If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.
Is the babe young? When I behold it, it seems more venerable than the oldest man.
It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.
There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.
I have the habit of attention to such excess, that my senses get no rest - but suffer from a constant strain.
Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.
The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.
It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are... than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.
We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New, but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.
The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.
How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.
Nature puts no question and answers none which we mortals ask. She has long ago taken her resolution.
Books can only reveal us to ourselves, and as often as they do us this service we lay them aside.
To be admitted to Nature's hearth costs nothing. None is excluded, but excludes himself. You have only to push aside the curtain.
The Artist is he who detects and applies the law from observation of the works of Genius, whether of man or Nature. The Artisan is he who merely applies the rules which others have detected.
They can do without architecture who have no olives nor wines in the cellar.
It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.
It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.
Do what nobody else can do for you. Omit to do anything else.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.
It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.
Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another?
The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
If an injustice requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the government machine.
If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.
It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.
Friends... they cherish one another's hopes. They are kind to one another's dreams.
Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.
I was more independent than any farmer in Concord, for I was not anchored to a house or farm, but could follow the bent of my genius, which is a very crooked one, every moment.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.
Great men, unknown to their generation, have their fame among the great who have preceded them, and all true worldly fame subsides from their high estimate beyond the stars.
I am sorry to think that you do not get a man's most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness.
Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed... Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.
No face which we can give to a matter will stead us so well at last as the truth. This alone wears well.
There is danger that we lose sight of what our friend is absolutely, while considering what she is to us alone.
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.
The fibers of all things have their tension and are strained like the strings of an instrument.
To be awake is to be alive.
Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.
Alas! how little does the memory of these human inhabitants enhance the beauty of the landscape!
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.
In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.
Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.
As for doing good; that is one of the professions which is full. Moreover I have tried it fairly and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution.
In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.
After the first blush of sin comes its indifference.
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
Only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him.
True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.
There are old heads in the world who cannot help me by their example or advice to live worthily and satisfactorily to myself; but I believe that it is in my power to elevate myself this very hour above the common level of my life.
It is the greatest of all advantages to enjoy no advantage at all.
I have thought there was some advantage even in death, by which we mingle with the herd of common men.
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.
Truths and roses have thorns about them.
In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.