All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.
What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.
The simple style is bad for the savage because he does worse than to obtain the luxuries of life; it is good for the philosopher because he does better than to work for them. The question is whether you can bear freedom....
What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.
There is a period in the history of the individual, as of the race, when the hunters are the "best men," as the Algonquins called them. We cannot but pity the boy who has never fired a gun; he is no more humane, while his education has been sadly neglected.
It is only when we forget our learning, do we begin to know.
The soil, it appears, is suited to the seed, for it has sent its radicle downward, and it may now send its shoot upward also with confidence. Why has man rooted himself thus firmly in the earth, but that he may rise in the same proportion into the heavens above?
The house is still but a sort of porch at the entrance of a burrow.
The laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has no time to be anything but a machine.
It is not enought to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
How can you expect the birds to sing when their groves are cut down?
But I would say to my fellows, once for all, As long as possible live free and uncommitted.
There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.
But never mind; faint heart never won true Friend. O Friend, may it come to pass, once, that when you are my Friend I may be yours.
It would be better if there were but one inhabitant to a square mile, as where I live. The value of a man is not in his skin, that we should touch him.
To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake.
Now-a-days, men wear a fool's cap, and call it a liberty cap.
Any truth is better than make-believe. Tom Hyde, the tinker, standing on the gallows, was asked if he had any thing to say. Tell the tailors, said he, to remember to make a knot in their thread before they take the first stitch. His companion's prayer is forgotten.
The true harvest of my life is intangible - a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.
Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages.
Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold. It plays house, as well as horse, having an instinct for it...At last we know not what it is to live in the open air, and our lives are domestic in more senses than we think.
It's circumstantial evidence, like finding a trout in the milk.
The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual.
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. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.
Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made.
Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed... Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.
He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea.
The Harivansa says, "An abode without birds is like a meat without seasoning." Such was not my abode, for I found myself suddenly neighbor to the birds; not by having imprisoned one, but having caged myself near them.
To enhance the quality of the day... that is the highest of the arts.
The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in the mind.
Instead of noblemen, let us have noble villages of men. If it is necessary, omit one bridge over the river, go round a little there, and throw one arch at least over the darker gulf of ignorance which surrounds us.
I think that he should keep a caravansary on the world's highway, where philosophers of all nations might put up, and on his sign should be printed, Entertainment for man, but not for his beast. Enter ye that have leisure and a quiet mind, who earnestly seek the right road.
The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.
As some heads cannot carry much wine, so it would seem that I cannot bear so much society as you can. I have an immense appetite for solitude, like an infant for sleep, and if I don't get enough of it this year I shall cry all the next.
SAUNTERING, which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre," to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a Sainte-Terrer," a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.
The more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.
It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience.
We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do; and yet how much is not done by us!
Is the babe young? When I behold it, it seems more venerable than the oldest man.
Cape Cod is the bared and bended arm of Massachusetts. The shoulder is at Buzzard's Bay; the elbow at Cape Mallebarre; the wrist at Truro; and the sandy fist at Provincetown.
What is it that makes it so hard sometimes to determine whither we will walk? I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.
On tops of mountains, as everywhere to hopeful souls, it is always morning.
Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
July 6. I wish to meet the facts of life—the vital facts, which are the phenomena or actuality the gods meant to show us—face to face, and so I came down here. Life! who knows what it is, what it does? If I am not quite right here, I am less wrong than before; and now let us see what they will have.