Page:Thoreau the Poet-naturalist.djvu/16

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by Wafer, in a basket behind them,—"the times' epitome." But as the cheerful host says:—

"I give thee all, I can no more,
If poor the offering be,"

the best scraps in the larder, like Pip's pork-pie.

A literary life may acquire value by contrast. "Never mind the world, my dear: you were never in a pleasanter place in your life. Tenderness is a virtue, Mr. Twitch." Like the Lady Brilliana Harley, authors can say of their servants: "I take it as a speciall providence of God, that I have so froward a made aboute me as Mary is, sence I love peace and quietnes so well: she has bene extremely froward since I have bine ill; I did not think that any would have bine so colericke. I would I could put a little water in her wine."

Claude Lorraine used to say, "I sell you my landscapes: the figures I give away." So there are patchwork quilts made by the saints where bits of fine silk are sewed on pieces of waste paper, that seems, madam, not that is. But recall the trope that very near to admiration is the wish to admire, and permit the excellence of the subject to defray in a measure the meanness of the treatment:—

"Stars now vanish without number,
Sleepy planets set and slumber."