[Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day.

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd, sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
With mediation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
-- Alexander Pope, 1688-1744
I LOVE the stillness of the wood:
I love the music of the rill:
I love to couch in pensive mood
Upon some silent hill.

Scarce heard, beneath yon arching trees,
The silver-crested ripples pass;
And, like a mimic brook, the breeze
Whispers among the grass.

Here from the world I win release,
Nor scorn of men, nor footstep rude,
Break in to mar the holy peace
Of this great solitude.

Here may the silent tears I weep
Lull the vexed spirit into rest,
As infants sob themselves to sleep
Upon a mother's breast.

But when the bitter hour is gone,
And the keen throbbing pangs are still,
Oh, sweetest then to couch alone
Upon some silent hill!

To live in joys that once have been,
To put the cold world out of sight,
And deck life's drear and barren scene
With hues of rainbow-light.

For what to man the gift of breath,
If sorrow be his lot below;
If all the day that ends in death
Be dark with clouds of woe?

Shall the poor transport of an hour
Repay long years of sore distress-
The fragrance of a lonely flower
Make glad the wilderness?

Ye golden hours of Life's young spring,
Of innocence, of love and truth!
Bright, beyond all imagining,
Thou fairy-dream of youth!

I'd give all wealth that years have piled,
The slow result of Life's decay,
To be once more a little child
For one bright summer-day.


--- Lewis Carroll

Solitude was written on March 16, 1853. It appeared in The Train in 1856 and was the first time Charles Lutwidge Dodgson used the nom de plume Lewis Carroll.

When many think of Black Sabbath, they think of the voice of Ozzy Osbourne, chilling over dark, evil music supplied by guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist extrodinaire Geezer Butler. If they think of Bill Ward, the original drummer of the group, at all, it might be his failing heart condition. When one thinks of the music, they think of the creepy Black Sabbath, or perhaps the pounding Paranoid, maybe even the anthemic Iron Man or the anti-war diddy War Pigs. Last on the list of relations would be this track.

My name it means nothing // My fortune is less // My future is shrouded in dark wilderness

Solitude is perhaps one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. The music for the song is, as most every Sabbath tune, led by the superb basswork of Geezer Butler. On this tune, he creates a soft melody which is the main focus of the song, besides the softly sung lyrics of Bill Ward. Yep, Bill Ward. The drummer. This is one of the few Ozzy-era Sabbath songs that does not feature the Ozzman's voice (although, www.black-sabbath.com claims it IS Ozzy singing). Solitude also has no drums, but does feature an ethereal flute playing throughout.

Oh where can I go to and what can I do? // Nothing can please me only thoughts are of you // You just laughed when I begged you to stay // I've not stopped crying since you went away

The lyrics are dark, and feature the sadness created by the loss of a loved one, "Nothing can please me only thoughts are of you /// You just laughed when I begged you to stay /// I've not stopped crying since you went away." It is similar to the other sad Sabbath ballad, Changes, in the feelings it creates in the listener. The first times I heard both tracks, I was almost moved to tears.

The world is a lonely place you're on your own // Guess I will go home sit down and moan // Crying and thinking is all that I do // Memories I have remind me of you


All italicized text is lyrics from the song, written by the four members of Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osbourne as it appears on the classic album Master of Reality. All links were added by Yours Truly, Thank you for not suing. CST Approved

I am glad to see there is something written under "solitude", but less than happy to see that it is poetry! To me, solitude is serious business, and a thing that I was hoping would be the next big trend for a while now, since I first experienced with solitude. I first came across solitude as an accomplishment in a burst of reverse snobbery: if I couldn't go in a hot air balloon across France, I could at least not do anything with all my might.
There is actually a serious question behind this. When was the last time you spent 24 hours without talking or seeing another person? How about 48 hours? Or even more? For most people, it might be a year or more. For many people, if they were by themselves, it may not have been a positive experience. Spending time away from the normal stimulation of being around other people isn't easy logistically for many people, and would not be desirable even if it were easy. In fact, like many challenges, the first reason for doing so might be just to see if it can be done. But once it is embarked upon, people might start enjoying it more than they thought.

The first element of solitude that is needed is a good block of time that can be spent away from other obligations. A day inside by itself doesn't really count as "solitude", since that is done often enough by people, usually in the process of eating cheetos and watching television. A good 48 hour block is kind of the minimum needed to move beyond the normal cycle of searching for stimulation. Beyond that is beneficial for a while, although the point of diminishing returns is probably reached fairly soon for many people. Along with that, it is a good idea to have a good amount of food on hand. The food can be whatever you want, but with keeping with the theme of stimulation reduction, it might be a good idea to not stock up on junk food. Making one of the days of solitude a day of fasting is also an idea to be entertained. It is also a good idea to have lots of books, as well as something to write in if the mood strikes you. If there were enough people playing the game of solitude for some of them to be considered hardcore, they would probably consider usage of the internet or any form of computer during that time to be cheating, but since there isn't, you can decide for yourself. If I am going for several days, I will usually set aside one of the days to be internet free, but my willpower won't last for much longer than that.

I have perhaps put too much effort already into describing the set-up for solitude. The point is, after all, that you are doing as little as possible. It isn't complicated. What is complex is the processes that you will probably go through. Doing nothing might sound boring, and it is, for a while. After about a day or so, boredom tends to go away because the sense of being pressed for time also goes away. One thing I learned is that I seek stimulation mostly when I get the feeling that I am missing out on something, and that I had best grab as much as I can as fast as I can. With that horse race feeling gone, my desire for stimulation quickly ebbs. Your mileage may vary. It is usually on the second day upwards that I fall into a state of sleeping and waking without worrying or keeping track of time, that leads to a productive lassitude. I have gone a week like this, although towards the end I no longer felt as enchanted by this cycle.

My experiences at solitude were mixed, I think. I did prove that it could be done, and that it could be an enjoyable experience. I did not move into a space of great quietness and serenity, and afterwards I didn't feel very much different--at times I even felt depressed afterwards. However, I think that some people could try it and indeed discover these things. At the very least, if you try it, you might learn that you do not need to live with stimulation and the electronic hypermedia constantly.

Sol"i*tude (?), n. [F., from L. solitudo, solus alone. See Sole, a.]

1.

state of being alone, or withdrawn from society; a lonely life; loneliness.

Whosoever is delighted with solitude is either a wild beast or a god. Bacon.

O Solitude! where are the charms That sages have seen in thy face? Cowper.

2.

Remoteness from society; destitution of company; seclusion; -- said of places; as, the solitude of a wood.

The solitude of his little parish is become matter of great comfort to him. Law.

3.

solitary or lonely place; a desert or wilderness.

In these deep solitudes and awful cells Where heavenly pensive contemplation dwells. Pope.

Syn. Loneliness; soitariness; loneness; retiredness; recluseness. -- Solitude, Retirement, Seclusion, Loneliness. Retirement is a withdrawal from general society, implying that a person has been engaged in its scenes. Solitude describes the fact that a person is alone; seclusion, that he is shut out from others, usually by his own choice; loneliness, that he feels the pain and oppression of being alone. Hence, retirement is opposed to a gay, active, or public life; solitude, to society; seclusion, to freedom of access on the part of others; and loneliness, enjoyment of that society which the heart demands.

O blest retirement, friend to life's decline. Goldsmith.

Such only can enjoy the country who are capable of thinking when they are there; then they are prepared for solitude; and in that [the country] solitude is prepared for them. Dryden.

It is a place of seclusion from the external world. Bp. Horsley.

These evils . . . seem likely to reduce it [a city] ere long to the loneliness and the insignificance of a village. Eustace.

 

© Webster 1913.

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