Thoreau’s Adherence to a Higher law
As one of the most well-known authors of the nineteenth century, Henry David Thoreau wrote and inspired many poetic works we recognize as “classics”. He lived during the height of transcendentalism and eventually became a major contributor to its cause. Thoreau accomplished this magnificent feat through his short writings and his poetry. As such a significant writer in American literature, Thoreau, like any great writer, explored many topics and ideas in his work such as religion, and nature. Among the most consistent of these topics seems to be that he as an author, appeals to a higher law, or greater power in many of his works. Throughout his poems “Nature,” “Great God I Ask for no Meaner Pelf,” and “On Fields O’re Which the Reaper has Passed” Thoreau blatantly references God or other supernatural forces, giving way to his sense of style, and ideology.
In each of his works, there is always some inspiration from God or another holy symbol. In “Great God I Ask for no Meaner Pelf” for example, it seems to be just that, a verbal cry to the lord for help or peace. Thoreau shows his love and respect for the lord by saying “Great God” and “Which thy kindness lends (1-5).” He recognizes that God is the Holiest and purest of beings, however is ashamed to be in his presence and asks “that my low conduct may not show.”(11) He prays that God will forget his shortcomings, because he chose to go his own way, instead of following God’s plan for him. Therefore, we can conclude that this is his way of asking forgiveness and wants God to return to his life so that he may live out his purpose.
Furthermore, in the poem “Great God I ask for no meaner pelf,” we can see that he is not only religious but deeply ...
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... this in the Bible, the holy inspired work of God, which often mentions being ready for Jesus’ return one day labeling that day as the harvest or as we know it, judgment day. Based on Thoreau’s deep spiritual connection it is safe to assume that he is thinking what would have happened had I done thing differently?
In closing, we can clearly see that Henry David Thoreau was a deeply rooted spiritual man. He filled his poetry with example after example showing his spiritual connection with things not of this world and sometimes not even living. However the reoccurring theme is that he knows his place, there is someone out there bigger than him and he recognizes that in his work. No matter if it is respect for God’s creation of nature or God himself he always has a deep, profound recognition for the things around him. Henry David Thoreau is a man we can all look up to
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