"If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen."

Henry David Thoreau

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"By my intimacy with nature I find myself withdrawn from man. My interest in the sun and the moon, in the morning and the evening, compels me to solitude."

Henry David Thoreau

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

Henry David Thoreau 

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"If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal — that is your success."
Henry David Thoreau, born July 12, 1817, on defining your own success – a timeless, existentially necessary reminder.

Literary Birthday - 12 July

Henry David Thoreau, born 12 July 1817, died 6 May 1862


  1. The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
  2. Every poet has trembled on the verge of science.
  3. It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
  4. There is no remedy for love, but to love more.
  5. A bore is someone who takes away my solitude and doesn’t give me companionship in return.
  6. How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
  7. The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.
  8. Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.
  9. What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
  10. Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.
  11. It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
  12. Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.

Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, and historian. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings.

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"I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude."

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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

Henry David Thoreau

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"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness."

Henry David Thoreau 

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I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls.

—Henry David Thoreau

Illustration by Sarah Maycock

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"…and not till we are completely lost, or turned round—for a man needs only to be turned round once with his eyes shut in this world to be lost—do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of Nature. Every man has to learn the points of the compass again as often as he awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction. Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations."

Henry David Thoreau, Walden: or, Life in the Woods

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"Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary."

Henry David Thoreau, December 25, 1856
From The Journal of Henry David Thoreau 1837-1861

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