Henry David Thoreau Quotes

I should be glad if all the meadows on the earth were left in a wild state, if that were the consequence of men's beginning to redeem themselves.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 228, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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As I walked in the woods to see the birds and squirrels, so I walked in the village to see the men and boys; instead of the wind among the pines I heard the carts rattle. In one direction from my house there was a colony of muskrats in the river meadows; under the grove of elms and buttonwoods in the other horizon was a village of busy men, as curious to me as if they had been prarie-dogs, each sitting at the mouth of its burrow, or running over to a neighbor's to gossip. I went there frequently to observe their habits.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 185, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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I never dreamed of any enormity greater than I have committed. I never knew, and never shall know, a worse man than myself.
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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I did not read books the first summer; I hoed beans.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 123, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again,—if you have paid your debts and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Walking" (1862), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, p. 206, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Such is always the pursuit of knowledge. The celestial fruits, the golden apples of the Hesperides, are ever guarded by a hundred-headed dragon which never sleeps, so that it is an Herculean labor to pluck them.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Wild Apples" (1862), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, p. 307, Houghton Mifflin (1906). Thoreau refers here to one of the labors of Hercules in Greek mythology.
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I do not wish to kill nor to be killed, but I can foresee circumstances in which both these things would be by me unavoidable.
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. 433-434, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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These philosophers dwell on the inevitability and unchangeableness of laws, on the power of temperament and constitution, the three goon, or qualities, and the circumstances, or birth and affinity. The end is an immense consolation; eternal absorption in Brahma.
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, pp. 140-141, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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It is comparatively a faint and reflected beauty that is admired, not an essential and intrinsic one. It is because the old are weak, feel their mortality, and think that they have measured the strength of man. They will not boast; they will be frank and humble. Well, let them have the few poor comforts they can keep. Humility is still a very human virtue. They look back on life, and so see not into the future. The prospect of the young is forward and unbounded, mingling the future with the present.
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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There is something strangely modern about him. He is very easily turned into English.
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. 239, Houghton Mifflin (1906). Along with his contemporaries, Thoreau mistook a much later Hellenistic collection known as the Anacreontea for the poetry of Anacreon.
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