My life more civil is and free
⁠ Than any civil polity.

Ye princes, keep your realms
And circumscribèd power,
Not wide as are my dreams,
⁠ ⁠   Nor rich as is this hour.

What can ye give which I have not?
What can ye take which I have got?
⁠ ⁠   
⁠Can ye defend the dangerless?
⁠ ⁠   Can ye inherit nakedness?

To all true wants Time’s ear is deaf,
Penurious States lend no relief
⁠ ⁠   Out of their pelf:
    But a free soul—thank God—
⁠ ⁠   ⁠Can help itself.

⁠ ⁠  
⁠Be sure your fate
Doth keep apart its state,—
Not linked with any band,
Even the noblest in the land,—

In tented fields with cloth of gold
⁠ ⁠    No place doth hold,
But is more chivalrous than they are,
   ⁠And sigheth for a nobler war;
⁠ ⁠⁠    A finer strain its trumpet rings,
⁠⁠⁠    A brighter gleam its armor flings.

The life that I aspire to live,
No man proposeth me;
No trade upon the street
⁠ ⁠⁠   Wears its emblazonry.

From Poems of Nature (The Bodley Head, 1895) by Henry David Thoreau. Copyright © 1895 by Henry David Thoreau. This poem is in the public domain. This poem is in the public domain.