Henry David Thoreau Quotes

You shall see men you never heard of before, whose names you don't know,... and many other wild and noble sights before night, such as they who sit in parlors never dream of.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 6, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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There may be an excess of cultivation as well as of anything else, until civilization becomes pathetic. A highly cultivated man,—all whose bones can be bent! whose heaven-born virtues are but good manners!
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 55, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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How often we read that the enemy occupied a position which commanded the old, and so the fort was evacuated! Have not the school-house and the printing-press occupied a position which commands such a fort as this?
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "A Yankee in Canada" (1853), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, p. 79, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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I was glad to have got out of the towns, where I am wont to feel unspeakably mean and disgraced,—to have left behind me for a season the bar-rooms of Massachusetts, where the full-grown are not weaned from savage and filthy habits,—still sucking a cigar. My spirits rose in proportion to the outward dreariness. The towns needed to be ventilated. The gods would be pleased to see some pure flames from their altars. They are not to be appeased with cigar-smoke.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Cape Cod (1855-1865), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, pp. 41-42, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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In many places the road was in that condition called repaired, having just been whittled into the required semicylindrical form with the shovel and scraper, with all the softest inequalities in the middle, like a hog's back with the bristles up.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Chesuncook" (1858) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, p. 98, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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The opportunities of living are diminished in proportion as what are called the "means" are increased.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Civil Disobedience," originally published as "Resistance to Civil Government" (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 372, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Some have asked if the stock of men could not be improved,—if they could not be bred as cattle. Let Love be purified, and all the rest will follow. A pure love is thus, indeed, the panacea for all the ills of the world.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Essay on "Chastity and Sensuality" in letter, September 1852, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 208, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Let those talk of poverty and hard times who will in the towns and cities; cannot the emigrant who can pay his fare to New York or Boston pay five dollars more to get here ... and be as rich as he pleases, where land virtually costs nothing, and houses only the labor of building, and he may begin life as Adam did? If he will still remember the distinction of poor and rich, let him bespeak him a narrower house forthwith.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Ktaadn" (1848) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, pp. 15-16, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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What a pity if we do not live this short time according to the laws of the long time,—the eternal laws!
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, August 10, 1849, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 173, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Remember that the smallest seed of faith is of more worth than the largest fruit of happiness.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, January 25, 1843, to Lucy Brown, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 48, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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