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Transcendentalists > Henry David Thoreau > Quotes

Thoreau: Quotes

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Wild Fruits - Thoreau's Rediscovered Last Manuscript

Thoreau quotes - favorites of this site's webmaster:


It is never too late to give up your prejudices. Walden

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Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Walden

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Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. Walden

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Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.

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Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. Walden

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Things do not change; we change. Journal

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In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and the future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.

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We do not enjoy poetry unless we know it to be poetry.

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Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.

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So behave that the odor of your actions may enhance the general sweetness of the atmosphere, that when we behold or scent a flower, we may not be reminded how inconsistent your deeds are with it; for all odor is but one form of advertisement of a moral quality, and if fair actions had not been performed, the lily would not smell sweet. The foul slime stands for the sloth and vice of man, the decay of humanity; the fragrant flower that springs from it, for the purity and courage which are immortal.

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For more than five years I maintained myself thus solely by the labour of my hands, and I found, that by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living.

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On tops of mountains, as everywhere to hopeful souls, it is always morning.

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All this worldly wisdom was once the amiable heresy of some wise man. Journal

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I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Civil Disobedience

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Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. Civil Disobedience

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Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

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True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.

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

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As for Doing-good, that is one of the professions which are full.

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I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.

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Wherever a man goes, men will pursue him and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate oddfellow society.

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It is not worthwhile to go around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.

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Also: Thoreau's invention of the term "mutual admiration society"

 

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