Miscellaneous Quotations


Circumstances are not rigid and unyielding, but our habits are rigid.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 17 March 1848
They who are ready to go are already invited.—Journal, 2 July 1840
There are some who never do or say anything, whose life merely excites expectation. Their excellence reaches no further than a gesture or mode of carrying themselves. They are a sash dangling from the waist, or a sculptured war-club over the shoulder. They are like fine-edged tools gradually becoming rusty in a shop-window. I like as well, if not better, to see a piece of iron or steel , out of which many such tools will be made, or the bush-whack in a man’s hand.—Journal, 10 March 1859
How often are we wise as serpents without being harmless as doves!—Journal, 9 February 1851
What was enthusiasm in the young man must become temperament in the mature man.—Journal, 1 November 1851
Brown is the color for me, the color of our coats and our daily lives, the color of the poor man’s loaf. The bright tints ar pies and cakes, good only for October feasts, which would make us sick if eaten every day.—Journal, 28 March 1859
October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.—"Autumnal Tints"
It is remarkable that no pains is taken to teach children to distinguish colors. I am myself uncertain about the names of many.—Journal, 28 January 1852
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
When I witness the first plowing and planting, I acquire a long-lost confidence in the earth, — that it will nourish the seed that is committed to its bosom.—Journal, 28 March 1857
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