HomeQuotes170 Henry David Thoreau Quotes on Nature & Love

170 Henry David Thoreau Quotes on Nature & Love

2. “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”

3. “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time.”

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

5. “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.”

6. “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with unexpected success in common hours.”

7. “Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life.”

8. “To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.”

9. “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”

10. “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

11. “Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.”

12. “Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”

13. “I love to be alone. I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

14. “Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.”

15. “All good things are wild and free.”

16. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.”

17. “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”

18. “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”

19. “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”

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20. “I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

21. “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”

22. “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”

23. “Not till we are lost—in other words, not till we have lost the world—do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.”

24. “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”

25. “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

26. “It is never too late to give up your prejudices.”

27. “I had three chairs in my house—one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

28. “I have an immense appetite for solitude, like an infant for sleep, and if I don’t get enough for this year, I shall cry all the next.”

29. “Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with nature herself.”

30. “Amid a world of noisy, shallow actors it is noble to stand aside and say, ‘I will simply be.’”

31. “We are born as innocents. We are polluted by advice.”

32. “I have, as it were, my own sun, and moon, and stars, and a little world all to myself.”

33. “It is not that we love to be alone, but that we love to soar; and when we do soar, the company grows thinner and thinner until there is none at all.”

34. “I have a room all to myself; it is nature.”

35. “We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us.”

36. “Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep on your own track, then.”

37. “To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake.”

38. “Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant’s truce between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”

39. “In the long run, men only hit what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.”

40. “As to conforming outwardly and living your own life inwardly, I do not think much of that.”

41. “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.”

42. “We hear and apprehend only what we already half know.”

43. “What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”

44. “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life.”

45. “Rise free from care before the dawn, and seek adventures.”

46. “We should impart our courage and not our despair.”

47. “The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it.”

48. “Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.”

49. “I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”

50. “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.”

51. “However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names.”

52. “Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse.”

53. “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.”

54. “What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”

55. “It is not worth the while to let our imperfections disturb us always.”

56. “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.”

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

58. “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, it is more elastic, more starry, more immortal—that is your success.”

59. “All nature is your congratulations, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself.”

60. “Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you want to keep your spirits up.”

61. “Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.”

62. “The universe is wider than our views of it.”

63. “Wildness is the preservation of the world.”

64. “A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”

65. “Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the as well as the earth.”

66. “If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.”

67. “It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.”

68. “We are not the least to aim at the summits though the multitude does not ascend them.”

69. “A single, gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts.”

70. “This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.”

71. “The is like the direction of sunbeams.”

72. “Night is certainly more novel and less profane than day.”

73. “Life in us is like the water in a river.”

74. “All change is a miracle to contemplate, but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.”

75. “The greatest art is to shape the quality of the day.”

76. “I do not know how to distinguish between waking life and a dream. Are we not always living the life that we imagine we are?”

77. “He who hears the rippling of rivers in these degenerate days will not utterly despair.”

78. “The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.”

79. “I believe in the , and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows.”

80. “The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”

81. “I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”

82. “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

83. “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

84. “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

85. “Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

86. “When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

87. “I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit.”

88. “So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run.”

89. “For my greatest skill has been to want but little.”

90. “Cultivate property like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things—whether clothes or friends.”

91. “Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.”

92. “The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated.”

93. “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”

94. “It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite—only a sense of existence.”

95. “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 thumbnail.”

96. “That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

97. “I make myself rich by making my wants few.”

98. “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

99. “Happiness is like a , the more you chase it, the more it will evade you, but if you notice the other things around you, it will gently come and sit on your shoulder.”

100. “Be resolutely and faithfully what you are; be humbly what you aspire to be.”

101. “It is desirable that a man lives in all respects so simply and preparedly. If an enemy takes the town, he can walk out the gate empty-handed and without anxiety.”

102. “If you want to be happy, be!”

103. “While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them.”

104. “The true harvest of my life is intangible—a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.”

105. “As long as possible, live free and uncommitted. It makes but little difference whether you are committed to a farm or the county jail.”

106. “A taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors.”

107. “Read not the times, read the eternities.”

108. “Most of the luxuries—and many of the so called comforts of life—are not only indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor.”

109. “Direct your eye inward, and you’ll find a thousand regions in your mind yet undiscovered. Travel them, and be an expert in home-cosmography.”

110. “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”

111. “I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”

112. “Things do not change; we change.”

113. “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.”

114. “This world is but canvas to our imaginations.”

115. “For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be—what is once well done is done forever.”

116. “Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.”

117. “If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.”

118. “It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?”

119. “I can alter my life by altering my attitude. He who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.”

120. “Men have become the tools of their tools.”

121. “Men are born to succeed, not to fail.”

122. “We are constantly invited to be what we are.”

123. “When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence—that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.”

124. “Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.”

125. “Books—the oldest and the best—stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage.”

126. “In human intercourse, the tragedy begins not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.”

127. “A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.”

128. “If I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?”

129. “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.”

130. “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail.”

131. “Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.”

132. “He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.”

133. “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.”

134. “Books can only reveal us to ourselves, and as often as they do us this service we lay them aside.”

135. “But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

136. “No man ever followed his genius till it misled him.”

137. “Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare.”

138. “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.”

139. “The 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.”

140. “Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”

141. “There is no remedy for love but to love more.”

142. “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but religiously follows the new.”

143. “All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

144. “The language of friendship is not words, but meanings.”

145. “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through for an instant?”

146. “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”

147. “The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.”

148. “Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe.”

149. “Pursue some path—however narrow and crooked—in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

150. “Friends—they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.”

151. “On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living—that we have, henceforth, to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, on our own, to the world.”

152. “I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.”

153. “The heart is forever inexperienced.”

154. “Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.”

155. “It takes two to speak the truth—one to speak and another to hear.”

156. “Enthusiasm is a supernatural serenity.”

157. “Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are.”

158. “The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in a single, solitary, even humble individual. For it is within the soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.”

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

160. “Love must be as much a light as it is a flame.”

161. “Man wanted a home, a place for warmth, or comfort—first of physical warmth, then the warmth of the affections.”

162. “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 life getting his living.”

163, “What people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can.”

164. “Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin!”

165. “A man can suffocate on courtesy.”

166. “I will come to you, my friend, when I no longer need you. Then you will find a palace, not an almshouse.”

167. “Why should we live in such a hurry and waste of life?”

168. “Begin where you are and such as you are, without aiming mainly to become of more worth, and with kindness aforethought, go about doing good.”

169. “If you can speak what you will never hear, if you can write what you will never read, you have done rare things.”

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