A Year in Thoreau's Journal: 1851 (Penguin Classics)
Henry David Thoreau
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Thoreau's journal of 1851 reveals profound ideas and observations in the making, including wonderful writing on the natural history of Concord.
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speaks of his work becoming all in all to the worker his rising above the dread of criticism & the appetite of praise as if these were the very rare exceptions in a great artists life–& not the very definition of it. 2 Pm to Conantum A warm, damp, mistling day–without much wind. The white pines in Hubbards’ Grove have now a pretty distinct particolored look–green & yellow mottled–reminding me of some plants like the milkweed expanding with maturity & pushing off their downy seeds. They have a
it was difficult to discover him–When I threw up a stick to frighten him he disappeared entirely though I kept the best watch I could & stood close to the foot of the tree. They are wonderfully cunning. The Eupatorium purpureum is early killed by frost–and stands now all dry and brown by the sides of other herbs like the golden rod and tansey which are quite green–& in blossom. The rail–roads as much as anything appear to have unsettled the farmers. Our young Concord farmers & their young wives
blocks which one alone can not move. She who was as the morning light to me, is now neither the morning star nor the evening star. We meet but to find each other further asunder, and the oftener we meet the more rapid our divergence. So a star of the first magnitude pales in the heavens, not from any fault in the observers eye nor from any fault in it self perchance, but because its progress in its own system has put a greater distance between The night is oracular–What have been the intimations
chequer the ground with their leaves–now interspersed with red berries. The cress at the bottom of the brook is doubly beautiful now because it is green while most other plants are sere. It rises & falls & waves with the current. There are many young hornbeams there which still retain their withered leaves–As I returned through Hosmers field–the sun was setting just beneath a black cloud by which it had been obscured–and as it had been a raw & windy afternoon, its light which fell suddenly on
This incident, along with the Anthony Burns affair three years later, prompted Thoreau’s lecture and essay titled “Slavery in Massachusetts.” The reference at the beginning of the passage is to Thomas De Quincey’s The Caesars (1851), in which De Quincey cites Thomas Blackwell’s Memoirs of the Court of Augustus. 30.15 The Liberator, expressing the views of William Lloyd Garrison (the leading radical abolitionist), and the Commonwealth were antislavery newspapers. 30.31–31.5 Thoreau is quoting