Henry David Thoreau Quotes

American Author

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What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
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.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.
Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.
It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is harsh and discordant.
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.
In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.
I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
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?
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If misery loves company, misery has company enough.
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 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.
Before printing was discovered, a century was equal to a thousand years.
Beware of all enterprises that require a new set of clothes.
How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with 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.
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.


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