Henry David Thoreau Quotations: Past, Present, & Future
It would be no reproach to a philosopher, that he knew the future better than the past, or even than the present. It is better worth knowing.—"Thomas Carlyle and His Works"
Take time by the forelock. Now or never! You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.—Journal, 24 April 1859
That age will be rich indeed when those relics which we call Classics, and the still older and more than classic but even less known Scriptures of the nations, shall have still further accumulated, when the Vaticans shall be filled with Vedas and Zendavestas and Bibles, with Homers and Dantes and Shakespeares, and all the centuries to come shall have successively deposited their trophies in the forum of the world. By such a pile we may hope to scale heaven at last.—Walden
The Brahman never proposes courageously to assault evil, but patiently to starve it out. His active faculties are paralyzed by the idea of cast, of impassable limits, of destiny and the tyranny of time.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
The future is worth expecting.—Journal, 21 March 1853
The more we know about the ancients, the more we find that they were like the moderns.—Journal, 2 September 1851
The past is the canvass on which our idea is painted,—the dim prospectus of our future field. We are dreaming of what we are to do.—"The Service"
The present is the instant work and near process of living, and will be found in the last analysis to be nothing more nor less than digestion. Sometimes, it is true, it is indigestion.—Journal, after 21 October 1842
The prospect of the young is forward and unbounded, mingling the future with the present. In the declining day the thoughts make haste to rest in darkness, and hardly look forward to the ensuing morning. The thoughts of the old prepare for night and slumber. The same hopes and prospects are not for him who stands upon the rosy mountain-tops of life, and him who expects the setting of his earthly day.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
The true student will cleave ever to the good, recognizing no Past, no Present; but wherever he emerges from the bosom of time, his course is not with the sun,—eastward or westward,—but ever towards the seashore.—Journal, 15 February 1838