Let Sporus tremble'What? that thing of silk, Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk? Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel? Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?Alexander Pope: 1735 Of Lord Hervey.'An Epistle to DrArbuthnot', l.305-8.
Orchidbreathing incense into butterfly's wingsMatsuo Basho: c.1689 On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho, no.166 (translated by Lucien Stryk).
An admiral red, whose only notion, (A butterfly poised on a pigtailed ocean) Is of the peruked sea whose swell Breaks on the flowerless rocks of Hell.Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell: 1923 Fa c° ade,'En Famille'.
The toad beneath the harrow knows Exactly where each tooth-point goes; The butterfly upon the road Preaches contentment to that toad. 470(Joseph) Rudyard Kipling: 1886 'Pagett, MP'.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.Muhammad formerly Cassius Clay Ali: c.1964 Of his boxing style. Quoted in G Sullivan Cassius Clay (1964), ch.8.
The morals of a baboon and the guts of a butterfly.truman capote: Of Kenneth Tynan. Quoted in Gerald Clarke Capote (1988).
The dark notes rose everywhere, so dark, so sombre, they broke into a fountainlight as the rainbow sparkling and immaterial as invisible sources and echoes. The savannahs grew lonelyas the sea and broke again into a wave and forest. Tall trees with black marching boots and feet were clad in the spurs and sharp wings of a butterfly.Rolf Harris: 1960 The Palace of the Peacock, ch.11.
There was a sound of impact, a raspy, dry scream, and the vampire went down hard. It lay on the ground like a butterfly pinned to a card, arms and legs thrashing uselessly. Its chest and collarbone had been crushed. By an entire frozen turkey. A twenty-pounder. The plucked bird must have fallen from an airplane overhead, doubtlessly manipulated by the curse. By the time it got to the ground, the turkey had already reached its terminal velocity, and was still hard as a brick. The drumsticks poked up above the vampire's crushed chest, their ends wrapped in red tinfoil. The vampire gasped and writhed a little more. The timer popped out of the turkey. Everyone stopped to blink at that for a second. I mean, come on. Impaled by a guided frozen turkey missile. Even by the standards of the quasi-immortal creatures of the night, that ain't something you see twice. "For my next trick," I panted into the startled silence, "anvils."jim butcher: Character: Harry Dresden
There is nothing more comfortable than a caterpillar and nothing more made for love than a butterfly. We need dresses that crawl and dresses that fly. Fashion is at once a caterpillar and a butterfly, caterpillar by day, butterfly by nightcoco chanel: Statement in the 1920s as quoted in Chanel (1987) by Jean Leymari
Her reasoning is full of tricksAnd butterfly suggestions,I know no point to which she sticks;She begs the simplest questions,And, when her premises are strongShe always draws her inference wrong.alfred cochrane: Upon Lebia Arguing, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
You know the people I'm talking about, you see them at every pride rally, they get up on stage and go, "We're just like everyone else! We are like them and they are like us. Straights are like us and we are like them! We - are like - EV - eryone - else!" And then a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall drag queen walks by with three feet spangled platforms and he opens up his butterfly wings, f-f-f-f-f-f-f! Oh, we're just like everyone else, all right! We have our own culture and our own way of doing things and we should celebrate that and stop licking straight ass!lea delaria: Box Lunch
Once upon a time , I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly , fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things.Zhuangzi, as translated by Lin Yutang
To enjoy anything, we cannot be attached to it. William Blake understood this beautifully: He who binds to himself a Joy, Doth the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the Joy as it flies / Lives in Eternity's sunrise. What we usually try to do is capture any joy that comes our way before it can escape. We have our butterfly net and go after the joy like a hunter stalking his prey. We hide and wait, pounce on it, catch it, and take it home to put on our wall. When our friends come to visit, we say, "Hey, Stu, would you like to see my joy?" There it is on the wall - dead. We try to cling to pleasure, but all we succeed in doing is making ourselves frustrated because, whatever it promises, pleasure simply cannot last. But if I am willing to kiss the joy as it flies, I say, 'Yes, this moment is beautiful. I won't grab it. I'll let it go.'eknath easwaran: Easwaran, Eknath (2006). Take your time: How to find patience, peace, and meaning. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press. ISBN 9781586380182. (p. 103) (work originally published 1994)
Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly . I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things.Zhuangzi, as translated by Lin Yutang
Many writers lay very great stress upon some definite moral purpose, at which they profess to aim their works. Not to be deficient in this particular, the author has provided himself with a moral, — the truth, namely, that the wrong-doing of one generation lives into the successive ones, and, divesting itself of every temporary advantage, becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief; and he would feel it a singular gratification if this romance might effectually convince mankind — or, indeed, any one man — of the folly of tumbling down an avalanche of ill-gotten gold, or real estate, on the heads of an unfortunate posterity, thereby to maim and crush them, until the accumulated mass shall be scattered abroad in its original atoms. In good faith, however, he is not sufficiently imaginative to flatter himself with the slightest hope of this kind. When romances do really teach anything, or produce any effective operation, it is usually through a far more subtile process than the ostensible one. The author has considered it hardly worth his while, therefore, relentlessly to impale the story with its moral as with an iron rod, — or, rather, as by sticking a pin through a butterfly, — thus at once depriving it of life, and causing it to stiffen in an ungainly and unnatural attitude. A high truth, indeed, fairly, finely, and skilfully wrought out, brightening at every step, and crowning the final development of a work of fiction, may add an artistic glory, but is never any truer, and seldom any more evident, at the last page than at the first.Nathaniel Hawthorne: Preface
His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.ernest hemingway: An assessment of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ch. 17
Once Zhuang Zhou dreamed he was a butterfly, a fluttering butterfly. What fun he had, doing as he pleased! He did not know he was Zhou. Suddenly he woke up and found himself to be Zhou. He did not know whether Zhou had dreamed he was a butterfly or a butterfly had dreamed he was Zhou. Between Zhou and the butterfly there must be some distinction. This is what is meant by the transformation of things. One night, Zhuangzi dreamed of being a butterfly a happy butterfly, showing off and doing things as he pleased, unaware of being Zhuangzi. Suddenly he awoke, drowsily, Zhuangzi again. And he could not tell whether it was Zhuangzi who had dreamt the butterfly or the butterfly dreaming Zhuangzi. But there must be some difference between them! This is called 'the transformation of things'. Once upon a time, Chuang Chou dreamed that he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting about happily enjoying himself. He didn’t know that he was Chou. Suddenly he awoke and was palpably Chou. He didn’t know whether he were Chou who had dreamed of being a butterfly, or a butterfly who was dreaming that he was Chou. After ten thousand generations there may be a great sage who will be able to explain it, a trivial interval equivalent to the passage from morning to night ..."Discussion on Making All Things Equal"; Variant: If right were really right, it would be so different from not-right that there would be no room for argument. If so were really so, then it would be so different from not-so that there would be no room for argument.
Once upon a time , I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly , fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things.As translated by James Legge, and quoted in The Three Religions of China: Lectures Delivered at Oxford (1913) by William Edward Soothill, p. 75
Reg , as he insisted on being called, had a memory that he himself had once compared to the Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly in that it was colorful, flitted prettily hither and thither, and was now, alas, almost completely extinct.Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, 1987.
The nightingale is still locked in the cage. A song of me, a song in need of a courageous symphony, A verse of me, a verse in need of a pure heart singing me to peace. All that great heart lying still and slowly dying. All that great heart lying still on an angelwing. An obese girl enters an elevator with me. All dressed up fancy, a green butterfly on her neck. Terribly sweeet perfume deafens me. She's going to dinner alone. That makes her even more beautiful. There is no fear in a dream! And there forever remains that change from G to E minor.Song of Myself
You are a beautiful, beautiful, little butterfly.Who: Dr. Gediman
Brussels is a gay little city that lies as bright within its girdle of woodland as any butterfly that rests upon moss.ouida: Chapter II (Two Little Wooden Shoes (1874))
This was your butterfly, you see—His fine wings made him vain:The caterpillars crawl, but hePassed them in rich disdain.—My pretty boy says, “Let him beOnly a worm again!sarah morgan bryan piatt: After Wings (1892).
Never say, "O Lord, I am a miserable sinner ." Who will help you? You are the help of the universe . What in this universe can help you? What can prevail over you? You are the God of the universe; where can you seek for help? Never help came from anywhere but from yourself. In your ignorance, every prayer that you made and that was answered, you thought was answered by some Being, but you answered the prayer yourself unknowingly. The help came from yourself, and you fondly imagined that someone was sending help to you. There is no help for you outside of yourself; you are the creator of the universe. Like the silkworm , you have built a cocoon around yourself. Who will save you? Burst your own cocoon and come out as a beautiful butterfly , as the free soul . Then alone you will see Truth .Swami Vivekananda,Complete Works, Volume 3, p.26
It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? for the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. Growth is exciting; growth is dynamic and alarming. Growth of the soul, growth of the mind; how the observation of last year seems childish, superficial; how this year — even this week — even with this new phrase — it seems to us that we have grown to a new maturity. It may be a fallacious persuasion, but at least it is stimulating, and so long as it persists, one does not stagnate.I look back as through a telescope, and see, in the little bright circle of the glass, moving flocks and ruined cities.vita sackville-west: Twelve Days (1928) p. 9; part of this appears to have also become paraphrased in the form: