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

I do not know at first what it is that charms me. The men and things of today are wont to be fairer and truer in tomorrow’s memory.

I do not value any view of the universe into which man and the institutions of man enter very largely and absorb much of the attention. Man is but the place where I stand, and the prospect hence is infinite.

However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names...cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends...Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thought. God will see that you do not want society... There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.

Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul is the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.

Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe.

Every man casts a shadow; not his body only, but his imperfectly mingled spirit... It is widest at its base, which is no greater than his own capacity.

Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.

Did you ever hear of a man who had striven all his life faithfully and singly towards an object, and in no measure obtained it? If a man constantly aspires, is he not elevated? Did ever a man try heroism, magnanimity, truth, sincerity, and find that there was no advantage in them - that it was a vain endeavor?

Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg, by the side of which more will be laid.

All perception of truth is a perception of an analogy; we reason from our hands to our heads.

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.

A man’s real faith is never contained in his creed, nor is his creed an article of his faith. The last is never adopted. This it is that permits him to smile ever, and to live even as bravely as he does. And yet he clings anxiously to his creed, as to a straw, thinking that that does him good service because his sheet anchor does not drag.

All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.

'Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.

What is most of our boasted so-called knowledge but a conceit that we know something, which robs us of the advantage of our actual ignorance?

You do not get a man's most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness.

What is leisure but opportunity for more complete and entire action?

What is morality but immemorial custom? Conscience is the chief of conservatives.

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 in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor... To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.

We hate the kindness which we understand.

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust.

To regret deeply is to live afresh.

Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors.

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

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