Mar 8, 2021
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Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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Henry David Thoreau, (born July 12, 1817, Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.—died May 6, 1862, Concord), American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher renowned for having lived the doctrines of Transcendentalism as recorded in his masterwork, Walden (1854), and for having been a vigorous advocate of civil liberties, as evidenced in the essay “Civil Disobedience” (1849).


  • Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.

  • What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.

  • It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

  • Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

  • Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

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

  • This world is but a canvas to our imagination.

  • The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

  • There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

  • Things do not change; we change.

  • Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.

  • Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

  • Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

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

  • Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

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

  • Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

  • Be not simply good – be good for something.

  • Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.

  • I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

  • There is no remedy for love but to love more.

  • Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.

  • Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

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

  • Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.

  • As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

  • Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.

  • Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.

  • The language of friendship is not words but meanings.

  • Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

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

  • The bluebird carries the sky on his back.

  • It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.

  • The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.

  • Live the life you’ve dreamed.

  • Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.

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

  • Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.

  • Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

  • The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.

  • None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

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

  • I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.

  • Men have become the tools of their tools.

  • I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.

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

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

  • It is never too late to give up our prejudices.

  • Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.

  • Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.

  • To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

  • That government is best which governs least.

  • Truths and roses have thorns about them.

  • Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.

  • The heart is forever inexperienced.

  • Men are born to succeed, not to fail.

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

  • How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

  • What is once well done is done forever.

  • In wildness is the preservation of the world.

  • Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.

  • It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

  • True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.

  • What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.

  • Dreams are the touchstones of our character.

  • The perception of beauty is a moral test.

  • Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so.

  • We are always paid for our suspicion by finding what we suspect.

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

  • Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is harsh and discordant.

  • The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.

  • The universe is wider than our views of it.

  • It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.

  • If misery loves company, misery has company enough.

  • It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.

  • The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free.

  • Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.

  • Before printing was discovered, a century was equal to a thousand years.

  • Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.

  • The savage in man is never quite eradicated.

  • After the first blush of sin comes its indifference.

  • They can do without architecture who have no olives nor wines in the cellar.


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