A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least 300 metres (1000 feet) above the surrounding land. A few mountains are isolated summits, but most occur in mountain ranges.
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet
This is not Done by Jostling in the Street.
- William Blake, "Great Things Are Done" (c. 1807-1809), line 1.
- 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.
- Thomas Campbell, The Pleasures of Hope (1799), Part 1, line 5.
- Humbling huge mountains as if they were piles of litter, ... She brings about the destruction of the mountain lands from east to west.
- Mountain, because of your elevation, because of your height,
Because of your goodness, because of your beauty,
Because you wore a holy garment,
Because An organized(?) you,
Because you did not bring (your) nose close to the ground,
Because you did not press (your) lips in the dust.
- Karahashi, Fumi (April 2004). "Fighting the Mountain: Some Observations on the Sumerian Myths of Inanna and Ninurta". Journal of Near Eastern Studies 63 (2): 111–8. JSTOR 422302.
- So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar,
But bind him to his native mountains more.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 207.
- 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.
- After looking at the Alps, I felt that my mind had been stretched beyond the limits of its elasticity, and fitted so loosely on my old ideas of space that I had to spread these to fit it.
- I demens et saevas curre per Alpes,
ut pueris placeas et declamation fias!
- A man can hardly be a beast or a fool alone on a great mountain.
- Francis Kilvert, Diary, May 29, 1871.
- Historical Europe is mountainous. The Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, Greeks, Turks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Croatians, Serbs, Slovenes, the Slovaks and the Austrians, the Swiss, the Norwegians and the Icelanders, the Scots and the Welsh, half the Rumanians and Ruthenians, the Turks, the South Germans, the Sudeten Germans and the South French are either living in mountains or at least in very hilly countries. Many people see the "real" Europeans in these moutaineers. In these parts of the world traditions have been better preserved; patriarchalism, piety, loyalty, altruism — all the truly "romantic" virtues are here more at home than in the progressive plains.
- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd (1943), p. 126
- And o'er them lowers destruction, high in air,
Upon those jutting crags, whose rugged sides,
Riven in fragments, and like ruins pil'd,
Seem as that giants of those ancient days
When earthborn creatures braved th' Olympic Gods,
Those of whom fable tells, had torn away
Rocks from their solid base, and with strong arm,
Parted the mountains: there the avalanche hangs,
Mighty, but tremulous; just a light breath
Will loosen it from off its airy throne;
Then down it hurls in wrath, like to the sound
Of thunder amid storms, or as the voice
Of rushing waters—death in its career.
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, The Fate of Adelaide (1821), Canto I, I
- Because it's there.
- Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous.
- Reinhold Messner, All Fourteen 8,000ers.
- Alps on Alps in clusters swelling,
Mighty, and pure, and fit to make
The ramparts of a Godhead's dwelling!
- Thomas Moore, Rhymes on the Road (1823).
- It has frequently been noticed that all mountains appear doomed to pass through the three stages: An inaccessible peak—The most difficult ascent in the Alps—An easy day for a lady.
- 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.
- Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal
Large codes of fraud and woe.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley "Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni" (1817), line 80.
- 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?
- Alfred Tennyson, The Princess (1847), Part VII, line 177.
- 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.
- Henry David Thoreau, "Ktaadn" (1848), in The Maine Woods (2004) p. 65.
- 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.
- Henry David Thoreau, letter to Harrison Blake (November 16, 1857).
- 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.
- Henry David Thoreau, letter to Harrison Blake (November 16, 1857).
- What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees,
Up, up it goes,
And yet never grows?
- 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.
- I thought back over my life. How does a man come to climb mountains? Is he drawn by the heights because he is afraid of the level land? Is he such a misfit in the society of men that he must flee and try to place himself above it? The way up is long and difficult, but if he succeeds they must grant him a garland of sorts. And if he falls, this too is a kind of glory. To end, hurled from the heights to the depths in hideous ruin and combustion down, is a fitting climax for the loser—for it, too, shakes mountains and minds, stirs things like thoughts below both, is a kind of blasted garland of victory in defeat, and cold, so cold that final action, that the movement is somewhere frozen forever into a statuelike rigidity of ultimate intent and purpose thwarted only by the universal malevolence we all fear exists. An aspirant saint or hero who lacks some necessary virtue may still qualify as a martyr, for the only thing that people will really remember in the end is the end.
- Roger Zelazny, This Mortal Mountain in The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth, and Other Stories (1971), p. 159 (originally published in If, March 1967)
- When you reach the top of the mountain, keep climbing.
- Quoted as a Zen koan in Kevin Grange, "Beneath Blossom Rain: Discovering Bhutan on the Toughest Trek in the World" (2011), p. 284.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit
- 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.
- Lord Byron, Manfred, Act I, scene 1, line 62.
- Mountains interposed
Make enemies of nations, who had else
Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book II, line 17.
- 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.
- George Farquhar, The Recruiting Officer, Act II, scene 2.
- 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.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village (1770), line 192.
- 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.
- William Ernest Henley, Rhymes and Rhythms, 1.
- 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.
- 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.
- James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal, Prelude to Part I.
- 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.
- François Rabelais, Works, Book IV, Chapter XXXVIII.
- Who digs hills because they do aspire,
Throws down one mountain to cast up a higher.
- 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.
- Alfred Tennyson, Daydream, The Departure, IV.
- Imponere Pelio Ossam.
- To pile Ossa upon Pelion.
- Virgil, Georgics (c. 29 BC), I. 281.
- People did not always love the mountains. Just a few hundred years ago the high mountains were regarded as horrible, monstrous places filling people with terror and fear. The inhabitants near them were seen as awful demons, subhumans. But this attitude got transformed into just the opposite, especially by Romantic writers and painters in the nineteenth century. Seen by the Romantics, high mountains became places of impossible beauty, where the quality of light and the expansive solitary grandeur of the high peaks opened the heart of the individual. A man climbing a mountain became the image of self-conscious intelligence pitted against the eternal indifference of the forces of nature. Compared to these forces of nature, we are nothing save for the will that moves our limbs. Only that will is truly our own.