Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Everything may serve a lower as well as a higher use.
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. 135, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also.
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. 360, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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In love and friendship the imagination is as much exercised as the heart; and if either is outraged the other will be estranged. It is commonly the imagination which is wounded first, rather than the heart,—it is so much the more sensitive.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Essay on "Love" in letter, September 1852, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, pp. 200-201, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Though the railroad and the telegraph have been established on the shores of Maine, the Indian still looks out from her interior mountains over all these to the sea.
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, p. 91, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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I have seen more men than usual, lately; and, well as I was acquainted with one, I am surprised to find what vulgar fellows they are.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, August 8, 1854, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 230, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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The thought of you will constantly elevate my life; it will be something always above the horizon to behold, as when I look up at the evening star. I think I know your thoughts without seeing you, and as well here as in Concord. You are not at all strange to me.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, June 20, 1843, to Lidia Jackson Emerson, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, pp. 87-88, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Have you ever read Ruskin's books? If not, I would recommend you to try the second and third volumes (not parts) of his "Modern Painters." I am now reading the fourth, and have read most of his other books lately. They are singularly good and encouraging, though not without crudeness and bigotry. The themes in the volumes referred to are Infinity, Beauty, Imagination, Love of Nature, etc.,—all treated in a very living manner. I am rather surprised by them. It is remarkable that these things should be said with reference to painting chiefly, rather than literature. The "Seven Lamps of Architecture," too, is made of good stuff; but, as I remember, there is too much about art in it for me and the Hottentots. We want to know about matters and things in general. Our house is as yet a hut.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, November 16, 1857, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 319, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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The rush to California ... and the attitude, not merely of merchants, but of philosophers and prophets, so called, in relation to it, reflect the greatest disgrace on mankind. That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it.... What a comment, what a satire, on our institutions! The conclusion will be, that mankind will hang itself upon a tree.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Life Without Principle" (1863), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, pp. 463-464, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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We confess that we never had much respect for that antediluvian race.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Paradise (To Be) Regained" (1843), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 283, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Pointing into the bay, he said that it was the way to various lakes which he knew. Only solemn bear-haunted mountains, with their great wooded slopes, were visible; where, as man is not, we suppose some other power to be. My imagination personified the slopes themselves, as if by their very length they would waylay you, and compel you to camp again on them before night. Some invisible glutton would seem to drop from the trees and gnaw at the heart of the solitary hunter who threaded those woods; and yet I was tempted to walk there. The Indian said that he had been along there several times.
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. 203-204, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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