February 8, 2009

The State is a poor good beast ...

Emerson in His Journals (Amazon.com) The State is a poor, good beast who means the best: it means friendly. A poor cow who does well by you—do not grudge it its hay. It cannot eat bread as you can; let it have without grudge a little grass for its four stomachs. It will not stint to yield you milk from its teat. You, who are a man walking cleanly on two feet, will not pick a quarrel with a poor cow. Take this handful of clover and welcome. But if you go to hook me when I walk in the fields, then, poor cow, I will cut your throat.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson [from his journals, June-July 1846], in EMERSON IN HIS JOURNALS, selected and edited by Joel Porte, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) - London (England), 1982.