Solitude Quotations

 

You think that I am impoverishing myself withdrawing from men, but in my solitude I have woven for myself a silken web or chrysalis, and, nymph-like, shall ere long burst forth a more perfect creature, fitted for a higher society.


Journal, 8 February 1857

I am not alone if I stand by myself.


A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

It would be better if there were but one inhabitant to a square mile, as where I live.


Walden

I was describing the other day my success in solitary and distant woodland walking outside the town. I do not go there to get my dinner, but to get that sustenance which dinners only preserve me to enjoy, without which dinners are a vain repetition.


Journal, 11 January 1857

It would be better if there were but one inhabitant to a square mile, as where I live.


Walden

I thrive best on solitude. If I have had a companion only one day in a week, unless it were one or two I could name, I find that the value of the week to me has been seriously affected. It dissipates my days, and often it takes me another week to get over it.


Journal, 28 December 1856

By my intimacy with nature I find myself withdrawn from man. My interest in the sun and the moon, in the morning and the evening, compels me to solitude.


Journal, 26 July 1851

Men frequently say to me, “I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially.” I am tempted to reply to such, — This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? is not our planet in the Milky Way? This which you put seems to me not to be the most important question. What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.


Walden

Ah! I need solitude. I have come forth to this hill at sunset to see the forms of the mountains in the horizon — to behold and commune with something grander than man. Their mere distance and unprofanedness is an infinite encouragement. it is with infinite yearning and aspiration that I seek solitude, more and more resolved and strong; but with a certain weakness that I seek society ever.


Journal, 14 August 1854

I have an immense appetite for solitude, like an infant for sleep, and if I don’t get enough for this year, I shall cry all the next.


—Thoreau to Daniel Ricketson, 9 September 1857
All quotation categories