Henry David Thoreau quotes

Born
July 12, 1817 Concord, Massachusetts, United States.

Died
May 6, 1862.

Occupation
Philosopher, author, abolitionist, naturalist.

Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings.

Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.
– Henry David Thoreau
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.
– Henry David Thoreau
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
– Henry David Thoreau
While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.
– Henry David Thoreau
Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
– Henry David Thoreau
None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
– Henry David Thoreau
May we so love as never to have occasion to repent of our love!
– Henry David Thoreau
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
– Henry David Thoreau
Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
– Henry David Thoreau
In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.
– Henry David Thoreau
I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.
– Henry David Thoreau
Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors.
– Henry David Thoreau
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
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
– Henry David Thoreau
Men have become the tools of their tools.
– Henry David Thoreau
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
– Henry David Thoreau
We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.
– Henry David Thoreau
If an injustice 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 government machine.
– Henry David Thoreau
If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.
– Henry David Thoreau
So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre. All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.
– Henry David Thoreau
Nothing goes by luck in composition. It allows of no tricks. The best you can write will be the best you are.
– Henry David Thoreau
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
– Henry David Thoreau
I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.
– Henry David Thoreau
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
– Henry David Thoreau
Things do not change; we change.
– Henry David Thoreau
The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?
– Henry David Thoreau
The universe is wider than our views of it.
– Henry David Thoreau
What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?
– Henry David Thoreau
The rarest quality in an epitaph is truth.
– Henry David Thoreau
It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
– Henry David Thoreau
Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.
– Henry David Thoreau
We are always paid for our suspicion by finding what we suspect.
– 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
Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
– Henry David Thoreau
The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.
– Henry David Thoreau
I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
– Henry David Thoreau
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
– Henry David Thoreau
Every man casts a shadow; not his body only, but his imperfectly mingled spirit. This is his grief. Let him turn which way he will, it falls opposite to the sun; short at noon, long at eve. Did you never see it?
– Henry David Thoreau
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
When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.
– Henry David Thoreau
There are old heads in the world who cannot help me by their example or advice to live worthily and satisfactorily to myself; but I believe that it is in my power to elevate myself this very hour above the common level of my life.
– Henry David Thoreau
The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.
– Henry David Thoreau
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
– Henry David Thoreau
Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?
– Henry David Thoreau
They can do without architecture who have no olives nor wines in the cellar.
– Henry David Thoreau
I was more independent than any farmer in Concord, for I was not anchored to a house or farm, but could follow the bent of my genius, which is a very crooked one, every moment.
– Henry David Thoreau
It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious.
– Henry David Thoreau
In wildness is the preservation of the world.
– Henry David Thoreau
Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
– Henry David Thoreau
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
– Henry David Thoreau
I have found that hollow, which even I had relied on for solid.
– Henry David Thoreau
Is the babe young? When I behold it, it seems more venerable than the oldest man.
– Henry David Thoreau
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
– Henry David Thoreau
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.
– Henry David Thoreau
This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
– Henry David Thoreau
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.
– Henry David Thoreau
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.
– Henry David Thoreau
I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live and could not spare any more time for that one.
– 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
Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends… Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.
– Henry David Thoreau
How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.
– Henry David Thoreau
Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought.
– Henry David Thoreau
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 imbrute them.
– Henry David Thoreau
What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.
– Henry David Thoreau
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
Dreams are the touchstones of our character.
– Henry David Thoreau
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
– 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
Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed by them.
– Henry David Thoreau
Thaw with her gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer. The one melts, the other breaks into pieces.
– Henry David Thoreau
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.
– Henry David Thoreau
Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.
– Henry David Thoreau
Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once.
– Henry David Thoreau
The heart is forever inexperienced.
– Henry David Thoreau
Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.
– Henry David Thoreau
Men are born to succeed, not to fail.
– Henry David Thoreau
The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
– Henry David Thoreau