Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction a work at which you would not be ashamed to invoke the Muse.
Fountainhead and source of rivers,
Dew-cloth, dream drapery,
And napkin spread by fays;
Drifting meadow of the air,
Where bloom the desired banks and violets,
And in the whose fenny labyrinth
The bittern booms and heron wades;
Spirit of the lake and seas and rivers,
Bear only perfumes and the scent
Of healing herbs to just men’s fields!
The full-orbed moon with unchanged ray
Mounts up the eastern sky,
Not doomed to these short nights for aye,
But shining steadily.
She does not wane, but my fortune,
Which her rays do not bless,
My wayward path declineth soon,
But she shines not the less.
And if she faintly glimmers here,
And paled is her light,
Yet alway in her proper sphere
She’s mistress of the night.
I think awhile of Love, and while I think,
Love is to be a world,
Sole meat and sweetest drink,
And close connecting link
Tween heaven and earth.
I only know it is, not how or why,
My greatest happiness;
However hard I try,
Not if I were to die,
Can I explain?
I fain would ask my friend how it can be,
But when the time arrives,
Then Love is more lovely
Than anything to me,
And so I’m dumb.
For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak,
But only thinks and does;
Though surely out ’twill leak
Without the help of Greek,
Or any tongue.
A man may love the truth and practice it,
The beauty he may admire,
And goodness not omit,
As much as may befit
But only when these three together meet,
As they always incline,
And make one soul the seat,
And favorite retreat,
When under kindred shape, like loves and hates
And a kindred nature,
Proclaim us to be mates,
Exposed to equal fates
And each may other help, and service do,
Drawing Love’s bands tighter,
Service he ne’er shall rue
While one and one make two,
And two are one;
In such case only doth man fully prove
Fully as a man can do,
What power there is in Love
His inmost soul to move
Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,
Withstand the winter’s storm,
And spite of wind and tide,
Grow up the meadow’s pride,
For both are strong
Above they barely touch but undermined
Down to their deepest source,
Admiring you shall find
Their roots are intertwined
Light-winged Smoke, Icarian bird,
Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight,
Lark without song, and messenger of dawn
Circling above the hamlets as they nest;
Or else, departing dream, and shadowy form
Of midnight vision, gathering up thy skirts;
By night star-veiling, and by day
Darkening the light and blotting out the sun;
Go thou my incense upward from this hearth,
And ask the gods to pardon this clear flame.
The fable, which is naturally and truly composed, so as to satisfy the imagination, ere it addresses the understanding, beautiful though strange as a wild-flower, is to the wise man an apothegm, and admits of his most generous interpretation.
The current of our thoughts made as sudden bends like the river, which was continually opening new prospects to the east or south, but we are aware that rivers flow most rapidly and shallowest at these points.
The first sparrow of spring! The year beginning with younger hope than ever!… What at such a time are histories, chronologies, traditions, and all written revelations? The brooks sing carols and glees to the spring.
It has come to this, that the friends of liberty, the friends of the slave, have shuddered when they have understood that his fate was left to the legal tribunals of the country to be decided. Free men have no faith that justice will be awarded in such a case.
It is as when a migrating army of mice girdles a forest of pines. The chopper fells trees from the same motive that the mouse gnaws them,—to get his living. You tell me that he has a more interesting family than the mouse. That is as it happens.
A field of water betrays the spirit that is in the air. It is continually receiving new life and motion from above. It is intermediate in its nature between land and sky.
I Knew A Man By Sight
I knew a man by sight,
A blameless wight,
Who, for a year or more,
Had daily passed my door,
Yet converse none had had with him.
I met him in a lane,
Him and his cane,
About three miles from home,
Where I had chanced to roam,
And volumes stared at him, and he at me.
In a more distant place
I glimpsed his face,
And bowed instinctively;
Starting he bowed to me,
Bowed simultaneously, and passed along.
Next, in a foreign land
I grasped his hand,
And had a social chat,
About this thing and that,
As I had known him well a thousand years.
Late in a wilderness
I shared his mess,
For he had hardships seen,
And I a wanderer been;
He was my bosom friend, and I was his.
And as, methinks, shall all,
Both great and small,
That ever lived on earth,
Early or late their birth,
Stranger and foe, one day each other know.
Henry David Thoreau