– London Solitude –
First published The Atlas, 28 March 1830, the version reproduced here. Hazlitt did not grow up in London, but it was his adopted home and he celebrated it many times in print before writing this farewell. Although Hazlitt did feel alone in his poverty and sickness, he was a sociable man frequently in company even during his last months. He died surrounded by a small but loyal group of friends.
I n London anything may be had for money; and one thing may be had there in perfection without it. That one thing is solitude. Take up your abode in the deepest glen, or on the wildest heath, in the remotest province of the kingdom, where the din of commerce is not heard, and where the wheels of pleasure make no trace, even there humanity will find you, and sympathy, under some of its varied aspects, will creep beneath the humble roof. Travellers’ curiosity will be excited to gaze upon the recluse, or the village pastor will come to offer his religious consolations to the heart-chilled solitary, or some kind spinster who is good to the poor, will proffer her kindly aid in medicine for sickness, or in some shape of relief for poverty. But in the mighty metropolis, where myriads of human hearts are