Henry David Thoreau
Quotes To Live By

Henry David Thoreau

These Henry David Thoreau quotes are all positive, inspirational words of wisdom. Thoreau was an American author, poet and philosopher.

Henry David Thoreau was born on 12th July 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1837 and became a teacher for a while and also worked in his father's pencil factory. He became a protege of a neighbour and friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson and lived with him for two years working as a handyman.  During this time Emerson helped him in getting some poems and essays published.    In 1845 he built himself a small house on land owned by Emerson on the shore of Walden Pond to have a quiet place to study nature and write. Moving back several years later he spent the rest of his life writing, lecturing, surveying and working in his fathers factory.  

He died on 6th May 1862 from tuberculosis aged only 44.  Emerson said at his funeral: "The country knows not yet, or in the least part, how great a son it has lost... His soul was made for the noblest society; he had in a short life exhausted the capabilities of this world, wherever there is knowledge, wherever the is virtue, wherever there is beauty, he will find a home."

Henry David Thoreau quotes are listed alphabetically

Spiritual Quotes To Live By


 Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  A   



Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past.


A grain of gold will gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom.


A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can let alone.


All men are children, and of one family.


An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.


As a single footstep will not make a path on the Earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.


A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades of greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us, like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it; and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities, which we call doing our duty. We loiter in winter while it is already spring.


As long as I have the friendship of the seasons, life will never be a burden to me.


As the least drop of wine tinges the whole goblet, so the least particle of truth colours our whole life. It is never isolated, or simply added as treasure to our stock. When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.


As you simplify your life, the laws of the Universe will be simpler... solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.


A taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


 Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  B   



Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought.

Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you - Henry David Thoreau - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

Beauty is where it is perceived.


Being is... the great explainer.


Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  C   



Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  D   



Direct your eye inward, any you'll find
A thousand regions in your mind
Yet undiscovered - Travel them and be
Expert in home-cosmography


Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.


Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.


Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.


Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.


Don't get to the end of your life and realize you have never lived.


Do what you love.
Know your own bone - gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it and gnaw it still.


Dreams are the touchstones of our character.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  E   



Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season as beautifully as it was taken up.


Every child begins the world again, and to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold. 


Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.


Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  F   



Friends... they cherish one another's hopes, they are kind to one another's dreams.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  G   



Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you've imagined.  

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you've imagined - Henry David Thoreau - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

God Himself culminates in the present moment, and will never be more divine in the lapse of all ages.


Goodness is the only investment that never fails.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  H   



Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads - Henry David Thoreau - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his Soul's estate.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  I   



I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.


I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man.


I believe there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to  it, will direct us aright.


I cannot make my days longer,  so I strive to make them better.


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 he hears, however measured or far away.


If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.


If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.


If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost, that is where they should be... Now put foundations under them.


If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.


I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.


I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals.


I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour.


In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.


I silently smiles at my incessant good fortune.


It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields.


It is not enough to be busy. The question is... What are we busy about?


It is not the length of life, but depth of life.


It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience. But a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience.


It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate.


It takes two to speak truth, one to speak and another to listen.


It's not what you look at that matters... It's what you see.

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see - Henry David Thoreau - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

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.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  K   



Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  L   



Let go of the past and go for the future.


Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  M   



Man emulates Earth.
Earth emulates Heaven.
Heaven emulates the Way.
The Way emulates Nature

Man emulates Earth, Earth emulates Heaven - Henry David Thoreau - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

Man is the artificer of his own happiness.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.


Men are born to succeed, not to fail.


Men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men.


Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.


Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  N   



Nature is full of genius, full of divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.


Never look back... unless you are planning to go that way.


None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  O   



Our life is frittered away by detail.  Simplify, Simplify.


Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  P   



Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  S   



Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can be? Let everyone mind his own business and endeavor to be what he was made.


Silence is the communing of a conscious Soul with itself.


So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre. All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


 Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  T   



That government is best which governs the least.


That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest.


Thaw, with her gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer. The one melts, the other breaks into pieces.


The church is a sort of hospital for men's Souls and as full of quackery as the hospital for their bodies.


The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.


The fault finder will find faults even in paradise.


The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but he gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.


The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought... and attended to my answer.


The language of friendship is not words, but meanings.


The law will never make a man free, it is the men who have got to make the law free.


The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.


The man who goes alone can start today. But he who travels with another, must wait till that other is ready.


The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?


The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.


The Universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions; whether we travel fast or slow, the track is laid for us.


The Universe is wider than our views of it.


There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate, and not a grain more - a man sees only what concerns him.


There is no beginning too small.


There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.


There is no remedy for love but to love more.


There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.


Things do not change...  we change.


This world is but a canvas to our imaginations.

The world is but a canvas to our imaginations - Henry David Thoreau - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.


To be admitted to Nature's hearth costs nothing. None is excluded, but excludes himself. You have only to push aside the curtain.


To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle.


To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know...
That is true knowledge.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


 Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  W   



Wealth is... the ability to fully experience life.


We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones.


We are always paid for our suspicion by... finding what we suspect.


We live a short period of time in this world, but we live it according to the laws of eternal life.


We should impart our courage and not our despair.


We were born to succeed, not to fail.


What is called genius is... the abundance of life and health.


What is once well done is... done forever.


What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.


What people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can.


What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.


When I hear music...  I fear no danger. I invulnerable. I see no foe.  I am related to the earliest times and to the latest.


Spiritual Quotes To Live By


 Henry David Thoreau Quotes:  Y   



You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.


You must not only aim alright, but draw the bow with all your might.



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