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 :: 1817-1862, American Essayist, Poet, Naturalist

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I fear chiefly lest my expression may not be extravagant enough, may not wander far enough beyond the narrow limit of my daily experience, so as to be adequate to the truth of which I have been convinced. Extravagance! it depends on how you are yarded.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Self-expression]

 

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To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Self-improvement]

 

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Explore thyself. Herein are demanded the eye and the nerve.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Self-knowledge]

 

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I know myself as a human entity; the scene, so to speak, or thoughts are affection; and am sensible of certain doubleness by which I can stand as remote from myself as from another. However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is no part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it, and that is no more I than it is you.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Self-knowledge]

 

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Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state, a hummock left by the ice.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Self-knowledge]

 

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The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Sensitivity]

 

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I have been breaking silence these twenty-three years and have hardly made a rent in it.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Silence]

 

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Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable asylum, where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Silence]

 

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Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Simplicity]

 

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After the first blush of sin comes its indifference.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Sin]

 

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We cannot well do without our sins; they are the highway of our virtue.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Sin]

 

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I only desire sincere relations with the worthiest of my acquaintance, that they may give me an opportunity once in a year to speak the truth.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Sincerity]

 

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I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Sincerity]

 

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Talk about slavery! It is not the peculiar institution of the South. It exists wherever men are bought and sold, wherever a man allows himself to be made a mere thing or a tool, and surrenders his inalienable rights of reason and conscience. Indeed, this slavery is more complete than that which enslaves the body alone... I never yet met with, or heard of, a judge who was not a slave of this kind, and so the finest and most unfailing weapon of injustice. He fetches a slightly higher price than the black men only because he is a more valuable slave.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Slavery]

 

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What men call social virtues, good fellowship, is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a litter, which lie close together to keep each other warm.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Socializing and Socialism]

 

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Sobriety, severity, and self-respect are the foundations of all true sociality.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Society]

 

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I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone, I never found the companionable as solitude.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Solitude]

 

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I have never found a companion so companionable as solitude.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Solitude]

 

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I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Solitude]

 

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If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.
~ Henry David Thoreau - [Solitude]

 

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