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Best Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Life, Nature, Civil Disobedience, Love, Friendship, Self-Reliance, Death & Success! Henry David Thoreau, an American naturalist, writer, poet, and philosopher, was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on July 12, 1817. An essential figure in the Transcendentalist movement and author of the book Walden, which is a meditation on simple living in a natural environment, and the essay “Civil Disobedience” (originally published as “Resistance to Civil Government”), which argues for disobedience to an unjust government.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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He put Harvard College at the age of sixteen and quickly made a name for himself as a severe yet unusual student. As a college student, Thoreau studied Latin and Greek, English, history, and four different modern languages, in addition to his other majors of mathematics and philosophy. During his time at Harvard, he became acquainted with the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who would go on to serve as his most important mentor and friend throughout his life.

Because of this experience, he wrote his most famous essay, Civil Disobedience (published in 1849), which in its call for passive opposition to unjust laws went on to inspire Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Thoreau packed his belongings and left Walden Pond on September 6, 1847. Following that, he lived in Emerson’s house for a second time (1847–49) and then in his family’s home for the remainder of his life.

He worked at the pencil factory part-time and did some surveying work. At this point, he had become apprehensive about slavery, and after meeting John Brown in 1857, he wrote eloquently in support of the formerly enslaved person. When Thoreau died in May of 1862, he was 44 years old.

Best Henry David Thoreau Quotes

1. “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” – Henry David Thoreau 

2. “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.” – Henry David Thoreau 

3. “The universe is wider than our views of it.” – Henry David Thoreau 

4. “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” – Henry David Thoreau 

5. “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” – Henry David Thoreau 

6. “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau 

7. “Surely joy is the condition of life.” – Henry David Thoreau 

8. “Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.” – Henry David Thoreau 

9. “Be not simply good – be good for something.” – Henry David Thoreau 

10. “Only that traveling is good which reveals to me the value of home and enables me to enjoy it better.” – Henry David Thoreau 

11. “The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” – Henry David Thoreau 

12. “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” – Henry David Thoreau 

13. “It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.” – Henry David Thoreau 

14. “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 

15. “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” – Henry David Thoreau 

16. “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” – Henry David Thoreau 

17. “Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” – Henry David Thoreau 

18. “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau 

19. “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” – Henry David Thoreau 

20. “All good things are wild and free.” – Henry David Thoreau 

21. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…” – Henry David Thoreau 

22. “Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau 

23. “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 

24. “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, unsurvey and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” – Henry David Thoreau 

25. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” ― Henry David Thoreau

26. “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” – Henry David Thoreau 

27. “Things do not change; we change.” – Henry David Thoreau 

28. “Men are born to succeed, not to fail.” – Henry David Thoreau 

29. “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

30. “It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are… than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise” – Henry David Thoreau 

31. “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau 

32. “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau 

33. “Most of the luxuries and many so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” – Henry David Thoreau 

34. “Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” – Henry David Thoreau 

35. “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.” – Henry David Thoreau 

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