No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes; yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience.
As in geology, so in social institutions, we may discover the causes of all past changes in the present invariable order of society.
Our taste is too delicate and particular. It says nay to the poet's work, but never yea to his hope.
There are two seasons when the leaves are in their glory, their green and perfect youth in June and this their ripe old age.
How did these beautiful rainbow tints get into the shell of the freshwater clam buried in the mud at the bottom of our dark river? Even the sea-bottom tells of the upper skies.
Hinduism is the soil into which India's roots are stuck and torn out of that she will inevitably wither as a tree torn out from its place.
Youth gets together with their materials to build a bridge to the moon or maybe a palace on earth; then in middle age they decide to build a woodshed with them instead.
One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have leisure and opportunity to see the spring come in.
Nothing makes the earth so spacious as to have friends at a distance.
Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance, they make the latitudes and longitudes.
Our manners have been corrupted by communication with the saints.
Our manners have been corrupted by communication with the saints. Our hymn-books resound with a melodious cursing of God and enduring Him forever. One would say that even the prophets and redeemers had rather consoled the fears than confirmed the hopes of man. There is nowhere recorded a simple and irrepressible satisfaction with the gift of life, any memorable praise of God.
The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions; whether we travel fast or slow, the track is laid for us.
The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions; whether we travel fast or slow, the track is laid for us. Let us spend our lives in conceiving then. The poet or the artist never yet had so fair and noble a design but some of his posterity at least could accomplish it.
As I go through the woods now, so many oak and other leaves have fallen the rustling noise somewhat disturbs my musing.
You must love the crust of the earth on which you dwell more than the sweet crust of any bread or cake; you must be able to extract nutriment out of a sand heap.
This is the month of nuts and nutty thoughts,--that November whose name sounds so bleak and cheerless. Perhaps its harvest of thought is worth more than all the other crops of the year.
How few are aware that in winter, when the earth is covered with snow and ice...the sunset is double. The winter is coming when I shall walk the sky.
The is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.
Satan from one of his elevations, showed mankind the kingdom of California, and they entered into a compact with him at once.
Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. -- .
Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off.
I have myself to respect, but to myself I am not amiable; but my friend is my amiableness personified.
On every hand we observe a truly wise practice, in education, in morals, and in the arts of life, the embodied wisdom of many an ancient philosopher.
Unless we do more than simply learn the trade of our time, we are but apprentices, and not yet masters of the art of life.
As a true patriot, I should be ashamed to think that Adam in paradise was more favorably situated on the whole than the backwoodsman in this country.
Events, circumstances, etc., have their origin in ourselves. They spring from seeds which we have sown.
Every man is entitled to come to Cattle-Show, even a transcendentalist; and for my part I am more interested in the men than in the cattle.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple-tree or oak. Shall he turn his spring into summer? If the condition of things which we were made for is not yet, what were any reality which we can substitute? We will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality.
Every man has to learn the points of the compass again as often as he awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction.
As far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but, unquestionably, that corporations may be enriched.
Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.
They take great pride in making their dinner cost much; I take my pride in making my dinner cost so little.
The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us.
The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
Wealth cannot purchase any great private solace or convenience. Riches are only the means of sociality.
This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and imbibes delight through every pore.
It is said that some Western steamers can run on a heavy dew, whence we can imagine what a canoe may do.
A journal, is a book that shall contain a record of all your joy, your ecstasy, what you are grateful for.
Where there is not discernment, the behavior even of the purest soul may in effect amount to coarseness.
An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not.
An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. The inefficient offer their inefficiency to the highest bidder, and are forever expecting to be put into office. One would suppose that they were rarely disappointed.
Do not despair of your life. You have force enough to overcome your obstacles.
Do not despair of life. You have no doubt force enough to overcome your obstacles. Think of the fox prowling through wood and field in a winter night for something to satisfy his hunger. Notwithstanding cold and the hounds and traps, his race survives. I do not believe any of them ever committed suicide.
What is the use of going right over the old track again? There is an adder in the path which your own feet have worn. You must make tracks into the Unknown.
Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?
The frontiers are not east or west, north or south, but wherever a man fronts a fact.
The frontiers are not east or west, north or south; but wherever a man fronts a fact, though that fact be a neighbor, there is an unsettled wilderness between him and Canada, between him and the setting sun, or, farther still, between him and it. Let him build himself a log house with the bark on where he is, fronting it, and wage there an Old French war for seven or seventy years, with Indians and Rangers, or whatever else may come between him and the reality, and save his scalp if he can.
As they say in geology, time never fails, there is always enough of it, so I may say, criticism never fails.
The higher the mountain on which you stand, the less change in the prospect from year to year, from age to age. Above a certain height there is no change.
I thought, as I have my living to get, and have not eaten today, that I might go a- fishing. That's the true industry for poets. It is the only trade I have learned.
Love is no individual's experience; and though we are imperfect mediums, it does not partake of our imperfection; though we are finite, it is infinite and eternal.
When the true criminals are running around free, the only honorable place for a decent human being is in prisons.
No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world.
No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world. There are orators, politicians, and eloquent men, by the thousand; but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak who is capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. We love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation.
Trade and commerce, if they were not made of Indian rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way.
Pity the man who has a character to support -- it is worse than a large family -- he is silent poor indeed.
The same soil is good for men and for trees. A man's health requires as many acres of meadow to his prospect as his farm does loads of muck.
We must have infinite faith in each other. If we have not, we must never let it leak out that we have not.
Friendship is evanescent in every man's experience, and remembered like heat lightning in past summers.
There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of Nature and has his senses still.
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.
The poet who walks by moonlight is conscious of a tide in his thought which is to be referred to lunar influence.
It is no more dusky in ordinary nights than our mind's habitual atmosphere, and the moonlight is as bright as our most illuminatedmoments are.
How shall we account for our pursuits, if they are original? We get the language with which to describe our various lives out of acommon mint.
Man cannot afford to be a naturalist, to look at Nature directly, but only with the side of his eye. He must look through and beyond her.
The child should have the advantage of ignorance as well as of knowledge, and is fortunate if he gets his share of neglect and exposure.
If the fairest features of the landscape are to be named after men, let them be the noblest and worthiest men alone.
Even in our democratic New England towns the accidental possession of wealth, and its manifestation in dress and equipage alone, obtain for the possessor almost universal respect.
Color, which is the poet's wealth, is so expensive that most take to mere outline sketches and become men of science.
I learned to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of nature, rather than a member of society.
Many old people receive pensions for no other reason, it seems to me, but as a compensation for having lived a long time ago.
Be as the sailor who keeps the polestar in his eye. By so doing we may not arrive at our port within a calculable period, but we will maintain a true course.
For my part, I could easily do without the post-office. I think that there are very few important communications made through it.
I do not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the schoolmaster.
The true finish is the work of time, and the use to which a thing is put. The elements are still polishing the pyramids.
The mass of men are very easily imposed on. They have their runways in which they always travel, and are sure to fall into any pit or box-trap set therein.
Routine is a ground to stand on, a wall to retreat to; we cannot draw on our boots without bracing ourselves against it.
Every man will be a poet if he can; otherwise a philosopher or man of science. This proves the superiority of the poet.
Why level downward to our dullest perception always, and praise that as common sense? The commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring.
Consider what stuff history is made of, -- that for the most part it is merely a story agreed on by posterity.
In the summer we lay up a stock of experiences for the winter, as the squirrel of nuts?something for conversation in winter evenings.
Are you in want of amusement nowadays? Then play a little at the game of getting a living. There was never anything equal to it. Do it temperately, though, and don't sweat.
Truth, Goodness, Beauty -- those celestial thrins,Continually are born; e'en now the Universe,With thousand throats, and eke with greener smiles,Its joy confesses at their recent birth.
We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor.
We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain.
Open all your pores and bathe in all the tides of nature, in all her streams and oceans, at all seasons.
I think that no experience which I have today comes up to, or is comparable with, the experiences of my boyhood.
If you would feel the full force of a tempest, take up your residence on the top of Mount Washington, or at the Highland Light, inTruro.
If common sense had been consulted, how many marriages would never have taken place; if uncommon or divine sense, how few marriages such as we witness would ever have taken place!
It takes a man of genius to travel in his own country, in his native village; to make any progress between his door and his gate.
When I would go a-visiting, I find that I go off the fashionable street, -- not being inclined to change my dress, -- to where man meets man, and not polished shoe meets shoe.
As polishing expresses the vein in marble, and grain in wood, so music brings out what of heroic lurks anywhere. The hero is the sole patron of music.
If you look over a list of medicinal recipes in vogue in the last century, how foolish and useless they are seen to be! And yet we use equally absurd ones with faith today.
We are accustomed to say, that the mass of men are unprepared; but improvement is slow, because the few are not materially wiser or better than the many.
I should consider it a greater success to interest one wise and earnest soul, than a million unwise and frivolous.
In short, all good things are wild and free.
In short, all good things are wild and free. There is something in a strain of music, whether produced by an instrument or by the human voice,--take the sound of a bugle in a summer night, for instance,--which by its wildness, to speak without satire, reminds me of the cries emitted by wild beasts in their native forests. It is so much of their wildness as I can understand. Give me for my friends and neighbors wild men, not tame ones. The wildness of the savage is but a faint symbol of the awful ferity with which good men and lovers meet.
We need the tonic of wildness.
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.
Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.
The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild, and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World.
Expect no trivial truth from me, unless I am on the witness- stand. I will come as near to lying as you can drive a coach and four.
Far from New England's blustering shore,New England's worm her hulk shall bore,And sink her in the Indian seas,Twine, wine, and hides, and China teas.
The sea, vast and wild as it is, bears thus the waste and wrecks of human art to its remotest shore. There is no telling what it may not vomit up.
I have found all things thus far, persons and inanimate matter, elements and seasons, strangely adapted to my resources.
The rich man is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue.
If however the law is so promulgated that it of necessity makes you an agent of injustices against another, then I say to you ... break the law.
By a conscious effort of the mind we can stand aloof from actions and their consequences; and all things, good and bad, go by us like a torrent.
I am amused to see from my window here how busily a man has divided and staked off his domain. God must smile at his puny fences running hither and thither everywhere over the land.
The most attractive sentences are not perhaps the wisest, but the surest and soundest.
The most attractive sentences are, perhaps, not the wisest, but the surest and roundest. They are spoken firmly and conclusively,as if the speaker had a right to know what he says, and if not wise, they have at least been well learned.
The whole of the day should not be daytime; there should be one hour, if not more, which the day did not bring forth.
I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antaeus.
Today...the bluebirds, old and young, have revisited their box, as if they would fain repeat the summer without intervention of winter, if Nature would let them.
What is chastity? How shall a man know if he is chaste? He shall not know it. We have heard of this virtue, but we know not what it is.
This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle!
This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle! I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no sabbath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a blank-book to write thoughts in; they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents. An Irishman, seeing me making a minute in the fields, took it for granted that I was calculating my wages. If a man was tossed out of a window when an infant, and so made a cripple for life, or scared out of his wits by the Indians, it is regretted chiefly because he was thus incapacitated for—business! I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.
I know very well what Goethe meant when he said that he never had a chagrin but he made a poem out of it. I have altogether too much patience of this kind.
A man may acquire a taste for wine or brandy, and so lose his love for water, but should we not pity him.
The books for young people say a great deal about the selection of Friends; it is because they really have nothing to say about Friends. They mean associates and confidants merely.
The inhabitants of Canada appeared to be suffering between two fires, -- the soldiery and the priesthood.
It is remarkable that among all the preachers there are so few moral teachers. The prophets are employed in excusing the ways of men.
The sort of morality which the priests inculcate is a very subtle policy, far finer than the politicians', and the world is very successfully ruled by them as the policemen.
I have found it to be the most serious objection to coarse labors long continued, that they compelled me to eat and drink coarsely also.
The theories and speculations of men concern us more than their puny accomplishment. It is with a certain coldness and languor that we loiter about the actual and so-called practical.
Knowledge is to be acquired only by a corresponding experience. How can we know what we are told merely? Each man can interpret another's experience only by his own.
I would remind my countrymen that they are to be men first, and Americans only at a late and convenient hour.
I would remind my countrymen, that they are to be men first, and Americans only at a late and convenient hour. No matter how valuable law may be to protect your property, even to keep soul and body together, if it do not keep you and humanity together.
The forests are held cheap after the white pine has been culled out; and the explorers and hunters pray for rain only to clear theatmosphere of smoke.
While my friend was my friend, he flattered me, and I never heard the truth from him. When he became my enemy, he shot it to me on a poisoned arrow.
Most are engaged in business the greater part of their lives, because the soul abhors a vacuum and they have not discovered any continuous employment for man's nobler faculties.
It is very rare that you meet with obstacles in this world, which the humblest man has not faculties to surmount.
It will always be found that one flourishing institution exists and battens on another mouldering one. The Present itself is parasitic to this extent.
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.
It is impossible to give a soldier a good education without making him a deserter. His natural foe is the government that drills him.
As every season seems best to us in its turn, so the coming in of spring is like the creation of Cosmos out of Chaos and the realization of the Golden Age.
The whole body of what is now called moral or ethical truth existed in the golden age as abstract science. Or, if we prefer, we may say that the laws of Nature are the purest morality.
In dreams we see ourselves naked and acting out our real characters, even more clearly than we see others awake.
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.
It is the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us. The question is not what you look at but what you see.
It's the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us. The question is not what you look at but what you see.
The mission of men there seems to be, like so many busy demons, to drive the forest all out of the country, from every solitary beaver swamp and mountain-side, as soon as possible.
The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality.
It is not enough that we are truthful; we must cherish and carry out high purposes to be truthful about.
There is always some accident in the best things, whether thoughts or expressions or deeds. The memorable thought, the happy expression, the admirable deed are only partly ours.
The virtue of making two blades of grass grow where only one grew before does not begin to be superhuman.
If anything ail a man, so that he does not perform his functions, if he have a pain in his bowels even,- for that is the seat of sympathy,-he forthwith sets about reforming the world.
It is in vain to dream of a wildness distant from ourselves. There is none such.
It is in vain to dream of a wildness distant from ourselves. There is none such. It is the bog in our brains and bowels, the primitive vigor of Nature in us, that inspires that dream. I shall never find in the wilds of Labrador a greater wildness than in some recess of Concord.
Through want of enterprise and faith men are where they are, buying and selling and spending their lives like servants.
The inhabitants of the Cape generally do not complain of their soil, but will tell you that it is good enough for them to dry their fish on.
Every nail driven should be as another rivet in the machine of the universe, you carrying on the work.
Great God, I ask thee for no meaner pelf Than that I may not disappoint myself, That in my action I may soar as high As I can now discern with this clear eye.
If you are chosen town clerk, forsooth, you cannot go to Tierra del Fuego this summer; but you may go to the land of infernal fire nevertheless.
The fruits eaten temperately need not make us ashamed of our appetites, nor interrupt the worthiest pursuits. But put an extra condiment into your dish, and it will poison you.
The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly.
The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly. They make shift to live merely by conformity, practically as their fathers did, and are in no sense the progenitors of a nobler race of men.
Tough times don't last but tough people do.
No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.
Men are born to succeed, not fail.
If you see a man approaching you with the obvious intent of doing you good, you should run for your life.
My soul and body have tottered along together of late, tripping and hindering one another like unpracticed Siamese twins.
We are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching of the reality that surrounds us. We can never have enough of nature.
The government of the world I live in was not framed, like that of Britain, in after-dinner conversations over the wine.
It is time that we had uncommon schools, that we did not leave off our education when we begin to be men and women.
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.
Thus men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up.
The fault finder will find faults even in paradise and thereby miss the joys that recognition of the positives bring.
The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
The artist and his work are not to be separated. The most willfully foolish man cannot stand aloof from his folly, but the deed and the doer together make ever one sober fact.
The words which express our faith and piety are not definite; yet they are significant and fragrant like frankincense to superior natures.
When I think of the gold-diggers and the Mormons, the slaves and the slave-holders and the flibustiers, I naturally dream of a glorious private life. No, I am not patriotic.
The bad are frequently good enough to let you see how bad they are, but the good as frequently endeavor to get between you and themselves.
Though the hen should sit all day, she could lay only one egg, and, besides, would not have picked up materials for another.
When we are in health, all sounds fife and drum for us; we hear the notes of music in the air, or catch its echoes dying away when we awake in the dawn.
How many a poor immortal soul I have met well-nigh crushed and smothered under its load, creeping down the road of life, pushing before it an oversized home.
So easy is it, though many housekeepers doubt it, to establish new and better customs in the place of the old.
We are armed with language adequate to describe each leaf of the filed, but not to describe human character.
I look upon England today as an old gentleman who is travelling with a great deal of baggage, trumpery which has accumulated fromlong housekeeping, which he has not the courage to burn.
If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth.
If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth--certainly the machine will wear out… but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.
However mean your life is, meet it and live it.
However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.
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