Careful Words

solitude (n.)

In the desert a fountain is springing,

In the wide waste there still is a tree,

And a bird in the solitude singing,

Which speaks to my spirit of thee.

Lord Byron 1788-1824: Stanzas to Augusta.

He makes a solitude, and calls it—peace!

Lord Byron 1788-1824: The Bride of Abydos. Canto ii. Stanza 20.

I praise the Frenchman, his remark was shrewd,—

How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude!

But grant me still a friend in my retreat,

Whom I may whisper, Solitude is sweet.

William Cowper (1731-1800): Retirement. Line 739.

I love tranquil solitude

And such society

As is quiet, wise, and good.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822): Rarely, rarely comest Thou.

Let but thy wicked men from out thee go,

And all the fools that crowd thee so,

Even thou, who dost thy millions boast,

A village less than Islington wilt grow,

A solitude almost.

Abraham Cowley (1618-1667): Of Solitude, vii.

In solitude, where we are least alone.

Lord Byron 1788-1824: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Canto iii. Stanza 90.

  She [the Roman Catholic Church] may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.

Thomas B Macaulay (1800-1859): On Ranke's History of the Popes. 1840.

  Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891): Among my Books. First Series. Dryden.

  Grand, gloomy, and peculiar, he sat upon the throne a sceptred hermit, wrapped in the solitude of his own originality.

Charles Phillips (1789-1859): The Character of Napoleon.

  The chief-justice was rich, quiet, and infamous.

Thomas B Macaulay (1800-1859): On Warren Hastings. 1841.

For solitude sometimes is best society,

And short retirement urges sweet return.

John Milton (1608-1674): Paradise Lost. Book ix. Line 249.

Virtue could see to do what virtue would

By her own radiant light, though sun and moon

Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self

Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude,

Where with her best nurse Contemplation

She plumes her feathers and lets grow her wings,

That in the various bustle of resort

Were all-to ruffled, and sometimes impair'd.

He that has light within his own clear breast

May sit i' th' centre and enjoy bright day;

But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts

Benighted walks under the midday sun.

John Milton (1608-1674): Comus. Line 373.

That inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850): I wandered lonely.

O Solitude! where are the charms

That sages have seen in thy face?

William Cowper (1731-1800): Verses supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk.

  They make solitude, which they call peace.

Tacitus (54-119 a d): Agricola. 30.