130+ Henry David Thoreau Quotes That Will Teach You About Simple Living


Henry David Thoreau quotes that will teach you about simple living. There are days when you need to read a few quotes to really understand the meaning of life and work. There are quotes that are spoken by many famous people from various backgrounds and professions and these will surely help you in many ways. There are so many Henry David Thoreau quotes that can help you when you are tired of being in the same old rut, and all you need is a little push, a little inspiration and these quotes will give you just that as they have been spoken by wise people. Luckily, the internet is full of amazing Henry David Thoreau quotes that will make you look at life through new eyes. These Henry David Thoreau quotes will help make your day and you will feel better about yourself, your job and your life.

Henry David Thoreau was a very famous American poet, essayist, abolitionist, philosopher, tax resister, naturalist, surveyor, development critic, historian and yogi. Henry David Thoreau is well-known for his book Walden, which is a reflection on simple living in natural surroundings, and Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” which is an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Henry David Thoreau has written many articles, books, journals, essays, and poetry that now amount to over 20 volumes. Amongst Henry David Thoreau’s lasting contributions are his writings about philosophy and natural history where Henry David Thoreau had anticipated the findings and methods of ecology and environmental history. Henry David Thoreau’s literary style interweaves close observation of personal experience, nature, symbolic meanings, pointed rhetoric, and also, historical lore, while he had displayed a philosophical austerity, poetic sensibility, and Yankee attention to detail.

So many personalities across the world have spoken words of wisdom and these have become household quotes in schools and homes. Henry David Thoreau quotes have helped many across the world who have been looking for inspiration and motivation.  Henry David Thoreau has been quoted saying a lot of wise things that have surprised many because of his high level of intellect and method of thinking. As you go through these Henry David Thoreau quotes, you will become a new person and will realise what life is really all about. The phrasing of the statements contributes to a lot to the effectiveness of the quotes and a study conducted in the year, 2000 had proven that when people were shown two statements of the same saying, the participants said that preferred the rhyming aphorism quotes.Henry David Thoreau quotes are just like these so you will surely love them.

Henry David Thoreau has really been through a lot of situations in life and so, these quotes crop up form real life experiences. Henry David Thoreau quotes have been said after many years of experience and struggles and so you can always apply them to your life and your situations and try and make a better future for yourself. These Henry David Thoreau quotes will help you in renewing your spirit and mind in ways you have never imagined. As you scroll down the page and read these Henry David Thoreau quotes, be ready to see a new you, because these quotes are more than just words, they are magic and the truth of life that will change the way you think. So, here we have for you some Henry David Thoreau quotes which will paint a new picture of life for you.


“I have a room all to myself; it is nature.”

“The heart is forever inexperienced.”

“The perception of beauty is a moral test.”

“Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.”

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent.”

“The true and not despairing Friend will address his Friend in some such terms as these.

“I never asked thy leave to let me love thee,–I have a right. I love thee not as something private and personal, which is your own, but as something universal and worthy of love, which I have found. O, how I think of you! You are purely good, –you are infinitely good. I can trust you forever. I did not think that humanity was so rich. Give me an opportunity to live.”

“I mean that they (students) should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end. How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? Methinks this would exercise their minds as much as mathematics.”

“Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”

“Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.”

“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.”

“Men have become the tools of their tools. Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul. Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”

“Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven.”

“Morning is when I’m awake, and there is dawn in me.”

“Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted or enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles.”

“Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails.”

“If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.”

“Commonly men will only be brave as their fathers were brave, or timid.”

“I love a broad margin to my life.”

“Truths and roses have thorns about them.”

“In what concerns you much, do not think that you have companions: know that you are alone in the world. ”

“To affect the quality of the day – that is the highest of the arts.”

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”

“Why level downward to our dullest perception always, and praise that as common sense? The commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring.”

“It is not for a man to put himself in such an attitude to society, but to maintain himself in whatever attitude he find himself through obedience to the laws of his being, which will never be one of opposition to a just government, if he should chance to meet with such.”

“To be alone was something unpleasant. But I was at the same time conscious of a slight insanity in my mood, and seemed to foresee my recovery.”

“Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could
a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s
eyes for an instant?”

“Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past.”

“SAUNTERING, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.”

“See how he cowers and sneaks, how vaguely all the day he fears, not being immortal nor divine, but the slave and prisoner of his own opinion of himself, a fame won by his own deeds.”

“What is most of our boasted so-called knowledge but a conceit that we know something, which robs us of the advantage of our actual ignorance?”

“As the sun went down, I saw a solitary boatman disporting on the smooth lake. The falling dews seemed to strain and purify the air, and I was soothed with an infinite stillness. I got the world, as it were, by the nape of the neck, and held it under in the tide of its own events, till it was drowned, and then I let it go down stream like a dead dog. Vast hollow chambers of silence stretched away on every side, and my being expanded in proportion, and filled them. Then first could I appreciate sound, and find it musical.”

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, an obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. The hospitality was as cold as the ices.”

“As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.”

“As the least drop of wine tinges the whole goblet, so the least particle of truth colors our whole life. It is never isolated, or simply added as treasure to our stock. When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.”

“To be awake is to be alive.”

“Read your fate, see what is before you, and walk on into futurity.”

“Let me live where I will, on this side is the city, on that the wilderness, and ever I am leaving the city more and more, and withdrawing into the wilderness.”

“All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.”

“He is blessed who is assured that the animal is dying out in him every day by day, and the divine being established.”

“It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.”

“When formerly I was looking about to see what I could do for a living… I thought often and seriously of picking huckleberries; that surely I could do.”

“To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exlcude yourself from the true enjoyment of it.”

“Sell your clothes- keep your thoughts.”

“The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions; whether we travel fast or slow, the track is laid for us. Let us spend our lives in conceiving then. The poet or the artist never yet had so fair and noble a design but some of his posterity at least could accomplish it.”

“So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre.”

“The stars are God’s dreams, thoughts remembered in the silence of his night.”

“The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.”

“The virtues of a superior man are like the wind; the virtues of a common man are like the grass; the grass, when the wind passes over it, bends.”

“I want the flower and fruit of a man; that some fragrance be wafted over from him to me, and some ripeness flavor our intercourse.”

“There is no beginning too small.”

“We live a short period of time in this world, but we live it according to the laws of eternal life.”

“Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government?”

“We cannot see anything until we are possessed with the idea of it, take it into our heads, – and then we can hardly see anything else.”

“We now no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven”

“A man’s riches are based on what he can do without.”

“It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.”

“If I should sell my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for.”

“A lady once offered me a mat, but as I had no room to spare within the house, nor time to spare within or without to shake it, I declined it, preferring to wipe my feet on the sod before my door. It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.”

“With what infinite & unwearied expectation and proclamations the cocks usher in every dawn, as if there had never been one before.”

“As far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but, unquestionably, that corporations may be enriched.”

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

“Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it”

“Those things for which the most money is demanded are never the things which the student most wants. Tuition, for instance, is an important item in the term bill, while for the far more valuable education which he gets by associating with the most cultivated of his contemporaries no charge is made.”

“Children, who play life, discern its true law and relations more clearly than men, who fail to live it worthily, but who think that they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure.”

“For many years I was self-appointed inspector of snow-storms and rain-storms, and did my duty faithfully; surveyor, if not of highways, then of forest paths and all across-lot routes, keeping them open, and ravines bridged and passable at all seasons, where the public heel had testified to their utility.”

“I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.”

“Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life, as a dog does his master’s chaise. Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.”

“…If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours…If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

Next to us is not the workman whom we have hired, with whom we love so well to talk, but the workman whose work we are.”

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way”

“The thoughtful man becomes a hermit in the thoroughfares of the marketplace.”

“When it is time to die, let us not discover that we never lived.”
? Henry David Thoreau

“The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with their liberal allowance of time.”

“We must look for a long time before we can see.”

“Sometimes we are inclined to class those who are once-and-a-half witted with the half-witted, because we appreciate only a third part of their wit.”

“This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night.”

“The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in the mind”

“Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw. There may be an excess of cultivation as well as of anything else, until civilization becomes pathetic. A highly cultivated man, -all whose bones can be bent! whose heaven-born virtues are but good manners!”

“A distinguished clergyman told me that he chose the profession of a clergyman because it afforded the most leisure for literary pursuits. I would recommend to him the profession of a governor.”

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees”

“The only way to speak the truth is to speak lovingly.”

“Probably no country was ever ruled by so mean a class of tyrants as, with a few noble exceptions, are the editors of the periodical press in this country. And as they live and rule only by their servility, and appealing to the worst, and not the better nature of man, the people who read them are in the condition of the dog that returns to his vomit.”

“I will not through humility become the devil’s attorney”

“I have traveled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways.”

“I would remind my countrymen that they are to be men first, and Americans only at a late and convenient hour.”

“The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?”

“I have learned that the swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot.”

“How many flutterings before they rest quietly in their graves! They that soared so loftily, how contentedly they return to dust again, and are laid low, resigned to lie and decay at the foot of the tree, and afford nourishment to new generations of their kind, as well as to flutter on high! They teach us how to die. One wonders if the time will ever come when men, with their boasted faith in immortality, will lie down as gracefully and as ripe,–with such an Indian-summer serenity will shed their bodies, as they do their hair and nails.”

“As with our colleges, so with a hundred ‘modern improvements’; there is an illusion about them; there is not always a positive advance.”

“It’s circumstantial evidence, like finding a trout in the milk.”

“If ever I was sure that someone was coming to help me, I should run like hell.”

“Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer? Read your fate, see what is before you, and walk on into futurity.”

“After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made.”

“It is hard to forget that which it is worse than useless to remember.”

“Here is life, an experiment to a great extent untried by me.”

“The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence.”

“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”

“I hear beyond the range of sound, I see beyond the range of sight, New earths, and skies and seas around. —”

“Our life is frittered away by detail.”

“Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. As for the rest of my readers, they will accept such portions as apply to them. I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits. ”

“We commonly do not remember that it is … always the first person that is speaking.”

“Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind. Nay, it is overrated; and it is our selfishness which overrates it.”

“I am a parcel of vain strivings tied by a chance bond together.”

“How can any man be weak who dares to be at all?”

“The more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.”

“Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”

“For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak, But only thinks and does; Though surely out ’twill leak Without the help of Greek, Or any tongue.”

“If you are cheated out of a single dollar by your neighbor, you do not rest satisfied with knowing that you are cheated, or with saying that you are cheated, or even with petitioning him to pay you your due; but you take effectual steps at once to obtain the full amount, and see that you are never cheated again.”

“Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”

“Every man casts a shadow; not his body only, but his imperfectly mingled spirit. This is his grief. Let him turn which way he will, it falls opposite to the sun; short at noon, long at eve. Did you never see it?”

“No very black melencholy can come to he who lives in the midst of nature and has his senses still…..”

“Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death.”

“I would not have every man nor every part of a man cultivated, anymore than I would have every acre of earth cultivated.”

“on the morning of many a first spring day…the woods were bathed in so pure and bright a light as would have waked the dead. There needs no stronger proof of immortality.”

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.”

“The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveller’s cap, and all the monkeys in America do the same.”

“There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.”

“Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare”
? Henry David Thoreau
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“If you can speak what you will never hear, if you can write what you will never read, you have done rare things.”

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”

“The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.”

“It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields.”

“Some men fish all their lives without knowing it is not really the fish they are after.”

“I am no more lonely than a single mullein or dandelion in a pasture, or a
bean leaf, or sorrel, or a horse-fly, or a bumblebee. I am no more lonely
than the Mill Brook, or a weathercock, or the north star, or the south
wind, or an April shower, or a January thaw, or the first spider in a new

“The only sin in the world is ignorance.”

“The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it.”

“Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.”

“If a man is alive, there is always danger that he may die, though the danger must be allowed to be less in proportion as he is dead-and-alive to begin with. A man sits as many risks as he runs.”

“I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up.”

“In my opinion, the sun was made to light worthier toil than this.”

“I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and undeveloped nature which men have not recognized. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have. All day the sun has shown on the surface of some savage swamp, where the double spruce stands hung with usnea lichens, and small hawks circulate above, and the chickadee lisps amid the evergreens, and the partridge and rabbit skulk beneath; and now a more dismal and fitting day dawns, and a different race of creatures awakes to express the meaning of Nature there.”

“We should come home from far, from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day, with new experience and character.”

“Man is the artificer of his own happiness.”

“But man’s capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents, so little have been tried.”

“Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow.”

“There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate, and not a grain more. … A man sees only what concerns him.”

“Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it.”

“If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetry would resound along the streets.”

“For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever.”

“God is alone,-but the devil, he is far from being alone; he sees a great deal of company; he is legion.”

“There is some of the same fitness in a man’s building his own house that there is in a bird’s building its own nest. Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged? But alas! we do like cowbirds and cuckoos, which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built, and cheer no traveller with their chattering and unmusical notes. Shall we forever resign the pleasure of construction to the carpenter?”

“As long as possible live free and uncommitted.”

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them. ”

“I wish my countrymen to consider, that whatever the human law may be, neither an individual nor a nation can ever commit the least act of injustice against the obscurest individual, without having to pay the penalty for it. A government which deliberately enacts injustice, and persists in it, will at length ever become the laughing-stock of the world.”

“Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.”

“Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made.”

“A Friend is one who incessantly pays us the compliment of expecting from us all the virtues, and who can appreciate them in us.”

“No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes: yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience.”

“Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.”

“We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return; prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only, as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again; if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man; then you are ready for a walk.”

“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. You may safely say, A penny for your thoughts, or a thousand pounds. When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them—as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon—I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago.”

“In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood”

“Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.”

“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to plead, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not refuse them. Their authors are a natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society, and, more than kings or emperors, exert an influence on mankind.”

“A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us.”

“Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep on your own track, then.”

“I do not know how to distinguish between waking life and a dream. Are we not always living the life that we imagine we are?”

“The only remedy for love is to love more.”

“Confucius said, “To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.”

“The greatest art is to shape the quality of the day. ”

“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a spectulator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”

“Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

“There is danger that we lose sight of what our friend is absolutely, while considering what she is to us alone.”

“I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.”

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has
been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed
there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”

“He who hears the rippling of rivers in these degenerate days will not utterly despair.”

“I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.”

“To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will tax the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.”

“Love must be as much a light as it is a flame.”

“He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.”

“Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.”

“The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.”

“See how he cowers and sneaks, how vaguely all the day he fears, not being immortal nor divine, but the slave and prisoner of his own opinion of himself, a fame won by his own deeds. Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.

What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”

“Rise free from care before the dawn, and seek adventures.”

“Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.”

“I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows.”

“The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. Then there is least somnolence in us; and for an hour, at least, some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night… All memorable events, I should say, transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere. The Vedas say, “All intelligences awake with the morning.”

“In the long run, we only hit what we aim at.”

“Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.”

“We hear and apprehend only what we already half know.”

“But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

“Books can only reveal us to ourselves, and as often as they do us this service we lay them aside.”

“Spending of the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it, reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once.”

“The true harvest of my life is intangible – a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.”

“Man wanted a home, a place for warmth, or comfort, first of physical warmth, then the warmth of the affections.”

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life”

“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit.”

“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in”

“Speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing; but there are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout.”

“The civilized man is a more experienced and wiser savage.”

“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”

“To a philosopher all news is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.”

“We should impart our courage and not our despair.”

“I will come to you, my friend, when I no longer need you. Then you will find a palace, not an almshouse.”

“Sometimes, in a summer morning,
having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise
till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs,
in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or
flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at
my west window, or the noise of some traveller’s wagon on the distant
highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons
like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the
hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but
so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals
mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I
minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some
work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing
memorable is accomplished.”

“There is an incessant influx of novelty into the world, and yet we tolerate incredible dullness.”

“The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive.”

“Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which it was already but too easy to arrive at; as railroads lead to Boston or New York. We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.”

“I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune.”

“Begin where you are and such as you are, without aiming mainly to become of more worth, and with kindness aforethought, go about doing good.”

“I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”

“Every blade in the field – Every leaf in the forest – lays down its life in its season as beautifully as it was taken up.”

“Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”

“Things do not change; we change.”

“Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.”

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

“Any fool can make a rule
And any fool will mind it.”

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

“The language of Friendship is not words, but meanings.”

“All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

“This world is but canvas to our imaginations.”

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

“The preachers and lecturers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves. Why, a free-spoken man, of sound lungs, cannot draw a long breath without causing your rotten institutions to come toppling down by the vacuum he makes. Your church is a baby-house made of blocks, and so of the state.
..The church, the state, the school, the magazine, think they are liberal and free! It is the freedom of a prison-yard.”

“Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. ”

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices”

“It is not worth the while to let our imperfections disturb us always.”

“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”

“…for my greatest skill has been to want but little.”

“I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

“The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.”

“Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. what a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”

“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”

“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”

“I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.”

“We are constantly invited to be what we are.”

“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust.”

“What sort of philosophers are we, who know absolutely nothing of the origin and destiny of cats?”

“When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.”

“I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race in it’s gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals.”

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.”

“If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.”

“It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are… than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.”

“Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.”

“I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.”

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

“That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. ”

“I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.”

“What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.”

“I make myself rich by making my wants few.”

“Renew thyself completely each day.”

“Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society.”



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