Happiness is as a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond our grasp; but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.


Quotation #9090

About This Quote


This popular quote is commonly misattributed to Nathaniel Hawthorne or Henry David Thoreau. However, the earliest appearances of this quote, in periodicals in the mid-1800s, all attributed an anonymous author. More than 100 years later, in 1971, the saying was mistakenly ascribed to Hawthorne in a collection of poems called "Tender Moments." It is thought that the quote is often connected to the author Nathaniel Hawthorne because Hawthorne penned a similar sentiment in his notebooks, published in 1868. Here is the similar passage by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness, without dreaming of it; but likely enough it is gone the moment we say to ourselves, “Here it is!” like the chest of gold that treasure-seekers find.