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Excerpt from "The Old Manse"

Excerpt from "The Old Manse"

In a passage reminiscent of one of Thoreau's descriptions of Walden Pond, Hawthorne metaphorically suggests that as the Concord river or even a lowly mud puddle can reflect a glorious sky, so the meanest human retains some "infinite spiritual capacity."
All the sky glows downward at our feet; the rich clouds float through the unruffled bosom of the stream, like heavenly thoughts through a peaceful heart. We will not, then, malign our river as gross and impure, while it can glorify itself with so adequate a picture of the heaven that broods above it; or, if we remember its tawny hue and the muddiness of its bed, let it be a symbol that the earthliest human soul has an infinite spiritual capacity, and may contain the better world within its depths. But, indeed, the same lesson might be drawn out of any mud-puddle in the streets of a city--and, being taught us everywhere, it must be true.



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