Henry David Thoreau Quotations: Poets & Poetry
As Anacreon says "the works of men shine," so the sounds of men and birds are musical.—Journal, 8 March 1853
As naturally as the oak bears an acorn, and the vine a gourd, man bears a poem, either spoken or done.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
English literature, from the days of the minstrels to the Lake Poets,—Chaucer and Spenser and Milton, and even Shakespeare, included- breathes no quite fresh and in this sense wild strain. It is an essentially tame and civilized literature, reflecting Greece and Rome. Her wilderness is a green wood,—her wild man a Robin Hood.—"Walking"
Every poet's muse is circumscribed in her wanderings, and may be well said to haunt some favorite spring or mountain.—Journal, 23 February 1842
Fishermen, hunters, woodchoppers, and others, spending their lives in the fields and woods, in a peculiar sense a part of Nature themselves, are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation.—Walden
Genius is the worst of lumber, if the poet would float upon the breeze of popularity.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Good poetry seems so simple and natural a thing that when we meet it we wonder that all men are not always poets.—Journal, 3o November 1841
How differently the poet and the naturalist look at objects!—"Autumnal Tints"
I am glad to hear that any words of mine, though spoken so long ago that I can hardly claim identity with their author, have reached you. It gives me pleasure, because I have therefore reason to suppose that I have uttered what concerns men, and that it is not in vain that man speaks to man. This is the value of literature.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 27 March 1848
I kept Homer’s Iliad on my table through the summer, though I looked at his page only now and then.—Walden