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'Walden' Quotes

Henry David Thoreau's Famous Nonfiction Classic

By

Thoreau: Collected Essays and Poems

Thoreau: Collected Essays and Poems

Library of America
Henry David Thoreau's Walden was published in 1854. The essay details the experiment in personal independence and self-reliance that Thoreau underwent, starting on July 4, 1845. Here are a few famous quotations from the essay:
  • "Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores. Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor, but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world." - Henry David Thoreau, 1. Economy, Walden

  • "I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust." - Henry David Thoreau, 1. Economy, Walden

  • "In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line." - Henry David Thoreau, 1. Economy, Walden

  • "I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion." - Henry David Thoreau, 1. Economy, Walden

  • "To be awake is to be alive." - Henry David Thoreau, 2. Where I Lived and What I Lived For, Walden

  • "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone." - Henry David Thoreau, 2. Where I Lived and What I Lived For, Walden

  • "I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born." - Henry David Thoreau, 2. Where I Lived and What I Lived For, Walden

  • I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls." - Henry David Thoreau, 5. Solitude, Walden

  • "A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature." - Henry David Thoreau, 9. The Ponds, Walden

  • "You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns." - Henry David Thoreau, 12. Brute Neighbors, Walden

  • "I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that 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." - Henry David Thoreau, 18. Conclusion, Walden

  • "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." - Henry David Thoreau, 18. Conclusion, Walden

  • "However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names." - Henry David Thoreau, 18. Conclusion, Walden

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