Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


Converse with men makes sharp the glittering wit,
But God to man doth speak in solitude.
John Stuart Blackie—Sonnet. Highland Solitude.

I am as one who is left alone at a banquet, the lights dead and the flowers faded.
Bulwer-Lytton—Last Days of Pompeii. Ch. V.

Alone!—that worn-out word,
So idly spoken, and so coldly heard;
Yet all that poets sing, and grief hath known,
Of hope laid waste, knells in that word—ALONE!
Bulwer-Lytton—New Timon. Pt. II.

But ’midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world’s tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto II. St. 26.

This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto II. St. 26.

In solitude, when we are least alone.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto III. St. 90.

Among them, but not of them.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto III. St. 113.

’Tis solitude should teach us how to die;
It hath no flatterers; vanity can give
No hollow aid; alone—man with his God must strive.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto IV. St. 33.

Nunquam se minus otiosum esse quam cum otiosus; nec minus solum quam cum solus esset.
That he was never less at leisure than when at leisure; nor that he was ever less alone than when alone.
Cicero—De Officiis. Bk. III. Ch. I. Also in Rep. I. 17. 27. A saying of Scipio Africanus, as quoted by Cato. Also attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide, wide sea.
Coleridge—Ancient Mariner. Pt. IV.

So lonely ’twas that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.
Coleridge—Ancient Mariner. Pt. VII.

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.
Cowper—Retirement. L. 739. The quotation is attributed to La Bruyère and to Jean Guez de Balzac.

Oh, for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more!
Cowper—Task. Bk. II. L. 1.

O solitude, where are the charms
That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this horrible place.
Cowper—Verses supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk.

Solitude is the nurse of enthusiasm, and enthusiasm is the true parent of genius. In all ages solitude has been called for—has been flown to.
Isaac D’Israeli—Literary Character of Men of Genius. Ch. X.

There is a society in the deepest solitude.
Isaac D’Israeli—Literary Character of Men of Genius. Ch. X.

So vain is the belief
That the sequestered path has fewest flowers.
Thomas Doubleday—Sonnet. The Poet’s Solitude.

Thrice happy he, who by some shady grove,
Far from the clamorous world; doth live his own;
Though solitary, who is not alone,
But doth converse with that eternal love.
Drummond—Urania; or, Spiritual Poems.

We enter the world alone, we leave it alone.
Froude—Short Studies on Great Subjects. Sea Studies.

I was never less alone than when by myself.
Gibbon—Memoirs. Vol. I. P. 117.

Wer sich der Einsamkeit ergiebt,
Ach! der ist bald allein.
Whoever gives himself up to solitude,
Ah! he is soon alone.
Goethe—Wilhelm Meister. II. 13.

Nobody with me at sea but myself.
Goldsmith—The Haunch of Venison.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife.
Gray—Elegy in a Country Churchyard. St. 19.

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep,—
Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,
In flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
’Mongst boughs pavilion’d, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
Keats—Sonnet. O Solitude! If I Must With Thee Dwell.

Why should we faint and fear to live alone,
Since all alone, so Heaven has willed, we die,
Nor even the tenderest heart and next our own
Knows half the reasons why we smile and sigh.
Keble—Christian Year. Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity.

Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.
Lowell—Among my Books. Dryden.

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 too ruffled, and sometimes impaired.
Milton—Comus. L. 375.

For solitude sometimes is best society,
nd short retirement urges sweet return.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. IX. L. 249.

I feel like one who treads alone
Some banquet hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed.
Moore—Oft in the Stilly Night.

Until I truly loved, I was alone.
Mrs. Norton—The Lady of La Garaye. Pt. II. L. 381.

Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires.
Omar Khayyam—Rubaiyat. FitzGerald’s trans. St. 4.

You must show him … by leaving him severely alone.
Chas. Stewart Parnell—Speech at Ennis. Sept. 19, 1880.

Far in a wild, unknown to public view,
From youth to age a reverend hermit grew;
The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell,
His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well,
Remote from man, with God he pass’d the days;
Prayer all his business, all his pleasure praise.
Thomas Parnell—The Hermit.

Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god.
Plato—Protag. I. 337.

Shall I, like an hermit, dwell
On a rock or in a cell?
Sir Walter Raleigh—Poem. See Cayley’s Life of Raleigh. Vol. I.

Then never less alone than when alone.
Samuel Rogers—Human Life. L. 759.

When, musing on companions gone,
We doubly feel ourselves alone.
Scott—Marmion. Canto II. Introduction.

Atque ubi omnia nobis mala solitudo persuadet.
And when Solitude leads us into all manner of evil.
Seneca—Epistle 25. Quoting Galgacus, leader of the Britains.

I love tranquil solitude
And such society
As is quiet, wise, and good.
Shelley—Rarely, Rarely, Comest Thou.

Solitude is the best nurse of wisdom.
Sterne—Letters. No. 82.

A wise man is never less alone than when he is alone.
Swift—Essay on the Faculties of the Mind.

Alone each heart must cover up its dead;
Alone, through bitter toil, achieve its rest.
Bayard Taylor—The Poet’s Journal. First Evening. Conclusion.

’Tis not for golden eloquence I pray,
A godlike tongue to move a stony heart—
Methinks it were full well to be apart
In solitary uplands far away,
Betwixt the blossoms of a rosy spray,
Dreaming upon the wonderful sweet face
Of Nature, in a wild and pathless place.
Frederick Tennyson—Sonnet. From A Treasury Of English Sonnets. Edited by David M. Main.

I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.

I could live in the woods with thee in sight,
Where never should human foot intrude:
Or with thee find light in the darkest night,
And a social crowd in solitude.
Tibullus—Elegies. Elegy I.

Impulses of deeper birth
Have come to him in solitude.
Wordsworth—A Poet’s Epitaph.

They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude.
Wordsworth—I Wandered Lonely. Lines in the poem written by Mrs. Wordsworth.

Often have I sighed to measure
By myself a lonely pleasure,—
Sighed to think I read a book,
Only read, perhaps, by me.
Wordsworth—To the Small Celandine.

O sacred solitude! divine retreat!
Choice of the prudent! envy of the great,
By thy pure stream, or in thy waving shade,
We court fair wisdom, that celestial maid.
Young—Love of Fame. Satire V. L. 254.

O! lost to virtue, lost to manly thought,
Lost to the noble sallies of the soul!
Who think it solitude to be alone.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night III. L. 6.

This sacred shade and solitude, what is it?
’Tis the felt presence of the Deity,
Few are the faults we flatter when alone.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night V. L. 172.