Character Quotations


We are constantly invited to be what we are; as to something worthy and noble. I never waited but for myself to come round; none ever detained me, but I lagged or tagged after myself. — Journal, 2 February 1841—Journal, 2 February 1841
We falsely attribute to men a determined character; putting together all their yesterdays and averaging them, we presume we know them. — Journal, 28 April 1841—Journal, 28 April 1841
We love to talk with those who can make a good guess at us—not with those who talk to us as if we were somebody else all the while.—Journal, 9 September 1852
We occasionally meet an individual of a character and disposition so entirely the reverse of our own that we wonder if he can indeed be another man like ourselves. We doubt if we ever could draw any nearer to him, and understand him. — Journal, 7 May 1838—Journal, 7 May 1838
Wealth cannot purchase any great private solace or convenience. Riches are only the means of sociality. — Journal, 2 January 1842—Journal, 2 January 1842
What was enthusiasm in the young man must become temperament in the mature man.—Journal, 1 November 1851
When I 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.—Journal, 11 June 1855
Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month,—the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this,—or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the mean while, and had received a Rodgers’ penknife from his father?—Walden
You cannot rob a man of anything which he will miss. — Journal,  5 July 1840—Journal,  5 July 1840
You may find a cape which runs six miles into the sea that has not a man of moral courage upon it.—Journal, 16 November 1858
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