Embarking from Aristotle’s observation that man is ‘an imitative being’, Johnson attacks the fashion for retiring to the country for the summer as either mindless imitation of a literary trope or of one’s neighbours.
While he admits that nature, or any change of scene, is refreshing, he notes how few of these migrants spend their time out in it. He concludes they must be merely afraid to be left without the distractions of other shallow minds in town; if this is the case they should not pretend to higher motives. A great mind’s wry but genuine bafflement about smaller ones.
Related recommendation: Mary Wollstonecraft’s ‘On Poetry and Our Relish for the Beauties of Nature’ (1797)
Themes: Independent Thinking, Nature or Architecture/ Material Environment