Famous Quotes from ...

Henry David Thoreau



    None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

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    This world is but a canvas to our imagination.

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    I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.

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    Dreams are the touchstones of our character.

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    Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

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    Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.

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    The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

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    Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.

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    The bluebird carries the sky on his back.

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

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    Men have become the tools of their tools.

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

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

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    It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

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    It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

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

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    That government is best which governs least.

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    Men are born to succeed, not to fail.

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    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

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    If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.

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    What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?

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    Do not lose hold of your dreams or asprirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.

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    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

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    Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

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    Live the life you've dreamed

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    Our life is frittered away by detail ... simplify, simplify.

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    If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

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    I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I have not lived.

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    A man cannot be said to succeed in this life who does not satisfy one friend.

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    Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.

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    City life is millions of people being lonesome together.

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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

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    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

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    What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.

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    The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.

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    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.

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    I have received no more than one or two letters in my life that were worth the postage.

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    The true harvest of my life is intangible - a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched

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

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    There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.

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    If you give money, spend yourself with it.

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    You must get your living by loving, or at least half your life is a failure.

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    In the streets and in society I am almost invariablycheap and dissipated, my life is unspeakably mean.No amount of gold or respectability would in the leastredeem it,-- dining with the Governor or a member of Congress!!But alone in the distant woods or fields,in unpretending sprout-lands or pastures tracked by rabbits,even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day, like this,when a villager would be thinking of his inn,I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related,and that cold and solitude are friends of mine.I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalentto what others get by churchgoing and prayer.I come home to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home.I thus dispose of the superfluous and see things as they are,grand and beautiful. I have told many that I walk every dayabout half the daylight, but I think they do not believe it.I wish to get the Concord, the Massachusetts, the America,out of my head and be sane a part of every day.

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    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.

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

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    If we knew all the laws of Nature, we should need only one fact, or the description of one actual phenomenon, to infer all the particular results at that point. Now we know only a few laws, and our result is vitiated, not, of course, by any confusion or irregularity in Nature, but by our ignorance of essential elements in the calculation. Our notions of law and harmony are commonly confined to those instances which we detect; but the harmony which results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws, which we have not detected, is still more wonderful. The particular laws are as our points of view, as, to the traveler, a mountain outline varies with every step, and it has an infinite number of profiles, though absolutely but one form. Even when cleft or bored through it is not comprehended in its entireness.

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    Nature abhors a vacuum, and if I can only walk with sufficient carelessness I am sure to be filled.

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    How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

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    Almost any man knows how to earn money, but not one in a million knows how to spend it.

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    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, in our own, to the world.

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    Talk about slavery! It is not the peculiar institution of the South. It exists wherever men are bought and sold, wherever a man allows himself to be made a mere thing or a tool, and surrenders his inalienable rights of reason and conscience. Indeed, this slavery is more complete than that which enslaves the body alone... I never yet met with, or heard of, a judge who was not a slave of this kind, and so the finest and most unfailing weapon of injustice. He fetches a slightly higher price than the black men only because he is a more valuable slave.

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    The government of the world I live in was not framed, like that of Britain, in after-dinner conversations over the wine.

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    In the love of narrow souls I make many short voyages but in vain - I find no sea room - but in great souls I sail before the wind without a watch, and never reach the shore.

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    Death is beautiful when seen to be a law, and not an accident - It is as common as life.

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    There is more of good nature than of good sense at the bottom of most marriages

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    The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling.

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    All men recognize the right of revolution

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    We falsely attribute to men a determined character -- putting together all their yesterdays -- and averaging them -- we presume we know them. Pity the man who has character to support -- it is worse than a large family -- he is the silent poor indeed.

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    As to conforming outwardly, and living your own life inwardly, I have not a very high opinion of that course.

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    Politics is the gizzard of society, full of grit and gravel, and the two political parties are its opposite halves - sometimes split into quarters - which grind on each other. Not only individuals but states have thus a confirmed dyspepsia.

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

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    A man may acquire a taste for wine or brandy, and so lose his love for water, but should we not pity him

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    That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.

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    Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.

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    Love is an attempt to change a piece of a dream-world into reality.

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    Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.

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    I belive that there is a subtile magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. It is not indifferent to us which way we walk. There is a right way; but we are very liable from heedlessness and stupidity to take the wrong one. We would fain take that walk, never yet taken by us through this actual world, which is perfectly symbolical of the path which we love to travel in the interior and ideal world; and sometimes, no doubt, we find it difficult to choose our direction, because it does not yet exist distinctly in our idea.

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