“I dig old books.” ™
When the bee comes to your house, let her have beer; you may want to visit the bee's house some day. ~Congo Proverb
Books are the beehives of thought; laconics, the honey taken from them. ~James Ellis, quoted in Edge-Tools of Speech by Maturin M. Ballou, 1899
Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind. ~James Russell Lowell
Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it. ~John Muir
Others, again, give us the mere carcass of another man’s thoughts, but deprived of all their life and spirit, and this is to add murder to robbery. I have somewhere seen it observed, that we should make the same use of a book, as a bee does of a flower; she steals sweets from it, but does not injure it; and those sweets she herself improves and concocts into honey. But most plagiarists, like the drone, have neither taste to select, nor industry to acquire, nor skill to improve, but impudently pilfer the honey ready prepared from the hive. ~Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words; Addressed to Those Who Think, 1820
[T]hese flowers, so fragrant, grew
And the birds and bees sipped sweet nectar
From the sparkling, morning dew.
God has blessed all beauties of Nature;
He's set His approval and seal
On all of His small, winged messengers
That fly through the air with such zeal.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "Honeysuckle" (1940s)
One swallow will not make spring, nor one bee honey. ~Proverb
Nature's Confectioner the Bee,
(Whose Suckets are moist Alchimy;
The Still of his refining Mold
Minting the Garden into Gold)...
~John Cleveland (1613–1658), "Fuscara or the Bee Errant"
Bees were busy, and their humming brought pleasant hopes of summer. ~Lady John Manners, "Belvoir at Eastertide," in The Garden: An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture In All Its Branches, 1886 May 8th
Balm for each blade of grass: the hours prepare
A festival each weed 's invited to:
Each bee is drunken with the honied air:
And all the heaven is eloquent with blue...
~Madison Cawein, "After Rain," Red Leaves and Roses, 1893
I know the quivering of the fragrant petals at the touch of the pollen-legged bees. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Creation Songs: V," A Soul's Faring, 1921
The weary bees have reached the hive
Rejoicing over labor done,
And blossoms close their fragrant cups,
Which opened to the morning sun.
~Mary Ann H. Dodd Shutts (1813–1878), "Twilight"
When I work, I waggle-dance and sing. ~James McGrath (b.1928), "Bee," written in the 1970s, published in Dreaming Invisible Voices, 2009
Honey has more poetry about it than any other form of food, it seems to me. It is gathered sunlight, candied perfume of flowers, the scent of new-cut grass, the essence of spring breezes, the heart of summer days, so that one may eat all the summer and autumn in concentrated sweetness beside the winter fire, in a dreamful transubstantiation of delight. And how kind of the bee not to preserve his sting in the honey! ~Dorothy Scarborough, "Entomology on a Country Porch," From a Southern Porch, 1919
[T]he bees will buzz you a welcome from the hives at the end, and then the trees will stoop down about you, and you can look up into a green sky set with constellations of apples. ~Margaret Troili, “Woods of Mendocino,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, June 1908
The Spring has come again
For the grass is growing green,
And among the fields of clover
Bright butterflies are seen.
The little birds are singing sweetly
As they fly from tree to tree...
The busy bees are gathering
The honey from the flowers,
And the merry birds are building
Their nests in sheltered bowers...
~Josephine D.C., "Spring," c.1887
Aerodynamically the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it, so it goes on flying anyway. ~Mary Kay Ash
Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers. ~Robert Ingersoll
Therefore doth heaven divide
The state of man in divers functions,
Setting endeavour in continual motion;
To which is fixed, as an aim or butt,
Obedience: for so work the honey-bees,
Creatures that by a rule in nature teach
The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
They have a king and officers of sorts;
Where some, like magistrates, correct at home,
Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad,
Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings,
Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds,
Which pillage they with merry march bring home
To the tent-royal of their emperor;
Who, busied in his majesty, surveys
The singing masons building roofs of gold,
The civil citizens kneading up the honey,
The poor mechanic porters crowding in
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate,
The sad-eyed justice, with his surly hum,
Delivering o'er to executors pale
The lazy yawning drone.
~William Shakespeare, Henry V [I, 2, Archbishop of Canterbury]
The luxury of all summer's sweet sensation is to be found when one lies at length in the warm, fragrant grass, soaked with sunshine, aware of regions of blossoming clover and of a high heaven filled with the hum of innumerous bees. ~Harriet E. Prescott, The Atlantic Monthly, August 1865
Every saint has a bee in his halo. ~Elbert Hubbard
Where the bee sucks. there suck I:
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
~William Shakespeare, Tempest [V, 1, Prospero]
Bees that have honey in their mouths have stings in their tails. ~Scottish proverb
what do you see
inside perfumed flowers?
soul or sex or color,
food, imminent honey,
or just a job to be done?
jewels of every hue?
is it that what's wild for us
is just cubicle walls to you?
~Terri Guillemets, "Wingèd workaholic," 2006
Bees sip honey from flowers and hum their thanks when they leave.
The gaudy butterfly is sure that the flowers owe thanks to him.
~Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees. ~Abraham Lincoln
...See, sons, what things you are!
How quickly nature falls into revolt
When gold becomes her object!
For this the foolish over-careful fathers
Have broke their sleep with thoughts,
Their brains with care, their bones with industry;
For this they have engrossed and pil'd up
The cank'red heaps of strange-achieved gold;
For this they have been thoughtful to invest
Their sons with arts and martial exercises;
When, like the bee, tolling from every flower
The virtuous sweets,
Our thighs with wax, our mouths with honey pack'd,
We bring it to the hive, and, like the bees,
Are murd'red for our pains....
~William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II [IV, 5, Henry IV]
B hopeful, B happy, B cheerful, B kind,
B busy of body, B modest of mind,
B earnest, B truthful, B firm and B fair...
B watchful, B ready, B open, B frank,
B manly to all men, whatever B their rank;
B just and B generous, B honest, B wise...
B temperate, B steadfast, to anger B slow.
B thoughtful, B thankful, whate'er may B tide...
B pleasant, B patient, B fervent to all,
B best if you can, but B humble withal.
B prompt and B dutiful, still B polite;
B reverent, B quiet, and B sure and B right...
B grateful, B cautious of those who B tray.
B tender, B loving, B good and B nign,
B loved thou shalt B, and all else B thine.
~"A Swarm of Bees," The British Bee Journal, and Bee Keeper's Adviser, 1882 February 1st
Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable
thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should
be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled
o'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings:
but I say, 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal
once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since.
~William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II [IV, 2, Jack Cade]
So our student will flit like a busy bee through the entire garden of literature, light on every blossom, collect a little nectar from each, and carry it to his hive... ~Desiderius Erasmus