Henry David Thoreau Quotes…
Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist,he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay “Civil Disobedience” (originally published as “Resistance to Civil Government”), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.
Thoreau’s books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and attention to practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life’s true essential needs.
Thoreau’s work has influenced the American Civil Rights Movement and inspired many leaders.
Henry David Thoreau Quotes
“All good things are wild and free.”
“Things do not change; we change.”
This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
“It is never too late to give up your prejudices”
“Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.”
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
“It is not worth the while to let our imperfections disturb us always.”
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.
Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
“Not till we are completely lost or turned around…do we begin to find ourselves.”
“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams
“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”
“It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?”
“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”
“All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”
“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”
“Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn you attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
“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 he hears, however measured or far away.”
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.
“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.”
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that 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.”
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
“If a man walk 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 whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!”
“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 did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
“However mean your life is, meet and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its doors as early in the spring. Cultivate property like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts… Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.”