A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers By Henry David Thoreau




















































































































































 -   Truth never turns to
rebuke falsehood; her own straightforwardness is the severest
correction.  Horace would not have written satire so - Page 330
A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers By Henry David Thoreau - Page 330 of 422 - First - Home

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Truth Never Turns To Rebuke Falsehood; Her Own Straightforwardness Is The Severest Correction.

Horace would not have written satire so well if he had not been inspired by it, as by a passion, and fondly cherished his vein.

In his odes, the love always exceeds the hate, so that the severest satire still sings itself, and the poet is satisfied, though the folly be not corrected.

A sort of necessary order in the development of Genius is, first, Complaint; second, Plaint; third, Love. Complaint, which is the condition of Persius, lies not in the province of poetry. Erelong the enjoyment of a superior good would have changed his disgust into regret. We can never have much sympathy with the complainer; for after searching nature through, we conclude that he must be both plaintiff and defendant too, and so had best come to a settlement without a hearing. He who receives an injury is to some extent an accomplice of the wrong-doer.

Perhaps it would be truer to say, that the highest strain of the muse is essentially plaintive. The saint's are still _tears_ of joy. Who has ever heard the _Innocent_ sing?

But the divinest poem, or the life of a great man, is the severest satire; as impersonal as Nature herself, and like the sighs of her winds in the woods, which convey ever a slight reproof to the hearer. The greater the genius, the keener the edge of the satire.

Hence we have to do only with the rare and fragmentary traits, which least belong to Persius, or shall we say, are the properest utterances of his muse; since that which he says best at any time is what he can best say at all times.

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