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Henry David Thoreau Quotes

About Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

Life: 1817 - 1862

Country: us flag America

Profession: Philosopher; Writer;

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 - May 6, 1862; born David Henry Thoreau) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, and philosopher who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

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Quotations

The lawyer's truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency.

~ Henry David Thoreau

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?

~ Henry David Thoreau

Be not simply good; be good for something.

~ Henry David Thoreau

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.

~ Henry David Thoreau

True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.

~ Henry David Thoreau

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

~ Henry David Thoreau

Things do not change, we do.

~ Henry David Thoreau

If you give money, spend yourself with it.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Any fool can make a rule, and every fool will mind it.

~ Henry David Thoreau

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.

~ Henry David Thoreau

I went into the woods for I wished to live, deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life! To put to rout all that was not life, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

~ Henry David Thoreau

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation ... A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.

~ Henry David Thoreau

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

~ Henry David Thoreau

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

If one advances confidently in the directions of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

~ Henry David Thoreau

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

~ Henry David Thoreau

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

~ Henry David Thoreau

Even the best things are not equal to their fame.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.

~ Henry David Thoreau

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake . . . by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.

~ Henry David Thoreau

- "Walden, from "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For""

We perceive and are affected by changes too subtle to be described.

~ Henry David Thoreau

To inherit property is not to be born - it is to be still-born, rather.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Whatever the human law may be, neither an individual nor a nation can commit the least act of injustice against the obscurest individual without having to pay the penalty for it.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life as a dog does with his master's chaise. Do what you love; know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.

~ Henry David Thoreau

We bless and curse ourselves. Some dreams are divine, as well as some waking thoughts. Donne sings of one " Who dreamt devoutlier than most use to pray ." Dreams are the touchstones of our characters. We are scarcely less afflicted when we remember some unworthiness in our conduct in a dream, than if it had been actual, and the intensity of our grief, which is our atonement, measures inversely the degree by which this is separated from an actual unworthiness. For in dreams we but act a part which must have been learned and rehearsed in our waking hours, and no doubt could discover some waking consent thereto. If this meanness has not its foundation in us, why are we grieved at it? In dreams we see ourselves naked and acting out our real characters, even more clearly than we see others awake. But an unwavering and commanding virtue would compel even its most fantastic and faintest dreams to respect its ever wakeful authority; as we are accustomed to say carelessly, we should never have dreamed of such a thing. Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

~ Henry David Thoreau

- A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

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