Work & Leisure Quotations
We rowed leisurely up the stream for several hours, until the sun had got high in the sky, our thoughts monotonously beating time to our oars. For outward variety there was only the river and the receding shores, a vista continually opening behind and closing before us, as we sat with our backs up-stream; and, for inward, such thoughts as the muses grudgingly lent us.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
We seem to have forgotten that the expression "a liberal education" originally meant among the Romans one worthy of free men; while the learning of trades and professions by which to get your livelihood merely, was considered worthy of slaves only. But taking a hint from the word, I would go a step further and say, that it is not the man of wealth and leisure simply, though devoted to art, or science, or literature, who, in a true sense, is liberally educated, but only the earnest and free man.—"The Last Days of John Brown"
What is a day if the day's work not be done?—Journal, 30 August 1841
When I read an indifferent book, it seems the best thing I can do, but the inspiring volume hardly leaves me leisure to finish its latter pages. It is slipping out of my fingers while I read. It creates no atmosphere in which it may be perused, but one in which its teachings may be practiced. It confers on me such wealth that I lay it down with regret. What I began by reading I must finish by acting.—Journal, 19 February 1841
When in rare moments our whole being strives with one consent, which we name a yearning, we may not hope that our work will stand in any artist's gallery on earth.—"The Service"
Work your vein till it is exhausted, or conducts you to a broader one.—Thoreau to Daniel Ricketson, 18 February 1851