by Henry David Thoreau
I love to see the man, a long-lived child,
As yet uninjured by all worldly taint
As the fresh infant whose whole life is play.
'Tis a serene spectacle for a serene day;
But better still I love to contemplate
The mature sould of lesser innocence,
Who hath traveled for on life's dusty road
Far from the starting point of infancy
And proudly bears his small degen'racy
Blazan'd on his memorial standard high
Who from the sad experience of his fate
Since his bark struck on that unlucky rock
Has proudly steered his life with his own hands.
Though his face harbors less of innocence
Yet there do chiefly lurk within its depths
Furrowed by care, but yet all over spread
With the ripe bloom of a self-wrought content
Noble resolves which do reprove the gods
And it doth more assert man'seminence
Above the happy level of the brute
Andmore doth advertise me of the heights
To which no natural path doth ever lead
No natural light can ever light our steps,
--But the far-piercing ray that shines
From the recesses of a brave man's eye.
Aspirennies.com by Katharena Eiermann
(found 9-20-01 online at http://www.aspirennies.com/private/SiteBody/Romance/Poetry/Thoreau/poem9.shtml)
Introduction: This poem may be a little difficult for some students to understand. If I were going to share this poem with a class I would make sure to go over the meaning of words they may not know: taint, spectacle, serene, contemplate... The concepts and ideas contained in this poem may be too mature for younger students. Use caution when reading or assigning to students.
Extension: This would be a good introduction for a study on Henry David Thoreau. You could find biographies and other works to incorporate into a unit on Henry David Thoreau.