As boys are sometimes required to show an excuse for being absent from school, so it seems to me that men should have to show some excuse for being here.—Journal, 3 January 1861
Be faithful to your genius.—Journal, 20 December 1851
Beauty and music are not mere traits and exceptions. They are the rule and character. It is the exception that we see and hear.—Journal, 11 December 1855
Besides, humor does not wear well.—"Thomas Carlyle and His Works"
But it is not so easy a thing to sympathize with another, though you may have the best disposition to do it.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 1 January 1859
Character is Genius settled. It can maintain itself against the world, and if it relapses it repents. It is as a dog set to watch the property of Genius. Genius, strictly speaking, is not responsible, for it is not moral.—Journal, 2 March 1842
Circumstances are not rigid and unyielding, but our habits are rigid.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 17 March 1848
Compliments and flattery oftenest excite my contempt by the pretension they imply, for who is he that assumes to flatter me? To compliment often implies an assumption of superiority in the complimenter. It is, in fact, a subtle detraction.—Journal, 27 March 1857
Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love.—"Life without Principle"
Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers