Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
many a year there will be no more rambling through the aisles of the
wood, with occasional vistas through which you see the water. My
Muse may be excused if she is silent henceforth. How can you
expect the birds to sing when their groves are cut down?
Now the trunks of trees on the bottom, and the old log canoe, and the
dark surrounding woods, are gone, and the villagers, who scarcely
know where it lies, instead of going to the pond to bathe or drink, are
thinking to bring its water, which should be as sacred as the Ganges
at least, to the village in a pipe, to wash their dishes with!- to earn
their Walden by the turning of a cock or drawing of a plug! That
devilish Iron Horse, whose ear-rending neigh is heard throughout the
town, has muddied the Boiling Spring with his foot, and he it is that
has browsed off all the woods on Walden shore, that Trojan horse,
with a thousand men in his belly, introduced by mercenary Greeks!
Where is the countryís champion, the Moore of Moore Hill, to meet
him at the Deep Cut and thrust an avenging lance between the ribs of
the bloated pest?
Nevertheless, of all the characters I have known, perhaps Walden
wears best, and best preserves its purity. Many men have been
likened to it, but few deserve that honor. Though the woodchoppers
have laid bare first this shore and then that, and the Irish have built
their sties by it, and the railroad has infringed on its border, and the
ice-men have skimmed it once, it is itself unchanged, the same water
which my youthful eyes fell on; all the change is in me. It has not
acquired one permanent wrinkle after all its ripples. It is perennially
young, and I may stand and see a swallow dip apparently to pick an
insect from its surface as of yore. It struck me again tonight, as if I
had not seen it almost daily for more than twenty years-Why, here is
Walden, the same woodland lake that I discovered so many years
ago; where a forest was cut down last winter another is springing up
by its shore as lustily as ever; the same thought is welling up to its
surface that was then; it is the same liquid joy and happiness to itself
and its Maker, ay, and it may be to me. It is the work of a brave man
surely, in whom there was no guile! He rounded this water with his
hand, deepened and clarified it in his thought, and in his will
bequeathed it to Concord. I see by its face that it is visited by the
same reflection; and I can almost say, Walden, is it you?
It is no dream of mine, To ornament a line;
I cannot come nearer to God and Heaven Than I live to Walden
I am its stony shore, And the breeze that passes oíer; In the hollow
of my hand Are its water and its sand, And its deepest resort Lies
high in my thought.
The cars never pause to look at it; yet I fancy that the engineers and
firemen and brakemen, and those passengers who have a season
ticket and see it often, are better men for the sight. The engineer does
not forget at night, or his nature does not, that he has beheld this
vision of serenity and purity once at least during the day. Though
seen but once, it helps to wash out State Street and the engineís soot.
One proposes that it be called "Godís Drop."
I have said that Walden has no visible inlet nor outlet, but it is on the
one hand distantly and indirectly related to Flintís Pond, which is
more elevated, by a chain of small ponds coming from that quarter,
and on the other directly and manifestly to Concord River, which is
lower, by a similar chain of ponds through which in some other
geological period it may have flowed, and by a little digging, which
God forbid, it can be made to flow thither again. If by living thus
reserved and austere, like a hermit in the woods, so long, it has
acquired such wonderful purity, who would not regret that the
comparatively impure waters of Flintís Pond should be mingled with
it, or itself should ever go to waste its sweetness in the ocean wave?