Summary of on Going a Journey

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Poets like Samuel Taylor Coleridge who have the fine poetic madness in them, can clothe their thoughts and feelings in beautiful words spontaneously, immediately after seeing a beautiful object. But Hazlitt does not have the ability to translate a feeling at once into beautiful words like Coleridge. Hazlitt would like to enter an inn in the village or a town all by himself. He would like to indulge in idle diversions, to think about his food and to get the smell of food coming out of the kitchen. If at all he has to have a companion in an inn, he prefers to have a stranger. With a stranger we are not under the constant need of fellowship. Even if we do not talk the stranger does not mind. Moreover the stranger will not know the writer. To him the writer is not a man of fixed identity with a definite expected character and nature. So the writer can easily assume any imagery character and personality. To the usual acquaintances a man has a fixed personality with a certain expected character. Before strangers, the writer can easily forget his usual being. Hazlitt likes to be alone on a journey, but with a few expectations. He would not object to having a friend or a party with him while visiting a historical ruin or a picture gallery like Stonehenge, Oxford, Athens or Rome. These are intelligible matters or matters that can be intellectually analyzed. One can talk about them. But the feelings aroused by a landscape or a view of nature are pure feelings that are difficult to analyze and communicate. Hazlitt would also like to have a companion while travelling to a foreign country. He feels so probably because an Englishman has an antipathy towards foreign manners and language. So he would like to talk to a companion and share his feelings with a friend to feel at ease in a foreign country amoung foreigners. Hazlitt would like to have a friend to talk to when he is before such mighty things like the desert of Arabia or the Pyramids of Egypt. One feels lost and lonely,...
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