Henry David Thoreau Quotes that are Life Long Inspirational : Current School News

Henry David Thoreau Quotes that are Life Long Inspirational

Filed in Quote by on March 3, 2022



– Henry David Thoreau quotes –

Looking for the best Henry David Thoreau quotes? We’ve prepared this collection of inspirational quotes from Thoreau for you. Born on July 12, 1817, Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher, widely recognized for his masterworks Walden and Civil Disobedience.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

The first one is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, inspired by transcendentalist philosophy, and the second one is an essay that reveals Thoreau’s defence of the private, individual conscience.

In 1837, Thoreau graduated from Harvard and searched for a teaching job in Concord. He soon realized that he wasn’t the strict type, a disciplinarian, so he resigned after only two weeks.

The good thing about going back to Concord was that Thoreau not only had the chance to meet Ralph Waldo Emerson, but to become his disciple. 

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Thoreau saw in him a mentor and a friend. It was then that he began writing nature poetry and was exposed to transcendentalism.

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

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 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, then money, then fame, give me the 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 travelling is good, which reveals to me the value of a 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 quotes


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 

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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. “Detail fritters away from our life… 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. “Not all who wander are lost.” – Henry David Thoreau quotes

25.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 

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

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

28. “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

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

30. “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 

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

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

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

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

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

36. “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Henry David Thoreau 

37. “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau 

38. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau 

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


40. “It is never too late to give up our prejudices.” – Henry David Thoreau 

41. As if you could kill time without injuring eternity – Henry David Thoreau 

42. “Heaven is under our feet and over our heads.” – Henry David Thoreau quotes

43. “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.” – Henry David Thoreau 

44. “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” – Henry David Thoreau 

45. “For an impenetrable shield, stand inside yourself.” – Henry David Thoreau 

46. “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau

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


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48. “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

49. “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”― Henry David Thoreau

50. “I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”― Henry David Thoreau

51. “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.”― Henry David Thoreau

52. “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”― Henry David Thoreau

53. “It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?”― Henry David Thoreau

54. “The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.”― Henry David Thoreau quotes

55. “I have an immense appetite for solitude, like an infant for sleep, and if I don’t get enough for this year, I shall cry all the next. ” ― Henry David Thoreau

56. “All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”― Henry David Thoreau

57. “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.”
― Henry David Thoreau

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

59. “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” – Henry David Thoreau

60. “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.” – Henry David Thoreau

61. “This world is but canvas to our imaginations.” – Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

62. “Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe.” – Henry David Thoreau

63. “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” – Henry David Thoreau

64. “We are born as innocents. We are polluted by advice.” – Henry David Thoreau quotes

65. “Life in us is like the water in a river.” – Henry David Thoreau

66. “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” – Henry David Thoreau

67. “If misery loves company, misery has company enough.” – Henry David Thoreau

68. “To know that we know what we know and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” – Henry David Thoreau

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

70. “A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.” – Henry David Thoreau

71. “Books are to be distinguished by the grandeur of their topics even more than by the manner in which they are treated.” – Henry David Thoreau

72. “Generally speaking, a howling wilderness does not howl: it is the imagination of the traveler that does the howling.” – Henry David Thoreau

73. “I was more independent than any farmer in Concord, for I was not anchored to a house or farm, but could follow the bent of my genius, which is a very crooked one, every moment.” – Henry David Thoreau

74. “If it is surely the means to the highest end we know, can any work be humble or disgusting? Will it not rather be elevating as a ladder, the means by which we are translated?” – Henry David Thoreau

75. “Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another?” – Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

76. “No face which we can give to a matter will stead us so well at last as the truth. This alone wears well.” – Henry David Thoreau

77. “There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance.” – Henry David Thoreau quotes

78. “There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.” – Henry David Thoreau

79. “While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.” – Henry David Thoreau

80. “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” – Henry David Thoreau

Henry D. Thoreau’s words have the power to alter your viewpoint of the world.

Don’t let institutions dictate the direction of your dreams—dig deep and focus on what you are wanting to accomplish and it will come. Hopefully, these Henry David Thoreau quotes have inspired you to work towards your dreams and changed the way you see the world.

Do you have any other quotes from Thoreau to share with us? We would love to hear all about it. Tell us in the comment section below.

CSN Team.



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