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John Burroughs

(3 April 1837 – 29 March 1921 / Roxbury, New York)

Quotations

  • ''Science is a capital or fund perpetually reinvested; it accumulates, rolls up, is carried forward by every new man. Every man of science has all the science before him to go upon, to set himself up in business with. What an enormous sum Darwin availed himself of and reinvested! Not so in literature; to every poet, to every artist, it is still the first day of creation, so far as the essentials of his task are concerned. Literature is not so much a fund to be reinvested as it is a crop to be ever new-grown.''
    John Burroughs (1837-1921), U.S. author, naturalist. Indoor Studies, vol. 12, Collected Works, Houghton (1913).
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  • ''I think it saves much confusion to regard religion as quite distinct from morality, or the right conduct of life—as having necessarily nothing to do with these, but as a system of faith and worship, a belief in something extranatural.... Indeed, the most religious people are by no means the most moral. Hence it is that religion so rarely changes the man, or makes him practically any better. Let us keep things separated, religion by itself, and morality by itself. Religion implies a belief in the supernatural; in a personal deity who takes sides with or against us. A man may be pure, noble, virtuous, high-minded, spiritual, and not have a religion.''
    John Burroughs (1837-1921), U.S. naturalist. The Heart of Burroughs's Journals, entry for November 24, 1887, Houghton Mifflin (1988).

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The Coming of Phoebe

When buckets shine 'gainst maple trees
And dropp by dropp the sap doth flow,
When days are warm, but still nights freeze,
And deep in woods lie drifts of snow,
When cattle low and fret in stall,
Then morning brings the phoebe's call,
'phoebe,
phoebe, phoebe,' a cheery note,
While cackling hens make such a rout.

[Hata Bildir]