Henry David Thoreau Quotes on Life, Dreams and Nature (Be Inspired)

If you’re looking for some inspiration, take a look at some of Henry David Thoreau quotes. You’ll be amazed at how much wisdom this one man has shared with the world.

henry david thoreau quotes

Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts. He was born to John Thoreau, a pencil maker and Cynthia Dunbar.

Henry was an intelligent and inquisitive child, and he loved to learn. He was also a very creative thinker, and he was interested in many different subjects. 

He was especially fascinated by nature, and he loved to explore the woods and fields near his home.

Henry attended the local public school in Concord, and he was a good student. However, he was not happy with the traditional educational system. He believed that students should be given the opportunity to learn about the world around them, and he felt that the focus on rote memorization and test-taking was too restrictive.

In 1833, Henry enrolled in Harvard College. He was a talented writer, and he soon became involved in the college literary magazine. He also began to study the works of many of the great philosophers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Henry graduated from Harvard in 1837, and he soon began teaching at a boys’ school in Concord. He enjoyed teaching, but he was not satisfied with the traditional approach to education. He believed that students should be allowed to explore their own interests and learn in their own way.

In 1845, Henry moved to a cabin on Walden Pond, and he began to live a simple, self-sufficient life. He spent his days writing, exploring the 

woods, and observing the natural world around him. He believed that living in

Henry David Thoreau is one of America’s most celebrated authors and thinkers. In 1854, he published Walden, a book that chronicled his two-year stay in the woods near Walden Pond.

Walden is considered to be one of the most important works of American literature, and it has had a profound impact on generations of thinkers and writers.

Here are Henry David Thoreau quotes that are still relevant today and offer great wisdom

65 Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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

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

3. “Things do not change; we change.”

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

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

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

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

8. “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”

9. “This world is but canvas to our imaginations.”

10. “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.” 

11. “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

12. “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 thoreau quotes

Inspirational Henry David Thoreau quotes

13. “There is no remedy for love but to love more.”

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

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

16. “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.”

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

18. “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.”

19. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…”

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

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

22. “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

23. “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”

24. “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 Famous quotes

25. “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.”

26. “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.”

27. “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”

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

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

30. “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.”

31. “I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.”

32. “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”

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

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

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

thoreau walden quotes

Henry David Thoreau quotes about life

36. “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.”

37. “If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.”

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

39. “Wildness is the preservation of the World.”

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

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

42. “The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.”

43. “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.”

44. “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.”

45. “Renew thyself completely each day.”

46. “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.”

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

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

49. “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.”

50. “I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race in it’s gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals.”

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

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

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

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

55. “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.”

thoreau quotes about life

56. “It is not worth the while to let our imperfections disturb us always.”

57. “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.”

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

59. “Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.”

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

61. “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.”

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

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

64. “I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

65. “The language of Friendship is not words, but meanings.”

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