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American author and naturalist
(1817 - 1862)
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My life is like a stroll upon the beach.
      - A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

Who hears the fishes when they cry?
      - A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

It takes two to speak the truth--one to speak, and another to hear.
      - A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
         (p. 283) [Truth]

A Friend is one who incessantly pays us the compliment of expecting from us all the virtues, and who can appreciate them in us.
      - A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers--Wednesday

October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.
      - Excursions [October]

Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.
      - Journal [Evidence : Trout]

I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
      - Solitude [Solitude]

I stand in awe of my body, this matter to which I am bound has become so strange to me. I fear not spirits, ghosts, of which I am one,--that my body might,--but I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them. What is this Titan that has possession of me? Talk of mysteries! Think of our life in nature,--daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it,--rocks, trees, wind on our cheek! the solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we?
      - The Maine Woods, Katadin [Body : Mystery]

The only way to speak the truth is to speak lovingly.
      - Thoreau's Journal (March 15, 1842),
        found in H.G.O. Blake's "Early Spring in Massachusetts," p. 19
        [Speech : Truth]

I make my own time. I make my own terms. I cannot see how God or Nature can ever get the start of me.
      - Thoreau's Journal of 1841 [Freedom : Privacy]

Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life, as a dog does his master's chaise. Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.
      - Thoreau's Letters [Life : Self-knowledge]

Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
      - Walden [Books]

For many years I was self-appointed inspector of snow-storms and rain-storms and did my duty faithfully.
      - Walden [Storms]

I do not say that John or Jonathan will realize all this; but such is the character of that morrow which mere lapse of time can never make to dawn. The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
      - Walden [Books (Last Lines)]

It is not all books that are as dull as their readers.
      - Walden [Books]

The book exists for us, perchance, which will explain our miracles and reveal new ones.
      - Walden [Books]

We live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another.
      - Walden [Privacy : Society]

When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.
      - Walden [Books (First Lines)]

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