Little Rivers

A Book of Essays in Profitable Idleness

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Author: Henry van Dyke
Published: 1894
Language: English
Wordcount: 57,790 / 165 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 67.4
LoC Category: B
Downloads: 1,131
mnybks.net#: 2410
Excerpt

ships, and to play with the children, and to confess my faults, and to escape from vain, selfish desires, and to cleanse my mind from all the false and foolish things that mar the joy and peace of living. Like David's hart, I pant for the water-brooks. There is wisdom in the advice of Seneca, who says, "Where a spring rises, or a river flows, there should we build altars and offer sacrifices."

The personality of a river is not to be found in its water, nor in its bed, nor in its shore. Either of these elements, by itself, would be nothing. Confine the fluid contents of the noblest stream in a walled channel of stone, and it ceases to be a stream; it becomes what Charles Lamb calls "a mockery of a river--a liquid artifice--a wretched conduit." But take away the water from the most beautiful river-banks, and what is left? An ugly road with none to travel it; a long, ghastly scar on the bosom of the earth.

The life of a river, like that of a human being, consists in the union of soul and body, the

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