Famous Quotes By Henry David Thoreau

About Henry David Thoreau -

Lived: July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862
Known To Be:           American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian
Wiki Link: Henry David Thoreau
Notable Ideas: Abolitionism, tax resistance, development criticism, civil disobedience, conscientious objection, direct action, environmentalism, anarchism, simple living
Free Audio Books:                   Walden
Famous Quotes By Henry David Thoreau
Famous Quotes By Henry David Thoreau

Quotes By Henry David Thoreau -

  1. None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
  2. A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
  3. The man who goes alone can start today but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
  4. There is danger that we lose sight of what our friend is absolutely, while considering what she is to us alone.
  5. They can do without architecture who have no olives nor wines in the cellar.
  6. The perception of beauty is a moral test.
  7. Alas! how little does the memory of these human inhabitants enhance the beauty of the landscape!
  8. Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
  9. I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.
  10. The language of excitement is at best picturesque merely. You must be calm before you can utter oracles.
  11. It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.
  12. Nothing goes by luck in composition. It allows of no tricks. The best you can write will be the best you are.
  13. Only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him.
  14. Things do not change we change.
  15. Dreams are the touchstones of our character.
  16. Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe.
  17. Faith never makes a confession.
  18. The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
  19. The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.
  20. Friends... they cherish one another's hopes. They are kind to one another's dreams.
  21. God reigns when we take a liberal view, when a liberal view is presented to us.
  22. Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.
  23. A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.
  24. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.
  25. Be not simply good - be good for something.
  26. As for doing good that is one of the professions which is full. Moreover I have tried it fairly and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution.
  27. I have seen how the foundations of the world are laid, and I have not the least doubt that it will stand a good while.
  28. That government is best which governs least.
  29. How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.
  30. Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.
  31. Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?
  32. Being is the great explainer.
  33. The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.
  34. 'Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.
  35. It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.
  36. This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
  37. It is usually the imagination that is wounded first, rather than the heart it being much more sensitive.
  38. Generally speaking, a howling wilderness does not howl: it is the imagination of the traveler that does the howling.
  39. Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself.
  40. True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.
  41. It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
  42. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
  43. 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.
  44. The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
  45. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
  46. 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.
  47. Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good be good for something.
  48. There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.
  49. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
  50. Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
  51. Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify.
  52. Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
  53. 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.
  54. If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.
  55. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.
  56. Live the life you've dreamed.
  57. There is always a present and extant life, be it better or worse, which all combine to uphold.
  58. A man cannot be said to succeed in this life who does not satisfy one friend.
  59. There is no remedy for love but to love more.
  60. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
  61. 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 days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
  62. Do what you love. Know your own bone gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.
  63. Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
  64. Those whom we can love, we can hate to others we are indifferent.
  65. May we so love as never to have occasion to repent of our love!
  66. The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
  67. Men are born to succeed, not to fail.
  68. Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.
  69. I have never found a 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. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.
  70. Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
  71. Great men, unknown to their generation, have their fame among the great who have preceded them, and all true worldly fame subsides from their high estimate beyond the stars.
  72. While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.
  73. In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.
  74. It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.
  75. If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.
  76. The law will never make a man free it is men who have got to make the law free.
  77. We know but a few men, a great many coats and breeches.
  78. Instead of noblemen, let us have noble villages of men.
  79. I have thought there was some advantage even in death, by which we mingle with the herd of common men.
  80. Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.
  81. To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle.
  82. An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
  83. All men are children, and of one family. The same tale sends them all to bed, and wakes them in the morning.
  84. The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
  85. I have a great deal of company in the house, especially in the morning when nobody calls.
  86. What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
  87. What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.
  88. 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.
  89. 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.
  90. Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.
  91. The bluebird carries the sky on his back.
  92. If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.
  93. Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.
  94. There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance.
  95. Nature puts no question and answers none which we mortals ask. She has long ago taken her resolution.
  96. The Artist is he who detects and applies the law from observation of the works of Genius, whether of man or Nature. The Artisan is he who merely applies the rules which others have detected.
  97. To be admitted to Nature's hearth costs nothing. None is excluded, but excludes himself. You have only to push aside the curtain.
  98. Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another?
  99. There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.
  100. There is more of good nature than of good sense at the bottom of most marriages.
  101. I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.
  102. 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.
  103. There are old heads in the world who cannot help me by their example or advice to live worthily and satisfactorily to myself but I believe that it is in my power to elevate myself this very hour above the common level of my life.
  104. Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
  105. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.
  106. Men have a respect for scholarship and learning greatly out of proportion to the use they commonly serve.
  107. Make the most of your regrets never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.
  108. What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?
  109. As in geology, so in social institutions, we may discover the causes of all past changes in the present invariable order of society.
  110. I had three chairs in my house one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.
  111. In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.
  112. Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
  113. If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.
  114. I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
  115. We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.
  116. Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
  117. 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.
  118. It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.
  119. Men have become the tools of their tools.
  120. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.
  121. 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 days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and en
  122. A broad margin of leisure is as beautiful in a man's life as in a book. Haste makes waste, no less in life than in housekeeping. Keep the time, observe the hours of the universe, not of the cars.
  123. As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
  124. The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.
  125. Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
  126. I am sorry to think that you do not get a man's most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness.
  127. Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing.
  128. It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.
  129. No face which we can give to a matter will stead us so well at last as the truth. This alone wears well.
  130. The rarest quality in an epitaph is truth.
  131. The lawyer's truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency.
  132. What is human warfare but just this an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party.
  133. It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
  134. It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
  135. All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.
  136. Ignorance and bungling with love are better than wisdom and skill without.
  137. To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.
  138. Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
  139. Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
  140. 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.
  141. Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.
  142. If it is surely the means to the highest end we know, can any work be humble or disgusting? Will it not rather be elevating as a ladder, the means by which we are translated?

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