God made the country, and man made the town. ~William Cowper, The Task, 1785
The Town is merely the Country with its hat on. ~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1930 January
Town and country, country and town,
Equally excellent sons of a noun…
~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1930 January 1st
I’m scared of it all, God’s truth! so I am;
It’s too big and brutal for me.
My nerve’s on the raw and I don’t give a damn
For all the “hoorah” that I see.
I’m pinned between the subway and overhead train,
Where automobiles swoop down:
Oh, I want to go back to the timber again —
I’m scared of the terrible town.
~Robert W. Service, “I’m Scared of It All,” 1912
A city is a large community where people are lonesome together. ~Herbert Prochnow
I have an affection for a great city. I feel safe in the neighbourhood of man, and enjoy the sweet security of the streets. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities torture.
~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage
The city disappears street by street as you enter it. ~Ian Seed
To one who has been long in city pent,
‘Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, — to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
~John Keats, Sonnet XIV
Cities are the abyss of the human species. ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile
In the country the darkness of night is friendly and familiar, but in a city, with its blaze of lights, it is unnatural, hostile and menacing. It is like a monstrous vulture that hovers, biding its time. ~Somerset Maugham
In Rome you long for the country; in the country – oh inconstant! – you praise the distant city to the stars. ~Horace, Satires
There are natures that go to the streams of life in great cities as the hart goes to the water brooks. ~Philip G. Hamerton
All cities are mad: but the madness is gallant. All cities are beautiful: but the beauty is grim. ~Christopher Morley, Where the Blue Begins
Cities force growth, and make men talkative and entertaining, but they make them artificial. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I offer my verses… chiefly to the denizens of our big Mammon-worshipping cities, in the hope that they may help to lighten the burden of “Sordid Wealth” that weighs so heavily on tens of thousands. If they should be the means of leading one here and there with a lighter heart and keener perception into Nature’s fair domain—there to gather imperishable treasures from the lovely blossoms that kiss the clear brooks and mountain wells, or that smile up to us from our country lanes and bypaths—I shall have done my little to check the Nature-forgetting tendencies of city life. ~James Rigg, “Preface,” Wild Flower Lyrics and Other Poems, 1897
The axis of the earth sticks out visibly through the centre of each and every town or city. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Towered cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men.
What is the city but the people? ~William Shakespeare
No city should be too large for a man to walk out of in a morning. ~Cyril Connolly
Clearly, then, the city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo. ~Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo
Divine Nature gave the fields, human art built the cities. ~Marcus Terentius Varro, De Re Rustica
“Become corrupt, corrupt, and you will cease to suffer!” This has been the cry of all cities to man… ~Alfred de Musset, The Confession of a Child of the Century/La Confession d’un enfant du siècle, 1836, translated from French by Kendall Warren
The roaring street is hung for miles
With fierce electric fire.
~William Vaughan Moody, In New York
There is hardly one in three of us who live in the cities who is not sick with unused self. ~Ben Hecht
Suburb: a place that isn’t city, isn’t country, and isn’t tolerable. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
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