We fritter away our energy and creativity ...
we get bogged down in the thick of thin things.
I think that no experience which I have today comes up to, or is comparable with, the experiences of my boyhood.
Truth is always paradoxical.
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.
A man's whole life is taxed for the least thing well done. It is its net result.
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.
The movements of the eyes express the perpetual and unconscious courtesy of the parties.
In the winter, warmth stands for all virtue.
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.
Good deeds are no less good because their object is unworthy.
In Literature it is only the wild that attracts us.
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.
What we call wildness is a civilization other than our own.
Give me a Wildness whose glance no civilization can endure.
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.
Why will we be imposed on by antiquity?
English sense has toiled, but Hindoo wisdom never perspired.
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.
The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.
Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.
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.
The Slothful do not have the time to become virtuous or despicable.
In their daily life, all are braver than they know.
The most difficult thing to understand during conversation is silence.
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.
A simple and independent mind does not toil at the bidding of any prince.
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.
If you would be chaste, you must be temperate.
We make needless ado about capital punishment, -- taking lives, when there is no life to take.
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.
A healthy man, indeed, is the complement of the seasons, and in winter, summer is in his heart.
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.
Renew thyself completely each day.
What wealth is it to have such friends that we cannot think of them without elevation!
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 is good even to be a fisherman in summer and in winter.
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.
Anyone in a free society where the laws are unjust has an obligation to break the law.
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.
He who receives an injury is to some extent an accomplice of the wrong-doer.
In dreams we see ourselves naked and acting out our real characters, even more clearly than we see others awake.
Health requires this relaxation, this aimless life. This life in the present.
All perception of truth is the detection of an analogy.
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.
Behave so the aroma of your actions may enhance the general sweetness of the atmosphere.
Mathematics should be mixed not only with physics but with ethics.
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.
Being a teacher is like being in jail; once it's on your record, you can never get rid of it.
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.
Invariably our best nights were those when it rained.
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.
There is a chasm between knowledge and ignorance which the arches of science can never span.
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.
We have the St. Vitus' dance, and cannot possibly keep our heads still.
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.
When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip.
He who cannot read is worse than deaf and blind, is yet but half alive, is still-born.
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.
Your richest veins don't lie nearest the surface.
The government of the world I live in was not framed, like that of Britain, in after-dinner conversations over the wine.
There is a difference between eating and drinking for strength and from mere gluttony.
Almost any mode of observation will be successful at last, for what is most wanted is method.
It is time that we had uncommon schools, that we did not leave off our education when we begin to be men and women.
Men cannot conceive of a state of things so fair that it cannot be realized.
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.
Wealth can't buy heath, but heath can buy wealth.
We live but a fraction of our lives.
The words which express our faith and piety are not definite; yet they are significant and fragrant like frankincense to superior natures.
The way by which you may get money almost without exception leads downward.
I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper.
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.
We loiter in winter while it is already spring.
I know a good woman who thinks that her son lost his life because he took to drinking water only.
Whatever is, and is not ashamed to be, is good.
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.
Truly, our greatest blessings are very cheap.
Hold fast to your most indefinite, waking dream.
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.
The devil finds work for idle hands.
Enemies publish themselves. They declare war. The friend never declares his love.
So easy is it, though many housekeepers doubt it, to establish new and better customs in the place of the old.
I was daily intoxicated, yet no man could call me intemperate.
Music never stops; it is only the listening that is intermittent.
Government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way.
Knowledge does not come to us in details, but in flashes of light from heaven.
We are armed with language adequate to describe each leaf of the filed, but not to describe human character.
What is commonly called friendship is only a little more honor among rogues.
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.
Be it life or death, we crave only reality.
Live free, child of the mist,- and with respect to knowledge we are allchildren of the mist.
The Ethiopian cannot change his skin nor the leopard his spots.
How many things are now at loose ends! Who knows which way the wind will blow tomorrow?
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.
I would not have any one adopt my mode of living on any account.
I did not know that we had ever quarreled.
One cannot too soon forget his errors and misdemeanors. To dwell long upon them is to add to the offense.
One cannot too soon forget his errors and misdemeanors for to dwell long upon them is to add to the offense, and repentance and sorrow can only be displaced by somewhat better, and which is as free and original as if they had not been.
The mason asks but a narrow shelf to spring his brick from; man requires only an infinitely narrower one to spring his arch of faith from.
It is not so important that many should be good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump.
The vessel, though her masts be firm,Beneath her copper bears a worm.
A hero's love is as delicate as a maiden's.
The stars are distant and unobtrusive, but bright and enduring as our fairest and most memorable experiences.
I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.
In the unbending of the arm to do the deed there is experience worth all the maxims in the world.
You cannot receive a shock unless you have an electric affinity for that which shocks you.
Give me a country where it is the most natural thing in the world for a government that does not understand you to let you alone.
News Coverage! As news expose rather than cover events.
I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests. It is cheerfully, musically earnest. I lie and relie on the earth.
New earths, new themes expect us.
Music is perpetual, and only the hearing is intermittent.
Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg, by the side of which more will be laid.
As naturally as the oak bears an acorn and the vine a gourd, man bears a poem, either spoken or done.
Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground.
We cannot put a noose around another man's neck without first hanging ourselves.
I only desire sincere relations with the worthiest of my acquaintance, that they may give me an opportunity once in a year to speak the truth.
Give me a sentence which no intelligence can understand. There must be a kind of life and palpitation to it, and under its words akind of blood must circulate forever.
Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and Spring.
Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature -if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you -know that the morning and spring of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse.
The dinner even is only the parable of a dinner, commonly.
The world, which the Greeks called Beauty, has been made such by being gradually divested of every ornament which was not fitted to endure.
I have found it a singular luxury to talk across the pond to a companion on the opposite side.
We are all of us more or less active physiognomists.
The first pleasant days of spring come out like a squirrel and go in again.
I should have liked to come across a large community of pines, which had never been invaded by the lumbering army.
I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beechtree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.
The young pines springing up in the corn-fields from year to year are to me a refreshing fact.
There is a higher law affecting our relation to pines as well as to men. A pine cut down, a dead pine, is no more a pine than a dead human carcass is a man.
Children, who play life, discern its true law and relations more clearly than men, who fail to live it worthily, but who think that they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure.
The purity men love is like the mists which envelope the earth, and not like the azure ether beyond.
Christ is the prince of Reformers and Radicals.
There are theoretical reformers at all times, and all the world over, living on anticipation.
I have no designs on society, or nature, or God. I am simply what I am, or I begin to be that. I live in the present. I only remember the past, and anticipate the future. I love to live.
I live in the present. I only remember the past, and anticipate the future.
Time is like a handful of sand -- the tighter you grasp it, the faster it runs through your fingers.
I fear that we are such gods or demigods only as fauns and satyrs, the divine allied to beasts, the creatures of appetite, and that, to some extent, our very life is our disgrace.
The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours ... but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.
I was born upon thy bank, river, My blood flows in thy stream, And thou meanderest forever, At the bottom of my dream.
My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant.
My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence. I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before,—a discovery that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy.
The poet uses the results of science and philosophy, and generalizes their widest deductions.
There is more religion in men's science, than there is science in their religion.
Each reader discovers for himself that, with respect to the simpler features of nature, succeeding poets have done little else than copy his similes.
Never trust any thought arrived at sitting down.
Many a poor sore-eyed student that I have heard of would grow faster, both intellectually and physically, if, instead of sitting up so very late, he honestly slumbered a fool's allowance.
I will come to you, my friend, when I no longer need you. Then you will find a palace, not an almshouse.
If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself. Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
The only sin in the world is ignorance.
Decay and disease are often beautiful, like the pearly tear of the shellfish and the hectic glow of consumption.
The scenery, when it is truly seen, reacts on the life of the seer. How to live. How to get the most of life.... How to extract its honey from the flower of the world.
I know of no redeeming qualities in myself but a sincere love for some things, and when I am reproved I fall back on to this ground.
We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bone.
We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrue them.
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