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Henry David Thoreau Quotes

25 of the best book quotes from Henry David Thoreau
  1. #1
    “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
  2. #2
    “In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.”
  3. #3
    “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”
  4. #4
    “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
  5. #5
    “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
  6. #6
    “Things do not change; we change.”
  7. #7
    “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
  8. #8
    “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 richest. 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 poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse 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.”
  1. #9
    “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
  2. #10
    “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.”
  3. #11
    “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”
  4. #12
    “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
  5. #13
    “Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores. Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor, but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world.”
  6. #14
    “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
  7. #15
    “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.”
  8. #16
    “I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust.”
  1. #17
    “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that 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.”
  2. #18
    “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”
  3. #19
    “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
  4. #20
    “All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”
  5. #21
    “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.”
  6. #22
    “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
  7. #23
    “For my greatest skill has been to want but little.”
  8. #24
    “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
  9. #25
    “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”
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