Citations de Thoreau


Rien de mieux, en période de confinement, que de lire du Thoreau...

1- Considerations about the economy

"What a man thinks of himself, that is which determinnes or rather indicates his fate".

" To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts nor even to found a school, but so to leve wisdom as to live accordingly to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnimity and trust."

" Shall we always study to obtain more of these things (luxury houses, clothings...) and not sometimes to be content with less? "

"Squalidness may consist with civilization."

" The best works of art are the expression of man's struggle to free himself from his condition, but the effect of our art is merely to make this low state comfortable and that higher state to be forgotten. "

" For a like reason, men remain in their present low and primitive condition, but if they should feel the influence of the spring of springs arousing them, they would of necessity rise to a higher and ethereal life. "

" Men say they know many things;

But lo ! They have taken wings, 

The art and sciences, 

And a thousand of appliances.

The wind that blows

Is all that anybody knows. "

" Who knows, but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developped, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged ? "

" How could youths better leean to live than by at once trying the experiment of living ? "

" One piece of good sense would be more memorable than a monument as high as the moon. Whatever it is: Egyptian temples or the United States Bank the mainspring is vanity. "

" Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind. Nay: it is greatly overrated, and it is our selfishness which overrates it. "

" Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our own brows, and take up a little life into our pores. "

2- Considerations about Where I lived and what I live for 

" The Harivansa says " an abode without birds is like a meat without seasonning. "

" Our lifes are frittered away by detail

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity !

Simplify, simplify !

Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary, eat but one. " 

When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence. That petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality. 

Children who play life discern its true law and relation more clearly than men. "

3 - Reading 

To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is  a noble exercise "  (read Homère in their original language...)

" The orator speaks to those who can hear him. The writer speaks to the heart and intellect of the mankind, to all who can understand him. " 

" Illiad is more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. " 

Read the Classics (Platon...) : " Their authors are the natural and irrestible aristocracy in every society and, more than kings or emperors, exercise an influence on mankind. " 

4 -  Solitude

" Ther can bo very black melancholy to a man who lives in the midst of Nature and has his senses still. " 

" I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, ever with the best, is soon wearisome and disappating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. "

" Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows. "

5- Visitors 

" I had 3 chairs in my room. One for solitude, two for friendship, three for society. " 

" You want room for your thoughts to get into sailing, trim and run a course or two before they make their port. "

6- The village 

Words of Homère :

" Nor wars did men molest, 

When only beechen bowls were  inrequest. "

" You who govern public afffairs, what need do you have to employ punishments ? Love virtue and the people will be virtuous. The virtues of a superior man are like the wind; the virtues of a common man are like the grass; the grass when the wind passes over it, bends. "

" Give me the poverty that enjoys true wealth. " 

" Farmes are respectable and interesting to me in proportion they are poor. " 

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