To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
Henry David Thoreau
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Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once.
What people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can.
Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.
I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind.
I have an immense appetite for solitude, like an infant for sleep, and if I don't get enough for this year, I shall cry all the next.
A man's ignorance sometimes is not only useful, but beautiful—while his knowledge, so called, is oftentimes worse than useless, besides being ugly.
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 shoulders...
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.
What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate. Self-emancipation.
This man is still a fisher, and belongs to an era in which I myself have lived. Perchance he is not confounded by many knowledges, and has not sought out many inventions, but how to take many fishes before the sun sets, with slender birchen pole and flaxen line, that is invention enough for him.
I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day;…so simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real.
It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.