Henry David Thoreau

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

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

  • ''The Universal Soul, as it is called, has an interest in the stacking of hay, the foddering of cattle, and the draining of peat-meadows.''
    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. 131, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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  • ''We bless and curse ourselves.''
    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. 315, Houghton Mifflin (1906). Thoreau here refers to the self-understanding that may come in dreams.
  • ''The great poem must have the stamp of greatness as well as its essence.''
    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. 403, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''But even suppose blood should flow. Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man's real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Civil Disobedience," originally published as "Resistance to Civil Government" (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, pp. 371-372, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''What wealth is it to have such friends that we cannot think of them without elevation!''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, June 20, 1843, to Lidian Jackson Emerson, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 89, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''You must ascend a mountain to learn your relation to matter, and so to your own body, for it is at home there, though you are not.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, November 16, 1857, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, pp. 319-320, Houghton Mifflin (1906). In context, Thoreau clearly alludes here to his own ascent of Mount Ktaadn, recounted in The Maine Woods.
  • ''It must be confessed that horses at present work too exclusively for men, rarely men for horses; and the brute degenerates in man's society.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Paradise (To Be) Regained" (1843), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 286, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''The government of the world I live in was not framed, like that of Britain, in after- dinner conversations over the wine.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden, "Conclusion," (1854).
  • ''Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 9, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''Kings and queens who wear a suit but once, though made by some tailor or dressmaker to their majesties, cannot know the comfort of wearing a suit that fits. They are no better than wooden horses to hang the clean clothes on.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, pp. 23-24, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

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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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