The Quote Garden
“I dig old books.”
Quotations about Insects, Spiders, etc.
Welcome to my page of quotations about bugs and insects, spiders, worms, snails, dragonflies, fireflies, and other beneficial (or pesky) little beings with whom we share the world. See also my pages on: Bees, Butterflies, and Ladybugs. And there are some more worm quotes on the Gardens page. Enjoy! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g
If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive. ~American Quaker saying
We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics. ~Bill Vaughan
The chirping cricket has ceased its noise, and is asleep in its hiding-place. A little white miller is flying about the light as though he thought it the most wonderful thing in the whole world.... That's right, sweet creature, rest yourself and slumber, if you please, on the corner of that Holy Bible. He who wrote that book is as much your Father, as He is mine. At this silent hour and in this solitary place, you have come to minister to my delight. The thoughts which you have caused will make my rest this night more peaceful than it would have been but for you. ~Charles Lanman, "Musings," 1840
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes? ~Author Unknown
The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.
Cockroaches really put my "all creatures great and small" creed to the test. ~Terri Guillemets
Some primal termite knocked on wood;
and tasted it, and found it good.
That is why your Cousin May
fell through the parlor floor today.
The mosquito is the state bird of New Jersey. ~Andy Warhol
Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing.
~Christina Georgina Rossetti
Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar. ~Bradley Millar
God in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.
~Ogden Nash, "The Fly"
Opening a window to let out a fly and ending up with thirty midges, three wasps, two bees and an owl. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)
No eye can detect the precise colour of the dragon-fly's wings as he darts in capricious flight and reflects the sunbeam from his irised mail... ~George H. Ellwanger, Meditations on Gout, 1897
Though snails are exceedingly slow,
There is one thing I'd like to know.
If I out run 'em round the yard,
How come they beat me to the chard?
If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. ~Betty Reese
Large flocks of butterflies, all kinds of happy insects, seem to be in a perfect fever of joy and sportive gladness. ~John Muir, 1867 October 9th, A Thousand-Mile Walk To the Gulf
Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the golden autumn light, and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds. Long glinting dragon-flies shot across the path, or hung tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies. ~Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
And a cloud of enraptured, sporting, buzzing little creatures of silk-dust swept or hovered over the undulating picture. ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days: A Biography, translated from German by Charles T. Brooks, 1865
Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragonfly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky.
~Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Silent Noon
We are closer to the ants than to butterflies. Very few people can endure much leisure. ~Gerald Brenan
And what's a buterfly? At best,
He's but a ceterpillar, drest.
Nothing seems to please a fly so much as to be mistaken for a huckleberry, and if it can be baked in a cake and palmed off on the unwary as a currant, it dies happy. ~"Yankee Drolleries by Sam Slick," Boy's Herald, 1878 March 9th [Caroline Thomas Harnsberger, 1972, cites this exact wording as Mark Twain, from the Connecticut Courant Supplement, 1878 January 10th, page 7. Another note on this quote: Thomas Chandler Haliburton was "Sam Slick," but he died in 1865, so I'm not sure if this is his, later published, or another writer continuing on with the same pseudonym. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
The dragon-fly is dancing,—
Is on the water glancing,
She flits about with nimble wing,
The flickering, fluttering, restless thing.
Besotted chafers all admire
Her light-blue, gauze-like, neat attire;
They laud her blue complexion,
And think her shape perfection...
~Heinrich Heine, "Die Libelle" (The Dragonfly), translated from German, in the The Athenæum: A Journal of Literature, Science, the Fine Arts, Music, and the Drama, 1855 March 31st [See other translations below for an interesting look at the difference a translator can make to writing. Also note: Although these two stanzas are lovely, the poem as a whole is not entirely beautiful in the same way, e.g. "My wings are gone—and I must mourn... And rot, and rot, in foreign mire," so do keep that in mind if you intend to quote this. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
On the waves of the brook she dances by,
The light, the lovely dragon-fly;
She dances here, she dances there,
The shimmering, glimmering flutterer fair.
And many a foolish young beetle's impressed
By the blue gauze gown in which she is dressed;
They admire the enamel that decks her bright,
And her elegant waist so slim and slight...
~Heinrich Heine, "Die Libelle," translated from German by Margaret Armour [See also notes on above 1855 translation. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
The beauteous dragonfly's dancing
By the waves of the rivulet glancing;
She dances here and she dances there,
The glimmering, glittering flutterer fair.
Full many a beetle with loud applause
Admires her dress of azure gauze,
Admires her body's bright splendour,
And also her figure so slender...
~Heinrich Heine, "Die Libelle," translated from German into the original metre by Edgar Alfred Bowring [See also notes on above 1855 translation. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
House, n. A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of man, rat, mouse, beetle, cockroach, fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus, and microbe. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
In the midst of the prayer a fly had lit on the back of the pew in front of him and tortured his spirit by calmly rubbing its hands together, embracing its head with its arms, and polishing it so vigorously that it seemed to almost part company with the body, and the slender thread of a neck was exposed to view; scraping its wings with its hind legs and smoothing them to its body as if they had been coat tails; going through its whole toilet as tranquilly as if it knew it was perfectly safe. As indeed it was; for as sorely as Tom's hands itched to grab for it they did not dare—he believed his soul would be instantly destroyed if he did such a thing while the prayer was going on. ~Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
When darkness descends on summer nights, the air around campfires, lanterns and cottage windows becomes filled with swirling moths seemingly intent on self destruction. The suicide fliers are drawn to the flames and light because they normally navigate a straight course by keeping constant the angle of moonlight or sunbeams falling on their eyes. Night lights created by humans disorient moths, causing them to flutter round and round the source without being able to get their bearings. ~Doug Bennet and Tim Tiner, Up North
And through the trees, yon failing ray
Will scantly serve to guide our way.
Yet mark! as fade the upper skies,
Each thicket opens ten thousand eyes.
Before, beside us, and above,
The fire-fly lights his lamp of love,
Retreating, chasing, sinking, soaring,
The darkness of the copse exploring...
~Reginald Heber (1783–1826), "An Evening Walk in Bengal," in The Ladies' Monthly Museum, February 1828
The fireflies o'er the meadow
In pulses come and go...
O wild and wondrous midnight,
There is a might in thee...
~James Russell Lowell (1819–1891), "Midnight"
Don't mistake vivacity for wit, thare iz about az much difference az thare iz between lightning and a lightning bug. ~Josh Billings, Josh Billings' Farmers' Allminax, January 1871, "Hash on Toast"
The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter—it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. ~Mark Twain, 1888
To a child's eye a lightning-bug outshines the brightest fixed star. ~O.P. Fitzgerald, Judge Longstreet: A Life Sketch, "Started in the World," 1891
A little light is going by,
Is going up to see the sky,
A little light with wings.
I never could have thought of it,
To have a little bug all lit
And made to go on wings.
~Elizabeth Madox Roberts (1881–1941), "Firefly (A Song)," c.1920
Fireflies are light angels of the dark. ~Terri Guillemets, "Ohio," 1995
The lightning bug is brilliant,
But he hasn't any mind;
He blunders through existence
With his headlight on behind...
But the measuring worm is different,
When he starts after pelf,
He stretches to the limit,
And then he humps himself.
~Author unknown, c.1898–1905
I wish I were a glow worm,
A glow worm's never glum.
'Cuz how can you be grumpy
When the sun shines out your bum?
Scorn not thy narrow task. For He who made
The brilliant stars and moon to gild the night,
Placed the small glow-worm in earth's woodland shade,
And bade her too shed forth her tiny light.
~Fanny Charlotte Wyndham Montgomery (1820–1893), "When with a tired soul," 1846
I hate mosquitoes. I mean, I know I'm delicious but dang! ~Author unknown
We starve the rats, creosote the ticks, swat the flies, step on the cockroaches and poison the scales. Yet when these pests appear in human form we go paralytic. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)
I feel you upon me,
You're biting me everywhere;
Each time that you sting me
Sensations you bring me,
You bite, but you don't seem to care;
My carcass I'm scratching
While eggs you are hatching
To bring new disturbers to town.
You don't hurt, Mosquito,
When you light upon me,
But, oh baby, when you sit down!
~"Marcheta: A Parody," in The "Wrecks" (An Anthology of Ribald Verse Collected at Reno), c.1933
The Amazon rainforest has 2.5 million species of insects. That's more bugs than iOS 7. ~Internet meme, c.2013 [Windows Vista, Windows Me, Adobe Reader, IE6, or fill in the blank with your own most annoying software/upgrade. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Two-legged creatures we are supposed to love as we love ourselves. The four-legged, also, can come to seem pretty important. But six legs are too many from the human standpoint. ~Joseph W. Krutch
If we were but conscious of our own utter littleness, we would not dare look with contempt on the smallest atom in the world. ~Charles Lanman, "Musings," 1840
Original post date 2004 May 23rd
Last modified 2017 Jan 14 Sat 20:34 PST