Henry David Thoreau

(12 July 1817 – 6 May 1862 / Concord, Massachusetts)

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

  • ''It behooves every man to see that his influence is on the side of justice, and let the courts make their own characters.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Slavery in Massachusetts" (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 404, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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  • ''What right have I to grieve, who have not ceased to wonder?''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, March 2, 1842, to Lucy Brown, sister-in-law of Ralph Waldo Emerson, following death first of Thoreau's brother, then Emerson's son. The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau (1958).
  • ''Many have believed that Walden reached quite through to the other side of the globe.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 315, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''Who that has heard a strain of music feared then lest he should speak extravagantly any more forever?''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 357, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''The fishermen say that the "thundering of the pond" scares the fishes and prevents their biting.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 333, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''A true account of the actual is the rarest poetry, for common sense always takes a hasty and superficial view.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 347, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''But the divinest poem, or the life of a great man, is the severest satire.... The greater the genius, the keener the edge of the satire.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 329, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''Men have a singular desire to be good without being good for anything, because, perchance, they think vaguely that so it will be good for them in the end.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 75, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''The wonderful purity of nature at this season is a most pleasing fact.... In the bare fields and tinkling woods, see what virtue survives. In the coldest and bleakest places, the warmest charities still maintain a foothold.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "A Winter Walk" (1843), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, p. 167, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''These beginnings of commerce on a lake in the wilderness are very interesting,—these larger white birds that come to keep company with the gulls.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Chesuncook" (1858) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, p. 100, Houghton Mifflin (1906). Thoreau's metaphor for the half-civilized nature of this state rests upon the presence of sailboats as well as steamers on the lake.

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Best Poem of Henry David Thoreau

Friendship

I think awhile of Love, and while I think,
Love is to me a world,
Sole meat and sweetest drink,
And close connecting link
Tween heaven and earth.

I only know it is, not how or why,
My greatest happiness;
However hard I try,
Not if I were to die,
Can I explain.

I fain would ask my friend how it can be,
But when the time arrives,
Then Love is more lovely
Than anything to me,
And so I'm dumb.

For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak,
But only thinks and does;
Though surely out 'twill leak
Without the help of...

Read the full of Friendship

The Summer Rain

My books I'd fain cast off, I cannot read,
'Twixt every page my thoughts go stray at large
Down in the meadow, where is richer feed,
And will not mind to hit their proper targe.

Plutarch was good, and so was Homer too,
Our Shakespeare's life were rich to live again,
What Plutarch read, that was not good nor true,
Nor Shakespeare's books, unless his books were men.

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