Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Transcendentalist's Prayer

Reading the Journals for The Blog of HDT, today's entry in 1852 blew me away as I read it. There are sometimes when I need to search the Journals for someting to post that day, and there are other times when the passage just floors me. This is one of those times when I had to get off from the floor to post asap. On this Ides of March, a transcendentalist's prayer of spring:
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. I lean over a rail to hear what is in the air, liquid with the bluebirds’ warble. My life partakes of infinity. The air is as deep as our natures. Is the drawing in of this vital air attended with no more glorious results than I witness? The air is a velvet cushion against which I press my ear. I go forth to make new demands on life. I wish to begin this summer well; to do something in it worthy of it and of me; to transcend my daily routine and that of my townsmen; to have my immortality now, that it be in the quality of my daily life; to pay the greatest price, the greatest tax, of any man in Concord, and enjoy the most!! I will give all I am for my nobility. I will pay all my days for my success. I pray that the life of this spring and summer may lie fair in my memory. May I dare as I have never done! May I persevere as I have never done! May I purify myself anew as with fire and water, soul and body! May my melody not be wanting to the season! May I gird myself to be a hunter of the beautiful, that naught escape me! May I attain to a youth never attained! I am eager to report the glory of the universe; may I be worthy to do it; to have got through with regarding human values, so as not to be distracted from regarding divine values. It is reasonable that a man should be something worthier at the end of the year than he was at the beginning.
from The Journals of Henry David Thoreau 15-March-1852

1 comment:

Stuart said...

Hi Greg

Thanks ever so much for posting this quote from Thoreau. It really spoke to me. I'm just lifting from a malaise brought on partly by things in life and partly by the need for spring after a dark winter. As I lift my eyes and look for something to focus on, the words in your quote were really inspiring. Thanks.