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Henry David Thoreau Quotes (701 Quotes)


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  • 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
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • 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.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • 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.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • 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?
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden")

  • 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.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")


  • Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • 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.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • No man ever followed his genius til it misled him.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden")

  • 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.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • 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.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • 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.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • The church is a sort of hospital for men's souls and as full of quackery as the hospital for their bodies.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden")

  • 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.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • 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.
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")

  • We cannot but pity the boy who has never fired a gun,
    (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden, or Life in the Woods")


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