The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Bats

The Bat, who cannot grow a Feather,
Contrives to fly on Wings of Leather.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Self-Reliance," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Now that the twilight slants the curled edges of wheat
And the bats go about amazed with dusk...
~Joseph Auslander, "Berceuse for Birds," Sunrise Trumpets, 1924

And she was always cold toward bats, too, and could not bear them; and yet I think a bat is as friendly a bird as there is. ~Mark Twain (1835–1910)

...In the evening
The bats weave soft black circles and their wings
Splash delicate ink upon the pale blue air...
~Joseph Auslander, "Letter to Sappho," 1920s

The bat hanging upside down laughs at the topsy-turvy world. ~Japanese proverb

The bat is a winged mouse. They live very retired during the day, but at night come out for a frolic. They fly very much uncertain, and act as though they had taken a little too much gin. They don't seem to be bird, beast, nor insect, but a kind of live hash, made out of all three. Bats have a destiny to fill, and I will bet they fill it better than we do ours. ~Josh Billings (1818–1885), "The Bat"  [spelling standardized and text a little altered —tg]

We see then that the bat is a very wonderful creature, one of Nature's triumphs and masterpieces... ~W. H. Hudson, "Bats," The Book of a Naturalist, 1919

The bat is dun with wrinkled wings
      Like fallow article,
And not a song pervades his lips,
      Or none perceptible.
His small umbrella, quaintly halved,
      Describing in the air
An arc alike inscrutable, –
      Elate philosopher!
Deputed from what firmament
      Of what astute abode,
Empowered with what malevolence
      Auspiciously withheld.
To his adroit Creator
      Ascribe no less the praise;
Beneficent, believe me,
      His eccentricities.
~Emily Dickinson

It is a summer gloaming, balmy-sweet,
A gloaming brightened by an infant moon,
Fraught with the fairest light of middle June...
The bat is hunting softly by my door,
And, noiseless as the snowflake, leaves his lair,
O'er the still copses flitting here and there,
Wheeling the selfsame circuit o'er and o'er.
~Charles Tennyson Turner (1808–1879), "A Summer Twilight"

When sets the sun, and day is done,
And peaceful eve hides all our care,
When screech-owls cry and brown bats fly
Through the flow'r-fragrant evening air...
~Anonymous, "Baby's Cradle Song," 1800s

One evening as the sun went down
      Among the golden hills
And silent shadows, soft and brown
      Crept over vales and rills,
I watched the dusky bats a-wing
      Dip down the dusky lea...
~Cy Warman (1855–1914), "And You'll Remember Me"

'Tis evening, and the round red sun sinks slowly in the west,
The flowers fold their petals up, the birds fly to their nest,
The crickets chirrup in the grass, the bats flit to and fro...
~G. T. Lanigan, "Millionaire and Barefoot Boy," c.1883

Do you feel the cool wind coming softly,
And see the young moon in the sky?
The clouds sailing over the sunset,
The bats flitting silently by!...
~Emily Huntington Miller (1833–1913), "Going to Sleep"

Many excursion parties came from considerable distances up and down the river to visit the cave. It was miles in extent and was a tangled wilderness of narrow and lofty clefts and passages. It was an easy place to get lost in; anybody could do it — including the bats. ~Mark Twain (1835–1910)

What an uncanny mysterious creature a bat is!... They class themselves in our mind with those few animals which seem to belong to a bygone age... There is somewhat reptilian to them — dragonlike... If a bat, a mammal, can fly with no feathers, with wings fastened to his arms, why, indeed, can't I? ~William Gardner Barton (1851–1890), "Notes from the Field," in Songs and Saunterings by a Poet and Naturalist — George J. Breed & William G. Barton, 1892

Remember that your flying machine must imitate no other than the bat, because the web is what by its union gives the armour, or strength to the wings. If you imitate the wings of feathered birds, you will find a much stronger structure, because they are pervious; that is, their feathers are separate and the air passes through them. But the bat is aided by the web that connects the whole and is not pervious. ~Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), "On Flying Machines"

When day is done the robins sing
      Their dulcet vesper lays;
When day is done the black bats wing
      Through all the dusky ways;
The crickets blow their flageolets
      More loudly than by day,
The crystal dew steals forth and wets
      Each blossom-bell and spray...
~E. B. Lowe, "When Day Is Done," 1800s

The sun is set; the swallows are asleep;
The bats are flitting fast in the grey air;
The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep;
And evening's breath, wandering here and there
Over the quivering surface of the stream,
Wakes not one ripple from its silent dream...
~Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822), "Evening"

In essence, bats are just Gothic sparrows. ~Keith Wynn, tweet, 2021

Whales have calves,
Cats have kittens,
Bears have cubs,
Bats have bittens,
Swans have cygnets,
Seals have puppies,
But guppies just have little guppies.
~Ogden Nash, "The Guppy," Versus, 1949  [It's funny, yes, but please don't let it scare or misinform you. Baby bats are actually called pups, and a group of bats is a colony. —tg]

Many of the things people think they know about bats aren't true. They are not blind, they don't get into women's hair, and they aren't rodents. Most bats have good vision, and they're a non-aggressive animal. The incidence of rabies in bats is no greater than in other wild animals. ~Merlin D. Tuttle & Angie Cromack, 1990s  [mash-up quote, a little altered —tg]

One of the strangest of all animals is the Bat... Many persons fear them, although most bats are harmless. They are useful to man in destroying bugs and insects. ~Nature Lovers Library: Mammals of America, 1917

Slowly the night is falling,
Falling down from the hill,
And all in the low green valley
The dew lies heavy and chill;
The crickets cry in the hedges,
The bats are circling low,
And like ghosts through the blossoming garden
The glimmering night-moths go...
~Anonymous, "My Angel," 1800s

The toad has the road, the cricket sings,
The heavy beetle spreads her wings:
      The bat is the rover,
      No bee on the clover,
      The day is over,
      And evening come...
~John Vance Cheney (1848–1922), "Song of the Gloaming"

Ho! Ho! Two friends are we!
The white owl hoots from the hollow tree;
The bats are wheeling in elfin flight,
The moon has forgotten to show her light.
Will-o-the-Wisp, thou tricksy sprite,
Now is the time for you and me...
~Mary Macleod, "Will o' the Wisp," c.1890

There's comfort yet; they are assailable;
Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown
His cloister'd flight, ere to black Hecate's summons
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note...
~William Shakespeare, Macbeth, c.1605  [III, 2, Macbeth]

Mind in its purest play is like some bat
That beats about in caverns all alone,
Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
Not to conclude against a wall of stone.
~Richard Wilbur (1921–2017), "Mind," 1956

Suspicions amongst thoughts are like bats amongst birds, — they ever fly by twilight... ~Francis Bacon (1561–1626), "Of Suspicion"

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!...
Up above the world you fly,
Like a teatray in the sky...
~Lewis Carroll

Blind is he as any Bat that flitters
Who can only see the Thing that Glitters.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Wealth," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

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published 2021 Feb 6
revised 2021 Apr 3
last saved 2023 Dec 9