History Quotations

 

A history of animated nature must itself be animated.—Journal, 18 February 1860
A man will not need to study history to find out what is best for his own culture.—Walden
Ancient history has an air of antiquity. It should be more modern. It is written as if the spectator should be thinking of the backside of the picture on the wall, or as if the author expected that the dead would be his readers, and wished to detail to them their own experience.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
As for your high towers and monuments, there was a crazy fellow once in this town who undertook to dig through to China, and he got so far that, as he said, he heard the Chinese pots and kettles rattle; but I think that I shall not go out of my way to admire the hole which he made. Many are concerned about the monuments of the West and the East—to know who built them. For my part, I should like to know who in those days did not build them—who were above such trifling.—Walden
For if Herodotus carried his history to Olympia to read, after the cestus and the race, have we not heard such histories recited there, which since our countrymen have read, as made Greece sometimes to be forgotten?—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
History has neither the venerableness of antiquity, nor the freshness of the modern. It does as if it would go to the beginning of things, which natural history might with reason assume to do; but consider the Universal History, and then tell us,—when did burdock and plantain sprout first?—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
History has remembered thee; especially that meek and humble petition of thy old planters, like the wailing of the Lord’s own people, “To the gentlemen, the selectmen” of Concord, praying to be erected into a separate parish.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
In reality, history fluctuates as the face of the landscape from morning to evening. What is of moment is its hue and color. Time hides no treasures; we want not its then, but its now. We do not complain that the mountains in the horizon are blue and indistinct; they are the more like the heavens.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
The matutine intellect of the poet, keeping in advance of the glare of philosophy, always dwells in this auroral atmosphere.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
It is a strange age of the world this, when empires, kingdoms, and republics come a-begging to our doors and utter their complaints at our elbows.—Journal, 17 November 1850
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