Henry David Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau

Henry David
Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau
1817
1862

American Essayist, Naturalist, Poet, Abolitionist, Naturalist, Tax Resister, Development Critic, surveyor, Historian, Philosopher and Leading Transcendentalist

Author Quotes

It requires more than a day's devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day.

While there are manners and compliments we do not meet, we do not teach one another the lessons of honesty and sincerity that the brutes do, or of steadiness and solidity that the rocks do. The fault is commonly mutual, however; for we do not habitually demand any more of each other.

I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living. All great enterprises are self-supporting. The poet, for instance, must sustain his body by his poetry, as a steam planing-mill feeds its boilers with the shavings it makes. You must get your living by loving.

A true account of the actual is the rarest poetry, for common sense always takes a hasty and superficial view.

Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one.

The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment.

We are as much as we see. Faith is sight and knowledge. The hands only serve the eyes.

Have no mean hours, but be grateful for every hour, and accept what it brings. The reality will make any sincere record respectable. No day will have been wholly misspent, if one sincere, thoughtful page has been written. Let the daily tide leave some deposit on these pages, as it leaves sand and shells on the shore. So much increase of terra firma. this may be a calendar of the ebbs and flows of the soul; and on these sheets as a beach, the waves may cast up pearls and seaweed.

Poetry — No definition of poetry is adequate unless it be poetry itself. The most accurate analysis by the rarest wisdom is yet insufficient, and the poet will instantly prove it false by setting aside its requisitions. It is indeed all that we do not know. The poet does not need to see how meadows are something else than earth, grass, and water, but how they are thus much. He does not need discover that potato blows are as beautiful as violets, as the farmer thinks, but only how good potato blows are. The poem is drawn out from under the feet of the poet, his whole weight has rested on this ground. It has a logic more severe than the logician's. You might as well think to go in pursuit of the rainbow, and embrace it on the next hill, as to embrace the whole of poetry even in thought.

If a man believes and expects great things of himself, it makes no odds where you put him, or what you show him ... he will be surrounded by grandeur.

What you get by achieving your goals is to as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.

What is once well done is done forever.

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.

We shall see but a little way if we require to understand what we see.

We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.

We are not what we are, nor do we treat or esteem each other for such, but for what we are capable of being.

Truths and roses have thorns about them.

Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing.

To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle.

This world is but a canvas to our imagination.

There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.

There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.

There is danger that we lose sight of what our friend is absolutely, while considering what she is to us alone.

Author Picture
First Name
Henry David
Last Name
Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau
Birth Date
1817
Death Date
1862
Bio

American Essayist, Naturalist, Poet, Abolitionist, Naturalist, Tax Resister, Development Critic, surveyor, Historian, Philosopher and Leading Transcendentalist