High quality philosophical poem with - Conscience is instinct bred in the house, Feeling and Thinking propagate the sin as we grow we grow with sin we think about right and wrong..evergreen poem ever read and attaractive
I believe both Kevin Straw and Guybrush Threepwood have valid points. My two cents would be the following.
Crudely-done didacticism is, well, crudely-done, and subject to rejection simply on that basis. Didacticism, however, need not, as in the above example, be so blatantly budgeoning, and need not, in itself, be detrimental.
Here is some didacticism from the Tao Te Ching (Chapter 61) :
A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.
He thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts.
Here is some from the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter XIV. The Three Gunas) :
Sattwa the shining
Can show the Atman
By its pure light:
Yet sattwa will bind you
To search for happiness,
Longing for knowledge.
Rajas the passionate
Will make you thirsty
For pleasure and possession:
Rajas will bind you
To hunger for action.
Tamas the ignorant
Bewilders all men:
Tamas will bind you
With bonds of delusion,
And here from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3.1-8) :
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
And from The Koran(I believe this is from Verse 1, Surah: 14 –Ibrahim) :
A good word is like a good tree whose root is firmly fixed and whose top is in the sky.
To my mind, all the above excerpts are poetry, and didacticism done well, in other words, meant to enlighten and not to bludgeon.
I'm not going to defend this poem very seriously-Thoreau just wasn't that great of a poet-but damn, Kevin Straw. Throwin' Hitler out onto the table only three relevant comments in. THAT is impressive.
And while I agree that the social conscience-the sense of what we may or may not do-is a result of existing within a somewhat organized society, I think what Mr. Thoreau here was trying to get at with that first line is that the conscience-the sense of what is beneficial and what is merely permissible-is instinct existing inside oneself from the moment of conception that is either defined or distorted within the household and scope of human experience.
Hitler would enjoy this poem. Conscience is bred in the house? Of course it is. And which parent would not propagate in his or her offspring a conscience? A conscience - a sense of what we may or may not do - is inevitable in a social animal. I dislike this kind of didactic poetry - poetry should describe humanity, not preach to it. When poetry makes us argue with its propositions it ceases to be the complete thing.
The first line itself is catchy...and no line can be pretty skipped...and
I love an earnest soul,
Whose mighty joy and sorrow
Are not drowned in a bowl,
And brought to life to-morrow;
That lives one tragedy,
And not seventy;
A conscience worth keeping;
Laughing not weeping;
A conscience wise and steady,
And forever ready;
Not changing with events,
Dealing in compliments; '...
these lines suit much the mood of women...in whole a gospel-poem...excellent with lots of soaring thanks
A man of conscience indeed lives a simple life balancing both joy and sorrow without misled by feeling and thoughts bad in the world. Thoreau's view of living is wise enough to follow in life!