He earns an honest living by gardening and land-surveying, makes more close and delicate observations on nature than any other American has ever made, and writes the only book yet written in America
, to my thinking, that bears an annual perusal.
Can it be really true that this is a life so wasted, so unpardonable?
The artist LaFarge
built himself a studio as bare as Thoreau
's and almost as lonely, among the Paradise Rocks
, near Newport
, and used to withdraw from the fashionable summer world to that safe retreat.
himself has celebrated in immortal verse the self-seclusion of Professor Gould
, who would lock himself into his Albany
observatory, and leave his indignant trustees to “admire the keyhole's contour grand” from without.
Is the naturalist's work so much inferior to the artist's,--are the stars of thought so much less important than those of space,--that LaFarge
are to be praised for their self-devotion, and yet Thoreau
is to be held up to all coming time as selfish?
For my own part, with “Walden
” in my hands, I wish that every other author in America
might try the experiment of two years in a “shanty.”
Let me not seem to do injustice to Lowell
, who closes his paper on Thoreau
with a generous tribute