the Thoreau Log.
1 January 1862. Concord, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Orchards are generous as well as grateful, and in times of war especially should they intimate the courtesies of peace and of fraternity. Mine is thus disposed, and after the day’s business about my paper on “The Countryman in his Garden,” I take apples and bottles of cider to my friends [Nathaniel] Hawthorne, [Ralph Waldo] Emerson, [William Ellery] Channing.

  Also to Thoreau, and spend the evening, sad to find him failing and feeble. He is talkative, however; is interested in books and men, in our civil troubles especially, and speaks impatiently of what he calls the temporizing policy of our rulers; blames the people too for their indifferency to the true issues of national honor and justice. Even Seward’s letter to Earl Grey respecting Mason’s and Liddell’s case, comforting as it is to the country and serving as a foil to any hostile designs of England for the time at least, excites his displeasure as seeming to be humiliating to us, and dishonorable.

  We talk of Pliny, whose books he is reading with delight. Also of Evelyn and the rural authors. If not a writer of verses, Thoreau is a poet in spirit, and has come as near to the writing of pastorals as any poet of his time. Were his days not numbered, and his adventures in the wild world once off his hands, then he might come to orchards and gardens, perhaps treat these in manner as masterly, uniting the spirit of naturalist and poet in his page. But the most he may hope for is to prepare his manuscripts for others’ editing, and take his leave of them and us. I fear he has not many months to abide here, and the spring’s summons must come for him soon to partake of “Syrian peace, immortal leisure.”

(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 342-343)
3 January 1862. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes a receipt for George Hosmer:

Rec’d of Geo Hosmer twenty
dollars in full for one yr rent
of House to Jan 1st 1862
Henry D Thoreau for Maria Thoreau.
(Thoreau Research Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 4 (October 1990):8)
6 January 1862. Dutchess County, N.Y.

Myron Benton writes to Thoreau:

  The secret of the influence by which your writings charm me is altogether as intangible, though real, as the attraction of Nature herself. I read and re-read your books with ever fresh delight. Nor is it pleasure alone; there is a singular spiritual healthiness with which they seem imbued,—the expression of a soul essentially sound, so free from any morbid tendency . . .

  I was in hope to read something more form your pen in Mr. Conway’s “Dial,” but only recognized that fine pair of Walden twinlets. Of your two books, I perhaps prefer the “Week,”—but after all, “Walden” is but little less a favorite. In the former, I like especially those little snatches of poetry interspersed throughout. I would like to ask what progress you have made in a work some way connected with natural history,—I think it was on Botany,—which Mr. Emerson told me something about in a short interview I had with him two years ago at Poughkeepsie . . .

  If you should feel perfectly able at any time to drop me a few lines, I would like much to know what your state of health is, and if there is, as I cannot but hope, a prospect of your speedy recovery.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 632)
Thoreau replies on 21 March.
7 January 1862. New Bedford, Mass.
Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:
My dear Friend,—

  I thought you would like to have a few lines from me, providing they required no answer.

  I have quite recovered from my illness, and am able to walk and skate as usual. My son, Walton, and I do both nearly every day of late. The weather here—as I suppose has been the case with you at Concord—has been very cold, the thermometer as low one morn (Saturday last) as five degrees above zero.

  We propose soon to take our annual tour on skates over the Middleboro’ ponds.

  I received your sister’s letter in reply to mine inquiring after your health. I was sorry to hear of your having pleurisy, but it may prove favorable after all to your case, as a counter-irritant often does to sick people. It appears to me you will in time recover—Nature can’t spare you, and we all, your friends, can’t spare you. So you must look out for us and hold on these many years yet.

  I wish I could see you oftener. I don’t believe in your silence and absence from congenial spirits. Companionship is one of the greatest blessings to me.

  Remember me kindly to my valued friends Mr. and Mrs. Alcott.

Yours truly, in haste,
D. R.

P.S. Thank your sister for her letter.

  At any time when you wish to visit us, just send a line. You are always welcome.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 633)
10 January 1862. Worcester, Mass.

Theophilus Brown writes to Thoreau:

Friend Thoreau—

  The demand for your books here seems to be rather on the increase. Two copies of the Week are wanted & I am requested to write for them.

  Walden also is wanted but I presume you can’t help us to that.

  You will have to get out another edition of that. I hope the next edition of both books will be small in size & right for the pocket, & for “field service.”

  Is it discouraging to you to have me speak thus of your books?—to see me sticking at what you have left? Have you left it?

  Whether it be discouraging to you or the contrary, I have long desired to acknowledge my indebtedness to you for them & to tell you that through them the value of everything seems infinitely enhanced to me.

  We took to the river and our skates, instead of the cars, on leaving you & had a good time of it, keeping above the ice all the way.
The little snow-storm that we started in grew into quite a large one, or fast one, & made the day all the better. There was a sober cheer in the day, such as belongs to stormy days.

  But to come back to business. I was requested to ask you to write your name in one of the books. & I would like to have you write it in the other—

  I have forgotten the price of your books but I have the impression that it is $1.25 and accordingly will enclose $2.50. If I am not right you will tell me.

Your friend
Theo. Brown

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 634; MS, Henry David Thoreau papers (Series IV). Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library)

Bronson Alcott writes to Daniel Ricketson:

Dear Friend,—

  You have not been informed of Henry’s condition this winter, and will be sorry to hear that he grows feebler day by day, and is evidently failing and fading from our sights. He gets some sleep and has a pretty good appetite, reads at intervals, takes notes of his readings, and likes to see his friends, conversing, however with difficulty, as his voice partakes of his general debility. We had thought this oldest inhabitant of our Planet would have chosen to stay and see it fairly dismissed into the Chaos (out of which he has brought such precious jewels,—gifts to friends, to mankind generally, diadems for fame to coming followers, forgetful of his own claims to the honors) before he chose simply to withdraw from the space and times he has adorned with the truth of genius. But the masterly work is nearly done for us here. And our woods and fields are sorrowing, though not in sombre, but in robes of white, so becoming to the piety and probity they have known so long, and soon are to miss. There has been none such since Pliny, and it will be long before there comes his like: the most sagacious and wonderful Worthy of his time, and a marvel to coming ones.

  I write at the suggestion of his sister, who thought his friends would like to be informed of his condition to the latest date.

  Ever yours and respectfully,

  A Bronson Alcott

(Familiar Letters of Thoreau, 397-398)

12 January 1862. Concord, Mass.

Franklin B. Sanborn writes to Thoreau:

My dear Friend:

  If you have read the magazine which I loaned you the other day, (The Continental) will you have the goodness to give it to the bearer who will take it to Mrs [Sarah Bradford?] Ripley’s for Miss [Amelia?] Goodwin.

Yours truly
F. B. Sanborn

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 635)
17 January 1862. Concord, Mass.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

  Here dies, last week, the excellent Mary H. Russell; and I am ever threatened by the decays of Henry T. (The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 15:165).

Russell died 12 January 1862.

26 January 1862. Concord, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  I take tea again with Thoreau. He is no better, as busy as ever with his books and manuscripts, enjoys his friends, and seems anticipating his summons at any moment (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 346).
February 1862.

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

  [Alek] Therien came to see Thoreau on business, but Thoreau at once perceived that he had been drinking; and advised him to go home & cut his throat, and that speedily. Therien did not well know what to make of it, but went away, & Thoreau said, he learned that he had been repeating it about town, which he was glad to hear, & hoped that by this time he had begun to understand what it meant.
(The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 15:239)

Boston, Mass. The Atlantic Monthly prints “Mason and Slidell: A Yankee Idyll” by James Russell Lowell, which refers to the village of Concord:

But nowadays the Bridge ain’t what they show,
So much ez Em’son, Hawthorne, an’ Thoreau.
I know the village, though: was sent there once
A-schoolin’, coz to home I played the dunce;
An’ I’ve ben sence a-visitin’ the Jedge,
Whose garding whispers with the river’s edge,
Where I’ve sot mornin’s, lazy as the bream,
Whose only business is to head up-stream,
(We call ’em punkin-seed,) or else in chat
Along’th the Jedge, who covers with his hat
More wit an’ gumption an’ shrewd Yankee sense
Than there is mosses on an ole stone fence.

“Snow” by Thomas Wentworth Higginson in the same issue also mentions Thoreau:

   . . . our prevalent association with winter, in the Northern United States, is with something white and dazzling and brilliant; and it is time to paint our own pictures, and cease to borrow these gloomy alien tints. One must turn eagerly every season to the few glimpses of American winter aspects: to Emerson’s “Snow-Storm,” every word a sculpture,—to the admirable storm in “Margaret,”—to Thoreau’s “Winter Walk,” in the “Dial,”—and to [James Russell] Lowell’s “First Snow-Flake.” These are fresh and real pictures, which carry us back to the Greek Anthology, where the herds come wandering down from the wooded mountains, covered with snow, and to Homer’s aged Ulysses, his wise words falling like the snows of winter.
(Atlantic Monthly, vol. 9, no. 52 (February 1862):188-201)
11 February 1862. Concord, Mass.

In a letter dictated to his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to the editors of the Atlantic Monthly:

Messrs, Editors,

  Only extreme illness has prevented my answering your note earlier. I have no objection to having the papers you refer to printed in your monthly—if my feeble health will permit me to prepare them for the printer. What will you give me for them? They are, or have been used as, lectures of the usual length,—taking about an hour to read & I dont see how they can be divided without injury—How many pages can you print at once?—Of course, I should expect that no sentiment or sentence be altered or omitted without my consent, & to retain the copyright of the paper after you had used it in your monthly.—Is your monthly copyrighted?

Yours respectfully,
S. E. Thoreau
for H. D. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 635-636)
13 February 1862. Concord, Mass.

William Ellery Channing writes to Mary Russell Watson:

  Mr Thoreau has mended a little; I think he will soon get up from bronchial complaint tho’ I don’t think he will get out before March. He has been in the house, since Dec. 5th . . .

  I am not anxious about Mr Thoreau. He has greatly decreased if it was possible in flesh; I do not think he weighs to-day but a very little and a few days since, his pulse was at 56. But his system suffers a retardation, it ceases to make blood, hence adipose tissue which is formed of the elements of blood ceases to be found and the lack of respiratory oxygenation combined with the lack of supplying sufficient stimuli to the blood-corpuscles, produces a semi state of metastatic dyscrasia.

(Emerson Society Quarterly 14 (1st quarter 1959):79)
18 February 1862. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau writes to Ticknor & Fields:

Messrs Ticknor & Fields,

  I will accept the offer contained in your last, & will forward to you a paper called “Autumnal Tints” in a day or two.

  I must ask two favors. First, that I may see the proofs, chiefly that I may look after my peculiarities, for I may not be well enough thoroughly to revise them, and therefore trust that you have a sharp-eyed reader, who will save me that labor.

  Secondly, I wish to have the MSS, of this article preserved, since I have no duplicate, & what I send will be culled out of a very large imperfect essay, whose integrity I wish to restore.

Henry D. Thoreau

(The Concord Saunterer, vol. 11, no. 3 (Fall 1976):12)
20 February 1862. Concord, Mass.

In a letter dictated to his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to Ticknor & Fields:

Messrs Ticknor & Fields,

  I send you herewith, the paper called Autumnal Tints. I see that it will have to be divided, & I would prefer that the first portion terminate with page 42, in order that it may make the more impression. The rest I think will take care of itself.

  I may as well say now that on pages 55-6-7-8 I have described the Scarlet Oak leaf very minutely. In my lecturing I have always carried a very large & handsome one displayed on a white ground, which did me great service with the audience. Now if you will read those pages, I think that you will see the advantage of having a simple outline engraving of this leaf & also of the White Oak leaf on the opposite page, that the readers may the better appreciate my words—I will supply the leaves to be copied when the time comes.

  When you answer the questions in my last note, please let me know about how soon this article will be published.

Yours respectfully,
Henry D. Thoreau
by S. E. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 536-537)
24 February 1862. Concord, Mass.

In a letter dictated to his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to Ticknor & Fields:

Messrs Ticknor & Fields

  Oct. 25th 1853 I received from Munroe & Co. the following note; “We send by express this day a box & bundle containing 250 copies of Concord River, & also 450. in sheets. All of which we trust you will find correct.”

  I found by count the number of bound volumes to be correct. The sheets have lain untouched just as received, in stout paper wrappers ever since.

  I find that I now have 146 bound copies. Therefore the whole number in my possession is,

    Bound copies   146

    In sheets      450


  You spoke when here, of printing a new edition of the Walden. If you incline to do so, I shall be happy to make an arrangement with you to that effect.

Yours respectfully

H. D. Thoreau
by S. E. Thoreau

P S. I will send you an article as soon as I can prepare it, which has no relation to the seasons of the year.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 637-638)
28 February 1862. Concord, Mass.

In a letter dictated to his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to Ticknor & Fields:

Messrs Ticknor & Fields,

  I send you with this a paper called The Higher Law, it being much shorter & easier to prepare than that on Walking. It will not need to be divided on account of its length, as indeed the subject does not permit it. I should like to know that you receive it & also about what time it will be published.

Yours truly

H D. Thoreau
by S. E. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 638)
1 March 1862. Concord, Mass.

In a letter dictated by his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to Ticknor & Fields:

Messrs Ticknor & Fields,

  This Scarlet Oak leaf is the smallest one in my collection, yet it must lose a bristle or two to gain admittance to your page.

  I wish simply for a faithful outline engraving of the leaf bristles & all. In the middle of page 57 or of a neighboring page, is a note in pencil—The leaf should be opposite to this page & this note to be altered into a note for the bottom of the page like this—viz “The original of the leaf on the opposite page was picked from such a pile”

Yours truly
Henry D Thoreau
by S. E. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 639)
4 March 1862. Concord, Mass.

In a letter dictated to his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to Ticknor & Fields:

Messrs Ticknor & Fields,

  I hereby acknowledge the receipt of your check for one hundred dollars on account of manuscript sent to you.—As for another title for the Higher Law article, I can think of nothing better than, Life without Principle. The paper on Walking will be ready ere long.

  I shall be happy to have you print 250. copies of Walden on the terms mentioned & will consider this answer as settling the business. I wish to make one alteration in the new edition viz, to leave out from the title the words “Or Life in the Woods.”

Yours truly
H. D. Thoreau
by S. E. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 639)
10 March 1862. Milwaukee, Wisc.

Sias & Hill writes to Thoreau (The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau (; MS, Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

11 March 1862. Concord, Mass.

In a letter dictated to his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to Ticknor & Fields:

Messrs Ticknor & Fields,

  I send with this the paper on Walking & also the proofs of Autumnal Tints.

  The former paper will bear dividing into two portions very well, the natural joint being, I think at the end of page 44. At any rate the two parcels being separately tied up, will indicate it—

  I do not quite like to have the Autumnal Tints described as in two parts, for it appears as if the author had made a permanent distinction between them; Would it not be better to say at the end of the first portion “To be continued in the next number”?

  As for the leaf, I had not thought how it should be engraved, but left it to you. Your note suggests that perhaps it is to be done at my expense. What is the custom? and what would be the cost of a steel engraving? I think that an ordinary wood engraving would be much better than nothing.

Yours truly
Henry D. Thoreau
by S. E. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 640)
21 March 1862. Concord, Mass.

In a letter dictated to his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to Myron Benton in reply to his letter of 6 January:

Dear Sir,—

  I thank you for your very kind letter, which, ever since I received it, I have intended to answer before I died, however briefly. I am encouraged to know, that, so far as you are concerned, I have not written my books in vain. I was particularly gratified, some years ago, when one of my friends and neighbors said, “I wish you would write another book,—write it for me.” He is actually more familiar with what I have written than I am myself.

  The verses you refer to in Conway’s “Dial,” were written by F. B. Sanborn of this town. I never wrote for that journal.

  I am pleased when you say that in “The Week” you like especially “those little snatches of poetry interspersed through the book,” for these, I suppose, are the least attractive to most readers. I have not been engaged in any particular work on Botany, or the like, though, if I were to live, I should have much to report on Natural History generally.

  You ask particularly after my health. I suppose that I have not many months to live; but, of course, I know nothing about it. I may add that I am enjoying existence as much as ever, and regret nothing.

Yours truly,
Henry D. Thoreau,
by Sophia E. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 641)
22 March 1862. Concord, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott brings a copy of the April edition of the Atlantic Monthly containing “The Forester” to Thoreau (Concord Saunterer, vol. 14, no. 3 (Fall 1979):3).

23 March 1862.

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:

My dear Friend,—

  As it is some time since I wrote you, I have thought that as a faithful chronicler of the season in this section, I would announce to you the present stage of our progress. I will not begin with the origin of creation as many worthy historians are wont, but would say that we have had a pretty steady cold winter through the months of January and February, but since the coming in of March the weather has been mild, though for the past week cloudy and some rain. Today the wind is southerly and the thermometer—3 p.m. – 46º , north side of our house. A flock of wild geese flew over about an hour ago, which I viewed with my spy-glass—their course about due east. Few things give me a stronger sense of the sublime than the periodical flight of these noble birds. Bluebirds arrived here about a fortnight ago, but a farmer who lives about 1 ½ miles from here north, says he heard them on the 7th Feb’y. I hear the call of the golden winged woodpecker, and the sweet notes of the meadow lark in the morning, and yesterday morning for the first time this spring, we were saluted with the song of a robin in a tree near our house. The song sparrow has been calling the maids to hang on their teakettles for several weeks, and this morning I heard the crackle of the cow-bunting. I must not forget, too, that last evening I heard the ground notes speed, speed of the woodcock and his warbling while descending from his spiral flight. The catkins begin to expand upon the willows, and the grass in warm and rich spots to look green.

  Truly spring is here, and each day adds to the interest of the season. I hope you will catch a share of its healthful influences; at least feast upon the stock you have in store, for as friend Alcott says, in his quaint way, you have all weathers within you. Am I right in my intimations that you are mending a little, and that you will be able once more to resume your favorite pursuits so valuable to us all as well as to yourself? May I not hope to see you the coming season at Brooklawn where you are always a welcome guest? I see that you are heralded in the Atlantic for April, and find a genial appreciative notice of you under the head of “Forester,” which I suppose comes from either Alcott or Emerson, and Channing’s lines at the close, which I was also glad to see.

  I am reading a very interesting book called “Footnotes from the page of Nature, or first forms of vegetation.” By Rev. Hugh Macmillan, Cambridge and London, 1861. It treats of Mosses, Lichens, Fresh Water Algae and Fungi. The author appears to be rich in lore and writes in an easy manner with no pretension to science. Don’t fail to read it if you can obtain it. It is lent to me by a friendly naturalist.

  Hoping to hear of your improved state of health, and with the affectionate regards of my whole family, as well as my own,

I remain, dear friend,
Yours faithfully,
Dan’l Ricketson

P.S. I notice that Walden is to appear in a second edition, and hope that your publishers will consider your interests as well as their own. Would they not like to buy your unbound copies of “The Week”?

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 642-643)

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal on 24 March:

  S. Staples yesterday had been to see Henry Thoreau. Never spent an hour with more satisfaction. Never saw a man dying with so much pleasure & peace. Thinks that very few men in Concord know Mr Thoreau; finds him serene & happy.

  Henry praised to me lately the manners of an old-established, calm, well-behaved river, as perfectly distinguished from those of a new river. A new river is a torrent; an old one slow and steadily supplied. What happens in any part of the old river relates to what befals in every other part of it. ’Tis full of compensations, resources, and reserve funds.

(The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 15:246-247)
24 March 1862. Concord, Mass.

Abigail Alcott writes to her brother, Samuel May:

  Our poor Thoreau is most gone—Elizabeth Hoar is arranging his papers—Miss Thoreau copying for him—he is too weak to do any of the mechanical part himself. Mr Ticknor has been up to buy the right of all his works—He means to get up a uniform edition—Mr Alcott has written a beautiful sketch of Thoreau which is to appear in the April number of the “Atlantic” preparatory to this works—Mr Fields thought it a good introduction—He is very calm, but earnest about every thing as if his moments were numbered—Mr Alcott carries him sweet apples and now and then a Bottle of Cider which seems to please him.
(Concord Saunterer, vol. 14, no. 3 (Fall 1979):3)
30 March 1862. New Bedford, Mass.

Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:

Dear Thoreau,—

  Alone, and idle here this pleasant Sunday p.m., I thought I might write you a few lines, not that I expect you to answer, but only to bring myself a little nearer to you. I have to chronicle this time, the arrival of the purple Finch, and a number of warblers and songsters of the sparrow tribe.

  The spring is coming on nicely here, and to-day it is mild, calm, and sunny. I hope you are able to get out a little and breathe the pure air of your fields and woods. While sawing some pine wood the other day, the fragrance suggested to my mind that you might be benefited by living among, or at least frequenting pine woods. I have heard of people much improved in health who were afflicted in breathing, from this source, and I once seriously thought of taking my wife to the pine woods between here and Plymouth, or rather between Middleborough and Plymouth, where the pine grows luxuriantly in the dry yellow ground of that section.

  I have thought you might, if still confined, transport yourself in imagination or spirit to your favorite haunts, which might be facilitated by taking a piece of paper and mapping out your usual rambles around Concord, making the village the centre of the chart and giving the name of each part, marking out the roads and footpaths as well as the more prominent natural features of the country.

  I have had two unusually dreamy nights—last and the one before. Last night I was climbing mountains with some accidental companion, and among the dizzy heights when near the top I saw and pointed out to my fellow-traveller two enormous birds flying over our heads. These birds soon increased, and, from being as I at first supposed eagles of great size, became griffins! as large as horses, their huge bodies moved along by broadspread wings. The dream continued, but the remainder is as the conclusion of most dreams in strange contrast. I found myself passing through a very narrow and filthy village street, the disagreeable odor of which so quickened my speed as to either awake me or cut off my dream. At any rate, when I awoke my head was aching and I was generally exhausted. But enough of this.

  Two young men in a buggy-wagon have just driven up the road singing in very sonorous strains the “John Brown” chorus. I wish its pathetic and heart-stirring appeals could reach the inward ears of Congress and the President. I hope you can see some light on our present benighted way, for I cannot except by the exercise of my faith in an overruling Providence.

  I may write you again soon, and hope I do not tire you.

  With kind regards to your family and my other Concord friend, I remain,

Yours affectionately,
Dan’l Ricketson

P.S. I have just seen a cricket in the path near the house. Flies are very lively in my shanty windows. Two flocks wild geese just passed, 4 p.m., N.E. by N. Honk-honk! Honk-honk!

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 643-644)
April 1862. Boston, Mass.

The Atlantic Monthly prints “The Forester,” A. Bronson Alcott’s tribute to Thoreau:

“Then bless thy secret growth, nor catch
At noise, but thrive unseen and dumb,
Keep clean, bear fruit, earn life, and watch
Till the white-winged reapers come.”—HENRY VAUGHAN.
  I had never thought of knowing a man so thoroughly of the country as this friend of mine, and so purely a son of Nature. Perhaps he has the profoundest passion for it of any one living; and had the human sentiment been as tender from the first, and as pervading, we might have had pastorals of which Virgil and Theocritus would have envied him the authorship, had they chanced to be his contemporaries. As it is, he has come nearer the antique spirit than any of our native poets, and touched the fields and groves and streams of his native town with a classic interest that shall not fade. Some of his verses are suffused with an elegiac tenderness, as if the woods and fields bewailed the absence of their forester, and murmured their griefs meanwhile to one another,—responsive like idyls. Living in close companionship with Nature, his Muse breathes the spirit and voice of poetry; his excellence lying herein: for when the heart is once divorced from the senses and all sympathy with common things, then poetry has fled, and the love that sings.

  The most welcome of companions, this plain countryman. One shall not meet with thoughts invigorating like his often: coming so scented of mountain and field breezes and rippling springs, so like a luxuriant clod from under forest-leaves, moist and mossy with earth-spirits. His presence is tonic, like ice-water in dog-days to the parched citizen pent in chambers and under brazen ceilings. Welcome as the gurgle of brooks, the dripping of pitchers, then drink and be cool! He seems one with things, of Nature’s essence and core, knit of strong timbers, most like a wood and its inhabitants. There are in him sod and shade, woods and waters manifold, the mould and mist of earth and sky. Self-poised and sagacious as any denizen of the elements, he has the key to every animals brain, every plant, every shrub and were an Indian to flower forth, and reveal the secrets hidden in his cranium, it would not be more surprising than the speech of our Sylvanus. He must belong to the Homeric age,—is older than pastures and gardens, as if he were of the race of heroes, and one with the elements. He, of all men, seems to be the native New-Englander, as much so as the oak, the granite ledge, our best sample of an indigenous American, untouched by the Old Country, unless he came down from Thor, the Northman; as yet unfathered by any, and a nondescript in the books of natural history.

  A peripatetic philosopher, and out of doors for the best parts of his days and nights, he has manifold weather and seasons in him, and the manners of an animal of probity and virtues unstained. Of our moralists he seems the wholesomest; and the best republican citizen in the world,—always at home, and minding his own affairs. Perhaps a little over-confident sometimes, and stiffly individual, dropping society clean out of his theories, while standing friendly in his strict sense of friendship, there is in him an integrity and sense of justice that make possible and actual the virtues of Sparta and the Stoics, and all the more welcome to us in these times of shuffling and of pusillanimity. Plutarch would have made him immortal in his pages, had he lived before his day. Nor have we any so modern as he,—his own and ours; too purely so to be appreciated at once. A scholar by birthright, and an author, his fame has not yet travelled far from the banks of the rivers he has described in his books; but I hazard only the truth in affirming of his prose, that in substance and sense it surpasses that of any naturalist of his time, and that he is sure of a reading in the future. There are fairer fishes in his pages than any now swimming in our streams, and some sleep of his on the banks of the Merrimack by moonlight that Egypt never rivalled; a morning of which Memnon might have envied the music, and a greyhound that was meant for Adonis; some frogs, too, better than any of Aristophanes. Perhaps we have had no eyes like his since Pliny’s time. His senses seem double, giving him access to secrets not easily read by other men: his sagacity resembling that of the beaver and the bee, the dog and the deer; an instinct for seeing and judging, as by some other or seventh sense, dealing with objects as if they were shooting forth from his own mind mythologically, thus completing Nature all round to his senses, and a creation of his at the moment. I am sure he knows the animals, one by one, and everything else knowable in our town, and has named them rightly as Adam did in Paradise, if he be not that ancestor himself. His works are pieces of exquisite sense, celebrations of Natures virginity, exemplified by rare learning and original observations. Persistently independent and manly, he criticizes men and times largely, urging and defending his opinions with the spirit and pertinacity befitting a descendant of him of the Hammer. A head of mixed genealogy like his, Franco-Norman crossed by Scottish and New-England descent, may be forgiven a few characteristic peculiarities and trenchant traits of thinking, amidst his great common sense and fidelity to the core of natural things. Seldom has a head circumscribed so much of the sense of Cosmos as this footed intelligence,—nothing less than all out-of-doors sufficing his genius and scopes, and, day by day, through all weeks and seasons, the year round.

  If one would find the wealth of wit there is in this plain man, the information, the sagacity, the poetry, the piety, let him take a walk with him, say of a winters afternoon, to the Blue Water, or anywhere about the outskirts of his village-residence. Pagan as he shall outwardly appear, yet he soon shall be seen to be the hearty worshipper of whatsoever is sound and wholesome in Nature,—a piece of russet probity and sound sense that she delights to own and honor. His talk shall be suggestive, subtile, and sincere, under as many masks and mimicries as the shows he passes, and as significant,—Nature choosing to speak through her chosen mouth-piece,—cynically, perhaps, sometimes, and searching into the marrows of men and times he chances to speak of; to his discomfort mostly, and avoidance. Nature, poetry, life,—not politics, not strict science, not society as it is,—are his preferred themes: the new Pantheon, probably, before he gets far, to the naming of the gods some coming Angelo, some Pliny, is to paint and describe. The world is holy, the things seen symbolizing the Unseen, and worthy of worship so, the Zoroastrian rites most becoming a nature so fine as ours in this thin newness, this worship being so sensible, so promotive of possible pieties,—calling us out of doors and under the firmament, where health and wholesomeness are finely insinuated into our souls,—not as idolaters, but as idealists, the seekers of the Unseen through images of the Invisible.

  I think his religion of the most primitive type, and inclusive of all natural creatures and things, even to “the sparrow that falls to the ground,”—though never by shot of his,—and, for whatsoever is manly in man, his worship may compare with that of the priests and heroes of pagan times. Nor is he false to these traits under any guise,—worshipping at unbloody altars, a favorite of the Unseen, Wisest, and Best. Certainly he is better poised and more nearly self-reliant than other men.

  Perhaps he deals best with matter, properly, though very adroitly with mind, with persons, as he knows them best, and sees them from Natures circle, wherein he dwells habitually. I should say he inspired the sentiment of love, if, indeed, the sentiment he awakens did not seem to partake of a yet purer sentiment, were that possible,—but nameless from its excellency. Friendly he is, and holds his friends by bearings as strict in their tenderness and consideration as are the laws of his thinking,—as prompt and kindly equitable,—neighborly always, and as apt for occasions as he is strenuous against meddling with others in things not his.

  I know of nothing more creditable to his greatness than the thoughtful regard, approaching to reverence, by which he has held for many years some of the best persons of his time, living at a distance, and wont to make their annual pilgrimage, usually on foot, to the master,—a devotion very rare in these times of personal indifference, if not of confessed unbelief in persons and ideas.

  He has been less of a housekeeper than most, has harvested more wind and storm, sun and sky; abroad night and day with his leash of keen scents, hounding any game stirring, and running it down, for certain, to be spread on the dresser of his page, and served as a feast to the sound intelligences, before he has done with it. We have been accustomed to consider him the salt of things so long that they must lose their savor without his to season them. And when he goes hence, then Pan is dead, and Nature ailing throughout.

  His friend sings him thus, with the advantages of his Walden to show him in Nature:—

“It is not far beyond the Village church,
After we pass the wood that skirts the road,
A Lake,—the blue-eyed Walden, that doth smile
Most tenderly upon its neighbor Pines;
And they, as if to recompense this love,
In double beauty spread their branches forth.
This Lake has tranquil loveliness and breadth
And, of late years, has added to its charms;
For one attracted to its pleasant edge
Has built himself a little hermitage,
Where with much piety he passes life.

More fitting place I cannot fancy now,
For such a man to let the line run off
The mortal reel,—such patience hath the Lake
Such gratitude and cheer is in the Pines.
But more than either lake or forests depths
This man has in himself: a tranquil man,
With sunny sides where well the fruit is ripe,
Good front and resolute bearing to this life,
And some serener virtues, which control
This rich exterior prudence, – virtues high,
That in the principles of Things are set,
Great by their nature, and consigned to him,
Who, like a faithful Merchant does account
To God for what he spends, and in what way.
Thrice happy art thou, Walden, in thyself!
Such purity is in thy limpid springs, –
In those green shores which do reflect in thee,
And in this man who dwells upon thy edge,
A holy man within a Hermitage.
May all good showers fall gently into thee,
May thy surrounding forests long be spared,
And may the Dweller on thy tranquil marge
There lead a life of deep tranquillity,
Pure as thy Waters, handsome as thy Shores,
And with those virtues which are like the Stars!”

2 April 1862.

Concord, Mass. In a letter dictated to his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to Ticknor & Fields:

Messrs Ticknor & Fields,

  I send you herewith the paper on Wild Apples.

  You have made me no offer for the “Week.” Do not suppose that I rate it too high, I shall be glad to dispose of it; & it will be an advantage to advertize it with Walden.

Yours truly,

Henry D. Thoreau
by S. E. Thoreau

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 645)

Ticknor & Fields reply on 6 April.

Plymouth, Mass. Marston Watson writes to Thoreau (Studies in the American Renaissance 1982, 394; MS, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Mass.).

4 April 1862. Concord, Mass.

Abigail Alcott writes to her brother Samuel May:

  Have you seen his [A. Bronson Alcott’s] “Forrester” in the Atlantic—He thought Thoreau should have one word of wise appreciation before he left for parts unknown—Mr T. fails rapidly—he smiled as Mr Emerson read the “Forrester” to him and said “the Blue birds and Robbins are charming my solitary room bringing their music to my dulled senses—but this, brings light and love, almost renews my life.”
(Concord Saunterer, vol. 14, no. 3 (Fall 1979):3)
6 April 1862.

Boston, Mass. Ticknor & Fields writes to Thoreau in reply to his letter of 2 April:

Dear Sir,

  Your paper on Wild Apples is rece’d. In a few days we will send proof of the article on “Walking.” Touching the “Week on [page torn] we find by yours of [page torn] those already in cloth if we found them rusty. Since the volume was published prices have changed materially and discounts to Booksellers have largely increased. We now make ⅓ & 40% to the Trade as a matter of course. What with bad [page torn] we could not [page torn] our check for the amount.

Yours very truly
Ticknor & Fields

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 646)

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:

My dear Philomath,—

  Another Sunday has come round, and as usual I am to be found in the Shanty, where I should also be glad to have you bodily present.

  We have had a little interruption to our fine weather during the past week in the shape of a hail-storm yesterday p.m. and evening, but it is clear again to-day, though cooler.

  I have to Kronikle the arrival of the white-bellied swallow and the commencement of the frog choir, which saluted my ear for the first time on the evening of the 3d inst. The fields are becoming a little greener, and the trailing moss is already waving along the sides of the rivulets. I have n’t walked much, however, as I have been busy about farm work, the months of April and May being my busiest time, but as my real business is with Nature, I do not let any of these ‘side issues’ lead me astray. How serenely and grandly amid the din of arms Nature preserves her integrity, nothing moved; with the return of spring come the birds and the flowers, the swollen streams go dancing on, and all the laws of the great solar system are perfectly preserved. How wise, how great, must be the Creator and Mover of it all! But I descend to the affairs of mortals, which particularly concern us at this time. I do not think that the people of the North appear to be awakened, enlightened, rather, to their duty in this great struggle. I fear that there is a great deal of treachery which time will alone discover and remove, for the Right must eventually prevail. Can we expect when we consult the page of history that this revolution will be more speedily terminated than others of a like nature? The civil war of England lasted, I think, some ten years, and the American Revolution some seven or eight years, besides the years of antecedent agitation. We have no Cromwell, unless Wendell Phillips shall by and by prove one; but at present he rather represents Hampden, whose mournful end was perhaps a better one than to be killed by a rotten-egg mob. The voice of Hogopolis (the mob portion of Cincinnati), if such grunts can be thus dignified, must prove a lasting disgrace. The government party, if we have a government, seems to continue with a saintly perseverance their faith in General McClellan. How much longer this state of delay will continue to be borne it is difficult to foresee, but I trust the force of circumstances (sub Deo) will soon require a move for the cause of liberty.

  I read but little of the newspaper reports of the war, rather preferring to be governed by the general characteristics of the case, as they involuntarily affect my mind.

  4 p.m. Since writing the foregoing, somewhat more than an hour ago, I have taken a stroll with my son Walton and our dog through the woods and fields west of our house, where you and I have walked several times; the afternoon is sunny and of mild temperature, but the wind from the N.W. rather cool, rendering overcoat agreeable. Our principal object was to look at lichens and mosses, to which W. is paying some attention. We started up a woodcock at the south edge of the woods, and a large number of robins in a field adjoining, also pigeon-woodpeckers, and heard the warble of bluebirds.

  I remain, with faith in the sustaining forces of Nature and Nature’s God,

Yours truly and affectionately,
Daniel Ricketson

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 646-648)
7 April 1862. Concord, Mass.

Sophia Thoreau writes to Daniel Ricketson, telling him of Thoreau’s condition. Ricketson replies 13 April (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 652).

13 April 1862.

Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:

My dear Friend,—

  I received a letter from your dear Sister a few days ago, informing me of your continued illness and porstration of physical strength, which I was not altogether unprepared to learn, as our valued friend Mr. Alcott wrote me by your sister’s request in February last, that you were confined at home and very feeble. I am glad, however, to learn from Sophia that you still find comfort and are happy, the reward I have no doubt of a virtuous life, and an abiding faith in the wisdom and goodness of our Heavenly Father. It is undoubtedly wiser ordained that our present lives should be mortal. Sooner or later we must all close our eyes for the last time upon the scenes of this world, and oh! how happy are they who feel the assurance that the spirit shall survive the earthly tabernacle of clay, and pass on to higher and happier spheres of experience.

“It must be so—Plato, though reasonest well:—
Else, whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality.”
(Addison, Cato.)

“The soul’s dark cottage, battered, and decayed,
Lets in new light through chinks that time has made:
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become,
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old both worlds at once they view
Who stands upon the threshold of the new.”

  It has been the lot of but a few, dear Henry, to extract so much from life as you have done. Although you number fewer years than many who have lived wisely before you, yet I know of no one, either in the past or present times, who has drank so deeply from the sempiternal spring of truth and knowledge, or who in the poetry and beauty of every-day life has enjoyed more or contributed more to the happiness of others. Truly you have not lived in vain—your works, and above all, your brave and truthful life, will become a precious treasure to those whose happiness it has been to have known you, and who will continue to uphold though with feebler hands the fresh and instructive philosophy you have taught them.

  But I cannot yet resign my hold upon you here. I will still hope, and if my poor prayer to God may be heard, would ask, that you may be spared to us a whole longer, at least. This is a lovely spring day here—warm and mild—the thermometer in the shade at 62 above zero (3p.m.). I write with my shanty door open and my west curtain down to keep out the sun, a red-winged blackbird is regaling me with a querulous, half-broken song from a neighboring tree just in front of the house, and the gentle southwest wind is soughing through my young pines. Here where you have so often sat with me, I am alone. My dear Uncle James who you may remember to have seen here, the companion of my woodland walks for more than quarter of a century, died a year ago this month: my boys and girls have grown into men and women, and my dear wife is an invalid still, so though a pater familias, I often feel quite alone. Years are accumulating upon me, the buoyancy of youth has erewhile departed, and with some bodily and many mental infirmities I sometimes feel that the cords of life are fast separating. I wish at least to devote the remainder of my life, whether longer or shorter, to the cause of truth and humanity—a life of simplicity and humility. Pardon me for this dwelling on myself.

  Hoping to hear you more favorable symptoms, but committing you (all unworthy as I am) unto the tender care of the great Sheperd, who “tempers the wind to the shorn lamb,”

  I remain, my dear friend and counsellor,
  Ever faithfully yours,
  Dan’l Ricketson

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 648-650)
2 May 1862. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau’s sister Sophia writes to Edmund Hosmer’s daughter:

My dear Miss Hosmer,

  We remember your fathers kind offer to assist us in our affliction, and it will be very agreeable to us all if he can be with us tonight, please ask him if it is convenient. My dear brother has failed very much since your father last saw him.

Yours truly,
S. E. Thoreau

(Thoreau Society Bulletin 87 (Spring 1964):4)
4 May 1862.

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

  Channing [William Ellery Channing] is here and we see Thoreau together. He is confined to his bed and has not many days of his mortality to give us. Channing is sad, and Thoreau’s death must be a great desolation to him (The Journals of A. Bronson Alcott, 346).

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes to Thoreau:

My dear Friend,—

  I have just returned from driving our cow to pasture and assisting in our usual in and outdoor work, the first making a fire in our sitting-room, a little artificial warmth being still necessary for my invalid wife, although I sit most of the time as I do now, with my Shanty door open, and without fire in my stove.

  Well, my dear friend and fellow-pilgrim, spring has again come, and here appears in full glow. The farmers are busy and have been for some weeks, ploughing and planting,—the necessity of paying more attention to agriculture being strongly felt in these hard times,—old fields and neglected places are now being brought into requisition, and with a good season our former neglected farms will teem with abundance.

  I, too, am busy in my way, but on rather a small scale, principally in my garden and among my fruit trees. Walton, however, is head man, and I am obliged generally to submit to his superior judgment.

  About all the birds have returned—the large thrush (T. rufus) arrived here on the 25th last month. I am now daily expecting the catbird and ground robin, and soon the Bob-o-link and golden robin. With the arrival of the two last our vernal choir becomes nearly complete. I have known them both to arrive the same day. Of the great variety of little woodland and wayside warblers, I am familiar with but few, yet some of them are great favorites of mine, particularly the oven bird, warbling vireo, veery (T. Wilsonii), etc., etc. The wind flower and blue violet have been in bloom some time, and I suppose the columbine and wild geranium are also, although I have not been to visit them as yet. How beautiful and how wonderful indeed is the return of life—how suggestive and how instructive to mankind! Truly God is great and good and wise and glorious.

  I hope this will find you mending, and as I hear nothing to the contrary, I trust that it may be so that you are. I did expect to be able to go to Concord soon; I still may, but at present i do not see my way clear, as we ‘Friends’ say. I often think of you, however, and join hands with you in the spirit, if not in the flesh, which I hope always to do.

  I see by the papers that Concord has found a new voice in the way of a literary journal y’cept “The Monitor,” which has my good wishes for its success. I conclude that Mr. [Franklin B.] Sanborn is the pioneer in this enterprise, who appears to be a healthy nursing child of the old mother of heroes. I do not mean to be classic, and only intend to speak of old Mother Concord. I hope [William Ellery] Channing will wake up and give us some of his lucubrations, and father [A. Bronson] Alcott strike his Orphic lyre once more, and [Ralph Waldo] Emerson discourse wisdom and verse from the woods around. There sings a whortleberry sparrow (F. juncorum) from our bush pasture beyond the garden. I hear daily your sparrow (F. Graminus) with his “here! here! there! there! come quick or I’m gone!” By the way, is not Emerson wrong in his interpretation of the whistle of the Chickadee as “Phoebe”? The low, sweet whistle of the “black cap” is very distinct from the clearly expressed Phoebe of the wood pewee. But I must not by hypercritical with so true a poet and lover of Nature as E.

  How grandly is the Lord overruling all for the cause of the slave—defeating the evil machinations of men by the operation of his great universal and regulating laws, by which the universe of mind and matter is governed! I do not look for a speedy termination of the war, although matters look more hopeful, but I cannot doubt but that slavery will soon find its exodus. What a glorious country this will be for the next generation should this curse be removed!

  Amid the song of purple finches, robins, meadow-larks, and sparrows—a kind of T. solitarius myself—and with heart full of kind wishes and affection for you, I conclude this hasty epistle.

As ever, yours faithfully,
D. R.

P.S. I believe I answered your sister’s kind and thoughtful letter to me.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 650-652)
5 May 1862. Concord, Mass.

Edmund Hosmer sits up the night with Thoreau at Thoreau’s request. The next morning, Hosmer is given Thoreau’s memorial copy of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers with a lock of John Thoreau’s hair taped in it (Concord Saunterer, vol. 11, no. 4 (Winter 1976): 16).

6 May 1862. Concord, Mass.

Thoreau dies. Early in the morning, he asks his sister Sophia to read aloud some of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. After she reads from the last chapter, he says, “Now comes good Sailing” (Concord Saunterer, vol. 11, no. 4 (Winter 1976):16-17). His last words were “moose” and “Indian” (Thoreau: The Poet-Naturalist, 336).

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to H.G.O. Blake:

  Henry Thoreau died this morning about 9 o’clock. The funeral will be on Friday P.M. at 3 o’clock (American Book-Prices Current 20 (1914):678).

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Oversee some hired men about work on my grounds, taking out pipergrass and preparing ground for ploughing. Channing [William Ellery Channing] comes in the afternoon and informs me of Thoreau’s decease this morning at 9, peacefully. Emerson calls also (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 347).

Sarah Alden Ripley, living in the Old Manse, writes to Sophia Thayer:

  This fine morning is sad for those of us who sympathize with the friends of Henry Thoreau, the philosopher and the woodman. He had his reason to the last, and talked with his friends pleasantly and arranged his affairs; and at last passed in quiet sleep from this state of duty and responsibility to that which is behind the veil. His funeral service is to be at the church, and Mr. Emerson is to make an address.
(Recollections of Seventy Years, 2:368)
7 May 1862.

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

  I am at Mrs. Thoreau’s. She tells me about Henry’s last moments and his sister Sophia showed me his face, looking as when I last saw him, only a tinge of paler hue. 44 years last July. It is the departure of many persons from our population, and leaves the town greatly the poorer in virtue and expectation.
(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 347)

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Heard of the death of my valued and respected friend, Henry D. Thoreau, who died at his home in Concord yesterday, aged 44 years. An irreparable loss; one of the best and truest of men, Non ominis moriar (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 321).
8 May 1862. Concord, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  I am in the village arranging about Henry’s funeral at the church. Mr. Emerson [Ralph Waldo Emerson] wishes to read an address on Henry, a brief sermon. Channing [William Ellery Channing] writes some verses, and I will read appropriate passages from Henry’s books. Mr. Reynolds [Grindall Reynolds] will pray and read from the scriptures; the verse will be sung by the choir.
(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 347)

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to James Thomas Fields:

My dear Sir,

  Come tomorrow & bring Mrs Fields to my house. We will give you a very early dinner. Mr Channing is to write a hymn or dirge for the funeral, which is to be from the church, at 3 o’clock. I am to make an address, & probably Mr Alcott may say something.

R. W. Emerson

(The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 5:272)
9 May 1862.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau’s funeral service is held at 3:00 p.m. He is buried in the New Burying Ground (but later moved to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery). Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers the eulogy, which is later printed (in a modified version) in the August Atlantic Monthly (Atlantic Monthly, vol. 10, no. 58 (August 1862):239-249).

William Ellery Channing’s “To Henry” is sung at Thoreau’s funeral:

Hear’st thou the sobbing breeze complain,
  How faint the sunbeams light the shore?—
  His heart more fixed than earth or main,
Henry! that faithful heart is o’er.

Oh, weep not thou thus vast a soul,
  Oh, do not mourn this lordly man,
As long as Walden’s waters roll,
  And Concord river fills a span.

For thoughtful minds in Henry’s page
  Large welcome find, and bless his verse,
Drawn from the poet’s heritage,
  From wells of right and nature’s source.

Fountains of hope and faith! inspire
  Most stricken hearts to lift this cross;
His perfect trust shall keep the fire,
  His glorious peace disarm all loss!

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Again in village, and leave word at school for teachers to dismiss their schools for funeral. 2 P.M. Anna and Louisa accompany me to the church.
  “As surely as the sunset in my latest November shall translate me to the ethereal world and remind me of the ruddy morning of youth; as surely as the last strain of music which falls on my decaying ear shall make age to be forgotten, or, in short, the manifold influences of nature survive during the term of our natural life, so surely my friend shall be my friend and reflect a ray of God to me, and time shall foster and adorn and consecrate our friendship no less than the ruins of temples. As I love nature, as I love singing birds and gleaming stubble, and flowing rivers, and morning and evening, and summer and winter, I love thee, my friend.”

  “There have been heroes for whom this world seemed expressly prepared, as if creation had at last succeeded; whose daily life was the stuff of which our dreams are made, and whose present enhanced the beauty and ampleness of nature herself where they walked.”

  “A more copious air invests the fields and clothes with purple light, and they know their own sun and stars. They have the heavens for their abettors, as those who have never stood from under them; they look at the stars with an answering ray. Our present senses are but the rudiments of what they are destined to become. Every generation makes the discovery that its divine vigor has been dissipated and each sense and faculty misapplied and debauched. The ears are made to hear celestial sounds; the eyes to behold beauty not invisible. Did not he that made that which is within make that which is without also? May we not see God? It is but a thin soil where we stand. I have felt my roots in a richer ere this. I have seen a bunch of violets in a glass vase, tied loosely with a wisp of straw, which reminded me of myself.”

  Hawthorne [Nathaniel Hawthorne] and family, Blake [H.G.O. Blake] and Brown [Theophilus Brown] from Worcester, J.T. Fields [James T. Fields] and wife and Alger [William Rounseville Alger] from Boston, and many of his townspeople and children of the schools attend the funeral. He is laid in the burying-ground back of the meeting house, near the North Primary School House.

  Afterwards interred in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, next to my lot and opposite Hawthorne’s.

(The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 347-348)

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Rode to town with Louisa; got ambrotype of Henry D. Thoreau at Dunshee’s. Arranged H.D. Thoreau’s letters to me, 27 in all, commencing Oct., 1854, and ending Oct. 14, 1861. His first visit to me was Dec., 1854, and his last in August 1861; during the interval he visited me at least once a year.
(Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 321)
10 May 1862.

The Boston Transcipt and the Salem Observer note Thoreau’s death.

Concord, Mass. The Concord Monitor prints “Thoreau” by Franklin B. Sanborn, which is later printed in a corrected form on 24 May:

Hush the loud chant, ye birds, at eve and morn,
  And something plaintive let the robin sing;
Gone is our Woodman, leaving us forlorn,
  And veiled with tears the merry face of Spring.
Our woods and pastures he for other groves
  Forsakes and wanders now by fairer streams;
Yet not forgetful of his earthly loves,—
  Ah, no! for so affection fondly dreams.
Dear One! ’T were shame to weep above thy grave,
  Or doubtingly thy soul’s far flight pursue;
Peace and Delight must there await the brave,
  And Love attend the loving, wise, and true.
Thy well-kept vows our broken aims shall mend,
  Oft as we think of thee, great-hearted friend!
12 May 1862. Lowell, Mass.

The Daily Citizen & News prints a notice of Thoreau’s funeral.

17 May 1862. Concord, Mass.

The Concord Monitor publishes “Walden,” a poem about Thoreau written by S. Ripley Bartlett.

19 May? 1862. Concord, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes to Thoreau’s mother Cynthia:

Mrs Thoreau,

  You are very attentive to Henry’s bequest in sending me, by fit hands, the rare and wise books, which in his last thoughtful hours, he deemed his friend worth inheriting. As every thought of his was a virtue, I shall prize these books the more on his account, and think tenderly of the giver whenever I open them. These volumes are from his choice library. They came to him honorably and are only older in time, but not in wisdom than his own writings. That he has left so much of his essence behind him: of his life, which he said

    —“has been the poem I could have writ,
    But I could not both live and utter it”

is a great happiness to his friends, and partly compensates for his laying aside his sun so soon. None living, had a better right to hold it. Nor do I think of contemporary who accomplished so much in so short a time as he has, whether we regard the weight of matter, or wealth of thought. We may be sure of his being read an prized by coming times, and the place and time pertaining to him will be forever and sweeter for his presence. For as flowers which are cut down with the morning dew upon them, do, for a long while after, retain their fragrancy, so the good actions of a wise man perfume his mind and leave a rich scent behind them; so that his memory is, as it were, watered with these essences, and owes it flourishing to them.

  Though I address this note to the mother, the sister is in my thoughts, also, as I write.

For Henry’s sake,

as for yours,

your obliged friend.
A. Bronson Alcott

(The Letters of A. Bronson Alcott, 327)

A. Bronson Alcott also writes in his journal:

  Emerson brings me books left me by Thoreau: Bhagavad Gita 2 Vols., translated by Thompson and given to Thoreau by Chelmondly of England. Eastern Monachism and Manual of Budism, translated by Hardy from E[astern] MSS., also form Chelmondley (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 349).
21 May 1862. Boston, Mass.

The Boston Society of Natural History notes Thoreau’s death in their proceedings (Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History, 9:70-71).

22 May 1862. New Bedford, Mass.

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Received a letter from Sophia Thoreau relating to the death of her brother (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 321).
23 May 1862.

New Bedford, Mass. Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Wrote Sophia Thoreau and sent an ambrotype of her late brother Henry, which I had taken on his last visit here, in August, 1861; mailed both at the village office. My lines entitled “Walden” appeared in the “Liberator” of this week (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 321-322).

Boston, Mass. The Liberator prints two commemorative poems for Thoreau. “Thoreau” by Franklin B. Sanborn, which was previously printed in the Concord Monitor on 10 May, and “Walden” by Daniel Ricketson (The Liberator, vol. 32, no. 21 (23 May 1862):84).

24 May 1862. Concord, Mass.

The Concord Monitor prints a corrected version of Franklin B. Sanborn’s poem, “Thoreau.”

26 May 1862. New Bedford, Mass.

Daniel Ricketson writes in his journal:

  Received a letter from Sophia Thoreau acknowledging receipt of the ambrotype of Henry Thoreau which I sent last Saturday (Daniel Ricketson and His Friends, 322).
late May 1862. Cambridge, Mass.

Harvard Magazine prints a eulogy of Thoreau written by Storrow Higginson (Harvard Magazine, vol. 8, no. 74 (May 1862):313-318).

8 June 1862. Concord, Mass.

A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal:

  Go to Emerson’s at four and dine. We discuss Thoreau a good deal. He is about publishing his address on Thoreau, with additions, in the August number of Atlantic Monthly (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 349).
Mid-June 1862. Concord, Mass.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

  Henry T. remains erect, calm, self-subsistent, before me, and I read him not only truly in his Journal, but he is not long out of my mind when I walk, and, as to-day, row upon the pond. He chose wisely no doubt for himself to be the bachelor of thought and nature that he was,—how near to the old monks in their ascetic religion! He had no talent for wealth, & knew how to be poor without the least hint of squalor or inelegance. Perhaps he fell, all of us do, into his way of living, without forecasting it much, but approved & confirmed it with later wisdom.
(The Journals and Miscellaneous of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 15:261-262)
July 1862.

George William Curtis discusses Thoreau in his “Editor’s Easy Chair” column in Harper’s Magazine (Harper’s Magazine, vol. 25, no. 146 (July 1862):270-271).

1 July 1862. Concord, Mass.

Ellen Emerson writes to her brother Edward:

  Father [Ralph Waldo Emerson] is constantly engaged now in writing and reading about Mr Thoreau and you had better keep a mem. of what you will ask for when you get home, and put down on it Mr Channing’s [William Ellery Channing] quotations from Mr Thoreau’s journal. They are very nice and Father likes to read them. One of them Father considers a question for a gameparty. “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” Father wanted I should ask the gameparty what that proved. I saw the moment I heard it and considered it so self evident as to be not worth mentioning, and long afterward Mother [Lidian Jackson Emerson] said “Or a mouse.” Then I explained to her that wasn’t the same thing, that it meant the milk was watered. Whereupon Father said he hadn’t thought of that before, of course that was right. I was amazed that he shouldn’t have seen it, but on trying the experiment I find that very few people do.
(The Letters of Ellen Tucker Emerson, 1:274)
August 1862.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s eulogy of Thoreau is printed in the Atlantic Monthly (Atlantic Monthly, vol. 10, no. 58 (August 1862):239-49).

October 1862.

Thoreau’s “Autumnal Tints” is published in the Atlantic Monthly (Atlantic Monthly, vol. 10, no. 60 (October 1862):385-402).

Log Pages