Henry David Thoreau Quotes

It would be well, perhaps, if we were to spend more of our days and nights without any obstruction between us and the celestial bodies.... Birds do not sing in caves, nor do doves cherish their innocence in dovecots.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 31, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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There is commonly sufficient space about us. Our horizon is never quite at our elbows.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 144, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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My excuse for not lecturing against the use of tobacco is, that I never chewed it; that is a penalty which reformed tobacco-chewers have to pay; though there are things enough I have chewed which I could lecture against.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 86, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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To preserve wild animals implies generally the creation of a forest for them to dwell in or resort to. So it is with man. A hundred years ago they sold bark in our streets peeled from our own woods. In the very aspect of those primitive and rugged trees there was, methinks, a tanning principle which hardened and consolidated the fibres of men's thoughts. Ah! already I shudder for these comparatively degenerate days of my native village, when you cannot collect a load of bark of good thickness, and we no longer produce tar and turpentine.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Walking" (1862), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, p. 229, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit it and read it are old women over their tea.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," Walden (1854).
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On the whole, my respect for my fellow-men, except as one may outweigh a million, is not being increased these days.... Such do not know that like the seed is the fruit, and that, in the moral world, when good seed is planted, good fruit is inevitable, and does not depend on our watering and cultivating; that when you plant, or bury, a hero in his field, a crop of heroes is sure to spring up. This is a seed of such force and vitality, that it does not ask our leave to germinate.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "A Plea for Captain John Brown" (1859), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, pp. 417-418, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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One is sick at heart of this pagoda worship. It is like the beating of gongs in a Hindoo subterranean temple.
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. 78, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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In my short experience of human life, the outward obstacles, if there were any such, have not been living men, but the institutions of the dead.
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. 134, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Absolutely speaking, Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you is by no means a golden rule, but the best of current silver. An honest man would have but little occasion for it. It is golden not to have any rule at all in such a case.
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. 74, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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I must conclude that Conscience, if that be the name of it, was not given us for no purpose, or for a hindrance. However flattering order and expediency may look, it is but the repose of a lethargy, and we will choose rather to be awake, though it be stormy, and maintain ourselves on this earth, and in this life, as we may, without signing our death-warrant. Let us see if we cannot stay here, where He has put us, on his own conditions. Does not his law reach as far as his light? The expedients of the nations clash with one another: only the absolutely right is expedient for all.
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. 138, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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