Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour.
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.
There are many fine things we cannot say if we have to shout.
He is blessed who is assured that the animal is dying out in him every day by day, and the divine being established.
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.
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.
Here is life, an experiment to a great extent untried by me; but it does not avail me that they have tried it.
My greatest skill in life has been to want but little
There is more day left to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
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
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.
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.
And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, - we need never read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?
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.
Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength.
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.
No man ever followed his genius til it misled him.
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.
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.
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.
The church is a sort of hospital for men's souls and as full of quackery as the hospital for their bodies.
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.
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.
We cannot but pity the boy who has never fired a gun,
A man must find his occasions in himself, it is true. The natural day is very calm, and will hardly reprove his indolence.
I like sometimes to take rank hold on life and spend my day more as the animals do.
Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe.
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.
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.
I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune.
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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