Poems of Nature
The Dial, February 16, 1896
Mr. Henry S. Salt and Mr. Frank B. Sanborn have done literature an excellent service in selecting from Thoreau’s writings a little volume of “Poems of Nature.” Fifty pieces are thus brought together, from “The Dial,” “Walden,” and other sources. Thoreau was not a poet in any finished sense, and even his friend Emerson had to admit that “he no doubt wanted a lyric faculty and technical skill”; but he was a genuine literary force, and the poetic aspect of his thought is not without interest. Most of his verses were written when he was very young — from twenty to twenty-five — and none of them are remarkable; yet we may say, with one of his critics, that there is “a frank and unpretending nobleness” about them, and that they have some measure of “ripe fulness of thought, gravity of tone, and epigrammatic terseness of expression.” They sometimes faintly suggest Emerson, and sometimes Emily Dickinson, and have a nook of their own among the works of the Concord School.