Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

John Burroughs

American Naturalist, Essayist, Poet

"To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, to imagine your facts is quite another."

"It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative."

"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."

"Few persons realize how much of their happiness is dependent upon their work, upon the fact that they are kept busy and not left to freed upon themselves. Happiness comes most to persons who seek her least, and think least about it. It is not an object to be sought; it is a state to be induced. It must follow and not lead. It must overtake you, and not your overtake it."

"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."

"One of the drawbacks of old age is that one outlives his generation and feels alone in the world. The new generations have interests of their own, and are no more in sympathy with you than you are with them. The octogenarian has no alternative but to live in the past. He lives with the dead, and they pull him down."

"We are rooted to the air through our lungs and to the soil through our stomachs. We are walking trees and floating plants."

"Man learns to see providence in the great universal forces of nature, in the wind and the rain, in the soil underfoot and in the cloud overhead."

"To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, to imagine your facts is another."

"One of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this life and one that many persons never learn, is to see the divine, the celestial, the pure, in the common, the near at hand - to see that heaven lies about us here in this world."

"Nothing relieves and ventilates the mind like a resolution."

"I have enough to eat and wear, and time to see how beautiful the world is, and to enjoy it."

"I still find each day too short for all 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. The longer I lie the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and wonder of the world."

"Look underfoot. You are always nearer to the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Don't despise your own place and hour. Every place is the center of the world."

"A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else."

"A somebody was once a nobody who wanted to and did. "

"The secret of happiness is something to do. "

"Life is a struggle, but not a warfare. "

"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."

"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. "

"Science has done more for the development of western civilization in one hundred years than Christianity did in eighteen hundred years. "

"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. "

"If you think you can do it, you can. "

"The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. "

"The Kingdom of Heaven is not a place, but a state of mind. "

"Some men are like nails, very easily drawn; others however are more like rivets never drawn at all. "

"Communing with God is communing with our own hearts, our own best selves, not with something foreign and accidental. Saints and devotees have gone into the wilderness to find God; of course they took God with them, and the silence and detachment enabled them to hear the still, small voice of their own souls, as one hears the ticking of his own watch in the stillness of the night"

"One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: ‘To rise above little things’."

"The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention. "

"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life."

"The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and wonder of the world… I have loved the feel of the grass under my feet, and the sound of the running streams by my side. The hum of the wind in the treetops has always been good music to me, and the face of the fields has often comforted me more than the faces of men. I am in love with this world...I have tilled its soil, I have gathered its harvest, I have waited upon its seasons, and always have I reaped what I have sown. I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings."

"If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature."