Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.
The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it.
The earth I tread on is not a dead inert mass. It is a body—has a spirit—is organic—and fluid to the influence of its spirit—and to whatever particle of the spirit is in me.
Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it.
To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it.
We are always paid for our suspicion by finding what we suspect.
By turns our purity inspires and our impurity casts us down.
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.
It is a surprising and memorable, as well as valuable experience, to be lost in the woods any time.
Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.
There will be a wide margin for relaxation to his day. He is only earnest to secure the kernels of time, and does not exaggerate the value of the husk.
A lady once offered me a mat, but as I had no room to spare within the house, nor time to spare within or without to shake it, I declined it, preferring to wipe my feet on the sod before my door. It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.
I do not know how to distinguish between waking life and a dream. Are we not always living the life that we imagine we are?
I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience.
No man loses ever on a lower level by magnanimity on a higher. Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.
If a man doesn't keep pace with his companions, perhaps it's because he hears a different drummer.
I would remind my countrymen that they are to be men first, and Americans only at a late and convenient hour.
The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?
We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
I have seen how the foundations of the world are laid, and I have not the least doubt that it will stand a good while.
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
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.
Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour.
All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.
Nor is it every apple I desire, Nor that which pleases every palate best; 'T is not the lasting Deuxan I require, Nor yet the red-cheeked Greening I request, Nor that which first beshrewed the name of wife, Nor that whose beauty caused the golden strife: No, no! bring me an apple from the tree of life.
They make their pride," he said, "in making their dinner cost much; I make my pride in making my dinner cost little." When asked at table what dish he preferred, he answered, "The nearest.
To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts; but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates.
We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.
I have scarcely heard of a truer sacrament, that is, as the dictionary defines it, "outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace," than this, and I have no doubt that they were originally inspired directly from Heaven to do thus, though they have no Biblical record of the revelation.
We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is, that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not.
For many years I was self-appointed inspector of snow-storms and rain-storms, and did my duty faithfully; surveyor, if not of highways, then of forest paths and all across-lot routes, keeping them open, and ravines bridged and passable at all seasons, where the public heel had testified to their utility.
It is a way to keep cider sweet without boiling. Let the frost come to freeze them first, solid as stones, and then the rain or a warm winter day to thaw them, and they will seem to have borrowed a flavor from heaven through the medium of the air in which they hang.
I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.
I also have in my mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters.
The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.
Nature is a personality so vast and universal that we have never seen one of her features.