Henry David Thoreau Quotes

The greatest, or rather the most prominent, part of this city was constructed with the design to offer the deadest resistance to leaden and iron missiles that might be cast against it. But it is a remarkable meteorological and psychological fact, that it is rarely known to rain lead with much violence, except on places so constructed.
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. 26, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Just before reaching the lighthouse, we saw the sun set in the Bay,—for standing on that narrow cape was, as I have said, like being on the deck of a vessel, or rather at the masthead of a man-of-war, thirty miles at sea, though we knew that at the same moment the sun was setting behind our native hills, which were just below the horizon in that direction. This sight drove everything else quite out of our heads, and Homer and the Ocean came in again with a rush,— Ev d' epes' Okeanoi lampron phaos eelioio, the shining torch of the sun fell into the ocean.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Cape Cod (1855-1865), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 149, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Some of the taverns on this road, which were particularly dirty, were plainly in a transition state from the camp to the house.
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. 161, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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It was like traveling into a far country, such as I had never expected to behold, to lie there for one night. It seemed to me that I never had heard the town clock strike before, nor the evening sounds of the village; for we slept with the windows open, which were inside the grating. It was to see my native village in the light of the Middle Ages, and our Concord was turned into a Rhine stream, and visions of knights and castles passed before me. They were the voices of old burghers that I heard in the streets. I was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was done and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village inn,—a wholly new and rare experience to me. It was a closer view of my native town. I was fairly inside of it. I had never seen its institutions before. This is one of its peculiar institutions; for it is a shire town. I began to comprehend what its inhabitants were about.
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. 378, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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There is danger that we lose sight of what our friend is absolutely, while considering what she is to us alone.
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, p. 202, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Have we even so much as discovered and settled the shores? Let a man travel on foot along the coast ... and tell me if it looks like a discovered and settled country, and not rather, for the most part, like a desolate island, and No-Man's Land.
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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Do what nobody else can do for you. Omit to do anything else.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, August 9, 1850, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 186, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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The experience of every past moment but belies the faith of each present.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, June 20, 1843, to Lidian Jackson Emerson, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 88, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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The merchants and company have long laughed at transcendentalism, higher laws, etc., crying, "None of your moonshine," as if they were anchored to something not only definite, but sure and permanent. If there was any institution which was presumed to rest on a solid and secure basis, and more than any other represented this boasted common sense, prudence, and practical talent, it was the bank; and now those very banks are found to be mere reeds shaken by the wind. Scarcely one in the land has kept its promise.
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. 317, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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You must get your living by loving. But as it is said of the merchants that ninety-seven in a hundred fail, so the life of men generally, tried by this standard, is a failure, and bankruptcy may be surely prophesied.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Life Without Principle" (1863), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 461, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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