I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden, "Solitude," (1854).
Yet, in his journal, Thoreau noted, "It would give me such joy to know that a friend had come to see me, and yet that pleasure I seldom if ever experience." (Dec. 23, 1851).)
It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of a crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).)
One of the many to whom, from straightened circumstances, a consequent inability to form the associations they would wish, and a disinclination to mix with the society they could obtain, London is as complete a solitude as the plains of Syria.
(Charles Dickens (1812-1870), British novelist. Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 20, p. 246 (1839).)
I have at last, after several months' experience, made up my mind that [New York] is a splendid deserta domed and steepled solitude, where the stranger is lonely in the midst of a million of his race.
(Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Daily Alta California (June 5, 1867). Mark Twain's Travels with Mr. Brown, ch. 25, eds. Franklin Walker and G. Ezra Dane, Knopf (1940).)