22+ quotes from Walden and other writings by Henry David Thoreau

Quotes from Walden and other writings

Henry David Thoreau ·  368 pages

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“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“Spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it, reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“Thoreau the “Patron Saint of Swamps” because he enjoyed being in them and writing about them said, “my temple is the swamp… When I would recreate myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most impenetrable and to the citizen, most dismal, swamp. I enter a swamp as a sacred place, a sanctum sanctorum… I seemed to have reached a new world, so wild a place…far away from human society. What’s the need of visiting far-off mountains and bogs, if a half-hour’s walk will carry me into such wildness and novelty.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“We know but few man, a great many coats and breeches.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or elsewhere, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by profession; but I think, what is it to any independent, intellegent, and respectable man what decision they may come to? Shall we not have the advantage of his wisdom and honesty, nevertheless? Can we not count upon some independent votes? Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? But no: I find that the respectable man, so called, has immediately drifted from his position, and despairs of his country, when his country has more reason to despair of him. He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as his only AVAILABLE one, thus proving that he is himself AVAILABLE for any purposes of the demagogue. His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“The childish and savage taste of men and women for new patterns keeps how many shaking and squinting through kaleidoscopes that they may discover the particular figure which this generation requires to-day. The manufacturers have learned that this taste is merely whimsical. Of two patterns which differ only by a few threads more or less of a particular color, the one will be sold readily, the other lie on the shelf, though it frequently happens that after the lapse of a season the latter becomes the most fashionable. Comparatively, tattooing is not the hideous custom which it is called. It is not barbarous merely because the printing is skin-deep and unalterable.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“Our statistics are at fault: the population has been returned too large. How many men are there to a square thousand miles in this country? Hardly one.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one's while to buy them. Yet not the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men's while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“There is on the earth no institution which Friendship has established; it is not taught by any religion; no scripture contains its maxims. It has no temple nor even a solitary column...However, out fates at least are social. Our courses do not diverge; but as the web of destiny is woven it is fulled, and we are cast more and more into the centre. Men naturally, though feebly, seek this alliance, and their actions faintly foretell it. We are inclined to lay the chief stress on likeness and not on difference, and in foreign bodies we admit that there are many degrees of warmth below blood heat, but none of cold above it.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“Let men cultivate the moral affections, lead manly independent lives; let them make riches the means and not the end of existence, and we shall hear no more of the commercial spirit. . . . This curious world which we inhabit is more wonderful than it is convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous. If men would steadily observe realities only, and not allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compare it with such things as we know, would be like a fairy tale”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and undeveloped nature which men have not recognized.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessaries, but for want of luxuries;”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


“I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well.”
― Henry David Thoreau, quote from Walden and other writings


About the author

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