Henry David Thoreau Quotes

What are your favorite Henry David Thoreau quotes?

Henry David Thoreau was a naturalist, essayist, poet, philosopher and author who is best known for living and popularizing the doctrines of transcendentalism, a school of thought that mostly combined a respect for nature and self-sufficiency. Thoreau is the author of books like WALDEN, Civil Disobedience, Walking, Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, The Maine woods and many more.

Here are some of the best Henry David Thoreau quotes about life, nature, success, change, Walden and so much more:

Henry David Thoreau I Went To The Woods Quote

Henry David Thoreau Quotes: 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.

1. 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.

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau If One Advances Confidently Quote

Henry David Thoreau Quotes: 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

2. I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that 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.

Henry David Thoreau

Best Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Best Henry David Thoreau Quotes

3. For my greatest skill has been to want but little. -Henry David Thoreau

4. As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. -Henry David Thoreau

5. Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. -Henry David Thoreau

6. Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. -Henry David Thoreau

7. I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society. -Henry David Thoreau

8. A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau

9. There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. -Henry David Thoreau

10. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. -Henry David Thoreau

11. The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. -Henry David Thoreau

12. All good things are wild, and free.

Henry David Thoreau

13. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. -Henry David Thoreau

14. That government is best which governs least. -Henry David Thoreau

15. It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. -Henry David Thoreau

16. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. -Henry David Thoreau

17. Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. -Henry David Thoreau

18. If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment. -Henry David Thoreau

19. I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion. -Henry David Thoreau

20. Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. -Henry David Thoreau

21. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star. -Henry David Thoreau

22. I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. -Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Life

Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Life

23. Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake. -Henry David Thoreau

24. The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. -Henry David Thoreau

25. Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify. -Henry David Thoreau

26. Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new. -Henry David Thoreau

27. How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book. -Henry David Thoreau

28. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. -Henry David Thoreau

29. Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes. -Henry David Thoreau

30. However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.

Henry David Thoreau

31. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. -Henry David Thoreau

32. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. -Henry David Thoreau

33. Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth. -Henry David Thoreau

34. Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something. -Henry David Thoreau

35. 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

36. You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this. -Henry David Thoreau

37. However mean your life is, meet and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its doors as early in the spring. Cultivate property like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts… Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul. -Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Nature

Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Nature

38. There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature. -Henry David Thoreau

39. I love Nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst, I can be glad with an entire gladness. -Henry David Thoreau

40. A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.

Henry David Thoreau

41. If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. -Henry David Thoreau

42. We need the tonic of wildness… At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. -Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Success

Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Success

43. Men are born to succeed, not to fail. -Henry David Thoreau

44. Dreams are the touchstones of our characters. -Henry David Thoreau

45. Undoubtedly, in the most brilliant successes, the first rank is always sacrificed. -Henry David Thoreau

46. Only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him. -Henry David Thoreau

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

Henry David Thoreau

48. Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. -Henry David Thoreau

49. A man cannot be said to succeed in this life who does not satisfy one friend. -Henry David Thoreau

50. The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in mind. -Henry David Thoreau

51. We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success. -Henry David Thoreau

53. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. -Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau Quotes On Change

Henry David Thoreau Quotes On Change

54. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new. -Henry David Thoreau

55. The largest pond is as sensitive to atmospheric changes as the globule of mercury in its tube. -Henry David Thoreau

56. Things do not change; we change.

Henry David Thoreau

57. Man is an animal who more than any other can adapt himself to all climates and circumstances. -Henry David Thoreau

58. We are independent of the change we detect. The longer the lever, the less perceptible its motion. It is the slowest pulsation which is the most vital. The hero then will know how to wait, as well as to make haste. All good abides with him who waiteth wisely; we shall sooner overtake the dawn by remaining here than by hurrying over the hills of the west. -Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau: Walden Quotes

Henry David Thoreau Walden Quotes

59. I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. -Henry David Thoreau

60. Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself. -Henry David Thoreau

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

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

63. We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

Henry David Thoreau

64. When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality. -Henry David Thoreau

65. We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. -Henry David Thoreau

66. The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. -Henry David Thoreau

67. If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched. -Henry David Thoreau

68. In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges. -Henry David Thoreau

69. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society. -Henry David Thoreau

70. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace. -Henry David Thoreau