22 July 2013

The Bile of Misanthropy

Johann Georg Zimmermann, Solitude (London: Thomas Tegg, 1827), pp. 238-239:
Disgusted by the vices and follies of the age, the mind becomes insensibly impressed with a hatred toward the species, and loses, by degrees, that mild and humane temper which is so indispensably necessary to the enjoyment of social happiness. Even he who merely observes the weak or vicious frailties of his fellow-creatures with an intention to study philosophically the nature and disposition of man, cannot avoid remembering their defects without severity, and viewing the character he contemplates with contempt, especially if he happens to be the object of their artifices, and the dupe of their villainies. Contempt is closely allied with hatred; and hatred of mankind will corrupt, in time, the fairest mind: it tinges, by degrees, every object with the bile of misanthropy; perverts the judgement; and at length looks indiscriminately with an evil eye on the good and bad; engenders suspicion, fear, jealousy, revenge, and all the black catalogue of unworthy and malignant passion: and when these dreadful enemies have extirpated every generous sentiment from the breast, the unhappy victim abhors society, disclaims his species, sighs, like St. Hyacinth, for some distant and secluded island, and, with savage barbarity, defends the inviolability of its boundaries by the cruel repulsion, and, perhaps, the death, of those unhappy mortals whom misfortune may drive, helpless and unpitied, to its inhospitable shores.
German edition (Troppau: s.n., 1785) available from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.