Thoreau Collected Essays and Poems

ISBN-10: 1883011957

ISBN-13: 9781883011956

Edition: 2001

Authors: Elizabeth Hall Witherell, Henry Thoreau, Elizabeth Witherell

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Book details

List price: $40.00
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: Library of America, The
Publication date: 4/23/2001
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 703
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.386
Language: English

In September 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne noted this social encounter in his journal: "Mr. Thorow dined with us yesterday. He is a singular character---a young man with much of wild original nature still remaining in him; and so far as he is sophisticated, it is in a way and method of his own. He is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and somewhat rustic, although courteous manners, corresponding very well with such an exterior. But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty. On the whole, I find him a healthy and wholesome man to know." Most responses to Thoreau are as ambiguously respectful as was Hawthorne's. Thoreau was neither an easy person to like nor an easy writer to read. Thoreau described himself as a mystic, a Transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher. He is a writer of essays about nature---not of facts about it but of his ideals and emotions in its presence. His wish to understand nature led him to Walden Pond, where he lived from 1845 to 1847 in a cabin that he built. Though he was an educated man with a Harvard degree, fluent in ancient and modern German, he preferred to study nature by living "a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust." Knowing this, we should beware of misreading the book that best reflected this great experience in Thoreau's life: Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854). It is not a handbook of the simple life. Though there are elements in the book of a "whole-earth catalogue" mentality, to focus on the radical "economic" aspects of Thoreau's work is to miss much in the book. Nor is it an autobiography. The right way to read Walden is as a "transcendental" narrative prose poem, whose hero is a man named Henry, a modern Odysseus in search of a "true America." Thoreau left Walden Pond on September 6, 1846, exactly two years, two months, and two days after he had settled there. As he explained in the pages of Walden: "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went to live there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one." Growth, change, and development were essential to his character. One should not overlook the significance of his selecting July 4 as the day for taking possession of his residence at Walden Pond, a day that celebrates the establishment of a new government whose highest ideal is individual freedom. In terms of Thoreau's redefinition of the nation-idea, "the only true America" is that place where one may grow wild according to one's nature, where one may "enjoy the land, but own it not." Thoreau believed that each person should live according to individual conscience, willing to oppose the majority if necessary. An early proponent of nonviolent resistance, he was jailed briefly for refusing to pay his poll tax to support the Mexican War and the slave system that had promoted that war. His essay "On Civil Disobedience" (1849), which came from this period of passive resistance, was acknowledged by Mahatma Gandhi (who read it in a South African jail) as the basis for his campaign to free India. Martin Luther King, Jr. later attributed to Thoreau and Gandhi the inspiration for his leadership in the civil rights movement in the United States. Thoreau contracted tuberculosis in 1835 and suffered from it sporadically afterwards. His health declined over three years with brief periods of remission, until he eventually became bedridden. Recognizing the terminal nature of his disease, Thoreau spent his last years revising and editing his unpublished works, particularly The Maine Woods and Excursions, and petitioning publishers to print revised editions of A Week and Walden. He died on May 6, 1862 at age 44.

Aulus Persius Flaccus
The Service
Natural History of Massachusetts
A Walk to Wachusett
Sir Walter Raleigh
Dark Ages
A Winter Walk
The Landlord
Paradise (To Be) Regained
Homer. Ossian. Chaucer
Herald of Freedom
Wendell Phillips Before Concord Lyceum
Thomas Carlyle and His Works
Civil Disobedience
A Yankee in Canada
Chastity and Sensuality
Slavery in Massachusetts
Life Without Principle
Autumnal Tints
A Plea for Captain John Brown
Martyrdom of John Brown
The Last Days of John Brown
The Succession of Forest Trees
Wild Apples
In days of yore, tis said, the swimming alder
Fair Haven ("When little hills like lambs did skip")
Voyagers Song
Life is a summer's day
I love a careless streamlet
Pens to mend, and hands to guide
Each summer sound
Friendship ("I think awhile of Love, and while I think")
When breathless noon hath paused on hill and vale
The Bluebirds
May Morning
Truth - Goodness - Beauty - those celestial thrins
Strange that so many fickle gods, as fickle as the weather
In the busy streets, domains of trade
I knew a man by sight
My Boots
Fair Haven ("When Winter fringes every bough")
The Thaw
Last night as I lay gazing with shut eyes
The deeds of king and meanest hedger
'T will soon appear if we but look
The Evening Wind
The Peal of the Bells
The Shrike
The "Book of Gems"
The Assabet
The Breeze's Invitation
Loves Farewell
Each more melodious note I hear
The fisher's Son
Friendship ("Let such pure hate still underprop")
The Freshet
The Poet's Delay
The Summer Rain
Guido's Aurora
I've heard my neighbor's pump at night
Who sleeps by day and walks by night
When with pale check and sunken eye I sang
I arose before light
I'm guided in the darkest night
Friends -
When is some cove I lie
Who hears the parson
Sic Vita
Wait not till I invite thee, but observe
Friendship ("Now we are partners in such legal trade")
On the Sun Coming Out in the Afternoon
They who prepare my evening meal below
My ground is high
If from your price ye will not swerve
Death cannot come too soon
The Mountains in the Horizon
The needles of the pine
The Echo of the Sabbath Bell -
Low in the eastern sky
My life has been the poem I would have writ
To the Mountains
Greater is the depth of sadness
Where I have been
Better wait
Inspiration ("Whate'er we leave to God, God does")
The Soul's Season
The Fall of the Leaf
Inspiration (If thou wilt but stand by my ear)
I've searched my faculties around
Who equallest the coward's haste
The Vireo
The coward ever sings no song
Only the slave knows of the slave
Great God, I ask thee for no meaner pelf
The Inward Morning
Within the circuit of this plodding life
To Edith
Delay in Friendship
Ah, 'tis in vain the peaceful din
Between the traveller and the setting sun
Have ye no work for a man to do -
I sailed up a river with a pleasant wind
I was made erect and lone
I'm not alone
Our Country
Pray to what earth does this sweet cold belong
True kindness is a pure divine affinity
Unit at length the north winds blow
Wait not till slaves pronounce the word
The Funeral Bell
Sometimes I hear the veery's clarion
Thou dusky spirit of the wood
Not unconcerned Wachusett rears his head
Godfrey of Boulogne
The Rabbit leaps
I am the Autumnal sun
Where'er thou sail'st who sailed with me
I was born upon thy bank river
Salmon Brook
The moon now rises to her absolute rule
My friends, why should we live?
I mark the summer's swift decline
My love must be as free
The Moon
Rumors From an Aeolian Harp
On shoulders whirled in some eccentric orbit
Far oer The bow
Methinks that by a strict behavior
I have rolled near some other spirits path
How little curious is man
To the Comet
To a Stray Fowl
The Departure
Brother where dost thou dwell?
All things are current found
On fields oer which the reaper's hand has passed
Epitaph on an Engraver
Epitaph on Pursy
Ep on a Good Man
Ep on the World
The sluggish smoke curls up from some deep dell
On Ponkawtasset, since, we took our way
To a Marsh Hawk in Spring
Great Friend
The offer
The Friend
Yet let us Thank the purblind race
Ye do command me to all virtue ever
Ive seen ye, sisters, on the mountain-side
I am bound, I am bound, for a distant shore
The Hero
At midnight's hour I raised my head
I seek the Present Time
Tell me ye wise ones if ye can
Behold these flowers -
My friends, my noble friends, know ye -
The Earth
But now "no war nor battle's sound"
Such water do the gods distill
Die and be buried who will
I have seen some frozenfaced connecticut
Such near aspects had we
The Atlantides
Conscience is instinct bred in the house
That Phaeton of our day
Then spend an age in whetting thy desire
We see the planet fall
We should not mind if on our car there fell
Men say they know many things
Away! away! away! away!
In the East fames are won
The good how can we trust?
The respectable folks
For though the eaves were rabitted
You Boston folks and Roxbury people
I will obey the strictest law of love
Why toll the bell today-
And once again
The Old Marlborough Road
Old meeting-house bell
It is a real place
Among the worst of men that ever lived
What's the rail-road to me?
Tall Ambrosia
Tis very fit the ambrosia of the gods
I saw a delicate flower had grown up 2 feet high
To day I climbed a handsome rounded hill
I am the little Irish boy
In Adams fall
The moon moves up her smooth and sheeny path
I'm thankful that my life doth not deceive
The Just Made Perfect
I do not fear my thoughts will die
I'm contented you should stay
Man Man is the Devil
You must not only aim aright
He knows no change who knows the true
When the toads begin to ring
The chicadec
Twas 30 years ago
Forever in my dream and in my morning thought
Except, returning, by the Marlboro
The Rosa Sanguinea
Any fool can make a rule
All things decay
Note on the Texts
Index of Titles and First Lines
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