Walking - Part 2 of 3

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Thoreau Reader - Walking Intro - Walking Part 1 - Walking Part 3

"It was a pleasure and a privilege to walk with him. He knew the country like a fox or a bird, and passed through it as freely by paths of his own." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    What is it that makes it so hard sometimes to determine whither we will walk? I believe that there is a subtile magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. It is not indifferent to us which way we walk. There is a right way; but we are very liable from heedlessness and stupidity to take the wrong one. We would fain take that walk, never yet taken by us through this actual world, which is perfectly symbolical of the path which we love to travel in the interior and ideal world; and sometimes, no doubt, we find it difficult to choose our direction, because it does not yet exist distinctly in our idea.

    When I go out of the house for a walk, uncertain as yet whither I will bend my steps, and submit myself to my instinct to decide for me, I find, strange and whimsical as it may seem, that I finally and inevitably settle south-west, toward some particular wood or meadow or deserted pasture or hill in that direction. My needle is slow to settle-varies a few degrees, and does not always point due south-west, it is true, and it has good authority for this variation, but it always settles between west and south-south-west. The future lies that way to me, and the earth seems more unexhausted and richer on that side. The outline which would bound my walks, would  be, not a circle, but a parabola, or rather like one of those cometary orbits, which have been thought to be non-returning curves, in this case opening westward, in which my house occupies the place of the sun. I turn round and round irresolute sometimes for a quarter of an hour, until I decide for the thousandth time, that I will walk into the south-west or west. Eastward I go only by force; but westward I go free. Thither no business leads me. It is hard for me to believe that I shall find fair landscapes, or sufficient Wildness and Freedon behind the eastern horizon. I am not excited by the prospect of a walk thither; but I believe that the forest which I see in the western horizon stretches uninterruptedly towards the setting sun, and that there are no towns nor cities in it of enough consequence to disturb me. Let me live where I will, on this side is the city, on that the wilderness, and ever I am leaving the city more and more, and withdrawing into the wilderness. I should not lay so much stress on this fact, if I did not believe that something like this is the prevailing tendency of my countrymen. I must walk toward Oregon, and not toward Europe. And that way the nation is moving, and I may say that mankind progress from east to west. Within a few years we have witnessed the phenomenon of a south-eastward migration, in the settlement of Australia; but this affects us as a retrograde movement, and, judging from the moral and physical character of the first generation of Australians,(1) has not yet proved a successful experiment. The eastern Tartars (2) think that there is nothing west beyond Thibet.(3) "The World ends there", say they, "beyond there is nothing but a shoreless sea." It is unmitigated East where they live.

    We go eastward to realize history, and study the works of art and literature, retracing the steps of the race,-we go westward as into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure. The Atlantic is a Lethean stream, in our passage over which we have had an opportunity to forget the old world and its institutions. If we do not succeed this time, there is perhaps one more chance for the race left before it arrives on the banks of the Styx;(4) and that is in the Lethe (5) of the Pacific, which is three times as wide.

    I know not how significant it is, or how far it is an evidence of singularity, that an individual should thus consent in his pettiest walk, with the general movement of the race; but I know that something akin to the migratory instinct in birds and quadrupeds,-which, in some instances, is known to have affected the squirrel tribe, impelling them to a general and mysterious movement, in which they were seen, say some, crossing the broadest rivers, each on its particular chip, with its tail raised for a sail, and bridging narrower streams with their dead,-that something like the furor which affects the domestic cattle in the spring, and which is referred to a worm in their tails,-affects both nations and individuals, either perennially or from time to time. Not a flock of wild geese cackles over our town but it to some extent unsettles the value of real estate here, and if I were a broker I should probably take that disturbance into account.-

                 "Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages,
                  And palmeres for to seken strange strondes."(6)

    Every sunset which I witness inspires me with the desire to go to a west as distant and as fair as that into which the Sun goes down. He appears to migrate westward daily and tempt us to follow him. He is the Great Western Pioneer whom the nations follow. We dream all night of those mountain ridges in the horizon, though they may be of vapor only, which were last gilded by his rays. The island of Atlantis,(7) and the islands and gardens of the Hesperides,(8) a sort of terrestrial paradise, appear to have been the Great West of the ancients, enveloped in mystery and poetry. Who has not seen in imagination, when looking into the sunset sky, the gardens of the Hesperides, and the foundation of all those fables?

    Columbus felt the westward tendency more strongly than any before. He obeyed it, and found a New World for Castile (9) and Leon.(10) The herd of men in those days scented fresh pastures from afar.-

                 "And now the sun had stretched out all the hills,
                  And now was dropt into the western bay;
                  At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue;
                  To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new."

    Where on the Globe can there be found an area of equal extent with that occupied by the bulk of our states, so fertile and so rich and varied in its productions, and at the same time so habitable by the European, as this is? Michaux (11) who knew but part of them, says that "the species of large trees are much more numerous in North America than in Europe: in the United States there are more than 140 species that exceed thirty feet in height; in France there are but thirty that attain this size." Later botanists more than confirm his observations. Humboldt (12) came to America to realize his youthful dreams of a tropical vegetation, and he beheld it in its greatest perfection in the primitive forests of the Amazon, the most gigantic wilderness on the earth, which he has so eloquently described. The geographer Guyot,(13) himself a European, goes farther-farther than I am ready to follow him, yet not when he says, "As the plant is made for the animal, as the vegetable world is made for the animal world, America is made for the man of the Old World."

    "The man of the Old World sets out upon his way. Leaving the highlands of Asia, he descends from station to station, towards Europe. Each of his steps is marked by a new civilization superior to the preceding, by a greater power of development. Arrived at the Atlantic, he pauses on the shore of this unknown Ocean, the bounds of which he knows not, and turns upon his foot prints for an instant." When he has exhausted the rich soil of Europe and reinvigorated himself-"Then recommences his adventurous career westward as in the earliest ages." -So far Guyot.

    From this western impulse coming in contact with the barrier of the Atlantic sprang the commerce and enterprise of modern times. The younger Michaux, in his "Travels West of the Alleghanies in 1802," says that the common inquiry in the newly settled West was-"'From what part of the world have you come?' As if these vast and fertile regions would naturally be the place of meeting and common country of all the inhabitants of the globe."

    To use an obsolete Latin word, I might say Ex oriente lux; ex occidente FRUX. From the East light; from the West fruit.

    Sir Francis Head, an English traveller, and a Governor-General of Canada, tells us that "in both the northern and southern hemispheres of the new world, Nature has not only outlined her works on a larger scale, but has painted the whole picture with brighter and more costly colors than she used in delineating and in beautifying the old world." "The heavens of America appear infinitely higher-the sky is bluer-the air is fresher-the cold is intenser-the moon looks larger-the stars are brighter-the thunder is louder-the lightning is vivider-the wind is stronger-the rain is heavier-the mountains are higher-the rivers larger-the forests bigger-the plains broader." This statement will do at least to set against Buffon's (14) account of this part of  the world and its productions.

    Linnæus (15) said long ago Nescio quæ facies læta, glabra plantis Americanis. I know not what there is of joyous and smooth in the aspect of Amercian plants; and I think that in this country there are no, or at most, very few, Africanæ bestiæ, African beasts, as the Romans called them, and that in this respect also it is peculiarly fitted for the habitation of man. We are told that within three miles of the center of the East Indian city of Singapore some of the inhabitants are annually carried off by tigers;-but the traveller can lie down in the woods at night almost anywhere in North America without fear of wild beasts.

    These are encouraging testimonies. If the moon looks larger here than in Europe, probably the sun looks larger also. If the heavens of America appear infinitely higher, the stars brighter, I trust that these facts are symbolical of the height to which the philosophy and poetry and religion of her inhabitants may one day soar. At length perchance the immaterial heaven will appear as much higher to the American mind, and the intimations that star it as much brighter. For I believe that climate does thus react on man-as there is something in the mountain air that feeds the spirit and inspires. Will not man grow to greater perfection intellectually as well as physically under these influences? Or is it unimportant how many foggy days there are in his life? I trust that we shall be more imaginative; that our thoughts will be clearer, fresher and more ethereal, as our sky-our understanding more comprehensive and broader, like our plains-our intellect generally on a grander scale, like our thunder and lightning, our rivers and mountains and forests,-and our hearts shall even correspond in breadth and depth and grandeur to our inland seas. Perchance there will appear to the traveller something, he knows not what, of læta and glabra-of joyous and serene, in our very faces. Else, to what end does the world go on, and why was America discovered?

     To Americans I hardly need to say-

                 "Westward the star of empire takes its way."

As a true patriot I should be ashamed to think that Adam in paradise was more favorably situated on the whole than the backwoodsman in this country.

    Our sympathies in Massachusetts are not confined to New England, though we may be estranged from the south, we sympathize with the west. There is the home of the younger sons, as among the Scandinavians they took to the sea for their inheritance. It is too late to be studying Hebrew; it is more important to understand even the slang of to-day.

    Some months ago I went to see a panorama(16) of the Rhine. It was like a dream of the Middle Ages. I floated down its historic stream in something more than imagination, under bridges built by the Romans, and repaired by later heroes, past cities and castles whose very names were music to my ears, and each of which was the subject of a legend. There were Ehrenbreitstein and Rolandseck and Coblentz,(17) which I knew only in history. They were ruins that interested me chiefly. There seemed to come up from its waters and its vine-clad hills and valleys a hushed music as of crusaders departing for the Holy Land. I floated along under the spell of enchantment, as if I had been transported to a heroic age, and breathed an atmosphere of chivalry.

    Soon after I went to see a panorama of the Mississippi, and as I worked my way up the stream in the light of to-day,-and saw the steam-boats wooding up-counted the rising cities, gazed on the fresh ruins of Nauvoo-beheld the Indians moving west across the stream, and, as before I had looked up the Moselle, now looked up the Ohio and the Missouri, and heard the legends of Dubuque (18) and of Wenona's Cliff-still thinking more of the future than of the past or present-I saw that this was a Rhine stream of a different kind; that the foundations of castles were yet to be laid, and the famous bridges were yet to be thrown over the stream; and I felt that this was the Heroic Age itself though we know it not, for the hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men.

    The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the world. Every tree sends its fibres forth in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plow and sail for it. From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind. Our ancestors were savages. The story of Romulus and Remus (19) being suckled by a wolf is not a meaningless fable. The founders of every state which has risen to eminence, have drawn their nourishment and vigor from a similar wild source. It is because the children of the empire were not suckled by the wolf that they were conquered and displaced by the children of the northern forests who were.

    I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows. We require an infusion of hemlock spruce or Arbor vitæ in our tea. There is a difference between eating and drinking for strength and from mere gluttony. The Hottentots(20) eagerly devour the marrow of the Koodoo and other antelopes raw, as a matter of course. Some of our northern Indians eat raw the marrow of the Arctic reindeer, as well as various other parts, including the summits of the antlers as long as they are soft. And herein perchance they have stolen a march on the cooks of Paris. They get what usually goes to feed the fire. This is probably better than stall-fed beef and slaughter-house pork to make a man of. Give me a Wildness whose glance no civilization can endure,-as if we lived on the marrow of koodoos devoured raw.

    There are some intervals which border the strain of the wood-thrush, to which I would migrate-wild lands where no settler has squatted; to which, methinks, I am already acclimated.

    The African hunter Gordon-Cumming(21) tells us that the skin of the Eland, as well as that of most other antelopes just killed, emits the most delicious perfume of trees and grass. I would have every man so much a wild antelope, so much a part and parcel of Nature, that his very person should thus sweetly advertise our senses of his presence, and remind us of those parts of nature which he most haunts. I feel no disposition to be satirical when the trapper's coat emits the odor of musquash(22) even; it is a sweeter scent to me than that which commonly exhales from the merchant's or the scholar's garments. When I go into their wardrobes and handle their vestments, I am reminded of no grassy plains and flowery meads which they have frequented, but of dusty merchants' exchanges and libraries rather.

    A tanned skin is something more than respectable, and perhaps olive is a fitter color than white for a man-a denizen of the woods. "The pale white man!" I do not wonder that the African pitied him. Darwin (23) the naturalist says "A white man bathing by the side of a Tahitian was like a plant bleached by the gardener's art compared with a fine, dark green one growing vigorously in the open fields."

    Ben Jonson exclaims,(24)-

                 "How near to good is what is fair!"

So I would say-

                 How near to good is what is wild!

Life consists with Wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward incessantly and never rested from his labors, who grew fast and made infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest trees.

    Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps. When, formerly, I have analysed my partiality for some farm which I had contemplated purchasing, I have frequently found that I was attracted solely by a few square rods of impermeable and unfathomable bog-a natural sink in one corner of it. That was the jewel which dazzled me. I derive more of my subsistence from the swamps which surround my native town than from the cultivated gardens in the village. There are no richer parterres to my eyes than the dense beds of dwarf andromeda (Cassandra calyculata) which cover these tender places on the earth's surface. Botany cannot go further than tell me the names of the shrubs which grow there-the high-blueberry, panicled andromeda,-lamb-kill, azalea-and rhodora-all standing in the quaking sphagnum. I often think that I would like to have my house front on this mass of dull red bushes, omitting other flower plots and borders, transplanted spruce and trim box, even gravelled walks-to have this fertile spot under my windows, not a few imported barrow-fuls of soil only, to cover the sand which was thrown out in digging the cellar. Why not put my house-my parlor-behind this plot instead of behind that meagre assemblage of curiosities-that poor apology for a Nature and art, which I call my front yard? It is an effort to clear up and make a decent appearance when the carpenter and mason have departed, though done as much for the passer by as the dweller within. The most tasteful front-yard fence was never an agreeable object of study to me; the most elaborate ornaments,  acorn tops, or what not, soon wearied and disgusted me. Bring your sills up to the very edge of the swamp then, (though it may not be the best place for a dry cellar,) so that there be no access on that side to citizens. Front-yards are not made to walk in, but, at most, through, and you could go in the back way.

    Yes; though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to dwell in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human art contrived, or else of a dismal swamp, I should certainly decide for the swamp. How vain then have been all your labors, citizens, for me!

    My spirits infallibly rise in proportion to the outward dreariness. Give me the Ocean, the desert, or the wilderness. In the desert a pure air and solitude compensate for want of moisture and fertility. The traveller Burton says of it "Your morale improves: you become frank and cordial, hospitable and single-minded. . . . In the desert spirituous liquors excite only disgust. There is a keen enjoyment in a mere animal existence." They who have been travelling long on the steppes of Tartary, say "On reëntering cultivated lands, the agitation, perplexity and turmoil of civilization oppressed and suffocated us; the air seemed to fail us, and we felt every moment as if about to die of asphyxia." When I would recreate myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most interminable, and, to the citizen, most dismal swamp. I enter a swamp as a sacred place-a sanctum sanctorum. There is the strength-the marrow of Nature. The wild wood covers the virgin mould,-and the same soil is good for men and for trees. A man's health requires as many acres of meadow to his prospect as his farm does loads of muck. There are the strong meats on which he feeds. A town is saved, not more by the righteous men in it, than by the woods and swamps that surround it. A township where one primitive forest waves above, while another primitive forest rots below-such a town is fitted to raise not only corn and potatoes, but poets and philosophers for the coming ages. In such a soil grew Homer and Confucius (25) and the rest, and out of such a wilderness comes the reformer eating locusts and wild honey.(26)

    To preserve wild animals, implies generally the creation of a forest for them to dwell in or resort to. So is it with man. A hundred years ago they sold bark in our streets peeled from our own woods. In the very aspect of those primitive and rugged trees, there was methinks a tanning principle which hardened and consolidated the fibres of men's thoughts. Ah! already I shudder for these comparatively degenerate days of my native village, when you cannot collect a load of bark of good thickness-and we no longer produce tar and turpentine.

    The civilized nations-Greece, Rome, England, are sustained by the primitive forests which anciently rotted where they stand. They survive as long as the soil is not exhausted. Alas for human culture! little is to be expected of a nation when the vegetable mould is exhausted, and it is compelled to make manure of the bones of its fathers. There the poet sustains himself merely by his own superfluous fat, and the philosopher comes down on to his marrow bones.

    It is said to be the task of the American, "to work the virgin soil," and that "Agriculture here already assumes proportions unknown everywhere else." I think that The farmer displaces the Indian even because he redeems the meadow, and so makes himself stronger and in some respects more natural. I was surveying for a man the other day a single straight line one hundred and thirty-two rods(27) long through a swamp, at whose entrance might have been written the words which Dante (28) read over the entrance to the Infernal regions-Leave all hope ye that enter-that is of ever getting out again; where at one time I saw my employer actually up to his neck and swimming for his life in his property, though it was still winter. He had another similar swamp which I could not survey at all because it was completely under water, and nevertheless, with regard to a third swamp which I did survey from a distance, he remarked to me, true to his instincts, that he would not part with it for any consideration, on account of the mud which it contained. And that man intends to put a girdling ditch round the whole in the course of forty months, and so redeem it by the magic of his spade. I refer to him only as the type of a class.

    The weapons with which we have gained our most important victories, which should be handed down as heirlooms from father to son, are not the sword and the lance, but the bush-whack-the turf-cutter, the spade, and the bog-hoe, rusted with the blood of many a meadow, and begrimed with the dust of many a hard-fought field. The very winds blew the Indian's corn-field into the meadow, and pointed out the way which he had not the skill to follow. He had no better implement with which to intrench himself in the land than a clam-shell. But the farmer is armed with plow and spade.

    In Literature, it is only the wild that attracts us. Dullness is but another name for tameness. It is the uncivilized free and wild thinking in Hamlet and the Iliad, in all the scriptures and mythologies, not learned in the Schools, that delights us. As the wild duck is more swift and beautiful than the tame, so is the wild-the mallard-thought, which, 'mid falling dews wings its way above the fens. A truly good book is something as natural, and as unexpectedly and unaccountably fair and perfect, as a wild flower discovered on the prairies of the west, or in the jungles of the east. Genius is a light which makes the darkness visible, like the lightning's flash, which perchance shatters the temple of knowledge itself-and not a taper lighted at the hearth-stone of the race which pales before the light of common day.

    English literature from the days of the minstrels to the Lake Poets-Chaucer and Spenser and Milton, and even Shakspeare included, breathes no quite fresh and in this sense wild strain. It is an essentially tame and civilized literature reflecting Greece and Rome. Her wilderness is a green-wood-her wild man a Robinhood. There is plenty of genial love of nature, but not so much of Nature herself. Her chronicles inform us when her wild animals, but not when the wild man in her, became extinct.

    The science of Humboldt is one thing, poetry is another thing. The poet to-day, notwithstanding all the discoveries of science, and the accumulated learning of mankind, enjoys no advantage over Homer.

    Where is the literature which gives expression to Nature? He would be a poet who could impress the winds and streams into his service, to speak for him; who nailed words to their primitive senses, as farmers drive down stakes in the spring which the frost has heaved; who derived his words as often as he used them-transplanted them to his page with earth adhering to their roots;-whose words were so true, and fresh, and natural that they would appear to expand like the buds at the approach of spring, though they lay half smothered between two musty leaves in a library,-aye, to bloom and bear fruit there after their kind annually for the faithful reader, in sympathy with surrounding Nature.

    I do not know of any poetry to quote which adequately expresses this yearning for the Wild. Approached from this side the best poetry is tame. I do not know where to find in any literature, ancient or modern, any account which contents me, of that Nature with which even I am acquainted. You will perceive that I demand something which no Augustan nor Elizabethan age-which no culture, in short, can give. Mythology comes nearer to it than anything. How much more fertile a nature at least has Grecian mythology its root in than English Literature! Mythology is the crop which the old world bore before its soil was exhausted, before the fancy and imagination were affected with blight;-and which it still bears wherever its pristine vigor is unabated. All other literatures endure only as the elms which overshadow our houses, but this is like the great Dragon tree of the Western isles, as old as mankind, and whether that does or not, will endure as long; for the decay of other literatures makes the soil in which it thrives.

    The West is preparing to add its fables to those of the east. The valleys of the Ganges, the Nile, and the Rhine, having yielded their crop, it remains to be seen what the valleys of the Amazon, the Plate, the Orinoco-the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi will produce. Perchance, when in the course of ages, American Liberty has become a fiction of the past,-as it is to some extent a fiction of the present,-the poets of the world will be inspired by American Mythology.

    The wildest dreams of wild men, even, are not the less true, though they may not recommend themselves to the sense which is most common among Englishmen and Americans to-day. It is not every truth that recommends itself to the common sense. Nature has a place for the wild clematis as well as for the cabbage. Some expressions of truth are reminiscent,-others merely sensible, as the phrase is-others prophetic. Some forms of disease even may prophesy forms of health. The geologist has discovered that the figures of serpents, griffins, flying dragons, and other fanciful embellishments of heraldry, have their prototypes in the forms of fossil species which were extinct before man was created, and hence "indicate a faint and shadowy knowledge of a previous state of organic existence." The Hindoos dreamed that the earth rested on an elephant, and the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise on a serpent; and though it may be an unimportant coincidence, it will not be out of place here to state, that a fossil tortoise has lately been discovered in Asia large enough to support an elephant. I confess that I am partial to these wild fancies, which transcend the order of time and development. They are the sublimest recreation of the intellect. The partridge loves peas, but not those that go with her into the pot.

    In short, all good things are wild and free. There is something in a strain of music, whether produced by an instrument or by the human voice-take the sound of a bugle in a summer night, for instance,-which by its wildness, to speak without satire, reminds me of the cries emitted by wild beasts in their native forests. It is so much of their wildness as I can understand. Give me for my friends and neighbors wild men, not tame ones. The wildness of the savage is but a faint symbol of the awful ferity with which good men and lovers meet.

    I love even to see the domestic animals reassert their native rights-any evidence that they have not wholly lost their original wild habits and vigor; as when my neighbor's cow breaks out of her pasture early in the Spring and boldly swims the river, a cold grey tide, twenty-five or thirty rods wide,(29) swollen by the melted snow. It is the Buffalo crossing the Mississippi. This exploit confers some dignity on the herd in my eyes-already dignified. The seeds of instinct are preserved under the thick hides of cattle and horses, like seeds in the bowels of the earth, an indefinite period.

    Any sportiveness in cattle is unexpected. I saw one day a herd of a dozen bullocks and cows running about and frisking in unwieldly sport, like huge rats, even like kittens. They shook their heads, raised their tails, and rushed up and down a hill, and I perceived by their horns, as well as by their activity, their relation to the deer tribe. But, alas! a sudden loud whoa! would have damped their ardor at once, reduced them from venison to beef, and stiffened their sides and sinews like the locomotive. Who but the Evil One has cried "Whoa!" to mankind? Indeed, the life of cattle, like that of many men, is but a sort of locomotiveness, they move a side at a time, and Man by his machinery is meeting the horse and ox half way. Whatever part the whip has touched is thenceforth palsied. Who would ever think of a side of any of the supple cat tribe, as we speak of a side of beef?

    I rejoice that horses and steers have to be broken before they can be made the slaves of men, and that men themselves have some wild oats still left to sow before they become submissive members of society. Undoubtedly, all men are not equally fit subjects for civilization, and because the majority, like dogs and sheep are tame by inherited dispositon, is no reason why the others should have their natures broken that they may be reduced to the same level. Men are in the main alike, but they were made several in order that they might be various. If a low use is to be served, one man will do nearly or quite as well as another; if a high one, individual excellence is to be regarded. Any man can stop a hole to keep the wind away, but no other man could serve so rare a use as the author of this illustration did. Confucius says "The skins of the tiger and the leopard when they are tanned, are as the skins of the dog and the sheep tanned." But it is not the part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious, and tanning their skins for shoes is not the best use to which they can be put.


1. early Australian colonialists included English & Irish felons deported as punishment - back
2. descendents of those led by Ghengis Khan in the Middle Ages, now in parts of eastern Europe and western Asia, to the west of Tibet - back
3. variation of Tibet - back
4. in Greek mythology, chief river of the lower world - back
5. river in Hades whose water caused amnesia in those who drank it - back
6. from Chaucer's "The Prologue to Canterbury Tales." - back
7. mythical island city in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Gibraltar - back
8. in classical mythology, nymphs who protected a garden with golden apples - back
9. from 1312 to 1492 Castile included most of modern Spain - back
10. Juan Ponce de Leon (1460?-1521) Spanish explorer who discovered Florida - back
11. Andre Michaux (1747-1802) French botanist, explored eastern U.S. - back
12. Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) German naturalist, explorer - back
13. Arnold Henry Guyot (1807-1884) Swiss geographer - back
14. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788) French naturalist - back
15. Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) devised system for naming & classifying organisms - back
16. pictorial representation shown in progressive segments - back
17. attractions along the Rhine River - back
18. city on the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa - back
19. in Roman legend, sons of Mars suckled by a wolf; Romulus founded Rome - back
20. a people of southern Africa, in Thoreau's time the term implied savage & wild - back
21. Roualeyn Gordon-Cumming (1820-1866) English author on African hunting - back
22. muskrat - back
23. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) English naturalist, developed theory of evolution - back
24. Ben Jonson (1573?-1637) English dramatist - back
25. Conficius (1551-1479 B.C.) Chinese philosopher - back
26. St. John the Baptist, as described in Matthew 3:3-4 - back
27. a rod is 16.5 feet, 132 rods is 2178 feet or 4.1 miles - back
28. Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet, author of The Divine Comedy - back
29. 25-30 rods is 412.5-495 feet - back

Thoreau Reader - Walking Introd