Miscellaneous Quotations


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

It is a common saying among country people that if you eat much fried hasty pudding it will make your hair curl. My experience, which was considerable, did not confirm this assertion.

Journal, 20 November 1850

I am more interested in the rosy cheek than I am to know what particular diet the maiden is fed on.

“Autumnal Tints”

Surely joy is the condition of life.

“Natural History of Massachusetts”

I am too easily contented with a slight and almost animal happiness. My happiness is a good deal like that of the woodchucks.

Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 2 May 1848

A familiar name cannot make a man less strange to me.

Journal, 21 May 1851

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