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


The groves were God’s first temples.


A brotherhood of venerable trees.


The mourner yew and builder oak were there.


This is the forest primeval.


Grove nods at grove.


He loves his old hereditary trees.


Slips of yew, silvered in the moon’s eclipse.


Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree!


The dureful oak, whose sap is not yet dried.


Cause not a tree to die.

King of Siam.

A tree in the desert is still a tree.


  • No tree in all the grove but has its charms,
  • Though each its hue peculiar.
  • Cowper.

    The highest and most lofty trees have the most reason to dread the thunder.


    A large, branching, aged oak is perhaps the most venerable of all inanimate objects.


    All the tree-tops lay asleep, like green waves on the sea.


    A forest of all manner of trees is poor, if not disagreeable, in effect; a mass of one species of tree is sublime.


    Hence it is that old men do plant young trees, the fruit whereof another age shall take.

    Sir J. Davies.

    Like some tall tree, the monster of the wood, o’ershading all that under him would grow.


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


    No gale disturb the trees, nor aspen leaves confess the gentle breeze.


    The trees were unctuous fir, and mountain ash.


    The whispering breeze pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees.


    Old trees in their living state are the only things that money cannot command.


    Whose roots earth’s centre touch, whose heads the skies.

    Walter Harte.

    Worn, gray olive-woods, which seem the fittest foliage for a dream.

    Mrs. Browning.

    Next to ye both I love the palm, with his leaves of beauty, his fruit of balm.

    Bayard Taylor.

    Poplars and alders ever quivering played, and nodding cypress formed a fragrant shade.


    An oak whose boughs were mossed with age, and high top bald with dry antiquity.


    What planter will attempt to yoke a sapling with a falling oak?


    Trees the most lovingly shelter and shade us when, like the willow, the higher soar their summits the lowlier droop their boughs.


    In heaven the trees of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines yield nectar.


    The fir-trees dark and high; I used to think their slender tops were close against the sky.


    That forbidden tree, whose mortal taste brought death into the world, and all our woe.


    The osier good for twigs, the poplar for the mill.


    And winter, that grand old harper, smote his thunder-harp of pines.

    Alexander Smith.

    With every change his features played, as aspens show the light and shade.

    Sir Walter Scott.

    Those green-robed senators of mighty woods, tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars, dream, and so dream, all night without a stir.


  • But, poor old man, thou prunest a rotten tree,
  • That cannot so much as a blossom yield
  • In lieu of all thy pains and husbandry.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Some to the holly hedge
  • Nestling repair; and to the thicket some;
  • Some to the rude protection of the thorn.
  • Thomson.

    I sit where the leaves of the maple and the gnarled and knotted gum are circling and drifting around me.

    Alice Cary.

    I wonder how it is that so cheerful-looking a tree as the willow should have become associated with ideas of sadness.


    These blasted pines, wrecks of a single winter, barkless, branchless, a blighted trunk upon a cursed root.


    When we plant a tree, we are doing what we can to make our planet a more wholesome and happier dwelling-place for those who come after us if not for ourselves.


    Beautiful isles! beneath the sunset skies tall, silver-shafted palm-trees rise, between full orange-trees that shade the living colonade.


  • The trees were gazing up into the sky,
  • Their bare arms stretched in prayer for the snows.
  • Alex. Smith.

    The trees by the way should have borne men, and expectation fainted, longing for what it had not.


    In lands of palm and southern pine; in lands of palm, of orange-blossom, of olive, aloe, and maize, and wine.


    In all great arts, as in trees, it is the height that charms us; we care nothing for the roots or trunks, yet it could not be without the aid of these.


    The oak roars when a high wind wrestles with it; the beech shrieks; the elm sends forth a long, deep groan; the ash pours out moans of thrilling anguish.

    T. Starr King.

  • And all amid them stood the Tree of Life,
  • High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
  • Of vegetable gold.
  • Milton.

  • When the sappy boughs
  • Attire themselves with blooms, sweet rudiments
  • Of future harvest.
  • John Phillips.

  • Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
  • A sylvan scene, and as the ranks ascend
  • Shade above shade, a woody theatre
  • Of stateliest view.
  • Milton.

  • Now rings the woodland loud and long,
  • The distance takes a lovelier hue,
  • And drowned in yonder living blue
  • The lark becomes a sightless song.
  • Tennyson.

  • The woods appear
  • With crimson blotches deeply dashed and crossed,—
  • Sign of the fatal pestilence of Frost.
  • Bayard Taylor.

    The willow is a sad tree, whereof such who have lost their love make their mourning garlands, and we know what exiles hung up their harps upon such doleful supporters. The twigs are physic to drive out the folly of children.


  • A barren detested vale, you see it is;
  • The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
  • O’ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Woodman, spare that tree!
  • Touch not a single bough!
  • In youth it sheltered me,
  • And I’ll protect it now.
  • George P. Morris.

  • Welcome, ye shades! ye bowery Thickets hail!
  • Ye lofty Pines! ye venerable Oaks!
  • Ye Ashes wild, resounding o’er the steep!
  • Delicious is your shelter to the soul.
  • Thomson.

  • Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
  • Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
  • More free from peril than the envious court?
  • Shakespeare.

  • The place is all awave with trees,
  • Limes, myrtles, purple-beaded,
  • Acacias having drunk the lees
  • Of the night-dew, faint headed,
  • And wan, grey olive-woods, which seem
  • The fittest foliage for a dream.
  • E. B. Browning.

  • But see the fading many-colored Woods,
  • Shade deep’ning over shade, the country round
  • Imbrown; crowded umbrage, dusk and dun,
  • Of every hue from wan declining green
  • To sooty dark.
  • Thomson.

  • Under the greenwood tree
  • Who loves to lie with me,
  • And tune his merry note
  • Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
  • Come hither, come hither, come hither;
  • No enemy here shall he see,
  • But winter and rough weather.
  • Shakespeare.

  • These shades
  • Are still the abodes of gladness; the thick roof
  • Of green and stirring branches is alive
  • And musical with birds, that sing and sport
  • In wantonness of spirit; while below
  • The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect,
  • Chirps merrily.
  • William Cullen Bryant.

    The works of a person that builds begin immediately to decay, while those of him who plants begin directly to improve. In this, planting promises a more lasting pleasure than building; which, were it to remain in equal perfection, would at best begin to moulder and want repairs in imagination. Now trees have a circumstance that suits our taste, and that is annual variety.


  • Where is the pride of Summer,—the green prime,—
  • The many, many leaves all twinkling?—three
  • On the mossed elm; three on the naked lime
  • Trembling,—and one upon the old oak tree!
  • Where is the Dryad’s immortality?
  • Hood.

  • Father, thy hand
  • Hath reared these venerable columns, thou
  • Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down
  • Upon the naked earth, and, forthwith, rose
  • All these fair ranks of trees. They, in thy sun,
  • Budded, and shook their green leaves in thy breeze,
  • And shot towards heaven.
  • William Cullen Bryant.

  • The woods are hush’d, their music is no more;
  • The leaf is dead, the yearning past away;
  • New leaf, new life—the days of frost are o’er;
  • New life, new love, to suit the newer day:
  • New loves are sweet as those that went before:
  • Free love—free field—we love but while we may.
  • Tennyson.

  • The groves were God’s first temples. Ere man learned
  • To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave,
  • And spread the roof above them—ere he framed
  • The lofty vault, to gather and roll back
  • The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood,
  • Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down,
  • And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks
  • And supplication.
  • William Cullen Bryant.

  • The linden broke her ranks and rent
  • The woodbine wreaths that bind her,
  • And down the middle buzz! she went
  • With all her bees behind her!
  • The poplars, in long order due,
  • With cypress promenaded,
  • The shock-head willows two and two
  • By rivers gallopaded.
  • Tennyson.

  • Sure thou did’st flourish once! and many springs,
  • Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers,
  • Passed o’er thy head; many light hearts and wings,
  • Which now are dead, lodg’d in thy living bowers.
  • And still a new succession sings and flies;
  • Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot
  • Towards the old and still-enduring skies;
  • While the low violet thrives at their root.
  • Henry Vaughan.

  • The laurell, meed of mightie conquerours
  • And poets sage; the firre that weepeth still;
  • The willow, worne of forlorne paramours;
  • The eugh, obedient to the bender’s will;
  • The birch, for shafts; the sallow for the mill;
  • The mirrhe sweete-bleeding in the bitter wound;
  • The warlike beech; the ash for nothing ill;
  • The fruitfull olive; and the platane round;
  • The carver holme; the maple seldom inward sound.
  • Spenser.

    Trees have about them something beautiful and attractive even to the fancy, since they cannot change their places, are witnesses of all the changes that take place around them; and as some reach a great age, they become, as it were, historical monuments, and like ourselves they have a life, growing and passing away,—not being inanimate and unvarying like the fields and rivers. One sees them passing through various stages, and at last step by step approaching death, which makes them look still more like ourselves.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

    The tremendous unity of the pine absorbs and moulds the life of a race. The pine shadows rest upon a nation. The northern peoples, century after century, lived under one or other of the two great powers of the pine and the sea, both infinite. They dwelt amidst the forests as they wandered on the waves, and saw no end nor any other horizon. Still the dark, green trees, or the dark, green waters jagged the dawn with their fringe or their foam. And whatever elements of imagination, or of warrior strength, or of domestic justice were brought down by the Norwegian or the Goth against the dissoluteness or degradation of the south of Europe were taught them under the green roofs and wild penetralia of the pine.