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


care not how obscene my words are-but because I cannot speak of
them without betraying my impurity. We discourse freely without
shame of one form of sensuality, and are silent about another. We
are so degraded that we cannot speak simply of the necessary
functions of human nature. In earlier ages, in some countries, every
function was reverently spoken of and regulated by law. Nothing
was too trivial for the Hindoo lawgiver, however offensive it may be
to modern taste. He teaches how to eat, drink, cohabit, void
excrement and urine, and the like, elevating what is mean, and does
not falsely excuse himself by calling these things trifles.

Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he
worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by
hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and
our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness
begins at once to refine a manís features, any meanness or sensuality
to imbrute them.

John Farmer sat at his door one September evening, after a hard
dayís work, his mind still running on his labor more or less. Having
bathed, he sat down to re-create his intellectual man. It was a rather
cool evening, and some of his neighbors were apprehending a frost.
He had not attended to the train of his thoughts long when he heard
some one playing on a flute, and that sound harmonized with his
mood. Still he thought of his work; but the burden of his thought
was, that though this kept running in his head, and he found himself
planning and contriving it against his will, yet it concerned him very
little. It was no more than the scurf of his skin, which was constantly
shuffled off. But the notes of the flute came home to his ears out of a
different sphere from that he worked in, and suggested work for
certain faculties which slumbered in him. They gently did away with
the street, and the village, and the state in which he lived. A voice
said to him-Why do you stay here and live this mean moiling life,
when a glorious existence is possible for you? Those same stars
twinkle over other fields than these.-But how to come out of this
condition and actually migrate thither? All that he could think of was
to practise some new austerity, to let his mind descend into his body
and redeem it, and treat himself with ever increasing respect.

BRUTE NEIGHBORS.

SOMETIMES I had a companion in my fishing, who came through
the village to my house from the other side of the town, and the
catching of the dinner was as much a social exercise as the eating of
it.

Hermit. I wonder what the world is doing now. I have not heard so
much as a locust over the sweet-fern these three hours. The pigeons
are all asleep upon their roosts-no flutter from them. Was that a
farmerís noon horn which sounded from beyond the woods just
now? The hands are coming in to boiled salt beef and cider and
Indian bread. Why will men worry themselves so? He that does not
eat need not work. I wonder how much they have reaped. Who
would live there where a body can never think for the barking of
Bose? And oh, the housekeeping! to keep bright the devilís door-
knobs, and scour his tubs this bright day! Better not keep a house.
Say, some hollow tree; and then for morning calls and dinner-
parties! Only a woodpecker tapping. Oh, they swarm; the sun is too
warm there; they are born too far into life for me. I have water from
the spring, and a loaf of brown bread on the shelf.- Hark! I hear a
rustling of the leaves. Is it some ill-fed village bound yielding to the
instinct of the chase? or the lost pig which is said to be in these
woods, whose tracks I saw after the rain? It comes on apace; my
sumachs and sweetbriers tremble.- Eh, Mr. Poet, is it you? How do
you like the world today?

Poet. See those clouds; how they hang! Thatís the greatest thing I
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau



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