Henry David Thoreau

United States writer and social critic (1817-1862)

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A grain of gold will gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom. - from Live Without PrincipleRate it:
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.Rate it:
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can let alone.Rate it:
A man is wise with the wisdom of his time only, and ignorant with its ignorance. Observe how the greatest minds yield in some degree to the superstitions of their age.Rate it:
A simple and independent mind does not toil at the bidding of any prince.Rate it:
Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.Rate it:
All good things are wild, and free.Rate it:
All perception of truth is the detection of an analogy we reason from our hands to our head.Rate it:
All perception of truth is the detection of an analogy.Rate it:
Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.Rate it:
Any fool can make a rule,
and any fool will mind it.
Rate it:
Arthur Schopenhauer Only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him.Rate it:
As for the pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.Rate it:
As if there were safety in stupidity alone.Rate it:
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.Rate it:
Be not simply good - be good for something.Rate it:
Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.Rate it:
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.Rate it:
City life is millions of people being lonesome together.Rate it:
Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.Rate it:
Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.Rate it:
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.Rate it:
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good be good for something.Rate it:
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.Rate it:
Do not despair of life. Think of the fox, prowling in a winter night to satisfy his hunger. His race survives I do not believe any of them ever committed suicide.Rate it:
Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.Rate it:
Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.Rate it:
Dreams are the touchstones of our character.Rate it:
Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.Rate it:
Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg by the side of which more will be laid.Rate it:
Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.Rate it:
Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.Rate it:
Faint heart never won true friend. O my friend, may it come to pass, once, that when you are my friend I may be yours.Rate it:
Friends do not live in harmony merely, as some say, but in melody.Rate it:
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.Rate it:
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.Rate it:
Good poetry seems too simple and natural a thing that when we meet it we wonder that all men are not always poets. Poetry is nothing but healthy speech.Rate it:
Goodness is the only investment that never fails.Rate it:
Government never furthered any enterprise but the alacrity with which it got out of the way.Rate it:
Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life.Rate it:
He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate.Rate it:
Heroes are often the most ordinary of men.Rate it:
How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.Rate it:
How often we find ourselves turning our backs on our actual friends, that we may go and meet their ideal cousins.Rate it:
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.Rate it:
However mean your life is, meet it and live it do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.Rate it:
However mean your life is, meet it 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 the richest.Rate it:
However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do want society.Rate it:
However mean your life is, meet it 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 the richest.Rate it:
I derive no pleasure from talking with a young woman simply because she has regular features.Rate it:
I do not wish to kill nor to be killed, but I can foresee circumstances in which these things would be by me unavoidable.Rate it:
I have learned this at least by my experiment that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.Rate it:
I have learned this at least by my experiment: if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.Rate it:
I have lived some thirty years on this planet and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors.Rate it:
I have lived some thirty-odd years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors.Rate it:
I have never found a companion so companionable as solitude.Rate it:
I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.Rate it:
I hear many condemn these men because they were so few. When were the good and the braver every in a majorityRate it:
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.Rate it:
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.Rate it:
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live he life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.Rate it:
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.Rate it:
I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.Rate it:
I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.Rate it:
I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.Rate it:
I stand in awe of my body.Rate it:
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.Rate it:
If a man constantly aspires is he not elevatedRate it:
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, how ever measured or far away.Rate it:
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 which he hears, however measured or far away.Rate it:
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 which he hears, however measured or faraway.Rate it:
If a man walks 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 days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.Rate it:
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.Rate it:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he imaged, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.Rate it:
If the day and the night are such that you greet them with with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, more elastic, more starry, more immortal--that is your success.Rate it:
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.Rate it:
If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.Rate it:
In dreams we see ourselves naked and acting our real characters, even more clearly than we see others awake.Rate it:
In solitude especialy do we begin to appreciate the advantage of living with someone who can think.Rate it:
In the long run you only hit what you aim at. Therefore, though you should fail immediately, you had better aim at something high.Rate it:
In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.Rate it:
In the long run, you hit only what you aim at: Therefore aim high.Rate it:
In what concerns you much, do not think that you have companions know that you are alone in the world.Rate it:
In what concerns you much, do not think that you have companions: know that you are alone in the world.Rate it:
In wilderness is the preservation of the world.Rate it:
In wildness is the preservation of the world. - from WalkingRate it:
It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.Rate it:
It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.Rate it:
It is never too late to give up our prejudices.Rate it:
It is never too late to give up your prejudices.Rate it:
It is not enough to be busy the question is what are we busy aboutRate it:
It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.Rate it:
It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went.Rate it:
It takes two to speak the truth--one to speak and the other to hear.Rate it:
It takes two to speak truth - One to speak, and another to hear.Rate it:
Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.Rate it:
Life should begin with age and its privileges and accumulations, and end with youth and its capacity to splendidly enjoy such advantages.Rate it:
Live each season as it passes breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.Rate it:
Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.Rate it:
Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.Rate it:
Make the most of your regrets. . . . To regret deeply is to live afresh.Rate it:
Man is the artificer of his own happiness.Rate it:
Men are born to succeed, not fail.Rate it:
Men are born to succeed, not to fail.Rate it:
Men have become the tools of their toolsRate it:
Men have become the tools of their tools.Rate it:
Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.Rate it:
Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.Rate it:
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.Rate it:
Most people dread finding out when they come to die that they have never really lived.Rate it:
Must be out-of-doors enough to get experience of wholesome reality, as a ballast to thought and sentiment. Health requires this relaxation, this aimless lifeRate it:
My friend is one... who take me for what I am.Rate it:
Nature abhors a vacuum, and if I can only walk with sufficient carelessness I am sure to be filled.Rate it:
Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.Rate it:
Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state, a hummock left by the ice.Rate it:
No one is so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.Rate it:
None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty.Rate it:
Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.Rate it:
Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize the infinite extent of our relations.Rate it:
One may discover a new side to his most intimate friend when for the first time he hears him speak in public. He will be stranger to him as he is more familiar to the audience. The longest intimacy could not foretell how he would behave thenRate it:
One may discover a new side to his most intimate friend when for the first time he hears him speak in public. He will be stranger to him as he is more familiar to the audience. The longest intimacy could not foretell how he would behave then.Rate it:
Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.Rate it:
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.Rate it:
Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.Rate it:
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.Rate it:
Sobriety, severity, and self-respect are the foundations of all true sociality.Rate it:
Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.Rate it:
Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.Rate it:
Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earthRate it:
Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earth!Rate it:
That government is best which governs least. - from Civil DisobedienceRate it:
That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.Rate it:
The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.Rate it:
The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.Rate it:
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.Rate it:
The cost of a things is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.Rate it:
The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.Rate it:
The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.Rate it:
The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought , and attended to my answer.Rate it:
The language of friendship is not words but meanings.Rate it:
The language of friendship is not words, but meanings. It is an intelligence about language.Rate it:
The lawyer's truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency.Rate it:
The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.Rate it:
The man for whom law exists -- the man of forms, the Conservative, is a tame man.Rate it:
The man who goes alone can start today but he who travels with another must wait till the other is ready, and it may be along time before they get off.Rate it:
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.Rate it:
The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.Rate it:
The savage in man is never quite eradicated.Rate it:
The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible And indescribably as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, A segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.Rate it:
The universe is wider than our views of it.Rate it:
The universe seems bankrupt as soon as we begin to discuss the characters of individuals.Rate it:
The way by which you may get money almost without exception leads downward.Rate it:
The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. - from Live Without PrincipleRate it:
The world is but a canvas to the imagination.Rate it:
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at its root.Rate it:
There are now-a-days professors of philosophy but not philosophers.Rate it:
There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living. - from Live Without PrincipleRate it:
There is no remedy for love but to love more.Rate it:
There is no rule more invariable than that we are paid for our suspicions by finding what we suspect.Rate it:
Things do not change we change.Rate it:
This American government -- what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will.Rate it:
Time is but the stream I go a-fishin in. I drink at it, but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. It's thin current slides away, but eternity remains.Rate it:
Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink, I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish fill the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.Rate it:
To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, an they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.Rate it:
To affect the quality of the day that is the art of life.Rate it:
To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, not even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.Rate it:
To reget deeply is to live afresh.Rate it:
To regret deeply is to live afresh.Rate it:
True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.Rate it:
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is in prison.Rate it:
Water is the only drink for a wise man.Rate it:
We are always paid for our suspicion by finding what we suspect.Rate it:
We are armed with language adequate to describe each leaf of the filed, but not to describe human character.Rate it:
We are sometimes made aware of a kindness long passed, and realize that there have been times when our friends' thoughts of us were of so pure and lofty a character that they passed over us like the winds of heaven unnoticed when they treated us not as what we were, but as what we aspired to be. -- from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack RiversRate it:
We do not learn by inference and deduction and the application of mathematics to philosophy, but by direct intercourse and sympathy.Rate it:
We falsely attribute to men a determined character - putting together all their yesterdays - and averaging them - we presume we know them. Pity the man who has character to support - it is worse than a large family - he is the silent poor indeed.Rate it:
We must have infinite faith in each other. If we have not, we must never let it leak out that we have not.Rate it:
We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.Rate it:
We seem but to linger in manhood to tell the dreams of our childhood, and they vanish out of memory ere we learn the language.Rate it:
We shall see but a little way if we require to understand what we see.Rate it:
What a man thinks of himself that is what determines, or rather indicates his fate.Rate it:
What does education often do It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.Rate it:
What is a country without rabbits and partridges They are among the most simple and indigenous animal products ancient and venerable familes known to antiquity as to modern times of the very hue and substance of Nature, nearest allied to leaves and to the ground.Rate it:
What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.Rate it:
What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it onRate it:
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.Rate it:
What men call good fellowship is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a litter which lie close together to keep each other warm.Rate it:
What old people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.Rate it:
What people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can.Rate it:
Whatever sentence will bear to be read twice, we may be sure was thought twice.Rate it:
When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.Rate it:
When I read some of the rules for speaking and writing the English language correctly...I think-- Any fool can make a rule And every fool will mind it.Rate it:
Why should we be in such desperate hast to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.Rate it:
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitiches today to save nine tomorrow.Rate it:
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, this is no other life but this.Rate it:
[Water is] the only drink for a wise man.Rate it:

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