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Henry David Thoreau
1817-1862 (Age at death: 45 approx.)

Henry David Thoreau (see name pronunciation; July 12, 1817 - May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and "Yankee" love of practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs.

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54 Quotation(s) Total:

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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation



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Henry David Thoreau

Many men go fishing their entire lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.

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Henry David Thoreau

Men have become the tools of their tools.

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Henry David Thoreau

Ninety-nine one-hundredths of our lives we are mere hedgers and ditchers, but from time to time we meet with reminders of our destiny.

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Henry David Thoreau

...man’s capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents, so little has been tried.

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Henry David Thoreau

A man sits as many risks as he runs

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Henry David Thoreau

Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.

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Henry David Thoreau

All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every second.

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Henry David Thoreau

Associate reverently, as much as you can, with your loftiest thoughts.

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Henry David Thoreau

Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction [[ a work at which you would not be ashamed to invoke the muse.

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Henry David Thoreau

Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.

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Henry David Thoreau

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.

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Henry David Thoreau

Here I am thirty-four years old, and yet my life is almost wholly unexpanded. How much time is in the germ! There is such an interval between my ideal and the actual in many circumstances that I may say I am unborn.

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Henry David Thoreau

How many fine thoughts has every man had! How few fine thoughts are expressed!

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Henry David Thoreau

How to extract its honey from the flower of the world. That is my everyday business. I am as busy as a bee about it. I ramble over fields on that errand and am never so happy as when I feel myself heavy with honey and wax. I am like a bee searching the livelong day for the sweets of nature.

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Henry David Thoreau

I bought me a spy-glass some weeks since. I buy but a few things, and those not till long after I begin to want them, so that when I do get them I am prepared to make a perfect use of them and extract their whole sweet.

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Henry David Thoreau

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?

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Henry David Thoreau

I hearing get, who had but ears,
And sight, who had but eyes before;
I moments live, who lived but years,
And truth discern, who knew but learning's lore."

"Now chiefly is my native hour,
And only now my prime of life;
I will not doubt the love untold,
Which not my worth or want has bought,
Which wooed me young, and wooes me old,
And to this evening hath me brought.
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Henry David Thoreau

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.

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Henry David Thoreau

I make it my business to extract from Nature what ever nutriment she can furnish me.... I milk the sky and the earth.

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Henry David Thoreau

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