Henry David Thoreau quotes

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that 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.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“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. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. 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, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things..”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“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.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“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.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“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.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“The animal merely makes a bed, which he warms with his body in a sheltered place; but man, having discovered fire, boxes up some air in a spacious apartment, and warms that, instead of robbing himself, makes that his bed, in which he can move about divested of more cumbrous clothing, maintain a kind of summer in the midst of winter, and by means of windows even admit the light and with a lamp lengthen out the day.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“All good things are wild and free.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“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 he hears, however measured or far away.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that 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..”
―Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“There is no remedy for love but to love more.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“Things do not change; we change.”
― henry david thoreau

 

 

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“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.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“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.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

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

 

“Any fool can make a rule
And any fool will mind it.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“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.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

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

 

“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

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

 

“The language of Friendship is not words, but meanings.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“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.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

“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.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

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

 

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

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

 

“I was once reproved by a minister who was driving a poor beast to some meeting-house horse-sheds among the hills of New Hampshire, because I was bending my steps to a mountain-top on the Sabbath, instead of a church, when I would have gone farther than he to hear a true word spoken on that or any day. He declared that I was ‘breaking the Lord’s fourth commandment,’ and proceeded to enumerate, in a sepulchral tone, the disasters which had befallen him whenever he had done any ordinary work on the Sabbath. He really thought that a god was on the watch to trip up those men who followed any secular work on this day, and did not see that it was the evil conscience of the workers that did it. The country is full of this superstition, so that when one enters a village, the church, not only really but from association, is the ugliest looking building in it, because it is the one in which human nature stoops the lowest and is most disgraced. Certainly, such temples as these shall erelong cease to deform the landscape. There are few things more disheartening and disgusting than when you are walking the streets of a strange village on the Sabbath, to hear a preacher shouting like a boatswain in a gale of wind, and thus harshly profaning the quiet atmosphere of the day.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“This world is but canvas to our imaginations.”
― Henry David Thoreau

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