Out of the Past

Thoreau

October 6








         

Oh, if I could be intoxicated on air and water! on hope and memory! and always see the maples standing red in the midst of the waters on the meadow!

That I might never be blind to the beauty of the landscape! To hear music without any vibrating cord!

A family in which there was singing in the morning. To hear a neighbor singing! All other speech sounds thereafter like profanity. A man cannot sing falsehood or cowardice; he must sing truth and heroism to attune his voice to some instrument. It would be noblest to sing with the wind.





I have seen a man making himself a viol, patiently and fondly paring the thin wood and shaping it, and when I considered the end of the work he was ennobled in my eyes. He was building himself a ship in which to sail to new worlds.

I am much indebted to my neighbor who will now and then in the intervals of his work draw forth a few strains from his accordion. Though he is but a learner, I find when his strains cease that I have been elevated.

The question is not whether you drink, but what liquor.


1850
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