Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Hawthorne, too, I remember as one with whom I sauntered, in old heroic times, along the banks of the Scamander, amid the ruins of chariots and heroes.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, July 8, 1843, to Ralph Waldo Emerson, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 93, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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I have had a tragic correspondence, for the most part all on one side, with Miss _______. She did really wish to—I hesitate to write—marry me. That is the way they spell it. Of course I did not write a deliberate answer. How could I deliberate upon it? I sent back as distinct a no as I have learned to pronounce after considerable practice, and I trust that this no has succeeded. Indeed, I wished that it might burst, like hollow shot, after it had struck and buried itself and made itself felt there. There was no other way. I really had anticipated no such foe as this in my career.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, November 14, 1847, to Ralph Waldo Emerson, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, pp. 138-139, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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To speak impartially, the best men that I know are not serene, a world in themselves. For the most part, they dwell in forms, and flatter and study effect only more finely than the rest.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Life Without Principle" (1863), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 470, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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The American has dwindled into an Odd Fellow—one who may be known by the development of his organ of gregariousness.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849).
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The Artist is he who detects and applies the law from observation of the works of Genius, whether of man or Nature. The Artisan is he who merely applies the rules which others have detected.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Sunday," A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers (1849).
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We camped about two miles below Nicketow, on the south side of the West Branch, covering with fresh twigs the withered bed of a former traveler, and feeling that we were now in a settled country, especially when in the evening we heard an ox sneeze in its wild pasture across the river. Wherever you land along the frequented part of the river, you have not far to go to find these sites of temporary inns, the withered bed of flattened twigs, the charred sticks, and perhaps the tent-poles. And not long since, similar beds were spread along the Connecticut, the Hudson, and the Delaware, and longer still ago, by the Thames and Seine, and they now help to make the soil where private and public gardens, mansions, and palaces are.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "The Allegash and East Branch" (1864) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, pp. 316-317, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Editors persevered for a good while in saying that Brown was crazy; but at last they said only that it was "a crazy scheme," and the only evidence brought to prove it was that it cost him his life. I have no doubt that if he had gone with five thousand men, liberated a thousand slaves, killed a hundred or two slaveholders, and had as many more killed on his own side, but not lost his own life, these same editors would have called it by a more respectable name. Yet he has been far more successful than that. He has liberated many thousands of slaves, both North and South. They seem to have known nothing about living or dying for a principle. They all called him crazy then; who calls him crazy now?
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "The Last Days of John Brown" (1860), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, pp. 445-446, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing; but there are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Visitors," Walden (1854).
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Farmers are respectable and interesting to me in proportion as they are poor,—poor farmers.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 218, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, pp. 3-4, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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