Nature forever puts a premium on reality. What is done for effect is seen to be done for effect; what is done for love is felt to be done for love.


    There is religion in everything around us,—a calm and holy religion in the unbreathing things of nature, which man would do well to imitate.


    The scientific study of Nature tends not only to correct and ennoble the intellectual conceptions of man; it serves also to ameliorate his physical condition.

    J. W. Draper.

    It is a great mortification to the vanity of man, that his utmost art and industry can never equal the meanest of nature’s productions, either for beauty or value.


  • O Nature, gracious mother of us all,
  • Within thy bosom myriad secrets lie
  • Which thou surrenderest to the patient eye
  • That seeks and waits.
  • Margaret J. Preston.

    Divine Providence has spread her table everywhere, not with a juiceless green carpet, but with succulent herbage and nourishing grass, upon which most beasts feed.

    Sir T. Moore.

    You will find something far greater in the woods than you will find in books. Stones and trees will teach you that which you will never learn from masters.

    St. Bernard.

    Search out the wisdom of nature, there is depth in all her doings; she seemeth prodigal of power, yet her rules are the maxims of frugality.


    Nature is a frugal mother, and never gives without measure. When she has work to do, she qualifies men for that and sends them equipped.


    The more a man follows nature, and is obedient to her laws, the longer he will live; the farther he deviates from these, the shorter will be his existence.

    C. W. Hufeland.

  • Nature paints not
  • In oils, but frescoes the great dome of heaven
  • With sunsets, and the lovely forms of clouds
  • And flying vapors.
  • Longfellow.

  • How mean the order and perfection sought
  • In the best product of the human thought,
  • Compar’d to the great harmony that reigns
  • In what the spirit of the world ordains!
  • Prior.

    Nature is avariciously frugal; in matter, it allows no atom to elude its grasp; in mind, no thought or feeling to perish. It gathers up the fragments, that nothing be lost.

    David Thomas.

    No, no! I do nature injustice. She gave us inventive faculty, and set us naked, and helpless on the shore of this great ocean,—the world; swim those who can, the heavy may go to the bottom.


    Look at nature with science as a lens. The rock swarms, the clod dances; the mineral is but the vegetable stepping down, and the animal an ascending plant; the man, a beast extended; and the angel, a developed human soul.


    This world could not exist if it were not so simple. The ground has been tilled a thousand years, yet its powers remain ever the same; a little rain, a little sun, and each spring it grows green again.


    What is nature? Art thou not the living government of God? O Heaven, is it in very deed He then that ever speaks through thee,—that lives and loves in thee, that lives and loves in me?


    Nature is a tropical swamp in sunshine, on whose purlieus we hear the song of summer birds and see prismatic dewdrops; but her interiors are terrific, full of hydras and crocodiles.


    I wondered over again for the hundredth time what could be the principle which, in the wildest, most lawless, fantastically chaotic, apparently capricious work of nature, always kept it beautiful.

    George MacDonald.

    There is no more lovely worship of God than that for which no image is required, but which springs up in our breast spontaneously when nature speaks to the soul, and the soul speaks to nature face to face.


  • 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.

    Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.


    Lavish thousands of dollars on your baby clothes, and after all the child is prettiest when every garment is laid aside. That becoming nakedness, at least, may adorn the chubby darling of the poorest home.

    T. W. Higginson.

    Nature always springs to the surface and manages to show what she is. It is vain to stop or try to drive her back. She breaks through every obstacle, pushes forward, and at last, makes for herself a way.


    Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts; the sight of the deep-blue sky and the clustering stars above seems to impart a quiet to the mind.

    T. Edwards.

    Nature, like a loving mother, is ever trying to keep land and sea, mountain and valley, each in its place, to hush the angry winds and waves, balance the extremes of heat and cold, of rain and drought, that peace, harmony, and beauty may reign supreme.

    Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

    God is infinite; and the laws of nature, like nature itself, are finite. These methods of working, therefore,—which correspond to the physical element in us,—do not exhaust His agency. There is a boundless residue of disengaged energy beyond.

    James Martineau.

    Nature imitates herself. A grain thrown into good ground brings forth fruit; a principle thrown into a good mind brings forth fruit. Everything is created and conducted by the same Master; the root, the branch, the fruits,—the principles, the consequences.


    In nature, all is managed for the best with perfect frugality and just reserve, profuse to none, but bountiful to all; never employing on one thing more than enough, but with exact economy retrenching the superfluous, and adding force to what is principal in everything.


  • Who loves not the shady trees,
  • The smell of flowers, the sound of brooks,
  • The song of birds, and the hum of bees,
  • Murmuring in green and fragrant nooks,
  • The voice of children in the spring,
  • Along the field-paths wandering?
  • T. Millar.

    It were happy if we studied nature more in natural things; and acted according to nature, whose rules are few, plain, and most reasonable. Let us begin where she begins, go her pace, and close always where she ends, and we cannot miss of being good naturalists.

    William Penn.

    Nature, at all events, humanly speaking, is manifestly very fond of color; for she has made nothing without it. Her skies are blue; her fields, green; her waters vary with her skies; her animals, vegetables, minerals, are all colored. She paints a great many of them in apparently superfluous hues, as if to show the dullest eye how she loves color.

    Leigh Hunt.

  • Lo! the poor Indian—whose untutor’d mind
  • Sees God in clouds, or hears Him in the wind;
  • His soul proud science never taught to stray
  • Far as the solar walk or milky way;
  • Yet simple nature to his hope has given,
  • Behind the cloud-topped hill, an humbler heav’n.
  • Pope.

    Though nature is constantly beautiful, she does not exhibit her highest powers of beauty constantly; for then they would satiate us, and pall upon our senses. It is necessary to their appreciation that they should be rarely shown. Her finest touches are things which must be watched for; her most perfect passages of beauty are the most evanescent.


  • I can pass days
  • Stretch’d in the shade of those old cedar trees,
  • Watching the sunshine like a blessing fall,—
  • The breeze like music wandering o’er the boughs,
  • Each tree a natural harp,—each different leaf
  • A different note, blent in one vast thanksgiving.
  • Miss Landon.

  • If thou art worn and hard beset
  • With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget,
  • If thou wouldst read a lesson, that will keep
  • Thy heart from fainting, and thy soul from sleep,
  • Go to the woods and hills! No tears
  • Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.
  • Longfellow.

    The truths of nature are one eternal change, one infinite variety. There is no bush on the face of the globe exactly like another bush; there are no two trees in the forest whose boughs bend into the same network, nor two leaves on the same tree which could not be told one from the other, nor two waves in the sea exactly alike.


    Nature eschews regular lines; she does not shape her lines by a common model. Not one of Eve’s numerous progeny in all respects resembles her who first culled the flowers of Eden. To the infinite variety and picturesque inequality of nature we owe the great charm of her uncloying beauty.


    It seems strange that a butterfly’s wing should be woven up so thin and gauzy in the monstrous loom of nature, and be so delicately tipped with fire from such a gross hand, and rainbowed all over in such a storm of thunderous elements. The marvel is that such great forces do such nice work.

    Theodore Parker.

    The works of nature and the works of revelation display religion to mankind in characters so large and visible that those who are not quite blind may in them see and read the first principles and most necessary parts of it, and from thence penetrate into those infinite depths filled with the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.


    Nature does not capriciously scatter her secrets as golden gifts to lazy pets and luxurious darlings, but imposes tasks when she presents opportunities, and uplifts him whom she would inform. The apple that she drops at the feet of Newton is but a coy invitation to follow her to the stars.


  • To him who in the love of nature holds
  • Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
  • A various language; for his gayer hours
  • She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
  • And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
  • Into his darker musings, with a mild
  • And healing sympathy, that steals away
  • Their sharpness, ere he is aware.
  • Bryant.

    Nature is sanitive, refining, elevating. How cunningly she hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew! Every inch of the mountains is scarred by unimaginable convulsions, yet the new day is purple with the bloom of youth and love.


    Our old mother nature has pleasant and cheery tones enough for us when she comes in her dress of blue and gold over the eastern hill-tops; but when she follows us upstairs to our beds in her suit of black velvet and diamonds, every creak of her sandals and every whisper of her lips is full of mystery and fear.


  • 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.

  • See, through this air, this ocean, and this earth,
  • All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
  • Above, how high! progressive life may go!
  • Around, how wide; how deep extend below!
  • Vast chain of being! which from God began,
  • Nature’s ethereal, human, angel, man,
  • Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
  • No glass can reach, from infinite to Thee,
  • From Thee to nothing.
  • Pope.

    Nature is no sentimentalist,—does not cosset or pamper us. We must see that the world is rough and surly, and will not mind drowning a man or a woman, but swallows your ships like a grain of dust. The cold, inconsiderate of persons, tingles your blood, benumbs your feet, freezes a man like an apple. The diseases, the elements, fortune, gravity, lightning, respect no persons.


  • 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, Natures good
  • And God’s.
  • Robert Browning.

    The laws of nature are just, but terrible. There is no weak mercy in them. Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable. The elements have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, the air consumes, the earth buries. And perhaps it would be well for our race if the punishment of crimes against the laws of man were as inevitable as the punishment of crimes against the laws of nature,—were man as unerring in his judgments as nature.


    Those who devote themselves to the peaceful study of nature have but little temptation to launch out upon the tempestuous sea of ambition; they will scarcely be hurried away by the more violent or cruel passions, the ordinary failings of those ardent persons who do not control their conduct; but, pure as the objects of their researches, they will feel for everything about them the same benevolence which they see nature display toward all her productions.


    “Behold the lilies of the field; they toil not, neither do they spin, yet your heavenly Father careth for them.” He expatiates on a single flower, and draws from it the delightful argument of confidence in God. He gives us to see that taste may be combined with piety, and that the same heart may be occupied with all that is serious in the contemplations of religion, and be at the same time alive to the charms and loveliness of nature.

    Dr. Chalmers.

  • By fate, not option, frugal Nature gave
  • One scent to hyson and to wall-flower,
  • One sound to pine-groves and to waterfalls,
  • 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.
  • Emerson.

    The best thing is to go from nature’s God down to nature; and if you once get to nature’s God, and believe Him, and love Him, it is surprising how easy it is to hear music in the waves, and songs in the wild whisperings of the winds; to see God everywhere in the stones, in the rocks, in the rippling brooks, and hear Him everywhere, in the lowing of cattle, in the rolling of thunder, and in the fury of tempests. Get Christ first, put Him in the right place, and you will find Him to be the wisdom of God in your own experience.

    C. H. Spurgeon.

    What profusion is there in His work! When trees blossom there is not a single breastpin, but a whole bosom full of gems; and of leaves they have so many suits that they can throw them away to the winds all summer long. What unnumbered cathedrals has He reared in the forest shades, vast and grand, full of curious carvings, and haunted evermore by tremulous music; and in the heavens above, how do stars seem to have flown out of His hand faster than sparks out of a mighty forge!


  • 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.

  • Like two cathedral towers these stately pines
  • Uplift their fretted summits tipped with cones;
  • The arch beneath them is not built with stones,
  • Not Art but Nature traced these lovely lines,
  • And carved this graceful arabesque of vines;
  • No organ but the wind here sighs and moans,
  • No sepulchre conceals a martyr’s bones,
  • No marble bishop on his tomb reclines.
  • Enter! the pavement, carpeted with leaves,
  • Gives back a softened echo to thy tread!
  • Listen! the choir is singing; all the birds,
  • In leafy galleries beneath the eaves,
  • Are singing! listen, ere the sound be fled,
  • And learn there may be worship without words.
  • Longfellow.

    It is good for any man to be alone with nature and himself, or with a friend who knows when silence is more sociable than talk, “In the wilderness alone, there where nature worships God.” It is well to be in places where man is little and God is great,—where what he sees all around him has the same look as it had a thousand years ago, and will have the same, in all likelihood, when he has been a thousand years in his grave. It abates and rectifies a man, if he is worth the process.

    Sydney Smith.

    All things are engaged in writing their history. The planet, the pebble, goes attended by its shadow. The rolling rock leaves its scratches on the mountain; the river, its channel in the soil; the animal, its bones in the stratum; the fern and leaf, their modest epitaph in the coal. The falling drop makes its sculpture in the sand or the stone. Not a foot steps into the snow or along the ground, but prints, in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march. Every act of the man inscribes itself in the memories of its fellows, and in his own manners and face. The air is full of sounds, the sky of tokens, the ground is all memoranda and signatures, and every object covered over with hints which speak to the intelligent.