Back to First Loves: Nature, Poetry, Reading and Thoreau…

Although he passed away over 100 years before I was born, when I discovered the writings and poetry of Henry David Thoreau, I felt could identify more with him than I could with most people of my time. I could see why Thoreau liked the simple and not so simple ways of nature; why he shunned the so-called ‘civilization’ to live alone in relative ‘discomfort’. I could see the joys to be had in such an existence. The most wonderful thing is, I can still see those joys and experience them!

And these few lines from a poem have remained with me as reminders of those times. It is a much longer poem, and I reproduce only the first part, so you get an idea and the next two (non consecutive) verses that bring back memories of childhood for me.

Sympathy by Henry D. Thoreau

Lately alas I knew a gentle boy,
Whose features all were cast in Virtue’s mould,
As one she had designed for Beauty’s toy,
But after manned him for her own strong-hold…

Eternity may not the chance repeat,
But I must tread my single way alone,
In sad remembrance that we once did meet,
And know that bliss irrevocably gone…

Make haste and celebrate my tragedy;
With fitting strain resound ye woods and fields;
Sorrow is dearer in such case to me
Than all the joys other occasion yields…

Source: The Dial (July 1840)

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