Mind Quotations


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
I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust. How, then, could I have a furnished house? I would rather sit in the open air, for no dust gathers on the grass, unless where man has broken ground.—Walden
I see in my mind a herd of wild creatures swarming over the earth, and to each the herdsman has affixed some barbarous sound in his own dialect.—"Walking"
In our most trivial walks, we are constantly, though unconsciously, steering like pilots by certain well-known beacons and headlands, and if we go beyond our usual course we still carry in our minds the bearing of some neighboring cape; and not till we are completely lost, or turned round,— for a man needs only to be turned round once with his eyes shut in this world to be lost, — do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of nature.—Walden
It would be worth the while to tell why a swamp pleases us, what kinds please us, also what weather, etc., etc., analyze our impressions.—Journal, 31 March 1852
Men should not labor foolishly like brutes, but the brain and the body should always, or as much as possible, work and rest together—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 2 May 1848
The mind is subject to moods, as the shadows of clouds pass over the earth. Pay not too much heed to them. Let not the traveler stop for them.—Journal, 23 July 1851
The prosaic mind sees things badly, or with the bodily sense; but the poet sees them clad in beauty, with the spiritual sense.—Journal, 9 December 1859
What exercise is to the body, employment is to the mind and morals.—Thoreau to H.G.O Blake, 27 March 1848
What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.—Walden
All quotation categories