80+ Henry David Thoreau Quotes On Life and Nature

Mayuri Meshram
By Mayuri Meshram  - Editor

Are you looking for inspirational Henry David Thoreau quotes? We have collected the best Henry David Thoreau quotes that will inspire you and motivate you to follow the right path. Henry David Thoreau’s words are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them, and his ideas continue to inspire generations.

Whether you are looking for guidance, wisdom, or simply a fresh perspective, Henry David Thoreau’s quotes offer something for everyone. Through his writings, Henry encourages readers to think deeply about their own lives and the world around them. You can also have a look at James Allen’s quotes.

Who is Henry David Thoreau:

Henry David Thoreau was an American writer, theologian, and naturalist. He is most famous for his book “Walden” in which he describes his two-year stay in a cabin he built on the shores of Walden Pond in Massachusetts. The book is a reflection of modest life, self-sufficiency, and nature’s beauty.

Here are some details about Henry David Thoreau:

  • Thoreau was born in 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts, and attended Harvard University.
  • He was a main figure in the transcendentalism movement, as well as a strong supporter of civil disobedience and individualism.
  • He was both an abolitionist and an environmentalist.
  • He is recognized as one of the most important personalities in American literature and ideas.
  • Many social and political movements, including the Civil Rights Movement and the environmental movement, have been influenced by Thoreau’s views and writings.
  • He was a close friend and mentor of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In 1846, Henry David Thoreau was imprisoned for one night for refusing to pay a poll tax, which inspired his famous essay “Civil Disobedience.” He was an abolitionist and supporter of the Underground Railroad, and his home served as a safer place for escaping slaves. You know what, Thoreau was a vegetarian who thought eating meat was ethically wrong.

Henry David Thoreau’s Quotes For a Better Life

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Nature is as well adapted to our weaknesses as to our strengths.

It’s the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us. The question is not what you look at but what you see.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes on beauty

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me the truth.

Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes on life

Be resolutely and faithfully what you are; be humbly what you aspire to be.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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

We are born innocent. We are polluted by advice.

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

Henry David Thoreau Quotes on path of success

Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.

Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined…

Henry David Thoreau Quotes on dreams

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

This world is but a canvas to our imaginations.

Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself. So live the life you imagined.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.

Every generation laughs at the old fashions but follows religiously the new.

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground.

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

Henry David Thoreau Quotes (8)-min

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

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.

The only people who ever get anyplace interesting are the people who get lost.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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.

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

Kindness to children, love for children, goodness to children– these is the only investments that never fail.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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

The greatest tragedy in life is to spend your whole life fishing only to discover it was never fish that you were after.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes on achieving goals

If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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

When it is time to die, let us not discover that we never lived.

The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in mind.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes on success

Knowledge does not come to us by details but in flashes of light from heaven.

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

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes on success

The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us.

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

Henry David Thoreau’s Quotes Life, Nature & Success

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

Amid a world of noisy, shallow actors it is noble to stand aside and say, ‘I will simply be.

It is never too late to give up our prejudices.

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.

I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals.

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

A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority.

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.

What sort of philosophers are we, who know absolutely nothing of the origin and destiny of cats?

To have made even one person’s life a little better, that is to succeed.

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.

Truths and roses have thorns about them.

Morning is when I’m awake, and there is dawn in me.

I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.

We are constantly invited to be who we are.

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste to the sky as well as the earth.

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.

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of reality.

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

Most of the luxuries and many so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

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

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.

Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground.

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.

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.

When we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.

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.

Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.

Maturity is when all of your mirrors turn into windows.

Things do not change; we change.

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

Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it.

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.

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.

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.

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

In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is a misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.

The soul grows by subtraction, not addition.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify.

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy with?

The most difficult thing to understand during conversation is silence.

Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…

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

If I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. what demon possessed me that I behaved so well?

To be awake is to be completely alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake.

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?

The question is not what you look at – but how you look & whether you see.

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

Life in us is like the water in a river.

The only way, to tell the truth, is to speak with kindness. Only the words of a loving man can be heard.

It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.

It’s not worth our while to let our imperfections disturb us always.

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

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By Mayuri Meshram Editor
Mayuri is a professional content writer, she loves motivating people and inspiring them to pursue their dreams. Sharing quotes, proverbs, and sayings of great authors to touch people's lives to make it better.