Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
From Essay on Solitude

Abraham Cowley (1618–1667)
.. THE TRUTH 1 of the matter is, that neither he who is a Fop in the world is a fit man to be alone; nor he who has set his heart much upon the world, though he have never so much understanding; so that Solitude can be well fitted and set right, but upon a very few persons. They must have enough knowledge of the World to see the vanity of it, and enough Virtue to despise all Vanity; if the Mind be possest with any Lust or Passion, a man had better be in a Fair, than in a Wood alone. They may, like petty Thieves, cheat us perhaps, and pick our pockets, in the midst of company; but like Robbers, they use to strip and bind or murder us, when they catch us alone. This is but to retreat from Men, and to fall into the hands of Devils. It is like the punishment of Parricides among the Romans, to be sew’d into a Bag, with an Ape, a Dog, and a Serpent …  1
Note 1. Cowley. From his Essay on Solitude. The distinction of this passage is that one cannot forget it. [back]
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