Quotes from Walden

Henry David Thoreau ·  352 pages

Rating: (127.9K votes)


“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden



“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“Things do not change; we change.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden



“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden



“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“...for my greatest skill has been to want but little.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden



“I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“However mean your life is, meet and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its doors as early in the spring. Cultivate property like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts… Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden



“If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden


About the author

Henry David Thoreau
Born place: in Concord, Massachusetts, The United States
Born date July 12, 1817
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