"I hate to be near the sea, and to hear it roaring and raging like a wild
beast in its den. It puts me in mind of the everlasting efforts of the
human mind, struggling to be free, and ending just where it began. "
While in London Hazlitt became friends with a group of writers with
radical political ideas. The group included Percy Bysshe Shelley,
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth, Thomas
Barnes, Henry Brougham, Leigh Hunt, Robert Southey and Lord Byron.
At first Hazlitt attempted to become a portrait painter but after a lack
of success he turned to writing
"His Ancient Mariner is his most remarkable performance, and the
only one that I could point out to anyone as giving an adequate idea
of his great natural powers. ... He talked on for ever; and you wished
him to talk on for ever. His thoughts did not seem to come with labour
and effort; but as if borne on the gusts of genius, and as if the wings
of his imagination lifted him from off his feet."
On Qualifications for Success in Life:
"Fortune does not always smile on merit ... the race is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong ... To be thought wise, it is for the most
part only necessary to seem so; and the noisy demagogue is easily
translated, by the popular voice, into the orator and patriot. ... Men
are in numberless instances qualified for certain things, for no other
reason than because they are qualified for nothing else. ... a dull
plodding fellow will often do better than one of a more mercurial and
fiery cast - the mere unconsciousness of his own deficiencies, or of
any thing beyond what he himself can do, reconciles him to his
mechanical progress, and enables him to perform all that lies in his
power with labour and patience. By being content with mediocrity, he
advances beyond it; whereas the man of greater taste or genius may
be supposed to fling down his pen or pencil in despair, haunted with
the idea of unattainable excellence, and ends in being nothing,
because he cannot be every thing at once."