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.
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
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.
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.
Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.
All good things are wild, and free.
All men are children, and of one family. The same tale sends them all to bed, and wakes them in the morning.
All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
An unclean person is universally a slothful one.
Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
Before printing was discovered, a century was equal to a thousand years.
Being is the great explainer.
Beware of all enterprises that require a new set of clothes.
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.
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?
Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.
Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.
Dreams are the touchstones of our character.
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.
Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.
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?
Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.
Every people have gods to suit their circumstances.
Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe.
Faith never makes a confession.
Fire is the most tolerable third party.
Friends... they cherish one another's hopes. They are kind to one another's dreams.
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.
God reigns when we take a liberal view, when a liberal view is presented to us.
Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
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.
He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.
How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
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 put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.
I stand in awe of my body.
I was more independent than any farmer in Concord, for I was not anchored to a house or farm, but could follow the bent of my genius, which is a very crooked one, every moment.
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 would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
If a man constantly aspires is he not elevated?
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.
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.
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?
If misery loves company, misery has company enough.
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.
If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.
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.
In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.
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 a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
It is as hard to see one's self as to look backwards without turning around.
It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
It is the greatest of all advantages to enjoy no advantage at all.
It is usually the imagination that is wounded first, rather than the heart; it being much more sensitive.
It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate.
It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is harsh and discordant.
Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.
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.
Man is the artificer of his own happiness.
May we so love as never to have occasion to repent of our love!
Men are born to succeed, not fail.
Men have a respect for scholarship and learning greatly out of proportion to the use they commonly serve.
Men have become the tools of their tools.
Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.
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.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
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.
My friend is one... who take me for what I am.
Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.
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.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.
None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.
Only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him.
Only that day dawns to which we are awake.
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself.
Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
That government is best which governs least.
That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest.
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.
The bluebird carries the sky on his back.
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 will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
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.
The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.
The heart is forever inexperienced.
The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free.
The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
The man who is dissatisfied with himself, what can he do?
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.
The perception of beauty is a moral test.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.
The universe is wider than our views of it.
The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.
There is always a present and extant life, be it better or worse, which all combine to uphold.
There is more of good nature than of good sense at the bottom of most marriages.
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
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.
There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.
This life is not for complaint, but for satisfaction.
This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
Those whom we can love, we can hate; to others we are indifferent.
Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors.
Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.
Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.
To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle.
True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.
Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing.
Water is the only drink for a wise man.
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.
We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.
We shall see but a little way if we require to understand what we see.
We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.
What is human warfare but just this; an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party.
What is once well done is done forever.
What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
What old people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.
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.
When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.
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