HUMANKIND Quotations


A familiar name cannot make a man less strange to me.—Journal, 21 May 1851
A government which deliberately enacts injustice, and persists in it, will at length ever become the laughingstock of the world.—"Slavery in Massachusetts"
A living dog is better than a dead lion. Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pigmies, and not be the biggest pigmy that he can? Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made.—Walden
A man is not to be measured by the virtue of his described actions or the wisdom of his expressed thoughts merely, but by that free character he is, and is felt to be, under all circumstances.—"Sir Walter Raleigh"
A simple and independent mind does not toil at the bidding of any prince. Genius is not a retainer to any emperor, nor is its material silver, or gold, or marble, except to a trifling extent.—Walden
After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined, and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance. I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard, and course. A hard, insensible man whom we liken to a rock is indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have no sympathy, I go to commune with the rock, whose hearts are comparatively soft.—Journal, 15 November 1853
Again and again I congratulate myself on my so-called poverty. I was almost disappointed yesterday to find thirty dollars in my desk which I did not know that I possessed, though now I should be sorry to lose it.—Journal, 8 February 1857
Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 27 March 1848
All music is only a sweet striving to express character.—Journal, 12 December 1841
As Anacreon says "the works of men shine," so the sounds of men and birds are musical.—Journal, 8 March 1853
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