I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude? They can only force me who obey a higher law than I.... I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were that to live?
Absolutely speaking, Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you is by no means a golden rule, but the best of current silver. An honest man would have but little occasion for it. It is golden not to have any rule at all in such a case.
The best books are not read even by those who are called good readers. What does our Concord culture amount to? There is in this town, with a very few exceptions, no taste for the best or for very good books even in English literature, whose words all can read and spell.
It required some rudeness to disturb with our boat the mirror-like surface of the water, in which every twig and blade of grass was so faithfully reflected; too faithfully indeed for art to imitate, for only Nature may exaggerate herself.
Any moral philosophy is exceedingly rare. This of Menu addresses our privacy more than most. It is a more private and familiar, and at the same time, a more public and universal word, than is spoken in parlor or pulpit nowadays.
When the leaves fall, the whole earth is a cemetery pleasant to walk in. . . . How beautifully they go to their graves! How gently lay themselves down and turn to mould. They teach us how to die. One wonders if the time will ever come when people, with our boasted faith in immortality, will lie down as gracefully and ripe-with such an Indian-summer serenity will shed our bodies.