the Thoreau Log.
Æt. 35.
1 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Mr. Frost did not like Mrs. S—’s [Elizabeth Oakes Smith] lecture last night; did not like what she said about the clergy. Said it was too transcendental for him . . .

  9.30 P. M.—To Fair Haven . . .

  McKean has sawed another of the pines under Fair Haven. He says it made eighty-two feet in length of mill-logs, and was so straight that it would have made a first-rate mast eighty feet long. I told him that Nathan Hosmer had told me that he once helped saw down a pine three feet in diameter, that they sawed it clean through and it still stood on the stump, and it took two men to push it over. McKean could understand how this might be done by wedging. He says that he often runs his saw straight through a tree without wedges and without its pinching to within an eighth of an inch of the other side before it breaks . . .

(Journal, 3:171-174)
3 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The ground has been bare for some days, and the weather warm. The river has risen, and now the meadows are frozen so as to bear,—a dark, thin, but rather opaque ice, as if covered with steam,—and I see now travelling, sweeping, coursing over it, in long winrows, fine pellets of snow, like cotton, fine, round, and dry, which I do not detect in the air before they fall . . .
(Journal, 3:174-175)
4 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Fair Haven on the ice partially covered with snow . . . (Journal, 3:175).
5 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sitting on the Cliffs, I see plainly for the first time that the island in Fair Haven is the triangular point of a hill cut off, and forty or fifty rods west, on the mainland, I see the still almost raw and shelving edge of the bank, the raw sand-scar as if sodded over the past summer,—as a man cuts off a piece of pudding on his plate,—as if the intermediate portion of the hill had sunk and left a cranberry meadow . . .
(Journal, 3:175-177)
6 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 7 January:

  Last evening, walked to Lincoln to lecture in a driving snow-storm, but the invisible moon gave light through the thickest of it (Journal, 3:177).
7 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Canada” at the Centre School House for the Concord Lyceum (“An Excursion to Canada“).

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This afternoon, in the dells of the wood and on the lee side of the woods, where the wind has not disturbed it, the snow still lies on the trees as richly as I ever saw it . . .

  Now from the shanty plain I see the sun descending into the west.

(Journal, 3:177-179)
8 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I notice that almost every track which I made yesterday in the snow—perhaps ten inches deep—has got a dead leaf in it, though none is to be seen on the snow ground . . .

  Reading from my manuscripts to Miss Emerson this evening and using the word “god,” in one instance, in perchance a merely heathenish sense, she inquired hastily in a tone of dignified anxiety, “Is that god spelt with a little g?” Fortunately it was. (I had brought in the word “god” without any solemnity of voice or connection.) So I went on as if nothing had happened . . .

(Journal, 3:179-180)
9 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The great pine woods have a peculiar appearance this afternoon (Journal, 3:180-181).
10 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 11 January:

  R. W. E. showed my yesterday a letter from H. Greenough, the sculptor, on architecture, which he like very much (Journal, 3:181).
11 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The glory of these afternoons, though the sky may be mostly overcast, is in the ineffably clear blue, or else pale greenish-yellow, patches of sky in the west just before sunset. The whole cope of heaven seen at once is never so elysian. Windows to heaven, the heavenward windows of the earth. The end of the day is truly Hesperian.
(Journal, 3:181-184)
12 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  C. [William Ellery Channing] says that he studied lichens a little while, but he found that if you pursued that must give up man (Journal, 3:184-185).
13 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  James Wood, Jr., told me this afternoon of a white pine in Carlisle which the owner was offered thirty dollars for and refused. He had bought the lot for the sake of the tree, which he left standing.

  Here I am on the Cliffs at half past three or four o’clock. The snow more than a foot deep over all the land . . .

(Journal, 3:185-188)
14 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  What an effect the sight of green grass in the winter has on us! as at the spring by the Corner road . . .

  Standing on the hill on the Baker Farm to-day, the level shrub oak plain under Fair Haven appeared as if Walden and other small ponds, and perhaps Fair Haven, had anciently sunk down in it, and the Cliffs been pushed up, for the level is continued in many cases even over extensive hollows . . .

  The Governor, Bout well (?), lectured before the Lyceum to-night. Quite democratic. He wore no badge of his office. I believe that not even his brass buttons were official, but, perchance, worn with some respect to his station. If he could have divested himself a little more completely in his tone and manner of a sense of the dignity which belonged to his office, it would have been better still.

(Journal, 3:188-190)
15 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  For the first time this winter I notice snow-fleas this afternoon in Walden Wood. Wherever I go they are to be seen, especially in the deepest ruts and foot-tracks. Their number is almost infinite. It is a rather warm and moist afternoon, and feels like rain. I suppose that some peculiarity in the weather has called them forth from the bark of the trees.

  It is good to see Minott’s hens pecking and scratching the ground. What never-failing health they suggest! Even the sick hen is so naturally sick—like a green leaf turning to brown. No wonder men love to have hens about them and hear their creaking note. They are even laying eggs from time to time still—the undespairing race!

  Minott was telling me to-day about his going across lots on snow-shoes. Why do they not use them now? He thinks the snows are not so deep . . .

(Journal, 3:191-194)
16 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Bill Wheeler had two clumps for feet and progressed slowly, by short steps, having frozen his feet once, as I understood . . .

  Channing has great respect for McKean, he stands on so low a level. Says he’s great for conversation. He never says anything, hardly answers a question, but keeps at work; never exaggerates, nor uses an exclamation, and does as he agrees to. He appears to have got his shoulder to the wheel of the universe. But the other day he went greater lengths with me, as he and Barry were sawing down a pine, both kneeling of necessity. I said it was wet work for the knees in the snow. He observed, looking up at me, “We pray without ceasing.

(Journal, 3:194-198)
17 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saw a teamster coming up the Boston road this afternoon, sitting on his load, which was bags of corn or salt, apparently, behind two horses and beating his hands for warmth. He finally got off and walked behind, to make his blood circulate faster, and I saw that he was a large man. But when I came near him, I found that he was a monstrous man and dwarfed all whom he stood by, so that I did not know whether he was large or they were small.
(Journal, 3:198-204)
18 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  E. Hosmer tells me that his daughter, walking with Miss Mary Emerson to some meeting or lecture,—perhaps it was Mrs. Smith’s, [Elizabeth Oakes Smith]—the latter was saying that she did not want to go, she did not think it was worth while to be running after such amusements, etc., etc. Where up Miss Hosmer asked, “What do you go for, then?” “None of your business,” was the characteristic reply . . .
(Journal, 3:204-205)
19 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The snow, which had drifted badly, ceased about 2 o’clock, I went forth by way of Walden road, whither no sleigh or sled had passed this day, the fine dry snow blowing and drifting still . . . From Bare Hill I looked into the west, the sun still fifteen minutes high. The snow blowing far off in the sun, high as a house, looked like the mist that rises from rivers in the morning. I came across lots through the dry white powder from Britton’s camp. Very cold on the causeway and on the hilltops. The low western sky an Indian red, after the sun was gone.
(Journal, 3:205-207)
20 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walked down the Boston road. It was good to look off over the great unspotted fields of snow, the walls and fences almost buried in it and hardly a turf or stake left bare for the starving crows to light on . . .

  I do not know but it is too much to read one newspaper in a week, for I now take the weekly Tribune, and for a few days past, it seems to me, I have not dwelt in Concord; the sun, the clouds, the snow, the trees say to so much to me. Thou cannot serve two masters. It requires more than a day’s devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day. To read of things distant and sounding betrays us into slighting theses which are then apparently near and small. We learn to look abroad for our mind and spirit’s daily nutriment, and what is this dull town to me? what are theses plain fields and the aspects of this earth and these skies? All summer and far into the fall I unconsciously went by the newspapers and the news, and not I find it was because the morning and evening were full of news for me. My walks were full of incidents. I attended not to the affairs of Europe, but to my own affairs in Concord fields . . .

(Journal, 3:207-208)
21 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Heard [Thomas Wentworth] Higginson lecture to-night on Mohammed [Arab founder Mohamedanism]. Why did I not like it better? Can I deny that it was good? Perhaps I am bound to account to myself at least for any lurking dislike for what others admire and I am not prepared to find fault with. Well, I did not like it, then, because it did not make me like it, it did not carry me away captive. He is not simple enough. For the most part the manner overbore, choked off, and stifled, put out of sight and hearing, the matter. I was inclined to forget that he was speaking, conveying ideas; thought there had been an intermission . . .
(Journal, 3:209-214)
22 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I love to look at Ebby Hubbard’s oaks and pines on the hillside from Brister’s Hill. Am thankful that there is one old miser who will not sell nor cut his woods, though it is said that they are wasting. It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

  It is a sharp, cutting cold day, stiffening the face. Thermometers have lately sunk to 20° . . .

(Journal, 3:214-219)
23 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The snow is so deep and the cold so intense that the crows are compelled to be very bold in seeking their food, and come very near the houses in the village. One is now walking about and pecking the dung in the street in front of Frank Monroe’s . . .

  P.M.—Deep Cut, going to Fair Haven Hill. No music from the telegraph harp on the causeway, where the wind is strong, but in the Cut this cold day I hear memorable strains . . .

(Journal, 3:219-221)
24 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Down the Flint’s Pond road and return across.

  Where the mountains in the horizon are well wooded and the snow does not lodge, they still look blue. All but a narrow segment of the sky in the northwest and southeast being suddenly overcast by a passing kind of snow-squall, though no snow falls, I look into the clear sky with its floating clouds in the northwest as from night into day, now at 4 P.M. The sun sets about five.

  Walden and White Ponds are a vitreous greenish blue, like patches of the winter sky seen in the west before sundown . . .

  When the cars passed, I being on the pond (Walden), the sun was setting and suffusing the clouds far and near with rosy light. Even the steam from the engine, as its flocks or wreaths rose above the shadow of the woods, became a rosy cloud even fairer than the rest, but it was soon dissipated . . .

  When I come out on the causeway, I beheld a splendid picture in the west. The damask-lined clouds, like rifts from a coal mine, which sparkle beneath, seen diving into the west. When clouds rise in mid-afternoon, you cannot foresee what sunset picture they are preparing for us. A single elm by Hayden’s is relieved against the amber and golden border, deepening into dusky but soon to be red, in the horizon.

(Journal, 3:221-225)
25 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is glorious to be abroad this afternoon. The snow melts on the surface. The warmth of the sun reminds me of summer. The dog runs before us on the railroad causeway and appears to enjoy it as much as ourselves. C. [William Ellery Channing] remarks that most people do not distinguish between a pup and dog, and treat them both alike, though the former may not yet have a tooth in his head.

  When Sophia told R. Rice that Dr. B. said that Foster was an infidel and was injuring the young men, etc., “Did he?” he observed. “Well, he is a great man. He swims in pretty deep water, but it isn’t very extensive.” When she added, “Mr. Frost says that Garrison had to apologize for printing Foster’s sermon,” he said, “Did he? Well, they may set as many back fires as they please; they won’t be of any use; they’ll soon go out.” She said the selectmen were going to ask seven dollars instead of five for the hall. But he said that he would build them a hall, if they would engage to give him five dollars steadily. To be sure, it would riot be quite so handsome as the present, but it should have the same kind of seats.

  The clay in the Deep Cut is melting and streaming down, glistening in the sun. It is I that melts, while the harp sounds on high, and the snow-drifts on the west side look like clouds.

  We turned down the brook at Heywood’s meadow . . .

  The sun reflected from the sandy, gravelly bottom sometimes a bright sunny streak no bigger than your finger, reflected from a ripple as from a prism, and the sunlight, reflected from a hundred points of the surface of the rippling brook, enabled me to realize summer. But the dog partly spoiled the transparency of the water by running in the brook . . .

  Having gone a quarter of a mile beyond the bridge, where C. calls this his Spanish Brook, I looked back from the top of the hill on the south into this deep dell . . .

  Now we are on Fair Haven, still but a snow plain . . .

  We returned down the brook at Heywood’s meadow.

(Journal, 3:225-229)
26 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To-day I see a few snow-fleas on the Walden road and a slight blueness in the chinks, it being cloudy and melting.

  It is good to break and smell the black birch twigs now. The lichens look rather bright to-day, near the town line, in Heywood’s wood by the pond . . .

  The woodpecker’s work in Emerson’s wood on the Cliff-top, the trees being partly killed by the top, and the grubs having hatched under the bark . . .

  About 2 o’clock, P. M. these days, after a fair forenoon, there is wont to blow up from the northwest a squally cloud, spanning the heavens, but before it reaches the southeast horizon it has lifted above the northwest, and so it leaves the sky clear there for sunset, while it has sunk low and dark in the southeast.

  The men on the freight-train, who go over the whole length of the road, bow to me as to an old acquaintance, they pass me so often and I think they take me for an “employé;” and am I not?

(Journal, 3:229-236)
27 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Mill road south of Ministerial Swamp, 3 P.M.

  As I stand under the hill beyond J. Hosmer’s and look over the plains westward toward Acton and see the farmhouses nearly half a mile apart, few and solitary, in these great fields between these stretching woods… I cannot realize that this is that hopeful young America which is famous throughout the world for its activity and enterprise, and this is the most thickly settled and Yankee part of it . . .

(Journal, 3:236-239)
28 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  They showed me Johnny Riordan to-day, with one thickness of ragged cloth over his little shirt for all this cold weather, with shoes with large holes in the toes, into which the snow got, as he said, without an outer garment, to walk a mile to school every day over the bleakest of causeways,—the clothes with countless patches, which hailed from, claimed descent from, were originally identical with, pantaloons of mine, which set as if his mother had fitted them to a tea-kettle first . . .

  3 P.M.—Went round by Tuttle’s road, and so out on to the Walden road . . .

  About Brister’s Spring the ferns, which have been covered with snow, and the grass are still quite green.

(Journal, 3:239-245)
29 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The snow is nearly gone from the railroad causeway . . .

  I have come to see the clay and sand in the Cut. A reddish tinge in the earth, stains . . .

  I observed this afternoon that the ground where they are digging for some scales near the depot was frozen about nine inches where the snow has lain most and sixteen inches where the road was . . .

  Heard C. [William Ellery Channing] lecture to-night. It was a bushel of nuts. Perhaps the most original lecture I ever heard. Ever so unexpected, not to be foretold, and so sententious that you could not look at him and take his thought at the same time. You had to give your undivided attention to the thoughts, for you were not assisted by set phrases or modes of speech intervening. There was no sloping up or down to or from his points. It was all genius, no talent. It required more close attention, more abstraction from surrounding circumstances, than any lecture I have heard. For, well as I know C., he more than any man disappoints my expectation. When I see him in the desk, hear him, I cannot realize that I ever saw him before. He will be strange, unexpected, to his best acquaintance. I cannot associate the lecturer with the companion of my walks. It was from so original and peculiar a point of view, yet just to himself in the main, that I doubt if three in the audience apprehended a tithe that he said. It was so hard to hear that doubtless few made the exertion. A thick succession of mountain passes and no intermediate slopes and plains. Other lectures, even the best, in which so much space is given to the elaborate development of a few ideas, seemed somewhat meagre in comparison. Yet it would be how much more glorious if talent were added to genius, if there [were] a just arrangement and development of the thoughts, and each step were not a leap, but he ran a space to take a yet higher leap!

  Most of the spectators sat in front of the performer but here was one who, by accident, sat all the while on one side, and his report was peculiar and startling.

(Journal, 3:245-250)
30 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Though they are cutting off the woods at Walden, it is not all loss. It makes some new and unexpected prospects . . . (Journal, 3:250-256).
31 January 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I observed this afternoon, on the Turnpike, that where it drifts over the edge of a brook or a ditch, the snow being damp as it falls, what does not adhere to the sharp edge of the drift falls on dead weeds and shrubs and forms a drapery like a napkin or a white tablecloth hanging down with folds and tassels or fringed border . . .
(Journal, 3:260)
1 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Each thing is attracted to each, and running to coalesce like drops of water. The fingers incline to be webbed and run together. When I hold mine up to the light and bring them near together, such are the laws of light that, just before they touch, a web appears to grow on them and unite them. So of objects seen through imperfections in glass. It depends upon how a man has spent his day, whether he has any right to be in his bed. So spend some hours that you may have a right to sleep in the sunshine.
(Journal, 3:262-267)
2 February 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sir Francis Head says that in America “the moon looks larger” than in Europe. Here, then, moonshine is to be expected. Perhaps the sun larger also. Such are the advantages of the New World . . .

  Sir F. Head thinks that the greater cold—equal to thirteen degrees of latitude—in this country is owing to the extensive forests, which prevent the sun and wind from melting the snows, which therefore accumulate on the ground and create a cold stratuaa of air, which, blown to warmer ones by the northwest wind, condenses the least into snow. But, in Concord woods at any rate, the snow (in the winter) melts faster, and beside is not so deep as in the fields. Not so toward spring, on the north sides of lulls and in hollows. At any rate I think he has not allowed enough for the warmth of the woods.

(Journal, 3:268-270)

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal on 3 February:

  I have been to the libraries (yesterday) at Cambridge and Boston (Journal, 3:270).

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Linnaeus’ Philosophia botanica by Carl von Linnaeus and Voyages du Baron de La Hontan dans l’Amerique Septentrionale (volumes 1 and 2?) by Louis Armand, Baron de La Hontan from Harvard Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290).

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out A natural system of botany by John Lindley and A synopsis of lichenes of New England, the other northern states, and British America and An enumeration of North American lichenes by Edward Tuckerman from the Boston Society of Natural History.

(Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):24)
3 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  About 6 P. M. walked to the Cliffs via railroad.

  Snow quite deep. The sun had set without a cloud in the sky,—a rare occurrence, but I missed the clouds, which make the glory of evening . . .

  Venus is now like a little moon in the west, and the lights in the village twinkle like stars. It is perfectly still and not very cold . . .

  The reflector of the cars, as I stand over the Deep Cut, makes a large and dazzling light in this air . . .

  Now through the Spring Woods and up Fair Haven Hill. Here, in the midst of a clearing where the choppers have been leaving the woods in pieces to-day, and the tops of the pine trees are strewn about half buried in snow, only the saw-logs being carried off, it is stiller and milder than by day . . .

  The moonlight now is very splendid in the untouched pine woods above the Cliffs, alternate patches of shade and light . . .

(Journal, 3:270-276)
4 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  11 P.M.—Coming home through the village by this full moonlight, it seems one of the most glorious nights I ever beheld . . .

  Heard Professor Blasius lecture on the tornado this evening. He said that nine vessels were wrecked daily in the world on an average; that Professor Dove of Berlin was the best meteorologist in his opinion, but had not studied the effects of wind in the fields so much as some here . . .

  The audience are never tired of hearing how far the wind carried some man, woman, or child, or family Bible, but they are immediately tired if you undertake to give them a scientific account of it.

(Journal, 3:276-278)

Concord, Mass. Lidian Jackson Emerson writes to her husband Ralph Waldo on 6 February:

  Prof Blasins lectured well as Henry says—and I think also—H. came home with him and talked with him to their great mutual edification till half past ten (The Selected Letters of Lidian Jackson Emerson, 175-6).

[Blasius lectured on “Tornado” for the Concord Lyceum [?] on 4 February]

5 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The oaks bare of leaves on Hubbard’s hillside are now a light gray in the sun, and their boughs, seen against the pines behind, are a very agreeable maze . . . (Journal, 3:278-280).
6 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P. M.—Round by C. Miles’s place. It is still thawy . . . (Journal, 3:280-283).
7 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The warmer weather we have had for a few days past was particularly pleasant to the poor whose wood-piles were low, whose clothes were ragged and thin. I think how the little boy must enjoy it whom I saw a week ago with his shoes truncated at the toes. Hard are the times when the infants’ shoes are secondfoot.
(Journal, 3:283-287)
8 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Mrs. Buttrick says that she has five cents for making a shirt, and that if she does her best she can make one a day . . .

  Carried a new cloak to Johnny Riordan. I found that the shanty was warmed by the simple social relations of the Irish . . .

(Journal, 3:287-289)
9 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At 9 A.M. up river to Fair Haven Pond . . . Met Sudbury Haines on the river before the Cliffs, come a-fishing. Wearing an old coat, much patched, with many colors . . . (Journal, 3:289-293).
10 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Now if there are any who think that I am vainglorious, that I set myself up above others and crow over their low estate, let me tell them that I could tell a pitiful story respecting myself as well as them, if my spirits held out to do it; I could encourage them with a sufficient list of failures, and could flow as humbly as the very gutters themselves; I could enumerate a list of as rank offenses as ever reached the nostrils of heaven ; that I think worse of myself than they can possibly think of me, being better acquainted with the man. I put the best face on the matter. I will tell them this secret, if they will not tell it to anybody else.
(Journal, 3:293-294)
11 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Wednesday. When the thermometer is down to 20° in the morning, as last month, I think of the poor dogs who have no masters. If a poor dog has no master, everybody will throw a billet of wood at him. It never rains but it pours.

  It now rains,—a drizzling rain mixed with mist, which ever and anon fills the air to the height of fifteen or twenty feet. It makes what they call an old-fashioned mill privilege in the streets, i.e. I suppose, a privilege on a small stream good only for a part of the year.

  Perhaps the best evidence of an amelioration of the climate -at least that the snows are less deep than formerly-is the snow-shoes which still lie about in so many garrets, now useless, though the population of this town has not essentially increased for seventy-five years past, and the travelling within the limits of the town accordingly not much facilitated. No man ever cases them now, yet the old men used them in their youth.

(Journal, 3:294-295)
12 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Living all winter with an open door for light and no visible wood-pile, the forms of old and
young permanently contracted through long shrinking from cold, and their faces pinched by want. I have seen an old crone sitting bareheaded on the hillside, then in the middle of January, while it was raining and the ground was slowly thawing under her, knitting there. Their undeveloped limbs and faculties, buds that cannot expand on account of the severity of the season. There is no greater squalidness in any part of the world! Contrast the physical condition of the Irish with that of the North American Indian, or the South Sea Islander, or any other savage race before they were degraded by contact with the civilized man.
(Journal, 3:295-296)
13 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Talking with Rice this afternoon about the bees which I discovered the other day, [9 February] he told me something about his bee-hunting. He and Pratt go out together once or twice a year. He takes a little tin box with a little refined sugar and water about the consistency of honey, or some honey in the comb, which comes up so high only in the box as to let the lid clear a bee’s back, also some little bottles of paint—red, blue, white, etc.—and a compass properly prepared to line the bees with, the sights perhaps a foot apart

  9 A.M.—to Conantum.

  The rain has diminished the snow and hardened the crust, and made bare ground in many places. A yellow water, a foot or two deep, covers the ice on the meadows, but is not frozen quite hard enough to bear. As the river swells, the ice cracks along both sides over.

(Journal, 3:296-301)
14 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P.M.—Walden road to pond, thence to Cliffs . . . Met Joshua Brown returning from the pond (Walden) without having caught a fish. Has had no luck there this winter, he thinks because of the woodcutters falling trees on the ice . . .
(Journal, 3:301-304)
15 February 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Perhaps I am descended from that Northman named “Thorer the Dog-footed.” Thorer Hund—”he was the most powerful man in the North”—to judge from his name belonged to the same family. Thorer is one of the most, if not the most, common name in the chronicles of the Northmen.
(Journal, 3:304)

Plymouth, Mass. Marston Watson writes to Thoreau:

  I am very much obliged to you for your interest in our meetings here, and for your promise to come down some Sunday. I will look for you or for Mr Channing or for Mr [Daniel] Foster on the next Sunday, Feby 22,—Mr. Channing very kindly wrote to me at Mr Emerson’s suggestion saying that he would come any time named. I learn from Mr Alcott he is now in Providence, and so I send my message to him thro’ you—I hope that one of you will be quite sure to come. Could you write me by Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning—? If he is at Providence I would not consult him, but decide at once to come. Mr Foster I have not written to , but he has been so valiant in the good cause, that a good audience is ready to rec[eive] his word. My regards to him, & say we shall be very glad to hear him on Sunday if you or Mr C. cannot come, & I shall be also glad to have him name some day when he can come . . .

  Our meetings go on finely—Rev. Sam. Johnson, Mr Alcott, Ed. Quincy so far. People were delighted at Mr A. and listened with great enthusiasm. Young Johnson is magnificent, and you may safely go a hundred miles to hear. I hope nothing will prevent one of you from coming, & let me know as early in the wk. as you can. Can’t you [read to] us from your Life in the woods, with Mr Alcott pronounces just eh thing for us—I will meet you at the cars.

(Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 203-204; MS, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Mass.)

Thoreau replies on 17 February.

16 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Down Turnpike . . . As I walk the bleak Walden road, it blows up over the highest drifts in the west, lit by the westering sun like the spray on a beach before the northwest wind (Journal, 3:304-307).
17 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I see on the Walden road that the wind through the wall is cutting through the drifts, leaving a portion adhering to the stones . . . I saw Patrick Riordan carrying home an armful of fagots from the woods to his shanty, on his shoulder.
(Journal, 3:307-309)

Thoreau also writes to Marston Watson in reply to his letter of 15 February:

  I have not yet seen Mr. [William Ellery] Channing, though I believe he is in town,—having decided to come to Plymouth myself,—but I will let him know that he is expected. Mr. [Daniel] Foster wishes me to say that he accepts your invitation, and that he would like to come Sunday after next; also that he would like to know before next Sunday whether you will expect him. I will take the Saturday afternoon train. I shall be glad to get a winter view of Plymouth Harbor, and to see where your garden lies under snow.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 276; A. Bronson Alcott: His Life and Philosophy, 1:483 note)

Concord, Mass. William Ellery Channing writes to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

  Thoreau tells me that Frank Brown is going to Clarke’s Island near Plymouth to pass a year at farming (Studies in the American Renaissance, 1990, 197).
18 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Fair Haven Hill.

  One discovery in meteorology, one significant observation, is a good deal. I am grateful to the man who introduces order among the clouds. Yet I look up into the heavens so fancy free, I am almost glad not to know any law for the winds.

  I find the partridges among the fallen pine-tops on Fair Haven these afternoons, an hour before sundown, ready to commence budding in the neighboring orchard. The mosses on the rocks look green where the snow has melted. This must be one of the spring signs, when spring comes.

(Journal, 3:309-312)
19 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To White Pond . . . Returning across the river just as the sun was setting behind the Hollowell place, the ice eastward of me a few rods, where the snow was blown off, was as green as bottle glass . . . A fine display of northern lights after 10 P. M . . .
(Journal, 3:312-314)
20 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—To Flint’s Pond.

  The last two or three days have been among the coldest in the winter, though not so cold as a few weeks ago. I notice, in the low ground covered with bushes near Flint’s Pond, many little rabbit-paths in the snow, where they have travelled in each other’s tracks, or many times back and forth, six inches wide. This, too, is probably their summer habit. The rock by the pond is remarkable for its umbilicaria (?).

(Journal, 3:314-318)
21 February 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  ‘As fat as a hen in the forehead,’—a saying which I heard my father use this morning (Journal, 3:318).

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out Encyclopedia of Plants by John Claudius Loudon from the Boston Society of Natural History (Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):24).

Boston, Mass. A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Henry Thoreau is here on his way to meet the Leyden Hall Congregation at Plymouth, and reads his “Walden paper” to them, to morrow (MS, Amos Bronson Alcott Papers. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).
22 February 1852. Plymouth, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Went to Plymouth to lecture or preach all day . . . (Journal, 3:318-319).

Thoreau lectures on “Life in the Woods” at Leyden Hall (“Life in the Woods“).

24 February 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Railroad causeway . . .

  Talked to two men and a boy fishing on Fair Haven, just before sunset. (Heard the dog bark in Baker’s wood as I came down the brook.) They had caught a fine parcel of pickerel and perch. The perch especially were full of spawn. the boy had caught a large bream which had risen to the surface, in his hands. They had none of them ever seen one before in the winter, though they sometimes catch chivins. They had also kicked to death a muskrat that was crossing the southwest end of the pond on the snow. They told me of two otters being killed in Sudbury this winter, beside some coons near here.

(Journal, 3:319-320)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

  My Friend Thoreau,—

  Thank you for your remembrance, though the motto you suggest is impracticable, The People’s Course is full for the season; and even if it were not, your name would probably not pass; because it is not merely necessary that each lecturer should continue well the course, but that he shall be known as the very man beforehand. Whatever draws less than fifteen hundred hearers damages the finances of the movement, so low is the admission, and so large the expense. But, Thoreau, you are a better speaker than many, but a far better writer still. Do you wish to swap any of your “wood-notes wild” for dollars? If yea, and you will sell me some articles, shorter, if you please, than the former, I will try to coin them for you. Is it a bargain? Yours,

  Horace Greeley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 276-278)
26 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The east side of Deep Cut nearly dry; sand has ceased flowing; west side just beginning . . .

  Returned across Flint’s Pond and the wood-lot, where some Irishman must have tried his first experiment in chopping, his first winter, where the trees were hacked off two feet from the ground, as if with a hatchet,—standing on every side of the tree by turns, and crossing the carf a hundred ways. The owner can commonly tell when an Irishman has trespassed on his wood-lot . . .

(Journal, 3:320-322)
27 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The main river is not yet open but in very few places, but the North Branch, which is so much more rapid, is open near Tarbells’ and Harrington’s, where I walked to-day (Journal, 3:322-323).
28 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To-day it snows again, covering the ground. To get the value of the storm we must be out a long time and travel far in it, so that it may fairly penetrate our skin, and we be as it were turned inside out to it, and there be no part in us but is wet or weatherbeaten,—so that we become storm men instead of fairweather men . . .
(Journal, 3:323)
29 February 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Pine Hill across Walden. The high wind takes off the oak leaves. I see them scrambling up the slopes of the Deep Cut, hurry-scurry over the slippery snow-crust, like a flock of squirrels. The ice on Walden is of a dull white as I look directly down on it, but not half a dozen rods distant on every side it is a light-blue color. . . .
(Journal, 3:323-325)
1 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  After having read various books on various subjects for some months, I take up a report on Farms by a committee of Middlesex Husbandmen, and read of the number of acres of bog that some farmer has redeemed, and the number of rods of stone wall that he has built, and the number of tons of hay he now cuts, or of bushels of corn or potatoes he raises there, and I feel as if I had got my foot down on to the solid and sunny earth, the basis of all philosophy, and poetry, and religion even. I have faith that the man who redeemed some acres of land the past summer redeemed also some parts of his character . . .
(Journal, 3:326-327)
2 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A wealthy farmer who has money to let was here yesterday, who said that fourteen years ago a man came to him to hire two hundred dollars for thirty days. He told him that he should have it if he would give proper security, but the other thinking it exorbitant to require security for so short a term, went away. But he soon returned and gave the security. “And,” said the farmer, “he has punctually paid me twelve dollars a year ever since. I have never said a word to him about the principle.”
(Journal, 3:327-329)
3 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Moore’s larch trees beyond Sleepy Hollow cut this winter. They were much decayed. The woodpeckers had stripped many of bark in pursuit of grubs. When the woodpeckers visit your woods in great numbers, you may suspect that it is time to cut them . . .
(Journal, 3:329)
4 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  10 A.M.—Up river on ice to Fair Haven Pond . . .

  I cut my initials on the bee tree. Now, at 11.30 perhaps, the sky begins to be slightly overcast . . .

  It is pleasant to see the reddish-green leaves of the lambkill still hanging with fruit above the snow, for I am now crossing the shrub oak plain to the Cliffs . . .

(Journal, 3:329-335)
5 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P. M.—To the beeches. A misty afternoon, but warm, threatening rain. Standing on Walden, whose eastern shore is laid waste, men walking on the hillside a quarter of a mile off are singularly interesting objects, seen through this mist, which has the effect of a mirage . . .
(Journal, 3:335-337)
6 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P. M.—To Harrington’s.

  Old Mr. Joe Hosmer chopping wood at his door. He is full of meat. Had a crack with him. I told him I was studying lichens, pointing to his wood. He thought I meant the wood itself. Well, he supposed he’d had more to do with wood than I had. “Now,” said he, “there are two kinds of white oak. Most people wouldn’t notice it. When I’ve been chopping, say along in March, after the sap begins to start, I’ll sometimes come to an oak that will color my axe steel-blue like a sword-blade. Well, that oak is fine-grained and heavier than the common, and I call it blue white oak, for no other blues my axe so. Then there are two kinds of black oak, or yellow-bark. One is the mean black oak, or bastard. Then there’s a kind of red oak smells like urine three or four days old” . . .

  [The rest of the page (a half) cut out.]

  been the track of an otter near the Clamshell Hill, for it looks too large for a mink . . .

  Found three or four parmelias (caperata) in fruit on a white oak on the high river-bank between Tarbell’s and Harrington’s.

(Journal, 3:337-339)
7 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A very pleasant, spring-promising day. Yet I walked up the river on teh ice to Fair Haven Pond. As I cross the snow (2 P. M.) where it lies deepest in hollows, its surface honeycombed by the sun, I hear it suddenly sink under and around me with a crash, and look about for a tree or roof from which it may have fallen . . .

  At 9 o’clock P. M. to the woods by the full moon . . .

  Going through the high field beyond the lone graveyard, I see the track of a boy’s sled before me, and his footsteps shining like silver between me and the moon . . .

  As I look down the railroad, standing on the west brink of the Deep Cut, I seem to see in the manner in which the moon is reflected from the west slope covered with snow, in the sort of misty light as if a fine vapor were rising from it, a promise or sign of spring . . .

(Journal, 3:339-341)
9 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A warm spring rain in the night.

  3 P.M.—Down the railroad.

  Cloudy but springlike. When the frost comes out of the ground, there is a corresponding thawing of the man. The earth is now half bare. These March winds, which make the woods roar and fill the world with life and bustle, appear to wake up the trees out of their winter sleep and excite the sap to flow. I have no doubt they serve sonic such use, as well as to hasten the evaporation of the snow and water.

(Journal, 3:341-343)
10 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Through the Deep Cut to Cliffs.

  The mingled sand and water flowing down the bank, the water inclines ever to separate from the sand, and while the latter is detained by its weight and by friction beneath and on the sides, the water flows in a semicylindrical channel which it makes for itself, still carrying much sand with it . When the flowing drop of sand and water in front meets with new resistance, or the impetus of the water is diminished, perhaps by being absorbed, the drop of sand suddenly swells out laterally and dries, while the water, accumulating, pushes out a new sandy drop on one side and forms a new leafy lobe, and by other streams one is piled upon another . . .

(Journal, 3:343-345)
11 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—To White Pond to sound it.

  That dull-gray-barked willow shows the silvery down of its forthcoming catkins. I believe that I saw blackbirds yesterday. The ice in the pond is soft on the surface, but it is still more than a foot thick. Is that slender green weed which I draw up on my sounding-stone where it is forty feet deep and upward Nitella gracrilis (allied to Chara), described in London?

  The woods I walked in in my youth are cut off. Is it not time that I ceased to sing? My groves are invaded. Water that has been so long detained on the hills and uplands by frost is now rapidly finding its level in the ocean. All lakes without outlet are oceans, larger or smaller.

(Journal, 3:345-346)
12 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Railroad to Walden, 3 P.M.

  I see the Populus (apparently tremuloides, not grandidentata) at the end of the railroad causeway, showing the down of its ament. Bigelow makes it flower in April, the grandidentata in May.

  I see the sand flowing in the Cut and hear the harp at the same time. Who shall say that the primitive forces are not still at work? Nature has not lost her pristine vigor, neither has he who sees this. To see the first dust fly is a pleasant sight. I saw it on the east side of till’ Deep Cut.

(Journal, 3:346-530)
14 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rain, rain, rain; but even this is fair weather after so much snow. The ice on Walden has now for some days looked like snow, the surface being softened by the sun . . . (Journal, 3:350).
15 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This afternoon I throw off my outside coat. A mild spring day. I must hie to the Great Meadows. The air is full of bluebirds. The ground almost entirely bare. The villagers are out in the sun, and every man is happy whose work takes him outdoors. I go by Sleepy Hollow toward the Great Fields . . .

We go out without our coats, saunter along the street, look at the aments of the willow beginning to appear and the swelling buds of the maple and the elm. The Great Meadows are water instead of ice. I see the ice on the bottom in white sheets. And now one great cake rises amid the bushes (behind Peter’s). I see no ducks . . .

(Journal, 3:350-352)
16 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Before sunrise.

  With what infinite and unwearied expectation and proclamation the cocks usher in every dawn, as if there had never been one before! And the dogs bark still, and the thallus of lichens springs, so tenacious of life is nature.

  Spent the day in Cambridge Library. Walden is not yet melted round the edge. It is perhaps, more suddenly warm this spring than usual. Mr. Bull thinks that the pine grosbeaks, which have been unusually numerous the past winter, have killed many branches of his elms by budding them, and that they will die and the wind bring them down, as heretofore. Saw a large flock of geese go over Cambridge and heard the robins in the College Yard . . .

(Journal, 3:352-353)

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Methodus qua omnes detectos lichenes by Erik Acharius and Five year’s residence in the Canadas by Edward Allen Talbot, vols. 1 and 2, from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290; Thoreau’s Reading).

17 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I catch myself philosophizing most abstractly when first returning to consciousness in the night or morning. I make the truest observations and distinctions then, when the will is yet wholly asleep and the mind works like a machine without friction. I am conscious of having, in my sleep, transcended the limits of the individual, and made observations and
carried on conversations which in my waking hours I can neither recall nor appreciate. As if in sleep our individual fell into the infinite mind, and at the moment of awakening we found ourselves on the confines of the latter. On awakening we resume our enterprise, take up our bodies and become limited mind again.
(Journal, 3:353-354)

Concord, Mass. Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Canada” at the Centre School House for the Concord Lyceum (“An Excursion to Canada“).

Thoreau also sends the manuscript of “An Excursion to Canada” to Horace Greeley in New York, N.Y. (Revising Mythologies, 260).

18 March 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This afternoon the woods and walls and the whole face of the country wear once more a wintry aspect, though there is more moisture in the snow and the trunks of the trees are whitened now on a more southerly or southeast side. These slight falls of snow which come and go again so soon when the ground is partly open in the spring, perhaps helping to open and crumble and prepare it for the seed, are called “the poor man’s manure.” They are, no doubt, more serviceable still to those who are rich enough to have some manure spread on their grass ground, which the melting snow helps dissolve and soak in and carry to the roots of the grass. At any rate, it is all the poor man has got, whether it is good or bad . . . The pond is very still very little melted around the shore . . .
(Journal, 3:354-356)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

  My Dear Sir:

  I ought to have responded before this to yours of the 5th inst. but have been absent—hurried, &c &c. I have had no time to bestow upon it till to-day.

  I shall get you some money for the articles you send me, though not immediately.

  As to your longer account of a canadian tour, I don’t know. It looks unmanageable. Can’t you cut it into three or four, and omit all that relates to time? The cities are described to death; but I know you are at home with Nature, and that she rarely and slowly changes. Break this up if you can, and I will try to have it swallowed and digested.


  Horace Greeley.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 277)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to John Sartain:

  Dear Sir:

  I enclose herewith two articles from my friend Henry D. Thoreau, of Concord, Mass. the pupil of Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose name must be familiar to you. You may never have see his book—“A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers”—but his articles in Graham’s Magazine—“Thomas Carlyle and his Writings,” Mount Katahdin and the Pine Woods of Maine”—though several years back, I think cannot have escaped you. I consider him one of the best of your young writers, and have solicited these pieces from him because I want to make him better known than he is. He has more Ms. on hand, but I shall not send you more unless you ask them. If you use these, I shall expect you to pay him. If you don’t want them, please preserve them and notify me, so that I can make another disposition of them. Yours

  Horace Greeley.

  P.S. If you happen to know where a copy of “The Dial” may be consulted, just look into it at one of Thoreau’ s articles—“A Winter Walk”—I don’t know who could write a better one. Yrs. H. G.

(Thoreau Society Bulletin, no. 193 (Fall 1990):5-6)

Sartain replies on 24 March.

19 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Observed as I stood with Channing [William Ellery Channing] on the brink of the rill on Conantum, where, falling a few inches, it produced bubbles, our images, three quarters of an inch long and black as imps, appear to lean toward each other on account of the convexity of the bubble.
(Journal, 3:356-357)
20 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  As to the winter birds,—those which came here in the winter,—I saw first that rusty sparrow-like bird flying in flocks with the smaller sparrows early in the winter and sliding down the grass stems to their seeds, which clucked like a hen, and F. Brown thought to be the young of the purple finch; then I saw, about Thanksgiving time and later in the winter, the pine grosbeaks, large and carmine, a noble bird; then, in midwinter, the snow bunting, the white snowbird, sweeping low like snowflakes from field to field over the walls and fences.
(Journal, 3:357)
21 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Railroad causeway at Heywood’s meadow.

  The ice no sooner melts than you see the now red and yellow pads of the yellow lily beginning to shoot up from the bottom of the pools and ditches, for there they yield to the first impulses of the heat and feel not the chilling blasts of March.

  This evening a little snow falls. The weather about these days is cold and wintry again.

(Journal, 3:357-358)
22 March 1852.

Boston, Mass. Thoreau lectures on “Economy” at “Fisher’s Rooms” (“Economy“).

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Remarks on forest scenery and other woodland views by William Gilpin, volumes 1 and 2, from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290).

Boston, Mass. A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Thoreau is here, also Blake. [H. G. O. Blake] Evening, Thoreau reads his papers on ‘The Sylvan Life,’ at Fisher’s Rooms to a company of 60 or more persons, to their great delight. He passes the night with me (MS, Amos Bronson Alcott papers. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).
23 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I heard, this forenoon, a pleasant jingling note from the slate-colored snow bird on the oaks in the sun on Minott’s hillside. Apparently they sing with us in the pleasantest days before they go northward. Minott thinks that the farmers formerly used their meadow-hay better, gave it more sun, so that the cattle liked it as well as the English now . . .
(Journal, 3:358)
24 March 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The night of the 24th, quite a deep snow covered the ground (Journal, 3:358).

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Fauna boreali-americana (volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4?) by Sir John Richardson from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 290; Thoreau’s Reading).

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

  If you break up your “Excursion to Canada” into three or four articles, I have no doubt I could get it published on similar terms (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 278).

Greeley also encloses a letter from John Sartain:

  Dear Sir,—

  I have read the articles of Mr. Thoreau forwarded by you, and will be glad to publish them if our terms are satisfactory. We generally pay for prose composition per printed page, and would allow him three dollars per page. We do not pay more than four dollars for any that we now engage. I did not suppose our maximum rate would have paid you (Mr. Greeley) for your lecture, and therefore requested to know your own terms. Of course, when an article is unusually desirable, we may deviate from rule; I now only mention ordinary arrangement . I was very sorry not to have your article, but shall enjoy the reading of it in Graham, Mr. T. might send us some further contributions, and shall at least receive prompt and courteous decision respecting them.

  Yours truly,
  John Sartain

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 278; Thoreau Society Bulletin, no. 193 (Fall 1990):5)

Greeley replies on 26 March.

26 March 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walden not melted about shore (Journal, 3:358).

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley replies to John Sartain’s letter of 24 March:

  Dear Sir:

  Yours received. Very well. Please publish Mr. Thoreau’s articles as soon as convenient. I will write him for more


  Horace Greeley

(Thoreau Society Bulletin, no. 193 (Fall 1990):2-3)
28 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The yellow lily leaves are pushing up in the ditch beyond Hubbard’s Grove (this is not so warm a place as Heywood’s meadow under the causeway) . . .

  Saw dead frogs, and the mud stirred by a living one, in this ditch, and afterward in Conantum Brook a living frog, the first of the season; also a yellow-spotted tortoise by the causeway side in the meadow near Hubbard’s Bridge . . .

  Observed a singular circle round the moon to-night between nine and ten, the moon being about half full . . .

  10.15 P. M.—The geese have just gone over, making a great cackling and awaking people in their beds.

(Journal, 3:358)
29 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Going to the Second Division Brook.

  There is an evident spring in the grass about springs and brooks, as at Tarbell’s. Some mosses now in fruit. Icicles still form under the banks at night on the north side of hills, from the dripping of the melting snow during the day. The leaves of the rattlesnake-plantain continue green but not so distinctly reticulated. Struck Second Division Brook at the old dam. It is as deep as wide, three feet or more, with a very handsome sandy bottom, rapidly flowing and meandering. A very attractive brook, to trout, etc., as well as men. It not only meanders as you look down on it, but the line of its bottom is very serpentine, in this wise, successively
deep and shallow.

(Journal, 3:360-362)
30 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Dug some parsnips this morning . . . The Cliffs remind me of that narrow place in the brook where two meadows nearly meet, with floating grass, though the water is deeper there under the bank than anywhere . . . Having occasion to-day to put up a long ladder against the house, I found, from the trembling of my nerves with the exertion, that I had not exercised that part of my system this winter . . .
(Journal, 3:362-364)
31 March 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Intended to get up early this morning and commence a series of spring walks, but clouds and drowsiness prevented . . . (Journal, 3:364-368).
1 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P. M.—To Flint’s Pond cedar woods via railroad, returning by C. Smith’s orchard . . .

  Walden is all white ice, but little melted about the shores . . .

  There is an early willow on sand-bank of the railroad, against the pond, by the fence, grayish below and yellowish above. The railroad men have dug around the sleepers that the sun my thaw the ground and let them down. It is not yet out. Cut across near Baker’s barn . . .

  Is that the red osier (cornel or viburnum) near the grape-vine on the Bare Hill road? . . .

  Sat awhile before sunset on the rocks in Saw Mill Brook . . .

  Saw the freshly (?) broken shells of a tortoise’s eggs—or were they a snake’s?—in Hosmer’s field. I hear a robin singing in the woods south of Hosmer’s, just before sunset . . .

  As I come over the Turnpike, the song sparrow’s jingle comes up from every part of the meadow, as native as the tinkling rills or the blossoms of the spirca, the meadow-sweet, soon to spring . . .

(Journal, 3:369-377)
2 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  6 A. M.—To the riverside and Merrick’s pasture . . .

  As a fair day is promised, and the waters are falling, decide to go to the Sudbury meadows with C., 9 A. M. Started some woodcocks in a wet place in Hi Wheeler’s stubble-field. Saw six spotted tortoises (Emys gutata), which had crawled to the shore by the side of the Hubbard Bridge causeway . . .

  The Charles Miles Run full and rumbling . . .

  Saw a striped squirrel in the wall near Lee’s. Brigham, the wheelwright, building a boat . . .

  Israel Rice’s dog stood stock-still so long that I took him at a distance for the end of a bench. He looked much like a fox, and his fur was as soft. Rice was very ready to go with us to his boat, which we borrowed, as soon as he had driven his cow into the barn where her calf was, but she preferred to stay out in the yard this pleasant morning. He was very obliging, persisted, without regard to our suggestions that we could help ourselves, in going with us to his boat, showed us after a larger boat and made no remark on the miserableness of it. Thanks and compliments fell off him like water off a rock . . .

  Steered across for the oaks opposite the mouth of the Pantry . . . After coming in sight of Sherman’s Bridge, we moored our boat by sitting on a maple twig on the east side, to take a leisurely view of the meadow . . .

  Landed on Tall’s Island . . .

  We landed near a corn-field in the bay on the west side, below Sherman’s Bridge, in order to ascend Round Hill, it still raining gently or with drops far apart. From the top we see smoke rising from the green pine hill in the southern part of Lincoln . . .

  Return to our boat. We have to go ashore and upset it every half-hour, it leaks so fast, for the leak increases as it sinks in the water in geometrical progression . . .

  We land in a steady rain and walk inland by R. Rice’s barn, regardless of the storm, toward White Pond. Overtaken by an Irishman in search of work. Discovered some new oaks and pine groves and more New England fields. At last the drops fall wider apart, and we pause in a sandy field near the Great Road of the Corner, where it was agreeably retired and sandy, drinking up the rain . . .

  At Hubbard’s Bridge, count eight ducks going over. Had seen one with outstretched neck over the Great Meadows in Sudbury. Looking up, the flakes are black against the sky. And now the ground begins to whiten. Get home at 5.30 P.M.

(Journal, 3:377-386)

Thoreau also writes to Thomas Wentworth Higginson:

  Dear Sir,

  I do not see that I can refuse to read another lecture, but what makes me hesitate is the fear that I have not another available which will entertain a large audience, though I have thoughts to offer which I think will be quite as worthy of their attention. However I will try, for the prospect of earning a few dollars is alluring. As far as I can foresee, my subject would be Reality rather transcendentally treated. It lies still in “Walden or Life in the Woods.” Since you are kind enough to undertake the arrangements, I will leave it to you to name an evening of next week—decide on the most suitable room—and advertise if this is not taking you too literally at your word

  If you still think it worth the while to attend to this, will you let me know as soon as may be what evening will be most convenient

  Yrs with thanks

  Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 278-279)
3 April 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is a clear day with a cold westerly wind, the snow of yesterday being melted. When the sun shines unobstructedly the landscape is full of light, for it is reflected from the withered fawn-colored grass, as it cannot be from the green grass of summer. (On the back of the hill behind Gourgas’s.)

  The bluebird carries the sky on his back.

  I am going over the hills in the rear of the windmill site and along Peter’s path . . .

  One side of the village street, which runs east and west, appears a month in advance of the other. I go down the street on the wintry side; I return through summer . . .

  The moon appears to be full to-night. About 8.30 P. M. I walked to the Clamshell Hill . . .

(Journal, 3:386-389)

Thoreau also writes to Thomas Wentworth Higginson:

  I certainly do not feel prepared to offer myself as a lecturer to the Boston public, and hardly know whether more to dread a small audience or a large one. Nevertheless I will repress this squeamishness, and propose no alterations in your arrangements. I shall be glad to accept of your invitation to tea.

  Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 280)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

  Friend Thoreau,—

  I wish you to write me an article on Ralph Waldo Emerson, his Works and Ways, extending to one hundred pages, or so, of letter sheet like this, to take the form of a review of his writings, but to give some idea of the Poet, the Genius, the Man,—with some idea of the New England scenery and home influence, which have combined to make him what he is. Let it be calm, searching, and impartial; nothing like adulation, but a just summing up of what he is and what he has done. I mean to get this into the “Westminster Review,” but if not acceptable there, I will publish it elsewhere. I will pay you fifty dollars for the article when delivered; in advance, if you desire it. Say the word, and I will send the money at once. It is perfectly convenient to do so. Your “Carlyle” article is my model, but you can give us Emerson better than you did Carlyle. I presume he would allow you to write extracts for this purpose from his lectures not yet published. I would delay the publication of the article to suit his publishing arrangements, should that be requested.


  Horace Greeley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 279-280)

Thoreau replies on 17 April.

4 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Going across Wheeler’s large field beyond Potter’s, saw a large flock of small birds go by . . . Went round Bear Garden Hill to the bank of the river . . .

  It is refreshing to stand on the face of the Cliff and see the water gliding over the surface of the almost perpendicular rock in a broad thin sheet, pulsing over it . . .

  I see the snow lying thick on the south side of the Peterboro Hills . . .

  I see the old circular shore of Fair Haven, where the tops of the button-bushes, willows, etc., rise above the water. This pond is now open; only a little ice against the Pleasant Meadow . . .

(Journal, 3:389-392)
5 and 6 April 1852. Boston, Mass.

The Boston Daily Advertiser and Daily Evening Transcript run an advertisement:

  Mr. H. D. Thoreau, of Concord, by request of many of the auditors of his first (private) lecture in this city, will read a second lecture on Life in the Woods, on Tuesday Evening, April 6th, at Cochituate Hall, in Phillips Place at 7 p.m.. Admittance 25 cents.
(“Life in the Woods (II)“)
6 April 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Last night a snow-storm, and this morning we find the ground covered again six or eight inches deep—and drifted pretty badly beside. The conductor in the cars, which have been detained more than an hour, says it is a dry snow up-country. Here it is very damp.
(Journal, 3:392)

Boston, Mass. Thoreau lectures on “Life in the Woods” at Cochituate Hall (“Life in the Woods (II)“).

Thomas Wentworth Higginson later recalls the lecture:

  The scene of the lecture was to be a small hall in a court . . . opening form Tremont street, opposite King’s Chapel, the hall itself being leased by an association of young mechanics, who had a reading-room opening out of it. The appointed day ushered in a furious snow-storm before which the janitor of the building retreated in despair, leaving the court almost blockaded. When Thoreau and I ploughed through, we found a few young mechanics reading newspapers; and when the appointed hour came, there were assembled only Mr. [Amos Bronson] Alcott, Dr. Walter Channing and at most three or four ticket-holders. No one wished to postpone the affair and Mr. Alcott suggested that the thing to be done was to adjourn to the reading-room, where, he doubted not, the young men would be grateful for the new gospel offered; for which he himself undertook to prepare their minds. I can see him now, going from one to another, or collecting them in little groups and expounding to them, with his lofty Socratic mien, the privileges they were to shar. “This is his life, this is his book; he is to print it presently; I think we shall all be glad, shall we not, either to read his book or to hear it?” Some laid down their newspapers, more retained them; the lecture proved to be one of the most introspective chapters from “Walden.” A few went to sleep, the rest rustled their papers; and the most vivid impression which I retain from the whole enterprise is the profound gratitude I felt to one auditor (Dr. Walter Channing), who forced upon me a five-dollar bill towards the expenses of the disastrous entertainment.
(Brains, no. 1 (December 1981):105)

Boston, Mass. A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal and includes a clipping from an unidentified periodical:

  Thoreau is here, and reads his lecture this evening, and passes the night with me.

Mr. Thoreau’s Lecture.—Those of our readers who wish to hear something fresh and invigorating in literature, should not fail to attend this evening at Cochituate Hall. No subject suits Mr. Thoreau better, as a text, than Life in the Woods, and perhaps no man in the world is better qualified form disposition and experience, to treat that subject profitably. Conventionalisms have about as much influence over him, as over a forest tree or the birds in its branches. And as with his freshness of thought he unites a rare maturity of scholarship, he can entertain any one who is not muffled in more than ordinary dullness.

(MS, Amos Bronson Alcott Papers. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.)

Boston, Mass. Thoreau checks out Sylva, or a discourse of forest trees by John Evelyn from the Boston Society of Natural History (Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 24 (March 1952):24).

8 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To-day I hear the croak of frogs in small pond-holes in the woods, and see dimples on the surface, which I suppose that they make, for when I approach they are silent and the dimples are no longer seen. They are very shy . . .
(Journal, 3:392-393)
9 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I frequently detect the Canadian in New England by his coarse gray homespun capote, with a picturesque red sash round his waist, and his wellfurred cap made to protect his ears and face against the severities of his winter . . .

  Went into the old Hunt house, which they said Uncle Abel said was built one hundred and fifty years ago. The second story projects five or six inches over the first, the garret a foot over the second at the gables. There are two large rooms, one above the other, though the walls are low. The fireplace in the lower room rather large, with a high shelf of wood painted or stained to represent mahogany . . .

(Journal, 3:393-394)
10 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 A.M.—Down river to half a mile below Carlisle Bridge, the river being high, yet not high for the spring.

  Saw and heard the white-bellied swallows this morning for the first time. Took boat at Stedman Buttrick’s, a gunner’s boat, smelling of muskrats and provided with slats for bushing the boat. Having got into the Great Meadows, after grounding once or twice on low spits of grass ground, we begin to see ducks which we have scared . . .

(Journal, 3:394-397)
11 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2.30 P.M.—To Second Division Brook.

  The ground is now for the most part bare, though I went through drifts three feet deep in some places. I hear that Simmonds had planted his potatoes (! !) before the snow a week ago. As I go over the railroad bridge, I hear the pewee singing pewet pewee, pee-wet pee-wee. The last time rising on the last syllable . . .

  I asked W. E. C. yesterday if he had acquired fame. He answered that, giving his name at some place, the bystanders said: “Yes, sir, we have heard of you. We know you here, sir. Your name is mentioned in Mr. ————’s book.” That’s all the fame I have had,—to be made known by another man . . .

(Journal, 3:397-404)
12 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Gilpin says that our turkey was domesticated in Windsor Forest at one time, and from its size was an object of consequence to lovers of the picturesque, as most birds are not, and, in its form and color and actions, more picturesque than the peacock or indeed any other bird. Being recently reclaimed from the woods, its habits continue wilder than those of other domestic fowls . . .

  2 P.M.—To the powder-mills via Harrington’s, returning by railroad.

  The road through the pitch pine woods beyond J. Hosmer’s is very pleasant to me, curving under the pines, without a fence,—the sandy road, with the pines close abutting on it, yellow in the sun and lowbranched, with younger pines filling up all to the ground. I love to see a sandy road like this curving through a pitch pine wood where the trees closely border it without fences . . .

(Journal, 3:404-408)
13 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A driving snow-storm in the night and still raging; five or six inches deep on a level at 7 A.M. All birds are turned into snowbirds. Trees and houses have put on the aspect of winter. The traveller’s carriage wheels, the farmer’s wagon, are converted into white disks of snow through which the spokes hardly appear. But it is good now to stay in the house and read and write. We do not now go wandering all abroad and dissipated, but the imprisoning storms condenses our thoughts. I can hear the clock tick as not in pleasant weather. My life is enriched. I love to hear the wind howl . . .
(Journal, 3:408-410)
14 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Going down the railroad at 9 A.M., I hear the lark singing from over the snow. This for steady singing comes next to the robin now. It will come up very sweet from the meadows ere long. I do not hear those peculiar tender die-away notes from the pewee yet. Is it another pewee, or a later note? The snow melts astonishingly fast. The whole upper surface, when you take it up in your hand, is heavy and dark with water . . .
(Journal, 3:410-413)
15 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  My face still burns with yesterday’s sunning. It rains this morning, as if the vapor from the melting snow were falling again. There is so much sun and light reflected from the snow at this season that it is not only remarkably white and dazzling but tans in a few moments. It is fortunate, then, that the sun on the approach of the snows, the season of snow, takes his course so many degrees lower in the heavens . . .

  Rain, rain, rain, all day, carrying off the snow. It appears, then, that if you go out at this season and walk in the sun in a clear, warm day like ,yesterday while the earth is covered with snow, you may have your face burnt in a few moments. The rays glance off from the snowy crystals and scorch the skin . . .

(Journal, 3:413-420)
16 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  That large early swamp (?) willow catkin (the sterile blossom) opens on one side like a tinge of golden sunlight, the yellow anthers bursting through the down that invests the scales.

  2 P.M.—To Conantum.

  It clears up (the rain) at noon, with a rather cool wind from the northwest and flitting clouds. The ground about one third covered with snow still What variety in the trunks of oaks! flow expressive of strength are some! There is one behind Hubbard’s which expresses a sturdy strength . . .

  The water on the meadows is now quite high on account of the melting snow and the rain. It makes a lively prospect when the wind blows, where our sumner meads spread,—a tumultuous sea, a myriad waves breaking with whitecaps, like gambolling sheep, for want of other comparison in the country. Far and wide a sea of motion, schools of porpoises, lines of Virgil realized. One would think it a novel sight for inland meadows. Where the cranberry and andromeda and swamp white oak and maple grow, here is a mimic sea with its gulls. At the bottom of the sea, cranberries.

  We love to see streams colored by the earth they have flown over, as well as pure . . .

(Journal, 3:420-426)
17 April1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Gilpin says, “As the wheeling motion of the gull is beautiful, so also is the figured flight of the goose, the duck, and the widgeon; all of which are highly ornamental to coast-views, bays, and estuaries.” A flight of ducks adds to the wildness of our wildest river scenery. Undoubtedly the soaring and sailing of the hen-hawk, the red-shouldered buzzard (?), is the most ornamental, graceful, stately, beautiful to contemplate, of all the birds that ordinarily frequent our skies. The eagle is but a rare and casual visitor. The goose, the osprey, the great heron, though interesting, are either transient visitors or rarely seen; they either move through the air as passengers or too exclusively looking for their prey, but the hen-hawk soars like a creature of the air. The flight of martins is interesting in the same way. When I was young and compelled to pass my Sunday in the house without the aid of interesting books, I used to spend many an hour till the wished-for sundown, watching the martins soar, from an attic window; and fortunate indeed did I deem myself when a hawk appeared in the heavens, though far toward the horizon against a downy cloud, and I searched for hours till I had found his mate. They, at least, took my thoughts from earthly things . . .
(Journal, 3:426-432)
18 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The ground is now generally bare of snow, though it lies along walls and on the north sides of valleys in the woods pretty deep. We have had a great deal of foul weather this season, scarcely two fair days together.

  Gray refers the cone-like excrescences on the ends of willow twigs to the punctures of insects. I think that both these and the galls of the oak, etc., are to be regarded as something more normal than this implies. Though it is impossible to draw the line between disease and health at last . . .

  2 P.M.—To river.

  A driving rain, i.e. a rain with easterly wind and driving mists. River higher than before this season, about eighteen inches of the highest arch of the stone bridge above water.

  Going through Dennis’s field with C., saw a flock of geese on east side of river near willows. Twelve great birds on the troubled surface of the meadow, delayed by the storm. We lay on the ground behind an oak and our umbrella, eighty rods off, and watched them . . .

(Journal, 3:432-438)
19 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  6 A.M.—Rain still, a fine rain. The robin sang early this morning over the bare ground, an hour ago, nevertheless, ushering in the day. Then the guns were fired and the bells rung to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of a nation’s liberty . . .

  A stormy day.

  2 P.M.—With C. over Wood’s Bridge to Lee’s back by Baker Farm.

  It is a violent northeast storm, in difficult and almost useless to carry am soon wet to my skin over half my body. At first, and for a long time, I feel cold and as if I had lost some vital heat by it, but at last the water in my clothes feels warm to me, and I know not but I am dry. It is a wind to turn umbrellas. The meadows are higher, more wild and angry . . .

  To see the larger and wilder birds, you must go forth in the great storms like this. At such times they frequent our neighborhood and trust themselves in our midst. A life of fair-weather walks might never show you the goose sailing on our waters, or the great heron feeding here. When the storm increases, then these great birds that carry the mail of the seasons lay to. To see wild life you must go forth at a wild season. When it rains and blows, keeping men indoors, then the lover of Nature must forth. Then returns Nature to her wild estate. . . .

(Journal, 3:439-446)
20 April 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Morning.—Storms still. The robin sings unfailingly each morning at, the time the sun should rise, in spite of dreary rain. Some storms have much more wet in them than others, though they look the same to one in the house, and you cannot walk half an hour without being wet through, while in the others you may keep pretty dry a whole afternoon . . .
(Journal, 3:446-447)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

Dear Sir:

  I have yours of the 17th. I am rather sorry you will not do the Works and Ways; but glad that you are able to employ your time to better purpose.

  But your Quebeck notes don’t reach me yet, and I fear the `good time’ is passing. They ought to have appeared in the June Nos. of the Monthlies, but now cannot before July. If you choose to send them to me all in a bunch, I will try to get them printed in that way. I don’t care about them if you choose to reserve or to print them elsewhere; but I can better make a use for them at this season than at any other.

Horace Greeley.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 281)
21 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The storm still continues . . .

  2 P.M.—Another walk in the rain.

  The river is remarkably high. Nobody remembers when the water came into so many cellars. The water is up to the top of the easternmost end of the easternmost Iron truss on the south side of the stone bridge. It is over the Union Turnpike that was west of the bridge, so that it is impassable to a foot-traveller, and just over the road west of Wood’s Bridge. Of eight carriage roads leading into Concord, the water to my knowledge is now over six . . .

  On the east side of Ponkawtasset I hear a robin singing cheerily from some perch in the wood, in the midst of the rain, where the scenery is now wild and dreary. His song a singular antagonism and offset to the storm. As if Nature said, “Have faith, these two things I can do.” It sings with power, like a bird of great faith that sees the bright future through the dark present, to reassure the race of man, like one to whom many talents were given and who will improve its talents. They are sounds to make a dying man live. They sing not their despair. It is a pure, immortal melody . . .

(Journal, 3:447-454)
22 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It still rains. The water is over the road at Flint’s Bridge, and, as I am told, has been for some time over the J. Miles road in the Corner, and near the further stone bridge. So that there is now only the Boston road open, unless we regard the Walden road as coming from Wayland and not from Lee’s Bridge . . .

  P.M.—Up river on east side.

  It takes this day to clear up gradually; successive sun-showers still make it foul. But the sun feels very warm after the storm. This makes five stormy days . . .

(Journal, 3:454-457)
23 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The water has risen one and a half inches at six this morning since last night. It is now, then, (light and a half inches above the iron truss, i.e. the horizontal part of it. There is absolutely no passing, in carriages or otherwise, over Hubbard’s and the Red Bridge roads, and over none [sic] of the bridges for foot-travellers. Throughout this part of the country most people do not remember so great a flood, but, judging from some accounts, it was probably as high here thirty-five years ago . . .

  The storm may be said to have fairly ended last night. I observed yesterday that it was drier in most fields, pastures, and even meadows that were not reached by the flood, immediately after this remarkable fall of water than at the beginning . . .

(Journal, 3:458-460)
24 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  6 A.M.—Water has fallen an inch and a half since last night,—which is at a regular rate.

  I know two species of men. The vast majority are men of society. They live on the surface; they are interested in the transient and fleeting; they are like driftwood on the flood . . . The terra firma of my existence lies far beyond, behind them and their improvements . . . When I am most myself and see the clearest, men are least to be seen . . .

(Journal, 3:460-464)
25 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It is related that Giorgio Barbarelli, Titian’s friend, defending painting against the charge of being an incomplete art because it could exhibit but one side of a picture, laid a wager with some sculptor that lie could represent the back, face, and both profiles of a man, without the spectator being obliged to walk round it as a statue . . . So I would fain represent some truths as roundly and solidly as a statue, or as completely and in all their relations as Barbarelli his warrior,—so that you may see round them . . .
(Journal, 3:464-468)
26 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P. M.—Rambled amid the shrub oak hills beyond Hayden’s.

  Lay on the dead grass in a cup-like hollow sprinkled with half-dead low shrub oaks. As I lie flat, looking close in among the roots of the grass, I perceive that its endless ribbon has pushed up about one inch and is green to that extent,—such is the length to which the spring has gone here,—though when you stand up the green is not perceptible. It is a dull, rain dropping and threatening afternoon, inclining to drowsiness. I feel as if I could go to sleep under a hedge. The landscape wears a subdued tone, quite soothing to the feelings; no glaring colors . . .

(Journal, 3:469-470)
27 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Heard the field or rush sparrow this morning (Fringilla juncorum), George Minott’s “huckleberry-bird.” It sits on a birch and sings at short intervals, apparently answered from a distance. It is clear and sonorous heard afar ; but I found it quite impossible to tell from which side it came sounding like phe, phe, phe, pher-pher-tw-tw-tw-t-t-t-t,—the first three slow and loud, the next two syllables quicker, and the last part quicker and quicker, becoming a clear, sonorous trill or rattle, like a spoon in a saucer . . .

  2.30 P.M.—To Conantum via railroad bridge.

  The Corner road still impassable to foot-travellers. Water eighteen or twenty inches deep; must have been two feet deeper. Observed the spotted tortoise in the water of the meadow on J. Hosmer’s land, by riverside. Bright-yellow spots on both shell and head, yet not regularly disposed, but as if, when they were finished in other respects, the maker had sprinkled them with a brush . . .

(Journal, 3:470-474)
28 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  How suddenly the flowers bloom! Two or three days I could not, or did not, find the leaves of the crowfoot . To-day, not knowing it well, I looked in vain, till at length, in the very warmest nook in the grass above the rocks of the Cliff, I found two bright-yellow blossoms, which betrayed the inconspicuous leaves and all. The spring flowers wait not to perfect their leaves before they expand their blossoms. The blossom in so many cases precedes the leaf; so with poetry? They flash out. In the most favorable locality you will find flowers earlier than the May goers will believe. This year, at least, one flower (of several) hardly precedes another, but as soon as the storms were over and pleasant weather came, all blossomed at once . . .
(Journal, 3:474-479)
29 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Observed a fire yesterday on the railroad,—Emerson’s Island that was. The leaves are dry enough to burn; and I see a smoke this afternoon in the west horizon. There is a slight haziness on the woods, as I go to Mayflower Road at 2.30 P.M., which advances me further into summer . . .

  As I come home over the Corner road, the sun, now getting low, is reflected very bright and silvery from the water on the meadows, seen through the pines of Hubbard’s Grove . . .

(Journal, 3:479-481)
30 April 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  12 P.M.—Down the Boston road and across to Turnpike, etc., etc.

  The elms are now generally in blossom and Cheney’s elm still also. The last has leaf-buds which show the white. Now, before any leaves have appeared, their blossoms clothe the trees with a rich, warm brown color, which serves partially for foliage to the streetwalker, and makes the tree more obvious. Held in the Band, the blossoms of some of the elms are quite rich and variegated, now purple and yellowish specked with the dark anthers and two light styles . . .

  The season advances by fits and starts; you would not believe that there could be so many degrees to it. If you have had foul and cold weather, still some advance has been made, as you find when the fair weather comes,—new lieferungs of warmth and summeriness, which make yesterday seem far off and the clog-days or midsummer incredibly nearer . . .

(Journal, 3:482-487)
1 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  5 A.M.—To Cliffs.

  A smart frost in the night, the plowed ground and platforms white with it . . .

  I hear the first towhee finch. He says to-wee, to-wee, and another, much farther off than I supposed when I went in search of him, says whip your ch-r-r-r-r-r-r, with a metallic ring. I hear the first catbird also, mewing, and the wood thrush, which still thrills me,—a sound to be heard in a new country,—from one side of a clearing . . .

(Journal, 4:3-7)
2 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  6 A.M.—Is not the chipping sparrow the commonest heard in the village streets in the mornings now, sitting on an elm or apple tree? Was it the black and white warbler that I saw this morning ? It did not stop to creep round the trunks; was very shy. Or was it the myrtle-bird? Might it have been the log-cock woodpecker that I saw yesterday morning? Reptiles must not be omitted, especially frogs; their croaking is the most earthy sound now, a rustling of the scurf of the earth, not to be overlooked in the awakening of the year. It is such an earth-sound . . .
(Journal, 4:8-9)
3 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  5 A.M.—To Cliffs.

  A great brassy moon going down in the west. A flock of neat sparrows, small, striped-throated, whitish over eye, on an apple tree by J. Potter’s. At Hayden’s orchard, quite a concert from sonic small sparrows, forked-tailed, many jingling together like canaries. Their note still sonnewhat like the chip-sparrow’s. Can it be this?

  Fair Haven. How cheering and glorious any landscape viewed from an eminence! For every one has its horizon and sky . It is so easy to take wide views. Snow on the mountains. The wood thrush reminds me of cool mountain springs and morning walks . . .

  Evening.—The moon is full. The air is filled with a certain luminous, liquid, white light. You can see the moonlight, as it were reflected from the atmosphere, which some might mistake for a haze,—a glow of mellow light, somewhat like the light I saw in the afternoon sky some weeks ago; as if the air were a very thin but transparent liquid, not dry, as in winter, nor gross, as in summer. It has depth, and not merely distance (the sky) . . . .

(Journal, 4:10-15)
4 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  R. W. E. tells me he does not like Haynes as well as I do. I tell him that he makes better manure than most men.

  This excitement about Kossuth is not interesting to me, it is so superficial It is only another kind of dancing or of politics. Men are making speeches to him all over the country, but each expresses only the thought, or the want of thought, of the multitude. No man stands on truth. They are merely banded together as usual, one leaning on another and all together on nothing . . . But an individual standing on truth you cannot pass your hand under, for his foundations reach to the centre of the universe. So superficial these men and their doings, it is life on a leaf or a chip which has nothing but air or water beneath. I love to see a man with a tap-root, though it make him difficult to transplant . . .

(Journal, 4:15-17)
5 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  5 A.M.—Frost in night; hence the grass is wet. Hear the seringo-bird on an apple tree. I think it must be one of the species of song sparrow . . .

  A fine scarlet sunset As I sit by my window and see the clouds reflected in the meadow, I think it is important to have water, because it multiplies the heavens.

  Evening.—To the Lee place rock.

  Moon not up. The dream frog’s is such a sound as you can make with a quill on water, a bubbling sound. Behind Dodd’s. The spearers are out, their flame a bright yellow, reflected in the calm water. Without noise it is slowly carried along the shores. It reminds me of the light which Columbus saw on approaching the shores of the New World. There goes a shooting star down towards the horizon, like a rocket, appearing to describe a curve. The water sleeps with stars in its bosom . . .

(Journal, 4:17-24)
6 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P.M.—To Conantum.

  Heard the first warbling vireo this morning on the elms. This almost makes a summer. Heard also, as I sat at my desk, the unusual low of cows being driven to their country pastures. Sat all day with the window open, for the outer air is the warmest . . .

  My dream frog turns out to be a toad. I watched half a dozen a long time at 3.30 this afternoon in Hubbard’s Pool, where they were frogging (?) lustily . . .

  It is pleasant when the road winds along the side of a hill with a thin fringe of wood through which to look into the low land. It furnishes both shade and frame for your pictures . . .

  The music of all creatures has to do with their loves, even of toads and frogs. Is it not the same with man? There are odors enough in nature to remind you of everything, if you had lost every sense but smell . . .

(Journal, 4:24-29)
7 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  4.30 A.M.—To Cliffs.

  Has been a dew, which wets the feet, and I see a very thin fog over the low ground, the first fog, which must be owing to the warm weather. Heard a robin singing powerfully an hour ago, and song sparrows, and the cocks. No peeping frogs in the morning, or rarely . . .

  I would fain see the sun as a moon, more weird. The sun now rises in a rosaceous amber. Methinks the birds sing more some mornings than others, when I cannot see the reason. I smell the damp path, and derive vigor from the earthy scent between Potter’s and Hayden’s . . .

  P.M.—To Nawshawtuct.

  The vireo comes with warm weather, midwife to the leaves of the elms. I see little ant-hills in the path, already raised How long have they been? The first small pewee sings now che-vet, or rather chirrups chevet, tche-vet—a rather delicate bird with a large head and two white bars on wings. The first summer yellowbirds on the willow causeway. The birds I have lately mentioned come not singly, as the earliest, but all at once, i.e. many yellowbirds all over town. Now I remember the yellowbird comes when the willows begin to leave out. (And the small pewee on the willows also.) So yellow. They bring summer with them and the sun, tche-tche-tchc-tcha tch.a-tchar . . .

(Journal, 4:29-35)
8 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  4.30.—The robin and the bluebird have sung for some time. The haziness is now like a seaturn, through which the sun, shorn of beams, looks claret, and at length, when half an hour high, scarlet. You thought it might become rain . . .

  P.M.—Down river to Red Bridge.

  The blackbirds Dave a rich sprayey warble now, sitting on the top [of] a willow or in elm. They possess the river now, living back and forth across it . . .

  The blackbirds fly in flocks and sing in concert on the willows,—what a lively, chattering concert! a great deal of chattering with many liquid and rich warbling notes and clear whistles,—till now a hawk sails low, beating the bush: and they are silent or off, but soon begin again. Do any other birds sing in such deafening concert? . . .

(Journal, 4:35-40)
9 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday Morning.—To Trillium Woods.

  Apples and cherry trees begin to look green at a distance. I see the catkin of a female Populus tremuloides far advanced, i.e. become large like the willows. These low woods are full of the Anemone nemorosa, half opened at this hour and gracefully drooping,—sepals with a purple tinge on the under side, now exposed. They are in beds and look like hail on the ground, their now globular flowers spot the ground white . . .

  P.M.—To hill north of Walden.

  I smell the blossoms of the willows, the row of Salix alba on Swamp Bridge Brook, a quarter of a mile to windward, the wind being strong. There is a delightful coolness in the wind. Reduce neck-cloth. Nothing so harmonizes with this condition of the atmosphere—warm and hazy—as the dream of the toad . . .

  These are the warm-west-wind, dream-frog, leafing-out, willowy, haze days. Is not this summer, whenever it occurs, the vireo and yellowbird and golden robin being here ? The young birch leaves reflect the light in the sun . . .

(Journal, 4:40-44)
10 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This Monday the streets are full of cattle being driven up-country,—cows and calves and colts. The rain is making the grass grow apace. It appears to stand upright,—its blades,—and you can almost see it grow. For some reason I now remember the autumn,—the succory and the goldenrod. We remember autumn to best advantage in the spring; the finest aroma of it reaches us then . . .
(Journal, 4:44-45)
11 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunrise,—merely a segment of a circle of rich amber in the east, growing brighter and brighter at one point. There is no rosy color at this moment and not a speck in the sky, and now comes the sun without pomp, a bright liquid gold . . .

  P.M.—Kossuth here.

  The hand-organ, when I am far enough off not to hear the friction of the machinery, not to see or be reminded of the performer, serves the grandest use for me, deepens my existence . . .

(Journal, 4:45-46)
12 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Morning.—Swallows (I suppose barn) flying low over the Depot Field, a barren field, and sitting on the mulleins. Bobolinks . . . (Journal, 4:46)
13 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The best men that I know are not serene, a world in themselves. They dwell in form. They flatter and study effect, only more finely than the rest. The world to me appears uninhabited . . .

  P.M.—To Walden in rain.

  A May storm, yesterday and to-day; rather cold. The fields are green now, and the cows find good feed. The female Populus grandidentata, whose long catkins are now growing old, is now leafing out. The flowerless (male?) ones show half-unfolded silvery leaves. Both these and the aspens are quite green (the bark) in the rain . . .

(Journal, 4:46-49)
14 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Second Division.

  A foul day. The scent of golden senecio recalls the meadows of my golden age. It is like sweet-briar a little.

  First kingbird. Its voice and flight relate it to the swallow . . .

  Most men can be easily transplanted from here there, for they have so little root,—no tap-root,—or their roots penetrate so little way, that you can thrust a shovel quite under them and take them up, roots and all.

  On the 11th, when Kossuth was here, I looked about for shade, but did not find it, the trees not being leaved out. Nature was not prepared for great heats . . .

(Journal, 4:49-55)
16 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The last four days have been a May storm, and this day is not quite fair yet. As I remember, there was the low, storm and freshet near the end of April, then the warm, pleasant, hazy days, then this May storm, cooler but not cold as the first.

  P.M.—To Conantumn.

  I think I may say that the buttercup (bulbous crow-foot) which I plucked at the Corner Spring would have
blossomed to-day . . .

  Here on this causeway is the sweetest fragrance I have perceived this season, blown from the newly flooded meadows. I cannot imagine what there is to produce it. No nosegay can equal it. It is ambrosially, nectarealh , fine and subtile, for you can see naught but the water, with green spires of meadow grass rising above it. Yet no flower from the Islands of the Blessed could smell sweeter . . .

(Journal, 4:55-60)
17 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  My seringo-bird is reddish-brown with a spot on the breast and other marks, two whitish lines on back, and some white in tail; runs in the grass, so that you see nothing of it where the grass is very low; and sings standing on a tuft of grass and holding its head up the while.

  P.M.—To Loring’s Pond.

  Decidedly fair weather at last; a bright, breezy, flowing, washing day. I see that dull-red grass whose blades, having risen above the surface of the water . . .

(Journal, 4:60-62)
18 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The rhodora in blossom, a. delicate-colored flower.

  P.M.—To Cliffs.

  Frog or toad spawn in a pool in long worm-like or bowel-like strings, sometimes coiled up spirally.

  It is fine clear atmosphere, only the mountains blue. A slight seething but no haze. Shall we have much of this weather after this ? There is scarcely a flock of cloud in the sky. The heaven is now broad and open to the earth in these longest days. The world can never be more beautiful than now, for, combined with the tender fresh green, you have this remarkable clearness of the air . . . .

  At evening the water is quite white, reflecting the white evening sky, and oily smooth. I see the willows reflected in it, when I cannot see their tops in the twilight against the dark hillside . . .

(Journal, 4:63-65)
19 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Up to about the 14th of May I watched the progress of the season very closely,—though not so carefully the earliest birds,—but since that date, both from poor health and multiplicity of objects, I have noted little but what fell under my observation . . .
(Journal, 4:65-66)
20 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

   P.M.—To Corner Spring.

  So many birds that I have not attended much to any of late. A barn swallow accompanied me across the Depot Field, methinks attracted by the insects which I started, though I saw them not, wheeling and tacking incessantly on all sides and repeatedly dashing within a rod of me. It is an agreeable sight to watch one . . .

(Journal, 4:66-67)
21 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Morning by river.

  A song sparrow’s nest and eggs so placed in a bank that none could tread on it; bluish-white, speckled . . . (Journal, 4:67-68)

22 May 1852. Plymouth, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saturday. On my way to Plymouth, looked at Audubon in the State-House . Saw painted the red berries of the Arum triphyllum. The pigeon is more red on the breast and more blue than the turtle dove . . .

  5 P.M.—Plymouth.

  The hill whence Billington discovered the pond. The field plantain in blossom and abundant here. A chickweed in bloom in Watson’s garden. Is it the same that was so early? . . .

(Journal, 4:68)
23 May 1852. Plymouth, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Billington Sea at sunrise.

  The purple finch sings like a canary and like a robin. Huckleberry leaves here, too, are sticky, and yellow in my fingers. Pyrus arbutifolia in bloom. The low, spreading red cedars which come abruptly to naught at top suggest that they be used for posts with the stubs of branches left, as they often are . . .

(Journal, 4:69-70)

Thoreau gives two lectures at Leyden Hall in Plymouth, Mass. At 10 A.M. Thoreau lectured on “Walking” and his 7 P.M. lecture was “The Wild” (“Walking;” “The Wild“).

24 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The cooing of a dove reminded me of an owl this morning. Counted just fifty violets (pedata) in a little bunch . . . (Journal, 4:70).
25 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Tuesday. P.M.—To Saw Mill Brook and Flint’s Pond.

  The Rhodora Canadensis is not yet out of blossom, and its leaves are not expanded. It is important for its contrast with the surrounding green,—so much high-colored blossom. The Pyrus arbutifolia now. The ferns are grown up large, and some are in fruit, a dark or blackish fruit part way down the stem, with a strong scent,—quite a rich-looking fruit . . .

(Journal, 4:70-72)
26 May 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Wednesday. Surveying the Brooks farm.

  The early thalictrum has been in bloom some time. Perceive the rank smell of brakes. Observe the yellow bark of the barberry . . .

  The air is full of the odor of apple blossoms, yet the air is fresh as from the salt water. The meadow smells sweet as you go along low places in the road at sundown. To-night I hear many crickets. They have commenced their song. They bring in the summer . . .

(Journal, 4:72-73)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

Friend Thoreau:

I duly received your package and letter, and immediately   handed over the former to C. Bissell Editor of the Whig Review, asking him to examine it fully and tell me what he could give for it, which he promised to do. Two or three days afterward, I left for the West without having heard from him. This morning, without having seen your letter, having reached home at 1 o’clock, I went to Bissell at 9, and asked him about the matter. He said he had not read all the MSS, but had part of it, and inquired if I would be willing to have him print part and pay for it. I told him I could not consent without consulting you, but would thank him to make me a proposition in writing, which I would send you. He said he would do so very soon, whereupon I left him.

  I hope you will acquit me of negligence in the matter, though I ought to have acknowledged the receipt of your package. 1 did not, simply because I was greatly hurried, trying to get away, and because I momently expected some word from Bissell.

Horace Greeley

“The package likely contained the Quebec notes.”

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 281-282)
27 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At Corner Spring.

  A wet day. The veery sings nevertheless. The road is white with the apple blossoms fallen off, as with snowflakes. The dogwood is coming out. Ladies’ slippers out. They perfume the air . . .

(Journal, 4:73-74)
28 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  White thorn and yellow Bethlehem-star (Hypoxis erecta) (Journal, 4:74).
29 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Fobs this and yesterday morning. I hear the quails nowadays while surveying. Barberry in bloom, wild pinks, and blue-eyed grass (Journal, 75).
30 May 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday. Now is the summer come. A breezy, washing day. A day for shadows, even of moving clouds, over fields in which the grass is beginning to wave. Senecio in bloom. A bird’s nest in grass, with coffee-colored eggs. Cinquefoil and houstonia cover the ground, mixed with the grass and contrasting with each other. Strong lights and shades now. Wild cherry on the low shrubs, but not yet the trees, a rummy scent . . .

  Israel Rice thinks the first half of June is not commonly so warm as May, and that the reason is that vegetation is so advanced that the earth is shaded and protected from the sun by the grass also, so that it is delayed in being warmed by the summer sun.

(Journal, 4:75-77)
1 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Evening.—To the Lee place, the moon about full.

  The sounds I hear by the bridge: the midsummer frog (I think it is not the toad), the nighthawk, crickets, the peetweet (it is early), the hum of dor-bugs, and the whip-poor-will. The boys are corning home from fishing, for the river is down at last. The moving clouds are the drama of the moonlight nights, and never-failing entertainment of nightly travellers . . .

(Journal, 4:78)
2 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Wednesday. Measured C. Davis’s elm at top of his fence, just built, five feet from the ground. It is fifteen and two twelfths feet in circumference and much larger many feet higher. Buttercups now spot the churchyard . . .
(Journal, 4:78-79)
3 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The nepeta by Deacon Brown’s, a pretty blue flower. It has been a sultry day, and a slight thunder-shower, and now I see fireflies in the meadows at evening (Journal, 4:79).
4 June 1852.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Friday. The birds sing at dawn. What sounds to be awakened by! If only our sleep, our dreams, are such as to harmonize with the song, the warbling of the birds, ushering in the day! They appear comparatively silent an hour or two later . . .
(Journal, 4:79-80)
5 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The medcoia has blossomed in a tumbler. I seem to perceive a pleasant fugacious fragrance from its rather delicate but inconspicuous green flower. Its whorls of leaves of two stages are the most remarkable. I do not perceive the smell of the cucumber in its root . . .

  The constant inquiry which nature puts is: “Are you virtuous? Then you can behold me.” Beauty, fragrance, music, sweetness, and joy of all kinds are for the virtuous. That I thought when I heard the telegraph harp to-day . . .

(Journal, 4:80-82)
6 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday. First devil’s-needles in the air, and some smaller, bright-green ones on flowers. The earliest blueberries are now forming as greenberries . . . (Journal, 4:83).
7 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Surveying for Sam. Pierce. Found piece of an Indian soapstone pot (Journal, 4:83).
9 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The buck-bean in Hubbard’s meadow just going out of blossom. The yellow water ranunculus is an important flower in the river now, rising above the white lily pads, whose flower does not yet appear. I perceive that their petals, washed ashore, line the sand conspicuously . . .

  The priests of the Germans and Britons were druids. They had their sacred oaken groves. Such were their steeple houses. Nature was to some extent a fane to them. There was fine religion in that form of worship, and Stonehenge remains as evidence of some vigor in the worshippers . . .

(Journal, 4:83-88)
11 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Friday. 3 P.M.—Down railroad.

  I hear the bobolink, though he does not sing so much as he did, and the lark and my seringo, as I go down the railroad causeway. The cricket sings. The red clover does not yet cover the fields. The whitcwecd is more obvious. It commonly happens that a flower is considered more beautiful that is not followed by fruit. It must culminate in the flower . . .

  As I climbed the Cliffs, when I jarred the foliage, I perceived an exquisite perfume which I could not trace to its source. Ah, those fugacious universal fragrances of the meadows and woods! Odors rightly mingled! . . .

(Journal, 4:88-91)
12 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saturday. P.M.-To Lupine Hill via Depot Field Brook.

  For some time I have noticed the grass whitish and killed at top by worms (?). The meadows are yellow with golden senecio. Marsh speedwell (Veronica scutellata), lilac-tinted, rather pretty. The mouse-ear forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa) has now extended its racemes (?) very much, and hangs over the edge of the brook. It is one of the most interesting minute flowers. It is the more beautiful for being small and unpretending, for even flowers must be modest . . .

(Journal, 4:91-94)
13 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday. 3 P.M.—To Conantum.

  A warm day. It has been cold, and we have had fires the past week sometimes. Clover begins to show red in the fields, and the wild cherry is not out of blossom. The river has a summer midday look, smooth to a cobweb, with green shores, and shade from the trees on its banks . . .

(Journal, 4:94-97)
14 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  There are various new reflections now of the light, viz. from the under sides of leaves (fresh and white) turned up by the wind, and also from the bent blades (horizontal tops) of rank grass in the meadows . . . (Journal, 4:98)
15 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Tuesday. Silene Antirrhina, sleepy catch-fly, or snapdragon catch-fly, the ordinarily curled-up petals scarcely noticeable at the end of the large oval calyx. Gray says opening only by night or cloudy weather . . .

  IIow, rapidly new flowers unfold! as if Nature would get through her work too soon. One has as much as he can do to observe how flowers successively unfold. It is a flowery revolution, to which but few attend. Hardly too much attention can be bestowed on flowers. We follow, we march after, the highest color; that is our flag, our standard, our “color.” Flowers were made to be seen, not overlooked . . .

  On Mt. Misery, panting with heat, looking down the river. The haze an hour ago reached to Wachusett; now it obscures it. Methinks there is a male and female shore to the river, one abrupt, the other flat and meadowy. Have not all streams this contrast more or less, on the one hand eating into the bank, on the other depositing their sediment? . . .

(Journal, 4:98-105)
16 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Wednesday. 1.30 A.M.—A low fog on the meadows, but not so much as last night,—a low incense frosting them. The clouds scattered wisps in the sky, like a squadron thrown into disorder at the approach of the sun. The sun now gilds an eastern cloud a broad, bright, coppery-golden edge, fiery bright, notwithstanding which the protuberances of the cloud cast dark shadows ray-like up into the day . . .

  9 P.M.—Down railroad.

  Heat lightning in the horizon. A sultry night. A flute front some villager. How rare among men so fit a thing as the sound of a flute at evening! Have not the fireflies in the meadow relation to the stars above, étincelant? When the darkness comes, we see stars beneath also . . .

(Journal, 4:106-109)
17 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thursday. 4 A.M.—To Cliffs.

  No fog this morning . At early dawn, the windows being open, I hear a steady, breathing, cricket-like sound from the chip-bird (?), ushering in the day. Perhaps these mornings are the most memorable in the year,—after a sultry night and before a sultry day,—when, especially, the morning is the most glorious season of the day, when its coolness is most refreshing and you enjoy the glory of the summer gilded or silvered with dews, without the torrid summer’s sun or the obscuring haze. The sound of the crickets at dawn after these first sultry nights seems like the dreaming of the earth still continued into the daylight. I love that early twilight hour when the crickets still creak . . .

(Journal, 4:109-111)
18 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The hornet’s nest is built with many thin layers of his paper, with an interval of about an eighth of an inch between them, so that his wall is one or two inches thick. This probably for warmth, dryness, and lightness. So sometimes the carpenter has learned to build double walls . . .

  7 P.M.—To Cliffs. No moon . . .

  I hear a man playing a clarionet far off. Apollo tending the flocks of King Admetus. How cultivated, how sweet and glorious, is music! Men have brought this art to great perfection, the art of modulating sound, by long practice since the world began. What superiority over the rude harmony of savages! There is something glorious and flower-like in it. What a contrast this evening melody with the occupations of the day! It is perhaps the most admirable accomplishment of man . . .

(Journal, 4:112-114)
19 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saturday. 8.30 A.M.—To Flag Hill—on which Stow, Acton, and Boxboro corner—with C., with bread and butter and cheese in pocket.

  A comfortable breezy June morning. No dust to-day. To explore a segment of country between the Stow hills and the railroad in Acton, west to Boxboro. A fine, clear day, a journey day . . .

  It was a very good day on the whole, for it was cool in the morning, and there were just clouds enough to shade the earth in the hottest part of the day, and at evening it was comfortably cool again . . .

(Journal, 4:114-123)
20 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  7 P.M.—To Hubbard Bathing-Place.

  The blue-eyed grass is shut up. When does it open? Some blue flags are quite a red purple,—dark wine-color . . .

  Lying—,with my window open, these warm, even sultry nights, I hear the sonorously musical trump of the bullfrogs from time to time, from some distant shore of the river, as if the world were given up to them. By those villagers who live on the street they are never seen and rarely heard by day, but in the quiet sultry nights their notes ring from one end of the town to another . . .

(Journal, 4:123-125)
21 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Monday. 7 P.M.—To Cliffs via Hubbard Bathing-Place.

  Cherry-birds. I leave not seen, though I think I have heard them before,—their fine seringo note, like a vibrating sprung in the air. They are a handsome bird, with their crest and chestnut breasts . . .

  It is dusky now. Men are fishing on the Corner Bridge. I hear the veery and the huckleberry-bird and the catbird. It is a cool evening, past 8 o’clock. I sec the tephrosia out through the dusk; a handsome flower . . .

(Journal, 4:125-128)
22 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  8 P.M.—Up the Union Turnpike.

  We have had a succession of thunder-showers today and at sunset a rainbow. How moral the world is made! This bow is not utilitarian. Methinks men are great in proportion as they are moral. After the rain He sets his bow in the heavens! The world is not destitute of beauty . . .

(Journal, 4:128-129)
23 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  5 A.M.—To Laurel Glen.

  The bobolink still sings, though not as in May. The tall buttercups do not make so much show in the meadows, methinks, as the others did. Or are they beaten down by last night’s rain? The small Solomon’s-seal is going out of flower and shows small berries . . .

  I sit on one of these boulders and look south to Ponkawtasset. Looking west, whence the wind comes, you do not see the under sides of the leaves, but, looking east, every bough shows its under side; those of the maples are particularly white. All leaves tremble like aspen leaves. Perhaps on those westward hills where I walked last Saturday the fields are somewhat larger than commonly with us, and I expand with a sense of freedom . . .

(Journal, 4:129-138)
24 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To White Pond.

  The keys of the white ash cover the trees profusely, a sort of mulberry brown, an inch and a half long, handsome. The Vaccinium macrocarpon, probably for some days . . .

  I still perceive that wonderful fragrance from the meadow ( ?) on the Corner causeway, intense as ever. It is one of those effects whose cause it is best not to know, perchance. Uncommonly cool weather now, after warm days and nights for a week or snore. I see -many grasshoppers for the first time (only single ones before), in the grass in the White Pond road . . .

(Journal, 4:138-141)
25 June 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Just as the sun was rising this morning, under clouds, I saw a rainbow in the west horizon, the lower parts quite bright.

“Rainbow in the morning,
Sailors take warning;
Rainbow at night
Sailors’ delight.”

A few moments after, it rained heavily for a half-hour . . .

  One man lies in his words, and gets a bad reputation; another in his manners, and enjoys a good one.

  The air is clear, as if a cool, dewy brush had swept the vales and meadows of all haze. A liquid coolness invests them, as if their midnight aspect were suddenly revealed to midday. The mountain outline is remarkably distinct, and the intermediate earth appears more than usually scooped out, like a vast saucer sloping upward to its sharp mountain rim . . .

  8.30 P.M.—To Conantum.

  Moon half full. Fields dusky; the evening one other bright one near the moon. It is a pretty still night . . .

(Journal, 4:141-147)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

Dear Thoreau:

  I have had only bad luck with your manuscript. Two magazines have refused it on the ground of its length, saying that articles ‘To be continued’ are always unpopular, however good. I will try again.

Horace Greeley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 282)
26 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I have not put darkness, duskiness, enough into my night and moonlight walks. Every sentence should contain some twilight or night. At least the light in it should be the yellow or creamy light of the moon or the fine beams of stars, and not the white light of day. The peculiar dusky serenity of the sentences must not allow the reader to forget that it is evening or night, without my saying that it is dark. Otherwise he will, of course, presume a daylight atmosphere . . .
(Journal, 4:147-154)
27 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday. P.M.—To Bear Hill, Lincoln . . .

  Looking from Bear Hill, I am struck by the yellowish green of meadows, almost like an ingrained sunlight . . . It is somewhat hazy, yet I can just distinguish Monadnock. It is a good way to describe the density of a haze to say how distant a mountain can be distinguished through it, or how near a hill is obscured by it.

  Saw a very large white ash tree, three and a half feet in diameter, in front of the house which White formerly owned, under this hill, which was struck by lightning the 22d, about 4 P.M. The lightning apparently struck the top of the tree . . . and so it went down in the midst of the trunk to the earth, where it apparently exploded, rending the trunk into six segments . . . The lightning appeared to have gone off through the roots, furrowing them as the branches, and through the earth, making a furrow like a plow, four or five rods in one direction, and in another passing through the cellar of the neighboring house, about thirty feet distant . . . The windows in the house were broken and the inhabitants knocked down by the concussion. All this was accomplished in an instant by a kind of fire out of the heavens called lightning, or a thunderbolt, accompanied by a crashing sound. For what purpose? The ancients called it Jove’s bolt, with which he punished the guilty and we moderns understand it no better. There was displayed a Titanic force, some of that force which made and can unmake the world . . .

(Journal, 4:154-159)
28 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Evening. 7 P.M.—Moon more than half.

  There are meteorologists, but who keeps a record of the fairer sunsets P While men are recording the direction of the wind, they neglect to record the beauty of the sunset or the rainbow. The sun not yet set . . .

  Walden imparts to the body of the bather a remarkably chalky-white appearance, whiter than natural, tinged with blue, which, combined with its magnifying anti distorting; influence, produces a monstrous and ogre-like effect, proving, nevertheless, the purity of the water . . .

(Journal, 4:159-161)
29 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—On North River . . .

  The wind exposes the red under sides of the white lily pads. This is one of the aspects of the river now. The bud-bearing stem of this plant is a little larger, but otherwise like the leaf-stem, and coming like it directly from the long, large root. It is interesting to pull up the lily root with flowers and leaves attached and sec how it sends its buds upward to the light and air to expand and flower in another element . . .

(Journal, 4:161-163)
30 June 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Nature must be viewed humanly to be viewed at all; that is, her scenes must be associated with humane affections, such as are associated with one’s native place, for instance. She is most significant to a lover. A lover of Nature is preeminently a lover of man. If I have no friend, what is Nature to me? She ceases to be morally significant.

  7.30 P.M.—To stone bridge over Assabet. Moon nearly full; rose a little before sunset . . .

  The moon appears full. At first a mere white cloud. As soon as the sun sets, begins to grow brassy or obscure golden in the gross atmosphere. It is starlight about half an hour after sunset to-night; i.e. the first stars appear. The moon is now brighter, but not so yellowish. Ten or fifteen minutes after, the fireflies are observed . . .

(Journal, 4:163-164)
1 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thursday. 9.30 A.M.—To Sherman’s Bridge by land and water.

  A cloudy and slightly showery morning, following a thunder-shower the previous afternoon . . .

  Borrowed Brigham the wheelwright’s boat at the Corner Bridge. He was quite ready to lend it, and took pains to shave down the handdle of a paddle for me, conversing the while on the subject of spiritual knocking, which he asked if I had looked into,—which made him the slower. An obliging man, who understands that I am abroad viewing the works of Nature and not loafing, though he makes the pursuit a semi-religious one, as are all more serious ones to most men . . .

  The freshly opened lilies were a pearly white, and though the water amid the pads was quite unrippled, the passing air gave a slight oscillating, boat-like motion to and fro to the flowers, like boats held fast by their cables. Some of the lilies had a beautiful rosaceous tinge, most conspicuous in the half-opened flower . . .

(Journal, 4:165-172)
2 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Bigelow tells me that saddlers sometimes use the excrescence, the whitish fungus, on the birch to stick their awls in. Men fund a use for everything at last . . .

  On my way to the Hubbard Bathing-Place, at sundown.

  The blue-eyed grass shuts up before night, and methinks it does not open very early the next morning . . .

  Nature is reported not by him who goes forth consciously as an observer, but in the fullness of life. To such a one she rushes to make her report. To the full heart she is all but a figure of speech. This is my year of observation, and I fancy that my friends are also more devoted to outward observation than ever before . . .

(Journal, 4:172-176)
3 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  From Deep Cut over Fair Haven; back by Potter’s path; 5 P.M.

  The yellow lily (Giliura Canadense) is out, rising above the meadow-grass, sometimes one, sometimes two. Young woodchucks, sitting in their holes, allow me to come quite near . . .

(Journal, 4:176-179)
4 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday. 3 A.M.—To Conantum, to see the lilies open.

  I hear an occasional crowing of cocks in distant barns, as has been their habit for how many thousand years. It was so when I was young; and it will be so when I am old. I hear the croak of a tree-toad as I am crossing the yard. I am surprised to find the dawn so far advanced. There is a yellowish segment of light in the east, paling a star and adding sensibly to the light of the waning and now declining moon . . .

  The light is more and more general, and some low bars begin to look bluish as well as reddish. (Elsewhere the sky wholly clear of clouds.) The dawn is at this stage far lighter than the brightest moonlight. I write by it. Yet the sun will not rise for some time. Those bars are reddening more above one spot. They grow purplish, or lilac rather . . .

  Sunrise. I see it gilding the top of the hill behind me, but the sun itself is concealed by the hills and woods on the east shore. A very slight fog begins to rise now in one place on the river. There is something serenely glorious and memorable to me in the sight of the first cool sunlight now gilding the eastern extremity of the bushy island in Pair Haven, that wild lake . . .

(Journal, 4:179-185)
5 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  How perfect an invention is glass! There is a fitness in glass windows which reflect the sun morning and evening, windows, the doorways of light, thus reflecting the rays of that luminary with a splendor only second to itself . . .

  Some birds are poets and sing all summer. They are the true singers. Any man can write verses during the love season. I am reminded of this while we rest in the shade on the Major Heywood road and listen to a wood thrush, now just before sunset . . .

(Journal, 4:185-192)
6 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2.30 P.M.—To Beck Stow’s, thence to Saw Mill Brook, and return by Walden.

  Now for the shade of oaks in pastures. The witnesses attending court sit on the benches in the shade of the great elm. The cattle gather under the trees . . .

  Hosmer is haying, but inclined to talk as usual. I blowed on his horn at supper-time. I asked if I should do any harm if I sounded it. He said no, but I called Mrs. Hosmer back, who was on her way to the village . . .

  I am disappointed that Hosmer, the most intelligent farmer in Concord, and perchance in Middlesex, who admits that he has property enough for his use without accumulating more, and talks of leaving off hard work, letting his farm, and spending the rest of has days easier and better, cannot yet think of any method of employing himself but in work with his hands . . .

  We have all kinds of walks in the woods, if we follow the paths . . .

(Journal, 4:192-197)
7 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  4 A.M.—The first really foggy morning. Yet before I rise I hear the song of birds from out it, like the bursting of its bubbles with music, the bead on liquids just uncorked. Their song gilds thus the frostwork of the morning. As if the fog were a great sweet froth on the surface of land and water, whose fixed air escaped, whose bubbles burst,with music. The sound of its evaporation, the fixed air of the morning just brought from the cellars of the night escaping . . .

  The cobwebs on the dead twigs in sprout-lands covered with fog or dew. Their geometry is very distinct, and I see where birds have flown through them. I noticed that the fog last night, just after sundown, was like a fine smoke in valleys between the woods . . .

(Journal, 4:197-201)
8 July 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Down river in boat to the Holt . . .

  Under the Salix nigra var. falcata, near that handsomest one, which now is full of scythe-shaped leaves, the larger six inches long by seven eighths wide, with remarkably broad lunar leafy appendages or stipules at their base, I found a remarkable moth lying flat on the still water as if asleep (they appear to sleep during the day), as large as the smaller birds. Five and a half inches in alar extent and about three inches long, something like the smaller figure in one position of the wings (with a remarkably narrow lunar-cut tail), of a sea-green color, with four conspicuous spots whitish within, then a red line, then yellowish border below or toward the tail, but brown, brown orange, and black above, toward head; a very robust body, covered with a kind of downy plumage, an inch and a quarter long by five eighths thick. The sight affected me as tropical, and I suppose it is the northern verge of some species. It suggests into what productions Nature would run if all the year were a July. By night it is active, for, though I thought it dying at first, it made a great noise in its prison, a cigar-box, at night. When the day returns, it apparently drops wherever it may be, even into the water, and dozes till evening again . . .

(Journal, 4:201-203)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

Dear Thoreau,—

  Yours received. I was absent yesterday. I can lend you the seventy-five dollars, and am very glad to do it. Don’t talk about security. I am sorry about your MSS., which I do not quite despair of using to your advantage.

Horace Greeley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 283)
9 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Friday. 4 A.M.—To Cliffs.

  No dew, no dewy cobwebs. The sky looks mist-like, not clear blue. An aurora fading into a general saffron color. At length the redness travels over, partly from east to west, before sunrise, and there is little color in the cast. The birds all unite to make the morning quire; sing rather faintly, not prolonging their strains. The crickets appear to have received a reinforcement during the sultry night. There is no name for the evening red corresponding to aurora. It is the blushing foam about the prow of the sun’s boat, and at eve the salve in its wake . . .

  Bathing is an undescribed luxury. To feel the wind blow on your body, the water flow on you and lave you, is a rare physical enjoyment this hot day. The water is remarkably warm here, especially in the shallows,-warm to the hand, like that which has stood long in a kettle over a fire. The pond water being so warm made the water of the brook feel very cold; and this kept close on the bottom of the pond for a good many rods about the mouth of the brook, as I could feel with my feet; and when I thrust my arm down where it was only two feet deep, my arm was in the warm water of the pond, but my hand in the cold water of the brook . . .

(Journal, 4:206-210)
10 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saturday. Another day, if possible still hotter than the last. We have already had three or four such, and still no rain. The soil under the sward in the yard is dusty as an ash-heap for a foot in depth, and young trees are suffering and dying.

  2 P.M.—To the North River in front of Major Barrett’s. It is with a suffocating sensation and a slight pain in the head that I walk the Union Turnpike where the heat is reflected from the road. The leaves of the elms on the dry highways begin to roll up. I have to lift my hat to let the air cool my head. But I find a refreshing breeze from over the river and meadow. In the hottest day you can be comfortable in the shade on the open shore of a pond or river where a zephyr comes over the water, sensibly cooled by it . . .

(Journal, 4:210-216)
11 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  4.30 A.M.—To the river.

  The shore is strewn with quite a long grove of young red maples two inches high, with the samaræ attached. So they are dispersed. The heart-leaf flower is abundant more than ever, but shut up at this hour. The first lily I noticed opened about half an hour after sunrise, or at 5 o’clock . . .

(Journal, 4:216-219)
12 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I observed this morning a row of several dozen swallows perched on the telegraph-wire by the bridge, and ever and anon a part of them would launch forth as with one consent, circle a few moments over the water or meadow, and return to the wire again.

  2 P.M.—To the Assabet.

  Still no rain. The clouds, cumuli, lie in high piles along the southern horizon, glowing, downy, or creamcolored, broken into irregular summits in the form of bears erect, or demigods, or rocking stones, infant Herculeses; and still we think that from their darker bases a thunder-shower may issue . . .

(Journal, 4:219-223)
13 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A journal, a book that shall contain a record of all your joy, your ecstasy.

  4 P.M.—To R.W.E.’s wood-lot south of Walden.

  The pool by Walden is now quite yellow with the common utricularia (vulgaris). This morning the heavens were overcast with a fog, which did not clear off till late in the forenoon. I heard the muttering of thunder behind it about 5 A.M. and thought it would rain at last, but there were dewy cobwebs on the grass, and it did not rain, but we had another hot dry day after all . . .

(Journal, 4:223-225)

Thoreau also writes to his sister Sophia:

Dear Sophia,  

  I am a miserable letter writer, but perchance if I should say this at length and with sufficient emphasis & regret, it could make a letter. I am sorry that nothing transpires here of much moment; or, I should rather say that I am so slackened and rusty, like the telegraph wire this season, that no wind that blows can extract music from me. I am not on the trail of any elephants or mastodons, but have succeeded in trapping only a few ridiculous mice, which can not need my imagination. I Have become sadly scientific. I would rather come upon the vast valley-like “spore” only of some celestial beast which this world’s woods can no longer sustain, than spring my net over a bushel of moles. You must do better in those woods where you are. You must have some adventures to relate and repeat for your years to come—which will eclipse even Mother’s voyage to Goldsborough & Sissiboo. They say that Mr Pierce the presidential candidate was in town last 5th of July visiting Hawthorne whose college chum he was, and that Hawthorne is writing a life of him for electioneering purposes. Concord is just as idiotic as ever in relation to the spirits and their knockings. Most people here believe in a spiritual world which no respectable junk bottle which had not met with a lip—would condescend to contain even a portion of for a moment—whose atmosphere would extinguish a candle let down into it, like a well that wants airing—in spirits with the very bullfrogs in our meadows would blackball. Their evil genius is seeing how low it can degrade them. The hooting of owls—the croaking of frogs—is celestial wisdom in comparison. If I could be brought to believe in the things which they believe—I should make haste to get rid of my certificate of stock in this & the next world’s enterprises, and buy a share in the first Immediate Annihilation Company that offered—would exchange my immortality for a glass of small beer this hot weather. Where are the heathen? Was there ever any superstition before? And yet I suppose there may be a vessel this very moment setting sail from the coast of North America to that of Africa with a missionary on board! Consider the dawn & the sun rise—the rain bow & the evening, the words of Christ & the aspirations of all the saints! Hear music? See—smell—taste—feel—hear—anything—& then hear these idiots inspired by the cracking of a restless board-humbly asking “Please spirit, if you cannot answer by knocks, answer by tips of the table,”!!!!!!

H. D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 283-284; MSS, Huntington Library)
14 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A writer who does not speak out of a full experience uses torpid words, wooden or lifeless words, such words as “humanitary,” which have a paralysis in their tails . . .

  Saw to-day for the first time this season fleets of yellow butterflies dispersing before us, [as] we rode along berrying on the Walden road . . .

(Journal, 4:225-228)
16 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Chenopodium album, pigweed. The common form of the arrowhead, with larger, clear-white flowers . . .

  Pyrus arbutifolia melanocarpa fruit begins to be black. Cephalanthus occidentalis, button-bush.

  The bass on Conantum is a very rich sight now, tlxnlgh the flowers are somewhat stale . . . The tree resounds with the hum of bees,—bumblebees and honey-bees; rose-bugs and butterflies, also, are here—a perfect susurrus, a sound, as C. says, unlike any other in nature,—not like the wind, as that is like the sea. The bees abound on the flowers of the smooth sumach now. The branches of this tree touch the ground, and it has somewhat the appearance of being weighed down with flowers. The air is full of sweetness. The tree is full of poetry . . .

(Journal, 4:228-230)
17 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saturday. Cooler weather; a gentle steady rain, not shower; such coolness as rain makes; not sharp and invigorating, exhilarating, as in the spring, but thoughtful, reminding of the fall . . .

  Beck Stow’s Swamp! What an incredible spot to think of in town or city! When life looks sandy and barren, is reduced to its lowest terms, we have no appetite, and it has no flavor, then let me visit such a swamp as this, deep and impenetrable, where the earth quakes for a rod around you at every step, with its open water where the swallows skim and twitter, its meadow and cotton-grass . . .

(Journal, 4:230-232)
18 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday. 8.30 A.M.—To the Sudbury meadows in boat.

  Peter Bobbins says that the rain of yesterday has not reached the potatoes, after all. Exorbitant potatoes! It takes a good deal to reach them,—serious preaching to convert them . . .

  After passing Hubbard’s Bridge, looking up the smooth river between the rows of button-bushes, willows, and pads, we see the sun shining on Fair Haven Hill behind a sun-born cloud, while we are in shadow,—a misty golden light, yellow, fern-like, with shadows of clouds flitting across its slope,—and horses in their pasture standing with outstretched necks to watch us . . .

(Journal, 4:232-239)
19 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—R.W.E.’s cliff.

  Phytolacca decandra, poke, in blossom. The Cerasus pumila ripe. The chestnuts on Pine Hill being in blossom reveals the rounded tops of the trees; separates them, and makes a richer and more varied scene . . .

(Journal, 4:239)
20 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Assabet behind Lee Place.

  Perceived a small weed, coming up all over the fields, which leas an aromatic scent. Did not at first discover that it was blue-curls. It is a little affecting that the year should be thus solemn and regular, that this weed should have withheld itself so long, biding its appointed time, and now, without fail, be coming up all over the land, still extracting that well-known aroma out of the elements, to adorn its part of the year! . . .

(Journal, 4:240-243)
21 July 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  4 A.M.—Robins sing as loud as in spring, and the chip-bird breathes in the dawn. The eastern waters reflect the morning redness, and now it fades into saffron . And now the glow concentrates about one point. At this season the northeast horizon is lit up and glows red and saffron, and the sun sets so far northwest that but a small part of the north horizon is left unillustrated. The meadows are incrusted with low, flat, white, and apparently hard fog. Soon it begins to rise and disperse.  Walden Pond and Lake Superior are both uncommonly high this year . . .
(Journal, 4:243-245)

Thoreau also writes to H.G.O. Blake:

Mr Blake,  
  I am too stupidly well these days to write to you. My life is almost altogether outward, all shell and no tender kernel; so that I fear the report of it would be only a nut for you to crack, with no meat in it for you to eat. Moreover, you have not cornered me up, and I enjoy Such large liberty in writing to you that I feel as vague as the air. However, I rejoice to hear that you have attended so patiently to anything which I have said heretofore, and have detected any truths in it. It encourages me to say more—not in this letter I fear—but in some book which I may write one day. I am glad to know that I am as much to any mortal as a persistent and consistent scarecrow is to a farmer—such a bundle of straw in a man’s clothing as I am—with a few bits of tin to sparkle in the sun dangling about me. As if I were hard at work there in the field. However, if this kind of life saves any man’s corn,—why he is the gainer. I am not afraid that you will flatter me as long as you know what I am, as well as what I think, or aim to be, distinguish between these two, for then it will commonly happen that if you praise the last, you will condemn the first.I remember that walk to Asnebumskit very well;—a fit place to go on a Sunday, one of the true temples of the earth. A temple you know was anciently “an open place without a roof,” whose walls served merely to shut out the world, and direct the mind toward heaven; but a modern meeting house shuts out the heavens, while it crowds the world into still closer quarters. Best of all is it when as on a Mt. top you have for all walls your own elevation and deeps of surrounding ether. The partridge berries watered with Mt dews, which are gathered there, are more memorable to me than the words which I last heard from the pulpit at least, and for my part I would rather walk toward Rutland than Jerusalem. Rutland—modern town—land of ruts—trivial and worn—not to sacred—with no holy sepulchre, but prophane green fields and dusty roads,—and opportunity to live as holy a life as you can;—where the sacredness if there is any is all in yourself and not in the place.

  I fear that your Worcester people do not often enough go to the hilltops, though, as I am told, the springs lie nearer to the surface on your hills than your valleys. They have the reputation of being Free Soilers—Do they insist on a free atmosphere too, that is, on freedom for the head or brain as well as the feet? If I were consciously to join any party it would be that which is the most free to entertain thought.

  All the world complain now a days of a press of trivial duties & engagements which prevents their employing themselves on some higher ground they know of,—but undoubtedly if they were made of the right stuff to work on that higher ground, provided they were released from all those engagements—they would now at once fulfill the superior engagement, and neglect all the rest, as naturally as they breathe. They would never be caught saying that they had no time for this when the dullest man knows that this is all he has time for. No man who acts from a sense of duty ever puts the lesser duty above the greater. No man has the desire and the ability to work on high things but he has also the ability to build himself a high staging.

  As for passing through any great and glorious experience, and rising above it, —as an eagle might fly athwart the evening sky to rise into still brighter & fairer regions of the heavens, I cannot say that I ever sailed so creditably, but my bark ever seemed thwarted by some side wind and went off over the edge and now only occasionally tacks back towards the center of that sea again. I have outgrown nothing good, but, I do not fear to say, fallen behind by whole continents of virtue which should have been passed as islands in my course; but I trust—what else can I trust?—that with a stuff wind some Friday, when I have thrown some of my cargo overboard, I may make up for all that distance lost.

  Perchance the time will come when we shall not be content to go back & forth upon a raft to some huge Homeric or Shakspearean Indiaman that lies upon the reef, but build a bark out of that wreck, and others that are buried in the sands of this desolate island, and such new timber as may be required, in which to sail away to whole new worlds of light & life where our friends are.

  Write again. There is one respect in which you did not finish your letter, you did not write it with ink, and it is not so good therefore against or for you in the eye of the law, nor in the eye of


(Letters to Harrison Gray Otis Blake (57-59) edited by Wendell Glick (from Great Short Works of Henry David Thoreau edited, with an introduction, by Wendell Glick (New York: Harper & Row, 1982). Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers)

Charlestown, Mass. William H. Sweetser writes to Thoreau:

Sir,  I am a boy 15 years of age collecting autographs and should be very much obliged if you would send me yours.Yours respectfully,
Wm. H. Sweetser.
(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 287)
22 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning, though perfectly fair except a haziness in the east, which prevented any splendor, the birds do not sing as yesterday. They appear to make distinctions which we cannot appreciate, and perhaps sing with most animation on the finest mornings.

  1 P.M.—Lee’s Bridge, via Conantum; return by Clematis Brook . . .

(Journal, 4:245-247)
23 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Annursnack.

  Herbage is drying up; even weeds are wilted, and the corn rolls. Agriculture is a good school in which to drill a man. Successful farming admits of no idling. Now is the haying season. How active must these men be, all the country over, that they may get through their work in season! . . .

  Twenty minutes after seven, I sit at my window to observe the sun set. The lower clouds in the north and southwest grow gradually darker as the sun goes down, since we now see the side opposite to the sun, but those high overhead, whose under sides we see reflecting the day, are light. The small clouds low in the western sky were at first dark also, but, as the sun descends, they are lit up and aglow all but their cores. Those in the east, though we see their sunward sides, are a dark blue, presaging night, only the highest faintly glowing . . .

(Journal, 4:247-250)
24 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The cardinal-flower probably open to-day. The quails are heard whistling this morning near the village . . .

  7 P.M.—To the hills by Abel Hosmer’s.

  How dusty the roads! Wagons, chaises, loads of barrels, etc., all drive into the dust and are lost. The dust now, looking toward the sun, is white and handsome like a vapor in the morning, curling round the head and load of the teamster, while his dog walks obscured in it under the wagon. Even this dust is to one at a distance an agreeable object . . .

(Journal, 4:250-253)
25 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  4 A.M.—To Cliffs.

  This early twitter or breathing of chip-birds in the dawn sounds like something organic in the earth. This is a morning celebrated by birds. Our bluebird sits on the peak of the house and warbles as in the spring, but as he does not now by day . . .

  The ditch stonecrop is abundant in the now dry pool by the roadside near Hubbard’s.

  From Fair Haven Hill, the sun having risen, I see great wreaths of fog far northeast, revealing the course of the river, a noble sight, as it were the river elevated, or rather the ghost of the ample stream that once flowed to ocean between these now distant uplands in another geological period, filling the broad meadows,—the dews saved to the earth by this great Musketaquid condenser, refrigerator. And now the rising sun makes glow with downiest white the ample wreaths, which rise higher than the highest trees . . .

(Journal, 4:253-258)
26 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  By my intimacy with nature I find myself withdrawn from man. My interest in the sun and the moon, in the morning and the evening, compels me to solitude.  

  The grandest picture in the world is the sunset sky. in your higher moods what man is there to meet? You are of necessity isolated. The mind that perceives clearly any natural beauty is in that instant withdrawn from human society. My desire for society is infinitely increased; my fitness for any actual society is diminished.

Went to Cambridge and Boston to-day . . .

(Journal, 4:258-260)

Thoreau writes to William H. Sweetser:

Wm H. Sweetser  This is the way I write when I have a poor pen and still poorer ink.

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 287)

Thoreau also writes to H.G.O. Blake:

Mr. Blake,  

  Here come the sentences which I promised you. You may keep them if you will regard & use them as the disconnected fragments of what I may find to be a completer essay, on looking over my journal at last, and may claim again.

  I send you the thoughts on chastity & sensuality with diffidence and shame, not knowing how far I speak to the condition o£ men generally, or how far I betray my peculiar defects. Pray enlighten me on this point if you can.

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 288)
27 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Tuesday. 4 P.M.—To Assabet behind Lee place.

  It is pleasing to behold at this season contrasted shade and sunshine oil the side of neighboring hills. They are not so attractive to the eye when all in the shadow of a cloud or wholly open to the sunshine. Each must enhance the other.

  That the luxury of walking in the river may be perfect it must be very warm, such as are few days even in July, so that the breeze on those parts of the body that have just been immersed may not produce the least chilliness . . .

  A quarter before seven P. M.—To Cliffs . . .

  I am sure that if I call for a companion in my walk I have relinquished in my design some closeness of communion with Nature. The walk will surely be more commonplace. The inclination for society indicates a distance from Nature. I do not design so wild and mysterious a walk . . .

(Journal, 4:260-264)
28 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Yellow Pine Lake.

  Epilobium coloratum, roadside just this side of Dennis’s. Water lobelia, is it, that C. [William Ellery Channing] shows me? There is a vellowish light. now from a low, tufted, yellowish, broad-leaved grass, in fields that have been mown. A June-like, breezy air . . .

(Journal, 4:264-265)
29 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Burnt Plain.

  The forget-me-not still by the brook. Floating-heart was very common yesterday in J.P. Brown’s woodland pond . . .

  It is commonly said that history is a history of war, but it is at the same time a history of development . . .

(Journal, 4:265-267)
30 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The fore part of this month was the warmest weather we have had ; the last part, sloping toward autumn, has reflected some of its coolness, for we are very forward to anticipate the fall. Perhaps I may say the spring culminated with the commencement of haying, and the summer side of the year in mid-July.

  3.30 P.M.—To Flint’s Pond.

  How long is it since I beard a veery? Do they go, or become silent, when the goldfinch heralds the autumn? Do not all flowers that blossom after mid-July remind us of the fall? After midsummer we have a belated feeling as if we had all been idlers . . .

(Journal, 4:267-269)
31 July 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Assabet over Nawshawtuct.

  There is more shadow under the edges of woods and copses now. The foliage appears to have increased so that the shadows are heavier, and perhaps it is this that makes it cooler, especially morning and evening, though it may be as warm as ever at noon . . .

(Journal, 4:269-270)
1 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Conantum.

  Is not that the small-flowered hypericum? The berries of what I have called the alternate-leaved cornel are now ripe, a, very dark blue—blue-black—and round, but dropping off prematurely, leaving handsome red cymes, which adorn the trees from a distance . . .

(Journal, 4:271)
2 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At 5.30 this morning, saw from Nawshawtuct the trees on the Great Meadows against and rising out of the dispersing wreaths of fog, on which the sun was shining.

  Just before sunset. At the window.—The clear sky in the west, the sunset window, has a cloud both above and below. The edges of these clouds about the sun glow golden, running into fuscous . . .

  We had a little rain after all, but I walked through a long alder copse, where the leafy tops of the alders spread like umbrellas over my head, and heard the harmless pattering of the rain on my roof . . .

(Journal, 4:271-274)
3 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  12 M. At the cast window.—A temperate noon. I hear a cricket creak in the shade; also the sound of a distant piano. The music reminds me of imagined heroic notes; it suggests such ideas of human life and the field which the earth affords as the few noblest passages of poetry. Those few interrupted strains which reach me through the trees suggest the same thoughts and aspirations that all melody, by whatever sense appreciated, has ever done. I am affected. What coloring variously fair and intense our life admits of! . . . It is its truth and reality that affect me. A thrumming of piano-strings beyond the gardens and through the elms. At length the melody steals into my being. I know not when it began to occupy me. By some fortunate coincidence of thought or circumstance I am attuned to the universe, I am fitted to hear, my being moves in a sphere of melody, my fancy and imagination are excited to an inconceivable degree . . .
(Journal, 4:274-278)
4 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Walden by poorhouse road.

  Have had a gentle rain, and now with a lowering sky, but still I hear the cricket. He seems to chirp from a new depth toward autumn, new lieferungs of the fall. The singular thought-inducing stillness after a gentle rain like this. It has allayed all excitement. I hear the singular watery twitter of the goldfinch, ter tweeter e et or e ee, as it ricochets over, he and his russet (?) female . . .

  A pleasant time to behold a small lake in the woods is in the intervals of a gentle rain-storm at this season, when the air and water are perfectly still, but the sky still overcast; first, because the lake is very smooth at such a time, second, as the atmosphere is so shallow and contracted, being low-roofed with clouds, the lake as a lower heaven is much larger in proportion to it. With its glassy reflecting surface, it is somewhat more heavenly and more full of light than the regions of the air above it . . .

(Journal, 4:278-280)
5 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I can tell the extent to which a man has heard music by the faith he retains in the trivial and mean, even by the importance he attaches to what is called the actual world. Any memorable strains will have unsettled so low a faith and substituted a higher. Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it. It would not leave them narrow-minded and bigoted . . .
(Journal, 4:280-282)
6 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  5 A.M.—I do not hear this morning the breathing of chip-birds nor the sang of robins. Are the mornings now thus ushered in? Are they as spring-like? Has not the year grown old? Methinks we do ourselves, at any rate, somewhat tire of the season and observe less attentively and with less interest the opening of new flowers and the song of the birds . . .

  Gathered some of those large, sometimes pear-shaped, sweet blue huckleberries which grow amid the rubbish where woods have just been cut . . .

(Journal, 4:282-287)
7 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  When I think of the thorough drilling to which young men are subjected in the English universities, acquiring a, minute knowledge of Latin prosody and of Greek particles and accents, so that they can not only turn a passage of Homer into English prose or verse, but readily a passage of Shakespeare into Latin hexameters or elegiacs,-that this and the like of this is to be liberally educated, – I am reminded how different was the education of the actual Homer and Shakespeare. The worthies of the world and liberally educated have always, in this sense, got along with little Latin and less Greek . . .
(Journal, 4:287-288)
8 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  5 A.M.—Awoke into a rosy fog. I was enveloped by the skirts of Aurora.

  To the Cliffs.

  The small dewdrops rest on the Asclepias pulchra by the roadside like gems, and the flower has lost half its beauty when they are shaken off. What mean these orange-colored toadstools that cumber the ground, and the citron-colored (ice-cream-like) fungus? Is the earth in her monthly courses? The fog has risen up before the sin around the summit of hair Haven . . .

(Journal, 4:288-292)
11 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Wednesday. Alcott here the 9th and 10th. He, the spiritual philosopher, is, and has been for some months, devoted to the study of his own genealogy,—he whom only the genealogy of humanity, the descent of man from God, should concern! He has been to his native town of Wolcott, Connecticut, on this errand, has faithfully perused the records of some fifteen towns, has read the epitaphs in as many churchyards, and, wherever he found the name Alcock, excerpted it and all connected with it,—for he is delighted . . .

  C. says he keeps a dog for society, to stir up the air of the room when it, becomes dead, for he experiences awful solitudes. Aknother time thinks we must cultivate the social qualities, perhaps had better keep two dogs apiece . . .

(Journal, 4:292-295)
12 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walked to Walden and Fair Haven Hill with Mrs. Wilson and son, of Cincinnati. They tell me that the only men of thought in that part of the world are one young Goddard and Stallo the German. The subjects that engage the mass are theological dogmas and European politics . . .
(Journal, 4:295)
13 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

   . . . Saw the head and neck of a great bittern projecting above the meadowgrass, exactly like the point of a stump, only I knew there could be no stump there . . .(Journal, 4:295-296).
14 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Viburnum dentatum berries blue. Saw a rose still. There is such a haze that I cannot see the mountains (Journal, 4:296).
15 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Some birds fly in flocks. I see a dense, compact flock of bobolinks going off in the air over a field. They cover the rails and alders, and go rustling off with a brassy, tinkling note like a ripe crop as I approach, revealing their yellow breasts and bellies . . .
(Journal, 4:296-297)
16 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Down river in boat with George Bradford . . .

  At sunset, the glow being confined to the north, it tinges the rails on the causewav lake-color, but behind they are a dead dark blue. I must look for the rudbeckia which Bradford says he found yesterday behind Joe Clark’s.

(Journal, 4:297-298)
17 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Twenty minutes before 5 A.M.—To Cliffs and Walden.

  Dawn. No breathing of chip-birds nor singing of robins as in spring, hut still the cock crows lustily. The creak of crickets sounds louder. As I go along the back road, hear two or three song sparrows. This morning’s red, there being a misty cloud there, is equal to an evening red. The woods are very still . . .

(Journal, 4:298-299)
18 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P.M.—To Joe Clark’s and Hibiscus Bank.

  I cannot conceive how a reran can accomplish anything worthy of him, unless his very breath is sweet to him. He must be particularly alive . . .

  The hibiscus flowers are seen a quarter of a mile off over the water, like large roses, now that these high colors are rather rare. Some are exceedingly delicate and pale, almost white, just rose-tinted, others a brighter pink or rose-color, and all slightly plaited (the five large petals) and turned toward the sun, now in the west, trembling in the wind. So much color looks very rich in these localities . . .

(Journal, 4:299-303)
19 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  2 P.M. —To Corner Spring, Burnt Plain, and Brister Hill . . .

  Ilere is a little brook of very cold spring-water, rising a, few rods distant, with a gray sandy and pebbly bottom, flowing through this dense swampy thicket, where, nevertheless, the sun falls in here and there between the leaves and shines on its bottom, Meandering exceedingly, and sometimes running underground. The trilliums on its brim have fallen into it and bathe their red berries in the water, waving in the stream . . .

(Journal, 4:303-305)
20 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  That large galium still abundant and in blossom, filling crevices. The Corallorhiza multiflora, coral-root (not odontorhiza, I think, for it has twenty-four flowers, and its germ is not roundish oval, and its lip is three-lobed), by Brister’s Spring. Found by R. W. E., August 12; also Goodyera pubescens found at same date. The purple gerardia is very beautiful now in green grass . . .
(Journal, 4:305-306)
21 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Weeds in potato-fields are now very rank. What should we come to if the season were longer, and the reins were given to vegetation? Those savages that do not wither before the glance of civilization, that are waiting their turn to be cultivated, preparing a granary for the birds . . .

  Moralists say of men, By their fruits ye shall know them, but botanists say of plants, By their flowers ye shall know them. This is very well generally, but they must make exceptions sometimes when the fruit is fairer than the flower . . .

(Journal, 4:306-308)
22 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunday. The ways by which men express themselves are infinite,—the literary through their writings, and often they do not mind with what air they walk the streets, being sufficiently reported otherwise. But some express themselves chiefly by their gait and carriage, with swelling breasts or elephantine roll and elevated brows . . .
(Journal, 4:308-310)
23 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P.M.—To Assabet . . .

  About 8 P.M.—To Cliffs, moon half full.

  As I go up the back road, I hear the loud ringing creak of crickets, louder singers on each apple tree by the roadside, with an intermittent pulsing creak. Not THe sound of a bird all the way to the woods. How dark the shadows of the pines and oaks fall across the woodland path! There is a new tree, another forest in the shadow. It is pleasant walking in these forest paths, with heavy darkness on one side and a silvery moonlight on the oak leaves on the other, and again, when the trees meet overhead, to tread the checkered floor of finely divided light and shade . . .

  Now I sit on the Cliffs and look abroad over the river and Conantum hills. I live so much in my habitual thoughts, a routine of thought, that I forget there is any outside to the globe, and am surprised when I behold it as now—yonder hills and river in the moonlight . . .

(Journal, 4:310-313)
24 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  How far we can be apart and yet attract each other! There is one who almost wholly misunderstands me and whom I too probably misunderstand, toward whom, nevertheless, I am distinctly drawn. I have the utmost human good-will toward that one, and yet I know not what mistrust keeps us asunder. I am so much and so exclusively the friend of my friend’s virtue that I am compelled to be silent for the most part, because his vice is present. I am made dumb by this third party. I only desire sincere relations with the worthiest of my acquaintance . . .
(Journal, 4:313-318)
25 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Cape Wrath, the northwest cape of Scotland. What a good name for a cape lying far away, dark, over the water, under a lowering sky!

  P.M.—To Conantum.

  The dandelion blooms again . . .

  At length, before sundown, it begins to rain. You can hardly say when it began, and now, after dark, the sound of it dripping and pattering without is quite cheering. It is long since I heard it. One of those serious and normal storms, not a shower which you can see through, something regular, a fall (?) rain, coincident with a different mood or season of the mind, not a transient cloud that drops rain . . .

(Journal, 4:318-320)
26 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Rain. Rain (Journal, 4:320).
27 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  It still rains . . .

  P.M.—To Walden.

  Storm drawing to a close. Crickets sound much louder after the rain in this cloudy weather . . .

  Paddled round the pond . . . Both fishes and plants are clean and bright, like the element they live in. Viewed from a hilltop, it is blue in the depths and green in the shallows, but from a boat it is seen to be a uniform dark green . . .

(Journal, 4:320-322)

Thoreau references passages in Walden (pp. 196, 198) and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (pp. 276, 279-280).

28 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sicyos angulatus, one-seeded star-cucumber in Aunt’s garden, probably in Julv. Nepeta Glechoma, ground ivy or gill, probably May, now out of bloom . . .(Journal, 4:322-323).
29 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A warm rain-storm in the night, with wind, and to-day it continues. The first leaves begin to fall; a few yellow ones lie in the road this morning, loosened by the rain and blown off by the wind. The ground in orchards is covered with windfalls; imperfect fruits now fall.

  We boast that we belong to the Nineteenth Century, and are making the most rapid strides of any nation. But consider how little this village does for its own culture. We have a comparatively decent system of common schools, schools for infants only, as it were, but, excepting the half-starved Lyceum in the winter, no school for ourselves. It is time that we had uncommon schools, that we did not leave off our education when we begin to be men . . .

(Journal, 4:323-325)
30 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A cold storm still,—this the third day,—and a fire to keep warm by. This, methinks, is the most serious storm since spring . . . (Journal, 4:325).
31 August 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Tuesday. 9 A.M.—Up river in boat to the bend above the Pantry.

  It is pleasant to embark on a voyage, if only for a short river excursion, the boat to be your home for the day, especially if it is neat and dry. A sort of moving studio it becomes, you can carry so many things with you. It is almost as if you put oars out at your windows and moved your house along . . .

  Landed at Lee’s Cliff, in Fair Haven Pond, and sat on the Cliff. Late in the afternoon. The wind is gone down; the water is smooth; a serene evening is approaching; the clouds are dispersing; the sun has shone once or twice, but is now in a cloud. The pond, so smooth and full of reflections after a dark and breezy day, is unexpectedly beautiful. There is a little boat on it, schooner-rigged, with three sails, a perfect little vessel and perfectly reflected now in the water . . .

(Journal, 4:325-334)
1 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  4 P.M.—To Walden.

  Paddling over it, I see large schools of perch only an inch long, yet easily distinguished by their transverse bars. Great is the beauty of a wooded shore seen from the water, for the trees have ample room to expand on that side, and each puts forth its most vigorous bough to fringe and adorn the pond. It is rare that you see so natural an edge to the forest. Hence a pond like this, surrounded by hills wooded down to the edge of the water, is the best place to observe the tints of the autumnal foliage. Moreover, such as stand in or near to the water change earlier than elsewhere . . .

(Journal, 4:335-340)
2 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Walden.

  The seringo, too, has long been silent like other birds. The red prinos berries ripe in sunny places. rose hips begin to be handsome. Small flocks of pigeons are seen these days. Distinguished from doves by their sharper wings and bodies. August has been a month of berries and melons, small fruits . . .

(Journal, 4:340-341)
3 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  1 A.M., moon waning, to Conantum.

  A warm night. A thin coat sufficient. I hear an apple fall, as I go along the road. Meet a man going to market thus early. There are no mists to diversify the night. Its features are very simple . . .

(Journal, 4:341)
5 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Cliffs.

  The petals of the purple gerardia strew the brooks. The oval spikes of somewhat pear-shaped berries of the arum perhaps vermilion-color now; its scapes bent to the ground . . .

(Journal, 4:342)
6 September 1852. Peterboro, N.H.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Monday. To Peterboro. Railroad to Mason Village.

  Observed from cars at 7.30 A.M. the dew, or fog rather, on the fine grass in meadows,—a dirty white, which, one of these mornings, will be frozen to a white frost . . . Walked from Mason Village over the mountain tops to Peterboro. Saw, sailing over Mason Village about 10 A. M., a white-headed and white-tailed eagle with black wings,—a grand sight . . .

  Went, still across lots, to Peterboro village, which we could not see from the mountain. But first we had seen the Lyndeboro Mountain, north of these two,—partly in Greenfield,—and further Crotched Mountain, and in the northeast Uncannunuc. Descended where, as usual, the forest had been burned formerly,—tall bleached masts still standing, making a very wild and agreeably [sic] scenery . . .

(Journal, 4:342-346)
7 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Tuesday. Went, across lots still, to Monadnock, the base some half-dozen miles in a straight line from Peterboro,—six or seven miles. (It had been eleven miles (by road) from Mason Village to Peterboro.) My clothes sprinkled with ambrosia pollen. Saw near the mountain a field of turnips whose leaves, all but the midribs, were eaten up by grasshoppers and looked white over the field . . .

  Were on the top of the mountain at 1 P.M. The cars left Troy, four or five miles off, at three. We reached the depot, by running at last, at the same instant the cars did, and reached Concord at a quarter after five, i.e. four hours from the time we were picking blueberries on the mountain, with the plants of the mountain fresh in my hat.

(Journal, 4:346-347)
8 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Grapes ripe on the Assabet for some days. Gentiana saponaria out. Carrion-flower berries ripe for some days. Polygala verticillata still, on left side of road beyond Lee place. I put it with the other polygalas in July. Do I perceive the shadows lengthen already?
(Journal, 4:348)
9 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  There arc enough who will flatter me with sweet words, and anon use bitter ones to balance them, but they are not my friends. Simple sincerity and truth are rare indeed. One acquaintance criticises me to my face, expecting every moment that I will become his friend to pay for it. I hear my acquaintance thinking his criticism aloud. We love to talk with those who can make a good guess at us, not with those who talk to us as if we were somebody else all the while. Our neighbors invite us to be amiable toward their vices. How simple is the law of love! One who loves us acts accordingly, and anon we come together and succeed together without let or hindrance . . .
(Journal, 4:348-349)
11 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Genius is like the snapping-turtle born with a great developed bead. They say our brain at birth is one sixth the weight of the body . . . (Journal, 4:349)
13 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Yesterday, it rained all day, with considerable wind, which has strewn the ground with apples and peaches, and, all the country over, people are busy picking up the windfalls. More leaves also have fallen. Rain has as much to do with it as wind. Rode round through Lincoln and a part of Weston and Wayland . . .

  In my ride I experienced the pleasure of coming into a landscape where there was more distance and a bluish tinge in the horizon. I am not contented long with such narrow valleys that all is greenness in them. I wish to see the earth translated, the green passing into blue. How this heaven intervenes and tinges our more distant prospects! The farther off the mountain which is the goal of our enterprise, the more of heaven’s tint it wears . . .

(Journal, 4:349-351)
14 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning the first frost. Yet the 10th was one of the warmest days in the year. Methinks it is the Amaranthus hypochondriacus, prince’s-feather, with “bright red-purple flowers” and sanguine stem, on Emerson’s muck-heap in the Turnpike, and the Polygonum orientale, prince’s-feather, in E. Hosmer’s grounds . . .
(Journal, 4:351-352)
16 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thursday. 8 A.M.—To Fair Haven Pond.

  Since the rains and the sun, great fungi, six inches in diameter, stand in the woods, warped upward on their edges, showing their gills, so as to hold half a gill of water . . .

  The rippled blue surface of Fair Haven from the Cliffs, with its smooth white border where weeds preserve the surface smooth, a placid silver-plated rim. The pond is like the sky with a border of whitish clouds in the horizon . . .

(Journal, 4:352-353)
17 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  What produces this flashing air of autumn?—a brightness as if there were not green enough to absorb the light, now that the first frosts wither the herbs. The corn-stalks are stacked like muskets along the fields. The pontederia leaves are sere and brown along the river. The fall is further advanced in the water, as the spring was earlier there . . .
(Journal, 4:354)
18 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I think it must be the, Cornus sericea which I have called the stolonifera. Vide that red stern on the Bear Hill road. The poor student begins now to seek the sun. In the forenoons I move into a chamber on the east side of the house, and so follow the sun round. It is agreeable to stand in a new relation to the sun. They begin to have a fire occasionally below-stairs.

  3.30 P.M.—A-barberrying to Flint’s Pond . . .

  Sophia has come from Bangor and brought the Dalibarda repens, white dalibarda, a little crenate-roundedheart-shaped-leafed flower of damp woods . . .

(Journal, 4:354-356)
19 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Great Meadows.

  The red capsules of the sarothra. Many large crickets about on the sand. Observe the effects of frost in particular places. Some blackberry vines are very red . . .

(Journal, 4:356-357)
20 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  On Heywood’s Peak by Walden.—The surface is not perfectly smooth, on account of the zephyr, and the reflections of the woods are a little indistinct and blurred. How soothing to sit on a stump on this height, overlooking the pond, and study the dimpling circles which are incessantly inscribed and again erased on the smooth and otherwise invisible surface, amid the reflected skies! The reflected sky is of a deeper blue. How beautiful that over this vast expanse there can be no disturbance, but it is thus at once gently smoothed away and assuaged, as, when a vase of water is jarred, the trembling circles seek the shore and all is smooth again! . . .
(Journal, 4:357-358)
21 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Conantum.

  The small skull-cap and cress and the mullein still in bloom. I see pigeon woodpeckers oftener now, with their light rears . . .

  As I was walking through the maple swamp by the Corner Spring, I was surprised to see apples on the ground, and at first supposed that somebody had dropped them, but, looking up, I detected a wild apple tree, as tall and slender as the young maples and not more than five inches in diameter at the ground. This had blossomed and borne fruit this year. The apples were quite mellow and of a very agreeable flavor, though they had a rusty-scraperish look, and I filled my pockets with them. The squirrels had found them out before me. It is an agreeable surprise to find in the midst of a swamp so large and edible a fruit as an apple . . .

(Journal, 4:358-359)
22 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sophia has in her herbarium and found in Concord these which I have not seen this summer:—

  Pogonia verticillata, Hubbard’s Second Wood. Bigelow says July.

  Trillium crythrocarpum, Bigelow Says May and June

  Uvularia perfoliata, Bigelow says May.

  P.M.—On river . . .

  In love we impart, each to each, in subtlest immaterial form of thought or atmosphere, the best of ourselves, such as commonly vanishes or evaporates in aspirations, and mutually enrich each other . . .

(Journal, 4:360)
23 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Round by Clematis Brook.

  The forget-me-not still. I observe the rounded tops of the dogwood bushes, scarlet in the distance, on the edge of the meadow (Hubbard’s), more full and bright than any flower . . .

(Journal, 4:360-362)
24 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  According to Emerson, Lonicera hirsuta, hairy honeysuckle, grows in Sudbury . . . (Journal, 4:362).
25 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Polygonum dumetorum, climbing false-buckwheat, still; also dodder. The fall dandelions are a prevailing flower on low turfy grounds, especially near the river . . . (Journal, 4:362).
26 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Dreamed of purity last night. The thoughts seemed not to originate with me, but I was invested, my thought was tinged, by another’s thought. It was not I that originated, but I that entertained the thought . . .

  P.M.—To Ministerial Swamp.

  The small cottony leaves of the fragrant everlasting in the fields for some time, protected, as it were, by a little web of cotton against frost and snow,—a little dense web of cotton spun over it,—entangled in it,—as if to restrain it from rising higher . . .

(Journal, 4:363-364)
27 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Monday. P.M.—To C. Smith’s Hill.

  The flashing clearness of tire atmosphere. More light appears toy be reflected from the earth, less absorbed . . .

  From Smith’s Hill I looked toward the mountain line. Who can believe that the mountain peak which he beholds fifty miles off in the horizon, rising far and faintly blue above an intermediate range, while he stands on his trivial native hills or in the dusty highway, can be the same with that which he looked up at once near at hand from a gorge in the midst of primitive woods? For a part of two days I travelled across lots once, loitering by the way, through primitive wood and swamps over the highest peak of the Peterboro hills to Monadnock . . .

(Journal, 4:364-367)
28 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To the Boulder Field.

  I find the hood-leaved violet quite abundant in a meadow, and the pedata in the Boulder Field . . .

  Children are now gathering barberries,—just the right time. Speaking of the great fall flower which the valleys are at present, its brightest petal is still the scarlet one of dogwood, and in some places the redder red maple one is equally bright . . .

(Journal, 4:367-368)
30 September 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  10 A.M.—To Fair Haven Pond, bee-hunting,-Pratt, Rice, Hastings, and myself, in a wagon.

  A fine, clear day after the coolest night and severest frost we have had . . . .

  After we got to the Baker Farm, to one of the open fields nearest to the tree I had marked, the first thing was to find some flowers and catch some honey-bees. We followed up the bank of the brook for some distance, but the goldenrods were all dried up there, and the asters on which we expected to find them were very scarce . By the pond-side we had no better luck, the frosts perhaps having made flowers still more scarce there. We then took the path to Clematis Brook on the north of Mt. Misery . . . I had cut my initials in the bark in the winter, for custom gives the first finder of the nest a right to the honey and to cut down the tree to get it and pay the damages, and if he cuts his initials on it no other hunter will interfere . . .

(Journal, 4:368-375)
1 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Friday. Surveying in Lincoln. A frost last night. The young and tender trees begin to assume the autumnal tints more generally . . . (Journal, 4:376).
2 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Cliffs.

  The beggar-ticks (Bidens) now adhere to my clothes. I also find the desmodium sooner thus—as a magnet discovers the steel filings in a heap of ashes—than if I used my eyes alone . . .

(Journal, 4:376)
3 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Flint’s Pond.

  I hear a hylodes (?) from time to time. Shrub oaks are red, some of them. Hear the loud laughing of a loon on Flint’s, apparently alone in the middle. A wild sound, heard far and suited to the wildest lake . . .

(Journal, 4:377)
5 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Was told at Bunker Hill Monument to-day that? Mr. Savage saw the White Mountains several times while working on the monument. It required very clear weather in the northwest and a storm clearing up here (Journal, 4:377).
7 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Great Meadows.

  I find no fringed gentian. Perhaps the autumnal tints are as bright and interesting now as they will be. Now is the time to behold the maple swamps, one mass of red and yellow, all on fire, as it were . . .

  I sit on Poplar Hill. It is a warm Indian-summerish afternoon. The sun comes out of clouds, and lights up and warms the whole scene. It is perfect autumn. I see a hundred smokes arising through the yellow elmtops in the village, where the villagers are preparing for tea. It is the mellowing year. The sunshine harmonizes with the, imbrowned and fierv foliage . . .

(Journal, 4:377-379)
8 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Walden . . .

  The autumnal tints about the pond are now perfect. Nothing can exceed the brilliancy of some of the maples which stand by the shore and extend their red banners over the water. Why should so many be yellow? I see the browner yellow of the chestnuts on Pine Hill. The maples and hickories are a clearer yellow. Some white oaks are red. The shrub oaks are bloody enough for a ground. The red and black oaks are yet green . . .

(Journal, 4:379-381)
9 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Touch-me-not, self-heal, Bidens cernua, ladies’-tresses, cerastium, dwarf tree-primrose, butter-and-eggs (abundant), prenanthes, sium, silvery cinquefoil, mayweed. My rainbow rush must be the Juncus militaris, not yet colored.
(Journal, 4:381-382)
10 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Burdock, Ranunculus acris, rough hawkweed. A drizzling rain to-day. The air is full of falling leaves . . . (Journal, 4:382).
11 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Monday. Most leaves are already somewhat faded and withered. Their tints are not so bright. The chestnut leaves already rustle with a great noise as you wall. through the woods, as they lie light, firm, and crisp. Now the chestnuts are rattling out. The burs are gaping and showing the plump nuts . . .
(Journal, 4:382-383)
12 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I am struck by the superfluity of light in the atmosphere in the autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints. Can it be because there is less vapor? . . . (Journal, 4:383-385).
13 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Cliffs.

  Many maples have lost all their leaves and are shrunk all at once to handsome clean gray wisps on the edge of the meadows, where, crowded together, at a distance they look like smoke. This is a sudden and important change, produced mainly, I suppose, by the rain of Sunday, 10th. The autumnal tints have commonly already lost their brightness. It lasts but a day or two . . .

(Journal, 4:385-386)
14 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  That coarse yellowish fungus is very common in the paths in woods of late, for a month, often picked by birds, often decayed, often mashed by the foot like a piece of pumpkin, defiling and yellowing the grass, as if a liquor (or dust) distilled from them. The pines are now two-colored, green and yellow,—the latter just below the ends of the boughs . . .
(Journal, 4:386-387)
15 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  9 A.M.—The first snow is falling (after not very cool weather), in large flakes, filling the air and obscuring the distant woods and houses, as if the inhabitants above were emptying their pillow-cases . . .


  The water of Walden is a light green next the shore, apparently because of the light rays reflected from the sandy bottom mingling with the rays which the water reflects . . .

(Journal, 4:387-388)
16 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saturday. The sidewalks are covered with the impressions of leaves which fell yesterday and were pressed into the soil by the feet of the passers, leaving a myriad dark spots—like bird-tracks or hieroglyphics to a casual observer . . .(Journal, 4:388).
18 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Up river to Bittern Cliff.

  A mild, still, but cloudy, or rather misty, afternoon. The water is at present perfectly smooth and calm, but covered with a kind of smoky or hazy film. Nevertheless, the reflections of distant woods, though less distinct, are softer, seen through this smoky and darkened atmosphere. I speak only of the reflections as seen in the broader bays and longer reaches of the river, as at the Willow End . . .

(Journal, 4:389-390)
19 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I see the dandelion blossoms in the path. The buds of the skunk-cabbage already show themselves in the meadow, the pointed involucres (?).

  At 5 P.M. I found the fringed gentian now somewhat stale and touched by frost, being in the meadow toward Peter’s . . .

(Journal, 4:390-391)
20 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Many a man, when I tell him that I have been on to a mountain, asks if I took a glass with me. No doubt, I could have seen further with a glass, and particular objects more distinctly,—could have counted more meeting-houses; but this has nothing to do with the peculiar beauty and grandeur of the view which an elevated position affords . . .
(Journal, 4:391-392)
21 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Thursday. P.M.—To Second Division Brook and Ministerial Swamp . . .

  Cxilpin speaks of “floats of timber” on the river Wey, in 1775, as picturesque objects. Thus in the oldest settled and civilized country there is a resemblance or reminiscence still of the primitive new country, and more or less timber never ceases to grow on the head waters of its streams, and perchance tile wild muskrat still perforates its banks . . .

(Journal, 4:392-394)
22 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Walden.

  Ebby Hubbard’s oaks, now turned a sober and warm red and yellow, have a very rich crisp and curled look, especially against the green pines. This is when the ripe, high-colored leaves have begun to curl and wither. The they have a warm and harmonious tint . . .

(Journal, 4:394-396)
23 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Conantum.

  This may be called an Indian-summer day. It is quite hazy withal, and the mountains invisible. I see a horehound turned lake or steel-claret color . . .

  My friend is one whom I meet, who takes me for what I am. A stranger takes me for something else than I am. We do not speak, we cannot communicate, till we find that we are recognized . . .

(Journal, 4:396-397)
24 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Another Indian-summer day.

  P.M.—Rode to Stow via powder-mills with W.E.C. [William Ellery Channing], returning via the fir tree house, Vose’s Hill, and Corner.

  The road through the woods this side the powdermills was very gorgeous with the sun shining endwise through it, and the red tints of the deciduous trees, now somewhat imbrowned, mingled with the liquid green of the pines . . .

(Journal, 4:398)
25 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Monday. P.M.—Down river to Ball’s Hill in boat.

  Another perfect Indian-summer day. One of my oars makes a creaking sound like a block in a harbor, such a sound as would bring tears into an old sailor’s eyes. It suggests to me adventure and seeking one’s fortune . . .

  The autumnal tints grow gradually darker and duller, but not less rich to my eye. And now a hillside near the river exhibits the darkest, crispy reds and browns of every hue, all agreeably blended. At the foot, next the meadow, stands a front rank of smoke-like maples bare of leaves, intermixed with yellow birches . . .

(Journal, 4:399-400)
26 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Walden and Cliffs.

  There are no skaters on the pond now. It is cool today and windier. The water is rippled considerably. As I stand in the boat, the farther off the water, the bluer it is. Looking straight down, it is a dark green. Hence, apparently, the celestial blueness of those distant river-reaches, when the water is agitated, so that their surfaces reflect. the sky at the right angle . . .

(Journal, 4:400-401)
28 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Sunset from the Poplar Hill. A warm, moist afternoon. The clouds lift in the west,—indeed the horizon is now clear all around,—and suddenly the light of the setting sun yellows and warms all the landscape . . .

  8 P.M.—To Cliffs.

  The moon beginning to wane. It is a quite warm but moist night . . .

  The forest has lost so many leaves that its floor and paths are much more checkered with light. I hear no sound but the rustling of the withered leaves, which lulls the few and silent birds to sleep, and, on the wooded hilltops, the roar of the wind. Each tree is a harp which resounds all night, though some have but a few leaves left to flutter and hum. From the Cliffs, the river and pond are exactly the color of the sky. Though the latter is slightly veiled with a thin mist . . .

(Journal, 4:401-404)
30 October 1852. Concord, Mass.

On 1 November, Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Day before yesterday to the Cliffs in the rain, misty rain. As I approached their edge, I saw the woods beneath, Fair Haven Pond, and the hills across the river,—which, owing to the mist, was as far as I could see, and seemed much further in consequence . . .
(Journal, 4:405)
1 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  A warm, mizzling kind of rain for two days past and still. Stellaria media in Cheney’s garden, as last spring . . .

  It is remarkable how native man proves himself to the earth, after all, and the completeness of his life in all its appurtenances. His alliances, how wide! He has domesticated not only beasts and fowl . . .

(Journal, 4:405-406)
2 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Walden.

  In the latter part of October the skaters and water-bugs entirely disappear from the surface of the pond, and then and in November, when the weather is perfectly calm, it is almost absolutely as smooth as glass. This afternoon a three-days’ rain-storm is drawing to an end, though still overcast. The air is quite still but misty, from time to time mizzling, and the pond is very smooth, and its surface difficult to distinguish, though it no longer reflects the bright tints of autumn but sombre colors only . . .

(Journal, 4:406-408)
3 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  3 P.M.—To Cliffs and Andromeda Ponds . . .

  Or I was startled by the cracking of the ground in the coldest nights, which sounded as if it were my house that cracked, and in the morning I would find a crack in the earth a quarter of an inch wide and a quarter of a mile long.

  The sunsets begin to be interestingly warm.

(Journal, 4:408-409)
4 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Autumnal dandelion and yarrow.

  Must be out-of-doors enough to get experience of wholesome reality, as a ballast to thought and sentiment. Health requires this relaxation, this aimless life. This life in the present. Let a man have thought what he will of Nature in the, house, she will still be novel outdoors . . .

  My thought is a part of the meaning of the world, and hence I use a part of the world as a symbol to express my thought.

(Journal, 4:409-410)
9 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  All around Walden, both in the thickest wood and where the wood has been cut off, there can be traced a meandering narrow shelf on the steep hillside, the footpath worn by the feet of Indian hunters, and still occasionally trodden by the white man, probably as old as the race of man here . . .
(Journal, 4:411)
11 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Did Harris call the water-bug Gyrinus to-day (Journal, 4:411)?
12 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  4 P.M.—To Cliffs.

  It clears up. A very bright rainbow. Three reds and greens. I see its foot within half a mile in the southeast, heightening the green of the pines. From Fair Haven Hill, I see a very distant, long, low dark-blue cloud, still left, in the northwest horizon beyond the mountains . . .

(Journal, 4:411-412)
13 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saturday. To Andromeda Ponds. Andromeda is a dull reddish brown, like oak leaves. Saw a flock of little passenger birds by Walden, busily pecking at the white birch catkins . . . (Journal, 4:412).
14 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Still yarrow, tall buttercup, and tansy (Journal, 4:412).
16 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  9 A.M.—Sail up river to Lee’s Bridge.

  Colder weather and very windy, but still no snow. A verv little ice along the edges of the river, which does not all melt before night . . .

(Journal, 4:412-413)

Thoreau writes to George William Curtis:

Dear Sir,

  I send you herewith 100 pages of “Cape Cod.” It is not yet half the whole. The remainder of the narrative is more personal, as I reach the scene of my adventures. I am a little in doubt about the extracts from the old ministers. If you prefer to, you may omit from the middle of the 86th page to the end of this parcel: (the rest being respected); or perhaps a smaller type will use it up fast enough.

  As for the conditions of sale; if you accept the paper, it is to be mine to reprint, if I think it worth the while, after it has appeared in your journal.

  I shall expect to be paid as fast as the paper is printed, and if it is likely to be on hand long, to receive reasonable warning of it.

  I have collected this under several heads for your convenience. The next subject is “The Beach,” which I will copy out & forward as soon as you desire it.

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 288-289)
18 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Measured a stick of round timber, probably white pine, on the cars this afternoon . . . (Journal, 4:413)
21 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  1 was surprised this afternoon to find the river skimmed over in some places, and Fair Haven Pond one-third frozen or skimmed over, though commonly there is scarcely any ice to be observed along the shores . . .
(Journal, 4:413-414)
23 November 1852.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal:

  This morning the ground is white with snow, and it still snows. This is the first. time it has been fairly white this season, though once before, many weeks ago, it was slightly whitened for ten or fifteen minutes. It was so warm and still last night at sundown that I remarked to a neighbor that it was moderating to snow. It is, in some degree, also, warmer after the first snow has come and banked up the houses and filled the crevices in the roof. Already the landscape impresses me with a greater sense of fertility . . .

  3 P.M.—To Cliffs and Walden.

  You must go forth early to see the snow on the twigs. The twigs and leaves are all bare now, and the snow half melted on the ground . . . The beauty and purity of new-fallen snow, lying just as it fell, on the twigs and leaves all the country over, afforded endless delight to the walker. It was a delicate and fairylike scene . . .

(Journal, 4:414-416)

New York, N.Y. Horace Greeley writes to Thoreau:

My Dear Thoreau,

  I have made no bargain—none whatever—with [George Palmer] Putnam, concerning your MS. I have indicated no price to him, I handed over the MS. because I wish it published, and presumed that was in accordance both with your interest and your wishes.

  And I now say to you that if he will pay you $3 per printed page, I think that will be very well. I have promised to write something for him myself, and shall be well satisfied with that price. Your `Canada’ is not so fresh and acceptable as if it had just been written on the strength of a last summer’s trip, and I hope you will have it printed in Putnam’s Monthly. But I have said nothing to his folks as to price, and will not till I hear from you again.

  Very probably, there was some misapprehension on the part of Geo. Curtis. I presume the price now offered you is that paid to writers generally for the Monthly.

  As to Sartain, I know his magazine has broken down, but I guess he will pay you. I have not seen but one o£ your articles printed by him, and I think the other may be reclaimed. Please address him at once. I have been very busy the past season, and had to let every thing wait that could till after Nov. 2d.

Horace Greeley

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 289-290)
24 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At this time last year the andromeda in the Ministerial Swamp was red. Now it has not turned from brown (Journal, 4:416).
25 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  At Walden.—I hear at sundown what I mistake for the squawking of a hen,—for they are firing at chickens hereabouts,—but it proved to be a flock of wild geese going south. This proves how much the voices of all fowls are alike.
(Journal, 4:416)
27 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Almost an Indian-summer day. The shrub oaks and the sprouts make woods you can look down on. They are now our rustling gardens . . .

  Like many of my contemporaries I had rarely for many years used animal food, or tea or coffee, etc., etc., not so much because of any ill effects which I had traced to them in my own case, though I could theorize extensively in that direction, as because it was not agreeable to my imagination . . . The repugnance to animal food and the rest is not the result of experience, but is an instinct.

(Journal, 4:417)
29 and 30 November and 1 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The snow which fell the 23d whitened the ground but a day or two. These have been the mildest and pleasantest days since November came in.

  November 29th, walked in P. M. to old stone bridge and down bank of river by Sam Barrett’s house . . .

(Journal, 4:417-418)
30 November 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Pine Hill.

  The buds of the Populus tremuloides show their down as in early spring, and the early willows. Wood-choppers have commenced some time since. This is another pleasant day. From Pine Hill, Wachusett is seen over Walden. The country seems to slope up from the west end of Walden to the mountain . . .

(Journal, 4:418)
1 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  To Cliffs.

  The snow keeps off unusually. The landscape is the color of a russet apple which has no golden cheek. The sunset sky supplies that . . .

(Journal, 4:419)
2 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  The pleasantest day of all.

  Started in boat before 9 A.M. down river to Billerica with W.E.C. [William Ellery Channing]

  Not wind enough for a sail. I do not remember when I have taken a sail or a row on the river in December before. We had to break the ice about the boat-house for some distance. Still no snow . . .

  C. says, “Let us land” (in an orchard by Atkins’s (?) boathouse). “The angle of incidents should be equal to the angle of reflection.” We did so. By the island where I formerly camped, half a mile or more above the bridge on the road from Chelmsford to Bedford, we saw a mink . . .

  Long did it take to sink the Carlisle Bridge. The reflections after sunset were distinct and glorious,—the heaven into which we unceasingly rowed. I thought now that the angle of reflection was greater than the angle of incidents. It cooler grew. The stars came out soon after we turned Ball’s Hill, and it became difficult to distinguish our course . . .

(Journal, 4:419-423)
5 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Rowed over Walden!

  A dark, but warm, misty day, completely overcast. This great rise of the pond after an interval of many years, and the water standing at this great height for a year or more, kills the shrubs and trees about its edge,—pitch pines, birches, alders, aspens, etc .,—and, falling again, leaves an unobstructed shore. The rise and fall of the pond serves this use at least . . .

  I have said that Walden has no visible inlet nor outlet, but it is on the one hand distantly and indirectly related to Flint’s Pond, which is more elevated, by a chain of small ponds coming from that quarter, and on the other hand directly and manifestly related to Concord River, which is lower, by a similar chain of ponds, through which in some other geological period it may have flowed thither . . .

(Journal, 4:423-425)
6 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Though foul weather yesterday, this is the warmest and pleasantest day yet. Cows are turned out to pasture again. On the Corner causeway fine cobwebs glimmer in the air . . . (Journal, 4:425-426).
7 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—Perhaps the warmest day yet. True Indian summer. The walker perspires . . . (Journal, 4:426).
8 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Another Indian-summer day. Saw some puffballs in the woods, wonderfully full of sulphur-like dust, which yellowed my shoes, greenish-yellow. The recent water-line at Walden is quite distinct . . .
(Journal, 4:426)
9 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To C. Smith’s Hill.

  Those little ruby-crownued wrens (?) still about. They suddenly dash away from this side to that in flocks, with a tumultuous note, half jingle, half rattle, like nuts shaken in a bag, or a bushel of nutshells . . .

(Journal, 4:426-427)
12 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Cold at last. Saw a violet on the C. Miles road where the bank had been burned in the fall. Bæomyces roseus also. Tansy still fresh yellow by the Corner Bridge. From Cliffs I see snow on the mountains . . .
(Journal, 4:427-428)
13 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Walk early through the woods to Lincoln to survey. Winter weather may be said to have begun yesterday. River and ponds all open. Goose Pond skimmed over. Why have I ever omitted early rising and a morning walk?

  As we walked over the Cedar Hill, Mr. Weston asked me if I had ever noticed how the frost formed around a particular weed in the grass, and no other. It was a clear cold morning. We stooped to examine, and I observed, about the base of the Lechea major (?), or larger pinweed, the frost formed into little flattened trumpets or bells, an inch or more long, with the mouth down about the base of the stem. They were very conspicuous, dotting the grass white. But what was most remarkable was that, though there were plenty of other dead weeds and grasses about, no other species exhibited this phenomenon . . .

  I observed a mouse run down a bush by the pond-side. I approached and found that he had neatly covered over a thrasher or other bird’s nest (it was made partly of sticks like a thrasher’s), about four or five feet from the ground, and lined it warmly with that common kind of green moss (?) which grows about the base of oaks, but chiefly with a kind [of] vegetable wool, perhaps from the wool-grass. He appeared to be a reddish brown above and cream-colored beneath, and ran swiftly down the stems . . .

(Journal, 4:428-429)
14 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Tuesday. P.M.—To Assabet Stone Bridge.

  We have now the scenery of winter, though the snow is but an inch or two deep . . .

  Ah, who can tell the serenity and clarity of a New England winter sunset? This could not be till the cold and the snow came. . . .

(Journal, 4:429-430)
15 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Saw a small flock of geese go over.

  One’s life, the enterprise he is here upon, should certainly be a grand fact to consider, not a mean or insignificant one. A man should not live without a purpose . . .

(Journal, 4:430)
16 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Observed the reflection of the snow on Pine Hill from Walden, extending far beyond the true limits of a reflection, quite across the pond . . . (Journal, 4:430)
18 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  P.M.—To Annursnack.

  Sedum Telephium, garden orpine or live-for-ever; I think this is the plant with a sort of pineapple-leaved and sheathed bulbs, on a rock between Cox’s and Heywood’s . . .

(Journal, 4:430-431)
20 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

On 22 December, Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Surveying the Hunt Farm this and the 20th . . . (Journal, 4:431-432)

21 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

On 22 December, Thoreau writes in his journal:

  C. says that Flint’s Pond was frozen over yesterday . . . (Journal, 4:431-432).
22 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Wednesday. Surveying the Hunt Farm this and the 20th . . .

  A rambling, rocky, wild, moorish pasture, this of Hunt’s, with two or three great white oaks to shade the cattle, which the farmer would not take fifty dollars apiece for, though the ship-builder wanted them . . .

(Journal, 4:431-432)
27 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Monday. Not a particle of ice in Walden to-day. Paddled across it. I took my new boat out. A black and white duck on it, Flint’s and Fair Haven being frozen up. Ground bare. River open . . .
(Journal, 4:432)
28 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  Brought my boat from Walden in rain. No snow on ground. Grass in the churchyard and elsewhere green as in the spring . . .

  Both for bodily and mental health, court the present. Embrace health wherever you find her . . .

  It is worth the while to apply what wisdom one has to the conduct of his life, surely. I find myself oftenest wise in little things and foolish in great ones. That I may accomplish some particular petty affair well, I live my whole life coarsely. A broad margin of leisure is as beautiful in a man’s life as in a book. Haste makes waste, no less in life than in housekeeping. Keep the time, observe the hours of the universe, not of the cars. What are threescore years and ten hurriedly and coarsely lived to moments of divine leisure in which your life is coincident with the life of the universe? We live too fast and coarsely, just as we eat too fast, and do not know the true savor of our food. We consult our will and understanding and the expectation of men, not our genius . . .

(Journal, 4:432-434)
30 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  In Audubon’s Animals:—

  Sigmodon hispidum, Say and Ord.

  Marsh-Rat of Lawson’s Carolina.

  Wood-Rat, Bartram’s Travels in Florida.

  Arvicola hispidus, Godman.

  Arvcicola hortensis of Griffith and of Cuvier.

  The plate of this resembles my mouse of December 13th.

(Journal, 4:434)
31 December 1852. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

  I was this afternoon gathering chestnuts at Saw Mill Brook. I have within a few weeks spent some hours thus, scraping away the leaves with my hands and feet over some square rods, and have at least learned how chestnuts are planted and new forests raised . . .

  It is a sort of frozen rain this afternoon, which does not wet one, but makes the still bare ground slippery with a coating of ice . . .

(Journal, 4:434-435)

Thoreau writes to Marston Watson:

Mr. Watson,—

  I would be glad to visit Plymouth again, but at present I have nothing to read which is not severely heathenish, or at least secular,—which the dictionary defines as “relating to affairs of the present world, not holy,”—though not necessarily unholy,” nor have I any leisure to prepare it. My writing at present is profane, yet in a good sense, and, as it were, sacredly, I may say; for, finding the air of the temple too close, I sat outside. Don’t think I say this to get off; no, no! It will not do to read such things to hungry ears. “If they ask for bread, will you give them a stone?” When I have something of the right kind, depend upon it I will let you know.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 290-291)

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