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755 Inspiring Quotes by Henry David Thoreau

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Henry David Thoreau.

Wikipedia Summary for Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (see name pronunciation; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist, he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay "Civil Disobedience" (originally published as "Resistance to Civil Government"), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and attention to practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs.

Thoreau was a lifelong abolitionist, delivering lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law while praising the writings of Wendell Phillips and defending the abolitionist John Brown. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Thoreau is sometimes referred to as an anarchist. In "Civil Disobedience", Thoreau wrote: "I heartily accept the motto,—'That government is best which governs least;' and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe,—'That government is best which governs not at all;' and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. [...] I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government."

round black and white analog alarm clock

The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of red flower

'Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in Burton shirt facing ocean

Be as the sailor who keeps the polestar in his eye. By so doing we may not arrive at our port within a calculable period, but we will maintain a true course.

--Henry David Thoreau

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

I was born upon thy bank, river, My blood flows in thy stream, And thou meanderest forever, At the bottom of my dream.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and black abstract painting

Every man should stand for a force which is perfectly irresistible.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

We communicate like the burrows of foxes, in silence and darkness, under ground. We are undermined by faith and love.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown leaf tree facing the lake

Can there be any greater reproach than an idle learning? Learn to split wood, at least.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow Labrador puppy running on field

Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and Spring.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature -if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you -know that the morning and spring of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse.


two women lying on hammock

Make no mistake, without Hinduism, India has no future.

--Henry David Thoreau

two white flowers

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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; there is no other life but this, or the like of this. I wish to live ever as to derive my satisfactions and inspirations from the commonest events, everyday phenomena, so that what my senses hourly perceive, my daily walk, the conversation of my neighbors, may inspire me, and I may dream of no heaven but that which lies about me.


white Starbuck plastic cup on brown fabric armchair

Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.

--Henry David Thoreau

laughing woman photo

The ears were made, not for such trivial uses as men are wont to suppose, but to hear celestial sounds.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple flower field during daytime

The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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.


pink tulips on gray wooden surface

Almost any mode of observation will be successful at last, for what is most wanted is method.

--Henry David Thoreau

rainbow

All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.

--Henry David Thoreau

white wall paint with black line

Many a poor sore-eyed student that I have heard of would grow faster, both intellectually and physically, if, instead of sitting up so very late, he honestly slumbered a fool's allowance.

--Henry David Thoreau

lavender background

If anything ail a man, so that he does not perform his functions, if he have a pain in his bowels even,- for that is the seat of sympathy,-he forthwith sets about reforming the world.

--Henry David Thoreau

focus photography of chick on gray ground

Every man must walk to the beat of his own drummer.

--Henry David Thoreau

milky way wallpaper

Events, circumstances, etc., have their origin in ourselves. They spring from seeds which we have sown.

--Henry David Thoreau

white flower in grayscale photography

Mathematics should be mixed not only with physics but with ethics.

--Henry David Thoreau

white rose enclosed photograph

It is dry, hazy June weather. We are more of the earth, farther from heaven these days.

--Henry David Thoreau

leafless tree

They take great pride in making their dinner cost much; I take my pride in making my dinner cost so little.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink tulip flower

We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bone.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrue them.


silhouette of man on top of hill overlooking lighted city at dawn

How few are aware that in winter, when the earth is covered with snow and ice...the sunset is double. The winter is coming when I shall walk the sky.

--Henry David Thoreau

rainbow

English sense has toiled, but Hindoo wisdom never perspired.

--Henry David Thoreau

two birds on flight

If a man is alive, there is always danger that he may die, though the danger must be allowed to be less in proportion as he is dead-and-alive to begin with. A man sits as many risks as he runs.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset hgihway

It is the man determines what is said, not the words.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown wallpaper

The scenery, when it is truly seen, reacts on the life of the seer. How to live. How to get the most of life.... How to extract its honey from the flower of the world.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of stones during golden hour

The wisest man preaches no doctrines; he has no scheme; he sees no rafter, not even a cobweb, against the heavens. It is clear sky.

--Henry David Thoreau

The Muppets Kermit plush toy on gray sofa

There is no treatment for adore, but to love far more.

--Henry David Thoreau

white textile in close up photography

The poet will maintain serenity in spite of all disappointments. He is expected to preserve an unconcerned and healthy outlook over the world, while he lives.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white striped textile

As in geology, so in social institutions, we may discover the causes of all past changes in the present invariable order of society.

--Henry David Thoreau

person wearing black top

The greater number of men are merely corporals.

--Henry David Thoreau

selective focus photography of sunflower

Christ is the prince of Reformers and Radicals.

--Henry David Thoreau

red rose

I have no designs on society, or nature, or God. I am simply what I am, or I begin to be that. I live in the present. I only remember the past, and anticipate the future. I love to live.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue sky with white clouds

All men are children, and of one family. The same tale sends them all to bed, and wakes them in the morning.

--Henry David Thoreau

white flower in grayscale photography

Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.

--Henry David Thoreau

None

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photo of white rose

I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude? They can only force me who obey a higher law than I.... I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were that to live?


white ceramic pencil organizer on top of stack of books

If you would be chaste, you must be temperate.

--Henry David Thoreau

person holding white book

What is chastity? How shall a man know if he is chaste? He shall not know it. We have heard of this virtue, but we know not what it is.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple flower in tilt shift lens

Whatever is, and is not ashamed to be, is good.

--Henry David Thoreau

multicolored abstract painting

The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.

--Henry David Thoreau

Light blue to dark blue gradient

The perch swallows the grub-worm, the pickerel swallows the perch, and the fisherman swallows the pickerel; and so all the chinks in the scale of being are filled.

--Henry David Thoreau

toddlers standing outdoors

For my part, I could easily do without the post-office. I think that there are very few important communications made through it.

--Henry David Thoreau

white swan on blue sea during daytime

The whole body of what is now called moral or ethical truth existed in the golden age as abstract science. Or, if we prefer, we may say that the laws of Nature are the purest morality.

--Henry David Thoreau

green trees on brown dried leaves during daytime

Anyone in a free society where the laws are unjust has an obligation to break the law.

--Henry David Thoreau

grey hlalway

I have found all things thus far, persons and inanimate matter, elements and seasons, strangely adapted to my resources.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

It takes a man of genius to travel in his own country, in his native village; to make any progress between his door and his gate.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman standing on cliff

The first sparrow of spring! The year beginning with younger hope than ever!

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The first sparrow of spring! The year beginning with younger hope than ever!... What at such a time are histories, chronologies, traditions, and all written revelations? The brooks sing carols and glees to the spring.


man in black bubble hoodie looking at the stars

Scholars are wont to sell their birthright for a mess of learning.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of people riding bicycle

The incessant anxiety and strain of some is a well-nigh incurable form of disease. We are made to exaggerate the importance of what we do; and yet how much is not done by us!

--Henry David Thoreau

blue flowers in tilt shift lens

One cannot too soon forget his errors and misdemeanors. To dwell long upon them is to add to the offense.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

One cannot too soon forget his errors and misdemeanors for to dwell long upon them is to add to the offense, and repentance and sorrow can only be displaced by somewhat better, and which is as free and original as if they had not been.


aerial photography of forest

Men cannot conceive of a state of things so fair that it cannot be realized.

--Henry David Thoreau

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows.

--Henry David Thoreau

photo of brown wood slab

Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.

--Henry David Thoreau

closeup photo of white petaled flowers

Thus men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up.

--Henry David Thoreau

black wooden door near green plant

The rich man is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset with rainbow

Health requires this relaxation, this aimless life. This life in the present.

--Henry David Thoreau

sealion surrounded by rocks during daytime

How shall we account for our pursuits, if they are original? We get the language with which to describe our various lives out of acommon mint.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman sitting on black chair in front of glass-panel window with white curtains

I look upon England today as an old gentleman who is travelling with a great deal of baggage, trumpery which has accumulated fromlong housekeeping, which he has not the courage to burn.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink

The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality.

--Henry David Thoreau

adobe wall

Through want of enterprise and faith men are where they are, buying and selling and spending their lives like servants.

--Henry David Thoreau

beach shore during day time

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.


palm tree under orange sky

There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of Nature and has his senses still.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue rose

Instead of the scream of a fish hawk scaring the fishes, is heard the whistle of the steam-engine, arousing a country to its progress.

--Henry David Thoreau

concert photos

I often visited a particular plant four or five miles distant, half a dozen times within a fortnight, that I might know exactly when it opened.

--Henry David Thoreau

two person standing while watching sky

When the far mountains are invisible, the near ones look the higher.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink

Whether the flower looks better in the nosegay than in the meadow where it grew and we had to wet our feet to get it! Is the scholastic air any advantage?

--Henry David Thoreau

toddlers standing outdoors

Men go back to the mountains, as they go back to sailing ships at sea, because in the mountains and on the sea they must face up.

--Henry David Thoreau

body of water

Many college text-books, which were a weariness and stumbling-block when I studied, I have since read a little with pleasure and profit.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of man and woman during sunset

The sea, vast and wild as it is, bears thus the waste and wrecks of human art to its remotest shore. There is no telling what it may not vomit up.

--Henry David Thoreau

cloudy sky

You must not only aim right, but draw the bow with all your might.

--Henry David Thoreau

rocky mountain under starry night

The mass of men are very easily imposed on. They have their runways in which they always travel, and are sure to fall into any pit or box-trap set therein.

--Henry David Thoreau

aerial's photo of metropolitan during night time\

There is commonly sufficient space about us. Our horizon is never quite at our elbows.

--Henry David Thoreau

white wooden dock on white sand

The bad are frequently good enough to let you see how bad they are, but the good as frequently endeavor to get between you and themselves.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple lavender flower

Great men, unknown to their generation, have their fame among the great who have preceded them, and all true worldly fame subsides from their high estimate beyond the stars.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

Oh, one world at a time!

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower in close up photography

To be admitted to Nature's hearth costs nothing. None is excluded, but excludes himself. You have only to push aside the curtain.

--Henry David Thoreau

group of people waving their hands

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

--Henry David Thoreau

stars across the sky view at the desert

If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself. Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of white flowers

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!


sunset over hill

Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.

--Henry David Thoreau

bare trees under blue sky

One should be always on the trail of one's own deepest nature. For it is the fearless living out of your own essential nature that connects you to the Divine.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower in close up photography

So our human life but dies down to its root, and still puts forth its green blade to eternity.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and white flower in close up photography

If common sense had been consulted, how many marriages would never have taken place; if uncommon or divine sense, how few marriages such as we witness would ever have taken place!

--Henry David Thoreau

A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

Satan from one of his elevations, showed mankind the kingdom of California, and they entered into a compact with him at once.

--Henry David Thoreau

grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

A healthy man, indeed, is the complement of the seasons, and in winter, summer is in his heart.

--Henry David Thoreau

close up photography of moon

Life in us is like the water in a river.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

How many things there are concerning which we might well deliberate whether we had better know them.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow rose flower

Ninety-nine one-hundredths of our lives we are mere hedgers and ditchers, but from time to time we meet with reminders of our destiny.

--Henry David Thoreau

red tulips

So easy is it, though many housekeepers doubt it, to establish new and better customs in the place of the old.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of hand with red paint

In all perception of the truth there is a divine ecstasy, an inexpressible delirium of joy, as when a youth embraces his betrothed virgin.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature, which holds its life by the same tenure that he does.

--Henry David Thoreau

long black haired woman smiling close-up photography

Why level downward to our dullest perception always, and praise that as common sense? The commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring.

--Henry David Thoreau

orange flowers

In the wilderness is the salvation of the world.

--Henry David Thoreau

rainbow

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

--Henry David Thoreau

bird in the sky

Routine is a ground to stand on, a wall to retreat to; we cannot draw on our boots without bracing ourselves against it.

--Henry David Thoreau

None

I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.


sunset

Sobriety, severity, and self-respect are the foundations of all true sociality.

--Henry David Thoreau

gray concrete painted wall

I only desire sincere relations with the worthiest of my acquaintance, that they may give me an opportunity once in a year to speak the truth.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunflowers

I did not know that we had ever quarreled.

--Henry David Thoreau

houses and trees during nighttime

Man emulates earth Earth emulates heaven Heaven emulates the Way The way emulates nature.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset grasslands

When was it that men agreed to respect the appearance and not the reality?

--Henry David Thoreau

green and white bird on black wire during daytime

A journal, is a book that shall contain a record of all your joy, your ecstasy, what you are grateful for.

--Henry David Thoreau

green fruit in macro lens photography

What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?

--Henry David Thoreau

multicolored heart LED light on wall

A man cannot be said to succeed in this life who does not satisfy one friend.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and red bird during daytime

That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest.

--Henry David Thoreau

rainbow

I am a citizen of the world first, and of this country at a later and more convenient hour.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette photo of trees during night time

The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.

--Henry David Thoreau

white petaled flower bloom during daytime

I have a room all to myself; it is nature.

--Henry David Thoreau

white pampas grasses near body of water at daytime

Beware of all enterprises that require a new set of clothes.

--Henry David Thoreau

women's black and pink monokini

What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates his fate.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.

--Henry David Thoreau

snow covered brown mountain

The fire is the main comfort of the camp, whether in summer or winter.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The fire is the main comfort of the camp, whether in summer or winter, and is about as ample at one season as at another. It is as well for cheerfulness as for warmth and dryness.


white

The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective.

--Henry David Thoreau

water on seashore

The best thing a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor.

--Henry David Thoreau

clear wine glass with red wine

Men spend the best parts of their lives earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

Truth never turns to rebuke falsehood; her own straightforwardness is the severest correction.

--Henry David Thoreau

black portable vinyl records

All good things are wild and free.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in white shirt and black pants standing on top of building

All good things are cheap: all bad are very dear.

--Henry David Thoreau

assorted books on wooden table

I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow and white abstract painting

The inhabitants of the Cape generally do not complain of their "soil," but will tell you that it is good enough for them to dry their fish on.

--Henry David Thoreau

green plant

Most events recorded in history are more remarkable than important, like eclipses of the sun and moon, by which all are attracted,but whose effects no one takes the trouble to calculate.

--Henry David Thoreau

two dragonflies on green cornate leaf

Genius is not a retainer to any emperor.

--Henry David Thoreau

grayscale photography of raindrops

The artist and his work are not to be separated. The most willfully foolish man cannot stand aloof from his folly, but the deed and the doer together make ever one sober fact.

--Henry David Thoreau

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

I do not judge men by anything they can do. Their greatest deed is the impression they make on me.

--Henry David Thoreau

band performing on stage in front of people

Wealth cannot purchase any great private solace or convenience. Riches are only the means of sociality.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower field under blue sky during daytime

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.

--Henry David Thoreau

man standing outdoors

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.

--Henry David Thoreau

closeup photography of black and brown bird

An unclean person is universally a slothful one.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown rugby ball

Books can only reveal us to ourselves, and as often as they do us this service we lay them aside.

--Henry David Thoreau

white stars in the sky during night time

As the least drop of wine tinges the whole goblet, so the least particle of truth colors our whole life.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and blue sky during daytime

Men talk of freedom! How many are free to think? Free from fear, from perturbation, from prejudice? Nine hundred and ninety-nine in a thousand are perfect slaves.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple and green light digital wallpaper

So soon did we, wayfarers, begin to learn that man's life is rounded with the same few facts, the same simple relations everywhere, and it is vain to travel to find it new.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue white and red flag

I stand in awe of my body.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

The poet uses the results of science and philosophy, and generalizes their widest deductions.

--Henry David Thoreau

red tulips

It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.

--Henry David Thoreau

green and white bird on black wire during daytime

Our village life would stagnate if it were not for the unexplored forests and meadows which surround it.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple petaled flower

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.

--Henry David Thoreau

None

Pity the man who has a character to support -- it is worse than a large family -- he is silent poor indeed.

--Henry David Thoreau

white pampas grasses near body of water at daytime

The unconsciousness of man is the consciousness of God.

--Henry David Thoreau

red textile in close up photography

I am too easily contented with a slight and almost animal happiness. My happiness is a good deal like that of the woodchucks.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and white abstract painting

I am amused to see from my window here how busily a man has divided and staked off his domain. God must smile at his puny fences running hither and thither everywhere over the land.

--Henry David Thoreau

multicolored abstract painting

I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

It is in vain to dream of a wildness distant from ourselves. There is none such.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

It is in vain to dream of a wildness distant from ourselves. There is none such. It is the bog in our brains and bowels, the primitive vigor of Nature in us, that inspires that dream. I shall never find in the wilds of Labrador a greater wildness than in some recess of Concord.


pink and yellow flower painting

When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip.

--Henry David Thoreau

selective focus of white flower

Truth, Goodness, Beauty -- those celestial thrins,Continually are born; e'en now the Universe,With thousand throats, and eke with greener smiles,Its joy confesses at their recent birth.

--Henry David Thoreau

boy wearing American flag print eyeglasses sticking his mouth open

Why will we be imposed on by antiquity?

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette photography of wavy ocean

Even in our democratic New England towns the accidental possession of wealth, and its manifestation in dress and equipage alone, obtain for the possessor almost universal respect.

--Henry David Thoreau

red rose in close up photography

An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. The inefficient offer their inefficiency to the highest bidder, and are forever expecting to be put into office. One would suppose that they were rarely disappointed.


purple-petaled flower on selective focus photography

The true finish is the work of time, and the use to which a thing is put. The elements are still polishing the pyramids.

--Henry David Thoreau

pot on window with flowers

Insane!... Ask the tyrant who is his most dangerous foe, the sane man or the insane?

--Henry David Thoreau

leafless tree

The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly. They make shift to live merely by conformity, practically as their fathers did, and are in no sense the progenitors of a nobler race of men.


selective focus photography of red tulip

It will always be found that one flourishing institution exists and battens on another mouldering one. The Present itself is parasitic to this extent.

--Henry David Thoreau

milky way wallpaper

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of stones during golden hour

It is impossible to give a soldier a good education without making him a deserter. His natural foe is the government that drills him.

--Henry David Thoreau

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

Mythology is the crop which the Old World bore before its soil was exhausted.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

We do not enjoy poetry unless we know it to be poetry.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

If you are chosen town clerk, forsooth, you cannot go to Tierra del Fuego this summer; but you may go to the land of infernal fire nevertheless.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white striped textile

Give me a country where it is the most natural thing in the world for a government that does not understand you to let you alone.

--Henry David Thoreau

a woman sits on the end of a dock during daytime staring across a lake

The fruits eaten temperately need not make us ashamed of our appetites, nor interrupt the worthiest pursuits. But put an extra condiment into your dish, and it will poison you.

--Henry David Thoreau

gray concrete painted wall

I think that the farmer displaces the Indian even because he redeems the meadow, and so makes himself stronger and in some respects more natural.

--Henry David Thoreau

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

My soul and body have tottered along together of late, tripping and hindering one another like unpracticed Siamese twins.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue painted wall with white paint

Great God, I ask thee for no meaner pelf Than that I may not disappoint myself, That in my action I may soar as high As I can now discern with this clear eye.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength.

--Henry David Thoreau

gray and brown hummingbird perching on yellow petaled flower

There is no history of how bad became better.

--Henry David Thoreau

rainbow desert

Amid a world of noisy, shallow actors it is noble to stand aside and say, 'I will simply be.'

--Henry David Thoreau

purple flowers under cloudy sky

My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence. I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before,—a discovery that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy.


leafless tree on body of water during daytime

This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and imbibes delight through every pore.

--Henry David Thoreau

close up photo of tree

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

--Henry David Thoreau

silver round analog wall clock

Books are to be distinguished by the grandeur of their topics even more than by the manner in which they are treated.

--Henry David Thoreau

sealion surrounded by rocks during daytime

The world, which the Greeks called Beauty, has been made such by being gradually divested of every ornament which was not fitted to endure.

--Henry David Thoreau

orange and white floor tiles

We are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching of the reality that surrounds us. We can never have enough of nature.

--Henry David Thoreau

selective focus of common poppy flower

Hinduism is the soil into which India's roots are stuck and torn out of that she will inevitably wither as a tree torn out from its place.

--Henry David Thoreau

photography of yellow petaled flowers field

Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink umbrella

Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown rock formation

Most of the stone a nation hammers goes toward its tomb only. It buries itself alive.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

There are theoretical reformers at all times, and all the world over, living on anticipation.

--Henry David Thoreau

solid background

I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

What old people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.

--Henry David Thoreau

close-up photograph of black dreadnought acoustic guitar

Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is harsh and discordant.

--Henry David Thoreau

four person standing beside wall

Hold fast to your most indefinite, waking dream.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in white shirt and black pants standing on top of building

You cannot perceive beauty but with a serene mind.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in gray sweater carrying woman in black jacket

We loiter in winter while it is already spring.

--Henry David Thoreau

green leaf in close up photography

The same soil is good for men and for trees. A man's health requires as many acres of meadow to his prospect as his farm does loads of muck.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset highway

Water is a pioneer which the settler follows, taking advantage of its improvements.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and gray textile in close up photography

The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in white shirt and black pants standing on top of building

We are born as innocents. We are polluted by advice.

--Henry David Thoreau

silver round analog wall clock

Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower in close up photography

To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.


closeup photography of wall

Friendship is never established as an understood relation. It is a miracle which requires constant proofs. It is an exercise of the purest imagination and of the rarest faith!

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photo of white rose

You cannot receive a shock unless you have an electric affinity for that which shocks you.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and blue sky with moon

For the most part we allow only outlying and transient circumstances to make our occasions. They are, in fact, the cause of our distraction.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

The stars are the jewels of the night, and perchance surpass anything which day has to show.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The stars are the jewels of the night, and perchance surpass anything which day has to show. A companion with whom I was sailing one very windy but bright moonlight night, when the stars were few and faint, thought that a man could get along with them,-though he was considerably reduced in his circumstances,-that they were a kind of bread and cheese that never failed.


closeup photo of lounger chairs and beach umbrellas

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.

--Henry David Thoreau

green trees on mountain during daytime

When the leaves fall, the whole earth is a cemetery pleasant to walk in. I love to wander and muse over them in their graves. Here are no lying nor vain epitaphs.

--Henry David Thoreau

green and white painted wall

It is the marriage of the soul with nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination.

--Henry David Thoreau

man standing on sand while spreading arms beside calm body of water

If you would get exercise, go in search of the springs of life.

--Henry David Thoreau

clear hour glass beside pink flowers

All change is a miracle to contemplate, but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.

--Henry David Thoreau

person with flashlight near lighted green tree on mountain under starry night

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.


man in blue tank top holding green and black skateboard

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life.


long black haired woman smiling close-up photography

I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests. It is cheerfully, musically earnest. I lie and relie on the earth.

--Henry David Thoreau

black mountain under blue sky during night time

It is remarkable that among all the preachers there are so few moral teachers. The prophets are employed in excusing the ways of men.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink

I hear beyond the range of sound,
I see beyond the range of sight,
New earths and skies and seas around,
And in my day the sun doth pale his light.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of person raising hand

Trees indeed have hearts.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple petaled flower on gray surface

Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?

--Henry David Thoreau

person wearing orange and gray Nike shoes walking on gray concrete stairs

The sea-shore is a sort of neutral ground, a most advantageous point from which to contemplate this world.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The sea-shore is a sort of neutral ground, a most advantageous point from which to contemplate this world. It is even a trivial place. The waves forever rolling to the land are too far-travelled and untamable to be familiar. Creeping along the endless beach amid the sun-squall and the foam, it occurs to us that we, too, are the product of sea-slime.


lightning strike at night

Friendship is evanescent in every man's experience, and remembered like heat lightning in past summers.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and gray floral textile

It is very rare that you meet with obstacles in this world, which the humblest man has not faculties to surmount.

--Henry David Thoreau

leafless tree on snow covered ground

When the reptile is attacked at one mouth of his burrow, he shows himself at another.

--Henry David Thoreau

mountains under white clouds at daytime

There is ripe fruit over your head.

--Henry David Thoreau

closeup photo of violin on brown surface

Write while the heat is in you.

--Henry David Thoreau

four men sitting beside table

The civilized man is a more experienced and wiser savage.

--Henry David Thoreau

bunch of tulips flower on wooden surface

Expect no trivial truth from me, unless I am on the witness- stand. I will come as near to lying as you can drive a coach and four.

--Henry David Thoreau

low angle view of blue clouds

There are more consequences to a shipwreck than the underwriters notice.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

Poetry is the mysticism of mankind.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower field under blue sky during daytime

Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow tulip flowers

It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of books

It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.

--Henry David Thoreau

black, purple, and orange basketball court beside concrete buildings at daytime

Friends… they cherish one another's hopes. They are kind to one another's dreams.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown grass field under blue sky and white clouds during daytime

The child should have the advantage of ignorance as well as of knowledge, and is fortunate if he gets his share of neglect and exposure.

--Henry David Thoreau

selective focus photography of Russian Blue cat

You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds.

--Henry David Thoreau

plain

If the fairest features of the landscape are to be named after men, let them be the noblest and worthiest men alone.

--Henry David Thoreau

water on seashore

To say that God has given a man many and great talents frequently means that he has brought his heavens down within reach of his hands.

--Henry David Thoreau

selective focus photography of orange and beige butterfly on purple flowers

Your richest veins don't lie nearest the surface.

--Henry David Thoreau

gray hummingbird

Everything may serve a lower as well as a higher use.

--Henry David Thoreau

lightning strike at night

Be not anxious to avoid poverty. In this way the wealth of the universe may be securely invested.

--Henry David Thoreau

lighted candle in dark room

I have found it to be the most serious objection to coarse labors long continued, that they compelled me to eat and drink coarsely also.

--Henry David Thoreau

shade under a green-leafed tree

How can any man be weak who dares to be at all?

--Henry David Thoreau

red and yellow abstract painting

Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of purple flower

If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow and red color textile

What is the use of going right over the old track again? There is an adder in the path which your own feet have worn. You must make tracks into the Unknown.

--Henry David Thoreau

red tulip in bloom close up photo

On tops of mountains, as everywhere to hopeful souls, it is always morning.

--Henry David Thoreau

multicolored abstract painting

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent.

--Henry David Thoreau

man playing soccer during daytime

I have found it a singular luxury to talk across the pond to a companion on the opposite side.

--Henry David Thoreau

white rose enclosed photograph

Live in each season as it passes: breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit.

--Henry David Thoreau

rock formation under starry skies

As they say in geology, time never fails, there is always enough of it, so I may say, criticism never fails.

--Henry David Thoreau

red and white no smoking sign

Especially the transcendental philosophy needs the leaven of humor to render it light and digestible.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue flowers in tilt shift lens

What a healthy out-of-door appetite it takes to relish the apple of life, the apple of the world, then!

--Henry David Thoreau

seashore during golden hour

If you look over a list of medicinal recipes in vogue in the last century, how foolish and useless they are seen to be! And yet we use equally absurd ones with faith today.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman standing on cliff

Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and yellow wall sconce

There is a higher law affecting our relation to pines as well as to men. A pine cut down, a dead pine, is no more a pine than a dead human carcass is a man.

--Henry David Thoreau

green trees under blue sky at daytime

One chair for solitude, two for friendship, and three for society.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

Enemies publish themselves. They declare war. The friend never declares his love.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown wooden door with silver door lever

I thought, as I have my living to get, and have not eaten today, that I might go a- fishing. That's the true industry for poets. It is the only trade I have learned.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple and green light digital wallpaper

Knowledge is to be acquired only by a corresponding experience. How can we know what we are told merely? Each man can interpret another's experience only by his own.

--Henry David Thoreau

solid background

There is reason in the distinction of civil and uncivil. The manners are sometimes so rough a rind that we doubt whether they cover any core or sap-wood at all.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman signing on white printer paper beside woman about to touch the documents

As I go through the woods now, so many oak and other leaves have fallen the rustling noise somewhat disturbs my musing.

--Henry David Thoreau

green trees under white sky during daytime

The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secrets of things.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and white bird on seashore

Color, which is the poet's wealth, is so expensive that most take to mere outline sketches and become men of science.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

When a man's conscience and the laws clash, it is his conscience that he must follow.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple flower in tilt shift lens

The universe is wider than our views of it.

--Henry David Thoreau

snow covered brown mountain

All expression of truth does at length take this deep ethical form.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown pine trees near mountain covered with fog

Being is the great explainer.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and blue sky with moon

The eye which can appreciate the naked and absolute beauty of a scientific truth is far more rare than that which is attracted by a moral one.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown grass field during daytime

Whatever sentence will bear to be read twice, we may be sure was thought twice.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset forest

The gifts of Heaven are never quite gratuitous.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photography of mountain hit by sun rays

There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown sands

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.

--Henry David Thoreau

photo og calm body of water

To a small man every greater is an exaggeration.

--Henry David Thoreau

orange tabby cat on black textile

The voice of nature is always encouraging.

--Henry David Thoreau

red flowers with water droplets

The music of all creatures has to do with their loves, even of toads and frogs. Is it not the same with man?

--Henry David Thoreau

brown rocky mountain under blue sky during daytime

The great poem must have the stamp of greatness as well as its essence.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

Our taste is too delicate and particular. It says nay to the poet's work, but never yea to his hope.

--Henry David Thoreau

red and black floral textile

Give me a sentence which no intelligence can understand. There must be a kind of life and palpitation to it, and under its words akind of blood must circulate forever.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on rock formation during daytime

When a noble deed is done, who is likely to appreciate it? They who are noble themselves.

--Henry David Thoreau

person with flashlight near lighted green tree on mountain under starry night

The dinner even is only the parable of a dinner, commonly.

--Henry David Thoreau

calm body of water near alp mountains during nighttime

We are armed with language adequate to describe each leaf of the filed, but not to describe human character.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower in close up photography

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

I have seen how the foundations of the world are laid, and I have not the least doubt that it will stand a good while.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink flowers with white background

Improve every opportunity to be melancholy.

--Henry David Thoreau

mountain dew during sunrise

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown tree on surrounded by brown grass during golden hour

The vessel, though her masts be firm,Beneath her copper bears a worm.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in blue tank top holding green and black skateboard

The highest law gives a thing to him who can use it.

--Henry David Thoreau

person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

The fault finder will find faults even in paradise and thereby miss the joys that recognition of the positives bring.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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 poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house 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.


brown grass field near gray rocky mountain during daytime

As every season seems best to us in its turn, so the coming in of spring is like the creation of Cosmos out of Chaos and the realization of the Golden Age.

--Henry David Thoreau

green leaf in close up photography

It is not so important that many should be good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump.

--Henry David Thoreau

group of people inside the room in grayscale photo

May we so love as never to have occasion to repent of our love!

--Henry David Thoreau

view of mountaintops with clouds

I perceive that we inhabitants of New England live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate the surface ofthings. We think that that is which appears to be.

--Henry David Thoreau

depth photography of purple petaled flowers

The lover wants no partiality. He says, Be so kind as to be just.

--Henry David Thoreau

lighted candle in dark room

I do not know at first what it is that harms me. The men and things of to-day are wont to be fairer and truer in to-morrow's memory.

--Henry David Thoreau

castle surrounded fog

We find it difficult to choose our direction because it does not yet exist distinctly in our idea.

--Henry David Thoreau

adult black and white dog leaning on wooden fence

Let things alone; let them weigh what they will; let them soar or fall.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and gray floral textile

The slight reproach to which the virtue of patriotism is commonly liable, the noble are most likely to incur.

--Henry David Thoreau

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

Unless we do more than simply learn the trade of our time, we are but apprentices, and not yet masters of the art of life.

--Henry David Thoreau

man standing on cliff under white sky

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 life.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of man standing on hill during starry night

My life has been the poem I would have writ,
But I could not both live and utter it.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette photo of person holding flashlight under milk way

From exertion come wisdom and purity; from sloth ignorance and sensuality.

--Henry David Thoreau

mountains under starry sky during nighttime

Many men walk by day; few walk by night. It is a different season.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow bee beside purple petaled flower during daytime

The wildness and adventure that are in fishing still recommend it to me.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on top of mountain

We cannot put a noose around another man's neck without first hanging ourselves.

--Henry David Thoreau

three pink tulip flowers

Friends... they cherish one another's hopes. They are kind to one another's dreams.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow flower field under clear sky

If you see a man approaching you with the obvious intent of doing you good, you should run for your life.

--Henry David Thoreau

red tulips flower

The earth I tread on is not a dead inert mass. It is a body, has a spirit; is organic and fluid to the influence of its spirit and to whatever particle of the spirit is in me.

--Henry David Thoreau

red rose

Live free, child of the mist,- and with respect to knowledge we are allchildren of the mist.

--Henry David Thoreau

white bicycle parked beside wall

Perfect sincerity and transparency make a great part of beauty, as in dewdrops, lakes, and diamonds.

--Henry David Thoreau

a woman sits on the end of a dock during daytime staring across a lake

The sort of morality which the priests inculcate is a very subtle policy, far finer than the politicians', and the world is very successfully ruled by them as the policemen.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink tulips in clear glass vase

The thoughtful man becomes a hermit in the thoroughfares of the marketplace.

--Henry David Thoreau

a couple holding hands with a wedding ring visible

One must maintain a little bit of summer even in the middle of winter.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of woman during sunset

If I choose to devote myself to certain labors which yield more real profit, though but little money, they may be inclined to look on me as an idler.

--Henry David Thoreau

rock formation under starry skies

I think that no experience which I have today comes up to, or is comparable with, the experiences of my boyhood.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of trees during sunset

You must love the crust of the earth on which you dwell more than the sweet crust of any bread or cake; you must be able to extract nutriment out of a sand heap.

--Henry David Thoreau

man and woman kissing beside body of water during daytime

In the long run, you hit only what you aim at.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.


gray road beside a trees

Truth is always paradoxical.

--Henry David Thoreau

crescent moon above mountain

I cannot fish without falling a little in self-respect...always when I have done I feel it would have been better if I had not fished.

--Henry David Thoreau

white tulips in white background

Ignorance and bungling with love are better than wisdom and skill without.

--Henry David Thoreau

white flower with black background

It is too late to be studying Hebrew; it is more important to understand even the slang of today.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

Men are born to succeed, not to fail.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of mountain during sunset

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

--Henry David Thoreau

white-and-pink flowers

It is time that we had uncommon schools, that we did not leave off our education when we begin to be men and women.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink flowers in vase

The man who takes the liberty to live is superior to all the laws, by virtue of his relation to the lawmaker.

--Henry David Thoreau

birds flying under cloudy sky during daytime

The books for young people say a great deal about the selection of Friends; it is because they really have nothing to say about Friends. They mean associates and confidants merely.

--Henry David Thoreau

white satellite dish under starry night

A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us, like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it; and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities, which we call our duty. We loiter in winter while it is already spring. In a pleasant spring morning all men's sins are forgiven.


yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

A man's interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark, though the witches are all hung.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower in close up photography

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beechtree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.

--Henry David Thoreau

green trees under white sky during daytime

We cannot but pity the boy who has never fired a gun; he is no more humane, while his education has been sadly neglected.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown wallpaper

Youth gets together with their materials to build a bridge to the moon or maybe a palace on earth; then in middle age they decide to build a woodshed with them instead.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photo of green leaves

I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home. I thus dispose of the superfluous and see things as they are, grand and beautiful.


white flower

Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white abstract painting

I should have liked to come across a large community of pines, which had never been invaded by the lumbering army.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

Knowledge does not come to us in details, but in flashes of light from heaven.

--Henry David Thoreau

body of water during daytime

In proportion as a person simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude.

--Henry David Thoreau

A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink flower

When any real progress is made, we unlearned and learn anew what we thought we knew before.

--Henry David Thoreau

white brick wall planning

Love is no individual's experience; and though we are imperfect mediums, it does not partake of our imperfection; though we are finite, it is infinite and eternal.

--Henry David Thoreau

None

Consider what stuff history is made of, -- that for the most part it is merely a story agreed on by posterity.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white water surface

If it is necessary, omit one bridge over the river, go round a little there, and throw one arch at least over the darker gulf of ignorance which surrounds us.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of bee on flower

The virtue of making two blades of grass grow where only one grew before does not begin to be superhuman.

--Henry David Thoreau

three person looking stars and milky way

I would give all the wealth of the world, and all the deeds of all the heroes, for one true vision.

--Henry David Thoreau

rocky mountain

The present hour is always wealthiest when it is poorer than the future ones, as that is the pleasantest site which affords the pleasantest prospect.

--Henry David Thoreau

leafless tree

I do not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the schoolmaster.

--Henry David Thoreau

gray concrete road between trees

March to the beat of your own drummer.

--Henry David Thoreau

clear hour glass

In the unbending of the arm to do the deed there is experience worth all the maxims in the world.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photography of green tree

You cannot hear music and noise at the same time.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and blue sky with moon

By a conscious effort of the mind we can stand aloof from actions and their consequences; and all things, good and bad, go by us like a torrent.

--Henry David Thoreau

low-angle photo of white daisy

Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.

--Henry David Thoreau

white

Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.

--Henry David Thoreau

raging waves through shores

Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off.

--Henry David Thoreau

red tulips flower

When I would go a-visiting, I find that I go off the fashionable street, -- not being inclined to change my dress, -- to where man meets man, and not polished shoe meets shoe.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape

Give me a Wildness whose glance no civilization can endure.

--Henry David Thoreau

grassland landscape

Methinks my own soul must be a bright invisible green.

--Henry David Thoreau

bonfire in forest

It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.

--Henry David Thoreau

black mountain under blue sky during night time

As long as possible live free and uncommitted. It makes but little difference whether you are committed to a farm or the county jail.

--Henry David Thoreau

flat lay photography teacup on top of saucer

The most difficult thing to understand during conversation is silence.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

Having each some shingles of thought well dried, we sat and whittled them.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown wooden heart shaped figurine

If misery loves company, misery has company enough.

--Henry David Thoreau

white brick wall

While some men believe in the infinite, some ponds will be thought to be bottomless.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and black soccer ball on grass field

Man is an animal who more than any other can adapt himself to all climates and circumstances.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and blue floral textile

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.

--Henry David Thoreau

black pug puppy on white and pink textile

Nothing makes the earth so spacious as to have friends at a distance.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance, they make the latitudes and longitudes.


landscape photography of trees

Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry,-determine to make a day of it.


red wine digital wallpaper

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.

--Henry David Thoreau

rocky mountain under starry night

We are a nation of politicians, concerned about the outmost defenses only of freedom. It is our children's children who may perchance be really free.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and white light illustration

Today...the bluebirds, old and young, have revisited their box, as if they would fain repeat the summer without intervention of winter, if Nature would let them.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset woman at beach

My greatest skill in life has been to want but little.

--Henry David Thoreau

photo of about to bloom lotus flower

We need the tonic of wildness.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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.


red and pink flowers

How often we find ourselves turning our backs on our actual friends, that we might go and meet their ideal cousins.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman in black shirt standing on yellow flower field during daytime

I make myself rich by making my wants few.

--Henry David Thoreau

time lapse photography of fire

We shall see but a little way if we require to understand what we see.

--Henry David Thoreau

plain

I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no sabbath.

--Henry David Thoreau

dew drops on glass panel

How did these beautiful rainbow tints get into the shell of the freshwater clam buried in the mud at the bottom of our dark river? Even the sea-bottom tells of the upper skies.

--Henry David Thoreau

black textile in close up photography

What recommends commerce to me is its enterprise and bravery. It does not clasp its hands and pray to Jupiter.

--Henry David Thoreau

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.

--Henry David Thoreau

three books on surface

One who knew how to appropriate the true value of this world would be the poorest man in it. The poor rich man! all he has is whathe has bought.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset forest

Be it life or death, we crave only reality.

--Henry David Thoreau

bonfire in forest

Most people dread finding out when they come to die that they have never really lived.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue mountains at daytime

In their daily life, all are braver than they know.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and black abstract painting

Nature is an admirable schoolmistress.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and white abstract illustration

I would remind my countrymen that they are to be men first, and Americans only at a late and convenient hour.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

I would remind my countrymen, that they are to be men first, and Americans only at a late and convenient hour. No matter how valuable law may be to protect your property, even to keep soul and body together, if it do not keep you and humanity together.


orange abstract painting

The community has no bribe that will tempt a wise man.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown desert under sunny sky

If however the law is so promulgated that it of necessity makes you an agent of injustices against another, then I say to you ... break the law.

--Henry David Thoreau

boy wearing American flag print eyeglasses sticking his mouth open

The only sin in the world is ignorance.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

The oldest, wisest politician grows not more human so, but is merely a gray wharf rat at last.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of trees during nighttime

Every man will be a poet if he can; otherwise a philosopher or man of science. This proves the superiority of the poet.

--Henry David Thoreau

sealion surrounded by rocks during daytime

That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photography of waves and clouds

Being a teacher is like being in jail; once it's on your record, you can never get rid of it.

--Henry David Thoreau

gray concrete painted wall

It's the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us. The question is not what you look at but what you see.

--Henry David Thoreau

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

Friends will be much apart. They will respect more each other's privacy than their communion.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.

--Henry David Thoreau

white rose enclosed photograph

The frontiers are not east or west, north or south, but wherever a man fronts a fact.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The frontiers are not east or west, north or south; but wherever a man fronts a fact, though that fact be a neighbor, there is an unsettled wilderness between him and Canada, between him and the setting sun, or, farther still, between him and it. Let him build himself a log house with the bark on where he is, fronting it, and wage there an Old French war for seven or seventy years, with Indians and Rangers, or whatever else may come between him and the reality, and save his scalp if he can.


sliced lemon on pink surface

Haste makes waste, no less in life than in housekeeping.

--Henry David Thoreau

black pug puppy on white and pink textile

It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman holding Pug puppy

Love must be as much a light as it is a flame.

--Henry David Thoreau

man and woman holding hand while walking on bridge

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.

--Henry David Thoreau

three pink tulip flowers

I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.

--Henry David Thoreau

time lapse photography of fire

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and yellow wall sconce

The forests are held cheap after the white pine has been culled out; and the explorers and hunters pray for rain only to clear theatmosphere of smoke.

--Henry David Thoreau

white satellite dish under starry night

Real power is measured by how much you can let things be.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in orange jacket and black pants doing snow ski during daytime

I was daily intoxicated, yet no man could call me intemperate.

--Henry David Thoreau

grey hlalway

Thaw with her gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer. The one melts, the other breaks into pieces.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown grass field during daytime

How can we expect a harvest of thought who have not had a seedtime of character?

--Henry David Thoreau

photo of clear sky full of stars

Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and black abstract painting

When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.

--Henry David Thoreau

photo of gray elephant on grass

In a world of peace and love, music would be the universal language.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown mountains under blue sky

Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.

--Henry David Thoreau

white wall paint with black shadow

When I visit again some haunt of my youth, I am glad to find that nature wears so well. The landscape is indeed something real, and solid, and sincere, and I have not put my foot through it yet.

--Henry David Thoreau

white pendant lamp

There never was and is not likely soon to be a nation of philosophers, nor am I certain it is desirable that there should be.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflower field under blue sky during daytime

The modern cheap and fertile press, with all its translations, has done little to bring us nearer to the heroic writers of antiquity.

--Henry David Thoreau

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain.


plain background

Life is so short that it is not wise to take roundabout ways, nor can we spend much time in waiting.... We have not got half-way to dawn yet.

--Henry David Thoreau

beige concrete wall

The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and blue ice in water

The language of excitement is at best picturesque merely. You must be calm before you can utter oracles.

--Henry David Thoreau

green-leafed trees during daytime

The stars are the apexes of what triangles!

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment! Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?


pink lotus flower on clear body of water

How many a poor immortal soul I have met well-nigh crushed and smothered under its load, creeping down the road of life, pushing before it an oversized home.

--Henry David Thoreau

A stack of thick folders on a white surface

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue sky with stars during night time

I have found that hollow, which even I had relied on for solid.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape rocks

I have an immense appetite for solitude, like an infant for sleep, and if I don't get enough for this year, I shall cry all the next.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset with agave stem

Every child begins the world again.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold. It plays house, as well as horse, having an instinct for it...At last we know not what it is to live in the open air, and our lives are domestic in more senses than we think.


milky way wallpaper

Verily, chemistry is not a splitting of hairs when you have got half a dozen raw Irishmen in the laboratory.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of white flowers

I have learned that even the smallest house can be a home.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on top of mountain

One piece of good sense would be more memorable than a monument as high as the moon.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman holding cake looking up

Endeavor to live the life you have imagined.

--Henry David Thoreau

person wearing round black analog watch at 9:46

Truly, our greatest blessings are very cheap.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink flowers in tilt shift lens

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.


green pine trees near mountain under blue sky during daytime

Man's moral nature is a riddle which only eternity can solve.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

He who receives an injury is to some extent an accomplice of the wrong-doer.

--Henry David Thoreau

red white and blue flag

The sacredness, if there is any, is all in yourself and not in the place.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman doing yoga on rock platform next to body of water

I do not wish, it happens, to be associated with Massachusetts, either in holding slaves or in conquering Mexico. I am a little better than herself in these respects.

--Henry David Thoreau

fire near trees

At present our only true names are nicknames.

--Henry David Thoreau

photography of lake near tree

Be true to your work your word and your friend.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset woman at beach

Music is perpetual, and only the hearing is intermittent.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and green flower painting

New ideas come into this world somewhat like falling meteors, with a flash and an explosion.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow wallpaper

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown and black leaf in close up photography

My enemies are worms, cool days, and most of all woodchucks.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white abstract painting

Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.

--Henry David Thoreau

close-up photo of two men shaking hands near beach at sunset

Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of stones during golden hour

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.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown grass field under blue sky and white clouds during daytime

I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape

Far from New England's blustering shore,New England's worm her hulk shall bore,And sink her in the Indian seas,Twine, wine, and hides, and China teas.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape

Deep are the foundations of sincerity. Even stone walls have their foundation below the frost.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white floral textile

Poetry is the only life got, the only work done, the only pure product and free labor of man, performed only when he has put all the world under his feet, and conquered the last of his foes.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of woman during sunset

The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild, and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World.

--Henry David Thoreau

body of water

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.

--Henry David Thoreau

four men sitting beside table

Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape donkey

Only that day dawns to which we are awake.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown trees under blue sky during daytime

We live but a fraction of our lives.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown and gray stick

Men have become the tools of their tools.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow and purple flower with white background

A Friend is one who incessantly pays us the compliment of expecting from us all the virtues, and who can appreciate them in us.

--Henry David Thoreau

worm's eye view of trees during night time

The language of friendship is not words but meanings.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The language of friendship is not words , but rather meanings. It is an intelligence above language.


wall

How earthy old people become -- moldy as the grave! Their wisdom smacks of the earth. There is no foretaste of immortality in it. They remind me of earthworms and mole crickets.

--Henry David Thoreau

man running on seashore

To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and white duck on brown wooden dock during daytime

Never trust any thought arrived at sitting down.

--Henry David Thoreau

seashore during golden hour

First, there is the power of the Wind, constantly exerted over the globe... Here is an almost incalculable power at our disposal, yet how trifling the use we make of it.

--Henry David Thoreau

galaxy wallpaper

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.

--Henry David Thoreau

white stone woman sculpture

While the Governor, and the Mayor, and countless officers of the Commonwealth are at large, the champions of liberty are imprisoned.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman standing on forest

Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors.

--Henry David Thoreau

tilt shift lens photo of sunflower

Not secondary to the sun, she gives us his blaze again, Void of its flame, and sheds a softer day... In Heaven queen she is among the spheres; She, mistress-like, makes all things to be pure.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown rock formation on body of water during daytime

One is wise to cultivate the tree that bears fruit in our soul.

--Henry David Thoreau

two dragonflies on green cornate leaf

This world is but a canvas for our imagination.

--Henry David Thoreau

seashore during daytime

The Iliad represents no creed nor opinion, and we read it with a rare sense of freedom and irresponsibility, as if we trod on native ground, and were autochthones of the soil.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of mountain during sunset

Night is certainly more novel and less profane than day.

--Henry David Thoreau

island during daytime

The purity men love is like the mists which envelope the earth, and not like the azure ether beyond.

--Henry David Thoreau

green leaf tree on shore

He who rides and keeps the beaten track studies the fences chiefly.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow petaled flower screenshot

To be a philosopher... is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photography of green tree

Tradition is a more interrupted and feebler memory.

--Henry David Thoreau

group of people inside the room in grayscale photo

The world is a strange place for a playhouse to stand within it.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photography of mountain hit by sun rays

The mason asks but a narrow shelf to spring his brick from; man requires only an infinitely narrower one to spring his arch of faith from.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink tulip flower

The universe seems bankrupt as soon as we begin to discuss the characters of individuals.

--Henry David Thoreau

two grey elephants on grass plains during sunset

There is but one stage for the peasant and the actor.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple petaled flower

Be yourself -- not your idea of what you think somebody else's idea of yourself should be.

--Henry David Thoreau

plain background

When we are in health, all sounds fife and drum for us; we hear the notes of music in the air, or catch its echoes dying away when we awake in the dawn.

--Henry David Thoreau

mountains covered with fog

It is not enough that we are truthful; we must cherish and carry out high purposes to be truthful about.

--Henry David Thoreau

grass field under cloudy sky

In the student sensuality is a sluggish habit of mind.

--Henry David Thoreau

withered tree surrounded with snow during daytime

In an unjust society the only place for a just man is prison.

--Henry David Thoreau

island during daytime

The inhabitants of Canada appeared to be suffering between two fires, -- the soldiery and the priesthood.

--Henry David Thoreau

silver bell alarm clock

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?

--Henry David Thoreau

selective focus photo of woman holding sunflower surrounded by sunflowers

We should distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.

--Henry David Thoreau

body of water during daytime

Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.

--Henry David Thoreau

backdrop orange

We are accustomed to say, that the mass of men are unprepared; but improvement is slow, because the few are not materially wiser or better than the many.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown leaf tree facing the lake

When will the world learn that a million men are of no importance compared with one man?

--Henry David Thoreau

blue rose in close up photography

If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.


rock formation surrounding by body of water

There is always a present and extant life, be it better or worse, which all combine to uphold.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue rose with water droplet

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion. I would rather ride on earth in an ox cart, with a free circulation, than go to heaven in the fancy car of an excursion train and breathe a malaria all the way.


pavement surrounded with dried leaves

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and red flower with green leaves

There is a difference between eating and drinking for strength and from mere gluttony.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple-tree or oak. Shall he turn his spring into summer? If the condition of things which we were made for is not yet, what were any reality which we can substitute? We will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality.


green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

There is a chasm between knowledge and ignorance which the arches of science can never span.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape

What fire could ever equal the sunshine of a winter's day?

--Henry David Thoreau

green and white bird on black wire during daytime

All endeavour calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil. The fight to the finish spirit is the one... characteristic we must posses if we are to face the future as finishers.


person on road at sunset

None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty.

--Henry David Thoreau

two women walking on bridge during daytime

All perception of truth is the detection of an analogy.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown wallpaper

Are you in want of amusement nowadays? Then play a little at the game of getting a living. There was never anything equal to it. Do it temperately, though, and don't sweat.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue

I learned to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of nature, rather than a member of society.

--Henry David Thoreau

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

As naturally as the oak bears an acorn and the vine a gourd, man bears a poem, either spoken or done.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape

A modern author would have died in infancy in a ruder age.

--Henry David Thoreau

white stone woman sculpture

In the summer we lay up a stock of experiences for the winter, as the squirrel of nuts?something for conversation in winter evenings.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white striped textile

I know of no redeeming qualities in myself but a sincere love for some things, and when I am reproved I fall back on to this ground.

--Henry David Thoreau

green leafed plant on clear glass vase filled with water

The mission of men there seems to be, like so many busy demons, to drive the forest all out of the country, from every solitary beaver swamp and mountain-side, as soon as possible.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown and black tiger near body of water

A hero's love is as delicate as a maiden's.

--Henry David Thoreau

photo of underwater

Poverty ... It is life near the bone, where it is sweetest.

--Henry David Thoreau

black wooden door near green plant

Every man has to learn the points of the compass again as often as he awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction.

--Henry David Thoreau

backdrop solid

The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple-petaled flower on selective focus photography

I fear that I have not got much to say about Canada, not having seen much; what I got by going to Canada was a cold.

--Henry David Thoreau

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

Nothing but great antiquity can make graveyards interesting to me. I have no friends there.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman in white and black stripe long sleeve shirt standing beside brown concrete building during daytime

Our manners have been corrupted by communication with the saints.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Our manners have been corrupted by communication with the saints. Our hymn-books resound with a melodious cursing of God and enduring Him forever. One would say that even the prophets and redeemers had rather consoled the fears than confirmed the hopes of man. There is nowhere recorded a simple and irrepressible satisfaction with the gift of life, any memorable praise of God.


purple and white petaled flower

The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and red flowers

There are two seasons when the leaves are in their glory, their green and perfect youth in June and this their ripe old age.

--Henry David Thoreau

aerial photo of green trees

Instead of noblemen, let us have noble villages of men.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue

A man may acquire a taste for wine or brandy, and so lose his love for water, but should we not pity him.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown grass field during daytime

A simple and independent mind does not toil at the bidding of any prince.

--Henry David Thoreau

white pendant lamp

Though the hen should sit all day, she could lay only one egg, and, besides, would not have picked up materials for another.

--Henry David Thoreau

white stars in the sky during night time

Every nail driven should be as another rivet in the machine of the universe, you carrying on the work.

--Henry David Thoreau

photo of brown parquet

Front yards are not made to walk in, but, at most, through, and you could go in the back way.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of a person during sunset

Could slavery suggest a more complete servility than some of these journals exhibit? Is there any dust which their conduct does not lick, and make fouler still with its slime?

--Henry David Thoreau

round black and white analog alarm clock

To say that a man is your Friend means commonly no more than this, that he is not your enemy.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

To say that a man is your Friend, means commonly no more than this, that he is not your enemy. Most contemplate only what would be the accidental and trifling advantages of Friendship, as that the Friend can assist in time of need by his substance, or his influence, or his counsel. Even the utmost goodwill and harmony and practical kindness are not sufficient for Friendship, for Friends do not live in harmony merely, as some say, but in melody.


3 women playing soccer on green grass field during daytime

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow green leaf

Many old people receive pensions for no other reason, it seems to me, but as a compensation for having lived a long time ago.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

The startings and arrivals of the cars are now the epochs in the village day.

--Henry David Thoreau

black bird flying on white background

The young pines springing up in the corn-fields from year to year are to me a refreshing fact.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and black soccer ball on grass field

We fritter away our energy and creativity ...
we get bogged down in the thick of thin things.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photography of mountains with cloudy skies during golden hour

I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man: wine is not so noble a liquor; and think of dashing the hopes of a morningwith a cup of warm coffee, or of an evening with a dish of tea! Ah, how low I fall when I am tempted by them! Even music may be intoxicating. Such apparently slight causes destroyed Greece and Rome, and will destroy England and America.


time lapse photography body of water

Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends... Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink flowers in tilt shift lens

The tavern will compare favorably with the church.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The tavern will compare favorably with the church. The church is the place where prayers and sermons are delivered, but the tavern is where they are to take effect, and if the former are good, the latter cannot be bad.


person holding brown leaf

As I love nature, as I love singing birds...I love thee, my friend.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

As I love nature, as I love singing birds, and gleaming stubble, and flowing rivers, and morning and evening, and summer and winter, I love thee, my Friend.


white pampas grasses near body of water at daytime

City life is millions of people being lonesome together.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown rock formation

The most attractive sentences are not perhaps the wisest, but the surest and soundest.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The most attractive sentences are, perhaps, not the wisest, but the surest and roundest. They are spoken firmly and conclusively,as if the speaker had a right to know what he says, and if not wise, they have at least been well learned.


pavement surrounded with dried leaves

In Literature it is only the wild that attracts us.

--Henry David Thoreau

black bird flying on white background

Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape

It is no more dusky in ordinary nights than our mind's habitual atmosphere, and the moonlight is as bright as our most illuminatedmoments are.

--Henry David Thoreau

group of people inside the room in grayscale photo

Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photography of horizon

News Coverage! As news expose rather than cover events.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset dirt road

What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.

--Henry David Thoreau

lights

The only way to speak the truth is to speak lovingly.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of elephant on brown sand during sunset

The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and yellow flower painting

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

--Henry David Thoreau

galaxy

Why should we be startled by death? Life is a constant putting off of the mortal coil -- coat, cuticle, flesh and bones, all old clothes.

--Henry David Thoreau

man sitting on concrete brick with opened laptop on his lap

I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.

--Henry David Thoreau

red flower in shallow focus lens

The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours ... but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape rocks

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth--certainly the machine will wear out… but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.


solid background

When I think of the gold-diggers and the Mormons, the slaves and the slave-holders and the flibustiers, I naturally dream of a glorious private life. No, I am not patriotic.

--Henry David Thoreau

rainbow desert

Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

lBooks are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to plead, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not refuse them. Their authors are a natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society, and, more than kings or emperors, exert an influence on mankind.


Arizona landscape

Society is commonly too cheap.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other.We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that musty old cheese that we are. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We meet at the post office, and at the sociable, and at the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another.


blooming pink flower

Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on top of mountain

It enriches us infinitely to recognize greater qualities than we possess in another.

--Henry David Thoreau

mountains covered with fog

Open all your pores and bathe in all the tides of nature, in all her streams and oceans, at all seasons.

--Henry David Thoreau

fire near trees

In short, all good things are wild and free.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

In short, all good things are wild and free. There is something in a strain of music, whether produced by an instrument or by the human voice,--take the sound of a bugle in a summer night, for instance,--which by its wildness, to speak without satire, reminds me of the cries emitted by wild beasts in their native forests. It is so much of their wildness as I can understand. Give me for my friends and neighbors wild men, not tame ones. The wildness of the savage is but a faint symbol of the awful ferity with which good men and lovers meet.


man and woman holding hands in silhouette photography

It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape snow

We are all of us more or less active physiognomists.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette photography of trees and sky

I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.

--Henry David Thoreau

leafless tree on body of water during daytime

I know a good woman who thinks that her son lost his life because he took to drinking water only.

--Henry David Thoreau

mountains under white clouds at daytime

New earths, new themes expect us.

--Henry David Thoreau

rock mountain during starry night

We must take root; send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day.

--Henry David Thoreau

selective focus photo of brown and blue hourglass on stones

Wealth can't buy heath, but heath can buy wealth.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink rose in close up photography

I derive no pleasure from talking with a young woman simply because she has regular features.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman in white shirt sitting on brown rock near lake during daytime

In wilderness is the preservation of the world.

--Henry David Thoreau

water droplets on green leaf

It is good even to be a fisherman in summer and in winter.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

The true harvest of my life is intangible -- a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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.


houses and trees during nighttime

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

--Henry David Thoreau

shooting star in night sky

Those whom we can love, we can hate; to others we are indifferent.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette photo of six persons on top of mountain

Humility, like the darkness, reveals the heavenly lights.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset grasslands

The way by which you may get money almost without exception leads downward.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink tulips on gray wooden surface

Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg, by the side of which more will be laid.

--Henry David Thoreau

bonfire on focus photography

Spring-an experience in immortality.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown sands

Nature is slow, but sure; she works no faster than need be; she is the tortoise that wins the race by her perseverance.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown rocky mountain under blue sky during daytime

Birds do not sing in caves, nor do doves cherish their innocence in dovecots.

--Henry David Thoreau

adult black and white dog leaning on wooden fence

Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.

--Henry David Thoreau

empty seashore near high-rise building

Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

Good deeds are no less good because their object is unworthy.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown and black tiger near body of water

Enthusiasm is a supernatural serenity.

--Henry David Thoreau

red flowers under the blue sky

It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. 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!


2 people riding on boat during sunset

Our statistics are at fault: the population has been returned too large. How many men are there to a square thousand miles in this country? Hardly one.

--Henry David Thoreau

person in black and white mask

I will come to you, my friend, when I no longer need you. Then you will find a palace, not an almshouse.

--Henry David Thoreau

cumulus clouds

All good things are wild and free.

--Henry David Thoreau

Vincent Van Gogh self portrait painting on wall

I love you not as something private and personal, which is my own, but as something universal and worthy of love which I have found.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and yellow flower painting

Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice.

--Henry David Thoreau

city lights from hill

When the true criminals are running around free, the only honorable place for a decent human being is in prisons.

--Henry David Thoreau

empty seashore near high-rise building

I know very well what Goethe meant when he said that he never had a chagrin but he made a poem out of it. I have altogether too much patience of this kind.

--Henry David Thoreau

photo of brown parquet

Despair and postponement are cowardice and defeat. Men were born to succeed, not to fail.

--Henry David Thoreau

gray building

How few things can a man measure with the tape of his understanding ; How many greater things might he be seeing in the meanwhile.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape rocks

If you would feel the full force of a tempest, take up your residence on the top of Mount Washington, or at the Highland Light, inTruro.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

I have received no more than one or two letters in my life that were worth the postage.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow flower in green grass field

There is more religion in men's science, than there is science in their religion.

--Henry David Thoreau

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point at Utah

In the mythus a superhuman intelligence uses the unconscious thoughts and dreams of men as its hieroglyphics to address men unborn.

--Henry David Thoreau

white tulip flower in close up photography

I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman doing yoga meditation on brown parquet flooring

The silence sings. It is musical. I remember a night when it was audible. I heard the unspeakable.

--Henry David Thoreau

turned on desk lamp beside pile of books

Wildness is the preservation of the world.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and white light illustration

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.

--Henry David Thoreau

empty gray floor beside pool

For a man to act himself, he must be perfectly free; otherwise he is in danger of losing all sense of responsibility or of self- respect.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white striped textile

Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep on your own track, then.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink tulips on gray wooden surface

It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious.

--Henry David Thoreau

white flowers

The whole of the day should not be daytime; there should be one hour, if not more, which the day did not bring forth.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow flower field during sunset

We are happy in proportion to the things we can do without.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple petaled flower

The boy gathers materials for a temple, and then when he is thirty, concludes to build a woodshed.

--Henry David Thoreau

green trees under white sky during daytime

I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.

--Henry David Thoreau

aerial view of blue ocean water during daytime

We are constantly invited to be who we are.

--Henry David Thoreau

person wearing brown and white watch

Faith never makes a confession.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and gray floral textile

If you can speak what you will never hear, if you can write what you will never read, you have done rare things.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple flower in macro lens

We must have infinite faith in each other. If we have not, we must never let it leak out that we have not.

--Henry David Thoreau

toddlers standing outdoors

I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue flowers in tilt shift lens

How can he remember well his ignorance--which his growth requires--who has so often to use his knowledge?

--Henry David Thoreau

None

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.

--Henry David Thoreau

couple kissing under gray clouds

That government is best which governs least.

--Henry David Thoreau

black fishes

I should consider it a greater success to interest one wise and earnest soul, than a million unwise and frivolous.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown grass field under blue sky and white clouds during daytime

Did ever a man try heroism, magnanimity, truth, sincerity, and find that there was no advantage in them -- that it was a vain endeavor?

--Henry David Thoreau

pink

I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think that the same is true of human beings.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think that the same is true of human beings. We do not wish to see children precocious, making great strides in their early years like sprouts, producing a soft and perishable timber, but better if they expand slowly at first, as if contending with difficulties, and so are solidified and perfected. Such trees continue to expand with nearly equal rapidity to extreme old age.


forest trees photograph

In dreams we see ourselves naked and acting out our real characters, even more clearly than we see others awake.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of hugging couple

Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry.

--Henry David Thoreau

flock of birds flying under blue sky during daytime

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

lIt's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see - i.e. compare it to, something worse or better, that determines whether you are respectively grateful and happy or ungrateful and bitter.


blue textile on brown wooden table

Most are engaged in business the greater part of their lives, because the soul abhors a vacuum and they have not discovered any continuous employment for man's nobler faculties.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink flowers in vase

The stars are distant and unobtrusive, but bright and enduring as our fairest and most memorable experiences.

--Henry David Thoreau

long black haired woman smiling close-up photography

As far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but, unquestionably, that corporations may be enriched.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman jumping near white wall paint

At death our friends and relatives either draw nearer to us and are found out, or depart farther from us and are forgotten. Friends are as often brought nearer together as separated by death.

--Henry David Thoreau

plain background

As polishing expresses the vein in marble, and grain in wood, so music brings out what of heroic lurks anywhere. The hero is the sole patron of music.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink tulip in bloom close up photo

I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antaeus.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of three men falling in line while walking during golden hour

Renew thyself completely each day.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of mountain during sunset

After the first blush of sin comes its indifference.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of three men falling in line while walking during golden hour

Let go of the past and go for the future.

--Henry David Thoreau

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

What is commonly called friendship is only a little more honor among rogues.

--Henry David Thoreau

close-up photo of two men shaking hands near beach at sunset

No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow.


white rose enclosed photograph

Many have believed that Walden reached quite through to the other side of the globe.

--Henry David Thoreau

gray elephant

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.

--Henry David Thoreau

toddlers standing outdoors

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." -- .

--Henry David Thoreau

green leaf tree on shore

Morning glory is the best name, it always refreshes me to see it.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of praying man

This is the month of nuts and nutty thoughts,--that November whose name sounds so bleak and cheerless. Perhaps its harvest of thought is worth more than all the other crops of the year.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman standing between sunflower field during daytime

You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue sky and white clouds

The lichen on the rocks is a rude and simple shield which beginning and imperfect Nature suspended there. Still hangs her wrinkledtrophy.

--Henry David Thoreau

man wearing knit cap on grey background

As a true patriot, I should be ashamed to think that Adam in paradise was more favorably situated on the whole than the backwoodsman in this country.

--Henry David Thoreau

panoramic photography of mountains

My profession is always to be alert, to find God in nature, to know God's lurking places, to attend to all the oratorios and the operas in nature.

--Henry David Thoreau

orange flowers

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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.


green leaf

If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.

--Henry David Thoreau

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

The government of the world I live in was not framed, like that of Britain, in after-dinner conversations over the wine.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow background

Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.

--Henry David Thoreau

person holding sunflower bouquet during daytime

Trade and commerce, if they were not made of Indian rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and blue floral textile

Where the citizen uses a mere sliver or board, the pioneer uses the whole trunk of a tree.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on top of mountain

Spring. March fans it, April christens it, and May puts on its jacket and trousers.

--Henry David Thoreau

a couple holding hands with a wedding ring visible

It is not worth while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.

--Henry David Thoreau

black wooden louver door window

Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin!

--Henry David Thoreau

lightning strike at night

Economy is a subject which admits of being treated with levity, but it cannot so be disposed of.

--Henry David Thoreau

red rose in black background

Man cannot afford to be a naturalist, to look at Nature directly, but only with the side of his eye. He must look through and beyond her.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape snow

The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.

--Henry David Thoreau

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have leisure and opportunity to see the spring come in.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of purple flower

The is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.

--Henry David Thoreau

plain background

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.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable but positive hindrances to our progress. Our life is frittered away by detail. I say let your affairs be as two or three, not a hundred or a thousand. And keep your accounts on your thumb nail.


silhouette of person on top of mountain pointing flashlight on sky filled with stars at night time

There is no remedy for love but to love more.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink rose

My Thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite -- only a sense of existence.

--Henry David Thoreau

black Corona typewriter on brown wood planks

It is strange to talk of miracles, revelations, inspiration, and the like, as things past, while love remains.

--Henry David Thoreau

close-up photograph of black dreadnought acoustic guitar

We have the St. Vitus' dance, and cannot possibly keep our heads still.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of mountains during starry night

All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.

--Henry David Thoreau

black bird flying under white clouds during daytime

Simplicity is the law of nature for men as well as for flowers.

--Henry David Thoreau

backdrop orange

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white abstract painting

The poet who walks by moonlight is conscious of a tide in his thought which is to be referred to lunar influence.

--Henry David Thoreau

rock formation surrounding by body of water

Even in civilized communities, the embryo man passes through the hunter stage of development.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow flower in green grass field

One of the most attractive things about the flowers is their beautiful reserve.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white striped textile

Some show their kindness to the poor by employing them in their kitchens. Would they not be kinder if they employed themselves there?

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow sunflowers

Do not despair of your life. You have force enough to overcome your obstacles.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Do not despair of life. You have no doubt force enough to overcome your obstacles. Think of the fox prowling through wood and field in a winter night for something to satisfy his hunger. Notwithstanding cold and the hounds and traps, his race survives. I do not believe any of them ever committed suicide.


aerial photo of foggy mountains

Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photography of mountain hit by sun rays

It would be no reproach to a philosopher, that he knew the future better than the past, or even than the present. It is better worth knowing.

--Henry David Thoreau

man playing soccer during daytime

Time is like a handful of sand -- the tighter you grasp it, the faster it runs through your fingers.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

God reigns when we take a liberal view, when a liberal view is presented to us.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown wooden hanging bridge surrounded by green trees during daytime

Nature abhors a vacuum, and if I can only walk with sufficient carelessness I am sure to be filled.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and black floral textile

Each reader discovers for himself that, with respect to the simpler features of nature, succeeding poets have done little else than copy his similes.

--Henry David Thoreau

fawn pug on bed

The language of Friendship is not words, but meanings.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman standing on forest

The universe expects every man to do his duty in his parallel of latitude.

--Henry David Thoreau

seashore during daytime

Writing your name can lead to writing sentences. And the next thing you'll be doing is writing paragraphs, and then books. And then you'll be in as much trouble as I am!

--Henry David Thoreau

None

If we see nature as pausing, immediately all mortifies and decays; but seen as progressing, she is beautiful.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette photography of man illustration

The man who thrusts his manners upon me does as if he were to insist on introducing me to his cabinet of curiosities, when I wished to see himself.

--Henry David Thoreau

white

He is not a true man of science who does not bring some sympathy to his studies, and expect to learn something by behaviour as well as application.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

He is not a true man of science who does not bring some sympathy to his studies, and expect to learn something by behavior as well as by application. It is childish to rest in the discovery of mere coincidences, or of partial and extraneous laws. The study of geometry is a petty and idle exercise of the mind, if it is applied to no larger system than the starry one. Mathematics should be mixed not only with physics but with ethics; that is mixed mathematics. The fact which interests us most is the life of the naturalist. The purest science is still biographical.


orange lily in bloom close up photo

Decay and disease are often beautiful, like the pearly tear of the shellfish and the hectic glow of consumption.

--Henry David Thoreau

red tulips

What is human warfare but just this; an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party.

--Henry David Thoreau

focus photo of a hummingbird on leaf

Yet we must try the harder, the less the prospect of success.

--Henry David Thoreau

sun

A lake is a landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.

--Henry David Thoreau

multicolored abstract painting

Poetry implies the whole truth. Philosophy expresses a particle of it.

--Henry David Thoreau

white petaled flower

There have been some nations who could do nothing but construct tombs, and these are the only traces which they have left. They are the heathen.

--Henry David Thoreau

person with black tattoo on left hand

In the winter, warmth stands for all virtue.

--Henry David Thoreau

closeup photo of lounger chairs and beach umbrellas

The words which express our faith and piety are not definite; yet they are significant and fragrant like frankincense to superior natures.

--Henry David Thoreau

two women lying on hammock

I begin to see an object when I cease to understand it.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow labrador retriever puppy sitting on floor

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.


rocks near shore during nighttime

With wisdom we shall learn liberality.

--Henry David Thoreau

green palm plant

Government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way.

--Henry David Thoreau

selective-focus photograph of gray bird on tree branch

Music never stops; it is only the listening that is intermittent.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photo of mountain during nighttime

The imagination, give it the least license, dives deeper and soars higher than Nature goes.

--Henry David Thoreau

mountain with tree during daytime

As a snow-drift is formed where there is a lull in the wind, so, one would say, where there is a lull of truth, an institution springs up.

--Henry David Thoreau

pink and white flower in close up photography

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who have understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks,-who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks - who had the genius, so to speak, for sauntering: which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked for charity, under the pretense of going à la Sainte Terre," to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a Sainte-Terrer," a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.


short-beak red bird on tree

Some are reputed sick and some are not. It often happens that the sicker man is the nurse to the sounder.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette photo of person holding flashlight under milk way

How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in mind.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow bee beside purple petaled flower during daytime

Commonly men will only be brave as their fathers were brave, or timid.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset highway

How many things are now at loose ends! Who knows which way the wind will blow tomorrow?

--Henry David Thoreau

four handheld gardening tools on rack

Oh to reach the point of death and realize one has not lived at all.

--Henry David Thoreau

crescent moon above mountain

Speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing; but there are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout.

--Henry David Thoreau

group of camels walking on desert lake at daytime

I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise til noon, rapt in a revery.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue wooden door opened

The Slothful do not have the time to become virtuous or despicable.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette of person's hands forming heart

One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

A man's whole life is taxed for the least thing well done. It is its net result.

--Henry David Thoreau

rock formation in body of water

On every hand we observe a truly wise practice, in education, in morals, and in the arts of life, the embodied wisdom of many an ancient philosopher.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset

I have myself to respect, but to myself I am not amiable; but my friend is my amiableness personified.

--Henry David Thoreau

pen on brown board

I fear that we are such gods or demigods only as fauns and satyrs, the divine allied to beasts, the creatures of appetite, and that, to some extent, our very life is our disgrace.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

There is no rule more invariable than that we are paid for our suspicions by finding what we suspect.

--Henry David Thoreau

red and pink flowers

Sincerity is a great but rare virtue, and we pardon to it much complaining, and the betrayal of many weaknesses.

--Henry David Thoreau

person's hand holding round silver analog watch with black leather strap

Nothing can shock a brave man but dullness.

--Henry David Thoreau

rainbow

What we call wildness is a civilization other than our own.

--Henry David Thoreau

long black haired woman smiling close-up photography

They were pleasant spring days, in which the winter of man's discontent was thawing as well as the earth, and the life that had lain torpid began to stretch itself.

--Henry David Thoreau

houses and trees during nighttime

Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

elPhilanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind. Nay, it is overrated; and it is our selfishness which overrates it.


person wearing orange and gray Nike shoes walking on gray concrete stairs

The rays which stream through the shutter will be no longer remembered when the shutter is wholly removed.

--Henry David Thoreau

body of water surrounded with plants under cloudy sky

Behave so the aroma of your actions may enhance the general sweetness of the atmosphere.

--Henry David Thoreau

sunset dirt road

However mean your life is, meet it and live it.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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.


black and white bird on seashore

Generally speaking, a howling wilderness does not howl: it is the imagination of the traveler that does the howling.

--Henry David Thoreau

three people paddling in canoe

To regret deeply is to live afresh.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on top of mountain

There is more of good nature than of good sense at the bottom of most marriages.

--Henry David Thoreau

bird in the sky

Really to see the sun rise or go down every day, so to relate ourselves to a universal fact, would preserve us sane forever.

--Henry David Thoreau

lights pattern swirls

He who cannot read is worse than deaf and blind, is yet but half alive, is still-born.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape

Staying in the house breeds a sort of insanity always. Every house is, in this sense, a hospital.

--Henry David Thoreau

purple moth orchids in bloom close up photo

The higher the mountain on which you stand, the less change in the prospect from year to year, from age to age. Above a certain height there is no change.

--Henry David Thoreau

black and yellow wall sconce

The only free road, the Underground Railroad, is owned and managed by the Vigilant Committee. They have tunneled under the whole breadth of the land.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow background

I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere in the autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints.

--Henry David Thoreau

leafless tree on snow covered ground

How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?

--Henry David Thoreau

photography of white wall lot

The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man's abode.

--Henry David Thoreau

silhouette photo of couple standing on beach watching sunset

The Universal Soul, as it is called, has an interest in the stacking of hay, the foddering of cattle, and the draining of peat-meadows.

--Henry David Thoreau

red rose flower

What wealth is it to have such friends that we cannot think of them without elevation!

--Henry David Thoreau

purple flower

The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions; whether we travel fast or slow, the track is laid for us.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions; whether we travel fast or slow, the track is laid for us. Let us spend our lives in conceiving then. The poet or the artist never yet had so fair and noble a design but some of his posterity at least could accomplish it.


blue and white striped textile

Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground.

--Henry David Thoreau

grey cliff near body of water

As for Doing-good, that is one of the professions which are full.

--Henry David Thoreau

worm's eye view of trees during night time

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

--Henry David Thoreau

three person looking stars and milky way

We make needless ado about capital punishment, -- taking lives, when there is no life to take.

--Henry David Thoreau

person holding sunflower

There is always some accident in the best things, whether thoughts or expressions or deeds. The memorable thought, the happy expression, the admirable deed are only partly ours.

--Henry David Thoreau

landscape photography of waves and clouds

The movements of the eyes express the perpetual and unconscious courtesy of the parties.

--Henry David Thoreau

grayscale photo of elephant on grass field

Invariably our best nights were those when it rained.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown wooden board

True kindness is a pure divine affinity, Not founded upon human consanguinity. It is a spirit, not a blood relation, Superior to family and station.

--Henry David Thoreau

Arizona landscape

While my friend was my friend, he flattered me, and I never heard the truth from him. When he became my enemy, he shot it to me on a poisoned arrow.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue flowers in tilt shift lens

If I ever see more clearly at one time than at another, the medium through which I see is clearer.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman standing on sunflower field

The Ethiopian cannot change his skin nor the leopard his spots.

--Henry David Thoreau

red and white no smoking sign

It is said that some Western steamers can run on a heavy dew, whence we can imagine what a canoe may do.

--Henry David Thoreau

lavender background

The theories and speculations of men concern us more than their puny accomplishment. It is with a certain coldness and languor that we loiter about the actual and so-called practical.

--Henry David Thoreau

person in black shoes standing on gray concrete floor

It is the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us. The question is not what you look at but what you see.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown mountain at nighttime

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.

--Henry David Thoreau

white petaled flower

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

aerial photography of pine trees

To be awake is to be alive.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

lTo be awake is to be completely alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake.


man in cowboy hat

I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman in black shirt standing on yellow flower field during daytime

All misfortune is but a stepping stone to fortune.

--Henry David Thoreau

aerial photography of forest

I live in the present. I only remember the past, and anticipate the future.

--Henry David Thoreau

round black clock on linen

The first pleasant days of spring come out like a squirrel and go in again.

--Henry David Thoreau

brown rock formation

It is remarkable how many creatures live wild and free though secret in the woods.

--Henry David Thoreau

green and blue chevron textile

I would not have any one adopt my mode of living on any account.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photography of woman standing outdoors

The highest condition of art is artlessness.

--Henry David Thoreau

desert grassland

We cannot well do without our sins; they are the highway of our virtue.

--Henry David Thoreau

shallow focus photo of white rose

The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.

--Henry David Thoreau

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world. There are orators, politicians, and eloquent men, by the thousand; but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak who is capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. We love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation.


brown grass field near gray rocky mountain during daytime

Tough times don't last but tough people do.
No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.
Men are born to succeed, not fail.

--Henry David Thoreau

white and blue floral textile

It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.

--Henry David Thoreau

photo of outer space

This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle!

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle! I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no sabbath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a blank-book to write thoughts in; they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents. An Irishman, seeing me making a minute in the fields, took it for granted that I was calculating my wages. If a man was tossed out of a window when an infant, and so made a cripple for life, or scared out of his wits by the Indians, it is regretted chiefly because he was thus incapacitated for—business! I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.


selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.

--Henry David Thoreau

wormeye view photo of milky way

Children, who play life, discern its true law and relations more clearly than men, who fail to live it worthily, but who think that they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure.

--Henry David Thoreau

woman and man holding hands

The devil finds work for idle hands.

--Henry David Thoreau

person standing on rock formation during daytime

In the meanest are all the materials of manhood, only they are not rightly disposed.

--Henry David Thoreau

milky way wallpaper

Where there is not discernment, the behavior even of the purest soul may in effect amount to coarseness.

--Henry David Thoreau

selective focus photography of woman taking selfie

Every man is entitled to come to Cattle-Show, even a transcendentalist; and for my part I am more interested in the men than in the cattle.

--Henry David Thoreau

blue and white light digital wallpaper

The moose is singularly grotesque and awkward to look at. Why should it stand so high at the shoulders? Why have so long a head? Why have no tail to speak of?

--Henry David Thoreau

multicolored heart LED light on wall

One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.

--Henry David Thoreau

man standing outdoors

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.

--Henry David Thoreau

Longer Version:

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.


fine trees waving

I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.

--Henry David Thoreau

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