My greatest skill in life has been to want but little
Every day or two I strolled to the village to hear some of the gossip which is incessantly going on there, circulating either from mouth to mouth, or from newspaper to newspaper, and which, taken in homeopathic doses, was really as refreshing in its way as the rustle of leaves and the peeping of frogs.
The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us.
I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune.
What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can old man, - you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind,- I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that.
Nations are possessed with an insane ambition to perpetuate the memory of themselves by the amount of hammered stone they leave. What if equal pains were taken to smooth and polish their manners? One piece of good sense would be more memorable than a monument as high as the moon.
Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
I thus found that the student who wishes for a shelter can obtain one for a lifetime at an expense not greater than the rent which he now pays annually. If I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag for humanity rather than for myself; and my shortcomings and inconsistencies do not affect the truth of my statement.
What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?
Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength.
Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep on your own track, then.
The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! 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 want the flower and fruit of a man; that some fragrance be wafted over from him to me, and some ripeness flavor our intercourse.
When formerly I was looking about to see what I could do for a living... I thought often and seriously of picking huckleberries; that surely I could do.
Next to us is not the workman whom we have hired, with whom we love so well to talk, but the workman whose work we are.
Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour.
There are many fine things we cannot say if we have to shout.
If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetry would resound along the streets.
O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.
He is blessed who is assured that the animal is dying out in him every day by day, and the divine being established.
There are some who complain most energetically and inconsolably of any, because they are, as they say, doing their duty. I also have in my mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters.
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
Shakti Gawain - Marcel Proust - C. S. Lewis - Salvatore Quasimodo - Michael Crichton - Lewis Carroll - Jules Verne - Joseph Campbell - John Gray - Alvin Toffler