Henry David Thoreau Quotes

A fortified town is like a man cased in the heavy armor of antiquity, with a horse-load of broadswords and small arms slung to him, endeavoring to go about his business.
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. 78, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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The Greeks would not have called the ocean atrugetos, or unfruitful, though it does not produce wheat, if they had viewed it by the light of modern science, for naturalists now assert that "the sea, and not the land, is the principal seat of life,"Mthough not of vegetable life.... The dry land itself came through and out of the water in its way to the heavens, for, "in going back through the geological ages, we come to an epoch when, according to all appearances, the dry land did not exist, and when the surface of our globe was entirely covered with water." We looked on the sea, then, once more, not as atrugetos, or unfruitful, but as it has been more truly called, the "laboratory of continents."
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Cape Cod (1855-1865), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, pp. 127-128, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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I was here first introduced to Joe.... He was a good-looking Indian, twenty-four years old, apparently of unmixed blood, short and stout, with a broad face and reddish complexion, and eyes, methinks, narrower and more turned up at the outer corners than ours, answering to the description of his race. Besides his underclothing, he wore a red flannel shirt, woolen pants, and a black Kossuth hat, the ordinary dress of the lumberman, and, to a considerable extent, of the Penobscot Indian.
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, pp. 99-100, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people.
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. 362, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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In a pure society, the subject of marriage would not be so often avoided,—from shame and not from reverence, winked out of sight, and hinted at only; but treated naturally and simply,—perhaps simply avoided like the kindred mysteries. If it cannot be spoken of for shame, how can it be acted of? But, doubtless, there is far more purity, as well as more impurity, than is apparent.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Essay on "Chastity and Sensuality" in letter, September 1852, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, pp. 204-205, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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I am reminded by my journey how exceedingly new this country still is. You have only to travel for a few days into the interior and back parts even of many of the old States, to come to that very America which the Northmen, and Cabot, and Gosnold, and Smith, and Raleigh visited.
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. 90, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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You speak of poverty and dependence. Who are poor and dependent? Who are rich and independent? When was it that men agreed to respect the appearance and not the reality?
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, April 3, 1850, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 177, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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The best way to correct a mistake is to make it right.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, January 24, 1843, to Ralph Waldo Emerson, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 50, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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I have tasted but little bread in my life. It has been mere grub and provender for the most part. Of bread that nourished the brain and the heart, scarcely any. There is absolutely none on the tables even of the rich.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, May 2, 1848, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, pp. 164-165, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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So is the English Parliament provincial. Mere country bumpkins, they betray themselves, when any more important question arises for them to settle, the Irish question, for instance,—the English question why did I not say? Their natures are subdued to what they work in. Their "good breeding" respects only secondary objects.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Life Without Principle" (1863), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 477, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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