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    Henry David Thoreau quotes
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    "A person is never happy except at the price of some ignorance."

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    Henry David Thoreau Quotes

    American Transcendentalist author
    11 Favorites on Read Print

    Quotes by Henry David Thoreau

    • A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
    • Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
    • As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
    • Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
    • Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.
    • Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.
    • Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.
    • Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
    • Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.
    • Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
    • How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
    • However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do want society.
    • I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
    • 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 that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.
    • I stand in awe of my body.
    • 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.
    • If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.
    • If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.
    • In what concerns you much, do not think that you have companions: know that you are alone in the world.
    • In wildness is the preservation of the world.
    • It is as hard to see one's self as to look backwards without turning around.
    • It is never too late to give up your prejudices.
    • Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
    • Men are born to succeed, not fail.
    • Men have become the tools of their tools.
    • Most are engaged in business the greater part of their lives, because the soul abhors a vacuum and they have not discovered any continuous employment for man's nobler faculties.
    • My friend is one... who take me for what I am.
    • Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
    • Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.
    • Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
    • Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.
    • Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
    • Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earth!
    • That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.
    • The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.
    • The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
    • To regret deeply is to live afresh.
    • Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is in prison.
    • We must have infinite faith in each other. If we have not, we must never let it leak out that we have not.
    • What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?
    • What people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can.
    • When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.
    • [Water is] the only drink for a wise man.
    • Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.
      "Walden", 1854
    • The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
      "Walden", 1854
    • It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
      'Economy,' Walden, 1854
    • But government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it.
      Civil Disobedience
    • He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate.
      Journal, February 11, 1840
    • Man is the artificer of his own happiness.
      Journal, January 21, 1838
    • There is no remedy for love but to love more.
      Journal, July 25, 1839
    • Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
    • Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.
    • 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 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.
      Walden (1854)
    • Things do not change; we change.
      Walden (1970)
    • I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.
      Walden, 1854
    • It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.
      Walden, 1854
    • The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.
      Walden, Chapter 1: Economy
    • 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.
      Walden, Conclusion, 1854
    • Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.
      Walden: Economy, 1854
    • Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
      Walden: Higher Laws, 1854
    • How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.
      Walden: Reading, 1854
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