Henry Thoreau

“If we are really dying let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in our extremities; if we are alive let us go about our business. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains”

“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.”

“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. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

“There is no remedy for love, but to love more.”

Henry Thoreau  (1817 –1862) was an American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, environmentalist, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, part memoir and part spiritual quest, from his two-year experiment in simple living on the shores of Walden Pond. In 1849 his Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), was published. This argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state influenced many political leaders, reformers and authors such as Mahatma Gandhi, President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Leo Tolstoy and William Butler Yeats. Thoreau died of tuberculosis in the town of his birth, Concord, Massachusetts aged 44. When his aunt Louisa asked him in his last weeks if he had made his peace with God, Thoreau responded: “I did not know we had ever quarreled.”

 

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