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[79] Thoreau in his lifetime, does not greatly concern himself about it, being so occupied with some great thought or hope for man that his own renown is a matter of slight importance. It is for this that Whittier always expressed thanks to the antislavery agitation, because it kept him free from the narrowness of a merely literary ambition. The only absolutely impregnable attitude is in that fine invocation of the radical Proudhon, prefixed to his first work:

Thou God who hast placed in my heart the sentiment of justice before my reason comprehended it, hear my ardent prayer.... May my memory perish, if humanity may but be free!

--(“Ah! perisse ma memoire et que l'humanite soit libre.”)1

He who is thinking only of himself and of the royalty on his books must watch tremblingly over his own fame, and shudder at every adverse breath; he is like an actor, who hears his doom in every shrinkage of applause from the galleries. But the man whose thoughts are fixed on truth and right is better occupied; if he sees the torch carried onward, what matter who carries it? “Still lives the ”

1 Oeuvres Completes;, I. 224.

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