...after lecturing twice this winter i feel that i am in danger of cheapening myself by trying to become a successful lecturer
ie. to interest my audiences.
i am disappointed to find that most that i am and value myself for is lost, or worse than lost, on my audience.
i fail to get even the attention of the mass. i should suit them better if i suited myself less.
i feel that the public demand an average man, - average thoughts and manners - not originality, nor even absolute excellence.
you cannot interest them except as you are like them and sympathize with them.
i would rather that my audience come to me than that i should go to them, and so they be sifted…
henry david thoreau
06 dec 1854