Quotations about Butterflies

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness, and riches
Today, tomorrow, and beyond.
~Irish blessing

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. ~Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, 1977

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. ~Rabindranath Tagore

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. ~Author unknown

It is blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.
But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the Spril mire.
~Robert Frost, "Blue-Butterfly Day," New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes, 1923

HAPPINESS.—A butterfly, which when pursued, seems always just beyond your grasp; but if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you. ~"A Chapter of Definitions," Daily Crescent, 1848 June 23rd

Butterfly, say, is it true,
All that the daisies have told?
Are those bright spots on your wings
Made out of rainbows and gold?
Did you come down on a beam
Of light that shot tho' the blue?
Are you a piece of the sun?
Butterfly, say, is it true?
~Sarah Noble Ives, "The Butterfly," Songs of the Shining Way, 1899

That was all; but all their intercourse had been made up of just such inarticulate flashes, when they seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods… ~Edith Wharton

With the rose the butterfly's deep in love,
A thousand times hovering round;
But round himself, all tender like gold,
The sun's sweet ray is hovering found…
~Heinrich Heine, "New Spring," 1826, translated from German in the original metre by Edgar Alfred Bowring

The butterfly long loved the beautiful rose,
And flirted around all day;
While round him in turn with her golden caress,
Soft fluttered the sun's warm ray….
I know not with whom the rose was in love,
But I know that I loved them all.
The butterfly, rose, and the sun's bright ray,
The star and the bird's sweet call.
~Heinrich Heine, "A New Spring," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855

The bright butterfly was a poor lowly worm,
Creeping and crawling upon the ground,
But it wove a cocoon, or a web for its shroud,
And died in that soft, silken covering wound.
Then, after a sleep, the shell burst, and lo,
Wings and bright colors came forth in a day!
~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," "Immortality," Ouina's Canoe, 1882

Love is like a butterfly: It goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes. ~Author unknown

I've watch'd you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! — not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!…
~William Wordsworth, "To a Butterfly," 1801

Here rest your wings when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We 'll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young…
~William Wordsworth, "To a Butterfly," 1801

One of my chief joys in porch life is studying the butterflies. There are numbers of them about every day, of lovely pastel shades, with their wings like painted silken paper, some golden like sunbeams that have suddenly taken wing, some brown like the dead leaves that flutter past them, some yellow like vivified primroses, some like the tawny tiger-lilies blooming beside the wall, some white as the star jasmine on the trellis, some with the flaming hues of sunset, and some like the pale dawn. ~Dorothy Scarborough, "Entomology on a Country Porch," From a Southern Porch, 1919

I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. ~Charles Dickens

On the pink flower
there is a white butterfly —
whose spirit, I wonder?
~Japanese hokku translated to English, in Lafcadio Hearn, Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, 1904

O wingèd brother on the harebell, stay—
Was God's hand very pitiful, the hand
That wrought thy beauty at a dream's demand?
Yea, knowing I love so well the flowery way,
He did not fling me to the world astray—
He did not drop me to the weary sand,
But bore me gently to a leafy land:
Tinting my wings, He gave me to the day.
~Edwin Markham, "The Butterfly"

Butterflies dot springtime with flitting airy kisses. ~Terri Guillemets, "Spring flight & grounding," 2014

Idly afloat in the sunshine, butterflies look like flower-petals from some enchanted garden, possession motion and life, so that when they fall, instead of perishing, they take on a new, unearthly beauty that will not die. Or are they perchance the souls of flowers that faded yesterday, or the imperishable dreams we mortals cherish, too delicate to come true, but too lovely to be destroyed? ~Dorothy Scarborough, "Entomology on a Country Porch," From a Southern Porch, 1919

My heart pulsates like butterflies on a fine day. ~Lorraine Skylark, September 2009 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

The butterfly, a cabbage-white,
(His honest idiocy of flight)
Will never now, it is too late,
Master the art of flying straight…
~Robert Graves, "Flying Crooked"

The Cabbage-White lurches over the hedge, and bolts up the paddock as though tumbling over itself in haste. We are accustomed to think of the butterfly as a wayward creature of indeterminate flight, but never did fugitive make greater haste or with firmer purpose than that Cabbage-White as it fled along the hedge from its imaginary pursuer. I do not know whether there are any statistics in regard to the speed of butterflies, but here, at least, was one that would have left a pursuing entomologist breathless. ~Robert Lynd, "Knee-Deep in June," Solomon in All His Glory, 1923

The butterfly upon the sky, who doesn't know its name,
And hasn't any tax to pay, and hasn't any home,
Is just as high as you and I, and higher, I believe –
So soar away and never sigh, for that's the way to grieve.
~Emily Dickinson

There is always madness in love. There is however also always a reason in madness. And to my thinking as a lover of life, butterflies, soap-bubbles, and whatever is of their kind among men, know most of happiness. To see these light, foolish, delicate, mobile little souls flitting about — that moveth Zarathustra to tears and to song. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1883, translated from the German by Alexander Tille, 1896

The ancients did well when they typified the soul as a butterfly! ~Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897

And know ye not that man is but a worm,
A worm whence comes the angelic butterfly
That without hindrance seeks the just on high?
~Dante, The Divine Comedy, early 14th century, translated into English verse by John Augustine Wilstach, 1888

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, 1917

The green grass and happy skies
court the fluttering butterflies.
~Terri Guillemets

Summer's gayest, brightest child! ~Henry Heavisides (1791–1870), "To a Butterfly"

Fluttering rover!… ever wild…
Lingering here and lingering there…
~Henry Heavisides (1791–1870), "To a Butterfly"

Would that I might
always have the heart
of chasing butterflies!
~Japanese hokku translated to English, in Lafcadio Hearn, Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, 1904

Each sunshine-moment twinkles by
A white-winged, wandering butterfly…
~W.T., "Honeymoon Cottage," Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Arts, 1862 June 28th

"We want in so many different ways to be," he began again. "This magnificent butterfly finds a little heap of dirt and sits still on it; but man he will never on his heap of mud keep still. He want to be so, and again he want to be so…" He moved his hand up, then down… "He wants to be a saint, and he wants to be a devil…" ~Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim, 1899

What is a butterfly? At best
He's but a caterpiller drest.
~Benjamin Franklin, 1739

The tulip and the butterfly
Appear in gayer coats than I:
Let me be dressed fine as I will,
Flies, worms, and flowers exceed me still.
~Isaac Watts (1674–1748)  [spelling modernized —tg]

Butterflies, bees
our wingèd, happy friends
Oh, to dance in the air
and float on the breeze…
~Terri Guillemets

The ephemeral butterfly will always dazzle an infantine imagination. ~Thomas Boylston Adams, 1799  [This wasn't written in the context of nature but a metaphor of man. —tg]