He is the best sailor who can steer within fewest points of the wind, and exact a motive power out of the greatest obstacles.
View quote | Quotes about Ability

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
View quote | Quotes about Ability

The man who is dissatisfied with himself, what can he do?
View quote | Quotes about Achievement

We do not learn by inference and deduction and the application of mathematics to philosophy, but by direct intercourse and sympathy.
View quote | Quotes about Action

I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.
View quote | Quotes about Action

We seem but to linger in manhood to tell the dreams of our childhood, and they vanish out of memory ere we learn the language.
View quote | Quotes about Adulthood

I have lived some thirty-odd years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors.
View quote | Quotes about Advice

Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.
View quote | Quotes about Advice

As for the pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.
View quote | Quotes about Age and Aging

The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.
View quote | Quotes about Age and Aging

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm
View quote | Quotes about Age and Aging

How earthy old people become --moldy as the grave! Their wisdom smacks of the earth. There is no foretaste of immortality in it. They remind me of earthworms and mole crickets.
View quote | Quotes about Age and Aging

Water is the only drink for a wise man.
View quote | Quotes about Alcohol and Alcoholism

What is a country without rabbits and partridges? They are among the most simple and indigenous animal products; ancient and venerable families known to antiquity as to modern times; of the very hue and substance of Nature, nearest allied to leaves and to the ground.
View quote | Quotes about Animals

The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
View quote | Quotes about Animals

True, there are architects so called in this country, and I have heard of one at least possessed with the idea of making architectural ornaments have a core of truth, a necessity, and hence a beauty, as if it were a revelation to him. All very well perhaps from his point of view, but only a little better than the common dilettantism.
View quote | Quotes about Architecture

Visit the Navy-Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts -- a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniments.
View quote | Quotes about Army and Navy

After all the field of battle possesses many advantages over the drawing-room. There at least is no room for pretension or excessive ceremony, no shaking of hands or rubbing of noses, which make one doubt your sincerity, but hearty as well as hard hand-play. It at least exhibits one of the faces of humanity, the former only a mask.
View quote | Quotes about Battles

If I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior.
View quote | Quotes about Behavior

Behave so the aroma of your actions may enhance the general sweetness of the atmosphere.
View quote | Quotes about Behavior

We feel at first as if some opportunities of kindness and sympathy were lost, but learn afterward that any pure grief is ample recompense for all. That is, if we are faithful; -- for a spent grief is but sympathy with the soul that disposes events, and is as natural as the resin of Arabian trees. -- Only nature has a right to grieve perpetually, for she only is innocent. Soon the ice will melt, and the blackbirds sing along the river which he frequented, as pleasantly as ever. The same everlasting serenity will appear in this face of God, and we will not be sorrowful, if he is not.
View quote | Quotes about Bereavement

On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend's life also, in our own, to the world.
View quote | Quotes about Bereavement

Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones.
View quote | Quotes about Body

For what are the classics but the noblest thoughts of man? They are the only oracles which are not decayed, and there are such answers to the most modern inquiry in them as Delphi and Dodona never gave. We might as well omit to study Nature because she is old.
View quote | Quotes about Books - Classics

To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any other exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object.
View quote | Quotes about Books - Reading

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
View quote | Quotes about Books - Reading

Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.
View quote | Quotes about Books - Reading

Books, not which afford us a cowering enjoyment, but in which each thought is of unusual daring; such as an idle man cannot read, and a timid one would not be entertained by, which even make us dangerous to existing institution --such call I good books.
View quote | Quotes about Books - Reading

How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book! The book exists for us, perchance, that will explain our miracles and reveal new ones. The at present unutterable things we may find somewhere uttered.
View quote | Quotes about Books - Reading

If I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag for humanity rather than for myself.
View quote | Quotes about Bragging

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
View quote | Quotes about Busyness

Beware of all enterprises that require a new set of clothes.
View quote | Quotes about Caution

Things do not change, we do.
View quote | Quotes about Change

We know but a few men, a great many coats and breeches.
View quote | Quotes about Character

Pity the man who has a character to support --it is worse than a large family -- he is silent poor indeed.
View quote | Quotes about Character

The universe seems bankrupt as soon as we begin to discuss the characters of individuals.
View quote | Quotes about Character

We falsely attribute to men a determined character -- putting together all their yesterdays -- and averaging them -- we presume we know them. Pity the man who has character to support -- it is worse than a large family -- he is the silent poor indeed.
View quote | Quotes about Character

If you give money, spend yourself with it.
View quote | Quotes about Charity

The generative energy, which, when we are loose, dissipates and makes us unclean, when we are continent invigorates and inspires us. Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it.
View quote | Quotes about Chastity

City life is millions of people being lonesome together.
View quote | Quotes about Cities and City Life

Why level downward to our dullest perception always, and praise that as common sense? The commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring.
View quote | Quotes about Common Sense

I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls.
View quote | Quotes about Company

The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked what I thought, and attended to my answer.
View quote | Quotes about Compliments

The fibers of all things have their tension and are strained like the strings of an instrument.
View quote | Quotes about Conflict

As to conforming outwardly, and living your own life inwardly, I have not a very high opinion of that course.
View quote | Quotes about Conformity

If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance, uncorrected by the seasonal experience and the effectual complaints of the people, America would not long retain her rank among the nations.
View quote | Quotes about Congress

Let nothing come between you and the light.
View quote | Quotes about Control

Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but religiously follows the new.
View quote | Quotes about Conventionality

There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.
View quote | Quotes about Corruption

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.
View quote | Quotes about Cost

The Artist is he who detects and applies the law from observation of the works of Genius, whether of man or Nature. The Artisan is he who merely applies the rules which others have detected.
View quote | Quotes about Crafts

I am sorry to think that you do not get a man's most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness.
View quote | Quotes about Critics and Criticism

Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.
View quote | Quotes about Death and Dying

As for doing good; that is one of the professions which is full. Moreover I have tried it fairly and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution.
View quote | Quotes about Deeds and Good Deeds

If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.
View quote | Quotes about Deeds and Good Deeds

If a man constantly aspires is he not elevated?
View quote | Quotes about Desire

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
View quote | Quotes about Desperation

I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.
View quote | Quotes about Determination

Is not disease the rule of existence? There is not a lily pad floating on the river but has been riddled by insects. Almost every shrub and tree has its gall, oftentimes esteemed its chief ornament and hardly to be distinguished from the fruit. If misery loves company, misery has company enough. Now, at midsummer, find me a perfect leaf or fruit.
View quote | Quotes about Disease

Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.
View quote | Quotes about Distrust

There is no rule more invariable than that we are paid for our suspicions by finding what we suspect.
View quote | Quotes about Doubt

Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe.
View quote | Quotes about Doubt

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.
View quote | Quotes about Dreams

If one advances confidently in the directions of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
View quote | Quotes about Dreams

Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.
View quote | Quotes about Dreams

For many years I was a self-appointed inspector of snowstorms and rainstorms and did my duty faithfully, though I never received payment for it.
View quote | Quotes about Duty

You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds.
View quote | Quotes about Eccentricity

Whether the flower looks better in the nosegay than in the meadow where it grew and we had to wet our feet to get it! Is the scholastic air any advantage?
View quote | Quotes about Editing and Editors

How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?
View quote | Quotes about Education

What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.
View quote | Quotes about Education

I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.
View quote | Quotes about Egotism

The heart is forever inexperienced.
View quote | Quotes about Emotions

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.
View quote | Quotes about Enlightenment

In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here. God himself culminates in the present moment and will never be more divine in the lapse of the ages. Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it, but when I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away but eternity remains.
View quote | Quotes about Eternity

Being is the great explainer.
View quote | Quotes about Existence

Experience is in the fingers and head. The heart is inexperienced.
View quote | Quotes about Experience

It is easier to sail many thousand miles through cold and storm and cannibals, in a government ship, with five hundred men and boys to assist one, than it is to explore the private sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean of one's being alone. It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.
View quote | Quotes about Exploration

The eye is the jewel of the body.
View quote | Quotes about Eyes

My facts shall be falsehoods to the common sense. I would so state facts that they shall be significant, shall be myths or mythologies. Facts which the mind perceived, thoughts which the body thought -- with these I deal.
View quote | Quotes about Facts

Men are born to succeed, not to fail.
View quote | Quotes about Failure

We must have infinite faith in each other. If we have not, we must never let it leak out that we have not.
View quote | Quotes about Faith

Through want of enterprise and faith men are where they are, buying and selling and spending their lives like servants.
View quote | Quotes about Faith

The words which express our faith and piety are not definite; yet they are significant and fragrant like frankincense to superior natures.
View quote | Quotes about Faith

The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.
View quote | Quotes about Faith

Even the best things are not equal to their fame.
View quote | Quotes about Fame

Farmers are respectable and interesting to me in proportion as they are poor.
View quote | Quotes about Farming and Farmers

By avarice and selfishness, and a groveling habit, from which none of us is free, of regarding the soil as property, or the means of acquiring property chiefly, the landscape is deformed, husbandry is degraded with us, and the farmer leads the meanest of lives. He knows Nature but as a robber.
View quote | Quotes about Farming and Farmers

We worship not the Graces, nor the Parcae, but Fashion. She spins and weaves and cuts with full authority. The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveler's cap, and all the monkeys in America do the same.
View quote | Quotes about Fashion

People die of fright and live of confidence.
View quote | Quotes about Fear

The perch swallows the grub-worm, the pickerel swallows the perch, and the fisherman swallows the pickerel; and so all the chinks in the scale of being are filled.
View quote | Quotes about Fishing

One of the most attractive things about the flowers is their beautiful reserve.
View quote | Quotes about Flowers

I have found it to be the most serious objection to coarse labors long continued, that they compelled me to eat and drink coarsely also.
View quote | Quotes about Food and Eating

The law will never make men free, it is men that have to make the law free.
View quote | Quotes about Freedom

A friend is one who incessantly pays us the compliment of expecting from us all the virtues, and who can appreciate them in us. The friend asks no return but that his friend will religiously accept and wear and not disgrace his apotheosis of him. They cherish each other's hopes. They are kind to each other's dreams.
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

We have not so good a right to hate any as our Friend.
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

A man cannot be said to succeed in this life who does not satisfy one friend.
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

One may discover a new side to his most intimate friend when for the first time he hears him speak in public. He will be stranger to him as he is more familiar to the audience. The longest intimacy could not foretell how he would behave then
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

To say that a man is your Friend, means commonly no more than this, that he is not your enemy. Most contemplate only what would be the accidental and trifling advantages of Friendship, as that the Friend can assist in time of need by his substance, or his influence, or his counsel. Even the utmost goodwill and harmony and practical kindness are not sufficient for Friendship, for Friends do not live in harmony merely, as some say, but in melody.
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

I suppose you think that persons who are as old as your father and myself are always thinking about very grave things, but I know that we are meditating the same old themes that we did when we were ten years old, only we go more gravely about it.
View quote | Quotes about Generations

In the long run you hit only what you aim at. Therefore, though you should fail immediately, you had better aim at something high.
View quote | Quotes about Goals

It seems to me that the god that is commonly worshipped in civilized countries is not at all divine, though he bears a divine name, but is the overwhelming authority and respectability of mankind combined. Men reverence one another, not yet God.
View quote | Quotes about God

Goodness is the only investment which never fails.
View quote | Quotes about Goodness

The government of the world I live in was not framed, like that of Britain, in after-dinner conversations over the wine.
View quote | Quotes about Government

Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government.
View quote | Quotes about Government

That government is best which governs least.
View quote | Quotes about Government

This American government -- what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will.
View quote | Quotes about Government

When I hear the hypercritical quarreling about grammar and style, the position of the particles, etc., etc., stretching or contracting every speaker to certain rules of theirs. I see that they forget that the first requisite and rule is that expression shall be vital and natural, as much as the voice of a brute or an interjection: first of all, mother tongue; and last of all, artificial or father tongue. Essentially your truest poetic sentence is as free and lawless as a lamb's bleat.
View quote | Quotes about Grammar

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.
View quote | Quotes about Greed

What right have I to grieve, who have not ceased to wonder?
View quote | Quotes about Grief

Man is the artificer of his own happiness.
View quote | Quotes about Happiness

We are made happy when reason can discover no occasion for it. The memory of some past moments is more persuasive than the experience of present ones. There have been visions of such breadth and brightness that these motes were invisible in their light.
View quote | Quotes about Happiness

Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature --if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you --know that the morning and spring of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse.
View quote | Quotes about Health

Must be out-of-doors enough to get experience of wholesome reality, as a ballast to thought and sentiment. Health requires this relaxation, this aimless life.
View quote | Quotes about Health

We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.
View quote | Quotes about Home

I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.
View quote | Quotes about Home

Should not every apartment in which man dwells be lofty enough to create some obscurity overhead, where flickering shadows may play at evening about the rafters?
View quote | Quotes about Home

Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
View quote | Quotes about Honesty

Nowadays the host does not admit you to his hearth, but has got the mason to build one for yourself somewhere in his alley, and hospitality is the art of keeping you at the greatest distance.
View quote | Quotes about Hospitality

Humility like the darkness, reveals the heavenly lights.
View quote | Quotes about Humility

To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle.
View quote | Quotes about Idleness

I do not know how to distinguish between our waking life and a dream. Are we not always living the life that we imagine we are?
View quote | Quotes about Imagination

It is usually the imagination that is wounded first, rather than the heart; it being much more sensitive.
View quote | Quotes about Imagination

The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.
View quote | Quotes about Independence

We perceive and are affected by changes too subtle to be described.
View quote | Quotes about Influence

To inherit property is not to be born -- it is to be still-born, rather.
View quote | Quotes about Inheritance

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.
View quote | Quotes about Inspiration

What is peculiar in the life of a man consists not in his obedience, but his opposition, to his instincts. In one direction or another he strives to live a supernatural life.
View quote | Quotes about Instinct

The way in which men cling to old institutions after the life has departed out of them, and out of themselves, reminds me of those monkeys which cling by their tails -- aye, whose tails contract about the limbs, even the dead limbs, of the forest, and they hang suspended beyond the hunter's reach long after they are dead. It is of no use to argue with such men. They have not an apprehensive intellect, but merely, as it were a prehensile tail.
View quote | Quotes about Institutions

Wherever a man goes, men will pursue him and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate odd-fellow society.
View quote | Quotes about Institutions

The laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day.
View quote | Quotes about Integrity

We need only travel enough to give our intellects an airing.
View quote | Quotes about Intelligence and Intellectuals

We hate the kindness which we understand.
View quote | Quotes about Kindness

Knowledge does not come to us in details, but in flashes of light from heaven.
View quote | Quotes about Knowledge

The knowledge of an unlearned man is living and luxuriant like a forest, but covered with mosses and lichens and for the most part inaccessible and going to waste; the knowledge of the man of science is like timber collected in yards for public works, which still supports a green sprout here and there, but even this is liable to dry rot.
View quote | Quotes about Knowledge

To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.
View quote | Quotes about Knowledge

We are armed with language adequate to describe each leaf of the filed, but not to describe human character.
View quote | Quotes about Language

It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for law, so much as a respect for right.
View quote | Quotes about Law and Lawyers

Whatever the human law may be, neither an individual nor a nation can commit the least act of injustice against the obscurest individual without having to pay the penalty for it.
View quote | Quotes about Law and Lawyers

The lawyer's truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency.
View quote | Quotes about Law and Lawyers

I say, break the law.
View quote | Quotes about Law and Lawyers

He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate.
View quote | Quotes about Leisure

A broad margin of leisure is as beautiful in a man's life as in a book. Haste makes waste, no less in life than in housekeeping. Keep the time, observe the hours of the universe, not of the cars. What are threescore years and ten hurriedly and coarsely lived to moments of divine leisure in which your life is coincident with the life of the universe?
View quote | Quotes about Leisure

I have received no more than one or two letters in my life that were worth the postage.
View quote | Quotes about Letters

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
View quote | Quotes about Liberty

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
View quote | Quotes about Life and Living

If I shall sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I'm sure that, for me, there would be nothing left worth living for.
View quote | Quotes about Life and Living

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... I wanted to live so sturdily and so Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life... to drive life into a corner to know it by experience and be able to give an account of it in my next excursion.
View quote | Quotes about Life and Living

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 the richest.
View quote | Quotes about Life and Living

There is no remedy for love than to love more.
View quote | Quotes about Love

Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.
View quote | Quotes about Love

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.
View quote | Quotes about Luxury

The mass never comes up to the standard of its best member, but on the contrary degrades itself to a level with the lowest.
View quote | Quotes about Masses

In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds.
View quote | Quotes about Mathematics

We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.
View quote | Quotes about Media

The boy gathers materials for a temple, and then when he is thirty, concludes to build a woodshed.
View quote | Quotes about Mediocrity

Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.
View quote | Quotes about Memory

Of what significance are the things you can forget.
View quote | Quotes about Memory

A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight.
View quote | Quotes about Minorities

The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it.
View quote | Quotes about Mistakes

Almost any man knows how to earn money, but not one in a million knows how to spend it.
View quote | Quotes about Money

The way by which you may get money almost without exception leads downward.
View quote | Quotes about Money

The only wealth is life.
View quote | Quotes about Money

Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.
View quote | Quotes about Money

Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice.
View quote | Quotes about Morality

Don't be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so.
View quote | Quotes about Morality

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.
View quote | Quotes about Morality

The pleasure we feel in music springs from the obedience which is in it.
View quote | Quotes about Music

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 infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable.
View quote | Quotes about Mystery

If the fairest features of the landscape are to be named after men, let them be the noblest and worthiest men alone.
View quote | Quotes about Names

A name pronounced is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs. He who can pronounce my name aright, he can call me, and is entitled to my love and service.
View quote | Quotes about Names

Nations! What are nations? Tartars! and Huns! and Chinamen! Like insects they swarm. The historian strives in vain to make them memorable. It is for want of a man that there are so many men. It is individuals that populate the world.
View quote | Quotes about Nations

We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.
View quote | Quotes about Nature

To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit it and read it are old women over their tea.
View quote | Quotes about News

Do what you love. Know you own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.
View quote | Quotes about Passion

Yet some can be patriotic who have no self-respect, and sacrifice the greater to the less. They love the soil which makes their graves, but have no sympathy with the spirit which may still animate their clay. Patriotism is a maggot in their heads.
View quote | Quotes about Patriotism

You know about a person who deeply interests you more than you can be told. A look, a gesture, an act, which to everybody else is insignificant tells you more about that one than words can.
View quote | Quotes about People, Other

What sort of philosophers are we, who know absolutely nothing about the origin and destiny of cats?
View quote | Quotes about Philosophers and Philosophy

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.
View quote | Quotes about Philosophers and Philosophy

A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.
View quote | Quotes about Plays

Poetry implies the whole truth, philosophy expresses only a particle of it.
View quote | Quotes about Poetry and Poets

Good poetry seems too simple and natural a thing that when we meet it we wonder that all men are not always poets. Poetry is nothing but healthy speech.
View quote | Quotes about Poetry and Poets

Politics is the gizzard of society, full of gut and gravel.
View quote | Quotes about Politicians and Politics

We are not what we are, nor do we treat or esteem each other for such, but for what we are capable of being.
View quote | Quotes about Potential

Give me the poverty that enjoys true wealth.
View quote | Quotes about Poverty and The Poor

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.
View quote | Quotes about Present

I would not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.
View quote | Quotes about Pride

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.
View quote | Quotes about Prison

There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
View quote | Quotes about Problems

I respect not his labors, his farm where everything has its price, who would carry the landscape, who would carry his God, to market, if he could get anything for him; who goes to market for his god as it is; on whose farm nothing grows free, whose fields bear no crops, whose meadows no flowers, whose trees no fruits, but dollars.
View quote | Quotes about Profits

When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.
View quote | Quotes about Progress

The highest law gives a thing to him who can use it.
View quote | Quotes about Property

I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make use and get advantage of her as I can, as is usual in such cases.
View quote | Quotes about Protest

Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.
View quote | Quotes about Public Opinion

The purity men love is like the mists which envelope the earth, and not like the azure ether beyond.
View quote | Quotes about Purity

Many men go fishing their entire lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.
View quote | Quotes about Purpose

Be not simply good; be good for something.
View quote | Quotes about Purpose

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? 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 which he hears, however measured and far away. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak.
View quote | Quotes about Purpose

To watch this crystal globe just sent from heaven to associate with me. While these clouds and this somber drizzling weather shut all in, we two draw nearer and know one another. The gathering in of the clouds with the last rush and dying breath of the wind, and then the regular dripping of twigs and leaves the country over, the impression of inward comfort and Sociableness, the drenched stubble and trees that drop beads on you as you pass, their dim outline seen through the rain on all sides drooping in sympathy with yourself. These are my undisputed territory. This is Nature's English comfort.
View quote | Quotes about Rain

It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.
View quote | Quotes about Rank

The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man, -- you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind, -- I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that.
View quote | Quotes about Rebellion

I believe that what so saddens the reformer is not his sympathy with his fellows in distress, but, though he be the holiest son of God, is his private ail. Let this be righted, let the spring come to him, the morning rise over his couch, and he will forsake his generous companions without apology.
View quote | Quotes about Reform

To regret deeply is to live afresh.
View quote | Quotes about Regret

Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it come to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.
View quote | Quotes about Regret

What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
View quote | Quotes about Resignation

We live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think we thus lose some respect for one another.
View quote | Quotes about Respectability

That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.
View quote | Quotes about Riches

The rich man is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue.
View quote | Quotes about Riches

A man sits as many risks as he runs.
View quote | Quotes about Risk

Any fool can make a rule, and every fool will mind it.
View quote | Quotes about Rules

Absolutely speaking, Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you is by no means a golden rule, but the best of current silver. An honest man would have but little occasion for it. It is golden not to have any rule at all in such a case.
View quote | Quotes about Rules

Our manners have been corrupted by communication with the saints.
View quote | Quotes about Saints

The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly.
View quote | Quotes about Scholars and Scholarship

If we knew all the laws of Nature, we should need only one fact, or the description of one actual phenomenon, to infer all the particular results at that point. Now we know only a few laws, and our result is vitiated, not, of course, by any confusion or irregularity in Nature, but by our ignorance of essential elements in the calculation. Our notions of law and harmony are commonly confined to those instances which we detect; but the harmony which results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws, which we have not detected, is still more wonderful. The particular laws are as our points of view, as, to the traveler, a mountain outline varies with every step, and it has an infinite number of profiles, though absolutely but one form. Even when cleft or bored through it is not comprehended in its entireness.
View quote | Quotes about Science and Scientists

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet drink and botanical medicines.
View quote | Quotes about Seasons

We are constantly invited to be who we are.
View quote | Quotes about Self-appraisal

I fear chiefly lest my expression may not be extravagant enough, may not wander far enough beyond the narrow limit of my daily experience, so as to be adequate to the truth of which I have been convinced. Extravagance! it depends on how you are yarded.
View quote | Quotes about Self-expression

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.
View quote | Quotes about Self-improvement

Explore thyself. Herein are demanded the eye and the nerve.
View quote | Quotes about Self-knowledge

I know myself as a human entity; the scene, so to speak, or thoughts are affection; and am sensible of certain doubleness by which I can stand as remote from myself as from another. However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is no part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it, and that is no more I than it is you.
View quote | Quotes about Self-knowledge

Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state, a hummock left by the ice.
View quote | Quotes about Self-knowledge

The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.
View quote | Quotes about Sensitivity

I have been breaking silence these twenty-three years and have hardly made a rent in it.
View quote | Quotes about Silence

Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable asylum, where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us.
View quote | Quotes about Silence

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! 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.
View quote | Quotes about Simplicity

We cannot well do without our sins; they are the highway of our virtue.
View quote | Quotes about Sin

After the first blush of sin comes its indifference.
View quote | Quotes about Sin

I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.
View quote | Quotes about Sincerity

I only desire sincere relations with the worthiest of my acquaintance, that they may give me an opportunity once in a year to speak the truth.
View quote | Quotes about Sincerity

Talk about slavery! It is not the peculiar institution of the South. It exists wherever men are bought and sold, wherever a man allows himself to be made a mere thing or a tool, and surrenders his inalienable rights of reason and conscience. Indeed, this slavery is more complete than that which enslaves the body alone... I never yet met with, or heard of, a judge who was not a slave of this kind, and so the finest and most unfailing weapon of injustice. He fetches a slightly higher price than the black men only because he is a more valuable slave.
View quote | Quotes about Slavery

What men call social virtues, good fellowship, is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a litter, which lie close together to keep each other warm.
View quote | Quotes about Socializing and Socialism

Sobriety, severity, and self-respect are the foundations of all true sociality.
View quote | Quotes about Society

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone, I never found the companionable as solitude.
View quote | Quotes about Solitude

I have never found a companion so companionable as solitude.
View quote | Quotes about Solitude

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
View quote | Quotes about Solitude

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.
View quote | Quotes about Solitude

However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but a spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it, and that is no more I than it is you. When the play, it may be the tragedy, of life is over, the spectator goes his way. It was a kind of fiction, a work of the imagination only, so far as he was concerned.
View quote | Quotes about Soul

Speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing; but there are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout.
View quote | Quotes about Speech

The stars are the apexes of what triangles!
View quote | Quotes about Stardom

There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few went to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.
View quote | Quotes about State

You must get your living by loving, or at least half your life is a failure.
View quote | Quotes about Success

We were born to succeed, not to fail.
View quote | Quotes about Success

We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.
View quote | Quotes about Success

The sun is but a morning star.
View quote | Quotes about Sun

We are paid for our suspicions by finding what we suspected.
View quote | Quotes about Suspicion

If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible.
View quote | Quotes about Taxes and Taxation

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.
View quote | Quotes about Technology

Glances of true beauty can be seen in the faces of those who live in true meekness.
View quote | Quotes about Tenderness

A man thinks as well through his legs and arms as this brain.
View quote | Quotes about Thoughts and Thinking

Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be.
View quote | Quotes about Thoughts and Thinking

To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.
View quote | Quotes about Thoughts and Thinking

Associate reverently, as much as you can, with your loftiest thoughts.
View quote | Quotes about Thoughts and Thinking

How can they expect a harvest of thought who have not had the seed time of character.
View quote | Quotes about Thoughts and Thinking

Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg by the side of which more will be laid.
View quote | Quotes about Thoughts and Thinking

Having each some shingles of thought well dried, we sat and whittled them.
View quote | Quotes about Thoughts and Thinking

Time is but the stream I go fishing in. I drink at it, but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. It's thin current slides away, but eternity remains.
View quote | Quotes about Time and Time Management

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
View quote | Quotes about Time and Time Management

You cannot kill time without injuring eternity.
View quote | Quotes about Time and Time Management

But lo! men have become the tools of their tools.
View quote | Quotes about Tools

That devilish Iron Horse, whose ear-rending neigh is heard throughout the town, has muddied the Boiling Spring with his foot, and he it is that has browsed off all the woods on Walden shore, that Trojan horse, with a thousand men in his belly, introduced by mercenary Greeks! Where is the country's champion, the Moore of Moore Hall, to meet him at the Deep Cut and thrust an avenging lance between the ribs of the bloated pest?
View quote | Quotes about Trains

He who is only a traveler learns things at second-hand and by the halves, and is poor authority. We are most interested when science reports what those men already know practically or instinctively, for that alone is a true humanity, or account of human experience.
View quote | Quotes about Travel and Tourism

Only the traveling is good which reveals to me the value of home and enables me to enjoy it better.
View quote | Quotes about Travel and Tourism

I think that we may safely trust a good deal more than we do. We may waive just so much care of ourselves as we honestly bestow elsewhere.
View quote | Quotes about Trust

Between whom there is hearty truth, there is love.
View quote | Quotes about Truth

It takes two to speak truth -- one to speak, and another to hear.
View quote | Quotes about Truth

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
View quote | Quotes about Truth

We shall see but little way if we require to understand what we see. How few things can a man measure with the tape of his understanding! How many greater things might he be seeing in the meanwhile!
View quote | Quotes about Understanding

The universe is wider than our views of it.
View quote | Quotes about Universe

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.
View quote | Quotes about Vegetarianism

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, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.
View quote | Quotes about Vegetarianism

That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another s. We see so much only as we possess.
View quote | Quotes about Virtue

There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man.
View quote | Quotes about Virtue

I would give all the wealth of the world, and all the deeds of all the heroes, for one true vision.
View quote | Quotes about Vision

All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong.
View quote | Quotes about Voting

The savage in man is never quite eradicated.
View quote | Quotes about War

I have a deep sympathy with war, it so apes the gait and bearing of the soul.
View quote | Quotes about War

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
View quote | Quotes about Wealth

Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.
View quote | Quotes about Wealth

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
View quote | Quotes about Wealth

In wildness is the preservation of the world.
View quote | Quotes about Wilderness

We need the tonic of wildness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.
View quote | Quotes about Wilderness

Many of the phenomena of Winter are suggestive of an inexpressible tenderness and fragile delicacy. We are accustomed to hear this king described as a rude and boisterous tyrant; but with the gentleness of a lover he adorns the tresses of Summer.
View quote | Quotes about Winter

It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
View quote | Quotes about Wisdom

Sometimes we are inclined to class those who are once-and-a-half witted with the half-witted, because we appreciate only a third part of their wit.
View quote | Quotes about Wit

It requires nothing less than a chivalric feeling to sustain a conversation with a lady.
View quote | Quotes about Women

The volatile truth of our words should continually betray the inadequacy of the residual statement.
View quote | Quotes about Words

Men have become the tools of their trade.
View quote | Quotes about Work

The really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure.
View quote | Quotes about Work

There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.
View quote | Quotes about Work

Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.
View quote | Quotes about Work

The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly, but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit -- not a fossil earth, but a living earth; compared with whose great central life all animal and vegetable life is merely parasitic. Its throes will heave our exuviate from their graves.
View quote | Quotes about World

All good things are cheap: all bad are very dear.
View quote | Quotes about Worth

A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure.
View quote | Quotes about Writers and Writing

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
View quote | Quotes about Writers and Writing

Youth gets together with their materials to build a bridge to the moon or maybe a palace on earth; then in middle age they decide to build a woodshed with them instead.
View quote | Quotes about Youth

Thoreau, Henry David

No biography at present.

297 quotations