Thoreau's Journal: 16-Jan-1853
Trench says that “’rivals’ in the primary sense of the word, are those who dwell on the banks of the same stream” or “on opposite banks,” but as he says, in many words, since the use of water-rights is a fruitful source of contention between such neighbors, the word has acquired this secondary sense. My friends are my rivals on the Concord, in the primitive sense of the word. There is no strife between us respecting the use of the stream. The Concord offers many privileges, but none to quarrel about. It is a peaceful, not a brawling, stream. It has not made rivals out of neighbors that lived on its banks but friends. My friends are my rivals; we dwell on opposite banks of the stream, but that stream is the Concord, which flows without a ripple or a murmur, without a rapid or a brawl, and offers no petty privileges to quarrel about.