It still seems a truth universally admitted that a romantic poet cannot carry a tape-measure in his pocket. In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, the “halfsight of science” fails to recognize that we do not learn “by any addition or subtraction or other comparison of known quantities” but only by “untaught sallies of the spirit” (Emerson 1983: 45, 43). What to make, then, of his friend Thoreau-whose most “romantic” book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, contains a hymn to comparisons of known quantities? “How many new relations a foot-rule alone will reveal … What wonderful discoveries have been, and may still be, made, with a plumb-line, a level, a surveyor’s compass, a thermometer, or a barometer!” (1980: 363). Who was distinguished, as Emerson remarked, for his “natural skill for mensuration,” who was constantly ascertaining the height of trees and mountains, “the depth and extent of ponds and rivers,” and who “could pace sixteen rods more accurately than another man could measure them with rod and chain” (Emerson 2008: 395, 399)? Who notched his walking stick with inchmarks and recommended that on every excursion one should carry a “compass; plant-book and red blotting-paper … small pocket spyglass for birds, pocket microscope, tape-measure, [and] insect-boxes?” (Thoreau 1972: 319). There was, evidently, at least one romantic poet with a tape-measure in his pocket.