HumanitiesWeb.org - The Deliberate Life of Henry David Thoreau [Quotations]
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Henry David Thoreau
Quotations



"I did not know that we had ever quarrelled."
- On being urged to make his peace with God

"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 which he hears, however measured or far away."
 
"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 had not lived."
 
"I am grateful for what I am & have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contended one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existance."
 
"I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right."
 
"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."
 
"I did not know that we had ever quarrelled."
- On being urged to make his peace with God
 
"It is usually the imagination that is wounded first, rather than the heart; it being much more sensitive."
 
"It is the marriage of the soul with Nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination."
 
"The world is but a canvas to the imagination. "
 
"The really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure. "
 
"Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them."
 
"It is difficult to begin without borrowing, but perhaps it is the most generous course thus to permit your fellow-men to have an interest in your enterprise. "
 
"To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge."
 
"To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts."
 
"Be not simply good; be good for something."
 
"As for doing good; that is one of the professions which is full. Moreover I have tried it fairly and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution. "
 
"If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like sweet-scented herbs--is more elastic, starry and immortal--that is your success."
 
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