Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Henry David Thoreau, an American philosopher, essayist, poet, and naturalist, played a pivotal role in the transcendentalist movement. He gained prominence through his notable work “Walden,” which reflects on a life of simplicity amidst nature. Additionally, his essay “Civil Disobedience” eloquently argues for defiance against unjust governmental authority. Wikipedia

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“If an injustice requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the government machine.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There is more of good nature than of good sense at the bottom of most marriages.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“They can do without architecture who have no olives nor wines in the cellar.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Being is the great explainer.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“We are always paid for our suspicion by finding what we suspect.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends… Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“If misery loves company, misery has company enough.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Faith never makes a confession.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The heart is forever inexperienced.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“There is no rule more invariable than that we are paid for our suspicions by finding what we suspect.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There are old heads in the world who cannot help me by their example or advice to live worthily and satisfactorily to myself but I believe that it is in my power to elevate myself this very hour above the common level of my life.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“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

“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

“Is the babe young? When I behold it, it seems more venerable than the oldest man.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Dreams are the touchstones of our character.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There are old heads in the world who cannot help me by their example or advice to live worthily and satisfactorily to myself; but I believe that it is in my power to elevate myself this very hour above the common level of my life.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good be good for something.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“As for doing good; that is one of the professions which is full. Moreover I have tried it fairly and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Men have become the tools of their tools.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Nothing goes by luck in composition. It allows of no tricks. The best you can write will be the best you are.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“It is never too late to give up our prejudices.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The bluebird carries the sky on his back.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“No face which we can give to a matter will stead us so well at last as the truth. This alone wears well.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Alas! how little does the memory of these human inhabitants enhance the beauty of the landscape!” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Instead of noblemen, let us have noble villages of men.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The rarest quality in an epitaph is truth.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“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

“Books can only reveal us to ourselves, and as often as they do us this service we lay them aside.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The lawyer’s truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

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

“True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There is always a present and extant life, be it better or worse, which all combine to uphold.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The fibers of all things have their tension and are strained like the strings of an instrument.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Live the life you’ve dreamed.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The man who is dissatisfied with himself, what can he do?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There is a danger that we lose sight of what our friend is absolutely, while considering what she is to us alone.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“There is no remedy for love but to love more.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Things do not change; we change.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“To be admitted to Nature’s hearth costs nothing. None is excluded, but excludes himself. You have only to push aside the curtain.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Generally speaking, a howling wilderness does not howl: it is the imagination of the traveler that does the howling.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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

“We are not what we are, nor do we treat or esteem each other for such, but for what we are capable of being.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Some are reputed sick and some are not. It often happens that the sicker man is the nurse to the sounder.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Front yards are not made to walk in, but, at most, through, and you could go in the back way.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

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

“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

“Ignorance and bungling with love are better than wisdom and skill without.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“May we so love as never to have occasion to repent of our love!” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Nature puts no question and answers none which we mortals ask. She has long ago taken her resolution.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“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.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“I have a great deal of company in the house, especially in the morning when nobody calls.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

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