On Tueday after Dad's choir we met up in the Royal for a pint and a half of Fine Fettle and talked over "what next". Looking up Thoreau's "Where I Lived and What I lived for" (Chapter 2 from Walden), I edited a bit to adapt it into a new version of the show.
Here is a draft:
Adapted from Henry David Thoreau: "Walden", Chapter 2: "Where I Lived and What I Lived For".The complete, unabridged "Walden" can be found free of charge, on-line at: www.gutenberg.org/etext/205. Happy reading.
Key: // indicates an edit, (…) indicates an abridgement.
// I walked and wherever I walked //, I thought: there I might live, and the landscape radiated from me accordingly (…) Well, there I might live, I said; and there I did live, for an hour, a summer and a winter life; saw how I could let the years run off // wait the winters through // and see the spring come in.
But I retain / the landscapes, each of them, and with respect to them, “I am monarch of all I survey,” // but I encourage you, my friends, when you walk, to say the same to yourselves.
(…) I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up (…)
Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me. Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep (…) To be awake is to be alive // and yet // I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?
We // learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake // by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep (…) (And yet) Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men // and when we fight // it is error upon error, clout upon clout.
(…) The winds which pass over my dwelling // bear // the broken strains, or celestial parts only, of terrestrial music, but few are the ears that hear it.
(My friends…) Be it life or death, we crave only // another, or others //. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business // and be astonished by one another //.
// There is a // stream I go // fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper. I cannot count // from nothing to // one. I // do not // know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. I do not wish to be any more busy with my these, hands than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated //. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and // paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills.
I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine.
K of E. x