By: Imani A. and Sarah H.

Part 1: Biography

July 12th, 1817. Most don't know the importance of this date. This is the date that the late-great, all american poet, Henry David Thoreau was born. Henry was born in Concord, Masssachusettes to John Thoreau and Cynthia Dunbar. He was originally named David Henry Thoreau, but changed after college. He had three siblings. Helen, John Jr. and Sophia. But this great poet only became a great poet because of his hardships in life.
One of the hardships that Henry had was that his father suffered buisness difficulties, meaning that his father was either he lost his job a lot or/and he was transfered a lot. Which is very hard for little Henry because he had to leave his friends all the time. When Henry was 25, he was with his brother, John who, while in the bathroom, cut himself while shaving. He wound up dying of lockjaw in Henry's arms. That death completely traumatized poor Henry. After the death of his beloved brother, in 1845, he wanted to write his first book. He mostly he wrote a book as a memorial to a river trip he had taken with his brother.This was in honor of his brother (aww how sweet!!). Another difficultly he had was when he went to jail. He went to jail because he refused to pay taxes.He felt the money was going to be used to support the Mexican American War (Which he refused to support). I love that Thoreau stood up for what he belived in, even though it brought him to jail. I feel bad though because he had to go to jail.

Henry was very traumatized by his brother's death. Not only was Henry extremely close to John, but both Henry and John were working as teachers to help pay for college for Henry. During July, in 1845, Henry found a quiet open spac enear Walden pond. he built a cabin in that spot and lived there for 2 years, determined to live entirely on his own. But, sadly, in 1846 was sent to jail. H esurprisingly went with his head held high and even was a little angered by his friends, who refused to join him at his request. Henry continued his writings. In 1849, he wrote an essay on civil disobedience. He was inspired by the soilders who fought in the civil war, which was going on during this time. Henry was now on his way. In 1854, he finally got his dream. The book he wrote, Walden, was finally published. His writings were so amazing that "Walden" gave the inspirational idea for the conservation movement! Henry didn't live for very long though. He died May 6th, 1862. He was 44 years old. Henry had died of tuberculosis and bronchitis in his own home. His last words were "Now comes good sailing." It's also rumored that he might have whispered "moose" and "indian" right after his famous last quote. He was originally buried in a family plot, then moved to the one and only, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

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Henry David Thoreau (ca. 1845)

Famous Quotes

- "As you simplify your life, the universe will be simpler."
- " Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it."
- "Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves."
- "Be true to your work, your word, and your friends."
- "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

Poem Of His Tragedies
Whate'er we leave to God, God does,
And blesses us;
The work we choose should be our own,
God leaves alone.
If with light head erect I sing,
Though all the Muses lend their force,
From my poor love of anything,
The verse is weak and shallow as its source.
But if with bended neck I grope
Listening behind me for my wit,
With faith superior to hope,
More anxious to keep back than forward it;
Making my soul accomplice there
Unto the flame my heart hath lit,
Then will the verse forever wear--
Time cannot bend the line which God hath writ.
Always the general show of things
Floats in review before my mind,
And such true love and reverence brings,
That sometimes I forget that I am blind.
But now there comes unsought, unseen,
Some clear divine electuary,
And I, who had but sensual been,
Grow sensible, and as God is, am wary.
I hearing get, who had but ears,
And sight, who had but eyes before,
I moments live, who lived but years,
And truth discern, who knew but learning's lore.
I hear beyond the range of sound,
I see beyond the range of sight,
New earths and skies and seas around,
And in my day the sun doth pale his light.
A clear and ancient harmony
Pierces my soul through all its din,
As through its utmost melody--
Farther behind than they, farther within.
More swift its bolt than lightning is,
Its voice than thunder is more loud,
It doth expand my privacies
To all, and leave me single in the crowd.
It speaks with such authority,
With so serene and lofty tone,
That idle Time runs gadding by,
And leaves me with Eternity alone.
Now chiefly is my natal hour,
And only now my prime of life;
Of manhood's strength it is the flower,
'Tis peace's end and war's beginning strife.
It comes in summer's broadest noon,
By a grey wall or some chance place,
Unseasoning Time, insulting June,
And vexing day with its presuming face.
Such fragrance round my couch it makes,
More rich than are Arabian drugs,
That my soul scents its life and wakes
The body up beneath its perfumed rugs.
Such is the Muse, the heavenly maid,
The star that guides our mortal course,
Which shows where life's true kernel's laid,
Its wheat's fine flour, and its undying force.
She with one breath attunes the spheres,
And also my poor human heart,
With one impulse propels the years
Around, and gives my throbbing pulse its start.
I will not doubt for evermore,
Nor falter from a steadfast faith,
For thought the system be turned o'er,
God takes not back the word which once He saith.
I will not doubt the love untold
Which not my worth nor want has bought,
Which wooed me young, and woos me old,
And to this evening hath me brought.
My memory I'll educate
To know the one historic truth,
Remembering to the latest date
The only true and sole immortal youth.
Be but thy inspiration given,
No matter through what danger sought,
I'll fathom hell or climb to heaven,
And yet esteem that cheap which love has bought.
Fame cannot tempt the bard
Who's famous with his God,
Nor laurel him reward
Who has his Maker's nod.

My Reflection
Even though Henry David Thoreau had many, many hardships in life it helped him become a great poet.
Without the tragedies in his life he would have nothing to write about, or his peoms would be very boring,and dull.
Especially the big hardship of when his brother died, he wrote so many great stories and peoms about it.
The most traumatizing things in a poets life are the thing that make the best peoms of all time.
But its not just the tramatic experiences, as well as the good times, it's just that most people think that tramatic expirences make better peoms,stories,ect.
One of the good things about Henry was that even through hard times he still kept his head up as high as possible.
Instead of mouring about the tragedies he had to face he lokked on the brightside of it all.
This is why I think Henry David Thoreau is a great, amazing poet.

Part 2 - Poem and Reflection


I think awhile of Love, and while I think,
Love is to me a world,
Sole meat and sweetest drink,
And close connecting link
Tween heaven and earth.
I only know it is, not how or why,
My greatest happiness;
However hard I try,
Not if I were to die,
Can I explain.

I fain would ask my friend how it can be,
But when the time arrives,
Then Love is more lovely
Than anything to me,
And so I'm dumb.

For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak,
But only thinks and does;
Though surely out 'twill leak
Without the help of Greek,
Or any tongue.

A man may love the truth and practise it,
Beauty he may admire,
And goodness not omit,
As much as may befit
To reverence.

But only when these three together meet,
As they always incline,
And make one soul the seat,
And favorite retreat,
Of loveliness;

When under kindred shape, like loves and hates
And a kindred nature,
Proclaim us to be mates,
Exposed to equal fates

And each may other help, and service do,
Drawing Love's bands more tight,
Service he ne'er shall rue
While one and one make two,
And two are one;

In such case only doth man fully prove
Fully as man can do,
What power there is in Love
His inmost soul to move


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What stands out to me the most is probably the he says he's dumb. He wrote that he asked about love and felt dumb when he knew about it because of how simple it was, yet how it can be so powerful. Each line means a different thing. As an example, in the first stanza, he writes about what he thinks about love and what it is. But each line gives a detail that helps the reader understand his feelings towards love. Another example would be in stanza two. In this stanza, he compares himself to love and in line 15, he says he's dumb compared to love. The image that stands out is a vision of a young, beautiful girl and a young, handsome man standing together, looking into each others' eyes. It makes me wonder what they're thinking. But, they're just the poem. Without the other half, the reader would be lost. But together, the reader understands and is able to make connections. The reason I think of this image is because the way he describes love and what happens during love made me imagine this picture. Henry uses personification. He uses it when he says that love has power. He also uses rhyme. For example, in the first stanza, the rhyme scheme is ABAACDEDDF. In all of Henry's life, he hasn't really fallen in love. I believe he wrote about what it might be like to fall in love. Since he lived in a cabin deep in the woods, he didn't really have a social life. So he wrote about what it might be like.

Work Cited:

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