Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
I Am a Parcel of Vain Strivings Tied
1I am a parcel of vain strivings tied
2 By a chance bond together,
3Dangling this way and that, their links
4 Were made so loose and wide,
6 For milder weather.
7A bunch of violets without their roots,
8 And sorrel intermixed,
9Encircled by a wisp of straw
10 Once coiled about their shoots,
11 The law
12 By which I'm fixed.
13A nosegay which Time clutched from out
14 Those fair Elysian fields,
15With weeds and broken stems, in haste,
16 Doth make the rabble rout
17 That waste
18 The day he yields.
19And here I bloom for a short hour unseen,
20 Drinking my juices up,
21With no root in the land
22 To keep my branches green,
23 But stand
24 In a bare cup.
25Some tender buds were left upon my stem
26 In mimicry of life,
27But ah! the children will not know,
28 Till time has withered them,
29 The woe
30 With which they're rife.
31But now I see I was not plucked for naught,
32 And after in life's vase
33Of glass set while I might survive,
34 But by a kind hand brought
36 To a strange place.
37That stock thus thinned will soon redeem its hours,
38 And by another year,
39Such as God knows, with freer air,
40 More fruits and fairer flowers
41 Will bear,
42 While I droop here.
Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Collected Poems of Henry David Thoreau, ed. Carl Bode (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1964): 81-82. PS 3041 .B6 1964 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/8/12
Other poems by Henry David Thoreau