Higher Law Quotations


As it is, each takes us up into the serene heavens, whither the smallest bubble rises as surely as the largest, and paints earth and sky for us. Any sincere thought is irresistible. — A Week on the Concord and Merrimack RiversA Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
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—Journal, 11 December 1855
Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine-trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it. — The Maine WoodsThe Maine Woods
He who lives according to the highest law is in one sense lawless.—Journal, 27 February 1851
I love Nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. if this world were all man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose all hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with this.—Journal, 3 January 1853
I love to see that Nature is so rife with life that myriads can be afforded to be sacrificed and suffered to prey on one another; that tender organizations can be so serenely squashed out of existence like pulp,—tadpoles which herons gobble up, and tortoises and toads run over in the road; and that sometimes it has rained flesh and blood! With the liability to accident, we must see how little account is to be made of it.—Walden
I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.—"Civil Disobedience"
In all the dissertations on language, men forget the language. that is, that is really universal, the inexpressible meaning that is in all things and everywhere, with which the morning and evening teem. — Journal, 23 August 1845—Journal, 23 August 1845
It is obeying the suggestions of a higher light within you that you escape from yourself.—Journal, 30 August 1856
New Hampshire courts have lately been deciding—as if it was for them to decide—whether the top of Mt. Washington belonged to A or to B; and, it begin decided in favor of B, as I hear, he went up one winter with the proper officer and took formal possession of it. But I think that the top of Mt. Washington should not be private property; it should be left unappropriated for modesty and reverence’s sake, or if only to suggest that earth has higher uses than we put her to.—Journal, 3 January 1861
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