Mountains

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A few hours' mountain climbing make of a rogue and a saint two fairly equal creatures. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Mountains are natural elevations of the earth's surface, distinguished from hills by their greater height, and commonly by their steeper slopes and more sharply defined summits.

Quotes[edit]

Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet
This is not Done by Jostling in the Street. ~ William Blake
Sorted alphabetically by author or source
All that expands the spirit, yet appals,
Gather around these summits, as to show
How Earth may pierce to Heaven, yet leave vain man below. ~ Lord Byron
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue. ~ Thomas Campbell
Hills peep o'er Hills, and Alps on Alps arise! ~ Alexander Pope
The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to climb. ~ Henry David Thoreau
I keep a mountain anchored off eastward a little way, which I ascend in my dreams.~ Henry David Thoreau
You must ascend a mountain to learn your relation to matter. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet
    This is not Done by Jostling in the Street.
  • I remember at Chamouni – in the very eyes of Mont Blanc – hearing another woman – English also – exclaim to her party – "did you ever see any thing more rural".
    • Lord Byron, Journal entry for September 17, 1816.
  • He who first met the Highlands' swelling blue
    Will love each peak that shows a kindred hue,
    Hail in each crag a friend's familiar face,
    And clasp the mountain in his mind's embrace.
    • Lord Byron, The Island (1823), Canto II, stanza 12.
  • Above me are the Alps,
    The palaces of Nature, whose vast walls
    Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps,
    And throned Eternity in icy halls
    Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls
    The avalanche – the thunderbolt of snow!
    All that expands the spirit, yet appals,
    Gather around these summits, as to show
    How Earth may pierce to Heaven, yet leave vain man below.
  • At summer eve, when Heaven's ethereal bow
    Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
    Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
    Whose sunbright summit mingles with the sky?
    Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
    More sweet than all the landscape smiling near?
    'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
    And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
  • So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar,
    But bind him to his native mountains more.
  • In our little journey up to the Grande Chartreuse, I do not remember to have gone ten paces without an exclamation, that there was no restraining: Not a precipice, not a torrent, not a cliff, but is pregnant with religion and poetry.
    • Thomas Gray, letter to Richard West, November 16, 1739.
  • I demens et saevas curre per Alpes,
    ut pueris placeas et declamation fias!
    • Go, climb the rugged Alps, ambitious fool,
      To please the boys, and be a theme at school.
    • Juvenal, Satires, X, line 166. Translation by John Dryden (1692), line 171.
  • A man can hardly be a beast or a fool alone on a great mountain.
  • Because it's there.
    • George Mallory, interviewed by the New York Times, March 18, 1923.
    • On being asked his reasons for making an attempt on Mount Everest.
  • Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous.
  • Alps on Alps in clusters swelling,
    Mighty, and pure, and fit to make
    The ramparts of a Godhead's dwelling!
  • Woher kommen die höchsten Berge? so fragte ich einst. Da lernte ich, daß sie aus dem Meere kommen. Dies Zeugnis ist in ihr Gestein geschrieben und in die Wände ihrer Gipfel. Aus dem Tiefsten muß das Höchste zu seiner Höhe kommen.
    • Where do the highest mountains come from? I once asked. Then I learned that they come from out of the sea. The evidence is inscribed in their stone and in the walls of their summits. It is from the deepest that the highest must come to its height.
    • Friedrich Nietzsche, Also Spracht Zarathustra (1883-91), Part III, Chapter 45. Translation by Graham Parkes, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (2005) p. 132.
  • A few hours' mountain climbing make of a rogue and a saint two fairly equal creatures. Tiredness is the shortest path to equality and fraternity — and sleep finally adds to them liberty.
  • So pleas'd at first, the towring Alps we try,
    Mount o'er the Vales, and seem to tread the Sky;
    Th' Eternal Snows appear already past,
    And the first Clouds and Mountains seem the last:
    But those attain'd, we tremble to survey
    The growing Labours of the lengthen'd Way,
    Th' increasing Prospect tires our wandring Eyes,
    Hills peep o'er Hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
  • Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.
    • John Ruskin, Modern Painters (1856) Volume 4, part 5, ch. 2.
  • Auf den Bergen ist Freiheit! Der Hauch der Grüfte
    Steigt nicht hinauf in die reinen Lüfte;
    Die Welt ist vollkommen überall,
    Wo der Mensch nicht hinkommt mit seiner Qual.
    • On the mountains is freedom; no clammy breath
      Mounts there from the rotting caves of death!
      Blest is the wide world every where
      When man and his sorrows come not near.
    • Friedrich Schiller, The Bride of Messina (1804), Act IV, sc. vii; translation by George Irvine (1837) p. 136.
  • Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal
    Large codes of fraud and woe.
  • Come down, O maid, from yonder mountain height,
    What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang)
    In height and cold, the splendour of the hills?
  • The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to climb and pry into their secrets, and try their effect on our humanity. Only daring and insolent men, perchance, go there. Simple races, as savages, do not climb mountains - their tops are sacred and mysterious tracts never visited by them.
  • I keep a mountain anchored off eastward a little way, which I ascend in my dreams both awake and asleep. Its broad base spreads over a village or two, which does not know it; neither does it know them, nor do I when I ascend it. I can see its general outline as plainly now in my mind as that of Wachusett. I do not invent in the least, but state exactly what I see. I find that I go up it when I am light-footed and earnest. It ever smokes like an altar with its sacrifice. I am not aware that a single villager frequents it or knows of it. I keep this mountain to ride instead of a horse.
  • You must ascend a mountain to learn your relation to matter, and so to your own body, for it is at home there, though you are not.
  • It's a round trip. Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory.
    • Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts To The Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks.
  • Petrus Comestor saith that Mount Olympus riseth even to the clear aether, wherefore letters written in the dust on the summit of that mountain have been found unchanged after the lapse of a whole year. Neither can birds live there, by reason of the rarefaction of the air, nor could the Philosophers who have ascended it remain there even for a brief space of time, without sponges soaked in water, which they applied to their nostrils and sucked thence a denser air.
  • The Mountain is not merely something eternally sublime. It has a great historical and spiritual meaning for us ... From it came the Law, from it came the Gospel in the Sermon on the Mount. We may truly say that the highest religion is the Religion of the Mountain.
    • Jan Smuts, when he unveiled the Mountain Club War Memorial at Maclear's Beacon on the summit of Table Mountain, Cape Town (1923), as cited by Alan Paton in his final essay, A Literary Remembrance, published posthumously in TIME, 25 April 1988, p. 106.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 532-33.
  • Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains;
    They crown'd him long ago
    On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds,
    With a diadem of snow.
  • Mountains interposed
    Make enemies of nations, who had else
    Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
  • To make a mountain of a mole-hill.
    • Henry Ellis, Original Letters, Second Series, p. 312.
  • Over the hills, and over the main,
    To Flanders, Portugal, or Spain;
    The Queen commands, and we'll obey,
    Over the hills and far away.
  • Over the hills and far away.
    • John Gay, The Beggar's Opera, Act I, scene 1.
  • Round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
    Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
  • What is the voice of strange command
    Calling you still, as friend calls friend,
    With love that cannot brook delay,
    To rise and follow the ways that wend
    Over the hills and far away.
  • Heav'd on Olympus tottering Ossa stood;
    On Ossa, Pelion nods with all his wood.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XI, line 387. Pope's translation.
  • Quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu?
    Parturiunt montes; nascetur ridiculus mus.
    • What will this boaster produce worthy of this mouthing? The mountains are in labor; a ridiculous mouse will be born.
    • Horace, Ars Poetica (18 BC), 138. Athenæus, Deipnosophists, 14. 7. (A preserved fragment). Phædrus, IV. 22.
  • Pelion imposuisse Olympo.
    • To pile Pelion upon Olympus.
    • Horace, Odes, Book III. 4. 52.
  • Daily with souls that cringe and plot,
    We Sinais climb and know it not.
  • Then the Omnipotent Father with his thunder made Olympus tremble, and from Ossa hurled Pelion.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, I.
  • Over the hills and o'er the main,
    To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
    Queen Anne commands and we'll obey,
    Over the hills and far away.
    • The Merry Companion, Song 173, p. 149.
  • I would have you call to mind the strength of the ancient giants, that undertook to lay the high mountain Pelion on the top of Ossa, and set among those the shady Olympus.
  • The mountain was in labour, and Jove was afraid, but it brought forth a mouse.
    • Tachos, King of Egypt.
  • And o'er the hills and far away,
    Beyond their utmost purple rim,
    Beyond the night, across the day,
    Thro' all the world she followed him.
  • Imponere Pelio Ossam.
    • To pile Ossa upon Pelion.
    • Virgil, Georgics (c. 29 BC), I. 281.

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