Henry David Thoreau

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

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

  • ''When will the world learn that a million men are of no importance compared with one man?''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, June 8, 1843, to Ralph Waldo Emerson, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, pp. 82-83, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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  • ''Read not the Times. Read the Eternities.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Life Without Principle" (1863), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 475, Houghton Mifflin (1906). In context, Thoreau clearly makes a pun here on The Times of London, and "the times" in which he lives.
  • ''The brave man braves nothing, nor knows he of his bravery.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "The Service: Qualities of the Recruit" (1840), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 277, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," (1854).
  • ''Do not seek anxiously to be developed, to subject yourself to many influences to be played on; it is all dissipation.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 362, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''I think that we may safely trust a good deal more than we do. We may waive just so much care of ourselves as we honestly bestow elsewhere. Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 12, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''Men are in the main alike, but they were made several in order that they might be various. If a low use is to be served, one man will do nearly quite as well as another; if a high one, individual excellence is to be regarded.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Walking" (1862), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, p. 235, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''In dark places and dungeons the preacher's words might perhaps strike root and grow, but not in broad daylight in any part of the world that I know.''
    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. 78, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''There is no rule more invariable than that we are paid for our suspicions by finding what we suspected.''
    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. 294, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''The front aspect of great thoughts can only be enjoyed by those who stand on the side whence they arrive.''
    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. 99, 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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