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




















































































































































 -   They are such forms of men only as can be seen
afar through the mist, and have no costume nor - Page 370
A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers By Henry David Thoreau - Page 370 of 422 - First - Home

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They Are Such Forms Of Men Only As Can Be Seen Afar Through The Mist, And Have No Costume Nor Dialect, But For Language There Is The Tongue Itself, And For Costume There Are Always The Skins Of Beasts And The Bark Of Trees To Be Had.

They live out their years by the vigor of their constitutions.

They survive storms and the spears of their foes, and perform a few heroic deeds, and then

"Mounds will answer questions of them, For many future years."

Blind and infirm, they spend the remnant of their days listening to the lays of the bards, and feeling the weapons which laid their enemies low, and when at length they die, by a convulsion of nature, the bard allows us a short and misty glance into futurity, yet as clear, perchance, as their lives had been. When Mac-Roine was slain,

"His soul departed to his warlike sires, To follow misty forms of boars, In tempestuous islands bleak."

The hero's cairn is erected, and the bard sings a brief significant strain, which will suffice for epitaph and biography.

"The weak will find his bow in the dwelling, The feeble will attempt to bend it."

Compared with this simple, fibrous life, our civilized history appears the chronicle of debility, of fashion, and the arts of luxury. But the civilized man misses no real refinement in the poetry of the rudest era. It reminds him that civilization does but dress men. It makes shoes, but it does not toughen the soles of the feet.

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