The Summer Rain Poem by Henry David Thoreau

The Summer Rain

Rating: 3.5


My books I'd fain cast off, I cannot read,
'Twixt every page my thoughts go stray at large
Down in the meadow, where is richer feed,
And will not mind to hit their proper targe.

Plutarch was good, and so was Homer too,
Our Shakespeare's life were rich to live again,
What Plutarch read, that was not good nor true,
Nor Shakespeare's books, unless his books were men.

Here while I lie beneath this walnut bough,
What care I for the Greeks or for Troy town,
If juster battles are enacted now
Between the ants upon this hummock's crown?

Bid Homer wait till I the issue learn,
If red or black the gods will favor most,
Or yonder Ajax will the phalanx turn,
Struggling to heave some rock against the host.

Tell Shakespeare to attend some leisure hour,
For now I've business with this drop of dew,
And see you not, the clouds prepare a shower--
I'll meet him shortly when the sky is blue.

This bed of herd's grass and wild oats was spread
Last year with nicer skill than monarchs use.
A clover tuft is pillow for my head,
And violets quite overtop my shoes.

And now the cordial clouds have shut all in,
And gently swells the wind to say all's well;
The scattered drops are falling fast and thin,
Some in the pool, some in the flower-bell.

I am well drenched upon my bed of oats;
But see that globe come rolling down its stem,
Now like a lonely planet there it floats,
And now it sinks into my garment's hem.

Drip drip the trees for all the country round,
And richness rare distills from every bough;
The wind alone it is makes every sound,
Shaking down crystals on the leaves below.

For shame the sun will never show himself,
Who could not with his beams e'er melt me so;
My dripping locks--they would become an elf,
Who in a beaded coat does gayly go.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Kevin Straw 20 August 2012

From verse seven this makes a good poem. The rest is so much nonsense. - e.g. how can a battle between ants be juster than Homer's battles? The world of Nature is not greater than the world of literature - it is different and gives different satisfactions - there is no comparison between the two.

5 17 Reply
Francisca Darko 20 August 2012

Each line is very beautiful. I love summer rain and I love this poem. It's so weird I read it the day after I wrote a poem called August Rain... :)

4 12 Reply
Ravi A 20 August 2009

The basic idea that the world of nature is richer than the the world of literature seems to me a true one. We are directly in contact with nature. Of course, literature has its richer aspects closer to life and nature if the theme is handled by great writers. The essence is this. The writer may be true in his approach but the reader may yet miss the spirit because his basic inclinations. This is also to be noted. I have seen people having a very dry approach to poets like Wordsworth. The reader's basic nature also counts a lot. A literary work is a communication between the writer and the reader. Either can make a miss. Only the particular reader can say about this.

11 4 Reply
Mohammad Akmal Nazir 20 August 2011

The world of Nature is certainly greater than the world of Literature. Nature is present before us in the most original form while literature depends on the instinct of the writer how he presents it with the maximum possible talent in his command. So let's enjoy literature under the cover of Nature not vise-versa.

4 10 Reply
Kevin Straw 20 August 2009

The basic conceit that the world of nature is richer than the the world of literature seems to me a false one. That 'juster battles' can be fought between ants than between men is a daft idea. My feeling is that Emerson should have simply said he was tired of reading and found refreshment in nature - it is the nature descriptions which are really at the heart of this poem..

5 7 Reply
sdvsvsv 05 January 2021

It is natural to use excess when cutting fruit, but somehow //xn--o80b910a26eepc81il5g.vom77.com ??????

0 0 Reply
?????? 05 January 2021

The friction between the new window and the ground is so small that it slides easily. //cc.vmm789.com

0 0 Reply
Michael Walker 02 March 2020

Even Plutarch, Shakespeare and Homer seem trivial in this setting of nature- violets, clover tufts, water dripping from the trees- and so 'My books I'd fain cast off'. So would I. I never read these three authors now.

1 0 Reply
Adeeb Alfateh 30 May 2019

great grade 10++++++++++++++++

2 0 Reply
Adeeb Alfateh 30 May 2019

I am well drenched upon my bed of oats; But see that globe come rolling down its stem, Now like a lonely planet there it floats, And now it sinks into my garment's hem. // great

1 0 Reply
READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

Concord, Massachusetts
Close
Error Success