We never exchange more than three words with a Friend in our lives on that level to which our thoughts and feelings almost habitually rise.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.—Walden
What is the value of his esteem who does not justly esteem another?—Journal, 15 February 1851
What men call social virtues, good fellowship, is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a litter which lie close together to keep each other warm. It brings men together in crowds and mobs in bar-rooms and elsewhere, but it does not deserve the name of virtue.—Journal, 23 October 1852
When I consider how our houses are built and paid for, or not paid for, and their internal economy managed and sustained, I wonder that the floor does not give way under the visitor while he is admiring the gewgaws upon the mantelpiece, and let him through into the cellar, to some solid and honest though earthy foundation.—Walden
When I was four years old, as well I remember, I was brought from Boston to this my native town, through these very woods and this field, to the pond. It is one of the oldest scenes stamped in my memory. And now to-night my flute has waked the echoes over that very water.—Walden
When it was proposed to me to go abroad, rub oft some rust, and better my condition in a worldly sense, I fear lest my life will lose some of its homeliness. If these fields and streams and woods, the phenomena of nature here, and the simple occupations of the inhabitants should cease to interest and inspire me, no culture or wealth would atone for the loss.—Journal, 11 March 1856
When once I have learned my place in the sphere I will fill it once for all.—Journal, 4 February 1841
When you are starting away, leaving your more familiar fields, for a little adventure like a walk, you look at every object with a traveler's, or at least with historical, eyes; you pause on the first bridge, where an ordinary walk hardly commences, and begin to observe and moralize like a traveler. It is worth the while to see your native village thus sometimes, as if you were a traveler passing through it, commenting on your neighbors as strangers.—Journal, 4 September 1851
Whether he sleeps or wakes—whether he runs or walks—whether he uses a microscope or a telescope, or his naked eye—a man never discovers anything, never overtakes anything, or leaves anything behind, but himself.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 20 May 1860
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