Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Man Was Made to Stay at Home

William Hazlitt (1778-1830), "Travelling Abroad," in New Writings by William Hazlitt. Collected by P.P. Howe (New York: Lincoln MacVeagh, The Dial Press, 1925), pp. 9-31 (at 9):
I am one of those who do not think that much is to be gained in point either of temper or understanding by travelling abroad. Give me the true, stubborn, unimpaired John Bull feeling, that keeps fast hold of the good things it fancies in its exclusive possession, nor ever relaxes in its contempt for foreign frippery and finery. What is the use of keeping up an everlasting see-saw in the imagination between brown-stout and vin ordinaire, between long and short waists, between English gravity and French levity? The home-brewed, the home-baked, the home-spun, 'dowlas, filthy dowlas for me!'
Man was made to stay at home—(why else are there so many millions born who never dreamt of stirring from it?)—to vegetate, to be rooted to the earth, to cling to his local prejudices, to luxuriate in the follies of his forefathers.
Dowlas, filthy dowlas: William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, 3.3.68. The Oxford English Dictionary defines dowlas as "A coarse kind of linen."

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