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On Going a Journey

Date:2017-02-25Author:xctzb Click:

One of the pleasantest things in the world is going a journey:

but I like to go by myself.

I can enjoy society in a room;

but out of doors, nature is company enough for me.

I am then never less alone than when alone.

“The fields his study, nature was his book.”

I cannot see the wit of walking and talking at the same time.

When I am in the country I wish to vegetate like the country.

I am not for criticizing hedges and black cattle.

I go out for town in order to forget the town and all that is in it.

There are those who for this purpose go to watering places,

and carry the metropolis with them.

I like more space and fewer obstacles.

I like solitude, when I give myself up to it, for the sake of solitude; nor do I ask for

“a friend in my retreat, whom I may whisper solitude is sweet.”

The soul of journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do, just as one pleases.

We go a journey chiefly to be free of all obstacles and all inconveniences;

to leave ourselves behind, much more to get rid of others.

It is because I want a little breathing space to ponder on indifferent matters, where contemplation

“May plume her feathers and let grow her wings,

that in the various bustle of resort were all too ruffled, and sometimes impaired.”

I absent myself from the town for a while, without feeling at a loss the moment I am left by myself.

Instead of a friend in a post chaise or in a carriage, to exchange good things with,

and vary the same stale topics over again, for once let me have a time free from manners.

Give me the clear blue sky over my head, and the green turf beneath my feet,

a winding road before me, and the three hours' march to dinner—and then to thinking!

It is hard if I cannot start some game on these lone heaths.

I laugh, I run, I leap, I sing for joy!

From the point of yonder rolling cloud I plunge into my past being,

and revel there as the sun-burnt Indian plunges headlong into the wave

that wafts him to his native shore.

Then long-forgotten things like “sunken wrack and sumless treasuries,”

burst upon my eager sight, and I begin to feel, think, and be myself again.

Instead of an awkward silence, broken by attempts at wit or dull commonplaces,

mine is that undisturbed silence of the heart which alone is perfect eloquence.


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