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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau


lordsí clarions rested! No wonder that man added this bird to his
tame stock-to say nothing of the eggs and drumsticks. To walk in a
winter morning in a wood where these birds abounded, their native
woods, and hear the wild cockerels crow on the trees, clear and shrill
for miles over the resounding earth, drowning the feebler notes of
other birds-think of it! It would put nations on the alert. Who would
not be early to rise, and rise earlier and earlier every successive day
of his life, till he became unspeakably healthy, wealthy, and wise?
This foreign birdís note is celebrated by the poets of all countries
along with the notes of their native songsters. All climates agree with
brave Chanticleer. He is more indigenous even than the natives. His
health is ever good, his lungs are sound, his spirits never flag. Even
the sailor on the Atlantic and Pacific is awakened by his voice; but
its shrill sound never roused me from my slumbers. I kept neither
dog, cat, cow, pig, nor hens, so that you would have said there was a
deficiency of domestic sounds; neither the chum, nor the spinning-
wheel, nor even the singing of the kettle, nor the hissing of the urn,
nor children crying, to comfort one. An old-fashioned man would
have lost his senses or died of ennui before this. Not even rats in the
wall, for they were starved out, or rather were never baited in-only
squirrels on the roof and under the floor, a whip-poor-will on the
ridge-pole, a blue jay screaming beneath the window, a hare or
woodchuck under the house, a screech owl or a cat owl behind it, a
flock of wild geese or a laughing loon on the pond, and a fox to bark
in the night. Not even a lark or an oriole, those mild plantation birds,
ever visited my clearing. No cockerels to crow nor hens to cackle in
the yard. No yard! but unfenced nature reaching up to your very sills.
A young forest growing up under your meadows, and wild sumachs
and blackberry vines breaking through into your cellar; sturdy pitch
pines rubbing and creaking against the shingles for want of room,
their roots reaching quite under the house. Instead of a scuttle or a
blind blown off in the gale-a pine tree snapped off or torn up by the
roots behind your house for fuel. Instead of no path to the front-yard
gate in the Great Snow-no gate-no front-yard-and no path to the
civilized world.

SOLITUDE.

THIS IS A delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and
imbibes delight through every pore. I go and come with a strange
liberty in Nature, a part of herself. As I walk along the stony shore of
the pond in my shirt-sleeves, though it is cool as well as cloudy and
windy, and I see nothing special to attract me, all the elements are
unusually congenial to me. The bullfrogs trump to usher in the night,
and the note of the whip-poor-will is borne on the rippling wind
from over the water. Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar
leaves almost takes away my breath; yet, like the lake, my serenity is
rippled but not ruffled. These small waves raised by the evening
wind are as remote from storm as the smooth reflecting surface.
Though it is now dark, the mind still blows and roars in the wood,
the waves still dash, and some creatures lull the rest with their notes.
The repose is never complete. The wildest animals do not repose, but
seek their prey now; the fox, and skunk, and rabbit, now roam the
fields and woods without fear. They are Natureís watchmen-links
which connect the days of animated life.

When I return to my house I find that visitors have been there and
left their cards, either a bunch of flowers, or a wreath of evergreen,
or a name in pencil on a yellow walnut leaf or a chip. They who
come rarely to the woods take some little piece of the forest into
their hands to play with by the way, which they leave, either
intentionally or accidentally. One has peeled a willow wand, woven
it into a ring, and dropped it on my table. I could always tell if
visitors had called in my absence, either by the bended twigs or
grass, or the print of their shoes, and generally of what sex or age or
quality they were by some slight trace left, as a flower dropped, or a
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau



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