Henry David Thoreau

We do not learn by inference and deduction and the application of mathematics to philosophy, but by direct intercourse and sympathy.

However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are the richest.

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.

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

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

All good things are wild, and free.

It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do want society.

Be not simply good - be good for something.

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.

The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.

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

To regret deeply is to live afresh.

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

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.

If the day and the night are such that you greet them with with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, more elastic, more starry, more immortal--that is your success.

I stand in awe of my body.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, not even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

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

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

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

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, how ever measured or far away.

Good poetry seems too simple and natural a thing that when we meet it we wonder that all men are not always poets. Poetry is nothing but healthy speech.

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

Petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of reality.

Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earth!

Men have become the tools of their tools.

All perception of truth is the detection of an analogy.

One may discover a new side to his most intimate friend when for the first time he hears him speak in public. He will be stranger to him as he is more familiar to the audience. The longest intimacy could not foretell how he would behave then

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

In wildness is the preservation of the world.

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

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

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

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is in prison.

I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion.

I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.

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

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

That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.

It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went.

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

[Water is] the only drink for a wise man.

What people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can.

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

It is never too late to give up our prejudices.

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.

Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.

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

Things do not change; we change.

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.

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

In what concerns you much, do not think that you have companions: know that you are alone in the world.

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

My friend is one... who take me for what I am.

What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.

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.

Heroes are often the most ordinary of men.

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

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

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

I'd rather sit alone on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

Water is the only drink for a wise man.

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

I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.

Man is the artificer of his own happiness.

Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.

Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.

He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate.

There is no remedy for love but to love more.

Go Confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

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

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

Men are born to succeed, not fail.

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.

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

Many go fishing without knowing it is fish they are after.

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

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

As for the pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.

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

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!

Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.

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

Do what nobody else can do for you. Omit to do anything else.

How sweet it would be to treat men and things, for an hour, for just what they are!

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

Say what you have to say, not what you ought. any truth is better than make-Believe!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.

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

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.

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

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

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

It is as hard to see one's self as to look backwards without turning around.

You can not percieve beauty but with a serene mind.

Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.

To believe your own thought: To believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius.

The hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men.

I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake his neighbours up.

It is never too late to give up your prejudices.

The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.

Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep.

The light that puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake.

Let everyone mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made.

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it but as I drink, I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is.

When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it, but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.

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

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

But government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it.

In solitude especialy do we begin to appreciate the advantage of living with someone who can think.

For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root.

When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.

We falsely attribute to men a determined character - putting together all their yesterdays - and averaging them - we presume we know them. Pity the man who has character to support - it is worse than a large family - he is the silent poor indeed.

Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.

Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.

I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.

I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, cattle, barns, and farming tools, for these are more easily acquired than gotten rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labour in.