I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will. Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows. The really diligent student in one of the crowded hives of Cambridge College is as solitary as a dervish in the desert. The farmer can work alone in the field or the woods all day, hoeing or chopping, and not feel lonesome, because he is employed; but when he comes home at night he cannot sit down in a room alone, at the mercy of his thoughts, but must be where he can :see the folks,:” and recreate, and, as he thinks, remunerate himself for his day’s solitude; and hence he wonders how the student can sit alone in the house all night and most of the day without ennui and :the blues:; but he does not realize that the student, though in the house, is still at work in his field, and chopping in his woods, as the farmer in his, and in turn seeks the same recreation and society that the latter does, though it may be a more condensed form of it.
Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We meet at the post-office, and at the sociable, and about the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other’s way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another. Certainly less frequency would suffice for all important and hearty communications. Consider the girls in a factory—never alone, hardly in their dreams. It would be better if there were but one inhabitant to a square mile, as where I live. The value of a man is not in his skin, that we should touch him.
I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls. Let me suggest a few comparisons, that some one may convey an idea of my situation. I am no more lonely than the loon in the pond that laughs so loud, or than Walden Pond itself. What company has that lonely lake, I pray?
And yet it has not the blue devils, but the blue angels in it, in the azure tint of its waters. The sun is alone, except in thick weather, when there sometimes appear to be two, but one is a mock sun. god is alone—but the devil, he is far from being alone; he sees a great deal of company; he is legion. I am no more lonely than a single mullein or dandelion in a pasture, or a bean leaf, or sorrel, or a horse-fly, or a bumblebee. I am no more lonely than the Millbrook, or a weathercock, or the north star, or the south wind, or an April shower, or a January thaw, or the first spider in a new house.
我的房子里有很多伙伴，尤其在无人造访的清晨。我把自己和周围事物对比一下，你或许能窥见我生活的一斑。比起那湖中长笑的潜鸟，还有那湖，我并不比它们孤独多少。你看：这孤单的湖又何以为伴呢？然而它那一湾天蓝的湖水里有的却是天使的纯净，而非魔鬼的忧郁。太阳是孤独的，虽然时而在阴郁的天气里会出现两个太阳，但其中之一为幻日；上帝是孤独的 – 魔鬼才从不孤单，他永远不乏伙伴，因从他都甚众。比起牧场上的一朵毛蕊花，一支蒲公英，一片豆叶，一束酢浆草，一只牛虻或大黄蜂来，我并不孤单多少；比想密尔溪，风标，北极星，南风，四月春雨，正月融雪，或者新房中的第一只蜘蛛，我也并不更加孤单。