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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index T > Henry Thoreau Quotes > Life

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Henry Thoreau
(12 Jul 1817 - 6 May 1862)

American writer, naturalist, philosopher and poet who is best known for his study of nature, while retired to live in a hut beside Walden Pond at Concord (4 Jul 1845-6 Sep 1847). Thereafter, he wrote two books: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849) and Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854).


Henry Thoreau Quotes on Life (8 quotes)

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As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
— Henry Thoreau
From The Art of Living, Day by Day 91972), 77. Frequently misattributed to Henry David Thoreau.
Science quotes on:  |  Deep (241)  |  Dominate (20)  |  Earth (1076)  |  Footstep (5)  |  Kind (564)  |  Life (1870)  |  Live (650)  |  Mental (179)  |  Mind (1377)  |  Must (1525)  |  Path (159)  |  Pathway (15)  |  Physical (518)  |  Single (365)  |  Think (1122)  |  Thought (995)  |  Walk (138)  |  Will (2350)  |  Wish (216)

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that 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.
— Henry Thoreau
In Walden: or, Life in the Woods (1854, 1893), 496.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (298)  |  Common (447)  |  Confidence (75)  |  Direction (185)  |  Dream (222)  |  Endeavor (74)  |  Experiment (736)  |  Hour (192)  |  Imagine (176)  |  Learn (672)  |  Learned (235)  |  Life (1870)  |  Live (650)  |  Success (327)  |  Unexpected (55)  |  Will (2350)

I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.
— Henry Thoreau
In Walden: or, Life in the Woods (1854, 1893), 496.
Science quotes on:  |  Good (906)  |  Leave (138)  |  Life (1870)  |  Live (650)  |  More (2558)  |  Reason (766)  |  Spare (9)  |  Time (1911)  |  Wood (97)  |  Woods (15)

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
— Henry Thoreau
Walden (1854), 143.
Science quotes on:  |  Death (406)  |  Deliberately (6)  |  Discover (571)  |  Discovery (837)  |  Essential (210)  |  Fact (1257)  |  Facts (553)  |  Front (16)  |  Learn (672)  |  Learning (291)  |  Life (1870)  |  Live (650)  |  See (1094)  |  Teach (299)  |  Teaching (190)  |  Wish (216)  |  Wood (97)  |  Woods (15)

Our life is frittered away by detail … Simplify, simplify.
— Henry Thoreau
In Walden; or Life in the Woods (1854), 99.
Science quotes on:  |  Detail (150)  |  Life (1870)  |  Simplify (14)

The fact which interests us most is the life of the naturalist. The purest science is still biographical.
— Henry Thoreau
In A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1862), 382.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (1257)  |  Interest (416)  |  Life (1870)  |  Most (1728)  |  Naturalist (79)  |  Pure (299)  |  Still (614)

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
— Henry Thoreau
In 'Economy', in Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (1854, 1899), 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Desperation (6)  |  Lead (391)  |  Leading (17)  |  Life (1870)  |  Live (650)  |  Man (2252)  |  Mass (160)  |  Quiet (37)

You can hardly convince a man of error in a life-time, but must content yourself with the reflection that the progress of science is slow. If he is not convinced, his grand-children may be. The geologists tell us that it took one hundred years to prove that fossils are organic, and one hundred and fifty more, to prove that they are not to be referred to the Noachian deluge.
— Henry Thoreau
In A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1862), 68.
Science quotes on:  |  Children (201)  |  Convince (43)  |  Deluge (14)  |  Error (339)  |  Fossil (143)  |  Geologist (82)  |  Hundred (240)  |  Life (1870)  |  Man (2252)  |  More (2558)  |  Must (1525)  |  Organic (161)  |  Progress (492)  |  Progress Of Science (40)  |  Prove (261)  |  Reflection (93)  |  Slow (108)  |  Tell (344)  |  Time (1911)  |  Year (963)


See also:
  • 12 Jul - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Thoreau's birth.
  • Henry Thoreau - context of quote “Dews of fresh and living truth” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Henry Thoreau - context of quote “Dews of fresh and living truth” - Large image (800 x 400 px)

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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