into his rightful place of mastership.
In his lifetime he printed only two books, A week on the Concord and Merrimac rivers
-which was even more completely neglected by the public than Emerson
, now one of the classics, but only beginning to be talked about when its shy, proud author penned his last line and died with the words “moose” and “Indian” on his lips.
, like all thinkers who reach below the surface of human life, means many different things to men of various temperaments.
Collectors of human novelties, like Stevenson
, rejoice in his uniqueness of flavor; critics, like Lowell
, place him, not without impatient rigor.
To some readers he is primarily a naturalist, an observer, of the White
of Selborne school; to others an elemental man, a lover of the wild, a hermit of the woods.
He has been called the poet-naturalist, to indicate that his powers of observation were accompanied, like Wordsworth
's, by a gift of emotional interpretation of the meaning of phenomena.
Lovers of literature celebrate his sheer force and penetration of phrase.
But to the student of American thought Thoreau
's prime value lies in the courage and consistency with which he endeavored to