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PinkMonkey.com-MonkeyNotes-Walden, by Henry David Thoreau




PinkMonkey® Quotations on . . .

Walden

By

Henry David Thoreau

QUOTATION: Ah, the pickerel of Walden! when I see them lying on the ice, or in the well which the fisherman cuts in the ice, making a little hole to admit the water, I am always surprised by their rare beauty, as if they were fabulous fishes, they are so foreign to the streets, even to the woods, foreign as Arabia to our Concord life. They possess a quite dazzling and transcendent beauty ... as if they were the pearls, the animalized nuclei or crystals of the Walden water. They, of course, are Walden all over and all through; are themselves small Waldens in the animal kingdom, Waldenses.
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, pp. 314-315, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

QUOTATION: Walden is melting apace. There is a canal two rods wide along the northerly and westerly sides, and wider still the east end. A great field of ice has cracked off from the main body. I hear a song sparrow singing from the bushes on the shore,—olit, olit, olit,—chip, chip, chip, che char,—che wiss, wiss, wiss. He too is helping to crack it. How handsome the great sweeping curves in the edge of the ice, answering somewhat to those of the shore, but more regular! It is unusually hard, owing to the recent severe but transient cold, and all watered or waved like a palace floor. But the wind slides eastward over its opaque surface in vain, till it reaches the living surface beyond. It is glorious to behold this ribbon of water sparkling in the sun, the bare face of the pond full of glee and youth, as if it spoke the joy of the fishes within it, and of the sands on its shore,—a silvery sheen as from the scales of a leuciscus, as it were all one active fish. Such is the contrast between winter and spring. Walden is dead and is alive again. But this spring it broke up more steadily, as I have said.
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, pp. 343-344, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

QUOTATION: Like the water, the Walden ice, seen near at hand, has a green tint, but at a distance is beautifully blue, and you can easily tell it from the white ice of the river, or the merely greenish ice of some ponds, a quarter of a mile off.
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 327, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

QUOTATION: Many have believed that Walden reached quite through to the other side of the globe.
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 315, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

QUOTATION: The scenery of Walden is on a humble scale, and, though very beautiful, does not approach to grandeur, nor can it much concern one who has not long frequented it or lived by its shore; yet this pond is so remarkable for its depth and purity as to merit a particular description. It is a clear and deep green well, half a mile long and a mile and three quarters in circumference, and contains about sixty-one and a half acres; a perennial spring in the midst of pine and oak woods, without any visible inlet or outlet except by the clouds and evaporation. The surrounding hills rise abruptly from the water to the height of forty to eighty feet, though on the southeast and east they attain to about one hundred and one hundred and fifty feet respectively, within a quarter and a third of a mile. They are exclusively woodland.
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 195, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

QUOTATION: White Pond and Walden are great crystals on the surface of the earth, Lakes of Light.... They are too pure to have a market value; they contain no muck. How much more beautiful than our lives, how much more transparent than our characters are they! We never learned meanness of them.
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 221, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

QUOTATION: When I first paddled a boat on Walden, it was completely surrounded by thick and lofty pine and oak woods, and in some of its coves grape-vines had run over the trees next the water and formed bowers under which a boat could pass. The hills which form its shores are so steep, and the woods on them were then so high, that, as you looked down from the west end, it had the appearance of an amphitheatre for some kind of sylvan spectacle.... But since I left those shores the woodchoppers have still further laid them waste, and now for 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?
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, pp. 212-213, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

QUOTATION: But I can assure my readers that Walden has a reasonably tight bottom at a not unreasonable, though at an unusual, depth. I fathomed it easily with a cod-line and a stone weighing about a pound and a half, and could tell accurately when the stone left the bottom, by having to pull so much harder before the water got underneath to help me. The greatest depth was exactly one hundred and two feet; to which may be added the five feet which it has risen since, making one hundred and seven. This is a remarkable depth for so small an area; yet not an inch of it can be spared by the imagination.
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 316, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

QUOTATION: This is my lake country.
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 219, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

QUOTATION: In such a day, in September or October, Walden is a perfect forest mirror, set round with stones as precious to my eye as if fewer or rarer. Nothing so fair, so pure, and at the same time so large, as a lake, perchance, lies on the surface of the earth. Sky water. It needs no fence. Nations come and go without defiling it. It is a mirror which no stone can crack, whose quicksilver will never wear off, whose gilding Nature continually repairs; no storms, no dust, can dim its surface ever fresh;Ma mirror in which all impurity presented to it sinks, swept and dusted by the sun’s hazy brush,—this the light-dust cloth,—which retains no breath that is breathed on it, but sends its own to float as clouds high above its surface, and be reflected in its bosom still.
ATTRIBUTION: Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 209, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

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