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The Last Harvest   By: (1837-1921)

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[Illustration]

THE LAST HARVEST

BY

JOHN BURROUGHS

BOSTON AND NEW YORK

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

The Riverside Press Cambridge

1922

COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

But who is he with modest looks And clad in homely russet brown? He murmurs near the running brooks A music sweeter than their own.

He is retired as noontide dew, Or fountain in a noon day grove; And you must love him, ere to you He will seem worthy of your love.

The outward shows of sky and earth, Of hill and valley, he has viewed; And impulses of deeper birth Have come to him in solitude.

In common things that round us lie Some random truths he can impart The harvest of a quiet eye That broods and sleeps on his own heart.

WORDSWORTH

PREFACE

Most of the papers garnered here were written after fourscore years after the heat and urge of the day and are the fruit of a long life of observation and meditation.

The author's abiding interest in Emerson is shown in his close and eager study of the Journals during these later years. He hungered for everything that concerned the Concord Sage, who had been one of the most potent influences in his life. Although he could discern flies in the Emersonian amber, he could not brook slight or indifference toward Emerson in the youth of to day. Whatever flaws he himself detected, he well knew that Emerson would always rest secure on the pedestal where long ago he placed him. Likewise with Thoreau: If shortcomings were to be pointed out in this favorite, he wished to be the one to do it. And so, before taking Thoreau to task for certain inaccuracies, he takes Lowell to task for criticizing Thoreau. He then proceeds, not without evident satisfaction, to call attention to Thoreau's "slips" as an observer and reporter of nature; yet in no carping spirit, but, as he himself has said: "Not that I love Thoreau less, but that I love truth more."

The "Short Studies in Contrasts," the "Day by Day" notes, "Gleanings," and the "Sundown Papers" which comprise the latter part of this, the last, posthumous volume by John Burroughs, were written during the closing months of his life. Contrary to his custom, he wrote these usually in the evening, or, less frequently, in the early morning hours, when, homesick and far from well, with the ceaseless pounding of the Pacific in his ears, and though incapable of the sustained attention necessary for his best work, he was nevertheless impelled by an unwonted mental activity to seek expression.

If the reader misses here some of the charm and power of his usual writing, still may he welcome this glimpse into what John Burroughs was doing and thinking during those last weeks before the illness came which forced him to lay aside his pen.

CLARA BARRUS

WOODCHUCK LODGE

ROXBURY IN THE CATSKILLS

CONTENTS

I. EMERSON AND HIS JOURNALS

II. FLIES IN AMBER

III. ANOTHER WORD ON THOREAU

IV. A CRITICAL GLANCE INTO DARWIN

V. WHAT MAKES A POEM?

VI. SHORT STUDIES IN CONTRASTS:

The Transient and the Permanent

Positive and Negative

Palm and Fist

Praise and Flattery

Genius and Talent

Invention and Discovery

Town and Country

VII. DAY BY DAY

VIII. GLEANINGS

IX. SUNDOWN PAPERS:

Re reading Bergson

Revisions

Bergson and Telepathy

Meteoric Men and Planetary Men

The Daily Papers

The Alphabet

The Reds of Literature

The Evolution of Evolution

Following One's Bent

Notes on the Psychology of Old Age

Facing the Mystery

INDEX

The frontispiece portrait is from a photograph by Miss Mabel Watson taken at Pasadena, California, shortly before Mr... Continue reading book >>




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