Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Improve every opportunity to be melancholy.
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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When will the world learn that a million men are of no importance compared with one man?
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, June 8, 1843, to Ralph Waldo Emerson, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, pp. 82-83, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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If thousands are thrown out of employment, it suggests that they were not well employed. Why don't they take the hint? It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?
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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Read not the Times. Read the Eternities.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Life Without Principle" (1863), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 475, Houghton Mifflin (1906). In context, Thoreau clearly makes a pun here on The Times of London, and "the times" in which he lives.
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Mr. Etzler is not one of the enlightened practical men, the pioneers of the actual, who move with the slow, deliberate tread of science, conserving the world; who execute the dreams of the last century, though they have no dreams of their own; yet he deals in the very raw but still solid material of all inventions. He has more of the practical than usually belongs to so bold a schemer, so resolute a dreamer. Yet his success is in theory, and not in practice, and he feeds our faith rather than contents our understanding.
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. 301, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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When camping in such a wilderness as this, you are prepared to hear sounds from some of its inhabitants which will give voice to its wildness. Some idea of bears, wolves, or panthers runs in your head naturally, and when this note is first heard very far off at midnight, as you lie with your ear to the ground,—the forest being perfectly still about you, you take it for granted that it is the voice of a wolf or some other wild beast, for only the last part is heard when at a distance,—you conclude that it is a pack of wolves, baying the moon, or, perchance, cantering after a moose.
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, p. 247, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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I was surprised to hear him say that he liked to go to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc., etc.; that he would like to live there. But then, as if relenting a little, when he thought what a poor figure he would make there, he added, "I suppose, I live in New York, I be poorest hunter, I expect." He understood very well both his superiority and his inferiority to the whites. He criticized the people of the United States as compared with other nations, but the only distinct idea with which he labored was, that they were "very strong," but, like some individuals, "too fast." He must have the credit of saying this just before the general breakdown of railroads and banks.
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, p. 218, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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The brave man braves nothing, nor knows he of his bravery.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "The Service: Qualities of the Recruit" (1840), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 277, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," (1854).
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Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has no time to be anything but a machine.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 6, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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