Henry David Thoreau Quotes


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.
Henry David Thoreau
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A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau
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A man's interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.
Henry David Thoreau
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All good things are wild, and free.
Henry David Thoreau
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All men are children, and of one family. The same tale sends them all to bed, and wakes them in the morning.
Henry David Thoreau
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All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.
Henry David Thoreau
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An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
Henry David Thoreau
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An unclean person is universally a slothful one.
Henry David Thoreau
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Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
Henry David Thoreau
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As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
Henry David Thoreau
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Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
Henry David Thoreau
8


Being is the great explainer.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
Henry David Thoreau
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Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?
Henry David Thoreau
3


Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.
Henry David Thoreau
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Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
Henry David Thoreau
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Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.
Henry David Thoreau
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Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
Henry David Thoreau
3


Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau
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Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.
Henry David Thoreau
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Dreams are the touchstones of our character.
Henry David Thoreau
1


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.
Henry David Thoreau
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Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.
Henry David Thoreau
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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?
Henry David Thoreau
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Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.
Henry David Thoreau
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Every people have gods to suit their circumstances.
Henry David Thoreau
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Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe.
Henry David Thoreau
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Faith never makes a confession.
Henry David Thoreau
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Fire is the most tolerable third party.
Henry David Thoreau
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Friends... they cherish one another's hopes. They are kind to one another's dreams.
Henry David Thoreau
3


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.
Henry David Thoreau
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God reigns when we take a liberal view, when a liberal view is presented to us.
Henry David Thoreau
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Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
Henry David Thoreau
2


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.
Henry David Thoreau
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He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate.
Henry David Thoreau
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Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Henry David Thoreau
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How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.
Henry David Thoreau
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How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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I belive that there is a subtile magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. It is not indifferent to us which way we walk. There is a right way; but we are very liable from heedlessness and stupidity to take the wrong one. We would fain take that walk, never yet taken by us through this actual world, which is perfectly symbolical of the path which we love to travel in the interior and ideal world; and sometimes, no doubt, we find it difficult to choose our direction, because it does not yet exist distinctly in our idea.
Henry David Thoreau
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I have heard of a dog that barked at every stranger who approached his master's premises with clothes on, but was easily quieted by a naked thief.
Henry David Thoreau
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I have lately been surveying the Walden woods so extensively and minutely that I now see it mapped in my mind's eye - as, indeed, on paper - as so many men's wood-lots, and am aware when I walk there that I am at a given moment passing from such a one's wood-lot to such another's. I fear this particular dry knowledge may affect my imagination and fancy, that it will not be easy to see so much wildness and native vigor there as formerly.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
Henry David Thoreau
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I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.
Henry David Thoreau
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I stand in awe of my body.
Henry David Thoreau
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If a man constantly aspires is he not elevated?
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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In what concerns you much, do not think that you have companions: know that you are alone in the world.
Henry David Thoreau
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In wildness is the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
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It is as hard to see one's self as to look backwards without turning around.
Henry David Thoreau
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It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
Henry David Thoreau
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It is the greatest of all advantages to enjoy no advantage at all.
Henry David Thoreau
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It is usually the imagination that is wounded first, rather than the heart; it being much more sensitive.
Henry David Thoreau
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It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate.
Henry David Thoreau
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It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.
Henry David Thoreau
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It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Henry David Thoreau
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Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
Henry David Thoreau
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Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
Henry David Thoreau
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Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.
Henry David Thoreau
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Man is the artificer of his own happiness.
Henry David Thoreau
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Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.
Henry David Thoreau
5


May we so love as never to have occasion to repent of our love!
Henry David Thoreau
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Men are born to succeed, not fail.
Henry David Thoreau
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Men have a respect for scholarship and learning greatly out of proportion to the use they commonly serve.
Henry David Thoreau
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Men have become the tools of their tools.
Henry David Thoreau
1


Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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My friend is one... who take me for what I am.
Henry David Thoreau
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Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
Henry David Thoreau
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Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
Henry David Thoreau
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Only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him.
Henry David Thoreau
1


Only that day dawns to which we are awake.
Henry David Thoreau
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Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
Henry David Thoreau
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Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
Henry David Thoreau
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Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
Henry David Thoreau
2


Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
Henry David Thoreau
1


Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
Henry David Thoreau
1


Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself.
Henry David Thoreau
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Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
Henry David Thoreau
5


Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
Henry David Thoreau
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That government is best which governs least.
Henry David Thoreau
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That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest.
Henry David Thoreau
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The bluebird carries the sky on his back.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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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
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The heart is forever inexperienced.
Henry David Thoreau
1


The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
Henry David Thoreau
1


The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free.
Henry David Thoreau
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The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
Henry David Thoreau
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The man who is dissatisfied with himself, what can he do?
Henry David Thoreau
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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
Henry David Thoreau
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The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.
Henry David Thoreau
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The perception of beauty is a moral test.
Henry David Thoreau
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The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
Henry David Thoreau
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The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.
Henry David Thoreau
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The universe is wider than our views of it.
Henry David Thoreau
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There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.
Henry David Thoreau
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There is always a present and extant life, be it better or worse, which all combine to uphold.
Henry David Thoreau
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There is more of good nature than of good sense at the bottom of most marriages.
Henry David Thoreau
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There is no remedy for love but to love more.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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This life is not for complaint, but for satisfaction.
Henry David Thoreau
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This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
Henry David Thoreau
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Those whom we can love, we can hate; to others we are indifferent.
Henry David Thoreau
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Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors.
Henry David Thoreau
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Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.
Henry David Thoreau
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To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
Henry David Thoreau
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To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle.
Henry David Thoreau
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True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.
Henry David Thoreau
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Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing.
Henry David Thoreau
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Water is the only drink for a wise man.
Henry David Thoreau
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We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.
Henry David Thoreau
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We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.
Henry David Thoreau
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We shall see but a little way if we require to understand what we see.
Henry David Thoreau
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We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.
Henry David Thoreau
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Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
Henry David Thoreau
8


What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.
Henry David Thoreau
1


What is human warfare but just this; an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party.
Henry David Thoreau
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What is once well done is done forever.
Henry David Thoreau
3


What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?
Henry David Thoreau
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What old people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.
Henry David Thoreau
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When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
Henry David Thoreau
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When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.
Henry David Thoreau
0


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