I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests. It is cheerfully, musically earnest.—Journal, 16 November 1850
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"
I see, smell, taste, hear, feel, that everlasting Something to which we are allied, at once our maker, our abode, our destiny, our very Selves; the one historic truth, the most remarkable fact which can become the distinct and uninvited subject of our thought, the actual glory of the universe; the only fact which a human being cannot avoid recognizing, or in some way forget or dispense with.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
I suspect that the child plucks its first flower with an insight into its beauty & significance which the subsequent botanist never retains.—Journal, 5 February 1852
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Sparten-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.—Walden
If we dealt only with the false and dishonest, we should at last forget how to speak truth.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.—Walden
Ignorance and bungling with love are better than wisdom and skill without.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change or accident.—Walden
In short, as a snow-drift is formed where there is a lull in the wind, so, one would say, where there is a lull of truth, an institution springs up.—"Life without Principle"