Richard Jefferies


I searched for information about this writer, but I couldn't find much on the Internet, so I have collected some of my favourite quotes here.

  • No-one else seems to have seen the sparkle on the brook, or heard the music at the hatch, or to have felt back through the centuries; and when I try to describe these things to them they look at me with stolid incredulity. No-one seems to understand how I get food from the clouds, nor what there was in the night, nor why it is not so good to look at it out of a window. . . . . .
  • My old village. (Field & Hedgerow)

    By night the stars shine, and there is no fathoming the dark spaces between these brilliant points, nor the thoughts that come as it were between the fixed stars and landmarks of the mind.

    Or it is morning on the hills, when Hope is as wide as the world; or it is the evening on the shore. . . . Let us get out of these indoor narrow modern days, whose twelve hours somehow have become shortened, into the sunlight and the pure wind. A something that the ancients call divine can be found and felt there still.

    The Amateur Poacher

    The wild thyme of the hills

  • Let us get out of these narrow modern days whose twelve hours somehow have been shortened, into the sunlight and pure wind, with the sea, and hills and mighty trees. Face to face with these realities. . . . .
  • The Joy of the wind.

  • Lose not a moment's chance of contemplating beauty; each of these seconds while the day changes into night is precious; in this is life.I go out into the fields and hills, in the sunshine and the air, and I become full of certain thoughts and feelings: I return towards the houses and find every one of those aspirations and ideas jarred upon. . .
  • Near the farmhouse, the labourer is full of his horse and cart, thinking of nothing, without one spark of high thought, the farmer is the same. At the town the butcher and baker and tradesmen are the same. . . building, selling, all going on, everything but what I have thought, all is opposite and jarring. Eveything is exactly opposite to my heart.

    I feel so outside the general feeling. I have nothing in common with them, nor have they anything in sympathy with me. .

    I pray that I may have a deeper, broader, wider life. Do not let me be drawn down and destroyed in the despicable cares and ambitions of daily work. Like the weeds in the water that twist around the limbs of a swimmer, they are forever entangling the mind, dragging it down into the mire. . . I cannot take an interest in daily life, in household things, in the goings on of the city; nor even the accumulation of money; no, not even in fame. They are all a weariness of spirit to me, utterly little, and lifeless.

    The true approach to Nature

    Above the elms, all the stars in turn, shining in the night. The shadow of Venus, mighty Orion and brilliant Sirius, the bright constellations, the great and lesser dog, Orion's belt and Orion's hound; Arcturus, brilliant star in Bootes, and Capella, so bright in summer, as each in their turn they shone over the elms. They shone in my mind, they became part of my life. The beauty of the night sky is not to be written, but it was felt.

    Above the elms, all the stars in their turn, beneath the mild airs of summers, in the cold crisp frosts of winter, I watched them above the elms, shining in the sky. They brought to me the thought of greatness of soul. Alone with my thought beneath the stars I prayed in the night. The hours illuminated by the stars were full of beauty and of deep soul prayer.

    The stars above the elms

  • I cannot leave it; I must stay under the old tree in the midst of the long grass, the luxury of the leaves, and the song in the very air. I seem as if I could feel all the glowing life the sunshine gives and the south wind calls to being. The endless grass, the endless leaves, the immense strength of the oak expanding, the unalloyed joy of finch and blackbird; from them all I receive a little. Each gives me something of the pure joy they gather for themselves... The exceeding beauty of the earth, in her splendor of life, yields a new thought with every petal. The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours when we really live... These are the only hours that are not wasted -- these hours that absorb the soul and fill it with beauty. This is real life, and all else is illusion, or mere endurance. Does this reverie of flowers and waterfall and song form an ideal, a human ideal, in the mind? It does; much the same ideal that Phidias sculptured of man and woman filled with a godlike sense of the violet fields of Greece, beautiful beyond thought, calm as my turtle-dove before the lurid lightning of the unknown. To be beautiful and to be calm, without mental fear, is the ideal of nature. If I cannot achieve it, at least I can think it.
  • Life of the Fields

    Let anyone who possesses a vivid imagination and a highly-wrought nervous system, even now, in this century, with all the advantages of learning and science, go and sit among the rocks, or in the depths of the wood, and think of immortality, and all that that word really means, and by-and-by a mysterious awe will creep into the mind, and it will half believe in the possibility of seeing or meeting something -- something -- it knows not exactly what.

    World's End


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