Quotation by Henry David Thoreau

See yonder thin column of smoke curling up through the woods from some invisible farmhouse, the standard raised over some rural homestead.... It is a hieroglyphic of man's life, and suggests more intimate and important things than the boiling of a pot. Where its fine column rises above the forest, like an ensign, some human life has planted itself,—and such is the beginning of Rome, the establishment of the arts, and the foundation of empires, whether on the prairies of America or the steppes of Asia.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "A Winter Walk" (1843), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, p. 174, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

Thoreau here alludes to the contemporary belief in a historical translatio imperii ("transfer of empire") and translatio studii ("transfer of the arts") from East to West.
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