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All nature ... is a respiration
Of the Spirit of God, who, in breathing hereafter
Will inhale it into his bosom again,
So that nothing but God alone will remain.


We live in the midst of [Nature] and are strangers. She speaks to us unceasingly and betrays not her secret.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Nature has no remorse.


It were happy if we studied Nature more in natural things; and acted according to Nature; whose rules are few, plain and most reasonable.

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude

Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.

RICHARD FEYNMAN, The Character of Physical Law

[Nature] is all things. She rewards herself and punishes herself; and in herself rejoices and is distressed. She is rough and gentle, loving and terrible, powerless and almighty. In her everything is always present. Past or Future she knows not. The Present is her Eternity.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Mankind, which has always been a part of nature, has reached a point where it is too much for nature to accommodate.

KOBO ABE, The Green Stockings

Use Nature well and she will recompense thee well.


[Nature] spurts forth her creatures out of nothing, and tells them not whence they come and whither they go. They have only to go their way: she knows the path.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

In the book of Nature, the Divine Teacher speaks.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

All nature is full of God. He is enthroned in Light: he creates darkness: he hath his way in the whirlwind, fendeth abroad his lightnings, giveth snow like wool, scattereth the hoar-frost like ashes, and casteth forth his ice like morsels! Who can stand before his cold? Who can thunder with a voice like God? It is He who distils the rain from his bottles, who opens the bubbling fountains, who covers the fields with grass, and the hills with flocks, who spins out the fleecy air, and spreads forth the liquid plains, who refreshes us with his wings, lights us with the sun, and entertains us with his table, richly furnish'd with all the dainty of heaven.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Nature with her wealth of birds and flowers,
Has in her heart a place for every weed;
For her quick eyes require no microscope
To note the varied wonders and delights
That the Creator's humblest works possess.


Nature looks with an equal smile on all.


The Laws of Nature are just, but terrible. There is no weak mercy in them. Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable. The elements have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, the air consumes, the earth buries. And perhaps it would be well for our race if the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Man were as inevitable as the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Nature, — were Man as unerring in his judgments as Nature.


Nature isn't just something that pushes up through the sidewalk cracks and keeps the farmers trapped in the sticks but is an elixir, a luxury that can be bought and fenced off and kept pure for the more fortunate, in an impure age.

JOHN UPDIKE, Rabbit is Rich

There are moments when Nature reveals the passion hidden beneath the careless calm of her ordinary moods--violent spring flashing white on almond-blossom through the purple clouds; a snowy, moonlit peak, with its single star, soaring up to the passionate blue; or against the flames of sunset, an old yew-tree standing dark guardian of some fiery secret.


Nature abhors a vacuum.


Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs —
To the silent wilderness
Where the soul need not repress
Its music lest it should not find
An echo in another’s mind.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, "To Jane: The Invitation"

Let nothing be called natural
In an age of bloody confusion,
Ordered disorder, planned caprice,
And dehumanized humanity, lest all things
Be held unalterable!

BERTOLT BRECHT, The Exception and the Rule

Y'know, Nature's unpredictable -- that's why we had to tame her. Maybe we went too far, but in principle we made the right decision.


Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence.

GEORGE SANTAYANA, Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Alas! The slaughter accomplished by man is so small a thing of itself in the carnage of the universe! The animals devour each other. The peaceful plants, the silent trees, are ferocious beasts to one another. The serenity of the forests is only a commonplace of easy rhetoric for the literary men who only know Nature through their books! ... In the forest hard by, a few yards away from the house, there were frightful struggles always toward. The murderous beeches flung themselves upon the pines with their lovely pinkish stems, hemmed in their slenderness with antique columns, and stifled them. They rushed down upon the oaks and smashed them, and made themselves crutches of them. The beeches were like Briareus with his hundred arms, ten trees in one tree! They dealt death all about them. And when, failing foes, they came together, they became entangled, piercing, cleaving, twining round each other like antediluvian monsters. Lower down, in the forest, the acacias had left the outskirts and plunged into the thick of it and, attacked the pinewoods, strangling and tearing up the roots of their foes, poisoning them with their secretions. It was a struggle to the death in which the victors at once took possession of the room and the spoils of the vanquished. Then the smaller monsters would finish the work of the great. Fungi, growing between the roots, would suck at the sick tree, and gradually empty it of its vitality. Black ants would grind exceeding small the rotting wood. Millions of invisible insects were gnawing, boring, reducing to dust what had once been life.... And the silence of the struggle!... Oh! the peace of Nature, the tragic mask that covers the sorrowful and cruel face of Life!

ROMAIN ROLLAND, Jean-Christophe

Nature, keeping only useless secrets, had placed within reach and in sight of human beings the things it was necessary for them to know.

MICHEL FOUCAULT, History of Sexuality

Nature has a wonderful power of putting things right, if allowed free play.

JAMES PLATT, Platt's Essays

Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal.

ARTHUR C. CLARKE, "Maelstrom II"

It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.

OSCAR WILDE, De Profundis

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Read T. Augustus Forbes Leith's essay: On the Endless Beauty in Nature


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