The Quote Garden

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 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Fairies


Faeries, come, take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame!
~William Butler Yeats, "The Land of Heart's Desire," 1894

I am everywhere — on a moonbeam, in the trembling of a hidden spring, in the moving of leaves that murmur, in the white vapours that rise each morning from the hollow meadow, in the thickets of pink brier — everywhere! ~Anatole France, Le crime de Sylvestre Bonnard, 1881, translated by Lafcadio Hearn, 1890

Spread your wings and let the fairy in you fly! ~Author unknown

The fairies break their dances
And leave the printed lawn...
~A.E. Housman

[She] followed, half awake and half asleep,
Until she came into the land of faery,
Where nobody gets old and godly and grave,
Where nobody gets old and crafty and wise,
Where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue;
And she is still there, busied with a dance,
Deep in the dewy shadow of a wood,
Or where stars walk upon a mountain-top.
~William Butler Yeats, "The Land of Heart's Desire," 1894

A lady, with whom I was riding in the forest, said to me, that the woods always seemed to her to wait, as if the genii who inhabit them suspended their deeds until the wayfarer has passed onward: a thought which poetry has celebrated in the dance of the fairies, which breaks off on the approach of human feet. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "History"

No child but must remember laying his head in the grass, staring into the infinitesimal forest, and seeing it grow populous with fairy armies. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Hung from the "flies" in air,
      She acts a palpable lie,
She's as little a fairy there
      As unpoetical I!
      I hear you asking, Why—
Why in the world I sing
This tawdry, tinselled thing?
No airy fairy she,
      As she hangs in arsenic green,
From a highly impossible tree,
      In a mighty impossible scene
      (Herself not over clean).
For fays don't suffer, I'm told,
From bunions, coughs, or cold...
~W. S. Gilbert, "Only a Dancing Girl," The "Bab" Ballads: Much Sound and Little Sense, 1870

We call them faerie.
We don't believe in them.
Our loss.
~Charles de Lint, Moonlight & Vines, 1999

Blind folk see the fairies.
      Oh, better far than we,
Who miss the shining of their wings
Because our eyes are filled with things
      We do not wish to see...
Deaf folk hear the fairies
      However soft their song;
'Tis we who lose the honey sound
Amid the clamour all around
      That beats the whole day long...
~Rose Fyleman, "White Magic," 1918

Their Majesties and I sat where two streams
Of starry rivers joined and flowed away as one,
And their enchanted castle made of dew and dreams
Towered above us high beyond the moon and sun.
~Harry Behn (1898–1973), The House Beyond the Meadow, 1955

The smears of silver on the webs that line
The tree's crook'd roots, or stretch, white-wov'n, within
The hollow stump, are stains of Faëry wine
Spilled on the cloth where Elf-land sat to dine,
When night beheld them drinking, chin to chin,
      O' the moon's fermented shine.
~Madison J. Cawein (1865–1914), "Gramarye"

A rustle in the wind reminds us a fairy is near. ~Author unknown

Soft moss a downy pillow makes
      And green leaves spread a tent,
Where Faerie folk may rest and sleep
      Until their night is spent.
The bluebird sings a lullaby;
      The firefly gives a light:
The twinkling stars are candles bright,
      Sleep, Faeries all, Good Night.
~Elizabeth T. Dillingham, "A Faery Song"

Any man can lose his hat in a fairy-wind. ~Irish saying

There is, indeed, much in nature that we do not yet half enjoy, because we shut our avenues of sensation and feeling. We are satisfied with the matter of fact, and look not for the spirit of fact which is above it. If we opened our minds to enjoyment, we might find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower. ~Samuel Smiles, Thrift, 1875

Nothing can be truer than fairy wisdom.... It is true as sunbeams... ~Douglas Jerrold, "Our Honeymoon: An Apology and An Explanation," in Punch, Vol xxiv, 1853

And all about, among the blossoms, fairies flew
Or bounced themselves upon enormous drops of dew...
~Harry Behn (1898–1973), The House Beyond the Meadow, 1955

Peacocks sweep the fairies' rooms;
They use their folded tails for brooms;
But fairy dust is brighter far
Than any mortal colours are;
And all about their tails it clings
In strange designs of rounds and rings;
And that is why they strut about
And proudly spread their feathers out.
~Rose Fyleman, "Peacocks," 1917 are the fairies skipping and dancing around to the music of the blue-bells. ~A. Frederick Collins

— Acorns and angleworms!
— Bee-stings and nettles!
— Nightshade and spiders!
~George M. P. Baird, fairy curse words in "The Theft of Thistledown: A Faery Interlude," 1915  ["Faeries are very much like humans, after all, and sometimes in moments of excitement they use swear words and shocking language such as this." —tg]

      I was brought up on fairies, not the kind you read of in Hans Andersen but real kobolds of the rocks and pixies of the wood. They were my own fairies, and would come when I called. I never outlived their reality, and I still see people in the roses, and forms in the groves and rocks just as other persons do in the clouds. Yesterday, I saw an old, old man at a distance. I know he beckoned to me. He was at the top of the oldest, tallest rosebush on the Cape. So I reached up and picked him. He wanted to say something, and I put him to my lips and kissed him because he seemed so lonely and so old.
      Right by the lighthouse is the strong profile of an old woman, cut by the master surf in the red granite ledge. Half reclining, the old lady looks out to sea with eternal vigilance and patience. What does she seek? For whom is her vigil? The spume and the wrack have been her mates — tears have dropped from her eyes in storm and wreck.
      So I took the old man over, and placed him in the old lady's flinty mouth. I know the old Man Rose curled lovingly toward the old lady's beetling nose that she might scent again the spring she had not known for ten thousand centuries. Am I foolish? Papa would say that I was fey. ~Laura L. Livingstone (Herbert Dickinson Ward), Lauriel: The Love Letters of an American Girl, 1901  [altered —tg]

Bring the buds of the hazel-copse,
Where two lovers kissed at noon;
Bring the crushed red wild-thyme tops
Where they murmured under the moon....
~Alfred Noyes, "A Spell (An Excellent Way to get a Fairy)," The Lord of Misrule and Other Poems, 1915  [Context note: As beautiful as this excerpt is, the remainder of the poem could be considered quite horrid, especially for the squeamish reader. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

The little Plumpuppets are fairies of beds:
They have nothing to do but watch sleepy heads;
They turn down the sheets and they tuck you in tight,
And they dance on your pillow to wish you good night!
~Christopher Morley, "The Plumpuppets," The Rocking Horse, 1919

"Now tell us why you came to see us," said the Queen.
And so I told her, "Only because a sound of only
Crows calling over a meadow seemed so lost between
Someplace and noplace, I thought you must be very lonely."
Like moonlight sparkling, dripping into drops of dew
Her jewels tinkled as she cried, "You do believe we're true!"
I said, "Of course I do." So, with their wings aquiver,
They sat in state upon the petals of a flower
And begged me please to stay with them forever and ever!
But I said I could only stay about an hour...
~Harry Behn (1898–1973), The House Beyond the Meadow, 1955

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time...
~William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream, c.1595  [V, 1, Theseus]

First, rehearse your song by rote
To each word a warbling note:
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.
~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, c.1595  [V, 1, Titania]

You, children dear! are guardians of the fairies' wild unwritten records. Shall you not miss them when next the moon is high on the blossomy hillocks. Merry fellows they are, and shrewd and just; and we are very fond of them. Keep the fairies in kindly memory. ~Louise Imogen Guiney, 1887  [a little altered —tg]

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published 2004 Jan 4
revised 2006, 2020, 2021
last saved 2024 Mar 27