Conscience is instinct bred in the house,
Feeling and Thinking propagate the sin
By an unnatural breeding in and in.
This poem, on the whole, is fairly silly, but I think fairly sums up Thoreau's stance on the "busy" world. These first lines though are a perfect thought and you gotta love all the play in here. Human "thinking/feeling" propagates the SIN of Conscience (which is a sin against a "natural" way of being) and "breeding" strengthens the assertion that this is a "birth" of what has led us astray. But really, "in and in" as opposed to the sex act of "in and out"--and "mental fornication" is only "in and in"--the solipsism of mental activity indoors. And, I might guess, this is somewhat "anti-science" (though HDT was a "naturalist" and one who sought knowledge through observation of the world around him)...in terms of the scientific activity of breeding--human intervention in an attempt to master the world and give birth to itself--human mind breeding human mind.
Pretty damn strong statement in the mid-19th cent. right?
I think Billy Bronk understood this "in and in" breeding.
As a poem, I like Henry's "Epitaph on the World" better.
Here lies the body of this world,
Whose soul alas to hell is hurled.
This golden youth long since was past,
Its silver manhood went as fast,
An iron age drew on at last;
'Tis vain its character to tell,
The several fates which it befell,
What year it died, when 'twill arise,
We only know that here it lies.
What I like about this is that it is totally made of "man-made" words about our "creation" of the idea of our world(s...depending on the "age" or period of compostion).
And finally in the end what can we "know" of it...