Henry David Thoreau

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

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

  • ''Art may varnish and gild, but it can do no more.''
    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. 402, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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  • ''The strongest wind cannot stagger a Spirit; it is a Spirit's breath. A just man's purpose cannot be split on any Grampus or material rock, but itself will split rocks till it succeeds.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Cape Cod (1855-1865), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 13, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual.''
    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, p. 387, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''The mission of men there seems to be, like so many busy demons, to drive the forest all out of the country, from every solitary beaver swamp and mountain-side, as soon as possible.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Ktaadn" (1848) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, pp. 5-6, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''What exercise is to the body, employment is to the mind and morals.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, December 19, 1853, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 221, Houghton Mifflin (1906). In context, Thoreau means "employment" in the sense of "activity" or "engagement."
  • ''Your richest veins don't lie nearest the surface.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, March 17, 1838, to John Thoreau, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 20, Houghton Mifflin (1906). Context suggests that Thoreau's comment is a general one, not one directed specifically at his brother.
  • ''Whatever is, and is not ashamed to be, is good.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, November 4, 1860, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 373, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''Conventionalities are at length as bad as impurities. Even the facts of science may dust the mind by their dryness, unless they are in a sense effaced each morning, or rather rendered fertile by the dews of fresh and living truth.''
    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).
  • ''Places where he might live and die and never hear of the United States, which make such a noise in the world,—never hear of America, so called from the name of a European gentleman.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "The Allegash and East Branch" (1864) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, pp. 260-261, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • ''I heard the dog-day locust here, and afterward on the carries, a sound which I had associated only with more open, if not settled countries. The area for locusts must be small in the Maine Woods.''
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "The Allegash and East Branch" (1864) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, p. 254, 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

I Knew A Man By Sight

I knew a man by sight,
A blameless wight,
Who, for a year or more,
Had daily passed my door,
Yet converse none had had with him.

I met him in a lane,
Him and his cane,
About three miles from home,

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