A man must find his occasions in himself, it is true. The natural day is very calm, and will hardly reprove his indolence.
Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe.
Here is life, an experiment to a great extent untried by me; but it does not avail me that they have tried it.
There is more day left to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
It is by a mathematical point only that we are wise, as the sailor or fugitive slave keeps the polestar in his eye; but that is sufficient guidance for all our life. We may not arrive at our port within a calculable period, but we would preserve the true course.
A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit until we have so conducted that we feel like new men in the old.
Shall we always study to obtain more of these things, and not sometimes to be content with less?
I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a passtime, if we live simply and wisely
Those things for which the most money is demanded are never the things which the student most wants. Tuition, for instance, is an important item in the term bill, while for the far more valuable education which he gets by associating with the most cultivated of his contemporaries no charge is made.
It is desirable that a man live in all respects so simply and preparedly that if an enemy take the town... he can walk out the gate empty-handed and without anxiety.
A taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors
Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are.
I am no more lonely than the loon in the pond that laughs so loud, or than Walden Pond itself. What company has that lonely lake, I pray? And yet it has not the blue devils, but the blue angels in it, in the azure tint of its waters. The sun is alone, except in thick weather, when there sometimes appear to be two, but one is a mock sun. God is alone, - but the devil, he is far from being alone; he sees a great deal of company; he is legion.
To be alone was something unpleasant. But I was at the same time conscious of a slight insanity in my mood, and seemed to foresee my recovery.
Man wanted a home, a place for warmth, or comfort, first of physical warmth, then the warmth of the affections.
A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; -- not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.
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 poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.
I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind.
We are underbred and low-lived and illiterate; and in this respect I confess I do not make any very broad distinction between the illiterateness of my townsmen who cannot read at all, and the illiterateness of him who has learned to read only what is for children and feeble intellects.
Morning brings back the heroic ages. There was something cosmical about it; a standing advertisement, till forbidden, of the everlasting vigor and fertility of the world. The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. Then there is least somnolence in us; and for an hour, at least, some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night.
But man's capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents, so little have been tried.
The gross feeder is a man in the larva state; and there are whole nations in that condition, nations without fancy or imagination, whose vast abdomens betray them.
I found in myself, and still find, an instinct toward a higher, or, as it is named, spiritual life, as do most men, and another toward a primitive rank and savage one, and I reverence them both. I love the wild not less than the good.
We cannot but pity the boy who has never fired a gun,
My excuse for not lecturing against the use of tobacco is, that I never chewed it; that is a penalty which reformed tobacco chewers have to pay; though there are things enough I have chewed, which I could lecture against. If you should ever be betrayed into any of these philanthropies, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does , for it is not worth knowing. Rescue the drowning and tie your shoe-strings. Take your time, and set about some free labor.
Commonly men will only be brave as their fathers were brave, or timid.
The heroic books, even if printed in the character of our mother tongue, will always be in a language dead to degenerate times; and we must laboriously seek the meaning of each word and line, conjecturing a larger sense than common use permits out of what wisdom and valor and generosity we have.
I like sometimes to take rank hold on life and spend my day more as the animals do.
We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
More Henry David Thoreau Quotations (Based on Topics)
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More Henry David Thoreau Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Walden, or Life in the Woods
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