HomeRipples From Walden Pond: The Quotable Henry Thoreau

"Books are the Treasured Wealth of the World":
Thoughts from Henry David Thoreau

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

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.

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 or far away.

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.

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 kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

You cannot kill time without injuring eternity.

The fate of the country … does not depend on what kind of paper you drop into the ballot box…but on what kind of man you drop from your chamber into the street.

Our eyes do not rest so long as on the few who especially love their own lives – who dwell apart at more generous intervals, and cherish a single purpose behind formalities of society with such a steadiness that of all men only their two eyes seem to meet in one focus.

It is not all books that are as dull as their readers.

It is the height of art that on the first perusal plain common sense should appear – on the second, severe truth – on a third, beauty – and having these warrants for its depth and reality, we may then enjoy the beauty forever more.

I have great faith in a seed… Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
- Henry David Thoreau