Shall we then judge a country by the majority, or by the minority? By the minority, surely. ‘Tis pedantry to estimate nations by the census, or by square miles of land, or other than by their importance to the mind of the time.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.
—Diane Ackerman (b.1948) American Poet, Essayist, Naturalist
It is only in the country that we can get to know a person or a book.
—Cyril Connolly (1903–74) British Literary Critic, Writer
My country is the world; my countrymen are mankind.
—William Lloyd Garrison (1805–79) American Journalist, Abolitionist
The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
To read the papers and to listen to the news… one would think the country is in terrible trouble. You do not get that impression when you travel the back roads and the small towns do care about their country and wish it well.
—Charles Kuralt (1934–97) American Journalist, TV Personality
Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
How soon country people forget. When they fall in love with a city it is forever, and it is like forever. As though there never was a time when they didn’t love it. The minute they arrive at the train station or get off the ferry and glimpse the wide streets and the wasteful lamps lighting them, they know they are born for it. There, in a city, they are not so much new as themselves: their stronger, riskier selves.
—Toni Morrison (1931–2019) American Novelist, Editor, Academic
Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
When I am in the country I wish to vegetate like the country.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
Men are taught virtue and a love of independence, by living in the country.
—Menander (c.343–c.291 BCE) Greek Comic Dramatist, Poet
If country life be healthful to the body, it is no less so to the mind.
—Giovanni Ruffini (1807–81) Italian Writer, Patriot
There is scarcely any writer who has not celebrated the happiness of rural privacy, and delighted himself and his reader with the melody of birds, the whisper of groves, and the murmur of rivulets.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
—Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) Indian Hindu Political leader
The country is both the philosopher’s garden and his library, in which he reads and contemplates the power, wisdom, and goodness of God.
—William Penn (1644–1718) American Entrepreneur, Political leader, Philosopher
Not rural sights alone, but rural sounds exhilarate the spirits, and restore the tone of languid nature. Mighty winds, that sweep the skirts of some far-spreading wood of ancient growth, make music not unlike the dash of ocean on his winding shore, and lull the spirit while they fill the mind.
—William Cowper (1731–1800) English Anglican Poet, Hymn writer
I consider it the best part of an education to have been born and brought up in the country.
—Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888) American Teacher, Writer, Philosopher
Let our object be our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country. And, by the blessing of God, may that country itself become a vast and splendid monument, not of oppression and terror, but of wisdom, of peace, and of liberty, upon which the world may gaze with admiration forever.
—Daniel Webster (1782–1852) American Statesman, Lawyer
As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration. I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children.
—John Adams (1735–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
The proper means of increasing the love we bear to our native country is to reside some time in a foreign one.
—William Shenstone (1714–63) British Poet, Landscape Gardener
In those vernal seasons of the year when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth.
—John Milton (1608–74) English Poet, Civil Servant, Scholar, Debater
It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.
—William C. Durant (1861–1947) American Industrialist
You convey too great a compliment when you say that I have earned the right to the presidential nomination. No man can establish such an obligation upon any part of the American people. My country owes me no debt. It gave me, as it gives every boy and girl, a chance. It gave me schooling, independence of action, opportunity for service and honor. In no other land could a boy from a country village, without inheritance or influential friends, look forward with unbounded hope. My whole life has taught me what America means. I am indebted to my country beyond any human power to repay.
—Herbert Hoover (1874–1964) 31st American President
I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand. Why thunder lasts longer than that which causes it, and why immediately on its creation the lightning becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engaged my thought throughout my life.
—Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) Italian Polymath, Painter, Sculptor, Inventor, Architect
People tell me that the countryside must always be stupid and backward, and I get angry, as if it were said that only townspeople had immortal souls, and that it was only in the city that the flame of divinity breathed into the first men had an unobscured glow.
—George William Russell (1867–1935) Irish Author, Poet, Editor, Critic, Painter
My father asserted that there was no better place to bring up a family than in a rural environment…. There’s something about getting up at 5 a.m., feeding the stock and chickens, and milking a couple of cows before breakfast that gives you a lifelong respect for the price of butter and eggs.
—Burton Hillis (William E. Vaughan) (1915–77) American Columnist, Author
When I go out into the countryside and see the sun and the green and everything flowering, I say to myself Yes indeed, all that belongs to me.
—Henri Rousseau (1844–1910) French Post-Impressionist Painter
I suppose the pleasure of country life lies really in the eternally renewed evidences of the determination to live.
—Vita Sackville-West (1892–1962) English Gardener, Author, Poet
When a village ceases to be a community, it becomes oppressive in its narrow conformity. So one becomes an individual and migrates to the city. There, finding others like-minded, one re-establishes a village community. Nowadays only New Yorkers are yokels.
—Paul Goodman (1911–72) American Novelist, Essayist
I have no relish for the country; it is a kind of healthy grave.
—Sydney Smith (1771–1845) English Clergyman, Essayist, Wit