[ a poem by ]

Louisa M.Alcott

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the oriole press





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[a poem by ]

Louisa M. Alcott




published and printed by the oriole press berkeley heights, n. j.

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Q I WENT to the woods because I wished to live deliberately to front only the essential fads of life 6c see if I could learn what it had to teach, & not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to pradice resignation unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Sparta-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swathe and shave close, to drive life into a corner, 6C reduce it to its lowest terms, and if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the World; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience 6C be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. . .

Henry David Thoreau



cWe, sighing, said, frOur Pan is dead; fKis pipe hangs mute beside the river; — oAround it wilful sunbeams quiver, SBut Music's airy voice is fled. Spring mourns as for untimely froft; c&he bluebird chants a requiem; c2>he willow-blossom waits for him; — ^he Genius of the wood is loft."

-<( thoreau's flute )>-

^hen from the flute, untouched by hands,

here came a low, harmonious breath: rr ^Jor such as he there is no death; — ^His life the eternal life commands; <5%bove man's aims his nature rose: ^he 'wisdom of a juft content SMade one small spot a continent, c^lnd tuned to poetry life's prose.

rr IJCaunting the hills, the Stream, the 'wild, Swallow and a§ler, lake and pine, o him grew human or divine, — tyit mates for this large-hearted child Such homage ct^ature ne'er forgets, oAnd yearly on the coverlid >GHeath 'which her darling lieth hid cWill 'write his name in 'violets.

-<( thoreau's flute

rrc£>o him no vain regrets belong, cWhose soul, that finer instrument, Save to the 'world no poor lament, SBut 'wood-notes ever sweet and Strong. 0 lonely friend! he Still 'will be <5% potent presence, though unseen, — Steadfast, sagacious, and serene : Seek not for him, — he is 'with thee."

September, 1863

$ THOREAU'S FLUTE a poem by Louisa M. Alcott was first published in the "Atlantic Monthly," September, 1863; it is now reprinted in this format for private distribution with the compliments of Joseph Is hill, founder and dire&or of the Oriole Press. ^ Hand-set with the Cloister Old Style casted by the American Type Founders. Edition limited to friends and followers of Thoreau's trends of life.

December, 1950