100 Best Inspirational Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Henry David Thoreau was an American poet, essayist, Journalist and practical philosopher of the 19th century. He was born on 12th of July 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts. His main interests are Philosophy, History, Ethics, Religion, Poetry, Biology, and Politics. Henry David Thoreau is mainly known for his Essay “Civil Disobedience” and his extraordinary book “Walden”  a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. After Some Introduction, now I am going straight forward to my topic which the best Henry David Thoreau Quotes.

Famous Henry David Thoreau Walden Quotes on Nature, Love, Life & Simplicity 

A list of best and famous Henry David Thoreau Walden quotes on love, life nature, government, motivation, success and simplicity are in the following: 

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Henry David Thoreau Walden Quotes

1. “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”

2. “Men are born to succeed, not to fail.”

3. “All good things are wild and free.”

4. “Things do not change; we change.”

5. “Men have become the tools of their tools.”

6. “Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare”

7. “Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.”

8. “The only sin in the world is ignorance.”

9. “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”

10. “There is no remedy for love but to love more.” Henry David Thoreau

11. “As long as possible live free and uncommitted.”

12. “I make myself rich by making my wants few.”

13. “Life in us is like the water in a river.”

14. “All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.”

15. “I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.”

16. “We are born as innocents. We are polluted by advice.”

17. “If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetry would resound along the streets.”

18. “If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.” Henry David Thoreau

19. “This world is but a canvas to our imaginations.”

20. “Renew thyself completely each day.”

21. “Man is the artificer of his own happiness.”

22. “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”

23. “That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. ”

24. “God is alone,-but the devil, he is far from being alone; he sees a great deal of company; he is legion.”

25. “Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”

26. “What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.”

27. “I can alter my life by altering my attitude. He who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.”

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28. “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” Henry David Thoreau

29. “But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

30. “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”

31. “The greatest art is to shape the quality of the day. ”

32. “No man ever followed his genius till it misled him.”

33. “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”

34. “A gun will give you the body, not the bird”

35. “I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.”

36. “The universe is wider than our views of it.”

37. “We hear and apprehend only what we already half know.”

38. “To a philosopher all news is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.” Henry David Thoreau

39. “Confucius said, “To know that we know what we know and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.”

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

41. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

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

43. “The civilized man is a more experienced and wiser savage.”

44. “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 thumbnail.”

Also Read: 75 Jim Rohn Quotes on Success, Life, Education, Leadership, Change

45. “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Henry David Thoreau Quotes 

46. “Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.”

47. “Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe.”

48. “Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”

49. “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

50. “I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

51. “Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.”

52. “It is never too late to give up your prejudices”

53. “A truly good book…teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down and commence living on its hint. When I read an indifferent book, it seems the best thing I can do, but the inspiring volume hardly leaves me leisure to finish its latter pages. It is slipping out of my fingers while I read…What I began by reading I must finish by acting.”

54. “It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?”

55. “I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”

Also Read: 57 Best John Locke Quotes

56. “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.” Henry David Thoreau

57. “Any fool can make a rule
And any fool will mind it.”

58. “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”

59. “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.”

60. “Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.”

61. “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.”

62. “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..”

63. “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

64. “It is not worth the while to let our imperfections disturb us always.” Henry David Thoreau

65. “One farmer says to me, ‘You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;’ and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.”

66. “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.”

67. “Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.”

68. “When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.” Henry David Thoreau

69. “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. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”

70. “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.”

71. “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” Henry David Thoreau

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

73. “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me the truth.”

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

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

76. “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”

77. “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.”

Also Read: Top 10 Most Famous Greek Philosophers In History of The World

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

79. “If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.”

80. “Silence is the communing of a conscious soul with itself.”

81. “The preachers and lecturers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves. Why, a free-spoken man, of sound lungs, cannot draw a long breath without causing your rotten institutions to come toppling down by the vacuum he makes. Your church is a baby-house made of blocks, and so of the state….The church, the state, the school, the magazine, think they are liberal and free! It is the freedom of a prison-yard.”

82. “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.”

83. “I was not born to be forced. I will breathe in my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” Henry David Thoreau

84. “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.”

85. “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.”

86. “I was not born to be forced. I will breathe in my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”

87. “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.”

88. “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.”

89. “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.”

90. “The language of Friendship is not words, but meanings.” Henry David Thoreau Quotes

91. “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.”

92. “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. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”

93. “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..”

94. “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.”

95. “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” Henry David Thoreau

96. “All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

97. “The animal merely makes a bed, which he warms with his body in a sheltered place; but man, having discovered fire, boxes up some air in a spacious apartment, and warms that, instead of robbing himself, makes that his bed, in which he can move about divested of more cumbrous clothing, maintain a kind of summer in the midst of winter, and by means of windows even admit the light and with a lamp lengthen out the day.”

98. “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 great together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”

99. “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.”

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

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Closing words: 

Here are some of the most famous and best Henry David Thoreau quotes on motivation, Success, wisdom, and various aspects of life. These quotes are taken from overall writings of Henry David Thoreau including from his book”Walden” and that’s why we can name these quotes as Walden Quotes. So now I hope you will like these famous quotations.

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