More from Eliza Haywood
How glorious a Privilege has Man beyond all other sublunary Beings! who, tho’ indigent, unpitied, forsaken by the World, and even chain’d in a Dungeon, can, by the Aid of Divine Contemplation, enjoy all the Charms of Pomp, Respect, and Liberty! — Transport himself in Idea to whatever Place he wishes, and grasp in Theory imagin’d Empires!
Unaccountable it is, therefore, that so many People find an Irksomeness in being alone, tho’ for never so small a Space of Time! — Guilt indeed creates Perturbations, which may well make Retirement horrible, and drive the self-tormented Wretch into any Company to avoid the Agonies of Remorse; but I speak not of those who are afraid to reflect, but of those who seem to me not to have the Power to do it.
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Conversation, in effect, but furnishes Matter for Contemplation;— it exhilerates the Mind, and fits it for Reflection Afterward:— Every new thing we hear in Company raises in us new Ideas in the Closet or on the Pillow; and as there are few People but one may gather something from, either to divert or improve, a good Understanding will, like the industrious Bee, suck out the various Sweets, and digest them in Retirement.
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To know ourselves, is agreed by all to be the most useful Learning: the first Lessons, therefore, given us ought to be on that Subject.
The Female Spectator, Book IV (1745)
I do dearly love to suck out sweets, though I sometimes tire of studying alone. I’m too young for retirement.