The Quote Garden

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 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Roses & Thorns

But ne're the Rose without the Thorn. ~Robert Herrick (d.1674), "The Rose"

Let the rose be neighbour with the thorn. ~John Flavel (d.1691)

      Hey, rose, just born
      Twin to a thorn;
Was't so with you, O Love and Scorn?
~Sidney Lanier, "A Song of Love," 1884

The best rose-bush, after all, is not that which has the fewest thorns, but that which bears the finest roses. ~Solomon Singlewitz (Henry Van Dyke, 1852–1933)

Tho' I fancy'd the rose, yet I dreaded the thorn. ~English song, 1700s

For each pure Rose
      That now the Bush adorns,
The patient Gardener knows
      A Hundred Thorns.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Flowers and Bees," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

The sight of a thorn is pleasant when there is a rose by its side. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

If without you I gather a rose, it turns thorn,
But when you come back again, through you
We return to fragrant and pink and petaled.

I see what crosses my attempt will bring;
I know what thorns the growing rose defends;
I think the honey guarded with a sting...
~William Shakespeare, Rape of Lucrece, 1594

The rose has its thorn, the peach its worm; and decay lies concealed in the chalice of the flower. ~Sam Slick (Thomas Chandler Haliburton), 1853

Folly no rose (such is the curse)
Without a thorn bestows;
But Wisdom can the doom reverse,
And give each thorn a rose.
~Miss S. M., "On Seeing Some Bees at Work," 1700s

Well, sleep thy fill, and take thy soft reposes;
But know withal, sweet tastes have sour closes;
And he repents in thorns, that sleeps in beds of roses.
~Francis Quarles (1592–1644)

Smile like the rose whose petals are torn asunder—
It says 'I gather beauty even from the thorn of grief.'
~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield  [a little altered —tg]

Hast thou not seen, impatient Boy?
Hast thou not read the solemn Truth,
That grey Experience writes for giddy Youth
On every Mortal Joy?
Pleasure must be dash'd with Pain...
The Rills of Pleasure never run sincere;
(Earth has no unpolluted Spring)
From the curs'd Soil some dang'rous Taint they bear;
So Roses grow on Thorns, and Honey wears a Sting.
~Isaac Watts (1674–1748), "Earth and Heaven," Horæ Lyricæ

Be thankful for the little things, that always come your way,
For little things to wondrous size, perchance may grow some day.
Don't cast aside red roses, just because of one sharp thorn,
Remember it's the darkest night, that brings the brightest dawn.
~Author unknown, 1920s

On all her breezes borne,
Earth yields no scents like those;
But he that dares not grasp the thorn,
Should never crave the rose.
~Anne Brontë (1820–1849), "The Narrow Way," Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, 1846

Hath not thy rose a thorn...? ~William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part I, 1591  [II, 4]

Let us try to see things from their better side:
You complain about seeing thorny rose bushes;
Me, I rejoice and give thanks to the gods
That thorns have roses.
~Author unknown, quoted by Alphonse Karr, 1853  []

O Brother, you are essentially thought,
All the rest of you is bone and sinew,
If your thoughts are rose-like, you are a rose-garden
If they are thorn-like, you are fuel for the furnace.
~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

"That's all very well," exclaimed the Zankiwank. "Roses are always delightful, especially the Cabbage Roses, because you can eat them for breakfast, but every rose has its drawback.... Ho! and its thorn," he added, dancing with pain, for at that moment several rose bushes he was passing by gave him a good pricking. ~S.J. Adair Fitz-Gerald (1859–1925), The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896

"Ah!" said Queen Titania, "that is not the way to look at the beautiful things of life. It is because the thorns have roses that we should be thankful, and not find fault because the roses have thorns." ~S.J. Adair Fitz-Gerald (1859–1925), The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896

In the place of roses be a rose, and where there are thorns be a thorn. ~Persian proverb

He who would gather roses must not fear thorns. ~Dutch proverb

Truths and roses have thorns about them. ~Spanish proverb

He that plants thorns shall not gather roses. ~Persian proverb

From the thorn bush comes the rose. ~Hebrew proverb

The rose has thorns only for those who would gather it. ~Chinese proverb

The gardener who loves roses is slave to a thousand thorns. ~Turkish proverb

Love sees roses without thorns. ~German proverb

Rose, against whom
did you assume
those thorns?
Did your too delicate
joy force you
to become that
armed thing?...
~Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926), translated from the French by A. Poulin, Jr., 1979

No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud...
~William Shakespeare, 1609

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