Great Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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.

Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.

It is not worth while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.

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.

He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul’s estate.

Men have become the tools of their tools.

I have climbed several higher mountains without guide or path, and have found, as might be expected, that it takes only more time and patience commonly than to travel the smoothest highway.

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.

We need only travel enough to give our intellects an airing.

We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.

I cannot but regard it as a kindness in those who have the steering of me that, by the want of pecuniary wealth, I have been nailed dawn to this my native region so long and steadily, and made to study and love this spot of earth more and more. What would signify in comparison a thin and diffused love and knowledge of the whole earth instead, got by wandering? The traveler’s is but a barren and comfortless condition. Wealth will not buy a man a home in nature-house nor farm there. The man of business does not by his business earn a residence in nature, but is denaturalized rather.

Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow.

I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government

America is said to be the arena on which the battle of freedom is to be fought; but surely it cannot be freedom in a merely political sense that is meant. Even if we grant that the American has freed himself from a political tyrant, he is still the slave of an economical and moral tyrant. Now that the republic–the res- publica–has been settled, it is time to look after the res- privata,–the private state,–to see, as the Roman Senate charged its consuls, “ne quid res-PRIVATA detrimenti caperet,” that the private state receive no detriment.

The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free.

If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.