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 in Walden the simple prevails. Like the water of the pond, it is clear, colourless and wholesome. Thoreau is a careful writer, with an instinct for the right word which was developed and strengthened by a lifelong devotion to the best books. His love of the classics must have tended to purify his style and increase its natural dignity. Walden is generally free from oracular phrases and grotesque locutions like ‘eyes revolve in an Egyptian slime of health.’ It must always retain the deep unfailing value of all autobiography, personal memoirs, ‘confessions.’ The record of a life will never fail of an audience. When a man declares, ‘Thus I did, thus I thought, thus I felt,’ other men are always eager to attend his tale. The Walden experiment was not unlike the other Transcendental experiment of Brook Farm. Both were declarations of independence; both were attempts to place life on a new basis; both broke down. The Greek dog-sage in his tub, the English Quaker in his suit of leather, the Yankee land-surveyor in his wooden hut are three object lessons to the world of the ancient truth that ‘a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth.’ The Walden experiment is open to all the criticism of Lowell: ‘it presupposed all the complicated civilization which it theoretically abjured.’ Even for Thoreau it was not a success. In the first year, his Homer lay open on the table, but he was so busy that he could only read it by snatches; in the second year, he was forced to set up a prosaic stove in the place of the romantic fire-place. Thoreau's ideal of a world of book men, or contemplatives, is a dream. Still, the experience of the ascetic always shames the grossness of the worldly wiseman. If a man can live for a year for eight dollars, we certainly spend too much on things we could do without. Thoreau's experiment will always have its appeal to hot, ambitious spirits on their first awakening to the intricacy of life. The hero of Locksley Hall longs to escape from civilization to summer isles of Eden. At least one American man of letters has followed Thoreau's example by going into retreat. After living in his hut for two years, Thoreau supported himself for three more by cultivating his garden, like Candide. Thus he obtained the freedoms he desired, the leisure to think,
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